Someone voted to close a question:

I'm voting to close this question as lacking necessary research.

This is the first time I've seen that be a close-reason on TSE. (Perhaps that's just me, though.)

However, I've long wondered if perhaps this should be a close-reason on TSE.

I'm not talking about borderline cases. I personally wouldn't want to close those. I'm talking about cases where:

  1. There are very obvious ways to research the question.
  2. OP shows no sign of having done any of those things at all.

For example: Why is the Samsung Galaxy Note7 banned in flight?

Which of course is a blatant case of lack of research, as it can be answered very quickly by a web search.

BTW, no insult is intended to the OP of that question, he quickly realized the lack of research, and also gave away a bounty to the top answer. I've also posted many poorly researched questions myself on SE, so I certainly don't mean to criticize the OP of that question here. I'm merely using it as an example.

Actually, OP even suggested we could indeed close that question, to which I responded:

It's not possible to close this question. Lack of research is a close reason on some sites, (like ELU), but not here.

Was I correct to say that? Can we close questions for lack of research, or not?

English Language & Usage SE has an official close reason like that. It's in the interface when people vote to close, and there's a standard notice added to questions that are closed for that reason.

I've noticed that TSE only has three standard off-topic reasons at the moment. Other sites, like ELU and Anime & Manga, have four. So, there should be space for one more.

That's assuming there's a consensus for it, which I don't know, of course. The response to this question will tell.

Obviously, the details of this would have to be discussed thoroughly on meta before it was implemented.

Should this be an official close-reason here (like on ELU)?

I personally think it might be a good idea. I'd of course, like to hear the points and counterpoints of the community.

I agree that it could be abused, so I think that if it was implemented there would have to be quite a conservative policy on when to utilize that close-reason. In other words, only blatant cases of lack of research should be closed. For example, the Samsung question I linked to earlier.

To continue that example, how could OP make such a question acceptable? He could say:

This phone was banned on my flight. I'm curious as to why. I've searched the web for it, and I've found out X. However, in spite of X, I'm still unsure about Y. Why is that, does it have anything do with Z? I've read in this article that Z might be related to it.

Such a question would, of course, feature research, and would not be close-worthy. I believe this would increase the overall quality of both questions and content in general on the site.

Of course, we do have downvotes for that, but I don't feel they suffice. Also, downvotes typically don't do much when these questions hit the Hot Network Questions. (Which they often do, typically due to upvotes on answers and multiple answers.)

  • There is only 3 official Off-Topic reasons allowed.
    – Karlson
    Commented Oct 6, 2016 at 20:53
  • @Karlson Well, perhaps we could make it site policy (if there's a consensus for it) without actually including it in the interface?)
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Oct 6, 2016 at 20:59
  • @pnuts Sounds fair enough.. Or: Questions showing absolutely no research or covering tasks that the normally performed by travel agents such as constructing travel and tours" We could obviously discuss the wording in more detail. But yeah, including it under the WANATA clause seems like quite a good idea.
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Oct 6, 2016 at 21:07
  • @pnuts Also, what do you mean by "lack of internet"? How can they post the question, then? Are they in some obscure village in the Himalayas where they only get internet access for 2 minutes a day, just enough to post to TSE?
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Oct 6, 2016 at 21:16
  • @pnuts Yeah. The details of this would have to be discussed in detail on meta before it was implemented.
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Oct 6, 2016 at 21:26
  • Let us continue this discussion in chat.
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Oct 6, 2016 at 21:26
  • 1
    @Karlson That is incorrect. Anime & Manga has four.
    – Jan
    Commented Oct 7, 2016 at 0:05
  • 1
    @Jan Selling for what I got it. meta.travel.stackexchange.com/questions/1647/…
    – Karlson
    Commented Oct 7, 2016 at 0:09
  • @Karlson ELU also has four, BTW.
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Oct 7, 2016 at 6:49
  • 1
    No objections from my side. Commented Oct 26, 2016 at 13:55

5 Answers 5


"Lack of research" is present on many other network sites to avoid the sites being cluttered with low quality questions asking for basic things: .SE network is not a substitute for Google or any other search engine, it's a place to post question that you find hard to solve on your own.

And if a question can easily be solved by a quick search in Internet (this one Reachability of Matera in late December/early January, for example), the posted answer is at risk to be a copy paste of the content of a webpage. Or when the answer could easily be just a link to a page...

I strongly think Travel.Se should have "Lack of research" as a reason for a VTC, with even more need for that than on other sites of the network.


I like this proposal, but I want to say that I think it's a subjective judgement and therefore we should generally err on the side of keeping questions open.

However, to give an example of what I think "obvious" should mean:

I'm a citizen of country X going to country Y on holiday for 20 days. Do I need a visa?

