Questions like this irritate me because the OP spends more time himself than if they had just read some MongoDB introductions. (Never mind the effort that others are spending on his behalf.) It seems to me that these questions are lazy and trying to get other people to do his homework for him.

I'd like to see a Vote to Close option of "Easily discoverable information".

It's one thing to say "I went through some docs and "

  1. "They didnt' make sense to me. [Follow-up Question]"

  2. "I couldn't find what I'm looking for. They say this, but what about that."

I could be (rightly) accused of being lazy in many ways. I want to help people, but this kind of laziness makes me want to send a LMGTFY link.

1 Answer 1


I strongly disagree with this.

While it has been argued repeatedly that one of the halmarks of "professional" is "able to use Google effectively to solve problems", not everyone has mad search-engine skills or even knows how to find the right keywords to unlock what they want to know.

A close reason like this is just a polite way of hammering RTFM on questions. It means we're now applying an arbitrary and not easily discoverable minimum bar to the level of research that goes into questions that land here. There is an intuitive bar:

Anyone who has ever looked into this even barely would know this crap.

Which only people who know something about $this know.

I don't think we can consistently apply a 'minimum level of research' on questions here. That level will vary per tag in many ways. We're already getting flags for both 'Not a real question' and 'not constructive' for questions that the flagger thinks don't meet this bar. They're clearly RTFM-Close type flags, and I usually dismiss them unless the question really, truly is incoherent as a question or is just a research-things-for-me request (like your example).

Yes, people do use ServerFault as a kind of topical Mechanical Turk. We don't mind it when the question is sufficiently localized or edge-case to not show up umpty thousand places on the Internet already. We do mind it when someone comes to us with a question like:

I'm getting umpty thousand hits on my research on this topic, and don't know how to winnow it down. Can someone just tell me what I'm looking for?

This can be either the "professional out of their normal hunting-grounds" problem which we're just fine with, but can easily be the "I have no idea how to do analysis and need someone to do it for me," which is what sets people's guard-hairs up.

A straight up RTFM-close will lock out the first class of user we're generally OK with, while providing a cathartic thumping to the class of lazy we don't like. As I've mentioned before, hanging questions from the bloody ramparts does not provide a disincentive for people to ask questions; which is why I'm strenuously against anything that relies on such mechanisms as a disincentive.

  • Thank you for the well-reasoned response. It simply seems that SF is sometimes/occasionally set to be people's default search provider. While it's an easy way to build points, I feel that it makes the experience suffer.
    – gWaldo
    Feb 26, 2012 at 17:28
  • 1
    My highest-rated answer (serverfault.com/a/189577/50875) is in response to a question that is borne of ignorance. (Note: I don't rate ignorance as a bad thing.) This is a question that you would not know the answer to unless you'd dealt with it; There is no manual addressing the issue, and many people have come across this in their careers. (Though I'd never expect that answer to have garnered so many points.)
    – gWaldo
    Feb 26, 2012 at 17:30

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