There are questions floating around that are researched to a point but essentially are just asking for a specific article. At best such a question looks like this one.

I understand questions that ask for an explanation within literature are why these sites exist, but to ask for a specific article seems very much the equivalent of "I can't be bothered to look through the documentation, can you do it for me?"

The odds that anyone has already covered this paper as part of a project is slim. The odds that they know the paper off by heart or have it at hand is slim to none. All it will take is a google (or even a google scholar!) search to reveal the answer, something OP could have done themselves. In other words these questions are very answerable, but expect the answerer to do something that the OP could do themselves rather than having the answerer reveal specialist knowledge.

So how should one handle posts that just ask for articles? Currently I am considering down voting and commenting rather than closing but is there already a protocol for this situation?


2 Answers 2


I think (at least) three different kinds of questions are muddled here; 1) please summarize this article for me, 2) please help me find literature on this topic and 3) are there any articles supporting this idea?

I think the first is similar to 'give me teh codes', but the other two can be fine as long as they show the honest efforts of the poster. For both 2) and 3) knowing the literature in a field and knowing the right keywords can be a big part of getting useful answers when you search the literature. As long as the question is well posed and can be answered in the SE-format I think both can be useful to have on the site. However, if it is as easy as entering the question title into google, you can suspect a lazy poster and downvoting would be appropriate (maybe including a vote to close if the question is unclear, homework-like or lacks in background).


Well, I generally despise laziness. In that regard, the downvote prompt says this question doesn't show any research effort. Research effort should be applied to what they are asking. For instance, if I provide a litany of data on the evolution of Dolphins and then ask why do birds fly, I think this would count as no research effort since I didn't do anything for the question I asked. Additionally, the homework (hopefully soon to be reworded or changed) say unless you have shown your attempt at an answer. If you are looking for articles and said I tried these search parameters on blank database and only found xyz which discuss blank whereas I am looking for this, I would say that is an attempt. If none of these criteria are met, you should feel no hesitation to downvote and vote to close.


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