I've just asked a question on Stack Overflow which was a prime candidate for googling. I admit it was a poor question and with a little bit of research I would have found the answer. It annoyed me that someone put a let-me-google-that-for-you link in the comments. It got right up my nose.

I find it rude and arrogant to get things like that in my answers, and I think things like that will scare away newcomers to this community.

I suggest we don't allow these sorts of links on Stack Exchange sites.

  • 24
    I think I know the one you mean. I answered an admitedly fairly trivial question and got a comment to that effect about the sametime as a down-vote (the question was also down-voted). I checked the user's profile out of curiosity and found a large number of "that's a trivial question, why are you polluting Stack Overflow" type comments.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Commented Aug 20, 2009 at 12:26
  • 190
    I just would like to point out to you that asking that kind of question is also rude. Commented Aug 20, 2009 at 13:53
  • 179
    What would be REALLY awesome is if someone posted a lmgtfy link and it turned out that the SAME question eventually became the #1 google result for the search terms.
    – TM.
    Commented Aug 20, 2009 at 16:29
  • 50
    @TM that would break the internets Commented Aug 20, 2009 at 22:01
  • 403
    Questions with an answer that is trivial to find on Google are not helping the SO community. They are generating superfluous reputation, lowering the bar for asking genuine questions, and generally wasting people's time. Furthermore, the answers to these questions are almost always summarized, plagiarized or synthesized from the Google search results. Posting a LGTFY link is like tough love. It points the user to the right answer and does it in such a way that they will hopefully turn to Google for simple questions and SO for their more difficult questions.
    – Eric
    Commented Aug 30, 2009 at 17:36
  • 66
    @Eric: No, it's just rude. Sorry. Perhaps a [trivial] tag could be introduced, and questions tagged [trivial] would be protected from being indexed by crawlers.
    – Mark Allen
    Commented Oct 14, 2009 at 18:18
  • 26
    @Eric: I agree with you.
    – Jim G.
    Commented Oct 21, 2009 at 19:02
  • 138
    lmgtfy isn't rude, its funny. And stackoverflow is for getting answers. If the answer can be found by googling it, then its fine to point the person who asks the question there, or google it for them, hence let me google that for you.
    – mk12
    Commented Oct 31, 2009 at 21:45
  • 57
    Mk12: In my opinion lmgtfy is as funny as the numberous "your mom" jokes.
    – Esko
    Commented Jan 4, 2010 at 12:56
  • 267
    If you decide to waste everyone elses' time with your trivial question, but thought your time was too valuable to even do a simple google search, I can't say I feel bad for your bruised ego.
    – Brad Mace
    Commented Oct 5, 2010 at 5:00
  • 170
    After seeing today a question "I need jquery, if if some one have a link plz", I think there are some valid usages for lmgtfy. Commented Oct 7, 2010 at 11:48
  • 31
    Trouble is that it is a question of degree. Nearly every question on SO can be answered with a Google search. The issue is where do we set the bar of triviality where this type of response is allowed? Personally I would prefer to have none of these responses rather than get the balance wrong. It is this kind of response that can make a site seem elitist. As someone above said a 'Trivial' tag is probably a better solution. Commented Dec 8, 2010 at 17:10
  • 40
    It is annoying to see how LMGTFY material is becoming low-hanging fruit, with upvoted questions and answers although even a copy-paste of the title into Google would return the correct answer in the first link. And these are the people we want to moderate the sites?
    – l0b0
    Commented Mar 30, 2011 at 13:10
  • 78
    LMGTFY is legitimate for answering really bad questions that Google WILL answer for you when you click "I'm Feeling Lucky". If I had enough rep on this site, I would -1 this page. Commented Nov 16, 2011 at 0:15
  • 17
    In my opinion a LMGTFY answer is a silly grab for reputation points, but a LMGTFY comment is a reasonable way of pointing out to the OP that their question is so basic that some initial research with Google would've found an appropriate answer quickly. I think LMGTFY is a little rude, but less rude than expecting the SO community to do basic research for you. If you want to be, say, a JavaScript programmer, you Google "JavaScript Tutorial", you don't go to SO and post "Does JavaScript have arrays?" or the like. (Not that I'm saying you, John Nolan, would do that, but some people do.)
    – nnnnnn
    Commented Jul 31, 2012 at 3:17

20 Answers 20


Banning LMGTFY links will not solve any issue.

On a technical level it will incur a performance hit, and there will be work arounds, but even besides that, banning something rude will not make people more generous. They will simply be rude differently.

It is the attitude that we are wishing to get rid of, not the specific action of LMGTFY.

On the other hand, I don't think flagging as 'inappropriate' is necessary. Docking someone 100 points for being rude is not what 'inappropriate' is about. When I look at people spewing racism, sexism, or just raining pure foul-mouthed abuse upon someone because they didn't like the question, that's offensive. If someone posts a snooty LMGTFY link, then they are simply being rude.

