I'm new here, and have answered a couple of questions where MWEs weren't really appropriate because the solutions involved minor tweaks to really long .bst files.

I've made do with adding the specific code chunk within the context of the local section in my answers, and a screenshot of the result, but it would be better to allow people to actually see it working.

I work in Overleaf, and it seems simple to just provide an Overleaf link to the full project. Presumably people don't do this because of linkrot, but is there any other reason that it shouldn't be done, for example in addition to the code chunk?

And if I do include the link, an edit link or a read-only link? You don't need an account for read-only, but the trade-off is that you can't duplicate the project (sort of assuming - I don't have a second account with which to test this).

See recent answer where I gave this a go: Publisher name does not appear in a technical report bibliography entry in ACM format

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    I'm on the support team at Overleaf, and while I can't comment as to what's better for SX, I would advise only putting read-only URLs in any public forum, to prevent unwanted edits to your work (they can be reverted with the History feature, but that can get complicated if there's a lot of activity). Anyone accessing a read-only URL can copy that project by clicking Menu > Copy, which does require an Overleaf account, or click Menu > Download Source to get a complete local version even if they don't have an account.
    – walszje
    Commented Aug 29, 2019 at 10:59
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    Please don't underestimate link rot. Having been responsible for TeX support web pages for a math publisher, I can say with experience that it's a serious time sink to repair -- and this is with reference to allegedly "stable" resources, not personal projects. If an item is meant to become a "resource", and that is allegedly the purpose of stackexchange, permanence should be a major consideration. Commented Aug 29, 2019 at 12:48
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    I agree with Alan and Barbara, that posting links that are likely to break doesn't really help. I don't think the overleaf link really adds anything to the answer in the example you give. Commented Sep 8, 2019 at 17:54

2 Answers 2


Apart from the security reason raised by Wang Ki Wun, there are other reasons that Overleaf links should not be accepted as replacements for MWEs. (Some of these you mention in your question, but they bear repeating here.)

First, one of the main goals of the whole network is to be a set of self-contained questions and answers. So in the same way that a link-only (or link-mainly) answer is not an acceptable answer, a link-only (or link-mainly) question is an unacceptable question. Links die, and for this reason both questions and answers should not depend on them. Since a MWE is often crucial to a question, it should never be in the form of a link.

Second, encouraging Overleaf links will almost certainly lead to abuse of the sort "Here's my whole document, please help me.", since there will be much less incentive to make examples minimal. This is not how the site is supposed to work. Even though linking to a whole document isn't really be a good idea, I'm certain that it will happen if we allow Overleaf links for code examples.

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    A new frontier of the just-do-it-for-me: just-correct-it-for-me
    – CarLaTeX
    Commented Aug 30, 2019 at 4:29

Don't put links to overleaf in public forum, even read-only links will show your email address to everybody


link from this answer https://tex.stackexchange.com/a/506205/195169

click on share and see the mail (I removed name, but you probably recognise that this is your mail)

enter image description here

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    Hmm ouch yeah that's a good point. I personally don't mind (anoyone who googles me can see my email), but this is definitely something that would stop this becoming standard practice. Thank you for your comment. Commented Aug 29, 2019 at 14:14
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    This is an interesting point - I'm raising this internally at Overleaf. We previously had not shown this information to users accessing projects via a read-only URL, and I can see how it would make it safer to share projects publicly if this was hidden. Thanks! (Again with a disclaimer that I don't want to say this would necessarily make linking to an Overleaf project in a question OK).
    – walszje
    Commented Aug 30, 2019 at 13:53

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