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It appears to me that SO is inundated with questions which can answered by a trivial google search or by perusing the documentation. I'm not talking about 1 or 2 out of 100, but like 20-25% of the questions are of this type. My feeling is that SO is devaluing itself by allowing these questions. If SO wants to continue to be a truly "expert" forum it might be prudent by following the custom of some language centric irc channels and not tolerating questions that can easily be answered by some effort in reading or searching on the part of the questioner. Continuing to allow these questions dilutes the quality of SO and may even sink it to irrelevance.

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Questions like this: stackoverflow.com/questions/1003841/… ... its never going to happen, for quite a few good reasons –  waffles Jul 23 '09 at 23:24
    
The goal of sites like this is to attract users, not to repel them. –  RBarryYoung Jan 23 '10 at 1:38
    
Read The Friendly FAQ! –  Andrew Grimm Jul 12 '10 at 23:34
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5 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

The point is to build a database of Q&A so that Google will always find it here.

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I agree in the case where the answer is "easily found" on another site via Google. I disagree for exact RTFM questions, however. Stack Overflow should explicitly not have as its goal that the content of every manual and guide will eventually be copy/pasted into it as an answer. –  Phrogz Jan 20 '11 at 19:28
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@Phrogz, sure, not every manual and guide, but have you ever had to find important stuff in MSDN? What a headache that is. –  Lance Roberts Jan 20 '11 at 19:34
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The problem is that Google doesn't have ANY answers. It sends you to other sites with answers. SO wants to be that site.

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I think it may have been in one of the podcasts (sorry, can't remember which) and Jeff/Joel spoke about how they want SO to have answers to questions of ANY level, even super-noob questions ('What is a variable?' type stuff) even if they have been answered previously on another website/resource.

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See Embrace the non-Googlers… and How to deal with google questions?

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Your second link was migrated here, can you update the link? –  Kevin Hakanson Jul 24 '09 at 12:23
    
@Kevin - Link updated. –  ChrisF Jul 24 '09 at 12:57
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Edit: I was being sarcastic!

Google can find anything so why don't we just stop using SO?

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Well, we know the answer is 42, but what is the question? I googled it and it couldn't tell me. –  Colin Mackay Jul 23 '09 at 23:22
    
Try Wolfram Alpha –  Brad Gilbert Jul 23 '09 at 23:39
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