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I don't think that questions like What is the measurement of 1 cup? add value to the site.

I don't even know why some people point others to heavy sites like Wolfram Alpha, when you can literally just ask Google, 1 cup in mL.

There's no end to the number of potential questions like these, they are extremely shallow and don't require any culinary knowledge to answer, and worst of all, we'll never rank as the first result because Google itself puts the answer at the top!

That means anybody who searches for a question like this will never even bother clicking on the link to our site, because the answer is already sitting right there in front of them. In other words, they don't help veteran members who know where to look this stuff up, and they don't help attract new visitors either.

This is a subset of general reference questions, but I think an even more pathological case, since you can not only find the answer on a general reference source but also in millions of pages, sites, and apps dedicated to exactly this purpose. We're not covering the long tail here, it's one of the most heavily-diluted areas I can think of.

I can only think of two exceptions, those being:

  1. Archaic weights and measurements. However, if we want to cover these, I think a single question linking to an heirloom weights and measurements chart suffices to cover the entire category; and

  2. Subjective or approximate measurements, like a knob of butter.

Does anyone disagree that, aside from the above two exceptions, these questions should be summarily closed?

  • I may be displaying my ignorance here, but is there an easy way to locate all of these useful general-reference threads? – logophobe Jun 14 '14 at 16:18
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    @logophobe: First, this is a Q&A site and we don't have threads, we have questions. Second, the purpose of the general-reference discussion was to address topics that are available in general reference sources e.g. - dictionaries, encyclopedias, or Google itself (not a Google search result, but a query that Google actually answers directly). In other words, you don't need a special cooking site to look up the definition of "cheese". This is supposed to be a niche site and we don't want it cluttered with topics that subject-matter experts wouldn't be interested in. – Aaronut Jun 14 '14 at 16:50
  • Let me clarify - I've seen a few questions with general information that are often referenced when closing more specific questions as duplicates. For example: cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/34670/… I'd like to understand how I can best locate these to assist in identifying duplicates before answering. I'm fairly new to the community and still learning my way around. – logophobe Jun 14 '14 at 17:50
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    @logophobe: Searching first is always the best way, although a lot of the time you don't even need to search - similar questions will show up as you type your question. Food safety is a special case - we even have a tag wiki linking to all the FAQs. In general we don't have that many "canonical" questions, they only get created when there's a pressing need - specifically when there are endless variations on the same question, or the obvious potential for such variations. They're generally pretty easy to spot. – Aaronut Jun 14 '14 at 20:02
  • @logophobe You can always star the canonical questions so that you've got a way to find them later. – Cascabel Jun 26 '14 at 5:20
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Yes let's close those, and point to a canonical question that points to everyone's favorite calculators. It's helpful and if they're dups we don't have to keep convincing people they're bad questions.

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    I went through all the work of creating one and then realized we already had one. I've beefed it up substantially though. – Aaronut Jun 14 '14 at 15:50

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