I recently saw What is the record length of time for single-occupant flight? on main and went to close it as "no research" before I realized that isn't an actual close reason.

On Stack Exchange, users are expected to do some amount of research before posting a question—at the very least, looking at the first couple of Google results. There is, however, no close reason for this. The answers to Proposal for new close reason: "no prior research/work" on Meta Stack Exchange suggest that "not a real question" or "too localized" should cover it, but neither felt reasonable in this case. The question is real, and not too localized, but it can be found in the very first Google result for "longest solo flight."

What should be done for this question (and questions like it)?

  • $\begingroup$ Related question $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Commented Mar 30, 2015 at 6:48
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Maybe it's just me, but I find downvoting on meta questions almost a tautology. I've done my bit to restore the natural balance of the universe. $\endgroup$
    – Simon
    Commented Mar 30, 2015 at 18:51
  • $\begingroup$ @Simon Downvotes on Meta are different™ (though in this particular case as nothing is being "proposed" I agree that downvotes don't make much sense on this question.) $\endgroup$
    – voretaq7
    Commented Mar 31, 2015 at 17:27
  • $\begingroup$ I was under the impression that for a question showing little/no research a down vote is the correct response. True across the SE spectrum. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 4, 2018 at 15:06

2 Answers 2


No, we shouldn't just immediately close them for the very simple reason that asking a question on SE is research. Just telling someone to Google or even linking to another site's information is far from ideal:

  • Google results may change over time, making responses like "just Google 'foo bar frob' and check the first couple of hits" potentially unhelpful and/or inconsistent for future readers
  • The other site may disappear in the future, leaving the SE links orphaned
  • The other site's information may be wrong, even if it's a popular hit for the question
  • If you actually answer the question then you can take the opportunity to give a fuller, much more valuable answer with commentary, explanation, links to multiple sources etc.
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    $\begingroup$ Good well researched questions and answers can make aviation.SE the authoritative answer that Google coughs up when others search for "x", which is what we'd like. RGB's comment is very valid, though that research in the question helps get better answers. $\endgroup$
    – FreeMan
    Commented Mar 30, 2015 at 14:08
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    $\begingroup$ I love finding posts that just say "try searching for it". How do you think I got there in the first place? $\endgroup$
    – fooot
    Commented Mar 30, 2015 at 14:57
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    $\begingroup$ It's quite possible for my search results and someone else's to be totally different, since Google analyzes past searches, as well as a lot of other stuff, to make the results relevant to me. $\endgroup$
    – Steve
    Commented Dec 18, 2015 at 15:04

Wow... Way to jump to conclusions. I did research. I just happened to not know the optimal search terms apparently. I found a list on Wikipedia, but it was not limited to single occupant flights, for example.

Even using your suggested search term doesn't bring me to an authoratative, and obviously up-to-date answer. Maybe its obvious to you if you already know the answer.

What should be done about this? Just try to give a good answer and suggest improvements to the question if you have any.

Please assume good faith in the future.

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    $\begingroup$ The corollary: If you have done research, it is useful to mention this in your question. It prevents potential answerers wasting their and your time writing about things you already know. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 30, 2015 at 9:36
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    $\begingroup$ I dunno. I thought my question was pretty simple and explaining where I looked wouldn't change the answer I got, but sure, I can imagine other cases where it would. Also, I think good answers should work for more that just the OP, so its fine if they say things I happen to already know. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 30, 2015 at 15:17
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    $\begingroup$ Just so you know, my very first thought after reading the question was "hasn't this user even done the most basic web search?" $\endgroup$
    – CGCampbell
    Commented Mar 31, 2015 at 14:19

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