What are your opinions on the perceived "unwritten rule" that users should close easy / simple / "beginner" questions? Are you for it? Against it? I legitimately want to know how to declare an array, and can't find a good resource. I think my problem with this stems from not knowing where to draw the line — what constitutes a question that's "too easy"? I don't believe there should be such a thing.

This question was inspired by Is it possible to learn a new language through Stack Overflow?.

  • While I agree with the intent of this question, the 'perceived unwritten rule to close easy questions' bit just sends out the wrong message. As you can tell by the answers below, the unwritten rule is to NOT close easy questions.
    – Dhaust
    Commented Sep 9, 2010 at 4:33

4 Answers 4


The whole point of StackOverflow is to become the resource for programmers to find these sort of questions. You'd be surprised how much old and outdated information there is out there, there's no harm in rehashing things. As long as the user isn't obviously abusive like going around asking 100 simple questions to farm rep as they do tend to get (pity?) upvotes sometimes, I say go for it.

A quick example is actually exactly what you used: How to declare an array. If I do a google search for "how to declare an array in javascript" the first result suggests you do:

var x = new Array();

When actually the recommended way of doing it now is:

var x = [];

So a user that is "just googling it" might end up with the wrong information. If they ask this question on SO then a user could hopefully suggest the better method with some reasons why, and then the first result on Google could be StackOverflow!

  • 2
    What if the recommended method changes again? I wonder how do you think SO guarantees you'll always get fresh information. Yes, it is editable, but there's no guarantee someone will edit one specific answer out of five hundred thousand.
    – Vinko Vrsalovic StaffMod
    Commented Jul 7, 2009 at 16:47
  • @Vinko: you can edit answers on SO. I can't edit random pages on Google. SO FTW!
    – Shog9
    Commented Jul 7, 2009 at 16:50
  • 1
    @Vinko: I personally make an effort to keep my answers (all 900 of them) as up-to-date as possible. That being said, I'm not guaranteeing that StackOverflow will always have fresh information, but it's sure as hell the best shot we have as a community. Commented Jul 7, 2009 at 16:52
  • Yes, it's better than no editing, I just wanted to point out that it's no silver bullet
    – Vinko Vrsalovic StaffMod
    Commented Jul 7, 2009 at 17:02

No, easy questions are there to help noobs. The only reason to close them is if the question is exceptionally badly asked and can't be fixed.

  • Or a duplicate of course.
    – lc.
    Commented Jul 7, 2009 at 16:48
  • "Can't be fixed" ?
    – Sampson
    Commented Jul 7, 2009 at 16:52
  • 5
    Yes. "Can't be fixed" Some questions don't make sense. Such as "How is when to Array in forloop?" It's probably an easy question. But in reality... ???
    – devinb
    Commented Jul 7, 2009 at 17:49

All questions (programming-related) welcomed.


OK, how about this easy question:

When was C first standardised?

What is the right way of answering this (obviously programming related) question? Personally, I would refer it to wikipedia.

  • 5
    I'd block-quote the relevant portion, and then include a link back to the source. Then mass-downvote anyone who did the same without providing a link...
    – Shog9
    Commented Jul 7, 2009 at 17:22
  • 1
    @Neil, That is specifically discouraged here. It is not very useful to have a bunch of questions followed by "RTFM" and "Google it." @Shog9 offers a good solution to your question. Commented Jul 7, 2009 at 17:37

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