I think the correct response to an LMGTFY link is a downvote, and a comment indicating that you think such disrespectful (although possibly helpful) acts are not encouraged. Next time, the answerer should provide the content of the answer, or possibly a direct link, but LMGTFY is not used on SO.

  • 75
    One of the problems with this, is a sort of reverse mentality I've seen--some people find LMGTFY humorous, some offensive...so you end up with situations that, for instance, 9 people vote--the post ends up at -3, with the offender 'punished' by receiving 18 reputation.
    – Brisbe42
    Commented Sep 15, 2009 at 11:05
  • 14
    +1 - If I could upvote this twice (or even more) I would. Commented Sep 15, 2009 at 11:26
  • 5
    @Brisbe42: Regardless, if we're generous in assuming that the person was not meaning to be rude, they just thought it was a funny way of posting their response, then adding a comment to explain to them that LMGTFY links are not encouraged should help. If the person meant to be rude, then as I mentioned, there's really nothing we can do unless they start getting actively offensive.
    – devinb
    Commented Sep 15, 2009 at 12:05
  • 8
    I agree that flagging is not for when someone is rude, however some people flag as offensive simply because they disagree!
    – mk12
    Commented Oct 31, 2009 at 21:48
  • 69
    "If someone posts a snooty LMGTFY link, then they are simply being rude." No. They are being realistic. If they want to waste our time, I can waste theirs. (Errr... wait, I'm helping them out in the end with a LMGTFY link anyway, so I'm NOT wasting their time.) Commented Nov 16, 2011 at 0:18
  • 6
    I agree that LMGTFY links should not be banned, but I also agree they should be used sparingly, and never in/as the answer; only in comments where OP is pushing for obvious, related information that they're too lazy to Google themselves (like how to link to an external CSS file with HTML).
    – user225149
    Commented Jun 13, 2013 at 7:02
  • 3
    It's not even the attitude that we want to get rid of. It's actually the response that we'd want to get rid of. Of course both are impossible to get rid of. But really, if the implication that "you're too dumb/lazy to search for that" bothers you, a better solution is to have a little confidence that you are neither dumb nor lazy. There's a reason people don't, e.g. make frequent snarky remarks about a poster being "ugly" -- it's because it makes no sense to do so, it evokes no reaction because it's total nonsense. Rude LMGTFY remarks would also go away if they were truly nonsense.
    – Jason C
    Commented Aug 14, 2013 at 23:13
  • 2
    Where did this 'we' come from when discussing the outrageous idea of banning lmgtfy? This is a community, and I think lmgtfy is a lighthearted way of saying f-off and stop posting questions with well documented answers here. Commented Mar 13, 2014 at 19:12
  • Well I just tried posting a LMGTFY link in a comment on a correct answer to notifiy the OP that the answer could be found on Google (with other helpful resources of course, not just the LMGTFY). So I then found this question after the system said I had unacceptable content. My theory: you can just as easily Google it yourself, then link the Google query result URL like this one. What is the real difference? Flags are more appropriate for this kind of 'offense' than banning an entire domain from answers and comments. Commented May 24, 2014 at 20:59
  • However it was banned
    – Jamie
    Commented Jun 16, 2014 at 12:30
  • 2
    – Jamie
    Commented Jun 16, 2014 at 12:31
  • 2
    Feeling stupid/bad for doing something is what makes you want to avoid doing that again. Don't get rid of the attitude. We invest our own time into keeping this site alive, and now you're going to tell us how to do it? I understand rules, but "get rid of the attitude"?? Get real... With all the BS we have to put up with when it comes to new askers, who don't care to read the guides or rules and usually bash on us for trying to correct them, we should be able to have attitude in situations where it fits, such as LMGTFY
    – Dioxin
    Commented Oct 23, 2015 at 16:33
  • @ChrisCirefice, Re "What is the real difference?"; I think you have best answered it yourself. If there had really been no difference, Why would you even use the lmtfy link?
    – Pacerier
    Commented Apr 13, 2016 at 20:09
  • Rude/abusive commend flags don't come with a -100 rep penalty the way ones on posts do. The flag type can be used later to see if a user has a history of such rude comments and might need further correction or whether there isn't enough of a problem to bother with.
    – Caleb
    Commented Jan 4, 2018 at 14:14
  • 4
    The very nature of LMGTFY links are to be condescending. No argument is needed for why they're bad.
    – user354226
    Commented May 2, 2018 at 6:43

Maybe if people would learn to Google the question first...

There's a study in human behavior that says that we essentially poke fun and deride things to encourage certain behaviors among our peers. We make fun of people with tramp stamps, people who don't want to be associated with the connotations of having them won't get them. We make fun of certain accents and some people work to disassociate themselves from it by working to eliminate the accent (I know a few people that have done that with certain local accents in the region where I live).

