Related meta: Why do people post questions on here they can easily google an answer for?

Related help: https://security.stackexchange.com/help/dont-ask

I saw an instance of a question being closed on account of lacking research effort. I don't think I've seen this as a justification to close questions in the past (although I see, generously, maybe 3% of questions), and wanted to have a definitive meta answer for whether or not these are off topic.

Reasons to close low effort questions:

  • Teaches users the wrong way to problem solve (this is subjective, to be fair)
  • Ties up resources reviewing + answering these questions
  • Honestly comes across as a tad disrespectful

Reasons to leave/answer low effort questions:

  • Adds to the repository of Q&A
  • Gives newer users easier questions to answer, encouraging them to contribute to and join the community (assuming we have new users looking to contribute - big assumption)

Should we close low effort questions? What close reason should be used if so?

1 Answer 1


The model we have been using is if the question is an easily google-able search term, and the answer will end up being a link with a quote from the link, there is little value to the site or the community.

So, yes, it adds to the bank of posts, but it offers little value.

There used to be a close reason "too localised", meaning the question and answer was really only helpful to the asker, and probably few others. Low-effort questions are like this.

Imagine if Sec.SE became the top hit on google for the search term. The only thing it offers is a pointer somewhere else (which means it would never be authoritative on Google, but that's a side matter).

So, it's entirely a quality issue, and not a "let's encourage people to research better".

As for close reasons, it tends to be closed as "too broad" or "not on topic", but I recently closed one as "low research effort" because it truly was a search term away, not just in keywords, but in concept.

As a side note, I suspect that the OP didn't need help understanding the stated concept but rather needed to understand another concept. I was hoping that in explaining why the question was on topic, the OP would expose that they had other questions entirely.

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