I use Stack Overflow a lot. When I have any programming question in any language, Stack Overflow answers are the first to come up in my Google searches. From my understanding, that is the intent.

Is that what we want to have happen to all the StackExchange forums? Be the first hit when anyone has a question? In Stack Overflow, I've seen people ask basic questions and get shot down because there are other resources on the web that answer those same questions.

For example (is subject to but not limited to):

How often should I replace the strings on my guitar?

If you Google that same questions, there's millions of videos and other forums and articles that answer that same question.

I guess my real question/concern is: Do we ask popular questions on this site that already have adequate answers on the web?

3 Answers 3


My opinion: Yes - absolutely!

From my experience, 'beginner' questions are much more well received here than on StackOverflow, perhaps the community are less bitter due to the smaller amount of questions received daily! At this point in the site's life, I think building up this stock of 'the basics' questions is really important, as you say, to make the site a top internet resource.

I often ask interesting (hopefully!) questions, that I imagine I could find out myself by googleing, as I see music.SE as a much better format for the question than a lot of existing internet resources. At this point, it also helps in creating activity, brings other people to the site through Google, and giving other existing users questions to get stuck into.

Final suggestion - if you're asking a question you know a bit about yourself, I'd suggest 'self-answering'. By doing this, you're purely creating 'a resource' on the site. I've no doubt other people will still throw in a answer too if they think they can add something!


You have identified an anti-pattern with the user-base on StackOverflow. It is against the intent of Stack Exchange to down-vote or burninate questions that have answers that are discoverable via google. If anything, the point of the site is to make sure that all of the common questions are here, at Stack Exchange.


It would be good to do a simple research before posting a question. The more the research, the better the question.

If you look at @NReilingh♦'s comment at my answer here:

Previous research is heavily encouraged -- the more effort you put into your question, the better answer you will get. I think I heard Joel Spolsky elaborate on this in SE podcast #59 from a few weeks ago.

From what I have seen, beginner questions are not frowned upon here. But a question like

What is the standard tuning for the guitar

which is found by a simple Google Search should be discouraged.

  • +1. I feel though that the questions we have on non-standard tunings, non-standard instruments etc are very welcome here as they can be difficult to get good answers to elsewhere.
    – Doktor Mayhem Mod
    Commented Nov 15, 2014 at 17:19
  • 6
    Note that previous research doesn't equal finding a good answer. Google can sometimes fill you with terrible answers or answers that are not suitable for your expertise (incomplete, incorrect, badly formulated, badly worded, confusing, too technical, not technical enough, etc). It's ok to expect previous research, but we shouldn't assume results from that research. With that in mind, I don't think "which is found by a simple google search" is a good measure. Commented Nov 16, 2014 at 8:03
  • 2
    Questions that include "what have you tried" are better than ones that lack this component.
    – Dave
    Commented Nov 20, 2014 at 16:20
  • Personally, I tend to answer ones that don't feel like I'm just being a human LMGTFY, but instead create a more wiki-type or even opinion-based answer - I know opinion is always off-topic, but sometimes it just fits nicely.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Nov 24, 2014 at 19:28

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