There have been a lot of questions that can be answered with a simple Google search.

For these questions, an answer can be found by just copying and pasting the question directly into the Google search field and scanning the first few hits.

Every new user wants to try out the feature and ask a question just to play around with the site. That's fine, and I don't mind it, but how will we deal with it in the long term?

I'm asking because all those trivial questions that can best be answered by

Tried www.google.com?

are the reason why I don't visit coding related Internet communities anymore.

Embrace the non-Googlers

Return to FAQ index

  • See meta.stackexchange.com/questions/5280/embrace-the-non-googlers too
    – malach
    Aug 3, 2009 at 9:56
  • 146
    Imagine you google for a question, and the first search result that comes up is a StackOverflow post for exactly the question you need. So you click on it, read the answer... and what does it say? “Just google for it!”
    – Timwi
    Aug 2, 2010 at 11:41
  • 23
    @Timwi: you have no idea how many times this happened to me (not with SO results, but random forums) Nov 10, 2010 at 22:43
  • 2
    If it's not on google it doesn't exists!
    – Shoe
    Mar 7, 2011 at 17:22
  • 4
    I feel that I should point something out here: The first page of Google results for a given Java question is... right here. People do try google. This is where it sends them. Just throwing that out there. Apr 25, 2013 at 3:27
  • 1
    @Timwi, Exactly. The reason such a problem even exist is because Google has assigned a high "value" to SE pages. If more than x% of SE is filled with lmgtfy, Google would soon self-adjust (by lowering SE's search ranking) and the problem would be solved.
    – Pacerier
    Feb 16, 2016 at 9:37
  • @Pacerier But then we won't find real answers... In general, as SE get more and more irrelevant answers (off-topic and similar), it's harder to find an answer to your question. Maybe it's unavoidable, and the only fix is to open a new Q&A site... Jul 16, 2020 at 10:38

27 Answers 27


Either don't answer it or give a correct answer. If the question is off topic on the specific site because it has other problems, you can flag it as such. But please do not comment or post answers like:

Tried www.google.com?

That is not acceptable on SE-sites.

  • 4
    I try not to, but something the urge to answer that way is stronger than me.. So far I never did that here though... I'd rather vote down.
    – Nils Pipenbrinck
    Sep 19, 2008 at 19:14
  • 37
    It's not useless. Give a man a fish, and he eats for a day. Teach him to fish, and he eats for a lifetime. If somebody posts a trivially answerable question to SO, then the best possible thing you can do is to teach them how to answer such questions for themselves.
    – Jim
    Sep 19, 2008 at 19:26
  • 65
    Jim - "RTFM" != teaching
    – Greg Hurlman
    Sep 19, 2008 at 19:29
  • 1
    Besides that - I'm not here for knowledge giving, I'm here for knowledge exchange..
    – Nils Pipenbrinck
    Sep 19, 2008 at 19:31
  • 10
    Greg - if they don't know of the manual, a pointer to it is certainly teaching. Besides which, searching is not "the manual".
    – Jim
    Sep 19, 2008 at 19:33
  • 48
    If they found SO, they know where Google is. You're not teaching anything with answer like "tried google?". I habitually downvote useless answers like this. Dec 13, 2008 at 2:15
  • I agree with the answer. Not just that, it's a tad prideful and like a virtual slap in the face :P
    – stringo0
    Aug 6, 2009 at 21:18
  • 3
    I'm ok with this tactic as a comment, but not an answer.
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Mar 1, 2012 at 0:41
  • 5
    @BilltheLizard: Don't just downvote them. Flag them as "not an answer". meta.stackexchange.com/a/80807/130885
    – endolith
    May 10, 2012 at 19:54
  • 3
    @endolith You're responding to a comment made in December of 2008, which was before flagging was a thing. May 10, 2012 at 20:01
  • 2
    Of course you can't post "www.google.com" as an answer, but I think it's great comment-material. It's in the "SO doesn't do your research"-spirit
    – keyser
    May 22, 2012 at 17:50
  • 1
    @ᴋᴇʏsᴇʀ It seems to me that that is almost never the right course of action. If you've Googled the question yourself and found the answer somewhere, why not link straight to a page which has the answer? If you haven't, then how do you even know that the question is trivially Googleable?
    – Mark Amery
    Feb 2, 2014 at 10:21
  • 1
    @MarkAmery Clearly you haven't heard of duplicates :) According to me, the problem is that above 90% of all questions being asked lack research effort. If we teach question spammers to research we can improve the site. And when I say research I mainly mean googling. If googling their title gives me the answer in 10 other SO questions, I won't be providing them with 10 links. And knowing that something is googleable isn't exactly rare :)
    – keyser
    Feb 2, 2014 at 10:45
  • Actually, maybe it could be a useful answer to write "Tried www.google.com?" because it teaches the person when they have other questions later to see if they can find the answer by Googling before asking.
    – Timothy
    Jun 4, 2019 at 23:44
  • @Timothy That would be, in fact, not useful. See the comments and answers above and below. It's fine to teach a user, respectfully, how to find their own answer, but on this site you must also provide the answer itself because that is the function of this site. As long as the question is on-topic it can be answered. Jun 5, 2019 at 14:15

