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We have a user who has this incredibly bizarre habit of starting his answers with a string of dots, and no matter how many times I try to edit them out, he doesn't seem to notice and continues adding them to new answers anyway.

I just edited one of his newest answers, which also has a line of text after it. I only removed the string of dots and left the text alone, but when I submitted the edit, the answer loads with both the string of dots and the accompanying line of text gone, leaving just the code block. You can see this in the post's revisions here:

http://stackoverflow.com/posts/13525473/revisions

I don't really care that the single line of text is also gone since it doesn't add anything to the answer anyway. My point is that I didn't remove that line of text when I submitted the edit. I only removed the string of dots. Oh and for the record, I've just encountered this for the first time. Previously, submitting edits on this user's answers with just the string of dots deleted worked fine.

So what gives?

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I'm not entirely sure how I can reproduce this since the answer has been edited again. –  BoltClock's a Unicorn Nov 23 '12 at 8:53
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Perhaps the automatic greeting removal? –  Ral Zarek Nov 23 '12 at 8:55
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Yes! It did have the word "Hi" in it, after all. As an aside, have you tried leaving a comment letting this person know putting dots at the beginning of his post creates a lot of noise? –  jmort253 Nov 23 '12 at 8:56
    
@RalZarek, jmort253: Why doesn't it remove it again when he edits it back in? (Yes he said hi in his edit.) –  BoltClock's a Unicorn Nov 23 '12 at 9:01
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You know what I think @BoltClock'saUnicorn! Notice how a lot of his posts begin with the word "Hi!" I think he's putting in the "......" because the system kept killing his first sentence because of the word "Hi!" –  jmort253 Nov 23 '12 at 9:02
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@jmort253: Post both of your comments as an answer! Meanwhile, I've marked it by design. I completely forgot about that feature :) –  BoltClock's a Unicorn Nov 23 '12 at 9:06
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The title and the tag status-bydesign create the confusion that "it is by design that the line after dots are removed". How about changing the title to "Removing string of dots also removes line of text after it that contains hi"? –  Shahbaz Nov 23 '12 at 9:49

1 Answer 1

up vote 13 down vote accepted

It would appear that the bug you describe is the direct result of the automatic greeting removal, as Ral Zarek suggests. If you look at the users other posts, you notice a pattern: Many of them have "Hi" in the beginning of each post.

Not understanding why he keeps losing the first sentence, he learned to put "....." in there to subvert this filter. In fact, the reason he edited this most recent post a second time is because your edit removed his first sentence.

As another example, in this answer he put a second "Demo" link at the top of his post to stop it from killing his first sentence.

Here is yet another example where he put a link at the beginning, right before a sentence beginning with the word "Hi".

It's not clear whether or not he is intentionally subverting the "we hate hello" filter or if this is just something he learned to do after being baffled by the system killing his first sentence. Also, some posts have "Hi" in them at the beginning, and it's not clear whether or not he edited them within the grace period or of the filter just failed in those cases.

In either case, leaving a comment letting him know that "Hi" is sort of discouraged in posts may help solve both your problem, as well as his. ;)

I left a comment for him, with a link to this post as a reference to our conversation.

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Well .. as Hanlon said - never attribute to malice that which is adequately fixed with dots. –  Tim Post Nov 23 '12 at 9:37

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