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Should 'Hi', 'thanks,' taglines, and salutations be removed from posts?

It seems that certain kinds of social graces are not considered appropriate in a question, for instance, in this one, the OP concluded his question with "Any help appreciated", but it was removed by an edit, and in general I get the feeling that one shouldn't put things like this in a question.

Certainly this kind of remark adds nothing to the question, but I generally add them because it just seems gracious when asking for help. Note that I'm not talking about "Thanks" or "Me too" posts/comments added to the post by other users, I mean appreciative remarks in the original question.

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marked as duplicate by casperOne Aug 21 '12 at 19:26

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We're just mean people, and niceness makes us unhappy. –  Servy Aug 21 '12 at 18:58
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You don't put salutations and postscripts in SE posts, they are unnecessary. –  user7116 Aug 21 '12 at 18:58
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Wouldn't it be weird if you saw stuff like "Thanks!", "Hope this helps", etc on Wikipedia articles? Same principle. –  Yannis Aug 21 '12 at 19:01
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@YannisRizos: Wikipedia articles are anonymous, whereas SE posts are clearly from one person, so I think the feeling is and should be different. –  Joshua Frank Aug 21 '12 at 19:11
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@JoshuaFrank It's plain noise, and I never understood why people think that putting stuff like "any help appreciated" in their questions is a good thing. If you really appreciated the help you got, go out there and help others by posting awesome answers. –  Yannis Aug 21 '12 at 19:17
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@YannisRizos I'm no fan of hi, thanks, &c. on SE, but comparing us to Wikipedia is really an apples and oranges situation. –  Pops Aug 21 '12 at 19:23
    
@YannisRizos: Paying it forward is important too, but how would you feel if someone came up to you on the street and said "What time is it?" instead of "Excuse me, could you please tell me what time it is?". I totally agree that the latter is a big waste of time, and I get that we have some different considerations here, but I'm still wondering about whether being so direct puts people off. –  Joshua Frank Aug 21 '12 at 19:24
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On stackexchnage, "Thank you" is translated as upvote. –  Toon Krijthe Aug 21 '12 at 19:25
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@PopularDemand Why? Isn't Stack Overflow and Stack Exchange in general about building canonical resources? –  Yannis Aug 21 '12 at 19:26
    
I assume that everyone is thankful and polite for everything except "gimme teh codez" questions, where no amount of thanks/TIA/begging will fix it. –  Flexo Aug 21 '12 at 19:26
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@JoshuaFrank I get what you are saying and I'm not really disagreeing with you, however I've seen that allowing just a little bit of personality in posts is oftenly abused. Unfortunately the road from "any help appreciated" to "im noob plz dont cls this" is very short, and since "any help appreciated" doesn't really offer anything other than perhaps an extremely short lived feeling of graciousness, I'd prefer if we keep all such remarks out of questions and answers. Post a comment right after you post your question, that should be perfectly fine. –  Yannis Aug 21 '12 at 19:29
    
@YannisRizos Yes, but the formats are totally different. It's nonsensical for a Wikipedia author to write thanks, because he's the one providing the information in the first place. You've got "a small number of fairly anonymous people providing unsolicited information to a vast number of completely anonymous people" vs. "one not-very-anonymous person getting specific, personalized responses from a small number of not-very-anonymous people." –  Pops Aug 21 '12 at 19:34
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@PopularDemand The format is obviously different, however the end goal is the same: high quality canonical posts. That said I'm not going to go around removing salutations, etc, from questions (unless there's more I can improve through my edits), I think they should be discouraged but not actively hunted. Coincidentally I was reading this earlier today, a rare case where I think salutations are hurting my user experience as they are in a language I don't understand. –  Yannis Aug 21 '12 at 19:54
    
@YannisRizos I don't think we're even talking about the same thing, at this point. Since this question is closed, and I agree that you're right about the important stuff, I'm just going to drop it. –  Pops Aug 21 '12 at 20:02
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1 Answer

up vote 15 down vote accepted

The Stack Exchange platform has a singular purpose: provide high-quality answers to questions. It is carefully crafted to encourage such answers, and discourages anything that detracts from that purpose.

Stack Exchange is a response to the abysmal results produced by traditional Internet forum environments, where the signal to noise ratio is irrevocably compromised by conversation, socializing, "me too," and other friendly, but useless content.

Rule of thumb: Your question (and its answers) should look like a mini blog post when you're done. Would you put "LOL, ROFL Thanks in Advance, Joshua" at the end of one of your own blog posts? No, you wouldn't.

If you really want to thank someone, cast an upvote on their answer, or award a bounty. Better yet, pay it forward by contributing your own useful content. If you still feel compelled to thank someone personally, do it in a comment, not in a post.

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I do put lol and hashtags in my answers and questions, might explain they all get downvoted.... –  CBredlow Aug 21 '12 at 19:00
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@CBredlow I doubt that's the reason your posts are getting downvoted, but please avoid lol and hashtags in the future. –  Yannis Aug 21 '12 at 19:02
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@CBredlow: You're probably being downvoted because you're not using enough emoticons, then. –  mmyers Aug 21 '12 at 19:06
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Hello, my name is Ben. LOL ROTFL Excellent explanation Robert shakes hand would read again A++++++++++++++ bye –  Ben Brocka Aug 21 '12 at 19:17
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@RobertHarvey: I guess my point is that being gracious, just as in the real world, makes people want to help, just as being rude turns them off. So I would expect from human nature that being polite would in fact encourage higher quality answers. This is the Internet, yes, but we are all still people. Also, in a blog post you're generally producing content and giving it to other people, which hopefully will make them appreciate you. Here you're asking for help from other people, and that's the situation in the real world where you should be appreciative of them. –  Joshua Frank Aug 21 '12 at 19:17
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@mmyers In future mod election town halls, when people ask the "everything you say will have a diamond attached, how do you feel about that" question, I'm going to link to this. –  Pops Aug 21 '12 at 19:18
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@JoshuaFrank I think the confusing thing for newcomers is that we're not rude here, we just show our appreciation in a different way. Lots of "Dear Joshua," "Sincerely, Robert" and "Thanks so much in advance!" is friendly, but increases noise. Saying thanks by clicking the upvote and accept buttons is friendly and constructive for others. New people just need time to get used to our site-specific conventions, as would be true in any community. –  Pops Aug 21 '12 at 19:21
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@JoshuaFrank You can always post a gracious comment right after you post your question, there's absolutely no need for the remark to be in the question text. –  Yannis Aug 21 '12 at 19:23
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@AllCommenters: This works for me, just wanted to explore this a bit. If this bit about politeness isn't clear in the beginner guides, maybe it should be? –  Joshua Frank Aug 21 '12 at 19:26
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@JoshuaFrank: The faq already covers signatures and taglines. In addition, How to Answer states "Saying “thanks” is appreciated, but it doesn’t answer the question. Instead, vote up the answers that helped you the most! If these answers were helpful to you, please consider saying thank you in a more constructive way – by contributing your own answers to questions your peers have asked on Stack Overflow." –  Robert Harvey Aug 21 '12 at 19:31
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