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RECENTLY ON THE ANDROID SITE WE GOT THIS QUESTION WRITTEN IN ALL CAPS. THIS WAS SURPRISING TO ME, SINCE I ASSUMED IT WOULD HAVE BEEN CAUGHT BY THE QUALITY FILTER — BESIDES BEING INDICATIVE OF OTHER POST QUALITY ISSUES, IT'S AWFUL TO LOOK AT AND REQUIRES A LARGE AMOUNT OF EDITING TO FIX (EVEN IF YOU RUN IT THROUGH TOLOWER() FIRST).

WE ALL KNOW THAT CAPS LOCK IS CRUISE CONTROL FOR COOL, BUT STILL: CAN WE BLOCK THESE QUESTIONS?


RICK

RICK

OH MAN THAT STUFF JACOB G LINKS IS COMEDY GOLD

RIIICK

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6  
Ugh. Caps schlock. –  Matthew Read Feb 5 '12 at 0:45
21  
though not as bad, questions with only lower case are also quite annoying. –  hammar Feb 5 '12 at 0:47
63  
I'M SORRY, I'M HAVING TROUBLE UNDERSTANDING YOUR REQUEST. COULD YOU SPEAK UP, PLEASE? –  Tim Stone Feb 5 '12 at 0:50
30  
@TIMSTONE HE SAID HE WANTS TO BLOCK QUESTIONS THAT ARE IN ALL CAPS! –  lunboks Feb 5 '12 at 0:52
35  
@TIM PLEASE MAKE SURE YOUR READING AID IS TURNED ON –  Pëkka Feb 5 '12 at 0:53
9  
@animuson <font face="Papyrus">I don't know what this has to do with this feature request, but I definitely support it.</font> –  lunboks Feb 5 '12 at 0:55
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Posts in all caps should be allowed, but the displayed timestamp should be 12:00 in a blinking 7-segment LED font. 8-)} –  Keith Thompson Feb 5 '12 at 2:24
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Since we're doing bash.org quotes, try pressing the the Caps Lock key =) –  jadarnel27 Feb 5 '12 at 5:31
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FLAGGING ALL OF THESE COMMENTS THAT AREN'T IN ALL CAPS. INCLUDING YOURS, @ROBERT. –  BoltClock's a Unicorn Feb 5 '12 at 6:03
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BUT THEN HOW CAN I ASK FOR HELP WHEN MY <KBD>CAPS LOCK</KBD> KEY IS STUCK!!!!? –  Yi Jiang Feb 5 '12 at 6:32
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MY FORTRAN IV QUESTIONS JUST GOT BLOCKED HEEYYYYYYYY –  user7116 Feb 5 '12 at 16:39
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16  
MUST... NOT... EDIT... HELP ME!!! –  Andrew Barber Feb 5 '12 at 17:08
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ROTFL. From one of the other dialogues on that page: how do you unsend email That is a work of genius. –  Pëkka Feb 5 '12 at 19:04
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SOUNDS FINE TO ME, AT LEAST FOR ENGLISH SITES –  waffles Feb 6 '12 at 8:17

3 Answers 3

up vote 17 down vote accepted
+450

The reality is that this is incredibly rare.

You can see the whopping 32 times it happened in the last month on Stack Overflow, or for example the 0 questions on android last month.

Our quality filter is incredibly effective, it catches so many of these automatically.

On one hand, the 32 questions/answers I linked to, probably should be blocked. On the other hand, this is such a drop in the ocean.

The one common semi interesting pattern that emerged here was that 10k+ users will often "ninja-edit" an answer they post to - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - just before they delete it, cause they don't want other 10k users seeing the content they posted.

I am not convinced there is a real problem we are solving with this particular fix, though I am not against improving our quality filters.

share|improve this answer
    
I think you have the wrong Data Explorer link there. First link. Not sure enough to edit it myself though. –  BoltClock's a Unicorn Mar 27 '12 at 0:55
    
thanks, corrected it ... –  waffles Mar 27 '12 at 1:54
    
Thanks waffles. I certainly wouldn't have expected this to be a priority, but I thought I'd make the suggestion. 32/month is not much at all. –  Matthew Read Mar 27 '12 at 2:04
3  
@Matthew: There's a good chance most of these are either already blocked (folks who write ALL IN CAPS have a good chance of triggering the quality filter anyway), are quickly fixed by other users, or are simply deleted. Also note the frequent occurrence of SQL in that list... We don't want to increase the risk of blocking FGITW answers to SQL questions... OR DO WE? –  Shog9 Mar 27 '12 at 2:06
    
