Some questions show a lack of even the most basic prior research; exactly LMGTFY* questions. Who are "Born again" Christians? which is simply asking someone to regurgitate Wikipedia Born again (Christianity). I do see the answers are slightly different than wikipedia but they are very similar to other google results and the google algorithm has not chosen to first page this question only 2 of 10 page rank points with lots of effort by the community. The average pagerank is 3. Yet this question has 9 upvotes and one favorite. I know SE Overflow Chemistry Biology would downvote questions like this why is it rewarded here?

For comparison What is the meaning of “day and hour unknown”? was rejected by Christianity SE and sent to Bible Hermeneutics but is first page google with only 5 upvotes it does not have a pagerank. (If it does have a low pagerank in the future it will of course be my fault)

When google a fair objective outsider downvotes by labeling below average importance why are we upvoting?

*LMGTFY - Literally "Let Me Google That For You". To say a question is LMGTFY is to say that that it is easily answered by simply googling it. In other words, the internet is filled with information on the question's subject.

  • @fredsbend thanks for the clarification
    – user4060
    Commented Jun 7, 2013 at 7:35
  • Google ranks by popularity; it really has nothing to do with whether it is on-topic here or is a good question. And for clarification, are you suggesting "simple" or "basic" questions be closed?
    – Ryan Frame
    Commented Jun 7, 2013 at 15:34
  • Last week I was googling a topic to improve my answer, and one of the top four hits I got was my C.SE question! Multiple times I have in fact googled a question, and ended up at a forum where the question was being asked & received a sarcastic LMGTFY reply.
    – pterandon
    Commented Jun 7, 2013 at 15:50
  • @pterandon I'm not encouraging us to constantly give LMGTFY replies but I do think that we should encourage people to research their questions before asking like overflow does.
    – user4060
    Commented Jun 7, 2013 at 22:18
  • @RyanFrame the most basic questions are sometimes the most necessary however I think questions which show no research should be closed as they don't represent a problem someone actually faces.
    – user4060
    Commented Jun 7, 2013 at 22:20

2 Answers 2



  • The "day and hour" question was migrated because it fits better with the sorts of experts that hang out on the Hermeneutics site. (The question literally said "Some hermeneutics background may be useful", which is a pretty good sign.) As far as I know, the topic of the question (and not it's potential Google rank) was the only consideration.

  • As you point out, the answers to the "born again" question are universally original. Nobody chose to regurgitate Wikipedia.

  • Where a question turns up on a Google search depends a great deal on what you search on. Obviously, its a good thing if we have questions with good, unique answers that are easy to find with a Google search. In fact, this is the criteria for our occasional self-evaluations.

  • Google PageRank is not nearly as important as you seem to imply. Stack Exchange gets ridiculously high exposure in Google searches for reasons that are not entirely clear to me. At least part of the reason seems to be that Google sees our content as "fresh" because we edit our questions and answers.

  • Question voting tend to have more to do with how well the question is asked than with how well it turns up in a Google search. Votes also tend to accumulate over time, so you can't reasonably compare a question asked months ago to a question asked a few days ago.

Overly broad questions should be avoided

With all of that said, I agree with the basic premise that we should not encourage questions with answers that are easy to look up with a Google search. The "born again" question might be one of those, since it's hard to find our question in the sea of material on the topic without a very specific search string. If we have a lot of these questions, we are not living up to our promise as a source of "long tail" questions. The best sorts of questions are those that really focus down on a specific point.


I liked my born again Christian answer.

In any event, I think you get perspectives here you're never going to see in the top 10 on google and that would never cut the mustard on wikipedia (even though the top answer will probably be similar)

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