At times we get questions that depend on some external website or image, e.g., this one and this one. What is our stance on these?

  • Should depending on a link be a sufficient reason for closing?
  • Do we not care at all, whether something is hosted externally?
  • Does it depend on the actual case and if yes, what would be our criteria for accepting such questions?
  • It's important to distinguish between someone making reference to a work they've created (without a screenshot), and linking to an external resource (eg. some software) for clarity. Commented Apr 4, 2018 at 11:58

3 Answers 3


I think we should care. A lot, even. The criterium should be the same for questions as it is for answers: does it still hold value if the link is broken?

If yes, then keep and possibly edit. If no, then put on hold with a note that an edit with screenshots or the like is likely to get the question open again.

Do note that it's common that an image is hosted off-site. Posting the image to imgur and pasting it into the question body is a simple edit most of us can do. Provided the copyright on the image allows, of course.


The first linked page is no longer available - irony haha

The second example, here is my take on this:

In this case - an interactive site - it seems a gray area. However the issue I have is that there is no question really asked! It's just hey look at this and tell me what you think... the Asker is really asking us to ask their question because they have not taken time to think through the issue and are lazy. If they did, it is easy to discover a targeted question or multiple questions that receive actual answers.

This also means no detail is provided - context is needed as well, people substitute a link in place of meaningful description. Again no thought.

No thought / surface level thought is poorly rewarded in this community, rightfully so, because it is not beneficial to anyone but the question asker and ONLY in that particular instance. There are plenty of forums for instanced opinions - my perception of Stack Exchange is a community of FAQ solutions - I wish to see that ideal through.


A screenshot should be required even for websites; on the first link you posted, 2 screenshots could have been added, the laptop version and mobile version.

As Vincent said, lot of links die or change, especially these links in the work-in-process kind of questions.

Now, I find it a bit too much laziness to rely on the community to take screenshots for the OP. That's something we can always do but the OP should be required to post the screenshots as they get free help in exchange. That's the least they can do!

I'm not sure if closing the question for this isn't a bit too overkill though but maybe some "generic" message could be added to tell the OP to add his/her screenshots. Then if someone from the community wants to add them, that's up to them too. There's a self-interest in doing this I believe; isn't there some badge for editing posts and/or editing and then answering them? That's another banner that could be created and voted up so it appears on the sidebar of the site and new users could feel motivated to improve the questions of others in an easy way. If that privilege is accessible to them.

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