I find many questions on http://unix.stackexchange.com/ which, I feel, should be searched for on Google before asking here. I am sure that there are many others who feel the same. Does SE have some provision for preventing such stuffs?

What I feel is that people who ask such questions here are either too lazy to Google or they're too conscious of reputation score on SE. Recently I came across few such questions and that's what made me write this post.

Can such users be requested via email to try to do some homework before posting here? Or, in extreme case, can they be suspended/banned? In this case homework just involves querying the question on Google.

Sometimes you query Google, but you don't use the right words. I myself am very lazy, and proud of it. I google, look at a few results, and if I don't find it I go to SE. Next time I look for the same thing, odds are that I will use very similar wording, and this time the SE answer will pop up first. – ripper234 Mar 22 '11 at 8:09
I've noticed a more nefarious version of this: rather obvious questions being asked that are answered in the first page of google results, that are then answered by the original poster - sometimes very quickly. – jamespo Apr 3 '11 at 20:05
@ripper234: And I've considered downvoting some of your questions on the grounds that they don't show any research effort, which is the primary use stated on the tooltip of the downvote button. I realize the value of having questions asked and answered in a way that gets found, but if you can't show in your question sone sincere attempts at solving your own problem, expect downvotes! – Caleb Jun 25 '11 at 9:41
@Caleb - be my guest, downvoting questions is free. – ripper234 Jun 26 '11 at 6:06
@ripper234- Downvoting costs rep – tjameson Jul 5 '11 at 9:41
up vote 12 down vote accepted

As Tshepang pointed out, the current thinking is here


The TL;DR version of it is:

Can we improve on the resources that are currently on the internet for this question? Yes or no, and why?

As expressed in handy chart form:

So according to the chart, all questions should be answered if they're not trivial. Hope I understood it correctly. :) If that's the policy then I don't have any issues. After all it's founders' and community moderators' lookout. Thanks for the response and the chart. :) – Dharmit Mar 18 '11 at 15:05
Add to this chart: "Is the answer posted on Expert's Exchange, but only visible if you pay $12?" -> Yes -> For the love of all that is holy, answer the question. (Keep knowledge free!) – kivetros Mar 22 '11 at 16:24
@kiv I would file that under "otherwise in need of improvement" :) – Jeff Atwood Mar 22 '11 at 22:01
I think this is the right way to go about this problem. I believe Google's algorithms put a lot of stock in stackexchange content. Having well-answered questions available on stackexchange sites via Google searches is surely a good thing. – boehj Apr 12 '11 at 7:06

Official Stack Exchange goal is to have Google queries reach its sites, unless the questions fulfill this criteria. Note however that the founders of these sites are split on this one (as mentioned on that link).

I’ve always thought that if the goal is to stop really basic questions being asked, then answering them was the best way to do that — because then they come up in the auto-search that the ask box performs – as opposed to closing them, which doesn’t prevent anyone asking them in future, and may well put a first-time asker off the site for good. But I do get it’s a tricky balance between the hoards of clueless, inconsiderate casual askers, and the experts you need to make sites like this work. – Paul D. Waite Mar 29 '11 at 16:18

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