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The current Help Center /help/how-to-ask page reads:

Search, and research

Have you thoroughly searched for an answer before asking your question? Sharing your research helps everyone. Tell us what you found and why it didn’t meet your needs. This demonstrates that you’ve taken the time to try to help yourself, it saves us from reiterating obvious answers, and above all, it helps you get a more specific and relevant answer!

Both links to searching go to the site's /search page.

Instead, this part should indicate that people are not just expected to search the site they are asking on, but the broader Internet.

I think this section should be edited to something more like:

Research and search

Have you searched the broader Internet or read background articles for information relate to your question? Have you thoroughly searched for an answer on this site before asking your question? Sharing your research helps everyone. Tell us what you found and why it didn’t meet your needs. This demonstrates that you’ve taken the time to try to help yourself, it saves us from reiterating obvious answers, and above all, it helps you get a more specific and relevant answer!

I'd be OK with other things, like linking to other a different search engine in place of Google. Other resources may also be appropriate.

Note that this is not a mod editable page. It would also be nice if this was a mod editable page so that site mods can edit this and other sections. Regardless, the base page should be indicate that searching the broader Internet is recommended to ask a good question.

  • You shouldn't drop searching the site though. So maybe you need three words in the title one to link to the site, one to link to Wikipedia and the third to link to Google (or the browsers default search page if you can do that). – ChrisF Feb 6 '17 at 14:32
  • @ChrisF I agree. Couldn't come up with a way to have it in the header. It's still in the body, though. – Thomas Owens Feb 6 '17 at 14:37
  • It won't make any difference. Those who are going to ask a good question will see it as mildly insulting that they are being spoon-fed 'Computers for Dummies' instructions, the rest will ignore it as irrelevant gunk that just gets in the way of their urgent homework copypasta. – Martin James Feb 6 '17 at 14:44
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    @MartinJames I disagree. Being able to point to something in the Help Center that says "we expect you to do X, Y, and Z" leads to a better user experience than just saying "we expect you to do X, Y, and Z", especially when not doing X, Y, and X leads to down votes, question closure, and question deletion. It may not work for everyone, but we have specific experience with this on Software Engineering and have found being able to point to this in an official place helps to explain things to users. – Thomas Owens Feb 6 '17 at 14:49
  • @ThomasOwens well, since I can see no way of easily judging success/failure of the measures you suggest, I guess we will end up agreeing to disagree. I don't see a great downside, so I have not downvoted this post. If other users also think your plan will help, fine - I would be happy to be wrong and see a measurable decrease in bad questions. Needless to say, I'm not holding my breath... – Martin James Feb 6 '17 at 16:24

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