In other words we encourage certain behaviors by reinforcing what we want to reward, and humiliating people who act against the grain. Jeff has pointed out the opposite facet in this by saying that the sites are engineered to encourage good behavior using badges and reputation as motivators, and discourage behaviors by taking away reputation and allowing the community to work to bury people's questions that shouldn't be there.

Most sysadmins/techies seem to have a strong intellectual streak with a leaning towards having people work to solve questions on their own that are very simple to find the answer to on their own. They also tend to be arrogant in their own domain of knowledge, and often grow tired of having to answer the same questions and issues at work with their users after having answered the same questions over and over and over and over...sometimes with the same people asking them a month later the same question.

In a community comprised of people that have to deal with this and are answering questions here as a way to share what they have experienced and look for an intellectual challenge, why wouldn't they snark at people who couldn't have been bothered to Google for an answer that is already out there? There are people who are already getting miffed at the homeworkers asking for dolts to hand over their CS homework answers for them.

New people need to fit into the community. If they don't like it they can participate to change it by getting reputation and participating in upvote/downvote. Otherwise the community that is entrenched probably doesn't want to suffer what they see as their bad habits and unwillingness to invest a little research time on their own...we get enough that at our day jobs and we're not paid to do that with the Atwood Trilogy Sites :-)

  • 28
    New people do need to read the FAQ and learn how to fit into the community, but we can be polite in helping them do that. If we're snarky and derisive, many of them will just go somewhere else. Commented Aug 20, 2009 at 12:17
  • 34
    I strongly disagree. It has often been mentioned that Google is the SO homepage. I have seen some of my colleagues Google for hours and not find a solution to a problem that I can find in 2 minutes. Some people are not able to search Google, and not everyone does use it. Surprised? Maybe, I live in a country where Google is foreign unless someone has a Gmail account. Commented Aug 20, 2009 at 12:28
  • 14
    @Diago-And I've seen people Google and get an answer in the first few links. Isn't that a candidate for proper questions going into the sites in the FIRST place? That was kind of the point. What I'm talking about is the emergent behavior that comes from the system set in place by Joel/Jeff/the SO team. If you don't like it, don't join, or stick with it and join the people trying to change it. I've not seen ANYONE with a good argument why users should not google for answers first, and then people bitch when questions are repeated repeated repeated! Commented Aug 20, 2009 at 12:38
  • 9
    @Bill: I didn't SAY you should be snarky or derisive, I'm saying that it: A) is a tendency in the tech community to do so, B)happens to them all the time that questions are repeated CONSTANTLY and users never read the FAQ to begin with, C)a wanted behavior is for users to be empowered to help themselves unless you want them to be dependent on YOU for answers to everything, and D) it's a KNOWN SOCIAL BEHAVIOR that some of these issues come from mechanisms to reinforce social behavior. I didn't encourage or discourage it, I stated facts. Commented Aug 20, 2009 at 12:40
  • 3
    Last...why is this site, so much supposed to NOT be usenet...turning into usenet? Constant whining about users not being accepted, users aren't reading the FAQ, users aren't feeling welcome, newbies are asking stupid questions, this is inappropriate, moderator come look at this...geez, if I wanted this I'd be on the Ubuntu mailing list for user help... Commented Aug 20, 2009 at 12:42
  • 9
    I think you miss the point, that easy questions are encouraged by Jeff and Joel, no matter how easy they are googlable. Commented Aug 20, 2009 at 12:48
  • 4
    @Bart: You aren't just simply stating facts. "Maybe if people would learn to Google the question first..." By excusing bad behavior, you are encouraging it. Commented Aug 20, 2009 at 12:50
  • 2
    Jeff and Joel created a community site, started by their vision and then made clear that they wanted the community to shape it. Their podcasts have made it abundantly clear. Jeff has lamented several times about how things don't go as planned and yet he only steps in when things go too far off course from what he would like, other times he bows to the community. Commented Aug 20, 2009 at 16:11
  • 5
    @John: I'm not discouraging easy questions. I'm saying that, exactly how many times do you want these questions REPEATED? Jeff and Joel have stated before that they discourage that. If people read FAQs, searched first, etc...you wouldn't GET repeats. And so how do you discourage it from happening? Teaching users to actually look first? Or just letting them ask repeats? You tell me... Commented Aug 20, 2009 at 16:13
  • 4
    @Bill: As I said for John: how many times will easy questions need to be repeated? What is your solution for that? Mine is for people to search for the answer first. Especially if it's easy. The simple thing people do is just let loose their brain farts into the questions and sit back for the answer to be handed to them, which is exactly what people are trying to discourage. Commented Aug 20, 2009 at 16:14
  • 11
    @Bart: If the question is a duplicate on Stack Overflow, then the proper reaction is to vote to close as a duplicate. A link to the original question and a comment telling them to search Stack Overflow before posting is fine too. The problem with just pointing them to Google is that not everyone knows what keywords to search for when they don't know the answer to a question, but it might be obvious to you if you do know the answer. A link to Google or LMGTFY is simply a content-free answer that doesn't really help. It's a little insulting to presume that the OP didn't Google already. Commented Aug 20, 2009 at 16:32
  • 3
    @Bill: Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't LMGTFY show the keywords in question? And what happens with the search-as-you-type in the system already? It's a little unusual that this is even argument considering that I've not even done a LMGTFY to anyone... Commented Aug 20, 2009 at 17:58
  • 11
    @Bart: I understand that you didn't LMGTFY anyone, I'm not accusing you of that. All I'm saying is that there are better ways to reply than LMGTFY. Yes, it shows the keywords, but so does a simple answer "I Googled for X + Y and found these results..." with a link to the relevant page. LMGTFY is just a smart-assed way of doing the same. I have no problem with "I Googled for X and found Y" answers, I just think we can be polite about it. Commented Aug 21, 2009 at 18:11
  • 2
    @Bill: okay. And I'd like to apologize for getting worked up over this...well, thread, I suppose it could be called. I was taking it too personal. Your clarification makes sense, although I think we differ on opinion as to how rude this really is. I sometimes see people doing this as an outlet for stress from their dayjobs, as offering free help on these forums is often an extension of duties at the dayjob, so sometimes the snarkiness just seems to come with the territory (right or wrong). Commented Aug 24, 2009 at 14:07
  • 5
    @Bart: No apology necessary. Spirited debate is always welcome and encouraged. I realize that my own opinion on LMGTFY is at one extreme end of a spectrum, and not everyone is going to agree with me. I don't think it's terribly rude, but it does bother me that someone will choose to be mildly rude when, for the exact same effort, they can post a non-rude, very helpful answer. This, plus the fact that LMGTFY links often lead a person right back to his own question, leads me to think that there's not much constructive use for it here. Commented Aug 25, 2009 at 14:55

