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

This is definitely an established rule in the SO community. However, I see way too many posts with "Thanks" or the author's name at the end of the post; my estimate would be about 50%.

Shouldn't we add something in the How to Ask page about this?

EDIT: You can easily see the massive amounts of comments I have had to leave for this. This has to be more visible in the How to Ask page, or get filtered out! Here is an image (click it to enlarge):

http://i.stack.imgur.com/dVMMp.png

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stackoverflow.com/faq#signatures –  Yannis Feb 8 '13 at 14:16
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@Yannis Yeah, although that could do with some clarification/examples. (Based on the assumption one actually reads that stuff ;) ) –  Bart Feb 8 '13 at 14:20
    
@Yannis That should be an answer? :P –  Alenanno Feb 8 '13 at 16:34
    
As an aside, you're flagging these as noise/chatty, right? –  casperOne Feb 8 '13 at 16:59
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@casperOne No, I'm editing them out. –  Doorknob Feb 8 '13 at 18:04
    
@Doorknob Sorry, blanked out, I thought you were talking about comments. Thanks for helping. –  casperOne Feb 8 '13 at 18:05
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@Doorknob if these are brand new users, comments that call their attempts to be pleasant and make a human connection "useless noise" are probably suboptimal. If you feel you must edit them out, just do so. The user will catch on. If you feel you must educate them, may I suggest "our style focuses on the question, not on pleasantries" as a nicer characterization that focuses on the behaviour you want, not what you don't want, and avoids words that might hurt a newcomer's feelings for no gain –  Kate Gregory Feb 26 '13 at 14:54

4 Answers 4

up vote 0 down vote accepted

The How to Ask page is exceptionally short and should probably stay that way, but maybe adding a quick paragraph on noise in general would be useful. This kind of noise is probably the easiest to describe, though.

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I think the salutations are annoying, but I don't think the 'How to ask' page is the right place for it.

We can pre-suppose a few things about new users:

  • They generally don't read the How to Ask page anyway.
  • If they do read it, they stop reading 'after the fold'.

The longer we make it, the less chance we have of getting the behavior we desire, and even worse, the less chance there is they'll read any of it.

The best way to handle this is through comments left for the OP and editing out salutations (as part of making the entire question better).

Giving users a list of rules and then saying, "RTFM" is not going to enrich our community. Let's face it, if people read the manual, then we wouldn't have a lot of questions we have.

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I agree with this. Although there is a section about taglines and signatures, it could be expanded a little to address greetings.

Can I use a signature or tagline?

Please don't use signatures or taglines in your posts, or they will be removed.

Every post you make is already “signed” with your standard user card, which links directly back to your user page.

enter image description here

Your user page belongs to you — fill it with information about your interests, links to stuff you’ve worked on, or whatever else you like!

Although most common greetings are auto-removed from posts, it might be a good idea to mention it anyways, so people might understand the big picture a little better. Here's a recommendation:

Can I use greetings and signatures?

Please don't use greetings or signatures or in your posts, or they will be removed. Things like "Hello", and "Thanks in advance" are unnecessary.

Every post you make is already “signed” with your standard user card, which links directly back to your user page, and greetings add unnecessary noise.

enter image description here

Your user page belongs to you — fill it with information about your interests, links to stuff you’ve worked on, or whatever else you like!

Still very concise. I think the greater challenge is getting people to actually read it, and I fear no amount of documentation/faqs will ever solve this problem.

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Sifting through the very lengthy discussion on 'Hi'-s and 'thanks'-s leads me to the conclusion that while very long and irrelevant pleasantries in posts are unwelcome short and brief 'hi'-s and 'thanks'-s are not a bad thing. We are not machines and some good manners are appropriate.

So,

  1. No need to remove short pleasantries from posts.
  2. No need to add a comment about it in "How to ask" cluttering this beautifully concise manual.
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I disagree. It's a good thing to remove the pleasantries from new posts as they come in. Where do you draw the line / precedent about what is acceptable pleasantries & what isn't? I don't want to read a load of questions / answers with "Hi my name is X and I have an issue....thanks in advance for your time, lots of love, Bernard." etc. It just wastes my time. Wikipedia articles don't have such text opening and closing their articles, they just get straight to the useful information. Why should SO fill up with clutter? –  JonW Feb 26 '13 at 14:43
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If you are editing anyway (code not formatted? typo? title not descriptive?) then go ahead and remove the "I am new to XYZ programming but" and "I searched for days without success and" along with the Thanks and poster's name and such. Only when this fluffage outweighs the actual post would I edit SOLELY to remove Hi, thanks in advance, any help will be appreciated etc –  Kate Gregory Feb 26 '13 at 14:52
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@JonW - there is a difference between long pleasantries like the ones you mentioned ("my name is blabla...") and short ones ("Hi, this is my question..., thanks"). I agree with you on the long ones, and disagree on the very short ones. –  Shai Feb 26 '13 at 14:57
    
@Shai Yes there is a difference, but my point is where do we draw the line? Allowing such items does set a precedent that it's accepted. If we say that "thanks" at the end is OK would that mean we still accept "Thanks for your time" and then what about "Thanks very much in advance for all your help". What is acceptable? If we just say 'No pleasantries, just answers' then we don't have that issue at all. –  JonW Feb 26 '13 at 16:13
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@JonW it isn't about what we allow. This isn't an employment or school situation where you can get "in trouble" for doing what's not "allowed". Certain pleasantries will (by most user) be ignored, perhaps with a small feeling of irritation. Longer ones will be edited out when other things are fixed. Really long ones will be edited out no matter what. There may or may not be a comment left. End of story. The question here is, could the help (which no-one reads) contain some sort of authorization for the editing or commenting? Nothing about allowing/disallowing/drawing of lines. –  Kate Gregory Feb 26 '13 at 16:55

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