Google query in lieu of an answer December 22, 2003 9:37 PM   Subscribe

In a recent AskMeFi thread a link to a Google query was provided in lieu of an answer [more inside].
posted by cedar to Etiquette/Policy at 9:37 PM (20 comments total)

When someone is seeking advice from a specific group I wonder if this is the most productive way to reply. There isn't a question in the green that I couldn't formulate a Google string for, but if we're trying to draw from the expertise and experience of MeFi members a generic search may not be the best method. If we want to separate the wheat from the chaff, pointing someone at the field isn't going to get it.
posted by cedar at 9:37 PM on December 22, 2003

Depends on the question, really. If you're looking for a simple fact check, do you really need to appeal to the MetaFilter crowd for an answer? If, however, you're looking for information on something objective, it's a good place to ask questions.
posted by The God Complex at 9:39 PM on December 22, 2003

cedar, check out mischief's comment history from tonight. He's cranky, and "chatty".
posted by BlueTrain at 9:42 PM on December 22, 2003

... and bored! You forgot, "bored". ;-P

Besides, I thought cedar meant this thread and this response. ;-P
posted by mischief at 9:50 PM on December 22, 2003

The God Complex, I think the original question was clearly asking for a subjective response. That is what you meant, isn't it? Google isn't going to give up much in the way of objective answers concerning Metafilter members personal expierience with piercings.

..."but I'd like to ask anyone who's had this done to help me out - I suppose what I'm looking for here is not so much knowledge as experience.
posted by cedar at 9:50 PM on December 22, 2003

Google indexes on the word 'experience'.
posted by mischief at 9:53 PM on December 22, 2003

Google indexes on the word 'word' and the word 'indexes' and even the word 'annoying'. Google indexes on a great many words -- I'd venture to say the majority of words. What that has to do with a perfectly reasonable question about other experiences concerning a particular piercing is beyond me.

I just thought it was a pretty good question and would hate to see AskMeFi turn into a RTFM or, "Hey, haven't you ever heard of Google?" forum. The part about, "...but I'd like to ask anyone who's had this done to help me out," makes it worthwhile. That, as subjective as it may be, will provide the poster with concrete examples of others experience, people he/she may trust more, as members of a community, than some anonymous goth in Peoria.
posted by cedar at 10:10 PM on December 22, 2003

I did it myself because the same question was already asked with lots of easy-to-find answers. It's not bad advice for some questions, but I can see in the piercing question they wanted tips from people that experienced it firsthand.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:31 PM on December 22, 2003

With all the hubbub about "What makes an appropriate AskMe question?" lately, I hesitated in even posting it. As I mentioned in the post, I had googled about piercings and found enough technical information.

cedar and matthowie have taken my question in the spirit it was asked: I was/am looking for personal experiences from people I trust a little more than a random livejournal entry I might stumble across. I'm even hoping some MeFi member might BE a piercing professional, and have some good advice to offer.

On the other hand, mischeif's Google string did return some useful stuff that I hadn't found, and I am not offended it was included as an answer.
posted by ArsncHeart at 10:59 PM on December 22, 2003

"...but I'd like to ask anyone who's had this done to help me out"
Google is your friend.

As is yahoo groups,, usenet, ...

These are all communities, and no more nor no less anonymous than AskMe.
posted by mischief at 12:01 AM on December 23, 2003

And in those communities, and even here, I can find lots of posters who would say the opposite of what you just said, mischief.

They would say that communities have value, that you may not know peoples names, but you know their history, their angle, you have a sense of whether you can trust them or if they habitually like to decieve,

So, why should I care about your opinion? ;)
posted by vacapinta at 12:06 AM on December 23, 2003

When answering a question on ask.mefi it seems like it's best not to reply with a smarmy answer, even if the question could be turned up with-in your eyes- an easy google search.

Sometimes the right search terms escape people's grasp. Often I spend 8 hours at work answering questions, and find that the customer was with in inches of finding the solution themselves, but they need that extra push.
posted by drezdn at 12:23 AM on December 23, 2003

How is that the opposite of what I said? How can anything be the opposite of "no more nor no less" (beyond "more and less" thanks to ol' Captain de Morgan)?

Anyway, determining credibility in a 'foreign' community requires little more than reading the comment archive; no different than reading the agglomeration of comments in a 'known' community. As for something like piercing, I would expect a specialist community to provide a better answer than MeFi since MeFi is not known for its round-table discussion of body modification.

As for anyone respecting *my* opinion, HA! Do so at your own risk! ;-P
posted by mischief at 12:27 AM on December 23, 2003

Now that I have pondered this situation, I have concluded that seeing how someone else solves a tricky Google search may have some little bit of educational value. Or, is 'educational' a four-letter-word now? ;-P
posted by mischief at 1:39 AM on December 23, 2003

Hey, maybe we all just wanted to know who around here has piercings?

Now find THAT on google. Heh.
posted by konolia at 10:24 AM on December 23, 2003

konolia - you've found me out. I was only hoping quonsar or Stan Chin would 'fess up.

I guess I see this question as running along the lines of "I'm going to Paduka, Kentucky for a week, what should I do while I'm there?" type questions: you can find info on Google or in guidebooks, but sometimes people you know a little will tell you all the juicy (gorey?) details.
posted by ArsncHeart at 10:38 AM on December 23, 2003

There are certainly good arguments for posting a Google link as an answer. But I think there are much better ways. Perhaps it's best to assume that the question poster has tried Google and either doesn't understand the issue well enough to form a good query, or they looked on Google and didn't find the answer.
posted by y6y6y6 at 11:34 AM on December 23, 2003

I concur with y6y6y6. Everyone knows google is there, and how to use it. In the spirit of keeping conversation alive, I think linking to a query is poor form.
posted by nthdegx at 1:41 PM on December 23, 2003

I see no problem with providing a Google link as at least part of an answer - often the problem is that the asker does not know what they need to in order to find an answer and a well-phrased Google search may turn up volumes of extra information. If someone provides a Google link in a "you idiot, why didn't you search before you asked here" way, then that is bad.
posted by dg at 3:08 PM on December 23, 2003

I think providing google links is a superb idea. It provides a great way to learn more and more about how to form a good google query.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:17 PM on December 23, 2003

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