On other SE sites, linking to or referencing a specific product for purchase is highly frowned upon. But with woodworking, this could be a real stumbling block. What should our standards be when asked "I'm looking for a jig that does X" or "How can I clamp Y?"

As a specific example: How do I ensure my drill is perfectly vertical before cutting a hole in my desk?

I wanted to say "Use one of these." But I refrained.


I think a link should be permitted as an example. It shouldn't be the primary element of the answer: in the example from the question,

Use one of these

I think by itself that wouldn't be an answer for the usual reasons of linkrot and "your answer is in the next castle". But

You should use a drill guide, as that will simplify your process by holding the drill in place and showing you where you are going to make your incision. This drill guide for example has [some list of features that is helpful].

Would be okay - if it contributed significantly to the answer.

The important part, though, is that the answer stand without the link, just like any other link; it can only be used to suggest context or expand in detail that is beyond the scope of the written answer. I think in a lot of cases - like this - it's not needed; you can explain what a drill guide is without linking to a particular product. I would only use it here to compare/contrast between different ones.

  • I agree. Including the generic name for the tool as well as the features that it has that make it particularly appropriate to solve the user's problem should be essential. – drs Mar 18 '15 at 15:08

Linking to specific products is generally acceptable on Home Improvement Stack Exchange. I don't think a policy for product links has ever been actually written down, but if I had to put words to it, I'd say that the answer shouldn't just be

"use this",

but that there should be an explanation of what "this" is and how to use it.

The community there is pretty good at spotting outright spam, so having links to products hasn't been a problem in the time that site has been up.

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