For a few months now, link-only answers have been subject to a new policy where they are given notice to improve, then converted to Community Wiki. This has the result of reducing the threshold to edit to just 100 rep, and also stops any further reputation changes for the author (they will neither gain nor lose any more rep after conversion).
From the linked post:
Rather than swooping in right away and deleting the post, this offers a positive means of informing people about our standards and giving them an opportunity to correct the problem themselves. If not, hopefully we as a community can do it.
I thought this was an interesting idea, so I set up a Data Explorer query to see if this was working as intended.
- 77 answers were converted to Community Wiki by a moderator
Out of these 77 answers:
13 answers (17%) were edited after conversion to Community Wiki (by either the OP or a member of the community)
Only one post was actually edited by another user.
That's a little disappointing. Given the fact that administrating this is a lot more difficult than just outright deleting these posts, it might be time to consider whether this policy is working well, or how the community can help.
Here are the 62 answers that were never edited after CW conversion. It might be worth organising interested users to try and clean these up and improve them, or get rid of them altogether if they're unsalvageable.
Another thing to discuss: are the link-only answers worth keeping in their current state, or would it be easier to just delete link-only answers upon flagging? The obvious disadvantage of this is that you lose the information that the link does contain, which might have actually been a solution. Equally, there's the argument that bad answers act as broken windows.
I'd love to hear everyone else's thoughts on whether this policy is useful and how we can improve the situation as a community (that's if the situation needs improving—one option could be that this is fine as it is!).