For some background on the broader topic, see: Are questions that are easily answered with Google appropriate for the site? This is essentially a smaller subset of that.
I want to state for the record that I am an ardent supporter of "Google questions" because the whole idea of Stack Exchange is to put something useful at the top of those results, rather than forums and blogs and paywalls full of noise and frustrations.
But I may have discovered my personal limit when I saw this question asked yesterday:
Where does it come from? How is it made? Where does it grow?
That's the whole question.
I'm fine with basic questions. At no point in time did we ever try to establish ourselves as a community of snooty elites, and that openness is something I have fully supported and continue to support. But this question really bothers me because it goes beyond being merely easy to Google:
It's answered by a general reference source - Wikipedia. You don't need a cooking specialist to answer it, just open a dictionary or encyclopedia.
It's directly answered by Wikipedia. Not buried in paragraph 6 of some indirectly-related entry or spread across a few different entries; there is literally an entire page dedicated to answering this exact question. Wikipedia isn't merely a citation here, it is the answer.
It asks for no detail or analysis beyond what can be found on Wikipedia. In other words, simply quoting or paraphrasing Wikipedia is a perfectly valid answer. For those who remember Bloom's Taxonomy from grade school, this is a pure Knowledge question; rote facts, requiring no comprehension of the subject at all.
Literally any word can be substituted for "tapioca" to create a new question. There is no theoretical upper bound to the number of similar questions that can be asked.
Note that the above is merely characterizing that type of question; it is not intended to be a justification for or against having them.
There's already some history/precedent around this. It's not implemented anywhere, but Jeff Atwood and Robert Cartaino proposed a special close reason for this (quoting Robert's version):
general reference: this question is too basic; the answer is indexed in any number of general internet reference sources designed specifically to find that type of information.
But for now, no existing Stack Exchange has this reason or closes such questions by policy, so it goes without saying that I'm not taking any moderator actions. I'm bringing it up here because I would like to see some healthy discussion on this subject from the community.
Are questions that are directly and clearly answered by a general reference source (e.g. Wikipedia) appropriate for this site?
Why or why not?