There is a certain amount of questions that are absolutely trivial in nature: How to format a date, how to concatenate a string, et cetera. Questions that could be solved by taking a look into the manual.
Random examples from the tags I frequent:
- php timestamp function needed
- How can I edit a binary image in PHP?
- Does PHP have an inverse of the date() function (other than strtotime())?
- Is goto supported in PHP 5.2.8?
- PHP - make all caps?
- Adding a background image to a <div> element
- Is it possible to get UNIX time from such date 2011-02-27 02:04:46?
- Time string to timestamp
- How do I create a PHP page which can accept file uploads?
What those OPs need is a link to the right manual, which we should give them. But the question serves no purpose. They don't even have a use by being searchable, because any sane search query would lead to the actual manual as the first hit.
Jeff discusses the possibility of introducing a new close reason for this over at Scifi.stackexchange.com. According to Robert's suggestion there, it could go like this:
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.
Please please implement this.
Add a field (like the "enter duplicate ID here" popup) for users to suggest the correct manual link:
The suggested links would then be shown in a block in the top section of the question, like duplicate links.
Also, the amount of reputation earnable from these trivial questions is appalling. I'm sure a great portion of most high-rep users' points (including mine) is from answering "what was that function for replacing a string again?" type questions. This dilutes the value of reputation as a measure of true expertise a great deal.
I would suggest that answers to questions that get closed as "general reference" are made community wiki retroactively, taking away any reputation earned.