Part of the thinking behind Stack Overflow was for those Google searches to link somewhere useful.


By answering questions properly, instead of saying 'just Google it', you hopefully set up a definitive answer that Google will find for evermore.

  • 52
    Yes, but in many cases, Google already has a definitive answer as the first result. In fact, in many cases, it links to a better, more authoritative source.
    – Jim
    Sep 19, 2008 at 19:25
  • 4
    Sorry - I don't read neither Joel nor Jeff's blog, so I did not had the meta-information beforehand. Since the problem is existing just claiming that by design it is no problem is not helpful. (just my two cents):
    – Nils Pipenbrinck
    Sep 19, 2008 at 19:26
  • 3
    I'd like to add: I thought this site is based on the tradition that coders help each other regardless if they work in different companies or not. If the driving force is to provide google with better material to get better hits, then SO is most likely not my cup of tea.
    – Nils Pipenbrinck
    Sep 19, 2008 at 19:37
  • 1
    Let's be fair - it's search engine agnostic.
    – slim
    Sep 19, 2008 at 19:56
  • 8
    I also vote that we would rather link directly to the good answer than say "just search for it". When a teacher tells you that you've asked an easy question and to read the book, it mostly just makes a student feel bad. A link to the actual answer is more helpful, constructive, and nicer.
    – Tyler
    Sep 19, 2008 at 23:30
  • 5
    BTW, this site has become extremely Googlable. Some of my questions are now #1 on Google results. So it IS very useful if simple questions then have a link to the answers, if for no other reason than it helps the answer'S PageRank.
    – Epaga
    Oct 20, 2008 at 10:25
  • 4
    whenever someone has a tech question, they can be lead to stackoverflow, where they will see a list of links to information that was voted on to determine the most helpful. The users found what they needed even faster, the sites with the actual information still can be linked to, and Stackoverflow gets some traffic. Everybody wins. :D Oct 28, 2009 at 1:54
  • 2
    @Jim, Catch-22. How would you know that there is no "better, more authoritative source" than the first result Google gives? And how would you know that there are no errors/bugs within that source? The only way to know that is to have a public forum or dialogue where anyone can post answer/comments without registration. A webpage that offers mere one-way communication can never be a "better, more authoritative source" than one which offers two-way communication.
    – Pacerier
    Feb 16, 2016 at 10:12

The best programming ability I have is that my Google-fu is strong. Then again, I was trained on how to find the esoteric edge cases on the net when doing premier IT support - not everyone gets that kind of training.

If you want to really help with questions like this, post the answer you found and the Google search terms you used to find it.

