There have been a few more question recently where the answer has been something along the lines of "Read the readme.txt", or where the question has shown a distinct lack of research, usually with the top one or two results in Google showing the answer.

The DA community is great, but as a regular user it's easy to feel taken advantage of when new users simply haven't read the instructions for a module (or in some cases, even Drupal). I can't find the recent version - it may have been removed by the author) - but this is a good example.

It's been closed as Not a Real Question - however it is a real question, it's just had ZERO effort put in.

Some (possible) examples:

How should these types of questions be addressed? Should they be flagged as Not Real Questions or perhaps Off Topic?


The first question you linked has been closed as NARQ because it was too broad: It asks for the actual system requirements without even saying which modules the site is using. If with actual it means typically, answering would require to know which modules are typically installed; in this case, the question would be not constructive.

Generally, for questions that can be answered looking at the documentation, I would consider if:

  • The documentation comes from a source you can trust
  • The documentation is accessible from everybody, and it is the first thing you would expect the OP to check
  • The documentation doesn't require any interpretation from the OP
  • The answer doesn't need to do any other consideration, and it reports what the documentation says

For example, if the question is asking how to get absolute URLs from url() that would be a possible candidate for being closed at too localized, as few users would get any benefit from a question for which the answer would be repeating what the documentation says. Vice versa, a question where the OP shows s/he has read the documentation about url() (but s/he still not able to understand why the code is not working) would not be a candidate for being closed as too localized, if not in the case the code is not working because a typo.

If there isn't any reason to close a question, down-voting is what you can do, as the tooltip says "This question does not show any research effort; it is unclear or not useful." I understand "not useful" as meaning "not useful to other users," not "not useful to me"; differently, a user who is a Drupal expert would down-vote every question because s/he doesn't find them useful. I would not down-vote a question, if not in the case the question doesn't show any effort, which could also mean the OP doesn't show what s/he searched, what s/he tried, and the OP didn't put any effort for looking for a solution.


I'd argue for a position of tolerance with regards to both the questions and also people referring askers to documentation resources, when available, with or without additional expansion or comment.

Drupal in general, and the finer-grained concepts specifically, such as contribs, advanced theming, and hosting- or environment-related issues are, many times, documented very poorly, especially as it relates to differences between Drupal versions or LAMP configuration, among other things.

It should certainly be made clear that nobody providing answers is in any way obligated to provide free support/tips/training, but I've been finding (on other parts of StackExchange than this one) that this format is both more effective, and also more responsive than other "official" support or Q&A portals/chats/sites.

  • 3
    Very true. Also, a lot of things are taken as 'common knowledge' by senior Drupal people, who assume they must be documented because they, all their colleagues, everyone they meet at DrupalCon, etc, all know these things and because it's fundamental Drupal-specific knowledge - but often such things aren't actually clearly documented at all. For a community hoping to attract fresh talent, this is a problem. A few examples: much of Views and CTools under the hood, much of CTools functionality, Media (this is improving), and much of D7 internals that is documented only by comparison to D6. – user56reinstatemonica8 Oct 28 '12 at 11:16
  • 2
    Amen. Drupal is a platform that is in constant flux. That's both a strength and weakness. There are developers already talking about D8 versions of modules that are undocumented in D7. :) If someone is coming to stackexchange for RTFM help, it may well be because the common knowledge is difficult to nail down on drupal.org ot non-existant. If you don't live and breathe Drupal, it's not the easiest platform to detect and implement best practices within. – Warpstone Oct 30 '12 at 18:37

The problem is that they are typically real questions and on topic for the site.

I typically ignore; the title is often an indicator of an RTFM question, so I won't read it unless it shows up in the review queue. I will also sometimes downvote:

When should I vote down?

Use your downvotes whenever you encounter an egregiously sloppy, no-effort-expended post, or an answer that is clearly and perhaps dangerously incorrect.

  • Yeah, I tend to down vite questions like that too. I was just wondering if there is/should be an etiquette for removing them from the site. As you mentioned, technically they are on topic. – Chapabu Oct 17 '12 at 13:23

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