I just ran across a link to LMGTFY on Ask Ubuntu. In the past, I've found it offensive when users have posted LMGTFY links for me.

When, if ever, is it acceptable to link to LMGTFY on Ask Ubuntu?

  • 12
    Personally try to burn with fire when a comment or answer pops up with lmgtfy - luckily it's been blacklisted in chat and hopefully there won't be any other major outbreaks of it here. Commented Mar 8, 2011 at 14:13
  • Discussion on meta.stackoverflow.com. Commented Sep 21, 2011 at 15:24
  • @MarcoCeppi Not quite... the site now allows for stramlined bit.ly links
    – Amith KK
    Commented Dec 27, 2011 at 12:41
  • 4
    The thing about LMGTFY answers is that once the question is indexed by Google, it becomes an infinite loop - the popular Google result will be the one with LMGTFY as an answer. Commented May 15, 2012 at 5:36

5 Answers 5


When, if ever, is it acceptable to link to LMGTFY on Ask Ubuntu?

Never, as far as I am concerned. If it is a problem we can blacklist it.

  • 3
    Agreed. When you want to help and you can't answer directly, I'd say it's acceptable to post some links you already googled (and read and sorted and analyzed and classified and slected which links are best for the topic...), not just point to LMGTFY. I agree with ændrük, too, in that it can be offensive (I'd say even useless for the asker, as he might not know what precise information to seek withing google's results).
    – luri
    Commented Mar 8, 2011 at 11:07
  • 23
    +1 Imagine the following.. the top hit on Google for a question is AskUbuntu. The top answer on AskUbuntu says use Google.
    – trampster
    Commented Mar 12, 2011 at 10:06
  • 1
    @luri - I think there's guidelines elsewhere that have established that a link alone does not constitute an answer. Some actual information needs to be included with the link so that the answer can stand on its own.
    – Iszi
    Commented Mar 16, 2011 at 21:04

I believe that posting links to lmgtfy here on ask is highly inadvisable and just plain stupid. People come here to AskUbuntu with the intent on getting good information or links to good information, not a link to somewhere where they explain "This is how you google ". Answers that only post to lmgtfy links, in my opinion, should be removed by moderators when flagged by a user.

  • 9
    Oh, they will be. Commented Mar 31, 2011 at 16:10

I do not think that it is necessary to use that here on Ask Ubuntu, as it would be very counter-intuitive to Ubuntu's helpful nature. I've been given a link with LMGTFY before in chat, and I found it rather off-putting, as it seemed like the issuer was being one of those "elitist" people who often say RTFM.

Unless the question and answer were done in a humorous light, it should probably not be used. It would be far better to share links you've found via Google than a post that just gives them a list of results, not necessarily even answers.


I think Wikipedia covers that best. LMGTFY is a variation of RTFM:

I would like to highlight this often ignored objectivization:

There are contexts and participants for which a gradient of RTFM (in)appropriateness exists. These are the gray areas between black and white.

If RTFM and LMGTFY are offensive depends entirely on the context. There is no inherent evilness or malicousness in it; LMGTFY is widely believed to be amusing even to recipients. It can be and certainly is used in inappropriate and unhelpful fashions (much like newcomers are often ridiculed with the bobince link on SO).

That being said, I cannot imagine a lot of cases on Ask Ubuntu (currently) where it would be sensible to see that link. Ubuntu still lacks too much coherent documentation to warrant it. There are certainly dumb questions which can be answered by copying them verbatim into Google, but those seem the exception.

Your example question is one of those instances where it would indeed look offensive. (Apart from that it's not a particularly technical question.)


I think, if you feel the urge to use that because the question seems just so stupid or so lazy:

  • consider that the person might be much newer to computers (or Ubuntu) than you are
  • consider they might not be expressing themselves well, eg not Where can I download a C++ reference (which you can google) but "how can I get that through an Ubuntu package"

and if that fails

  • take a break from askubuntu
  • leave the question and let someone else answer it
  • downvote the question
  • flag the question
  • 3
    And consider that once the question is indexed by Google, the Google result for that question will become the question itself. If it contains no helpful answer other than LMGTFY, then it becomes an infinite loop leading to no solution. Commented May 15, 2012 at 5:37

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