  • 11
    I've done this at least once (I often link the search terms to the google search) I've had one accepted & upvoted a few times. It gives them what they want, & reminds them that google is an option, without being nasty. Also, stating the search terms can teach terms that the user is not familiar with
    – Sam Hasler
    Sep 21, 2008 at 0:38
  • 5
    You can also use the site 'letmegooglethatforyou.com/…' (LMGTFY is an abbreviation). I whole-heartedly agree that the search terms make a big difference. Dec 13, 2008 at 3:28
  • 2
    I'll be using letmegooglethatforyou.com from now on.
    – muusbolla
    Jul 2, 2009 at 21:03
  • 38
    @muusbolla: please don't. Its style is annoying and dismissive. The answer here is good: answer, add link to some/best answers found with google and search terms.
    – malach
    Aug 3, 2009 at 9:54
  • 3
    I'm surprised the anti-LMGTFY position gets relatively upvoted for that reason. Question comes through as what does xxx mean, someone posts a LMGTFY with search terms define xxx [some reputable online dictionary]. Questioner follow the LMGTFY link, chooses top result. Job done. What's to be annoyed about? Apr 6, 2011 at 0:49
  • 15
    @FumbleFingers - Because it violates Wheaton's Law, plain & simple. Apr 9, 2011 at 2:05
  • 6
    @Greg: Well that's a powerful argument. Short, punchy, and the logic is both impeccable and irrefutable. Apr 9, 2011 at 2:49

The most annoying thing when googling about a specific question is when you end up in a forum where the exact same question is asked and all the answers goes like this;

"Have you googled it?", "Tried google?", "JFGI".

Always wanted to sign up to the random forum just to spam; "I just fracking googled it and ended up here..".

We should avoid the "google answer" at all cost if you ask me.

  • 42
    Or worse, one finds a forum where the exact same question is asked, and then followed up by a post that merely says "found the answer, thanks"
    – Ether
    Sep 10, 2009 at 19:19
  • 10
    Those are the worst answers, especially when the question itself isn't asked that often! I've had more than a couple of searches end up at dead ends like that. I would rather have had no hits at all ... Apr 14, 2011 at 20:35

This question seems to be suggesting that Stack Overflow should only be used as a last resort - when an answer cannot be found elsewhere on the internet.

Surely this is the opposite of the site's intended purpose. I thought it was supposed to become the first place people would come for answers. To quote the FAQ,

No question is too trivial or too "newbie".

  • 1
    True, but somtimes the answer is already out there.
    – Saif Khan
    Oct 6, 2008 at 18:07
  • 20
    But there's no reason it can't be here, as well as out there. In fact, it's nice to have it here, for a few reasons. I trust things here more than some random site, since I can see votes and comments from the SO community. If information here is wrong or out of date, someone can fix it by editing. And most of all, information here is presented in a clean, readable way, unlike the top Google hit for many of the questions I want to find answers to.
    – Tyler
    Jul 23, 2010 at 7:05

Everyone has their own reasons for being on SO, but the big three reasons are presumably (a) to learn something, (b) to teach something, or (c) to find out how to do something.

Answering a question directly can accomplish all three of these goals. A great way to learn something is to teach it, and if one doesn't know how to do it, they have to find out how to do it themselves first.

Answering a question with "search Google" also has its place, too. It probably indicates that the answer is easily found there. That teaches as well: it teaches people to fish rather than just handing them a fish.

SO has enough users that you'll get all sorts of questions and all sorts of responses. I'd think that really top-notch programmers will enjoy tackling the hard questions, and "advanced novice" programmers will answer the easier ones to gain traction.

And hearing, "You know, you should check Google first" is far more polite than you'd get some other places:


So I guess just deal with Google questions however you feel is best, and learn from the community here what they think of your responses. You may learn that you're too harsh. You may learn that you're too easy. Or you may learn that you're just wasting your time and should spend time doing something else.

  • 5
    People ask programming questions in SO, because it is a programming Q&A resource, whereas Google is a general purpose search tool which often does not put the most relevant answers at the top. 'Nuff said. (BTW, I find that Bing often puts more relevant results at the top than Google does.)
    – RobH
    Oct 27, 2009 at 23:42

Part of the point of Stack Overflow is for people to search Google and find Stack Overflow. So it's still important to answer the question here (if it's not already answered). The goal is to have a site full of answers, and "Google it" is not an answer.


The problem with googling a technical question is that often the results are to sites where you have to pay for information (i.e., Experts Exchange). I know not to even try to get information from any of those sites. They are basically commercials, and I'm not buying it.

Stack Overflow offers a free alternative. Hopefully as the community grows, developers will recognize the site; and when they see a result for Stack Overflow and one for Experts Exchange, they will know to choose Stack Overflow.

