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My question may seem like a duplicate to How shall we deal with outdated answers no longer valid? but I'm here seeking consensus for a specific category of answers only, the ones which which feature an app's link and relies on them to be useful for a user. Consider this answer which I recently encountered:

The "Graffiti" writing technology from the old PalmOS devices is available for Android now, and supports letter at a time text input with a stylus (or presumably a finger). Graffiti for Android.

However, something like DioPen or PenReader seems to be more what you're after. They both have very mixed reviews, and do seem to be better on some devices than others, and take some getting used to.

All the links to Play Store are dead. The answer, as of now, is of no use. Given the consensus which emerged here I have so far deleted such answers leaving a one line justification and a link to the consensus for further reading.

However, I lately realized that information about an app which is unavailable in Play Store can still be found on AppBrain. For example, here is the Graffiti for Android. AppBrain doesn't provide a link to such apps, but shows adequate information for a user to locate that app on web. It provides the package name in the URL, developer's name, size of the app, and the changelog showing when the app was unpublished et al.

While I am in complete agreement of the linked consensus, I want to ask if replacing Play Store's dead app links with AppBrain's is worth the effort? Of course, I'm asking this as a secondary approach, in case one is hesitant to take down or flag an answer.

One problem I could think of is for how long this feature of AppBrain would be available for dead Play Store apps? If they remove this feature, our replace links would turn dead. Perhaps knowing since how long this feature has been available could bring some confidence.

To be precise, this approach is proposed to be optional for everyone. If you think it is worth to save the answer and you've got the time, then only edit the links. Else, do flag for deletion.

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I wouldn't bother. If you can use AppBrain's information to find a legal download for the app, then replace the link with a download link. (For example, apps which have been removed from Google Play but still available through F-Droid or the publisher's site.) If you can't legally download and use the app any more, then information about the app doesn't help you solve the original problem, so I'd remove the answer in that case, to protect the answer from being downvoted.

Of course, if the answer contains other information that's useful apart from the app link, then an edit would be more appropriate. For example, "You can solve the problem with these steps, or download this app to do it for you." If the steps are still relevant, you could edit it to say "You can solve the problem with these steps. There used to be an app such-and-such which automated it, but that app's not available any more because ..."

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    Should we be concerned by what means a user is obtaining an APK? As long as we are not suggesting that illegal or unethical means be used, should it not be left for the user to decide from where to obtain the APK? My proposal of using AppBrain links is to leave a door open for some users who might be willing to search an app, no matter where it is hosted. It is just that this comes at a cost of majority visitors who won't be able to use the AppBrain information for anything. I'm looking for a justifiable tradeoff here. – Firelord Jan 7 at 13:21
  • I agree, we shouldn't be concerned by what visitors do outside our site, I just don't want to be giving users red-herring links: "You can solve your problem with this app. You can find out all about the app on appbrain link but you have to find the app yourself because it's banned/unmaintained" – Dan Hulme Jan 7 at 14:20
  • For "wouldn't bother", it's a quite detailed answer – and I agree with everything except the first sentence #D Or well, maybe rewrite it to "I wouldn't bother actively searching for such content"? But when "accidentally stumbling upon", it would be a good action. – Izzy Jan 7 at 21:48
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I disagree that answers containing dead links to Play/Whatever Store are useless or should be deleted. There are usually plenty of places where you can find apks, so answer with dead links at least tells that some app exists. I think you should undelete such answers.
Maybe only answers containing links to apps which require some kind of web service which is down forever e.g. clients for dead social network should be deleted.

Looks like all apps from your example only changed names and package names and are still available on Google Play: Graffiti for Android, DioPen, PenReader. Anyway old apk versions are also available from first pages of google search (of course user should be careful with these) or e.g. from 4pda.ru.

As for AppBrain I don't really like it because of this: enter image description here
Got it after ~5 pageviews.

I'd prefer links to WebArchive instead (or maybe to both of them).

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