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I recently responded to a question on stack overflow (don't look it's probably wrong). I tried to post a link to the Mozilla docs about kerning. I always go to the pubs. Well I personally think that "Let me Google that for You"(Recursion Warning!) is a pretty funny site so I threw the link in there and tried to post it in my answer. I had a feeling that SO had would have something to say about this. They did. So as any curious geek would do I shortened the URL and posted my answer. Long live humor.

Questions

  1. I know SO could come up with an algorithm to censor shortened links to such content, but at what point should that happen?

  2. Should we distinguish between on topic jokes and off topic jokes?

I recently read this post about bans and also this one which is on a similar topic as mine. In my old job we had a Dog Log where we recorded all of the of Freudian slips and off the wall humor.

Couldn't we design a way that you could earn more privileges for levity, and to perhaps to view such banter as your your reputation progressed. It would be similar to going through the process to adulthodd , but then again...

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Perhaps a way to increase the noise and dumb down the signal? –  random Sep 26 '12 at 4:01
    
    
OK I get not a new idea. –  shakabra Sep 26 '12 at 4:15
    
The SE engine bans direct lmgtfy links. The community can get rid of shortened or redirected ones (through comment flags). –  David Robinson Sep 26 '12 at 5:19
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1 Answer 1

The LMGTFY links may be funny in small company or in a group of friends. It could be a fun way to make a point to someone you know that a lot of the questions about how his or her computer works. After all, teaching people how to use Google puts a valuable tool in their toolbox, especially for the times when you may not be around to help them.

But Stack Overflow isn't a small group of friends. It's a large, worldwide community of people of all walks of life, cultures, attitudes, ages, and professionalism, and these factors contribute to a wide degree of variance in what some people would consider funny, offensive, or downright annoying.

In the context of a Q&A site, this is just pointless noise. It detracts from the goal of being a resource of knowledge. People post questions expecting answers, and future visitors come to find answers they seek to problems they face so they can get the job done and move on. Also, consider that there's only one asker, but there are N possible future visitors who just won't get the joke. They're already using Google. How is this funny to them?

Plus, we've all seen LMGTFY. It's no longer funny. Maybe a few years ago, the first time we saw it, it may have been funny. But not here, and not now. The joke is old.

What makes Stack Overflow great is the lack of noise. When I have a problem, like trying to figure out why the hell Objective C and C++ won't play nice together in a Firebreath project, I know I can come here and try to find information that will help me find an answer, without being distracted by the noise that is the world wide web.

There are already too many distractions in our lives. Banner ads, popup ads, text messages on our phones, people in the office talking while we're trying to focus on getting stuff done and all while trying to understand key concepts and keep a visual representation in our heads of the problem space we're working on trying to solve. What makes Stack Overflow great is that it doesn't contribute to the noise.

Let's try to keep it that way and keep Stack Overflow as an amazing resource of knowledge and productivity. I edited your post so it actually links to the search results, as suggested by NSPostWhenIdle.

However, you should know that the first result is actually a circular link back to your post, so I'm really not certain how valuable your answer really is, but that's another issue altogether.

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