I just answered the question "Buttermilk Substitute?". Typing the question in to Google turned up pages and pages of detailed discussion about what to substitute for buttermilk. Do these "easy" questions belong here?

I'm new to stackexchange, but I really want to see this site work out, so I'm asking some meta questions about how this place runs as they come up. Sorry if they're a bit basic. Ironically, I did not use Google to try and find an answer to this question (although I did search the site first).

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Good question! Also wonder about that. Many of the answers to questions currently posted can be found on Google without much time/effort including my own. Just out of curiosity, I tried checking some. The answers that obviously share personal experience would not be, but for the rest, eh. –  kiamlaluno Jul 24 '10 at 19:38
    
not everyone has the same amount of google fu. The fact that you were able to easily summarize the research you found and present it back is an invaluable service. –  Mike Sherov Jul 30 '10 at 22:24
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5 Answers

"Easy to Google" has never been a reason to disqualify a question for Stack* sites. StackOverflow and ServerFault have actually risen to the top of google searches. This is a good thing.

We typically bring more to the table than a traditional googled answer does. The ability to see multiple answers, know the answerers reputation, and have good answers voted up are all things lacking in other sites.

If we limited ourselves to that which could not be found on Google, we'd not have much.

Please read Joel Spolsky's StackOverflow launch announcement. He details specifically why they created SO. Also check this discussion on the SO meta.

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Joel's list missed the one that gets under my skin the most: the person asking about the same problem you're having, and then 2-48hrs later, posting 'nevermind, I fixed it' with no indication what the fix was. –  Joe Jul 25 '10 at 13:05
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I can't tell you how many times I have searched for something on Google, and found that the first (and best) result was a StackOverflow.com result. And then, invariably, one of the comments on the question says something like "geez, -1, you could find the answer to this sooo easily with a Google search".

When this happens I think as loudly as I can "YES, DAMNIT! HOW DO YOU THINK I GOT HERE? THANK GOD THIS QUESTION WASN'T CLOSED AND I GOT THE ANSWER I WAS LOOKING FOR IN A CONVENIENT FORUM I CAN TRUST. I AM SO GRATEFUL TWITS LIKE YOU ARE RIGHTFULLY IGNORED!".

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I agree with what others have said, but want to make one big distinction regarding it.

We need to add value to the answer, just a link to another site turns this into a directory, not a community.

The link to another site is fine, but summarize, speak to how your experience coincides with what the article says, comment on variations that they didn't explore, etc.

For @nohat's example about finding the right answer on SO through Google, that happens to me all the time too, but there is content in the answer. Sure they may have linked to the developer's website referencing their documentation or someone's blog, but they also did a quick test themselves and posted sample code or they gave some additional detail beyond the docs. They didn't just link and say RTFM.

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Simply going off of the first Google search result doesn't guarantee accuracy. The way Google ranks pages is by the number of other sites linking to that page with keywords related to what you typed in. Sometimes it is correct, sometimes it's a partial answer, and sometimes it's just a myth or stereotype that people still believe.

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If I have a cooking question that needs to be googled to find the answer, and that answer isn't on the stackexchange site, I'll ask it. If the site works out, my question will be #1 in Google results in a few months with a perfect, commnuity approved answer.

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