Sometimes questions come up on here (for example, what is such-and-such a property of such-and-such a bike), and they leave me thinking that the poster would have spent their time better by visiting the manufacturer's web site (for instance) rather than posting a question on SE. Not so much bad questions, but questions where SE is probably not the most efficient route to finding an answer.

Maybe this could be because they're newbs and are not sure of how to find this information on the web. If this is possible. Maybe they're just hoping someone here will do the donkey work for them. Maybe something else?

My own approach is generally to drop hints (most likely in a comment) to guide the OP, but not to solve the problem for them. Other alternatives that spring to mind are (i) just answer the question for them and be done with it, or (ii) ignore the question on the grounds that another member will provide an answer.

But I'm just wondering how other people react to this type of question?

  • 2
    Or "how do I find out ...". I have to restrain myself from posting an answer "type your question into a search engine". And I know that lmgtfy is blocked here, presumably so people post search links rather than instructions on how to use a search engine.
    – Móż
    Apr 2, 2014 at 21:20

1 Answer 1


It depends. Some of them seem to be genuine questions from people that haven't thought to include the "what I have done to find the answer" and "what I already know" details, so I'll ask for those in comments.

If those requests are ignored, or the question really is worthless, I'll flag them or downvote them, or both. Especially if the asker has more than the 101 rep score that suggests they've been active on the site. I don't have huge patience for people that want me to work for them when they've already decided it's not worth doing that work themselves.

The "ignore" option I do occasionally take, usually because it's something I know nothing about, or because the question doesn't clearly fall into one of the above categories. To me, that's the "wait and see" option rather than the "someone else's problem" option.

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