I think adding in some sort of algorithmic ban on a url is dumb when you already have a community out there who is more than willing to flag something as Offensive. If that post gains 6 Offensive flags, it will be deleted automatically and the poster will lose 100 points as punishment. I like that better than built in "no-no" links.

  • 23
    I disagree pretty strongly with this, but not just on the basis of LMGTFY. We also have a problem on SO with people creating accounts for the express purpose of spamming their company links. I've deleted multiple accounts in a single day several times to remove this kind of spam. If moderators could just block the URL of the offending companies it would save my time, and the time of the people who report the abuse. Personally, I would block LMGTFY, but that would ultimately be Jeff's decision. Commented Aug 20, 2009 at 11:54
  • completely agree with this, there will always be people doing this commenting and flagging should sort out this problem without shoving algorithms at it.
    – waffles
    Commented Aug 20, 2009 at 12:56
  • 7
    i didn't know about this 6 flags = 100 point punishment thing, is that recent?
    – Kip
    Commented Aug 20, 2009 at 13:00
  • No, it is not recent at all. If used to be 5 Spam or 5 Offensive, but they bumped it up to 6 Spam or 6 Offensive. It doesn't get used very often because it's not often you have people who know about the power of the flagging features or they don't use it the same way.
    – TheTXI
    Commented Aug 20, 2009 at 13:02
  • @Bill the Lizard: maybe a good solution to that problem would be to block URLs which appear in lots of comments which are flagged as spam?
    – Kip
    Commented Aug 20, 2009 at 13:03
  • 1
    @Kip: I'd like to have a block list that moderators maintain, that way we do have a human making the decision on each URL, but we only have to make the decision once. Commented Aug 20, 2009 at 13:12
  • 5
    @Bill: boy, this is going to wreak havoc on people who visit the now-in-existence Web Apps beta to ask how to use that new LMGTFY search engine.
    – Pops
    Commented Jul 24, 2010 at 3:50
  • 7
    @Popular: I think we could maximize the irony if we post questions on how to skirt around the LMGTFY ban on SE sites. :) Commented Jul 24, 2010 at 4:05
  • 6
    @Bill, hm, that's an interesting idea. I don't know how to get around the restriction off the top of my head, but let me Google that for you and see what I find.
    – Pops
    Commented Jul 24, 2010 at 4:33
  • 1
    Since when is the community worth anything? Moderators don't listen to the community. :-(
    – stesch
    Commented Jan 24, 2011 at 6:19
  • 1
    @Pop: lmgtfy/?q=asdf
    – Hello71
    Commented Feb 7, 2011 at 3:21
  • 1
    – user270303
    Commented Sep 11, 2014 at 11:14

Oops! Your edit couldn't be submitted because:

  • Sorry, posts can't contain that content.

Looks like the ban is in effect, eh!

I'd like to point out that stopping an individual's choice of self expression by force (technical or otherwise) only serves to piss them off.

Rather than a ban (the Chinese government loves a good ban!), what's wrong with letting people vote down answers which they find offensive?

