This question caught my eye:

At what point did mapmaking begin to accurately reflect what we now know about the earth?

It seems to be exaustively answerable by a relevant Wiki article.

Do we have a General Reference closure policy that basically says:

  • If googling for the question's subject you find a general reference site (e.g. Wiki) as one of first hits

  • The Wiki page has complete information needed for the answer, fully sourced

  • The page presents the information cleraly and concisely (e.g. not as a random hard to find set of 5 separate unrelated sentence in a 50k-size text; but let's say a section clearly linked from the article index that obviously contains the answer when looking at an index).

... then the question is "General Reference" and should be closed.

(the above is a somewhat rephrased Science Fiction and Fantasy SE policy).

  • Just to be clear, I don't have my own strong opinion on whether we should have such a policy here. I see both benefits and cons for it
    – DVK
    Commented Jul 23, 2012 at 16:37

2 Answers 2


We do not have a policy that covers the exact scenario you describe. According to the FAQ the questions that are asked must be "practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face." So, your question seems to fall under the umbrella of related meta questions concerning the ease of answering a question. E.g. Please avoid asking Wikipedia questions, and Should we allow easy to answer questions?

i think the answer to your question has to be on a case-by-case basis because what seems to be obvious and easy to one person is not obvious and easy to another person. I think a question like "Who was George Washington?" would fall outside the bounds of this site, but the question you mentioned seems closer to within the bounds of the site. Finding the right information online is heavily tied to knowing how to search for it.

  • ihtkwot - my main concern is not so much the "ease" of the question as the fact that the answer would be a copy/paste of an entire section of a Wiki article.
    – DVK
    Commented Jul 22, 2012 at 22:04
  • A better illustration to my Q was the (closed) history.stackexchange.com/questions/3/…
    – DVK
    Commented Jul 22, 2012 at 22:06
  • @DVK ah ic, well in that case I'm not sure how I feel.
    – ihtkwot
    Commented Jul 22, 2012 at 22:08

There is no direct policy regarding this. Since this is a community site, we depend on the site participants to make a determination on whether a question or answer is appropriate or relevant, and you do this by voting.

Having said that, we DO want to discourage people from just doing a copy/paste from another source, whether it be wikipedia or some other source. I think it would be much more appropriate to at least paraphrase from that source and possibly even provide a link back to the original source.

  • "Community site" is not quite relevant - as I noted, SFF which is a sister site has a very defined policy. Mind you, I'm not saying that having or NOT having a policy is better - I can see +s and -s of both approaches; I am advocating for neither. Simply keep in mind that there's no contradiction between being a SE site and prohibiting questions answerable by Wiki blurb
    – DVK
    Commented Jul 23, 2012 at 16:36
  • If I remember correctly SFF is out of beta and is now an "official" site. Once a site is removed from beta, thay can start creating specific policies that they want to apply to their site. My understanding is that since we are still in beta, we do not have that option. Part of the evolution of a new site is for the community to ask questions like this and vote on how they want to proceed. It's up to you guys to decide! Commented Jul 23, 2012 at 18:17

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