If this question doesn't mention having searched the Web or done anything at all, then it's an obvious case of zero research, and can be closed.

On the other hand:

I'm a citizen of country X going to country Y on holiday for 20 days. Do I need a visa?

I've checked the embassy of country Y's website, but due to Z, I am unsure of exactly how to interpret the information given there. I've also searched the web, but as far as I can see, various sources contradict each other.

[Even better, explain the apparent contradictions and include links to the sources here.]

This shows research and should clearly not be closed. Actually, this example is probably far above the threshold. Even adding a single one of those elements may be enough sometimes.

I think a canned reason for this would be very useful. Otherwise, if we close such questions under the "other" clause, then there will be a notice saying:

This question does not appear to be about traveling within the scope defined in the help center.

This might confuse many users, especially new ones. They may say, for example:

How is this visa question not about travel??

That's why I think a canned close-reason would be useful for questions that show zero research. It would add a "lack of research" notice to the question while putting it on hold. The notice may even say that if the question is edited to describe research done, then it may be reopened.

I'm not saying using the "other" clause would be terrible, I just prefer a canned reason like what they have at ELU.

Please note that there should indeed be room for a fourth reason. Sites like Anime & Manga and English Language & Usage have four such reasons, whereas TSE has three. So it shouldn't be a technical problem, as far as I understand.

  • You could choose "Other" and make the message "I'm choosing to close this question because it lacks basic research"
    – blackbird
    Commented Oct 7, 2016 at 13:36
  • @blackbird I actually addressed this in my latest edit. Any thoughts?
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Oct 7, 2016 at 13:38
  • 2
    I see what you mean, the yellow banner still says "off-topic". I agree in that case, that message could be made clearer
    – blackbird
    Commented Oct 7, 2016 at 13:41

I think this should not be a close reason. Lack of research does not by itself make a question harder to answer, and that is what should matter.

From the viewpoint of questions that are found later by people having the same problem, knowing what research was done back when the question was asked usually doesn't help much. These people are already doing Google searches themselves and are interested in the answers.

Lack of research only makes you less motivated to go look for an answer yourself, because the question-asker appears lazy. But we are not the laziness police.

If it means fewer people feel like they want to do the work to write a good answer, then there will be fewer answers to the question. That seems sufficient "punishment" to me.

  • Interesting thoughts, but the idea isn't to "punish" anyone, it's to increase the overall quality of the content on the site. Also, actually, these "little or no research" questions are often answered very quickly, because they're so easy to answer. It just takes two minutes on Google, and then you have the answer.
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 9:22
  • @pnuts: I mean that questions can be unanswerable because they're too unclear or lack important details, and unanswerable questions should be closed. Lack of research in the question isn't like that. Commented Oct 16, 2016 at 7:04
  • The problem I see here is that basic unresearched questions often end up in hot network list, where they will get lots of answers, half of them as basic as the question itself. Not only these answers can be dealt with effectively (can't really blame the answers to a basic question for being basic as well), but such questions also diverts a fair share of attention from good, researched questions. If hot network list didn't exist, I'd mostly agree with you. Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 7:08

I think it should be a case by case examination.

If you hover over the upvote on a Q you will see "this question shows research effort, it is useful and clear". So at the minimum I expect someone to have Googled before asking, especially for easily searchable things such as "what are the visa requirements".

Of course "easily searchable" is highly subjective and depends on how web-savvy you are and I don't expect everyone to be, I usually cut new users more slack and hold more established ones to higher expectations, I try to always comment requesting more details.

I had a question about this here where we agreed to close them as unclear.

  • I agree, it's a subjective judgement and we should err on the side of keeping the question open. Do you think a canned reason would be useful if there was an understanding to use it only for the most obvious cases?
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Oct 7, 2016 at 12:47
  • 1
    I feel that upvote hover is an argument for not upvoting such questions, maybe even downvoting them. That's different from closing them though. Commented Oct 7, 2016 at 12:48
  • @Fiksdal it would be useful, but that brings another question, what are the most obvious cases ? :)
    – blackbird
    Commented Oct 7, 2016 at 12:51
  • 1
    @blackbird For example: "I'm a citizen of X going to Y, do I need a visa? with no mention of having attempted to search the Web or why they're unsure. That would be obvious lack of research. But if they explain that they've tried searching the Web for it and why they're still not sure, then it's not close-worthy.
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Oct 7, 2016 at 13:03

No, it doesn't matter. A question is either good and within the context of this site or not. If it's sufficient to drop a one-line answer to resolve the question, it's perfectly fine.

Of course there's the issue of vague and unclear questions, but those already have the 'too broad' and 'unclear what you're asking' close reasons. There are also plenty of questions previously answered here on Travel.SE, but we can just as easily dupe-close those.

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