Who exactly is being helped or protected here?

  • 21
    doing the wrong thing should never be easy, and that's the goal here. if you really want it, you can url-obfuscate it. But you will likely be voted down / flagged by the community. Commented Jan 4, 2010 at 21:07
  • 23
    Well, fortunately I don't really want it. As I cruise SO, however, I see an awful lot of questions of the sort described by @Eric above (i.e., What's PHP?). In some cases, it's clear the questioner really doesn't know, and I do my best to point them in the right directions. In most cases though, it's clear that they just aren't putting in any effort. The problem isn't the lmgtfy links, it's the questions who's answers are literally the first google result.
    – Seth
    Commented Jan 7, 2010 at 8:02
  • 2
    The problem isn't questions that can be easily googled for (unless Google points at the trilogy site). The problem is when questions don't belong. One of the purposes of the site is to have definitive answers for questions of interest, even stupid questions. Commented Feb 16, 2010 at 15:45
  • 17
    @JeffAtwood: This message is just as dumb as the lmgtfy-link. How am I, the user who for some reason included forbidden content, supposed to know what part of my post was forbidden? At least, make the message specify what's wrong, so the user has a sporting chance to correct it. Commented Jul 12, 2012 at 1:34
  • 11
    How do you downvote comments? Commented Mar 27, 2013 at 1:42
  • 1
    @LightnessRacesinOrbit agreed. Most LMGTFY's are posted in comments. I, for one, would never answer with a LMGTFY because I could have just copied and pasted from whatever site came up first.
    – jsve
    Commented Mar 27, 2015 at 2:48
  • 2
    @JeffAtwood Saying lmgtfy is the wrong thing is totally subjective. I find it to be the right thing to do.
    – MadConan
    Commented Apr 10, 2015 at 14:19

To be fair, that LMGTFY link was in a comment, not in answer. I'm not trying to defend it, but just to put it into perspective.

On a broader view: It seems that many people, even regulars, aren't getting the "Every question should be on Stack Overflow" policy. That's the intention of the site makers, and so that's what the community should enforce. Maybe this policy should be made clearer somehow?

I don't have an actual idea as to the means for doing that; I am just throwing it out there...

  • 10
    for me the issue is the same comment or answer. the aim is not to help the person who asked the question just to put down the asker for asking a question Commented Aug 20, 2009 at 11:55
  • @John Nolan: I agree; as I said, I wasn't trying to defend the behavior in itself.
    – balpha StaffMod
    Commented Aug 20, 2009 at 12:27
  • 3
    Is the policy really that every question should be on SO however remotely programming related? That's what's being achieved through the active pursuit of the "try google" responses rather than addressing the "you posted a lazy question" issue in the first place. Yes we can flag them but by the time they are closed, if indeed they are (I suspect mods are as likely to read lazy questions and I am to answer them, flagged or otherwise) then someone has already posted an answer and thereby re-enforced the feeling with the OP that they were right in asking.
    – Lazarus
    Commented Feb 16, 2010 at 13:00
  • 3
    @bchappell: Whether the question is programming related is a different issue than whether it's easy ("lazy"). "What does #include mean in C" is a valid SO question, while "What city is the Microsoft headquarters in" is not. Both are easy to google.
    – balpha StaffMod
    Commented Feb 16, 2010 at 13:45
  • 4
    @John Nolan: I disagree: comments and answers serve different purposes. I think lmgtfy links should never be in answers, but I wouldn't ban them from comments. Commented Feb 16, 2010 at 15:44
  • 1
    I've never heard of the "Every question should be on SO" policy. If that's the intent of the site makers, they should put something to that effect on the FAQ or the about page. Commented Aug 10, 2010 at 19:32
  • 3
    @StriplingWarrior: The FAQ says: "if your question [is a programming question]… then you're in the right place to ask your question!" -- no mention of a minimum level of any kind.
    – balpha StaffMod
    Commented Aug 11, 2010 at 9:09
  • 4
    So you believe "How do I add 1 and 1 in c#?" is a valid question and deserves to be on SO? I agree the bar should be pretty low but if there's no bar, SO is going to end up like e2. What benefit is there to a question which if typed into google has the canonical answer at the top?
    – Basic
    Commented Feb 23, 2012 at 23:52
  • 2
    "Every question should be on Stack Overflow" Wait, what...?!?!?! Commented Mar 27, 2015 at 11:37
  • @LightnessRacesinOrbit Look at the date of the answer.
    – balpha StaffMod
    Commented Mar 27, 2015 at 11:38
  • @balpha: Yes, I know when the answer was posted. Are you saying that your opinion has since changed? Commented Mar 27, 2015 at 11:41
  • @LightnessRacesinOrbit I never claimed that "Every question should be on Stack Overflow" is my opinion.
    – balpha StaffMod
    Commented Mar 27, 2015 at 11:43
  • 4
    @balpha: Sigh. Are you saying that the policy and the intent of the site makers has since changed? Commented Mar 27, 2015 at 11:49
  • 4
    "Every question should be on Stack Overflow" So, if I ask "How do I add 1 + 2 in javascript?" and then, the next day, I ask "How do I add 1 + 3 in javascript?", both are questions that belong on SO? SO is supposed to be some kind of perverse Library of Babel, now? Good to know. Commented Mar 30, 2016 at 21:25

I'm clearly coming late to this, but there's something that seems to be little-known yet very useful: the &n=1 parameter for lmgtfy.com.

