When asking a work-related question, I had a coworker respond with an LMGTFY link in public chat. Of course, the link expands and looks like this.

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How should I react to this?

We've hung out outside of work, so it's not like we hate each other or anything. And, in his defense, it was an easily Googleable question... so a part of me actually thinks it's funny.

But, the fact that it is in public chat... makes me look like a total moron, and if I don't stand up, it might just lower my social standing. Nobody likes a pushover.

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    "Duck Duck Off"? Aug 14, 2019 at 21:59
  • @LaconicDroid nice. I like that Aug 14, 2019 at 22:00
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    1. What do you mean "public chat"? 2. If it wasn't directed at you then you might consider simply ignoring it. 3. Do they make a good point? I'm often irritated by people asking me questions when they haven't done any leg work for themselves. Is that the case here? Is he irritated at your lack of effort? After all, it isn't his job to be your font of knowledge, is it?
    – joeqwerty
    Aug 14, 2019 at 22:18
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    Sounds like OP is suffering Stack Overflow syndrome. Stack Overflow is lowering standards everywhere. Folks have learned it is easier to get someone else to do their work for them. Also see Also see Why is the “how to move the turtle in logo” question closed?.
    – user25792
    Aug 14, 2019 at 22:31
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    Even if it is a simple search does that mean it deserves that kind of a response?
    – Joe W
    Aug 14, 2019 at 23:57

2 Answers 2


On the other hand, getting testy about receiving what you admit is a valid criticism makes you look like someone who can't accept valid criticism. Choose some other hill to die on.

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    Yeah... I basically responded with "Fair. Asked too soon" Aug 14, 2019 at 22:11
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    I agree it's highly context and tone dependent. I inhabit a Slack channel where a team of us have worked together for a number of years and friendly insults fly thick and fast. In other channels, the communication is much more professional and levity would be inappropriate. Aug 14, 2019 at 22:16
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    'I basically responded with "Fair. Asked too soon"' that, IMO, is the correct response, so long as you make the acknowledgement right away so it doesn't look like you were brooding about it. Demonstrate that you realise in hindsight that you could have done your research first and that you take the response in good faith and move on.
    – delinear
    Aug 15, 2019 at 14:00

I'll turn it around and present it from another perspective. You made you look like a total moron. (actually, you mostly made yourself look like a bit of a mooch - someone who's asking your coworkers for help even before you do a basic google search) He just pointed it out so that everyone could notice. There's no way to win any sort of fight (especially a public fight) that might come out of this. You can only lose. The best thing you can do for yourself socially in situations like this (ie, someone caught you obviously in the wrong, especially on a minor matter) is to acknowledge it graciously, perhaps offer some quick explanation (lack of sleep, low blood sugar, or whatever) and express in some fashion that you'll try to do better in the future. Being willing to admit, accept, and then fix small screwups actually reflects well on you rather than poorly, in all but the most status-obsessed groups.

Now, one thing you can do, if you think that you're on reasonably good terms with this guy, is talk with him privately. Say something like "Okay, in retrospect, it was a stupid question, and I'm sorry for asking it. At the same time, if I do something dumb, could you please let me know on private chat, rather than calling me out on the public chat like that? That was kind of not cool."

  • Good answer, but I don't see anything in the question that indicates that the OP was called out directly. Everyone may have understood that the OP was the one that the comment was directed at, but the OP wasn't directly called out. That being what it is, I think the OP has more guilt and embarrassment about it because he knows it was directed at him. He's projecting his embarrassment when in fact, it's not evident that anyone else knows it was meant for him.
    – joeqwerty
    Aug 15, 2019 at 1:47

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