On many questions asking for a German equivalent to an English expression we can see short comments like e.g.:

<link to dictionary> did not help?

Apparently an answer to a question may be found in the link given but the question technically remains unanswered until somebody took the time to include the content of such a link in an answer.

I believe that people may feel offended by such a comment, as was the case for LMGTFY-links (Let Me Google That For You). Such links were banned all over the Stackexchange Network (see e.g. this Meta discussion).

Now a dictionary link is not LMGTFY, as we often need dictionaries to back up our answers. There is little dispute however that we should not tolerate an answer providing a dictionary entry link only without any further elaboration. Still, there are those comments...

What would be the intention of such a comment other than telling a poster they did not do their homework? What should we do with link-to-dictionary comments on questions?

1 Answer 1


Well, it's not the link that makes for the rudeness, but the formulation. So if the comment is not outright rude, then I guess there's no need to flag it as such.

But even if not intended that way, such comments can easily be interpreted as an insult. So in order not to scare away users, we should try to be as friendly as possible (at least in the comments, you can still downvote a question showing no research effort).

Even if some problems appear very trivial, we have to keep in mind that the user could be 13 years old, or eight times that. Not everybody knows about good sites regarding translation or grammar.

Here are some friendly options:

  • I found some good options here.

  • Duden is great for searching synonyms.

  • Cannoo.net has excellent articles on German grammar.

  • Have you tried blabla? It helps me often.

After that, the same or another user could add a line explaining how it is considered bad practice to post a question without explaining how the internet (or a book) didn't help. Here it's important not to sound "schulmeistering". That can be achieved by nicely linking to the help center or with formulations lacking imperatives and "you"s.

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