A lot of questions such as this one (which also happens to be a duplicate) is very easy to Google. Should we be downvoting and/or closing them because of there easy Google-abilty? (Pretending that it isn't a dupe) Stack Overflow seems to use this as a reason to do such a lot.

What should we do in the case that a question is easy to Google?

  • 9
    Easy to Google for a Computer engineer is hard to Google for my computer illiterate Mum whose 1st language is not English. Took her a long time to stop calling the Firefox launcher the Internet button :/ Need to consider all types of user.
    – NGRhodes
    Commented Jun 30, 2014 at 15:11
  • 1
    @NGRhodes SO is actually hard to use as a newbie. When I started programming I remember that website with the arrows next to the numbers that were in order and there were lots of lines in between text and that weird strongish logo with the lines, being really hard to use. (SO) I'm not sure why it was, probably just a lack of brain stuff I do however still agree with your point and +1.
    – cubecubed
    Commented Jul 3, 2014 at 5:01
  • @NGRhodes tell your mom it is time for a dist-upgrade
    – prusswan
    Commented Jul 9, 2014 at 2:37

6 Answers 6


I did a google search of some similar terms and none of the links I clicked on were as good as the answer on the question you linked.

I would prefer answering simple questions here because the community can fix them and update them, most blogs aren't like that, and there's a bunch of misinformation out there. I'd rather have a new user ask a question here than end up on on an out of date page somewhere.

  • 1
    +1 for the new user bit. Okay, this makes sense as well. The one I linked is a dupe though. The dupe has just as good answers.
    – cubecubed
    Commented Jun 26, 2014 at 2:42
  • 1
    Yeah in this case flag them for merge, might as well have them all in one place. Commented Jun 26, 2014 at 3:47
  • +1 for the logic
    – Elder Geek
    Commented Jun 27, 2014 at 14:13

9 times out of 10 if a question can be easily Googled, one of those first results will be an AskUbuntu Q&A, or at least SE. So if that's the case the question should marked as a duplicate. If there is no AskUbuntu result then I would argue that the Q&A resource should be created. Many things on this site are easily discover other places, documentation, courses, etc. but the point of SE is to distill this into an easy to digest Q&A.

  • someone needs to create the original "simple" questions though in the first place, otherwise it is not a duplicate and is simply a question that is understood only by people who ask that question, but then is thought of as "common knowledge"
    – sbergeron
    Commented Jun 28, 2014 at 22:34
  • @sbergeron: Yes, in which case the question under consideration is a good question and should be carefully tended so that it can be the one you close others as a dupe of.
    – SamB
    Commented Jul 2, 2014 at 2:57

The downvote tooltip says it clearly:

This question does not show any research effort; it is unclear or not useful

If the question itself doesn't provide proof of what are their findings, what they tried, etc. feel free to downvote.

Note: there are questions that apart of not showing research effort are overly vague, those close them as unclear.

  • 3
    I understand research as in "Why my USB mouse does not work?" without providing any dmesg output or any clue you tried to solve it. I think questions like "how to get the IP address", which are obvious when you have some experience, are not so obvious for newcomers and they may have no starting point at all. Sometimes giving an answer may be easier than closing the question :P Commented Jul 8, 2014 at 13:08

If the question is "easy" to answer, then many people will be able to respond and the burden can easily(!) be shared. Those who find this beneath them will, naturally, let other stake on the task. I have found that Google is most useful when I don't know the right words to AskUbuntu. For instance, as a long-standing Windows user, I knew that I wanted to create a desktop shortcut to a file that I would need to access quickly. Eventually, Googling taught me to look not for "shortcuts" but "links". Once facing in the right direction, I was able to solve the problem.


Should questions that ask easily Google-able question be closed

In most cases yes, but possibly not all.

Some topics may be easily Google-able if you know the right terminology, but the person asking the question may not know the right terminology.

If you want to find a technical answer on Google but you don't know the terminology (what the thing you're looking for is called) you can spend a lot of time and get nowhere, even if someone else may be able to find something in 10 seconds.

Whereas in most cases an easily Google-able question indicates the person asking the question did a poor level of prior research, occasionally there may be a different explanation.


No, the resources need to be created, sometimes having a variety of pages on a topic can let there be several methods, if one does not work, then another might. If you are googling it, then many answers truly is beneficial, and really does not add "clutter" even if it is a duplicate, as I am pretty sure that the amount of people who methodically go through the individual questions alphabetically is a vast...minority.

  • why do people disagree?
    – sbergeron
    Commented Jul 22, 2014 at 14:37

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