The What topics can I ask about here? help center page implies, but does not outright state, that simple & basic questions that can be easily answered by looking them up are off topic:
If your question is simple and can probably be easily answered by looking it up, then you may find common online internet resources to be of some help. View our list of community recommended resources to find some that may be of help to you.
- Try a dictionary if you want to know what a word or phrase means, how it evolved, or how it is pronounced.
- Try a thesaurus if you want to know words or phrases that have a similar meaning to one you already know.
Of course, if your question isn't adequately answered by these resources, feel free to ask here on English Language and Usage Stack Exchange. Be sure to mention the research you've done and what you're still hoping to learn!
The help center page references an answer to the meta question How much research is needed?, which goes into further detail:
It's perfectly reasonable for reviewers to assume that a common expression can be explained by consulting ordinary reference works. They shouldn't have to do that search. If it can't be, it's up to the asker to demonstrate that it can't be. […]
Doing the research may find something relevant, but it might be unintelligible or not completely helpful. In that case, show what you found. […]
In common with other Stack Exchange sites, ELU should not simply be asked gimme the codez — we expect an amount of independent research, and understanding of what the problem is, to be evident in the question.
The answer to "how much research is needed?" is "Enough to show:— that you have done some; that you understand what you are asking about; and you can explain all of that to people who have no prior knowledge of the problem at all." Every question needs at least one of those criteria to be satisfied; most need more than one and many need all three.
This was a bit unexpected to me as my primary Stack Exchange history is with Stack Overflow, which doesn't spell out nearly this same level of required research in its help center. Granted, evidence of effort is required, but in programming a lot of time some times just the problem statement (requirement and expected output) is presented, as it may not be at all obvious for the asker how to even begin solving the issue.
It wasn't obvious from my initial reading of the help center page that such questions would be considered off topic for this site. A section titled "Where can I find answers to simple and basic questions?" doesn't seem obvious to me that it's defining community expectations, especially when that expectation isn't even stated there — it's stated within a link titled "mention the research you've done". Both of these facts make it super non-obvious that it's defining community expectations for on-topic suitability.
Therefore, it seems like it would be helpful to explicitly call out the unsuitability of such topics within the help center Ideally, this would be in either of the bulleted sections, as those are the obvious place to check. I'm specifically referring to the bulleted lists preceded by "Questions on the following topics are welcomed here" & "But please, don’t ask any questions about the following topics. They are out of scope for this site.".