Many newcomers on EL&U post very similar single-word-requests, all asking for more or less the same words. The two main categories appear to be asking about verbosity and thriftiness.

What is the word for:

Users who don't do any previous research and unwittingly post similar questions on Q&A websites that have been asked in the past; but receive the same single-word answers?

I Googled: users "ask the same type of questions" on Q&A websites that produce the same answers, but the hits were unhelpful.

A sample sentence:

Oh, here's another ________

This may seem like a facetious single-word-request, but I really want to know if such a word exists. Failing that, an idiom or pithy expression that can substitute my description will do very nicely. I would use this word or concise phrase whenever the topic of single-word-requests crops up on EL&U meta.


There seems to be a slight confusion as to whom or what I am referring. So one last clarification. I am looking for a word, or short phrase, or idiom that means:

Different users who unwittingly ask new questions that are similar to ones that have been asked in the past, and whose answers are nearly always the same.

Related, but they didn't answer my question: Word for disrespecting eldest half-sister by referring to her husband as girly-girl-manly-boy though he's amused but the rest of the family isn't?

Word for someone who wants to find a single word to describe a relatively obscure concept, and posts such questions on internet boards?


5 Answers 5



This is both an adjective and noun, and relates to Lepidoptera:

An order of insects that comprises the butterflies and moths. They have four large scale-covered wings that bear distinctive markings, and larvae that are caterpillars.

Butterflies flit (in an apparently unwitting way) from plant to plant to feed on nectar or deposit eggs, while moths typically are attracted to bright lights at night. Neither butterflies nor moths do any research.

A Google Books search reveals that the term lepidopteran has only ever been used in a scientific context. For example, page 134 of Insect Pest Management notes that:

There are no recorded examples of vertical resistance to Lepidopteran pests which have a strong flight capability...

The metaphoric use of the term to describe people who post very similar questions asking for the same words without doing any previous research has no precedent. It would be used in a sentence thus:

Oh no, here's another lepidopteran post.

  • 10
    So, in other words, you suggest using the word in a way no one has never used, is rare even in scientific context, and anyone trying to understand what it means will fail, because Internet has no information about this word? Seems like a great idea for creating misunderstandings and bringing in the confusion! Commented Jul 6, 2016 at 13:16
  • 4
    Oddly I saw a report just the other month suggesting the butterflies and moths actually use a more active search methodology that previously believed. It looks random, but like a Markov Chain Monte Carlo it converges on the desired resource distribution. But this is a good word. Commented Jul 6, 2016 at 15:15
  • 1
    I just wish it was easier to pronounce... I'll have to practice.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Jul 6, 2016 at 16:59
  • 4
    This answer, now the accepted answer, has two great virtues: (1) it does not obviously insult anyone; and (2) Lepidopteran Question will be abbreviated LQ which -- did you plan it this way? -- is the same abbreviation as Low Quality.
    – ab2
    Commented Jul 6, 2016 at 19:32
  • @ab2: the non-insulting element was deliberate but the LQ synchronicity wasn't - though synchronicity often works that way. And I agree with Joe Blow's comment: while I'm flattered with the upvotes, I was expecting to delete the answer to dodge all the downvotes. But for the moment at least, it's nice to know that lepidopteran has an existence outside the biological sciences. Commented Jul 7, 2016 at 7:21

On StackOverflow, and later on several others StackExchange, they have sometimes been referred to as "Help Vampires".

Quoting from Amy Hoy's A Spotter’s Guide:

  • Does he ask the same, tired questions others ask (at a rate of once or more per minute)?
  • Does he clearly lack the ability or inclination to ask the almighty Google?
  • Does he refuse to take the time to ask coherent, specific questions?
  • Does he think helping him must be the high point of your day?
  • Does he get offensive, as if you need to prove to him why he should use Ruby on Rails?
  • Is he obviously just waiting for some poor, well-intentioned person to do all his thinking for him?
  • Can you tell he really isn’t interested in having his question answered, so much as getting someone else to do his work?

Help Vampires are a bit broader than what you ask, and this identification checklist is targeted at devs, but people you describe are definitely fitting in that category.

  • 1
    Aren't help vampires repeating offenders? They will repeatedly ask a question without ever doing any research. I am talking about different users, usually newcomers, repeating the same type of SWR and receiving the same SWR answers. They're not the same person.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Jul 6, 2016 at 14:53
  • not necessarily. A user repeating the same question is very rare on SO, as it is usually very quickly identified. Vampires will often simply ask questions that have already been asked a lot, without taking the time to do any research.
    – njzk2
    Commented Jul 6, 2016 at 15:16
  • 2
    I'm knocking this answer, it has its use, and it's good to know. But it's not the right answer. Not for me anyway. :)
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Jul 6, 2016 at 15:21
  • What if they're female? You'd be surprised.
    – Mitch
    Commented Jul 6, 2016 at 23:29

We used to have a close reason called "peeving disguised as a question", which I think would be appropriate here. There is a problem with the question though, which is the assumption that something can make people stop asking questions that other people had. The fact that people have questions that are the same as other people is the entire reason we have this site. For SWR FAQs I have to wonder if there isn't some difficulty in formulating the question such that Google can answer it.

But in any case I think the word for someone who asks an FAQ is, or should be, faqqer.


GMs, short for

Great Minds, as in

Great minds flow in the same channel, or

Great minds think alike

BookBrowse says "Variations on this proverb can be found in early 17th century writings." and "Usually used as a humorous response to a statement that matches the speaker's view on the subject."

Dictionary.com ascribes the phrase to the late 1500s.

I can't find anything from the late 1500s, but, from Words, words, words (and phrases)

The earliest instance of the proverb in its present form seems be from 1898:-

"Curious how great minds think alike. My pupil wrote me the same explanation about his non-appearance." [1898 C. G. Robertson Voces Academicae]

The eraliest version of it at all seems to be from 1618 when D. Belchier wrote "Though he made that verse, Those words were made before. Good wits doe jumpe." [1618 D. Belchier Hans Beer-Pot ] ( The word jump used in the sense of ‘agree completely’ or ‘coincide’ is now archaic.)

If we use GMs on ELU , we will know what we mean without insulting the user.

  • 10
    Great sarcasm...
    – Matsmath
    Commented Jul 6, 2016 at 7:15
  • If these minds are great, how do we classify the minds that know how to do (and show) research and find duplicates?
    – Jim
    Commented Jul 6, 2016 at 7:17
  • 2
    @Jim They are conformists who don't have the imagination to be free spirits, unbound by rules and the expectations of dreary stick-in-the-mud academic types.
    – ab2
    Commented Jul 6, 2016 at 7:22
  • 1
    I strongly disagree with the notion that you should ever expect sarcasm to be inherently understood. Especially on the internet. Commented Jul 6, 2016 at 13:31
  • The full proverb is "Great minds think alike" with the response "...and fools seldom differ"
    – Mitch
    Commented Jul 6, 2016 at 23:32

Mr. Oblivious

oblivious: not aware of or not noticing something, esp. what is happening around you

(Cambridge Dictionary)

"Oh, here's another Mr. Oblivious."

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