I asked an elementary question on the site recently, and of course no one would answer it. I think this is an unnecessary limitation of the site.
I think elementary questions have their place here. These are the kinds of questions that a student might ask during a lecture. They are not the kinds of questions you might get in a problem set. You don't arrive at these questions after you've done some work, you arrive at these question before you've done any work.
These are questions you might have when you are first starting to understand the subject -- perhaps you read about it the paper, or you're working on a programming project that requires you get a deeper understanding of a field you've never studied, or you haven't studied in a few decades.
Right now, StackExchange discourages these kinds of questions. They would like you to "do some work". So you give up on StackExchange and Google sends you to odd paragraphs in odd textbooks and overly detailed Wikipedia articles. It takes a bit, because most of these sources are typically on the wrong level and cover a lot of material that isn't the answer to your question. Even StackExchange's previous answers tend to be about a very specific tricky problem that is related to your question, but never seem to just answer the simple question directly.
So my question is: wouldn't it be great if the first item in that Google search was StackExchange, with a short direct answer to the most common short questions? (Including stupid questions, like mine.) I imagine there are more searches for simple stupid questions than anything else. What's the harm?