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In browsing the questions that still need answers, I am frequently coming across comments and answers that say something like, "You know, if you would have just searched google, you would have found it. Literally, this was the 2nd list in the results ."

First, this is extremely rude. Secondly, it's not very constructive. Thirdly, I think it's even against SE policy that people link to outside sources for the answer, and not answer them directly in their answer itself.

The person making the comment or posting the answer then downvotes the question, as if it were their responsibility to judge what is a good question or not by the fact they them themselves only were to find value to whatever they themselves were able to find in Google search results or other search engines. This not only discourages the OP but immediately creates a defensive environment in the entire thread that could have originally been productive and, overall, a good question.

I personally have had this happen to me, and I have successfully petitioned for these nonconstructive answers and downvotes be remove from my questions.

But can we do something more formally that discourages even starting an answer or comment like this? I mean, if you do find an answer on google that you think is simple and that works well for you, then suggest it as an answer and let the OP decided, based on his or her background and experience, if that is appropriate for them. Not berate him because, for you, an answer you were found easy to understand came up number 3 in google.

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  • I think it's a case by case thing. Sometimes you search for pretty much exactly what the user has asked and get multiple hits just within drupal.stackexchange on the first page (and even first result), in which case you mark the question a duplicate, but still it's a little annoying when it's on that level and in cases like that I have no issue with people commenting about a google search. – rooby Apr 22 '14 at 12:08
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I strongly disagree with the assertion that a link telling you that your question can be answered, easily, with a single Google search, is in any way wrong. I certainly won't be removing them en-masse, and my justification for that follows.

You (and I use 'you' as the originator of this question, I'm not referring to your behaviour specifically) are required to show your research effort when posting here. I wish I could emphasise that word even more, people don't seem to take heed of it when asking questions most of the time.

We're all basically programmers here so let's use a bit of logic:

Generally speaking, if the answer to your question can be found in the first page of the Google search results, you haven't done enough research. If you haven't done enough research, you shouldn't be asking the question here.

If you have made the effort to do research, but don't understand the solutions you've come across, then you would obviously put that information in the question, yes? And if that information was in the question, it would be hard to imagine someone downvoting or commenting on it based on not having searched Google for the answer.

With that in mind, it's reasonably obvious, to my mind at least, that you shouldn't be annoyed at people for questioning your research methods, if you have not made it obvious that you have done that research.

I would submit that refusing to do your own research is a lot more rude to those answering your questions, than questioning that behaviour is to the OP.

If you've plainly researched the problem (and not just said "I've search Google but..."), then of course any comment telling you to search Google is incorrect, and subsequently un-constructive.

But if you show no evidence of research, and I can find the answer to your question on Google in 30 seconds, exactly what benefit are you adding to Drupal Answers? Stack Exchange sites exist to make the internet a better place, not to reproduce information easily locatable elsewhere on the internet.

Again I just want to clarify 100% that I'm not talking about you specifically here, but anyone who would agree with the premise that not showing research effort is in some way ok. I haven't looked at your profile to find the question(s) you're talking about, I'm not accusing you of asking questions that show little research effort, I'm just responding to the generic issue as I see it from the point of view of someone who spends quite a lot of time on this site.

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  • I've just re-read that and it sounds like a bit of a rant...that wasn't on purpose :) – Clive Feb 8 '13 at 20:17
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    I am in complete agreement with this. I've had a couple of questions in recent weeks where I just typed the error message itself from a question into Google, and the answer is RIGHT THERE! To be honest, if we could fix Very poor quality questions everywhere (like panels everywhere but without the magical feeling…) then questions like the above wouldn't be needed. – Chapabu Feb 10 '13 at 15:14
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    Fun fact : if the answer to your question cant be found in the first page of the Google search results you are not searching properly – GoodSp33d Feb 12 '13 at 5:39
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    @Downvoters Some feedback would be useful (to the community, not to me - I'm quite happy to just let these comments exist, so if you don't try to change my mind I won't be deleting them!). What reasons do you have for disagreeing with this? How would you do it differently? The question is tagged discussion after all :) – Clive Feb 12 '13 at 14:38
  • @2-Stroker: For a lot of things yes, but not for everything. Granted you might be able to modify your search to get some related info to help with working things out for yourself but you can't always find an answer to your specific question. That said, I agree with what Clive has said and I think learning to use google well is one of the best skills a person can learn. – rooby Apr 22 '14 at 11:55
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If the comments reassemble one of those "Let me Google it for you" comments, then they are not acceptable; in other words, if the comments come out as "you didn't search enough; if you googled it, you would have find the answer at the X position."

First off, Google doesn't evaluate the correctness of what reported in the linked page; it could be an outdated blog post that was linked from other sites, and Google would not see any difference with other pages.
Second, the search results returned from Google are personalized; different users who use the same exact search string could get different results, basing on different factors. What somebody see as first link could be different from what somebody else see as first link.
Third, searching on Google doesn't replace knowledge. If I am not sure (or I don't have any clue) about something, and I look on Google, where I find links to different pages, I am probably still not sure which one is the correct answer for me, or which one suits me better.

If you find comments linking to Google search page, please flag them; I will remove them.

As per other links, it is fine to comment, and give a link. There could be many reasons to do that, but the main reason is that the user is not going to write a complete answer in the immediate future, and want to give a hint to the OP, or who could answer the question.
The important is not simply answering the question with a link, as that would not be an answer.

As per avoiding comments containing specific links, I think some domains are blocked, and comments with links to those domains are not possible to be written. Some domains are blocked only on some Stack Exchange sites, but I don't think Google links are going to be blocked in all the Stack Exchange sites.

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  • I agree that links to google searches are not good and should be removed. I have not personally seen any though. – rooby Apr 22 '14 at 12:04

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