This question on Dreaming was asked recently. Lets ignore the fact that its also off topic for now. When I googled the question I found that the top result was a comprehensive and well referenced question from wikiHow. As far as I can see, its a perfect answer, but we don't post links and copy/pasting the entire thing seems wrong. (Another example, as requested)

My question is: Do we think that questions that can be answered by a basic Google search show a lack of basic research and therefore should be closed?*

*By basic google search I mean that one place high placed result answers the question in a full and comprehensive way.

In addition: Worldbuilding typically has long answers to complex questions. Were it a case that copying a single sentence or paragraph and providing attribution were the answer, I would probably ignore it. However in this case there is a full length article written on it from a popular (and high ranked) site.

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    $\begingroup$ Do note that Google ranks search results differently based on what you have previously searched for, clicked through to, and potentially a huge number of other factors. I'm not arguing against what you are saying, just pointing out something that needs to be considered. $\endgroup$
    – user
    Commented Oct 27, 2014 at 13:15
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    $\begingroup$ Is it me, or does the question in question simply have nothing to do with worldbuilding? I think the question of "what is too basic?" is also important, but this doesn't seem like a good example to illustrate it. $\endgroup$
    – Komi Golov
    Commented Oct 27, 2014 at 13:56
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    $\begingroup$ @AntonGolov it's not just you; that's a psychology/neurology question, nothing to do with worldbuilding. That seems like the person was looking for Help Me Patch Up This Problem In My Story Stack Exchange and used Worldbuilding as the next best thing. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 27, 2014 at 14:36
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    $\begingroup$ The dreaming question seems off-topic to me, quite aside from its Googlability. I suggest that people vote on answers based on the general issue (easily-Googled questions), not on the suitability of the dreaming question in particular. (Do we have another question that would work as an example, or is this the first time this has happened?) $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 27, 2014 at 14:51
  • $\begingroup$ It is the first time I've been annoyed enough to raise a meta. I don't think we have any others exactly like this at the moment. $\endgroup$
    – Mourdos
    Commented Oct 27, 2014 at 14:54

2 Answers 2


Upvote tooltip for questions:

"This question shows research effort; it is useful and clear"

Downvote tooltip for questions:

"This question does not show any research effort; it is unclear or not useful"

Looks like the solution is downvotes, rather than close votes.


Why shouldn't we be the top link when someone googles this next?

I personally feel that as long as it's not the official documentation of the topic in question we're competing with. There is no reason why that super-helpful, easily findable, well referenced link shouldn't be knocked of its throne by a superior link to a question on the SE network. What wikiHow can do, we can do better.

It should be said however, that a bad question is still a bad question. And we should only answer these questions if they are interesting and non-trivial.

  • $\begingroup$ I agree with this. And it is also very comfortable for a user to find all answers centralized in one place. $\endgroup$
    – Sheraff
    Commented Oct 27, 2014 at 13:37
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    $\begingroup$ While I do agree (if this was about climate/plate tectonics/creature design etc) I'm not sure that this question is even on topic... sounds like a plot device or lifehack to me! $\endgroup$
    – Liath
    Commented Oct 27, 2014 at 14:40
  • $\begingroup$ I agree with this concept, though as others have mentioned the question doesn't really seem to apply to WBSE. But on the general topic, whether something is easy to find on the internet or not seems irrelevant to the value of the question here on SE. $\endgroup$
    – James
    Commented Oct 29, 2014 at 17:56

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