This is the "nice mode": it simply causes lmgtfy to say "It's that easy" instead of "Was that so hard". Makes a lot of difference with the tone.

For example:


  • 10
    However whether it's nice or not was not the (main) problem here. One of only two things can happen: 1) The question - even if very trivial - didn't exist on SO 2) The question existed on SO. In case 1, it's a perfectly valid question and should be answered. It doesn't matter if you can find it on google: you can't find it on SO. This also fixes the problem that I really hate of when you google something, you found a person with the same problem, and the answer is to google it. If it's 2), it should be closed as duplicate. Commented Dec 27, 2010 at 0:35
  • 21
    @Koper: I don't agree that every conceivable question in the universe should be in SO. This is the premise of your "In Case 1" response. I think it is manifestly wrong. "What is the answer to 2+2" is not in SO. Neither is "how do I write an if statement in python". Neither of these should be, either. Commented Jun 9, 2012 at 0:23
  • @GreenAsJade, How did you find out about the &n=1 mode?
    – Pacerier
    Commented Apr 13, 2016 at 20:26
  • It was a long time ago, I don't clearly recall, but I suspect it was someone telling me about it in response to me complaining how rude it was :D Commented Apr 14, 2016 at 0:09

One man's offence is another man's belly laugh (to paraphrase a Heinlein quote). I love the way that tolerance only ever seems to work one way.

Do we really want to turn SO into a monolithic knowledge repository rather than an agile, targeted collection of Q&As.

We try not to repeat code, why repeat ourselves with answers easily found elsewhere?

Why don't we just replace SO with a page with a single text line and a button labelled "Find it for me" where someone can type their question and then all the SO users can search the internet and post the answer back. We could call it SOogle, it'd be just like Google but manual and it could take weeks for someone to get back to you. Sounds Utopian...

  • 11
    Yeah this OP and his supporters are so concerned about "rude and arrogant" LMGTFW links, but their own rude arrogance about wanting to forcibly block comments they don't like is fine?? Lulz. Commented Mar 27, 2015 at 11:39
  • 1
    @Lazarus, Re "why repeat ourselves with answers easily found elsewhere", if it's that easy to find a valid actual working answer which answers the question, post the link to the answer. If the answer is on another stackoverflow page, close it as a duplicate. If you can't be bothered, then don't do anything, no one is complaining. Sure, one man's offence is another man's belly laugh, I've seen countless people laughing at racist jokes because surely that's funny right?
    – Pacerier
    Commented Apr 13, 2016 at 20:32
  • trdemark infrigement
    – Downvoter
    Commented Jun 25, 2023 at 22:52

Blocking the URL itself will just make people creative... TinyURL, etc. But no, they aren't exactly welcoming - and we do try to delete them when we see them. Some editors used to go to great lengths to point these out, and in all honesty I haven't seen any on Stack Overflow for a while. If they are creeping back, just point them out.

  • 3
    That's a good point. Maybe instead of a block list we could just have a watch list? Commented Aug 20, 2009 at 12:19
  • 1
    You find them on SU for sure (I know, OP asked for SO). But good point (plus one - I'm being creative ;) Commented Aug 20, 2009 at 12:44
  • 6
    Rather than a 'block list' a 'watch list' is a great idea. Also, i partially disagree with 'Blocking the url itself will just make people creative' -- it will greatly discourage the behaviour, and only a fraction of people would go the creative route. Commented Aug 20, 2009 at 14:19
  • @Leon - maybe, maybe... Commented Aug 20, 2009 at 19:29
  • 5
    @Leon: this site is for computer literate people. You really think they would just give up and not look for a way around any restriction you'd put in place?
    – perbert
    Commented Oct 2, 2009 at 17:52
  • 2
    LMGTFY has a "shorten" option that turns it into a bit.ly link.
    – Cole Tobin
    Commented Aug 13, 2013 at 2:06
  • With link shorteners banned on SO, this has been evaded (do let moderators know of new link shorterners being used). Commented Jun 20, 2017 at 11:08

Your question may be summarised thus:

I knew that I shouldn't have posted the question, but I posted it anyway, because I wanted a quick solution to my problem with no regard for the value of anyone else's time.

Then someone pointed out that I shouldn't have done so. I found that "rude and arrogant".

Please prevent people from doing that.

