I now and then see comments like this on questions:

first hit after typing "difference between stub and mock " into google: martinfowler.com/articles/mocksArentStubs.html Can you explain why I am googling for you?

imho all programming questions should be welcome, even if they are very easy to find by googling. To be the #1 one place, SO should contain answers for ALL programming questions. Or am I wrong?

  • 5
    Blog reference: Are some questions too simple?
    – DMA57361
    Commented Apr 26, 2011 at 8:54
  • 3
    Those comments are generally inappropriate. Some veteran users get tired of answering questions that seem too simple to them, but there's absolutely nothing wrong with asking them. The idea is that Stack Overflow becomes the first hit on Google for programming-related questions; if we simply refer people to do a Google search, that isn't likely to happen. In fact, it ends up being self-defeating! Sometimes these comments are helpful (this one provided a link to an ostensibly-useful article), other times they're not and I flag them as spam every time. I encourage you to do the same. Commented Apr 26, 2011 at 9:19
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    The link is useful, yes. But the comment is a bit disrespectful and will most likely scare away new users. I find it amusing that the "veterans" find time to write comments like that but not to write a proper answer. Simply ignore the question and move a long or write a proper answer or a helpful comment.
    – jgauffin
    Commented Apr 26, 2011 at 9:26
  • "...We feel that the world is awash in questions, but not answers. Answers are the real unit of work in any Q&A system. Therefore, the only logical thing to do is to maximize the happiness and enjoyment of answerers. If this means aggressively downvoting or closing unworthy and uninteresting questions, so be it. Without a community of people willing to answer questions, it really doesn’t matter if there are questions at all, does it?" (Optimizing For Pearls, Not Sand)
    – gnat
    Commented Sep 21, 2013 at 21:32

2 Answers 2


Also related topics: Embrace the non-Googlers and Ban lmgtfy (let me google that for you) links.

Back to your question, yes, every question as long as it is in the range of the site is welcome. At the moment there's a discussion/test going on about such simple questions, but I think everyone can agree that Searchmachine-Links aren't helpful in any case. Though, I think the community agreed that telling the OP that a searchmachine yielded the following result (not including the searchmachine-link, but the result with further information) is accepted.

Though, I guess Pekka will show up within the next 15 minutes and elaborate that further.

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    I already did, but deleted again because I felt like I was repeating myself :) Anyway, in the case the OP shows as an example, I agree that the "Google it" comment was totally out of line and should be flagged. "What is the difference between a mock and a stub" is a perfectly valid SO question. Whether it has been answered elsewhere on the Internet already is irrelevant.
    – Pekka
    Commented Apr 26, 2011 at 8:55
  • @Pekka: And I already wondered why I was faster then you. ;) Anyway, do you have any further links to this topic you can share? I always feel like I've been missing a lot of discussion on this topic. Commented Apr 26, 2011 at 8:58
  • I think everyone has that feeling. Meta is just so huge. I think the links you already point to are some of the most relevant.
    – Pekka
    Commented Apr 26, 2011 at 8:59

No, not all questions are welcome.

It's explained pretty well in the FAQ under "What kind of questions should I not ask here".

So for example, question like:

int x = 1 + 1; Please tell me what will be the value of x?

Is not welcome.

To be #1, SO should host questions with some quality that have future value as well, then have good answers on those questions.

As for your specific example of Google, it depends - if someone is really facing a problem with his/her code then it has a place in SO and such comments are the proper way to answer in my opinion.

  • Hmm, is the question you suggest off-topic because the value of x is likely to change, thus losing its future value? Commented Apr 26, 2011 at 9:20
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    @Cody - yes, that would make it too localized instead of off topic. Please don't tell Joel I said that!
    – user50049
    Commented Apr 26, 2011 at 9:23

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