  • 4
    On Experts Exchange you can scroll all the way to the bottom of the page to see the actual answers.
    – CodeMonkey1
    Apr 13, 2009 at 20:06
  • 1
    Yeah. I didn't actually realize that until after using StackOverflow and reading a couple posts on it. Guess I never had the patience to keep scrolling... and scrolling... and scrolling....
    – Even Mien
    Apr 14, 2009 at 12:59
  • I discovered this the very first time I went to EE. If the page has an extremely long scrollbar, well, it's just an invitation to me to check out what's at the bottom.
    – muusbolla
    Jul 2, 2009 at 20:55
  • 1
    Personally, my concern isn't sites requiring payment, but whether a new site I haven't seen before has spyware (siteadvisor helps a bit though). Jul 14, 2009 at 23:46
  • I thought Experts Exchange was just a pay-to-view interface to free sites
    – Phil Lello
    Apr 16, 2011 at 5:07
  • @PhilLello almost same as, BigResource... I hate these sites, copying original free content and slathering them with ads and misleading payment schemes... these sites should rot under the weight of millions of Google search results before them...
    – Optimus
    Oct 24, 2012 at 23:15

Help Vampires: A Spotter's Guide has some useful advice under the heading Reforming the Help Vampire. The first section #1: Creating Resources I think has already been done on Stack Overflow, but the other two sections: #2: Cease Enabling Behavior and #3: Meet Help Vampires Head-On is relevant to us.

  • 2
    Wonderful article. It's so good to see someone else say to stop enabling them (or, as I once got slammed for saying, "do not feed the pigeons if you want to avoid a lot of crap". Aug 21, 2009 at 12:41
  • 4
    Great article! Unfortunately, SO's "it's OK not to google first" policy is exactly the wrong way of dealing with vamps. Sep 5, 2010 at 4:26
  • 3
    I got a Necromancer badge for an answer about vampires....mwhahaha!
    – Sam Hasler
    Oct 29, 2010 at 7:54

Post an answer, even if you directly copy from that first easy-to-find search result, for example:

"How do I delete the last index from a list, in Python?":

From http://docs.python.org/tutorial/datastructures.html#more-on-lists:


Remove the item at the given position in the list, and return it. If no index is specified, a.pop() removes and returns the last item in the list. (The square brackets around the i in the method signature denote that the parameter is optional, not that you should type square brackets at that position. You will see this notation frequently in the Python Library Reference.)

Or you can also use the del statement, by doing..

del mylist[-1]

Which would take less than a minute to write and post, and would be a useful answer.

If a question is easy to answer by a simple search, it's easy for you to answer (even if you copy/paste the important bit, and link to the page).. but more importantly, those answers "on Google" have to originate somewhere.. StackOverflow will be ranked highly on Google - if you post "Just Google it!"-like answers, those will end up being the "answers" people find!


The team has had a minor change of heart on this issue, and is currently testing out "general reference" as a close reason for questions that really can be answered just by punching a painfully obvious search term into Google and clicking "I'm Feeling Lucky." Its descriptive text:

general reference
This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.

For now, it's only been deployed to a select few sites. I know English Language and Usage is one; I'm not sure what the others are. See this blog post for more.

The "general reference" experiment is over, and the request to implement it network-wide is . See also SE podcast #20.


What's the difference between a person asking Google the question and asking StackOverflow the question? If you don't want to take the time to answer someone's trivial question, just don't answer it then. Right? I think the whole point (well, not the whole point but part of it) is that you can answer what you want and ignore what you want.