That's called hypocrisy (and it's so blatant that it knocks on the door of Poe's Law), and the very reason that "tough love" is needed in such situations.

Someone needed to point out to you that you were being silly, and they did, and now you know.

I don't hugely miss the ability to post LMGTFY comments, though an equivalent "What prevented you from performing a simple Google search?" accompanied by a downvote would be absolutely appropriate. But if you're trying to ban anyone from being anything but overtly friendly with you in such a situation, well, that does not sufficiently emphasise that what you did is not okay. I imagine the LMGTFY dissenters would find that "rude", too, which is a great shame.


Amusing, considering that lmgtfy is banned, while jfgi and fgi are allowed :)

  • 18
    No, they're not...they're just not banned (yet). Commented Nov 22, 2011 at 22:14
  • They self-banned. There's no content on those webpages now.
    – Pacerier
    Commented Apr 13, 2016 at 20:28

Censorship can't block rude: http://bit.ly/b3XYVv

Tiny URLs, on the other hand, are bad for Stack Exchange though and should be auto-expanded. LongURL.org provides an expander service for an ever expanding list of URL shorteners and exposes an HTTP API for its service.

I have had contact with the developer of that site to notify him of my use of the API (per request) and found him quite affable.

  • 12
    this would make a good feature-request - killing shortened URLs in general Commented Mar 17, 2011 at 16:47
  • 2
    Related: Let Me Flag That For You - URL Shortener Cleanup Commented Dec 22, 2011 at 22:39
  • 2
    bit.ly URLs, if you add a + to the end, display statistics about the link, and the URL it's linking to. Scan that page, you find the URL it's being linked to
    – Cole Tobin
    Commented Aug 13, 2013 at 2:09
  • We banned most shorterners altogether instead (specialised link shorteners like YouTube's and Amazon's are still allowed). Commented Jun 20, 2017 at 11:09

SO is self moderating. If everyone agrees that LMGTFY links are bad, they [the posters] will get down votes. This in turn should discourage people from posting them in the first place.

Or am I missing something?

  • 4
    Well, there has actually been implemented something which blocks lmgtfy links in posts. There is still the possibility though to use e.g. an url shortener service to bypass that check, and that's when the self moderation comes back into play.
    – fretje
    Commented Feb 16, 2010 at 15:43
  • 7
    Well, you can't downvote comments.
    – Cole Tobin
    Commented Aug 13, 2013 at 2:14
  • 1
    @ColeJohnson, And most of them are in comments, not answers.
    – Pacerier
    Commented Apr 13, 2016 at 20:47

In my mind, the solution is simple:

Any question that is lazy enough to warrant a LMGTFY answer is a bad question. Bad questions should be flagged, not answered sarcastically or disrespectfully.


They are only technically allowed. Flag them! Heavily!
I don't know, if it is feasible, to scan every post/comment for the lmgtfy-link before publishing. Sounds like a performance hit.

  • 1
    Posts are likely already being scanned for e.g. escaping metacharacters and disallowed HTML. Doesn't seem like it would be that much more cycle-intensive to scan for a blacklist of URLs as well. Commented Aug 20, 2009 at 11:58
  • 6
    The problem is it just makes people more inventive... Commented Aug 20, 2009 at 12:07
  • (-1) I've posted an answer as to why.
    – devinb
    Commented Aug 20, 2009 at 12:15
  • 2
    Ban it, and someone registers gfgiys.com...
    – Shog9
    Commented Aug 20, 2009 at 17:05

It looks like this has re-surfaced again.

A comment on this question, includes a lmgtfy link using the URL:

  • As far as I remember (if I remember right)...we're allowed to Spam/Offensive-Flag that stuff...which hits with a penalty for that user. *eg* Commented Nov 22, 2011 at 15:09
  • Yes, these are other domains which also should be blacklisted. Commented Nov 22, 2011 at 15:20
  • letmegooglethat.com seems to be a ripoff of the real lmgtfy.com site. Commented Nov 22, 2011 at 15:51
  • 5
    letmegooglethat.com has been added to the blacklist as well, thanks for bringing it to our attention Commented Nov 22, 2011 at 16:16

I don't agree with blocking it altogether. (I agree with it when it's used for a purpose other than answering the question).

There will be real situations where you could not help but to share a Google link for this. Stack Overflow members can judge whether the provider of the link is really interested in answering the question (content of the answer or comment would be enought to talk about that) and only then they can flag or downvote. I have really seen some people posting broad questions, and it would be quite obvious to tell them basic information with a good answer and for details asking them to google it.

UPDATE After reading the comments now I see why people of have a problem with LMGTFY. I would not support that philosophy either. As Chris mentioned, I was of the same opinion for having a legitimate answer with effective support from specific websites.

