Stack Overflow is already more than 2 years old, and I still find people with high reputation answering to my questions with a plain Wikipedia link or a "do a google search". I may condone it for newcomers or new beta Stack Exchange sites with different, younger communities, but I find it unacceptable especially after it has been a topic for ages.

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    I totally condone it for stupid, trivial questions, but as far as I can judge, yours doesn't seem to fit that category.
    – Pekka
    Commented Feb 25, 2011 at 23:13
  • You got one today, that makes it a widespread problem? Commented Feb 26, 2011 at 2:16
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    @Hans: never said it's widespread. I said that I still find people that do it. Commented Feb 26, 2011 at 2:23
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    can you provide specific, concrete examples? Commented Feb 26, 2011 at 7:16
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    This issue was discussed ages ago. Perhaps, you should have googled before asking?
    – P Shved
    Commented Feb 26, 2011 at 9:52
  • @Jeff : stackoverflow.com/questions/5122994/… Commented Feb 26, 2011 at 10:57
  • @stefano I think that is a perfectly reasonable question. Feel free to cite stackoverflow.com/faq where it says If your motivation is “I would like others to explain ______ to me”, then you are probably OK Commented Feb 26, 2011 at 18:24

3 Answers 3


When you find such an answer, flag it for moderator attention and mark it as "not an answer". If people feel that the only information they can add to the topic is a link to google, wikipedia, or some other site, with no other commentary or excerpt, then it should be posted as a comment, as it's not an answer.

Stack Overflow should be the resource other people are linking to, not simply a list of links to other resources.

If you come across a question which a simple google search will answer, do the google search, then summarize what you find with a few relevant links in your post.

But there's no need to post an answer with a single line of text or less that essentially tells someone to go somewhere else for their answer.

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    ±0: SO should be a major resource that says where answers are, either by providing them or pointing to where they definitively are. Commented Feb 26, 2011 at 20:26

The policy about "google it" might change slightly. There's suggestions that if it's trivally easy to answer, then it may be closed as "General reference". Stack Exchange blog: Are Some Questions Too Simple?


I think the specific question Stefano cited

What is a cofunction and how would it work in Python?

is a perfectly reasonable question that indicates prior research and asking why. Feel free to cite https://stackoverflow.com/faq where it says

If your motivation is “I would like others to explain ______ to me”, then you are probably OK

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