In this question, Ivo Flipse threatened to convert all answers to questions, unless the answer follows the standard he set in another question. Is this an accepted policy? If the question only ask for mentions of "any website" without demanding a complete review, shouldn't an url with a short review/summary suffice?

PS: I merely disagree with Ivo's view here. Of course I acknowledge that he is one of the most active writers and contributors here, his having more reputation than anybody else is a proof of that.


I'm not expecting you to give a review that suits every viewer, I'm expecting you to add sufficient information to judge whether the app you're proposing is any better than the next.

In case of Fitango, they even make it easy for you, because they have a promotional Youtube video, which should explain most features. Given my feature-request here, this would have taken care of most of the answer.

As this MSO question explains, it's generally frowned upon to just supply a link. The most important reason is linkrot, because the information in your link might not exist a year from now.

When someone goes on StackOverflow, the question "answer" should actually contain an answer. Not just a bunch of directions towards the answer. You should provide context to all your links, otherwise the OP will have no idea what they are clicking into.

You're also doing yourself a favor, because the first user who does post an overview of the features accompanied by screenshots will gain all the rep.

As for the fact that the question didn't ask for it, that's a really poor excuse. Garbage in, mean garbage out? Next time you see a question that doesn't require enough details, you flag it or leave a comment that more information is required. Most importantly, we try to make users back up their answers, because there's a lot of BS and marketing talk in the fitness world. So surely you're not saying you'd rather see the quality of the site go down, just so you don't have to research your answer?

I might be harsh, but I can point you to several other SE-sites where they ended up deciding to ban recommendation topics.

And just to prove my point: here's five minutes of work on your behalf

  • I agree with you, and your edits to the post in question certainly made improvements, but you state in the revision comment "this is how i want them to be" which is a much higher bar than stated here "I'm expecting you to add sufficient information ...". – David LeBauer Mar 27 '11 at 14:25
  • Hi Ivo, thanks for expanding my answer. That's really one of the reasons why answers on SE sites are editable. As for your reply, in my opinion, in this case an URL is not only a link which contains an answer, it is the requested answer. Just like when somebody asks you a search engine website, "Google.com" is an answer. Linkrot does happen, which is why the URL should be accompanied by the website name and brief description. – Louis Rhys Mar 27 '11 at 14:28
  • @Louis, then I'll simply close any question who just asks for a website as "Not a real question", they can have it reopened if they put in sufficient effort and add details that help us provide 'the right answer' – Ivo Flipse Mar 27 '11 at 14:30
  • "You're also doing yourself a favor, because the first user who does post an overview of the features accompanied by screenshots will gain all the rep" - I HOPE that this is not true and that people are upvoting an answer for it's content (whether that is with pictures or not) and not solely b/c of pretty pictures. Web sites routinely go through redesigns which makes screen shots obsolete. – Rhea Mar 27 '11 at 19:02
  • I wish it wasn't true @Rhea, but I see it rather as answers not being rewarded if they lack any additional value. My own question about running monitoring apps is evidence that users don't always look at the actual answers very well though. Still, a good answer enables everyone to have their own judgement, rather than needing peer-review to know if it's any good – Ivo Flipse Mar 27 '11 at 19:18
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    I agree with Ivo that answers should demonstrate the poster actually researched or has experience with the URL. That is where the value in SE sites is. Anybody can google and find links to post as an answer. – Mufaka Mar 27 '11 at 20:23
  • @Mufaka I agree the answer should show that it is addressing the question. That is not the conflict here. The conflict is if screenshots should be mandated. You can Google screenshots/images in similar fashion to "text" and still show a lack of research. Text is worth more than pictures b/c it can explain in detail. A picture is more open to interpretation and the point may be missed. – Rhea Mar 28 '11 at 1:20
  • Pictures should be used to help promote a point but shouldn't be necessary just b/c someone asked for websites. My opinion anyway... – Rhea Mar 28 '11 at 1:25
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    @Rhea I misinterpreted the conflict. Anything that can be done to disuade "check this link" only answers the better. Especially when there is so much conflicting information on this subject. Ultimately the active community will weed out the good from the bad, but steering during beta is a good thing. – Mufaka Mar 28 '11 at 2:47
  • Here's a perfect example of an answer LOADED with pictures that actually provides misinformation yet has 10 upvotes...so sad to say @IvoFlipse is right that when you're the first response and you have pretty pictures, you get all the upvotes lol. – Rhea Mar 28 '11 at 4:22
  • @Rhea, I agree pictures shouldn't be mandated, but when describing a piece of software or a post, which do you think is more effective? A picture or an paragraph filled with words? – Ivo Flipse Mar 28 '11 at 9:46
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    @IvoFlipse like I said, I do not dispute that a picture can be quite effective if used properly. The Fitango answer is actually great for an answer with a lot of pictures. The descriptions were succinct and the screenshots addressed the OP's interests. If I were the OP, I would not disregard an answer just because it didn't have pictures but I can't speak for other people...and like the example I showed above, a bunch of pictures does not always answer the question. – Rhea Mar 28 '11 at 13:18
  • True @Rhea :-) All we can do is set great examples and hopefully teach others how to follow. Perhaps we should write a blog post about how to appropriately use images to pimp your post? ;-) – Ivo Flipse Mar 28 '11 at 13:48
  • @IvoFlipse Hey I have ONE picture in there! I couldn't find a side tap push-up picture, just a video. I TRIED to make it sexy! lol... I'll get off my soapbox about that though. If anything I'LL pimp my post just so I can get the publicist badge LOL. I won't be doing that. – Rhea Mar 28 '11 at 14:37
  • @Rhea, just a hint: you need to make sure you use the link under a post, rather the bare URL to get it. – Ivo Flipse Mar 28 '11 at 15:22