  • Good move downvoter. Your downvote (without comment) is a good example that how people can downvote if they really find no value in what's provided. So what's harm in continuing this trend with google links? Commented Apr 20, 2011 at 14:52
  • 8
    Sharing a Google link has a different tone to sharing a Let Me Google That For You link. The former is potentially helpful - especially when coupled with some text. The later is always patronising and belittling. (And no I didn't down-vote you.)
    – ChrisF Mod
    Commented Apr 20, 2011 at 15:00
  • 1
    I didn't downvote you either, but if you wouldn't have been at -1 already, I would have. Also, you're most likely looking for this: Embrace the non Googlers. Commented Apr 20, 2011 at 15:06
  • @Bobby, thanks for pointing me to the correct direction. I am just for the google, now i see why people of have problem with lmgtfy. I would not support that philosophy either. As chris mentioned i was of the same opinion for having a legitamate answer with effective support from specific websites. So thanks again Commented Apr 20, 2011 at 16:47
  • 1
    @SubhashDike, Comments cannot be downvoted only reported (which is invisible). Also, re "to share a Google link for this"; why not simply use a direct google link?
    – Pacerier
    Commented Apr 13, 2016 at 20:50

I agree that LMGTFY can have an arrogant feel to it. Some days back, someone made some comments on my question wondering why on earth I would want to do something like I asked.

It didn't feel nice. However, just now I answered a basic Python question in a comment. I knew the answer from experience, but I also thought googling should have gotten the OP he/her answer. Googling for the title of the question lead me right to the answer. I then added a second comment where I politely mentioned that googling for A got me the correct answer and that, no offense intended, I asked the OP if he or she tried to google.

This second comment was born out of a feeling from my side that the OP did not really try to answer the question. I did not use LMGTFY, but I did ask the OP whether they tried to google. Is this also unwanted on Stack Overflow, as is LMGTFY?


This seems to have resurfaced again. I feel an answer is missing. Pardon the necropost. (the issue is probably resolved anyway)

Why not ban these links?

SO is not supposed to be a site for google-able questions and answers but even more than that, it is not supposed to be a place where bored intellectuals can get their social need for wit covered by being sarcastic to someone on the internet, even if that someone clearly is in the wrong..

Banning links to lmgfy and adding a nice, but firm feedback to the user, tells that user that they can spend their time doing something that SO considers useful, like flagging, editing, reviewing, asking or answering - or take 5 minutes to stare at some trees nearby. All options there are more useful to SO than a lmgfy answer. Shame is a well known and well used concept for teaching people the right social cues, but SO is not a high horse or should be one (contrary to recent events, I still believe that...)

Not to mention, that if that person is a new user, you'll probably not get a second chance to guide that person to better SO-question-asking-behaviour. Which is a loss for SO in the long run.

  • I feel an answer is missing. Someone posted a spam answer to this question an hour ago, which was deleted as spam 9 minutes later.
    – Magisch
    Commented Dec 9, 2019 at 9:10
  • @Magisch Ah, well, it wasn't the spam answer I felt missing. It was the viewpoint I present. Might not be the most valuable use of time, seeing as the original is post some decade old.
    – Stian
    Commented Dec 9, 2019 at 9:31

stackoverflow.com suggest users to not ask a question if it already exist! Most of results on Google search are linked to other stack overflow question, so, i think LMGTFY should tell users check first Google before filling stackoverflow.com database with nothing!

  • 11
    The problem is with the attitude behind LMGTFY specifically. Either you answer the question (if it is not on SO yet, write a new answer, if it is, link to that and mark to be closed as duplicate) or you downvote/vote to close. LMGTFY is not needed. Commented Jul 30, 2013 at 21:12
  • @PaulHiemstra, Yes, one can always choose to do nothing. It's a perfectly valid solution when one needs to do something bad.
    – Pacerier
    Commented Apr 14, 2016 at 11:11

People here are assuming that a question that gets a lmgtfy answer is a bad question, but what about the cases when it's the lmgtfy answer that is bad? Sometimes the answerer doesn't put much effort in reading the question, and after a cursory glance assumes the asker's well thought out question is a trivial one and tells him to google it. Then other potential answerers could see that the question has been answered and become discouraged from answering it.

Also, sometimes people just want a direct answer from a human as a sanity check. It's a good way of learning to put material you read into your own words and ask someone if your understanding is correct. It would just be frustrating/insulting for that person to refer you back to the same material you were trying to understand.

  • 5
    Sorry, but I'm not sure what your point is. You support banning lmgtfy links, or not? Please add a TL;DR to the answer clarifying this. Commented Jul 5, 2016 at 10:19
  • 3
    Well, since you can't be bothered to explain... downvoting this. Commented Jul 5, 2016 at 11:49
  • But you're not getting a direct answer from a human. You're getting a human to point you at a Google link - not the same thing.
    – Judith
    Commented Jul 5, 2016 at 17:55
  • 1
    Heh, LMGTFY-only answer will surely be removed as "Not an Answer" (link-only answer). Don't worry about that. Commented Jul 5, 2016 at 18:13

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