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General Reference questions create low-quality dead ends for Googlers

It's come to my attention that the questions that get more views on SO are actually questions that aren't the best. We all know that SO is NOT Google, and that one should always thoroughly research their question through other online sources before asking it on SO. Questions are meant to be specific, and SO is not the place for lazy programmers to pop a question that probably took them 30 seconds to write, was not thought out, and offers no specific information that will aid users who are willing to help.

Yet, I believe, these general, un-thought-out questions are probably the ones that receive the most views on SO. The cause? The fact that a good portion of the views for questions on SO come not only from actively registered users, but also from a lot of Google searching. When a lazy user asks a question such as "How can I center a div" instead of doing a simple web search, and other people Google a similar query, due to the high popularity of this website often times the first or second result on the Google search is linked to SO.

I myself am guilty of this. The first question I ever asked on StackOverflow was exactly the type of question that I have been describing. It took me about 30 seconds to write, and I could have easily found the answer through Google. The fact was I was just being lazy and didn't want to sift through search results. And yet, while my more recent questions have been better thought out and I try not to ask unless I've done thorough research on the topic beforehand, my stupid question (which also turned out to be a duplicate) remains by far the most viewed out of my questions. It's currently at around 6000 views, while my second-most-viewed is under 1000 views.

What are your thoughts on this? First of all, do you agree or do you disagree? Additionally, do you believe that this perhaps may be negatively impacting the SO community?

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marked as duplicate by Pëkka, Lance Roberts, Martijn Pieters, hims056, gnat Jan 18 '13 at 9:17

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

I totally agree that this is the case! –  Pëkka Jan 17 '13 at 22:04
Ah. Yes, that previous question seems to be very similar to what I am trying to say. –  goddfree Jan 17 '13 at 22:04

1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

It's true that there are a lot of bad (poorly researched or written) questions that get a lot of views.

Part of the reason is that they are usually the easy type of questions and people look at them to answer because they're easy. Hard questions mean harder to answer (requiring more specific knowledge).

Of course, you're also right that the easy questions are found more through the Internet, but I think that's because as people gain experience they look less for those easier questions on the net, but there are a lot more inexperienced people than experienced.

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