  • 6
    The difference is that if someone is asking a computer he just takes a machine some milliseconds of time. If someone asks a community with some thousand users he can waste the easily waste half a day of accumulated time. Why not use google at the first place in these cases?
    – Nils Pipenbrinck
    Sep 19, 2008 at 19:29
  • The point of the StacOverflow community is just to answer programming questions. I think it's ok if a little bit of it's time gets taken away by having to read a trivial question. Just my two cents.
    – Owen
    Sep 19, 2008 at 19:34
  • 3
    The difference is that in one case, the person is being proactive and finding the answer themselves, and the other case, the person is reliant on being spoon-fed handouts. Empower them by showing them how to search instead of leaving them a permanent infant.
    – Jim
    Sep 19, 2008 at 19:41
  • 3
    This is a question and answer site. Not a "complex question, insightful answer that grows you as a person site." People should be able to ask simple questions with simple answers, that just may so happen to be spoon-fed. A lot of people just want to write code that works. Not be empowered.
    – Owen
    Sep 19, 2008 at 21:23
  • 8
    The more a forum is treated as a helpdesk, the less experts are inclined to participate. This has been proven time and time again. Check out Usenet for many examples. The resource that makes SO valuable is expertise, not the ability to type things into Google for you.
    – Jim
    Sep 19, 2008 at 21:40
  • 6
    "...just don't answer it then." Exactly. Dec 13, 2008 at 2:17
  • When I'm posting a question, especially one that I suspect will be answered quickly, I try to check on the answers and comments coming in so that I can respond quickly. That includes marking an answer "accepted", which is a signal to other potential answerers that my question has already been answered, so I don't need them to spend time on it (unless they want to, of course). If more askers did that, it would help reduce the time wasted, I think.
    – Tyler
    Jul 23, 2010 at 7:08

When I have a programming question, SO is my first stop. If I can't find it here, then I search for it. If you want to tell me where to look on google, that's fine, but I ask questions here for a reason. In the 10 - 12 months I've been here, I've only had to go somewhere else for the answer a handful of times. I heard of SO by reading Jeff Atwood's and Scott Hanselman's blogs, but I started using it when I googled about the build actions in .net project files. I did google it, and google led me here. 2.3 million results and the top one points to SO. Google and bing are great tools, but nothing beats a talented community of individuals that are willing to share their knowledge. And here I was able to find what I was really looking for: not just an answer, but the best way to apply that answer to my problem.

Something SO gives you that google can't is the polite debate amongst experts that applies context of the question. Sometimes it's not about finding the answer, but how you should apply the answer based on what you're trying to accomplish. A recent question I saw was about using Regular Expressions to replace parts of strings. There are tons of resources on Regex, and tons on replacements. I'm sure the person asking could have searched through all the results from google looking for the best answer, or he could come here get an explanation of why to do it this way instead of that way. And there's no reputation marker in google that would say to take the advice of this person named Jon Skeet over some random guy posting on his blog.


That's an easy one. Just down-vote the question and they eventually get pushed into oblivion.

BTW: I think you are right about people still testing out the site. I have posted a couple of questions that I could probably have Googled, but (1) I wanted to earn some reputation points so I could vote, and (2) I had been wanting to play around with some of the features of the site and posted a question or two more quickly than I ordinarily would on a discussion group.


Stackoverflow voting system already deals with this well.

When there are several choices of answers the best answers are being voted for. I have not seen one top voted answer that was:

Tried www.google.com?

This says to me that this is not a good answer.


I think that people should try and find the answer using existing resources before posting a new question.

While this might just mean a quick search through Stack Overflow and a visit to www.letmegooglethatforyou.com/, that is still much better than immediately posting questions without looking a bit on one's own.

It's not very efficient to be answering the same question over and over. Follow good netiquette and respect the time of others around you.


I think it is completely appropriate to tell someone that they could have easily solved an issue by checking google first - as long as you also give them the answer.


Personally I would agree in a lot of cases, however, I will also point out that it has become apparent to me that MANY people just do NOT know how to effectivly search google...

  • 1
    But then how do they survive as programmers?!
    – Axeman
    Jul 20, 2009 at 0:00

I wouldn't post try google.com.. If I am interested in helping someone I will do the search and actually find information relevant and link to those pages. If its that obvious that they should just go to google.. why bother wasting the time to type that?

Sometimes people do searches but still have trouble or they don't understand something. Google finds stuff.. but is the the right stuff?

I believe this site is about helping people. I would either help them as best I can or go on to the next question.


I hate the "You should do an internet search" answer to any question. It's the equivalent of saying "I'm not interested in wasting my time with you."

More important, and something to remember, not everyone has google-fu. Someone could spend hours looking for a TV show they vaguely remember and fail, because they don't think in a way that's conducive to quick effective search results.

