(Related question)

I sometimes see "GIYF" ("Google Is Your Friend") in answers. In a recent answer I removed the line, apparently much to the answerer's disagreement.
The reason I removed it is that I think the value of "GIYF" in an answer is zero. In this case the answer was comprehensive enough; it didn't need this addition.

I would like to know what others think. Does "GIYF" add to the answer, or is it OK to remove it?

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ If the GIYF is included in a proper answer it seems completely superfluous to me. If it's supposed to be an answer in itself it's insufficient. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 11, 2012 at 11:49
  • 9
    \$\begingroup\$ GIYF, LMGTFY, RTFM, etc should all be removed. They're condescending and unhelpful. meta.stackexchange.com/a/98963/130885 \$\endgroup\$
    – endolith
    Apr 11, 2012 at 13:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ "condescending" is the word I was looking for! :-) (I'm not a native speaker) \$\endgroup\$
    – stevenvh
    Apr 11, 2012 at 13:44
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ I didn't know what GIYF meant until you explained. It shouldn't be a answer because it's too cryptic. The message if you'd spent 3 seconds looking you'd have found the answer yourself, moron can be approriate for a comment, but not a answer. Sometimes people get lazy, and they should be sent home after being told that. If you don't like that or don't like a condescending tone, don't be lazy and post questions that could be easily answered with a modicum of homework. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 11, 2012 at 14:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Olin - He didn't use the acronym (which I thought was quite common). The line read "Gargoyle is your friend." \$\endgroup\$
    – stevenvh
    Apr 11, 2012 at 15:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Olin Thanks for the word 'modicum'. It was new to me :) \$\endgroup\$
    – m.Alin
    Apr 12, 2012 at 22:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @stevenvh Methinks you should accept my answer :-). \$\endgroup\$
    – Russell McMahon Mod
    Aug 12, 2016 at 13:11

4 Answers 4


A modicum, or even a soupcon, of common sense is required.

A link I gave to a Google image search was just deemed by a self appoined arbiter to be a GIYF link. I reject such an assertion as blatant rubbish.

The concept of using an on-topic image search and using the pictures to guide the brain to pertinent pages is an astoundingly powerful but very little appreciated one.

With certainty some will appreciate the retrospectively obvious but massively valuable insight that using images linked to web vastly improves the ability to locate pertinent information.

I add such a link to many of my answers BECAUSE I BELIEVE IT IS LIABLE TO BE OF GREAT VALUE TO PEOPLE AND ALSO INOBVIOUS TO MOST. I vehemently reject the assertion that this is condescending or unuseful. I could, of course, spoon feed people with many words and a mini tutorial each time in order to be mamby pamby PC - eg "You may find it very useful to try ..." I would see that as condescending, much ruder and less productive. Instead, providing a link which is pertinent to the query at hand and which drops people into a treasure trove of related material and which graphically (literally) demonstrates the method is worth far more and is valuable.

What people think of my average answers is self evident. To suggest that my approach is condescending is bizarre at best. If people are going to try and knock corners off my answer style and try to insist that I try to be LESS helpful that I am in order to meet some arbitrarily defined standard of "decency" which will produce worse and not better results for users then they may also have to provide more good answers than they do at present.


Google should be all of our friend, your answers show up in their results.

Write great answers and when someone googles they will find the answer here. It makes no sense to tell someone to google when it should return your answer. As Federico Said, "If the GIYF is included in a proper answer it seems completely superfluous to me. If it's supposed to be an answer in itself it's insufficient. "

If someone responds with a google it answer on its own it will be removed. Feel free to remove it from someones answer if it is a good answer, it makes no sense to tell them to google to find the answer you just posted.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ If you want good answers from me I'd expect somewhat more respect than that. I don't major large in demanding respect - it is earned by performance in any arena. But when one group of people assess the worth of something, in this case the average stack exchange user, and another group wade in with arbitrary assessments, in this case the nay saying poppy trimming nay sayers :-), then it's unacceptable. Conversely, if you don't want good answers from me, do whatever you wish. Maybe Mr F can stand in and answer a few of the more technical ones in my stead? \$\endgroup\$
    – Russell McMahon Mod
    Apr 28, 2012 at 2:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ @RussellMcMahon I just stumbled upon this. I am not sure your comment makes sense to me. Can you explain a bit what you mean about respecting you? \$\endgroup\$
    – Kortuk
    Jun 29, 2012 at 16:54
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Long time no see :-). I just stumbled on your stumble on - 4 years on. I meant ~= that many users appreciate my answers, that I always attempt to: provide 'considered' answers & not be rude, condescending, racist, sexits, elitist or generally unpleasant when answering questions or making comments - especially from those who are 'new to the game'. Stevenh's question was catalysed by a post of mine (as nobody else would say "Gargoyle is your friend" :-) ). The answerwas a good one, the reference to image search was useful and 4 years on its usefulness is still much under appreciated. \$\endgroup\$
    – Russell McMahon Mod
    Jul 14, 2016 at 1:34

In addition to Russell's answer, there are many occasions where the OP doesn't know what to search for. Think about questions where the concept exists but it is unknown to the OP, or "identify this part / socket" questions.

In such cases, the OP doesn't need to be pointed to a specific tutorial or product, he just needs keywords he could use. Whether the keywords should be given as plain text or in a GIYF link is a matter of personal preference, and neither approach should be forbidden. Consider this:

Q: I have this device, where do I find a connector for it?

A1: This is PCMCIA, check out your local shops or e-bay

A2: Check out your local shops or e-bay. GIYF

Both answers convey an equal amount of information, it's the formatting that differs. If you don't like the formatting of A2, feel free to edit it. Removing it simply because you didn't like the formatting is wasting an otherwise useful answer.


Within the Linux world there is the RTFM acronym because generally what an individual is querying will be in the manual. This is especially true for the FIND utility.

However... just because the information is available (manual, google) does not mean the individual is able to grok the information that is provided.

Pointing the user to the manual (or in the EE.SE case google...) does not help, especially if the user "can't see the wood for the trees". Sure if the question is "what is a resistor" a quick google or going directly to wikipedia is all that is needed, but what about why unused pins of an LM139 need to be tied to the negative rail?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Why unused pins of an LM139 need to be tied to the negative rail is a good question. If is not, if its plainly written in the data sheet. There are good or valid questions asking what to do with unused pins. Sometimes its buried in a 500 page family guide instead of a 40 page data sheet. \$\endgroup\$
    – Passerby
    Jul 11, 2016 at 23:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ exactly... That was a rhetorical question... Asking about what a resistor is deserves being pointed to Google. Asking about something specific like the lm139 is valid... \$\endgroup\$
    – user16222
    Jul 11, 2016 at 23:12

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