This post is one follow up to the discussion Gaps to fill without HW close reason. It seemed appropriate to give it its own place to discuss this.
It seems to me some questions (a lot of the questions we close) fall into a range of common reference, or general reference, as I'd like to call it. The curators are fairly certain your normal textbook, online tutorial or Wikipedia page can adequately answer this question, leading to
- an uneasy feeling that your response would be to an uninterested poster, like shouting at a wall, when they haven't bothered to give their textbook a read, or search online.
- another uneasy feeling that a lazy answerer would come by with a verbatim poorly formatted probably unattributed copy of an online tutorial and call it an answer, and complain when it doesn't give them free rep.
Whether these feelings are warranted is arguable1, but I can certainly see why gen-ref questions of the worst quality, at least, should be closed. Consider a question on the beautiful concept of "number of moles", and an uncertified molologist answering with a huge blockquote from take-your-pic. It's the archetype of a broken window. We don't want more or even less of it. We don't want it at all.
In light of reigniting the efforts to refining our policy and guidance, what is your opinion on general reference (or trivia), in the scientific sense, incorporated into our close reasons? Basically, closing a question on the grounds that it shouldn't be answered according to our model as we don't want to be a 'replica of commonly available resources'. I also think I took that from somewhere but I can't recall. This would ideally cover questions that we often vaguely close as homework.
I have commented on this in my earlier answer, and this is really an idea adopted from language sites (say, EL&U). It seems to be a more viable option than either lack of research or basicness for closing these questions. Here's what we can discuss, as a few options and some direction:
- Possible overuse; beware the fallacious forms of "Slippery slope".
- How to objectivize the close reason; what resources would be included in the close reason
- In case of disagreement, a possible alternative (no, not homework, unless you have a really good reason not addressed in the two dozen previous meta posts)
- Some vague points about gen-ref that might make this policy a hurdle too
1: I've personally seen enough evidence to know they're true most of the time; after a while, a question that should be closed but hasn't been usually gets answers that makes you frown, and (perhaps you've seen this often too) a caring commenter that tries to lead the OP in the right direction gets nothing but a "so waht is answer???". I've also been proven wrong more often than I care to admit, and this would be because people are generally unaware of how prudent they need to be when posting on Stack Exchange—It's far more intuitive to ask someone than to search.