  • 2
    I've come across at least one question where the answer was obtained by googling the question verbatim and clicking on the #1 hit. A good-faith effort to solve the problem before asking for help is, I think, all anyone expects.
    – Mike F
    Sep 19, 2008 at 19:45
  • 2
    It's saying "I'm not interested in wasting my time with you" and at the same time it's saying "I'm wasting both mine and yours"
    – Vegar
    Aug 21, 2009 at 9:25
  • 1
    Upvoted, but what it really says is "I'd rather score points off you than offer any help"
    – Phil Lello
    Apr 15, 2011 at 18:12

Formulating a good query isn't trivial. Rather than just saying "RTFM", why not give a useful pointer like "Search Google for foo bar -baz"?

Of course, it's often nicer to just give them a direct answer but a Google pointer can be useful when the question is too broad or debated.


I recently joined the stack. Since then I've came across quite a few very interesting posts which actually referred to Google Searches and believe me, I've never came across them on Google. So, some may be more effective at searching and this site proves it.

Why re-invent the wheel anyway? The information is too much out there, it's time to organize it.


Google-questions is not a problem. Google-answers are.

Either answer the question or just go away.

Before you answer a question, you should have at least some knowledge about or experience with the given topic.

Just because your google query results in 50000+ results, doesn't mean that an answer is found among them.

If you find a answer among them, give a link to the result that gives the answer, not the google query returning 50000 possible related topics.

Don't assume that the person asking have not tried google. See if maybe he want's something else than what your 50000-google-results gives.

  • 2
    Yeah, but what if the actual, best answer is in the first page of hits? In fact, what if it's in the first screenful, so the user wouldn't even need to scroll down in order to see ithe answer? That's the kind of thing that bothers me. Whether it's not even bothering to search on Google or not even bothering to search on StackOverflow, these people are putting it all on me to do all of their research for them, for free. Aug 21, 2009 at 12:33

This comes up on so many sites, so it is finally good to address the issue. Google searching, is to some ability, a skill. Too often we assume that someone has not even tried Google or is too lazy when the problem is they have been entering in the incorrect query terms to find what they are looking for. In addition, knowing something about the question will lead to better success than someone who really has very little knowledge on what they are talking about. Often times, the user has an intuitive feel what they want but are unable to properly describe it with written language. Finally, since so much is written in English, our friends who do not natively speak English could have a much tougher time finding what they need if they are unable to represent what they are looking for properly. So please, for the sake of the Google-challenged have some compassion and demonstrate you expertise on the matter one more time. That being said, if the only way you were able to answer the question was to Google it, please do not answer the question.


Before I litter the comments any more, I'd just like to say:

  1. Never just tell someone to google it. An answer telling someone to google will turn up in search results and hide an actual answer.

  2. Never post a link to a search engine query. The chances of someone else getting the same results as you, especially after time has passed, are very slim indeed.

  3. Unless you're using internal SO links, please summarise the contents of the target link, otherwise when the link inevitably dies away, the knowledge is lost (or at least hidden)

  4. It usually takes fewer keystrokes to type "look at <Project HowToDoWhatever>" than it takes to type "You idiot, you could have googled this!"

I dread to think how many hours of my life I've wasted clicking through search results telling me to google the answer.

Anyway, my turn on the soapbox is over.


Let's face it. The answer for every single question not specific to this website IS out there. Whether on Google, in a library, someone's diary/personal notes, research documents, etc. That is not the point of any Question/Answer website. Using google is just one of the ways of finding an answer, as is asking a question here.

Just like it was said here before: Answer it, or let it be.

There is no reason to tell the person searching for an answer to go look elsewhere.

  • Certainly not! The question should add context to the problem at hand so that the answers can be the knowledge base that these sites set apart from google. Considering these sites just to be another entry point for Google is disrespectful to the users sharing their experience here.
    – rene
    Dec 24, 2015 at 15:21
  • Can you please explain your answer and make it more clear what you mean? Dec 24, 2015 at 15:53

I realize that there are already a lot of answers on this thread stating exactly the same thing that I am about to, but for the purpose of showing support and spreading awareness that a great many people share the opinion I'm going to post anyways.