@Shog9 Lol. I actually didn't think of applying it to answers. I certainly agree that all caps are likely to be accompanied by other quality issues. –  Matthew Read Mar 27 '12 at 2:08
    
I do the ninja edit thing all the time (before deleting) - is that frowned upon?? –  Adam Rackis Mar 27 '12 at 3:07
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@AdamRackis I don't know, its just an observation, I don't feel this is abuse –  waffles Mar 27 '12 at 3:16
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Why not tagging as status-deferred? :) –  Shadow Wizard Mar 27 '12 at 8:26
    
well I am declining this, until/if it becomes a problem –  waffles Apr 5 '12 at 6:42
    
@AdamRackis I frown upon it, and have even been known to edit such posts to express my disgust should they return on day and see it; I have also flagged such users as abusing the system, as contrary to waffles, I think it is. If not, at the very least it is an exercise in obscurity and perceptually subterfuge. –  Grant Thomas Apr 5 '12 at 7:42
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it would have taken less time to add this as a weighting factor to the heuristic, than it did to research and type this answer.. just sayin' –  Jeff Atwood Apr 5 '12 at 9:45
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@jeff and then I need to add a block for questions that are "abcd abcdef afghi fghit hfsat fh angus " and so on, I dislike fixing theoretical problems –  waffles Apr 5 '12 at 10:32
    
@MrD - seriously? The only point of ninja-editing before deleting is so future visitors don't see our brain-farts. It's human nature to be embarrassed about silly mistakes. –  Adam Rackis Apr 5 '12 at 14:23
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@waffles that's already blocked by the entropy check, btw. Adding a penalty for not detecting any lowercase would be literally a 30 second change. I can mail you the line of code. –  Jeff Atwood Apr 5 '12 at 20:19

A question asked in all caps is either:

  • A dump of code with no context
  • The product of an idiot typing on the Internet
  • A malfunctioning WOPR with a TCP/IP stack that someone forgot to turn off 20 years ago
  • A future April 1 day prank when all your posts are shown in all caps, but only to you
  • Something else we probably don't want

I agree that it's something that the quality filters should be keeping out. I don't think it would interfere with people asking normal questions with code snippets.

I don't think we could keep the other variety out as easily:

I have a doubt on multiplying doubles.

... code code code

PLS HELP ME ASAP THIS IS URGANT!!!!

.. But hopefully ALL CAPS won't grace the database in the near future :)

Edit

As for all lowercase, I'm on the fence. I have seen quite a few all caps questions, but not many written in all lowercase. Additionally, posts in all caps require editing every single character, while changing i to I and correctly casing proper nouns is a bit less taxing.

Note, I did say all lowercase and new users often don't apply correct formatting. Plus, we have a mobile site. I'm not saying it's a bad idea, I just don't know how I feel about it yet.

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8  
Hmm, I'd be okay with blocking anything where "please" is spelled "pls" or "plz". –  Cody Gray Feb 19 '12 at 2:54
    
Then what would us human text speak kismets do all day? –  Tim Post Feb 19 '12 at 4:58
    
@CodyGray: If we exclude code blocks. There is probably some assembler language somewhere with PLS or PLZ instructions, or something similar. –  hammar Feb 24 '12 at 15:20
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@hammar Well, Intercal has PLEASE, but I think any programmer that is capable of implementing a language would rather jump off a cliff than make pls a keyword unless writing an esoteric language. This is because they also have to deal with communities. ICBW, I'm just sayin. But yes, code blocks would need to be excluded. I have seen entire crap questions posted in one big code block (text included), but not many. –  Tim Post Feb 24 '12 at 16:20
    
I'm now trying to remember whether LOLcode has a PLZ command, @hammar. It probably does. –  TRiG Apr 24 '13 at 2:19
    
@TRiG: Looks like it does. –  hammar Apr 24 '13 at 2:22

A post that does not contain at least one uppercase letter and at least one lowercase letter is definitely grounds for automatic rejection.

There's an exception: sites where questions may legitimately be in a language that doesn't use a mixed-case alphabet (currently Japanese Language & Usage and Chinese Language & Usage).

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1  
Ah, good point on those sites. –  Matthew Read Feb 24 '12 at 16:34
    
waffles♦ agrees =) –  jadarnel27 Feb 24 '12 at 17:16

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