Can we get a rule in GQ about patently obvious questions?

There are a few “contributors” to General Questions that always seem to pose the most mundane, easily googled and verified questions. Occasionally these will spawn a short-lived discussion on tangents to the topic, but more often the thread is answered, a few jokes are made, and then it’s gone.

It’s aggravating to have people continually do this, even after it has been brought to their attention. Are these people really that naive and sheltered that they don’t know what Firefox is? Does it really take the brainpower of the teeming millions to figure out when the Mint is releasing its new quarters? Do we really need to clog up the board asking why there was a lot of surplus goods after WWII, the largest war and deadliest conflict in human history?

I know that some good occasionally comes from these threads, but it just seems to lower the level of discourse and indicate laziness on the part of the OP. Does anyone else find these sort of threads annoying and actually a detraction from the board?

That said, it’s hard to imagine what sort of rule would make sense, since I don’t want to stifle genuine curiosity. I just think some small amount of work on the part of the OP should be required if the issue is especially obvious or available from any number of google search results. If the OP is still confused, they can post and reference the sites they visited, giving a more complete and reasoned OP.

What say you?

Many times, even when the question seems like it should have an obvious answer, it doesn’t. Or even if it does, often other Dopers come along and provide interesting additional information about the topic. Your example about the surplus WWII goods question, for example, seems to me like it could lead to a fairly interesting discussion.

Personally I really don’t have an issue with this type of question.

The true horror is that the socialist Zotti adminstration forces all of us to read each and every thread, regardless of our personal interests. My eyes begin to bleed each time I am forced, at gunpoint, to read a thread on pro football.

Most of those titles don’t even slow me down. Once there’s a bit of tantalizing potential in the title, a mouseover will reveal whether it’s worth looking further. If I get that far and the OP is hopelessly clueless, I bail out and go on my way.

Providing no answer to a silly question is a good way to indicate to the OP that this question/issue is not worth my time. That’s all I feel responsible for.

Phrase origin questions often fall into this category, eg: "What’s the origin of the phrase ‘He’s all thumbs?’ " :smack:

I think you’re right that good discussions can and do come out of these threads. I think my main issue is the way in which the OP is presented. It wouldn’t be so bad if the questions were more nuanced and reflected some amount of forethought on the part of the OP, but they come across as blunt, childlike questions.

I don’t want to miss out if a good discussion does break out, either, so I end up checking the threads out anyways. :stuck_out_tongue:

Good point. If the OP cannot bother to spend a few minutes googling, why should someone else take the time to write up a response?

Now that’s I’ve thought about it, maybe a full-on rule change is a bit much. I do think this kind of thing should be considered a “Board Courtesy” or whatever.

Ahh, so there was a rule all along! Good work, Colibri. Apologies for the triple post.

E: I just realized I did the same thing by posting this thread. I didn’t even check the Rules page first. :stuck_out_tongue:

Yes, there is a rule against easily-researched questions. However, we are not too rigorous in enforcing it, because as has been mentioned sometimes interesting discussions can come out of what seem to be simple questions.

I think it becomes a problem when the same poster continually does this, even when advised not to, apparently out of pure laziness. This is the case with Jinx, who has been doing this for years, and who doesn’t seem to have gotten the message. I hope that by closing threads, we may be able to encourage him to do some minimal research before posting a question. Since Jinx appears not to have logged on after posting that question a couple of days ago (and seems to have a habit of not even returning to the threads he starts) I have sent him an e-mail instructing him to stop starting such threads without doing some basic research.

If you have a question, it’s always good to check Wikipedia first or do a simple Google search. If these don’t succeed, or if you still have unanswered questions, then go ahead and post. More informed questions are more likely to result in interesting discussions.

Of course, if you are not seeking information per se, but merely want to shoot the breeze about a topic, you can always start at thread in IMHO or MPSIMS.

Jinx has been doing this shit nearly a decade. I did a search and saw that he has been Pitted for this several times starting in 2002. Every year or two he gets asked to cut it out and he never, ever does. It’s just one of those things.

Can we ban all WAGs? If you don’t know, don’t answer.

What if you think you know, but you’re wrong? It happens in legal threads all the time. "My roommate’s uncle’s friend is cop, and he says the evidence is inadmissible if you ask if the guys a cop and he says no . . . "

Fair enough. We’ve all been mistaken, but to prefix your post with “This is a WAG” is not being mistaken. It’s flat out acknowledging that you don’t know, but are offering up your $0.02 anyway.

My WAG ( but not really :wink: ) is that most or at least many WAGs, aren’t. More usually I suspect they are educated guesses or speculation, based on some reasonable thought process. Folks just tend to mislabel them as WAGs, because it is a handy semi-humorous shorthand. And I don’t think speculative answers should be ruled out in GQ, as at times they can act as pointers towards a genuine answer. There just needs to be some acknowledgement that that is what they are.

Yes, damn Ed’s pretty eyes! We are forced to read every frivolous post as if our lives depended upon it.

Oh, the humanity!

I agree with you on that point. Although, there are gradations of WAG, some of us make educated guesses, and use the more self-deprecating WAG in order to seem humble, or something. OTOH, some profess knowledge, when they only have talk. It’s a double-edged sword.

By the way, there *is * a rule on WAGs, in GQ (you probably already know this):

Both this rule and the rule on obvious questions are mostly rules of etiquette. We are unlikely to do more than issue a moderator note on things like this.

Please no more unnecessary rules.

How about a rule against starting threads proposing new rules? :stuck_out_tongue:

Or at the very least, a rule that you have to read the all the existing rules before you can propose a new rule. (That should slow them down. :D)