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Thread: Is FGI the best policy?

  1. #1

    Default Is FGI the best policy?

    Whenever someone makes a joke about someone else for asking a question instead of using Google, it gets to me. Asking someone instead of just looking on the internet could be better for a number of reasons, and people just assume googling it is the best option. I disagree, and this is why.

    For one, someone might have already used Google, and are now asking because they didn't find the information they required. To then be told to go and look again would seem very rude and isn't in the slightest bit helpful. I have done this in the past - looked up something on google, nto been happy with my answer, asked a question and the only response I got was Google - really helpful .

    Or it is possible they are asking people because they want a response from the people they ask, not just stuff in general on the internet. They aren't going to get wath they want from a search engine. Or they might just want the social interaction in general. The people they ask might not be important, but they want an answer from people as opposed to just anyone.

    Maybe they didn't like the conflicting results that a web search can give. You can get overwhelmed by the shear amount of information you pick up and not get anything useful from it. Asking a smaller group of people, especially if it includes people who know about the topic, can give you a clearer view of the answer, and often have it explained better.

    I am sure there are other reasons that they might not have used google, and so I have been thinking about whether just saying FGI is the best option. Go ahead and use google yourself to get the answer. Go ahead and give them links that you used. But just telling them to google it seems unhelpful and just a little rude, to me at any rate.

    I'm not saying that people shouldn't use Google, or anything like that. Just that telling other people to use Google when they are trying to find something out instead of trying to answer their question isn't the best route.

    So, what do you guys think about this? Should people try to give better answers? Or is it perfectly vaild to just tell someone to google it?

  2. #2


    Quote Originally Posted by mzkkbprmt View Post
    Should people try to give better answers? Or is it perfectly vaild to just tell someone to google it?

  3. #3


    Personally, I think Google is good to use for an overview of a topic, but because of the overwhelming amount of "static" (incorrect links that use some of the words you are searching that show in the results) it is difficult to ferret out details sometimes. With the breadth and depth of intelligence and experience our members possess, it's very likely that someone here has better information than you might find on a search engine.

  4. #4


    Ok seriously, I agree. Good post mizk. People know where google is, if you can't help them don't post.

  5. #5


    The internet is one point labelled G connected to 10 billlion other points. Apparently, your average website gets 90% of traffic through google. That's certainly true for my site. Some people, such as my mother, use google as the address bar (e.g. go to goes like this. Launch IE. Type into google. Click (actual click, not enter) Google Search, click the first link)

    So telling people to google it, only narrows it down to 10 billion options. Especially when they don't know the right keywords to use to filter out the crap.

    So yes, I agree the phrase just google it, and the website are way overused.

  6. #6


    I'm new here, but I spend a lot of time on technical lists and discussion boards. In those circumstances, when it's a factual question, not one of opinion etc, I will often tell people to google it, especially if they don't seem to know what they're asking.

    If I hear "Where can I buy diapers"

    I'd probably reply "google it" because there are 10,000 answers, all valid.

    If I heard "where have you had a good experience buying diapers"

    I'd reply with my personal experience.

    While it might seem obvious that the first question really implied the second, many won't read it that way, and in many communities, it is considered rude to come on asking other people to do your research for you. So, when I come onto a board, I can come on and ask a very general question that I can get answered through Google, or I can do my google search, and then come to the board with a more specific question, perhaps to clarify my existing research. If I present what I've found so far and then ask for help moving forward, it already shows that I'm serious, and I've done some of my own research, and, at least on the technical forums I frequent, I'd get a much warmer reception. As I said before, and will say again, I'm new in this community, so I don't know what the standards are, and I don't mean to be an @#$@#$%, I'm just sharing my experience in other areas.

    I hope that helps.

    -- Thad.

  7. #7


    I can't remember entirely where, but I remember once hearing someone say "The best way to help someone is to tell them to help themselves". And I think that sums this up nicely. A lot of people don't think to search for things all the time, or know how to do it effectively.

    But the more they practice using google to find out things for themselves, the better they'd get at it. Because there will always come a time when no-one you're asking has the answer to your question, and you've no choice but to find it out for yourself. And that's a skill that doesn't always come easily to everyone - I know I was once terrible at using google, I never even really tried to look for anything. Some people just need encouragement.

    It's true, that it's not always just a case of sticking what you want into google. Sometimes, you have to fish through outdated, or irrelevant pages. But then, that's a skill you practice over time.

    So, I really do think sometimes it can be more helpful to tell someone to look for their answer themselves, rather than just telling it to them straight. Sometimes, the real lesson comes from the searching, not the finding.

    However, there's certainly no need to be as rude about it as some people are. Sometimes you don't want google's answer - you want the opinion of people you trust. But then, that all depends on how you phrase the question, I think. Sure, there's nothing wrong with just asking. But sometimes, people could put a bit more effort into asking. If you just quickly churn out your question without much thought, people will just churn out their answers without much thought.

  8. #8


    Amazingly, this connundrum predates Google. Back in the olden days, it was quite common for kids (myself included) to ask parents or teachers what a certain word meant or the precise spelling. Unless it was a real brain buster, the responsible answer was considered to be "Go to the dictionary and look it up!" Google is our dictionary these days. I consider it to be rude to ask a question that can easily be answered by a little effort on one's own part. It's laziness, shifting the burden to someone else because one doesn't care to expend the effort.

    That's not to say that there's no place for questions. There are plenty of esoteric things that Google can't touch, and even within the commonplace questions that we receive here all the time (What diapers are good? Where can I get them? Where should I order?) I think is more often a broad-reaching question. They're really asking for personal recommendations or the recounting of an experience or who provided good or discreet service. Personally, if you're going to ask what sounds like a simple question, I think it's only fair to explain why it is not so simple, but I hate the reality or the appearance of wasting someone's time.

    Sort of a postscript that relates: I can infer what the acronym in the title means, but as it happens, I looked for confirmation FGI - What does FGI stand for? Acronyms and abbreviations by the Free Online Dictionary., FGI - Definition by AcronymFinder, and FGI meaning - Acronym Attic and had no luck. So, after having engaged in what I determine to be a reasonable effort to uncover this on my own, I will ask for an answer here. Google has not been forthcoming.

  9. #9
    Butterfly Mage


    Quote Originally Posted by Arlikra View Post
    I usually do both. I try to answer the question to the best of my ability then I recommend an internet search. To just say "do a friggin' Google search" has always seemed to be a bit of an unneeded slap.

  10. #10


    Trevor - it was an internet acronym with F in it. I would suggest that you had used something a little more ... colloquial to double check what it meant. With anything like that, my source of choice is urban dictionary.

    Urban Dictionary: FGI

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