Today, Jeff said on the blog that they are thinking to add a new close reason:

general reference: this question is too basic; the answer is indexed in any number of general internet reference sources designed specifically to find that type of information.

If that does get implemented - and I hope it does - then please consider putting a field to enter an url like there is for duplicate questions. This way, we can close the question yet answer the user’s question so we don’t come across as elitists.

closed as off-topic by Sonic the Anonymous WizHog, Pierre.Vriens, Pika the Wizard of the Whales, Robert Longson, Jenayah Jun 18 at 18:52

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "The problem described here can no longer be reproduced. Changes to the system or to the circumstances affecting the asker have rendered it obsolete. If you encounter a similar problem, please post a new question." – Sonic the Anonymous WizHog, Pierre.Vriens, Pika the Wizard of the Whales, Robert Longson, Jenayah
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 1
    I second the “General Reference” close reason, and I also support this suggestion from Borror0. – F'x Feb 22 '11 at 11:01
  • 1
    Ohhhhh yessss. This is great – Pëkka Feb 22 '11 at 13:07
  • 11
    And please administer a mild electric shock to anyone who puts a LMGTFY link in this field. – Bill the Lizard Feb 22 '11 at 14:34
  • Auto-suspend their account for 42 hours @Bill – Ivo Flipse Feb 22 '11 at 14:47
  • 1
    @Bill: why mild? – Tobias Kienzler Feb 22 '11 at 14:51
  • @Tobias: It's for behavioral conditioning purposes only. ;) – Bill the Lizard Feb 22 '11 at 14:56
  • 1
    @TobiasKienzler To conserve electricity. Think of the planet! – Gilles Aug 6 '11 at 15:11
  • And in cases where there's no URL (and no answer, I guess), maybe exclude it from indexing by Google et al? – Arjan Aug 6 '11 at 15:22

I agree with this in general; I don't think the general reference close reason should be deployed to all sites without such a barrier (closing as general reference should involve a little effort from the closer, so that it's not abused as “if you don't know this, you're stupid”).

Of course, just because a suitable link exists doesn't mean the question must necessarily be closed as general reference; the link target should meet some important criteria.

I have one reservation: there are occasionally cases where the general reference is not online, but should nonetheless be available to the asker. Even today, some software doesn't have its documentation online; “just look it up on the manual on your system, where it's clearly explained” should translate into a closure as general reference, even if no URL can be given. (Or maybe a file:// URL?)

  • 1
    Or a command, like man foo or help bar? Especially the latter, since searching the whole manual for the documentation of common-word commands like read or command can be tedious. – l0b0 Jan 9 '12 at 14:50

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