When it comes to asking a question, should I be doing my research somewhere else first?

Most people on the main SE meta site disagree - yet most people I've come across here do not:

Although it would be nice if you looked for the answer yourself for a period before asking the question, there is definitely not any type of prereq. People have a tendency on the sites to say 'you should have googled this' but that is actually frowned upon A LOT on this site and you will tend to get voted down for saying it.

The reason being is that no question is too simple for this website, and the goal of this website is to be the one source for programming answers. In theory the idea is that when you do a google search, StackOverflow is your #1 result.

For example, if a poster asks "What does FPS stand for" and this question is not in the knowledge base, then why would it be deleted? So is there something that makes gaming different? I don't understand.

  • 3
    Small point: Questions with zero research get massively downvoted and closed on SO. Yes, research IS needed. One of the overriding tenets of the SE network is: Do your homework.
    – Frank
    Commented Mar 7, 2013 at 23:36
  • Part of the reason it may be more acceptable to do less research on StackOverflow questions is that it can be very difficult to search for programming terms on search engines.
    – SaintWacko
    Commented Mar 7, 2013 at 23:36
  • 4
    You should not ask pointless questions especially if you are going to self answer.
    – user9983
    Commented Mar 7, 2013 at 23:38
  • @OrigamiRobot - is that your answer? seems to be in the wrong place because you can't back it up. Commented Mar 7, 2013 at 23:39
  • just because something is downvoted...does that make it a correct practice, @fbueckert? Commented Mar 7, 2013 at 23:40
  • @SaintWacko - you make a good point since SO is for programmers. Thank you Commented Mar 7, 2013 at 23:40
  • I'm not following what you're asking; that downvoting something isn't a correct practice?
    – Frank
    Commented Mar 7, 2013 at 23:41
  • It's a question of morality. If everyone believes something then does that make it right? Commented Mar 7, 2013 at 23:44
  • Ah, ok, I see what you mean. The basic idea is that the SE network isn't meant to be a catchall for everything. For instance, we're really bad at lists and other repositories. Recommendations cause all sorts of grief. Those types of questions get downvotes because we've determined they don't fit well, and therefore are not a good fit. Right and wrong doesn't really come into it. It's more about usefulness. A right answer is automatically more useful than a wrong one.
    – Frank
    Commented Mar 7, 2013 at 23:51
  • @fbueckert: The SE site wide meta title prefilled text, "What's your bug, feature-request, or meta-discussion topic", particularly the part about a feature-request is an indicator to me that recommendations are a good fit and potentially useful. Of course if you don't like that prefilled text then I'm not sure how to tell you to go about changing it. Certainly not by submitting a feature request by your assessment of recommending changes ;) Commented Mar 8, 2013 at 7:27
  • @kraftydevil Feature requests on meta are aimed at stackexchange, recommendation questions on the main site are generally off topic for being bad subjective questions
    – user27134
    Commented Mar 8, 2013 at 12:09
  • 1
    meta.stackexchange.com/questions/5280/embrace-the-non-googlers Definitely disagrees with what people are saying our policy is. I'm not aware of arqade specific rules on this.
    – Decency
    Commented Mar 8, 2013 at 19:09

4 Answers 4


if that's true, then why was my question edited: https://gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/107708/is-there-an-option-for-infinite-ammo-in-borderlands-2kraftydevil 1 hour ago

To clear up a logical contradiction. I'm not allowed to say 'FPSs' and yet this question is also not acceptable. That's a double standard. – kraftydevil 1 hour ago

@Coronus - so are you saying that editing FPSs in a question body is acceptable for this reason? – kraftydevil 54 mins ago

@OrigamiRobot: Well I did face a problem - I faced a direct contradiction in that I used the term "FPSs" and it was edited when I also held the belief that FPSs was in scope of most Arqade users. Being a helpful person, I decided that my held belief must not be true so I created a question for it since it was not in the Arqade knowledge base yet. – kraftydevil 52 mins ago

It's clear that you didn't ask the question because you had a question to ask and answer. You asked a question because you wanted support with how the site works.

Please keep your questions about the main site to the meta site.

  • 9
    Also - if a user edits an acronym in your post to the expanded form, it doesn't follow that you aren't allowed to use that acronym. Simply, the editor out of the kindness of his heart, to no return of his own, thought that expanding the acronym to the full form would improve the post.
    – badp
    Commented Mar 7, 2013 at 23:42
  • umm...this is clearly not an objective answer to my question. I didn't ask about MY post. I asked about a hypothetical post. Commented Mar 7, 2013 at 23:46
  • @kraftydevil I am answering why your post was deleted because your post was deleted for the exceptional reason outlined above. Attempting to extrapolate a general rule from this wouldn't be very useful.
    – badp
    Commented Mar 7, 2013 at 23:47
  • I didn't ask why it was deleted. Commented Mar 7, 2013 at 23:49
  • I asked why such a post would be deleted. Commented Mar 7, 2013 at 23:49
  • 7
    @kraftydevil I suggest you stop thinking about the general case and the maximum systems of the universe and start thing about your case, your latest contributions to the site and how you can improve them. Please consider, in particular, a more restrained use of your self-answering privilege.
    – badp
    Commented Mar 7, 2013 at 23:50
  • I've made a lot of introspective contributions lately to the meta site. I guess I don't need to be understood to feel validated. Commented Mar 8, 2013 at 0:05
  • oh and @badp You should clearly know by now that I don't want answers to questions I didn't ask. Making my question more general serves the users of the entire site and not just me. I'll think about ways to improve the answering of one's own question. Commented Mar 8, 2013 at 7:33

While I largely agree with Jason Berkan, I'll add some nuance.

