It had never occurred to me until reading this question that a question could be considered too simple. The arguments for weeding out overly simplistic questions are compelling, but how simple is too simple for this site?


This question: Illustrator - 5 cm bleeds somehow?

My gut reaction was to answer the question (and I did). After being reading about the types of questions that don't attract experts, this seems to fit the criteria.


Is it too simple?

  1. Questioner asks about a specific feature of a specific computer program.
  2. Questioner acknowledges that they are aware of the program's limitation.
  3. Questioner does not indicate interest in the relevant design concept.

How should it be handled?

  1. Should the question be given a detailed answer as-is?
  2. Should the question be edited to make it about the design concept instead of an arbitrary shortcoming of an application? (And, consequently, be given detailed answers pertaining to the overarching concept.)
  3. Should the question be flagged for closing as off-topic?

So... where do we draw the line?

  • possible duplicate of How should we rephrase "no ultra simple questions" into the FAQ? Apr 22, 2011 at 11:56
  • (^ Whoa, autocomment, hadn't happened before) Apr 22, 2011 at 11:57
  • @koiyu Thanks for the pointer, but I actually linked to that question in this question. :) I wasn't sure if that question was more about wording in the FAQ and less about actually defining Simple. I can repost in the answer section of that question if it's more appropriate.
    – Farray
    Apr 22, 2011 at 15:13
  • oh, I was too fast for myself. In a way, it is about wording: "no ultra simple questions" would be a bit blunt and it thrives for examples and more specific rules. Also note that the current FAQ doesn't have any opinion about simple questions/answers, and usually the FAQ defines the rules for a SE-site. Your question (and now also an answer in the other question) has some good points that could be used as guidelines for the "too simple" definition (or rephrasing). Apr 22, 2011 at 17:46
  • @koiyu Thanks for the feedback. Have thrown out the question & answer and will leave it to the gods.stackexchange.com to sort! ;)
    – Farray
    Apr 22, 2011 at 18:20

1 Answer 1


There is some guidance at


Our general philosophy is to heavily favor answerers.

We feel that the world is awash in questions, but not answers. Answers are the real unit of work in any Q&A system. Therefore, the only logical thing to do is to maximize the happiness and enjoyment of answerers.

If this means aggressively closing unworthy or uninteresting questions, so be it. Without a community of people willing to answer questions, it really doesn't matter if there are questions at all, does it?


  • I'd add to the first box: "Can the answer be found by simply reading what's on the screen or in a first-level menu selection?" In coaching/instructing, I find that more than half the time, the answer is right there on the user's screen, but they haven't looked for it. (Back in the day, "RTFM" was the usual response to trivial questions. One hardly sees it anymore, but vendors often don't print FMs for users to R in the first place, so perhaps that's inevitable.) May 20, 2011 at 6:12

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