I brought this up on JLU a while ago too. I have some potential questions that I could easily find on other sites just by Googling. For example, the chronological order of a bunch of series/movies in a franchise.

Should these questions not be asked since it's easy to find the answer? Or should we ask them anyway in order to boost what our SE has to offer?

8 Answers 8



"Too Simple" is something which has been discussed on Stack Exchange before, and was implemented on other sites with a General Reference close reason. It was considered a failure though, since all it results in is users drawing arbitrary lines in the sand for when a question is "too simple", and what sites are considered general reference.

Furthermore, a tool already exists for questions which are too simple, it's called a downvote.

This question does not show any research effort; it is unclear or not useful (click again to undo)

As you can see, the case of a question which is too simple is covered by does not show any research effort. With this in mind, there's really no reason to close these questions as well, because down votes are already a sufficient way of dealing with them.


Yes. If a question is good, on-topic question, which is worth asking, why not?


If you know the answer to said question, you can even answer it yourself!


I think we should allow them. Even if you can find the answer on another site, we want people to come here. By asking these questions here (and providing answers), we are potentially drawing more visitors to the site when they Google the same question which in turn leads to more views and possibly more members if they like the site so much.

These questions should be within reason, though. For example, simply asking "Who is the author of Bleach?" is not a very good question and should not be encouraged just because we allow questions that you can answer with some Googling.

  • -1 For the your closing paragraph. Stack Exchange has tried the "too simple" approach before, with General Reference, and it was considered to be an absolute failure. It just results in users drawing arbitrary lines in the sand when something is "too simple."
    – Wipqozn
    Commented Dec 16, 2012 at 17:54
  • 3
    @Wipqozn So you are OK with me posting questions asking who the author of every manga is?
    – atlantiza
    Commented Dec 16, 2012 at 20:51
  • 1
    We don't ban questions because they're stupid, we down vote them. Which is what I would do to any question like that, since it doesn't show any research.
    – Wipqozn
    Commented Dec 16, 2012 at 21:34
  • @Wipqozn I don't see how this causes you to disagree with me. If we agree that they are poor questions, then what is the disagreement?
    – atlantiza
    Commented Dec 16, 2012 at 21:42
  • I disagree that they should be closed, or deemed off-topic (which is what I thought you meant in your last paragraph). Too simple is a down vote reason, not a close reason.
    – Wipqozn
    Commented Dec 16, 2012 at 21:58
  • @Wipqozn I never said if they should be closed, deemed off-topic, or down voted. I just mean we shouldn't encourage these just because we say it's OK to ask things that you could find on Google.
    – atlantiza
    Commented Dec 16, 2012 at 22:07
  • My mistake then. Your last sentence really sounded to me like you thought these questions should be closed, and were suggesting as such.
    – Wipqozn
    Commented Dec 16, 2012 at 23:40
  • @Wipqozn I've edited my post to clarify the second paragraph
    – atlantiza
    Commented Dec 17, 2012 at 0:42
  • 1
    @Wipqozn Whether they should be closed depends on the Site's decision. And General reference is not an absolute failure: some things are really too basic. Google it first then you come here and ask.
    – Alenanno
    Commented Dec 17, 2012 at 10:57
  • On one side, we disallow too difficult questions. On the other, we disallow too easy questions. How many questions will remain at this rate? Being too eager to close anything in this phase instead of using downvote constructively is detriment and is harming this community future, imo.
    – chirale
    Commented Dec 18, 2012 at 14:25
  • @chirale where have we decided that "too difficult" questions aren't allowed?
    – atlantiza
    Commented Dec 18, 2012 at 16:19
  • Some recent closing, like that queation about amv: that off-topic vote if you read discussions on meta it's about how difficult is to answer because it involves the copyright laws and we are not lawyers. It seem a "too difficult" exclusion to me.
    – chirale
    Commented Dec 18, 2012 at 17:25
  • @chirale I think only one person argued that it was too difficult for us since we aren't lawyers. Others just thought it was off topic rather than too difficult.
    – atlantiza
    Commented Dec 18, 2012 at 20:12

If the question is really easy, please no. We shouldn't be aiming at repeating available information in the internet.

If you want to treat something that is simple but you think that the internet lacks proof or back up for that, then it's a different matter. But asking things like "What's Naruto's last name?" (a stupid example) is really... meh. :)

It's also true that not all information is easy the same way for everybody but let's aim up rather than down.

  • It would be nice if the person who downvoted would explain what they disagree with...
    – atlantiza
    Commented Dec 17, 2012 at 18:25

There's no stupid question, just stupid people asking question... joking.

In all seriousness, Jeff Atwood said one and hundred times that newb questions are allowed and welcomed. Stack Exchange aims to be an authoritative library of information, which users comes and get their questions answered.

Now, don't expect us to upvote a question that lacks research.


I have two (possibly conflicting) pieces of advice.

If you can google for the title of your question and get a solid page of relevant results, I wouldn't advise that YOU ask that particular question.

On the other hand, I wouldn't close 'obvious' questions based on only that. Presumably the person asking the question doesn't find it obvious.

The problem with a 'general reference' close reason for this site is that we don't really have a 'general reference'. On SO, I understand closing as 'general reference' any question asking about parameters to a builtin PHP function... that's clearly documented on the php website. However, the closest equivalent we're going to have would be the producer/artist/authors websites, which are generally not or only partially translated into English.


Adding onto earlier comments, I'd say yes, if only since it would be fairly difficult to draw a line to distinguish between "simple" questions and ones that aren't "simple". Moreover, the downvoting mechanism works to discourage questions like that anyway, particularly since one of the suggested reasons for downvoting is "shows little research effort".


The answer is no. If it's something that is easily found via a google search then it really doesn't add a lot of value to this site. If you allowed such questions then the site would be nothing but self-answered questions quoting other sites.

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