Reference is made to this question on stackoverflow:

One of the users stated in the comments on the question thus (I paraphrase because the comment has since been removed):

Just google this and you will find the answer

Another user quipped (Again, I paraphrase because the comments have been removed):

Down-vote all the answers

And indeed someone (not sure it was the same user) proceeded to down vote all the answers on the question.

I know that the question was eventually deemed as a duplicate (and rightly so), and there has been some discussion regarding how to deal with google-type questions like:

Should there be a section in the FAQ explaining to users how to judge between google type questions that are not fit for SO and related sites?

Secondly, how should the community deal with people who down-vote others that seek to post answers on such questions? I know there is fraud detection, but I am not sure it captures this scenario?

  • Secondly, what should be done to the people who down-vote others that seek to post answers on such questions? I know there is fraud detection, but I am not sure it captures this scenario? There is no script for such scenario. If the question has been rehashed all over again, more people would know about it, so one downvote doesn't do much damage.
    – nhahtdh
    Mar 5, 2013 at 17:40
  • 3
    "but how does one determine that a question is for googling versus posting to SO or related sites" -- When you can type the question title into Google and get the correct answer on the first page of results, it's not a question for SO.
    – Charles
    Mar 5, 2013 at 17:40
  • @nhahtdh one downvote does not do much damage (I agree), but pointlessly down voting all the answers is pretty silly to me. Especially without a good comment!
    – user214359
    Mar 5, 2013 at 17:41
  • @Kata Well, according to you, he did comment. He feels that the question is very poor and answering it is feeding a help vampire. YOu may or may not agree, but he is allowed to downvote for that reason, and I certainly don't blame him at all.
    – Servy
    Mar 5, 2013 at 17:42
  • @Kata: Well, it is rare that people would do so, since they themselves will lose rep.
    – nhahtdh
    Mar 5, 2013 at 17:43
  • You should modify the question (and title) to emphasis the downvoting of answers, which is what makes this question different that the pointed to dupe. Mar 5, 2013 at 19:37
  • @LanceRoberts I just did that - hope they re-open the question.
    – user214359
    Mar 5, 2013 at 20:03

1 Answer 1


...but how does one determine that a question is for googling versus posting to SO or related sites?

When you can reasonably expect to find the answer to your question in any introductory text book or tutorial on the subject you're asking about, then you should use one of those resources before asking on Stack Overflow. If it's obvious that you didn't look in any other source before asking on SO, people are likely to downvote you.

  • 1
    But they shouldn't be downvoting the answers. Mar 5, 2013 at 19:36
  • 1
    @LanceRoberts Why shouldn't they? As long as it's not voting fraud (this is not) they are allowed to vote based on pretty much any criteria they want. It is not a violation of any rules/guidelines to, for example, downvote and answer that you feel is feeding a help vampire, or answering a question that ought to have just been closed if it's clear that the answerer knew the question didn't belong on SO. You may choose not to vote that way yourself (which is fine) but there is nothing wrong with others choosing to do so.
    – Servy
    Mar 5, 2013 at 20:02
  • @Servy I believe it is pretty stupid to down vote someone who has answered a question regardless of whether it is a duplicate or not!. It is anti-social and not welcome in the community. The answer does not have a problem, the question does?
    – user214359
    Mar 5, 2013 at 20:05
  • @Kata A very fundamental principle of SO is that you can't tell people how they have to vote; they can vote however they want, using the criteria that they want (with the one exception of voting fraud). It most certainly is welcome in this community to vote based on your own criteria, even if you don't like it. Additionally, the community has standards on questions for a reason. When people answer very poor quality questions it encourages that negative behavior, thus resulting in more poor quality questions. Not answering bad questions encourages users to learn how to ask better questions.
    – Servy
    Mar 5, 2013 at 20:12
  • @Servy So I can just go around down-voting any answers, regardless of whether they are right or wrong based on my feelings?
    – user214359
    Mar 5, 2013 at 20:16
  • @Kata Yes you can. I'd rather you didn't, but I'm certainly not going to tell you that you're not allowed to. Also note that the system is designed such that having a very small percentage of people not voting in good faith (i.e. voting randomly, rather than what they think is "helpful" verses "not helpful") is not a real problem. The idea of voting is that you can see what the majority of the community feels is the best/worst, and outliers don't really ruin that at all.
    – Servy
    Mar 5, 2013 at 20:17
  • @Servy I really hope you see how flawed your argument is, and how it ultimately does not build anyone/anything, the least being the community around here.
    – user214359
    Mar 5, 2013 at 20:18
  • @Kata You say that, and yet SO, and other SE sites, have very active and strong communities that very passionately support all (or most) of the aspects of how the site/community functions. If it didn't work, SE wouldn't be where it is now. You'll note that a number of other forums that don't have voting like this (which is most) don't have nearly the strong community support that SO does.
    – Servy
    Mar 5, 2013 at 20:23
  • @Kata so who gets to decide if people's votes are appropriate? Should moderators be able to see what you've voted on and reverse it if they disagree that your vote was OK? Could they then remove upvotes on bad questions? Mar 6, 2013 at 0:22
  • @CarlVeazey I am not sure - that is why I asked a question. My aim is to atleast put it out there in the documentation to capture specific cases like these. I am not for moderator control (heck, they have too much already) -
    – user214359
    Mar 6, 2013 at 9:22