For the first part, I believe general questions like what you ask should be allowed - and not closed. If you follow my opinions elsewhere you'll know that I feel we are too "close happy" - and that it can make the site appear unapproachable to new users.

However, as Jason alludes - you may find that you don't want to ask such questions, because the invisible hand of the community will punish your reputation for asking questions they determine to be too obvious or poorly researched. While Jeff Atwood and others have come out in support of "question seeding" that results in good content, the general community consensus here (in my observation) does not agree. "Good" is also in the eye of the beholder, of course.

If you don't agree with this consensus, then stay around, advocate for what you think is right, and use your voting powers. Like any community though, it pays to get to know why things are the way they are before trying to change too much. It shows respect to those who have invested in creating this place.

  • very well said and thought out Commented Mar 8, 2013 at 7:48

To answer the question at the top of your question:

When it comes to asking a question, should I be doing my research somewhere else first?

The short answer is no - you do not need to fully research your problem before asking a question here.

However, we like actual problems a lot more than made up problems. Simple made up problems get downvoted, and your question, by your own admission, was made up. In fact, it was obviously made up before you admitted it, since:

  1. We all know what FPS stands for, and
  2. You self answered it.

I personally don't think your question should have been so quickly deleted, but you should consider that a blessing, as it saved you from losing a lot of reputation.

Feel free to stick around and ask questions and provide answers, but please keep in mind that we aren't truly a repository of all gaming knowledge. We are a community of knowledgeable gamers, and we will gladly help answer any actual gaming questions you have.

  • 0:My FPS mentioning was hypothetical. 1:Whether I made it up (your words not mine) or not is not the point. 2:The point is that it could be useful to someone. 3:Please show me where it was decided that Arqade should not be a repository for all gaming knowledge. Could it not at least be a repository for all gaming knowledge we think to write down? 4:Whether I answered the question or not should be irrelevant. Knowledge is knowledge and we should welcome any contribution that is not a true duplicate and maybe some other criteria I can't think of. 5:I'll worry about my rep (or maybe not?). Commented Mar 8, 2013 at 8:04
  • I'm ignoring your "You self answered it" since I didn't once mention in this question a reference to that question. Commented Mar 8, 2013 at 9:18
  • So the first three sentences of my answer apply to your meta question. I was just using your FPS question as a common frame of reference for why you may not want to ask questions without doing any research. I could have referenced a number of other unresearched and heavily argued questions on the site, but there wasn't any need to.
    – au revoir
    Commented Mar 8, 2013 at 14:10

As SaintWacko points out in a comment, StackOverflow is for programming. Therefore, it has led me to believe that the reason why it's different on this site is because programming is largely based on logical objectivity.

Arqade does not have those restrictions. If you need an example for that, you can clearly see in this very question that most users jump to conclusions in many comments and answers. They do this by referencing something I never mentioned in my question -- my actual FPS post that was deleted.

What I asked was a hypothetical for which the actual text had the same text in common with my deleted post. This is not the same thing! Just about every user decided I was referencing my post instead of posing the actual question that I asked. I didn't post a link to it, say "my post", or make any indication that my question was not a standalone question.

And this was after I even showed how most users on the longest running SE site to date (the original stackoverflow) mostly agree with my point that nearly all questions are useful to someone. It doesn't have to be useful to me the asker or even the answerer or even if I'm both. Well here it has to be relevant to video games and there to programming. I'm sure there are other reasons for useful questions like avoiding duplicates but it's a short list.

The question:

"[I]f a poster asks "What does FPS stand for" and this question is not in the knowledge base, then why would it be deleted? So is there something that makes gaming different?"

If I had said, "hey I posted something and it was deleted so what's the problem", then I would understand some of these responses. That's not what I said and yet that's what I got anyways. I bet a lot of people complain this way so I partially understand your assumptions that I was doing the same. But really, I expect the community to RTFQ.

If I humored you by talking about my actual post after the answerer/commenter brought it up, it was only because I was also interested in that in terms of discussion, which I believe is one of the uses of the comments. In the future I will probably just ignore you and emphasize the answering of my question, so sorry if I egged you on.

This community by large was not able to tell the difference, which is why my answer is that the communities are different because the Arqade community is not held to the same high standards of logic that stackoverflow is.

  • amazing this response elicits nothing. Commented Mar 8, 2013 at 18:50

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