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.

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    I second the “General Reference” close reason, and I also support this suggestion from Borror0.
    – F'x
    Feb 22, 2011 at 11:01
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    Ohhhhh yessss. This is great
    – Pekka
    Feb 22, 2011 at 13:07
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    And please administer a mild electric shock to anyone who puts a LMGTFY link in this field. Feb 22, 2011 at 14:34
  • Auto-suspend their account for 42 hours @Bill
    – Ivo Flipse
    Feb 22, 2011 at 14:47
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    @Bill: why mild? Feb 22, 2011 at 14:51
  • @Tobias: It's for behavioral conditioning purposes only. ;) Feb 22, 2011 at 14:56
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    @TobiasKienzler To conserve electricity. Think of the planet! Aug 6, 2011 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, 2011 at 15:22

1 Answer 1


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?)

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    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, 2012 at 14:50

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