Would it be fair to consider "what is ... " style questions not useful if they are easily looked up?

For e.g.: What is Turkey Bacon?

They just seem like rep. bait and don't appear to add unique knowledge.

I could understand a deeper question 'citing' Wikipedia but this style of question seems superfluous.


  • Also, I think that part of the rep explosion that occurred in that particular question had more to do with the (now deleted) controversial other answer.
    – hobodave
    Jul 31, 2010 at 9:32
  • Also, speaking for myself, I generally quote Wikipedia as a sort of polite RTFM to these type of questions. I also don't answer these unless I know the answer myself. My words however would be a terse "the thigh" which I think seems a bit snarky, besides being too short. So, I grab a brief quote from Wikipedia and provide a link for the questioner to read. It meets the length requirements, answers the question, and makes it obvious that further information should be read elsewhere. :) Sometimes I do Google part of an answer, but I always make it clear that the knowledge isn't my own...
    – hobodave
    Jul 31, 2010 at 9:44
  • .. I have no interest in looking stupid by repeating misinformation as if it were fact and first-hand knowledge to me. :)
    – hobodave
    Jul 31, 2010 at 9:45

2 Answers 2


No question too basic. That's the philosophy.

For me, this is one of those instances of "I don't agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." They're not particularly interesting questions, but they're not breaking any rules either; they're on topic and follow the Q&A format. If I voted to close these, it would be hypocritical, I'd have no means to justify my actions.

At best, one could say that they're poor questions because they don't target experts, just anybody who's not too lazy to look it up. But then again, an expert might have something to say that Joey Googlemonkey doesn't. I don't know; I'm not an expert on turkey bacon, but maybe somebody out there is.

They're only rep bait because people vote for them, and that's the bigger problem. But having been a longtime and frequent user of Stack Overflow, I've long since made peace with the fact that beginner questions always pick up the most votes, because people only upvote what they understand and everybody understands a simple question/answer like that. Bring on the Fastest Gun in the West; it's easier to do my own occasional rep-whoring than try to swim against the tide.

As long as the question is on topic and objectively answerable, it shouldn't matter how basic/lazy it is (unless it's very poorly-written, in which case edit or downvote it).

  • Glad I'm not the only one that has a grudging tolerance of these questions. When I saw the swarm of 5 or 6 like this come across today I sighed.
    – hobodave
    Jul 31, 2010 at 9:24
  • Thanks for the thoughts all, I didn't have time to look at what the score was on the original Stackoverflow but I think I understand where you are both coming from.
    – tonylo
    Jul 31, 2010 at 23:37

More importantly, there's added value from this site just having more answers that people looking for information about food/cooking might use. If users feel confident that any food query is likely to have been thoroughly and professionally answered on the site, the more they'll go to it first, and the more they'll come back to it.

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