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As someone who utilizes search engines a lot to find answers, I sometimes get irritated with people who ask questions without having done any research themselves. Even people in my own office.

I recently read here on Meta that links to lmgtfy are taboo, and I can certainly understand why, even if it's crossed my mind to post like that.

But how close to the line am I getting when I post an answer like this? Is this too close to answering, "lmgtfy", or is the trick on how you word it?

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    What everyone said below is correct. Just to clarify though, the reason we don't want LMGTFY-esque answers is because people come here from google when searching for the answer. It's a big slap in the face to come here and then get sent back to google. Additionally, we want to become known as the place to get your answers from. – Mark Henderson Nov 4 '11 at 22:49
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    Given that your "this" link is already broken, this question is a perfect example of why links should be used extensively for reference and attribution, but should never be relied upon to form the core content of a question or answer. – Skyhawk Nov 7 '11 at 22:58
  • The link still works for me, but the post has been deleted. That's fine, because as everyone has said, it wasn't a good post. Thanks to everyone for the insight and guidance. I'll do better in the future. – NorbyTheGeek Nov 8 '11 at 16:27
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Since Google search-results are not a permanent resource, and strange as it may sound the same keyword set may return different answers in 5 years, we frown on answers that boil down to "use different keywords in google, it'll be staring you in the face." We also frown on answers of the "just follow this link, it's all spelled out there," sort since link-rot is a fact of the internet; we've already had some perfectly good accepted answers die this way.

In general, we really like answers to include how to answer the question, not just how to find the answer to the question. How to find answers to questions is a a very top-priority skill for sysadmins, and it rankles when people obviously haven't done that yet. As a group, we don't like spoon-feeding answers ("give me a complete checklist to follow for upgrading SVN from 1.3 to 1.5, in small words"), so the urge to snark is strong when we come across it.

Answers need to have content, not pointers to content.

  • "Singe"? <filler> – Chris S Nov 6 '11 at 0:38
  • @ChrisS a milder form of 'Burn!' perhaps? – Andrew Nov 7 '11 at 1:47
  • @Andrew, I wasn't sure if he meant to say Singe; or if he meant to say since (which makes sense in the sentence, where the former does not). Sometimes multiple thoughts make it into the same sentence. I'm not confident enough to edit it one way or the other... – Chris S Nov 7 '11 at 5:16
  • looks innocent Darned fingers. You type for enough of your life and the typos get downright weird sometimes. – sysadmin1138 Nov 7 '11 at 12:31
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That is essentially the same thing as LMGTFY, and adds nothing besides a link to google. Generally we prefer answers that answer the question, and if you are linking outside the site add some context.

Basically, that's not an answer to his question at all.

  • In this case, it wasn't a link to Google, but a link to a multi-step process with screen shots. But I should have added more content, at least a description, I admit. – NorbyTheGeek Nov 4 '11 at 21:49
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IMO opinion that question wasn't great. I cast a down-vote and a close vote on that one.

Given that Google shows over 4000 results for site:serverfault.com iis redirect https I would be very surprised if there isn't a duplicate or near duplicate already on serverfault that covered the redirection. I suspect there are more over on webmasters, that would lead him in the right direction.

I do agree with Zypher, and sysadmin1138. If you are going to answer the question, you really should make it a good answer, If you link to a howto/reference at least provide a summary/synopsis.

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I'm a big believer in teaching someone how to fish rather than simply giving them a fish. I'd say my ideal answer is one that walks someone through solving their problem and shows them the answer rather than simply giving them the answer.

So no, any answer that adds up to "just use google" doesn't cut it. Answers that actually give the asker their answer right there in your reply while showing how you used google to validate the answer or whatever are perfectly valid.

If a question is too bad to be "worth" an answer in some way then a comment telling them to improve the question might be worthwhile, or if its just too simplistic then post it in the 'vote to close' chat room and people will consider if its just worth closing it. But leaving a bad answer in those cases just makes a bad thing worse.

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