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Recently I've found some old questions which do not contain any code (usually just a link). Some of them have an accepted answer.

Since these questions are off-topic (according to the FAQ), should I try to ask the author to post the code to the site too (even if it seems meaningless since the OP has not been on any Stack Exchange site for months)? Should I flag or vote close on these questions?

Edit (2013. 11. 07.): Please note that this question was asked before the current Closed Votes queue (which does a great job) and there was not any attention of close votes on old questions.

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I would flag it.

The question should definitely be closed, and should maybe be deleted.


A question that may someday revolve around a dead link should not get further contributions. That seems counter to the goal of having a site of very high quality content.

In situations where answers discuss theory, not simple instructions of what changes to make, the answers deserve to stay, but to deter future tolerance of pastebins, the question should be locked. There's no point in allowing users to continue contributing to a question that may someday have a dead link.

If the answers offer no value without the code, however, then the thread should be removed.


As for why flagging instead of vote closing, buried question will not get enough attention to be community closed or deleted, so mod intervention will be required.

If a question does seem to be getting enough attention to be community locked, then that's probably the better option (as long as it's handled politely, of course -- a user isn't very likely to actually inline the code if people attack him or her).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Good points, thanks! \$\endgroup\$ – palacsint Jul 31 '12 at 12:59
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If the only problem is that the question does include the code just through an external link then then I'd actually consider editing the question and putting the code in there if it's a decent codereview. That is if the link is still active and the code seems reasonable (not several hundreds of lines scattered amongst a dozen files).

This would add more value to the site than just closing and/or deleting the question (and not requiring a moderator to deal with it either).

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    \$\begingroup\$ It's still okay for a moderator to deal with deletions, especially on a smaller site with less community action. If an old question should be closed but not deleted, then it's okay to vote-to-close. The community will still easily see those questions. If deletion is needed (such as a dead link and no embedded code), then it's best to flag a moderator to delete it. We don't currently have enough users here with moderator tools who are constantly checking the stats, especially with deleting. \$\endgroup\$ – Jamal Nov 6 '13 at 21:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Jamal, Sure I guess my point was: If the link still exists and it would make a good codereview question when the code is embedded then consider improving the question rather than get rid of it. \$\endgroup\$ – ChrisWue Nov 6 '13 at 22:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ It might violate copyright: meta.codereview.stackexchange.com/questions/548/… \$\endgroup\$ – palacsint Nov 6 '13 at 23:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ @palacsint: Isn't that question about the other way round, i.e. moving code from the question into something like pastebin? \$\endgroup\$ – ChrisWue Nov 6 '13 at 23:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ChrisWue: Good question, to be honest, I don't know. Another argument: if the OP doesn't care about the customs here to include their code into the question why should we review it at all? \$\endgroup\$ – palacsint Nov 6 '13 at 23:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ChrisWue: See my edit on the question too, please. \$\endgroup\$ – palacsint Nov 6 '13 at 23:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ @palacsint: My thinking was that the reason we wait for the OP to post his/her code is in case he/she doesn't want to do so. If that's the case, then the question should be thrown away. In cases of a lot of code behind the link, only the OP would know what should be included. \$\endgroup\$ – Jamal Nov 7 '13 at 0:25
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Maybe we should lock these posts using a message that says that the Question is bad a bad format for Code Review, if the answer is a good code review.


the other option with Editing is a good point as well, if you can insert the code, such that it doesn't look horrible, then that should be done to save the post. (leaving the link for further reference.

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