17

Are straight up trivial questions considered unwelcome?

An example would be:

  • Who is the voice actor of X in game X?
  • What is the song called in game X?
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    A question requirement is 'minimal research effort'. These kind of questions very cleary show otherwise – DCA- Aug 28 '13 at 15:06
22

They're on-topic strictly speaking, so long as they meet basic standards in terms of question clarity, etc.

However, there are many users who don't like questions of this sort, seeing them as not useful (see also: Lore Questions). Furthermore, questions like this are also often easily answerable with a quick google or IMDB search, which reflects poor research effort. Expect some downvotes.

A downvote doesn't mean your question isn't welcome per se. Downvotes are not meant to judge whether a question is on or off topic. They're meant to assess the quality of your question. It's a subjective measurement, and sometimes, people are going to disagree with you about what constitutes a good question. Unless you're getting more than 5 downvotes for every upvote, you probably shouldn't worry too much about them.

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    Some related comments. The examples you give skew towards being not useful, and as such downvotes would be expected. If you yourself consider the question trivial and unlikely to help you or anyone else - don't ask it. That said, if the question is useful to you, and might be useful to others - I'd encourage you to ask it. Some of us see the value in even simple questions. – EBongo Aug 25 '13 at 0:49
  • I'd argue that it's the trivial questions that bring people in from Google, which is a good thing as long as we want Arqade to grow. I'd even go as far as saying trivial questions should be encouraged, provided that they're not a duplicate. – JonK Aug 30 '14 at 13:43
  • @JonK And I'd argue that our foremost focus is to make the internet a better place. One that we don't do by allowing, nor encouraging simple and lazy questions. Yes, we want the SEO, and get new users, but questions should never be allowed on those grounds alone. – Frank Aug 30 '14 at 14:07
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    @Frank It's a fact of life that people are lazy. Lazy questions will get asked, like it or not. We can either accept that and provide high quality canonical answers to them to try and prevent them from being asked all the time, or we can come down on everyone who asks like a ton of bricks and mob downvote them, scaring them away from the site and losing any potential contributions they may have made in the future. The latter is not a good image to project to Joe Average, and it does matter. – JonK Aug 30 '14 at 14:11
  • I'm not saying we shouldn't answer them. We should, and do it well. But we should come down on them like a ton of bricks, to demonstrate that while, yes, they are allowable questions, they are not good questions. Because they're not. We have a badge for exactly that scenario. If a user is scared away because he asked a question that was obvious and lazy, then good. We'll get less low quality questions, and that makes the internet a better place. – Frank Aug 30 '14 at 15:38
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    @Frank You're essentially advocating that the community downvotes useful questions, which is completely backwards. You're also not considering the motivation behind posting a trivial question. If it's out of sheer laziness and lack of research, fine downvote it like you mean it. However if the motivation behind posting a trivial question is to provide a platform for people to produce high quality canonical answers to it then in my opinion it doesn't deserve to be downvoted. – JonK Aug 30 '14 at 15:54
  • No, I'm advocating not enabling brain dead questions. Motivation matters nothing at all for asking questions, unless it's in the question. Context means everything. Yours is, "Meh, people will ask it, so might as well ask it first." Just because people are lazy doesn't mean it's something we should support, nor endorse. The answer, upvote if it's good. The question, downvote into oblivion and beyond for it's sheer brain dead factor. – Frank Aug 30 '14 at 16:39
  • @Frank Your assumption about why I posted that question is incorrect. I have tried to explain why I posted it but you appear to be unwilling to listen to it, so I'm not going to bother trying again. This topic isn't about a specific post either, if you want to discuss that particular post it should be in its own question. – JonK Aug 30 '14 at 17:00
1

Those types of questions are on-topic (are allowed on the site). There was previously an effort by a user (or some users) to close all questions of those types as off-topic or 'not a real question', but most (or all) of those questions have been left opened or reopened by the community.

Some of those questions:

screenshot of list of "What is the song?" questions that have been voted to be closed

Downvotes are a very different kind of animal compared to close votes. Unlike close votes, people can downvote pretty much for any reason they want (see also: Lore Questions). To avoid downvotes due to what some users might see as "minimal research effort", you should include what you already found out when asking questions like these (e.g. what info you found through searching with your favorite search engine), and which info you found is unclear, or need clarifications or expounding on.

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    Please stop trying to conflate discussion of downvotes with close votes. – LessPop_MoreFizz Aug 25 '13 at 15:07
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    @LessPop_MoreFizz I'm not saying that. I'm saying that there was previously an effort to close all those types of questions mentioned by OP as off-topic or 'not a real question', but most of the community didn't agree that they should be closed. – galacticninja Aug 25 '13 at 15:39
  • And I still think the vast majority of those questions shouldn't be here. They're, at best, trivia. – Frank Aug 25 '13 at 19:42
  • @galacticninja And yet, you linked a chat conversation about downvotes. – LessPop_MoreFizz Aug 26 '13 at 1:57
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    @LessPop_MoreFizz That chat conversation talked about both down votes and close votes: "...today several "what is the name of the songs that plays during the games get collateral downvote/close off topic combo". I'm only talking about the close votes here, hence the screenshot of some of the questions that got close votes in my answer. – galacticninja Aug 26 '13 at 3:00
-9

I think that if a question matches all 3 of the below criteria, it is off-topic.

  1. The question is not about strategy, tactics, solving, mechanics, or terminology. In other words, the question is only incidental to playing the game.
  2. The question has a good answer that can be found by copying it verbatim into a web search engine and looking at the first few results.
  3. The question can be completely answered in 1 sentence or less.
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    If you were going to build criteria in this way, you'd want to make the rules for it being on-topic rather than off-topic. Otherwise, per these rules, I could currently ask something completely unrelated to gaming but which satisfies rules 2 and 3, and it would still be on-topic because it didn't violate all three criteria. That said, even if you edit your answer to match what I think you intended to say, I think this is a bad idea, because I firmly believe the answer to a question should not affect whether or not the question itself is on-topic. – Sterno Aug 27 '13 at 19:44
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    Easily searchable isn't an off-topic reason, I'm afraid. That's not at all germane to a question's on or off-topic-ness. It's certainly a downvote reason, and I will happily downvote those that display that level of non-effort. – Frank Aug 27 '13 at 19:56

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