As the days on Private Beta are passing by, we have been seeing quite a few questions which might have a proper solution(s) which could be found by just making a simple Google (or whatever search engine you prefer) search for the same.

  • Should such questions be marked to be of Low Quality?
  • Should copy-paste answers for such questions be allowed?
  • Or, should we avoid such questions and answers altogether?
  • Or, shall we allow such cases giving them the benefit of doubt that they are genuine?
  • 3
    Any question is google-able. If we want this site to be google-able itself, it has to have good answers to any google-able question.
    – Enjabain
    Feb 10, 2014 at 16:00
  • 2
    To expand, many people may have found an answer on google already, but they want to ask it here anyway to get the opinion of some software enthusiasts.
    – Enjabain
    Feb 10, 2014 at 16:17
  • I think this is very important to establish, as it will dramatically change our scope and the number of questions we allow to be on topic
    – Flyk
    Feb 10, 2014 at 16:25
  • What do you mean by "Should such questions be marked to be of Low Quality?"?
    – JohnB
    Feb 10, 2014 at 16:47
  • @JohnB I thought I was clear. It just meant: Should we avoid such questions considering them to be of low quality. Wasn't that clear?
    – D V
    Feb 10, 2014 at 16:51
  • @D_V still a little unclear to me. "Low quality" has a special meaning on SE, especially when you prepend it with "very" since answers can be flagged as very low quality. That's where the confusion is coming in for me. "Marked" implies an action taking place. That could be either downvoting, closing, flagging, deleting, etc. "Avoiding" implies the absence of an action taking place, i.e. ignoring them and hoping they go away
    – JohnB
    Feb 10, 2014 at 17:00
  • @JohnB No, I was not making that kind of a statement. I just borrowed "low quality" (VLQ was the first thing that came to my mind). So, I was only making the literal statement.
    – D V
    Feb 10, 2014 at 18:08

4 Answers 4


So far it has been totally allowed and even I would have to say promoted.

At least the question with the second highest votes (17) so far has a top answer with 9 votes. That top answer is findable as the second result on a google search for "windows unlock file software". (Also for that matter quite a few other potentially very workable solutions)

However there are a few difference between the Google search results and the answer here:

  • Here is unbiased user answers hopefully with a fair bit of experience behind the answer. (At least it should be and any case where there are biased answers people should certainly specify that they are biased)
  • Often here will have a simple (or full on in some cases so far) how to do X that the user wants to do with that software.

So basically I see this as more a site dedicated to software comparison and unbiased used derived recommendations. So to continue with my example above, yes there are a dozen different "file unlocker" programs available but other places don't (with a quick look) mention the adware (which for non-IT users can be good - i.e. I have had to deal with users installing the adware from those things), and a quick how I use it/often I have to do X instead of Y because Z.

In Summary: Unless it is a Google search with only one answer I see no problem with Google-able questions.


I think the question should state why "Just searching it" didn't help (and not just THAT it did not help but WHY it did not help).

If they do: great thats a well researched answer.

If they don't: Thats a poor question, one should post a comment asking if the Questioner just searched for it already and why the results where bad. Without fix, its VLQ and should be closed.


Double case study going on with this question: Are there any alternatives to Flappy Bird. Representing both game recommendation questions and easily google-able content.

I don't doubt that there are easily google-able solutions, but I also believe that would be the case for many many questions on this site. Here is some food for thought:

  • Are we making easily google-able questions off topic?
  • Are these allowed since we're asking here for a higher quality opinion than the rest of the internet?
  • What counts as 'sufficient research'?

If these kinds of questions are allowed, perhaps we need answers to these questions as well:

  • What does an upvote mean on Software Recommendations?
  • What does a downvote mean on Software Recommendations?

Note: As this is a test question, it's purely for science, it's a little lower quality than I personally would like to ask and I'm happy to delete it in the event that is the community consensus we reach. No drama here!

  • Just to be clear - as the person who raised the googlability on THAT specific question, my problem wasn't so much with the quality of the question vs. site expectations, but with the quality of the question vs. expectations of a case-study question (which IMHO should be higher). In other words, I would NOT have posted my comment or objected had the question NOT been positioned as a case study in the first place. In short: it was OK question for the site. It was not the best question for the case study.
    – DVK
    Feb 12, 2014 at 2:17
  • @DVK instances like a game being removed from the market are relatively rare - when they do happen though, people are going to ask for alternatives and this question showcases that particular instance
    – Flyk
    Feb 12, 2014 at 8:40
  • Also, I'm thinking there is an echo in here... echo echo cho ho o
    – Flyk
    Feb 12, 2014 at 8:40

I am against forbidding questions just because "they could have been googled". If they are poor quality questions, just use your downvotes if you think that is appropriate. If you are downvoting because of this, I'd recommend leaving a comment explaining your action to provide constructive feedback.

These questions should not be closed or deleted for being too simple. I'd much rather spend the time asking for clarification to see if the user has already googled and find out why those top solutions did not work.

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