If someone comes to you and asks you a question that you have the knowledge required to answer than it is your duty to answer them. This is how humanity improves itself, it is how knowledge is shared, and the basis for which foundations are set upon which new knowledge may grow.

Each and every one of us started out knowing nothing. Through a painstaking process of endless questions we have gained all of the knowledge that we now possess. For each of the questions we have asked, we were forced to turn to someone else who had the knowledge; and for each answer received we depended on that person to answer regardless of how simple or absurd it might have seemed to them.

I think we should all look back on the questions that we have been forced to ask, and imagine where we would be now if each of the people we asked had scorned us for our lack of knowing rather than answering us. How much knowledge would we now have? What if this process happened to every person you have ever met? Where would we be as a society?

It's easy to take what you have learned and leverage it over another for the sake of your own ego. It's a trap that everyone has fallen into from time to time. I know that I too have done so more than once. But wisdom tempers knowledge over time and I came to realize how childish and ridiculous my attitude was.

For the obligatory tl;dr: Think twice about looking down your nose at someone who asks you a simple question, for most questions you will ever ask will be simple to the one you ask it of.

  • 1
    -1: "If someone comes to you and asks you a question that you have the knowledge required to answer than it is your duty to answer them." That way lies madness and frustration. Feb 29, 2012 at 23:04
  • Sounds as if you didn't bother reading past that statement. It is exactly that kind of attitude that detracts from the greater good... particularly in communities exclusively dedicated towards answering questions.
    – Nathan Cox
    Feb 29, 2012 at 23:40
  • 1
    Agree with @JonEricson. 1st: if it were your work, it would be your "duty"; 2nd: you don't NEED to ask in order to get answers to your problems; sometimes, you need to activate that grey stuff you've inside your head and work out a solution by yourself; you've been lucky to have always around someone to answer your infinite questions; for the rest of the people (or just me?) often is a matter of making sense of what you have and start thinking. And, I assure you, you learn A LOT just by NOT ASKING. Incessant asking leads to brain atrophy, and you get dependend from the others. [1/2] Feb 29, 2012 at 23:46
  • [2/2] What happens when you face a problem and there's noone to ask? you're simply stuck, panic growing in your head. C'mon, we're on a lucky era were information is just one click away, you just need to learn how to search, how to filter the results, how to make sense of them, and how to work by yourself. If a question is easily answerable by Googling a bit, and you still decide to invest your time in it instead, you're actually just offering your neck to an help vampire who lives on clinging onto the others. And you're not helping him, just giving him another piece of fish to save the day. Feb 29, 2012 at 23:49
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    I did read past that statement, but I admit to not paying much attention. Now I have read the rest of the post, and I don't see anything that qualifies the "duty" statement, so -1. I have a son who used to ask me how to spell words. I answered him... for a while. Now I tell him to look in a dictionary. Have I failed in my duty? Feb 29, 2012 at 23:54
  • So... where do you guys think that these answers come from that you're finding on Google? If not for people willing to sit down and explain something, you'd be screwed. There would be no answers on google, no books on topics you're researching. You'd be left to work every problem out from the very basest of beginnings, and we'd still be in the middle ages. Or are you claiming that the "Grey stuff" in your heads has, for the entirety of your life, come up with answers all on it's own without external influence?
    – Nathan Cox
    Mar 1, 2012 at 0:37
  • Looks like your definition of "asnwer" is pretty wide. A simple example from the tags I have experience with: "PHP - how do you concatenate strings?" Please don't tell me you aren't able to answer this by browsing the official manual. This is the kind of questions I refer to: plenty of docs, books and tutorials put you in the position to answer yourself with a minimal effort; they're written to prevent common questions by already providing the material to answer. That's a "google question", there's no excuse for someone unwilling to make such a tiny effort Mar 1, 2012 at 6:34
  • even still, you can answer the question with a simple "PHP.net hosts the official manual for the language. if you read the section on string manipulation you'll find the info you need." That qualifies as a valid and concise answer (I never said you had to write a technical manual on the subject for them). "Ask Google," however, is not an acceptable answer.
    – Nathan Cox
    Mar 1, 2012 at 8:08

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