Asked less than 14 hours ago: Is there a single adjective for “mercenary-like attitude”?. The question has +10, and there are six answers as of now. But the question shows no research. Why is it that the users here don't immediately closevote the question for lack of research?
I don't think the question you link to is all that bad. In fact, one might even call it exemplary, especially when compared to questions like this one:
At least the mercenary question was specific, had an example sentence, and used the word mercantile, explaining why that word wasn't suitable (thereby at least hinting at some prior research).
I see a lot of upvoted questions that cause me to scratch my head in wonder, but the one you cite wasn't one of them.
Moderator MetaEd wrote in comments:
Research can take many forms: checking references such as an online English dictionary, thesaurus, or grammar, searching this site for similar questions, searching the web, or putting substantial thought into the question on your own. See: “How much research is needed? – EL&U Meta”. And the requirement is that the results of this effort be posted as part of the question. (my emphasis)
and ab2 states in a comment:
All the OP had to do was to Google mercenary and he would have found that mercenary is both a noun and an adjective. At that point he should have scrubbed his question or explained why he did not want to use mercenary...
I agree with this, especially that poster of the Question could easily have (a) consulted a thesaurus or two and (b) posted the results of such research as part of the question.
and, as for SWR questions, MetaEd says in a comment:
Word requests must also include: (i) objective criteria for accepting answers, including connotation, register, and part of speech; (ii) the exact context – generally we want the sentence you’re writing; and (iii) words you’ve already rejected, and why. See: “Single word requests, crosswords, and the fight against mediocrity – ELU Meta”; “Real Questions Have Answers – SE Blog”.
and regarding a new user's first question, MetaEd says in a comment:
I'd advise against leniency and instead give kindness. I think it's actually unkind to ignore site guidelines on a new user's first question, because the new user learns nothing about how to use the site from that experience. Then later on when they've asked their third or fourth question in the same way, and get stomped, it's very confusing. Instead, kindly explain what's expected of all users and invite them to edit their question. That's much kinder, even though it is not lenient.
Given that 'The fight against mediocrity question' is seven years old, it's my guess that most users here are unaware of what things are required of SWRs, despite that the wording of the tag makes it clear; and/or they do not think about (or care about?) site quality and the quality of SWRs. That it is easy to rack up rep points with answers to SWRs. That SWRs are among the easiest questions to answer, although the quality of answers has also come under scrutiny, and probably more than once.
I guess the mods who care about site quality could close all SWRs that do not indicate what research has been done. We have had recent action that asks for better answers to SWR. Or the rep point system could be edited so that rep could be taken away for answering blatantly off-topic questions: a downvote or two by users trying to send a message not to answer such questions is not enough.
Folks, I feel there are at least two schools of thought here: the first seems to want to help users by answering off-topic questions (even ones that are very poorly written); the other wants to improve site quality. There doesn't have to be a divide between these two schools. People can be free to write excellent answers to questions that meet minimum on-topic guidelines (indicate a modicum of research; and with regard to SWRs, read the tag and edit the question per what it says there).