I have an issue with a piece of code using the Gmail API (attaching a file to an email). Several questions have been asked about it, but I did not manage to find the answer of my problem.

If I ask the question on Stack Exchange it will be seen as a duplicate and will be down-voted. Which is normal since Stack Exchange has not been built to serve as Gmail API discussion group.

So, why does Google not provide to its own users a way to help each other? For instance, Microsoft, Apple or Adobe offer to their users a community support forum. Google counts on Stack Exchange for that, even if Stack Exchange has not been built for this purpose.

Even if Google owned Stack Exchange (does it?), it would not change the fact that Stack Exchange hasn't been built for the purpose a Gmail API group would serve.

Written on the Google API "how to get help":

How to Get Help

We support the Gmail REST API on Stack Overflow. Google engineers monitor and answer questions with the gmail-api tag.

You should use this tag when asking questions. We aim to answer all questions within a couple of days.


I'm not looking for a moral analysis of this issue (what is right or wrong, allowed/forbidden). I'm looking for a pragmatic solution to solve that issue which creates useless tensions (as much for Google users as Stack Exchange users).

  • It is allowed within limits ...
    – rene
    Mar 4, 2017 at 13:52
  • The reply for the post you were linking it doesn't seem to come from a Google employee, so your opinion that Google is pushing to ask questions on Stack Overflow could be wrong.
    – apaderno
    Mar 4, 2017 at 13:54
  • 2
    It will not be seen as a duplicate if you write it clearly and explain why the existing questions don't solve your problem. See meta.stackexchange.com/questions/194476/… Mar 4, 2017 at 16:47
  • @KateGregory it might be how people conceived stack, but it's (unfortunately) not the way it works ― not at all. Anything and everything could be down-voted. And furthermore, the kind of question I'm talking about are precisely the one that can't really be specifies. If I knew, what was missing or wrong in my code I would either ask a specific question, or I would have find the right answer. Stack has been made for the very specific question you are talking about, not the one I would post on a google api forum "what is wrong with that code".
    – JinSnow
    Mar 4, 2017 at 17:08
  • I'm not ignoring you, I just cannot understand what you wrote. Mar 4, 2017 at 17:09
  • The down-vote is crucial, but it also limit stack. Just an example to illustrate the reality: I did struggle with several points from the code Google that causes an error in python 3 (google don't update its code). I wanted to share one of them on a stack, in order to help other users. So I invested some time with that. But since it costs me some reputation point for those I won’t do it again. (I then set my answer as "wiki", to don’t lose more points ―not sure it woks though!) stackoverflow.com/questions/42541857/…
    – JinSnow
    Mar 4, 2017 at 17:09
  • @rene thanks for the link! I added the edit about that.
    – JinSnow
    Mar 4, 2017 at 17:14
  • someone suggested an absurd solution to this absurd situation: "why don't you create a new account to ask that kind of forbidden questions?"
    – JinSnow
    Mar 4, 2017 at 18:55

1 Answer 1


So, why does Google not provide to its own users a way to help each other? For instance, Microsoft, Apple or Adobe offer to their users a community support forum.

That isn't answerable here. The only people who can answer that are Google, and...

Even if Google owned Stack Exchange (does it?)

Nope. Google has nothing to do with Stack Exchange.

Your quote (OK, you changed your quote while I was writing; my point still stands) from the Google App Engine group is missing an important sentence:

Please see the main Community Support page for a list of the tags we monitor.

The Community Support page says:

If you've never used Stack Overflow or another Stack Exchange site, you should take a look at Stack Overflow's guide to asking good questions for tips on the best ways to ask for help.

For more information about using Stack Exchange sites, including where to ask questions about specific Cloud Platform services, see Ask technical questions on Stack Exchange Sites.

So there is enough information there to let you (read: anyone) know how to get answers from posting on Stack Exchange sites.

Stack Exchange isn't a forum as most people are used to. It isn't open for discussions and if you treat it like any old forum then you'll have a bad time. But, it is good at getting people answers to their questions. If you follow the advice listed in the pages linked to from the Google Community Support page and the various help pages here on Stack Exchange, you can get your questions answered.

If I ask the question on Stack Exchange it will be seen as a duplicate and will be down-voted.

Only if you post a duplicate question and don't follow the advice given. If you have done your homework and found duplicate questions and they didn't help you solve your problem, clearly state that, what you tried and why that didn't work; if your problem truly isn't answered in any duplicates then they aren't duplicates.

Downvotes happen. Maybe your question isn't clear, maybe it shows no research and maybe it just isn't interesting. People can downvote however they please, but that doesn't in and of itself stop you from getting answers.

Post well researched, clear and concise questions and you should be fine.

  • Thanks for your answer! People can have different perception of a same reality depending of their experience, it also applies to stack. I would have definitely agree with if I was a programmer, but I'm not. I'm a basic user. You guys don't really seem to catch the basic user experience reality. It's an interesting and stimulating reality but it has nothing to do with the just world you are talking about.You don't seem to notice that the criteria you give to make the difference btw a good or a bad answer are purely subjective, all of them: a clear, interesting, showing investment, etc.
    – JinSnow
    Mar 4, 2017 at 21:16
  • Even "duplicate or not" is subjective. If I ask a question to get a point from a topic that has been asked and answered 10 times, it will be seen as a duplicate for some, but not for other since the question will be asked from another perspective. A perspective that would be completely different ―for a basic user (different version syntax, or slightly different point needed, etc.).
    – JinSnow
    Mar 4, 2017 at 21:24
  • Showing research and being clear and concise are definitely not subjective, they are important criteria for asking good questions and getting good answers. If your question isn't answered (you may just not realise that is is) in the duplicate then it isn't a duplicate, it's as simple as that, you just need to clearly explain that as it isn't going to be obvious to everyone (which is why showing research is important).
    – Cai
    Mar 4, 2017 at 21:34
  • 1
    I understand SE can be difficult for new users but you just have to understand how it works and put in a bit of effort. (and I'm not a programmer either BTW; there are a lot of non-programming SE sites)
    – Cai
    Mar 4, 2017 at 21:35
  • I'm a basic stackoverflow user but not a new stack user, I definitely dont have your experience but I know what kind of question are downvoted or not. There is a good point in your answer: "People can downvote however they please, but that doesn't in and of itself stop you from getting answers." Both are true, and it's an interesting way to look at it. Creating a "fake" account for those question might be the solution. Stack should maybe think of the consequence if million user were starting to do so...
    – JinSnow
    Mar 4, 2017 at 22:00
  • "and put in a bit of effort"... That comment precisely proved what I'm talking about: the typical "stack style judgement", that goes with the Google customers service.
    – JinSnow
    Mar 5, 2017 at 19:12
  • 1
    @Guillaume I'm not sure what you're trying to say. Why should anyone expect answers to their questions without putting in any effort themselves?
    – Cai
    Mar 5, 2017 at 19:15
  • just put more effort to try to understand and you will understand my point. But don't worry, if you failed to do so, you might also understand it.
    – JinSnow
    Mar 5, 2017 at 19:25

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