I think if the question doesn't specifically request any detailed review or explanation, an URL should suffice and a short review or summary, or a link to a more complete review should be a nice addition. A complete and detailed review is exceptionally nice, but an answer lacking this shouldn't have to be converted to a comment. The question's asker or any user can open the site to check for himself which one works best for him/her.

Beside, I think it's impossible to give a complete review that suits every viewer. People have different preferences and different criteria to determine "whether it's a good product or not".

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    I agree. I think a URL is definitely sufficient with a blurb. I don't think you need screenshots to "sell" an answer. The person asking the question can make up their own mind from their own research. – Rhea Mar 27 '11 at 18:44
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    I also think the person who downvoted this answer should state their reason. – Rhea Mar 27 '11 at 18:44

I agree with Ivo, but to answer the OP, I do not think that screenshots are required. Here is an example of what I think is a sufficient to the post in question].

Most answers to these questions on other SO sites do not include screenshots.

  • They don't have to, but most cases you can judge from the looks how well built an app is and it may takes 20 lines of text to describe one figure. – Ivo Flipse Mar 27 '11 at 15:11
  • @Ivo - Why don't you put some instructions in the FAQ on how to post pictures? You can definitely do more to make that accessible, but I don't think everyone is going to want to do that. Unfortunately, not everyone is a SuperUser ;) – jmort253 Mar 31 '11 at 6:19
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    @Jmort253, I guess our blog would also be a nice way to explain that or with some Meta question. The FAQ is somewhat reserved, but I agree that there's room for improvement there – Ivo Flipse Mar 31 '11 at 6:27

Web sites routinely go through redesigns which make screen shots obsolete.

EDIT: which is why explanations with a URL are more than sufficient answers unless the OP specifically asks for screenshots.

  • True, but that still doesn't mean you should explain 'how' or 'why' your link answers the question. I'd prefer to teach someone how to fish, rather than just handing him the fish. – Ivo Flipse Mar 27 '11 at 19:19
  • "Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you've just lost your customer base." :P – Matt Chan Mar 27 '11 at 22:45
  • I didn't say they shouldn't explain themselves. Just pointing out a very good reason why dependency on screenshots can be flawed and can make an accepted answer useless. – Rhea Mar 28 '11 at 1:14
  • @MattChan LOL that's why education costs more than a premade item. @Ivo I think letting people explore URLs on their own with key pts on what to "look out for" teaches them how to "surf"(err "fish"). – Rhea Mar 28 '11 at 1:30

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