Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 158 Stack Exchange communities.

What is meta?
Here's how it works:
  1. Any Stack Exchange user can ask a question
  2. The community provides support, votes on ideas, and reports bugs
  3. Your voice helps shape the way Stack Exchange operates

There is a regex that should automatically remove all greetings from the top of posts. It does its job very well:

^                 # begins at start of body
\s*               # possible spaces
hii?(?![a-z])|    # any of these greeting words
.*?               # followed by anything, up to...
[.,;!-]+          # one or more bits of punctuation
\s*               # possible spaces
(\r?\n)+          # one or more newlines

I propose we add one for "thanks" and related endings. Here is my draft:

(in adva?nced?\s*)?
([\:\;]\s*[\-\~\=]*\s*[\)\]\}\>D3]+)* #smilies :) :D ;-3 etc.

I am sure there could be many improvements, but it's a start. And it will save many an editor's time.

And because I couldn't resist the irony:


share|improve this question
Will this erase some or all of the following? Here is my code: [newline] <begin code block>MyString = thanks – Brian Webster Mar 3 '13 at 7:14
Also see: – Brian Webster Mar 3 '13 at 7:15
@GeorgeWBush That's a very rare if not impossible case in which the code would have to end at the very end and the code would be setting a variable to "thanks" for some reason. Also in most programming languages you would need single or double quote around it. @ your second comment Err... that's what I put in my question – Doorknob Mar 3 '13 at 13:15
In my example, "thanks" would also be a variable name. It's not impossible, but is is extremely rare. I posed it because I was trying to poke holes in your regex. Is it worth breaking 1 honest codeblock in order to auto-remove 1 million superfluous signatures? Code blocks and block quotes should probably be immune – Brian Webster Mar 3 '13 at 16:19
@GeorgeWBush Yes. Yes, of course it is. Who names their variables "thanks," anyway? I'll search code for "thanks" and see what pops up :P – Doorknob Mar 3 '13 at 16:20
Apparently we get many "Thanks"s in code instead of plaintext:… (I found a bunch with search: code:thanks) – Doorknob Mar 3 '13 at 16:21
I agree but disagree. Some may think it's impolite not to say that. What I hate is when someone gains reputation for removing "Thanks." Do you get promotions at jobs for removing "Thanks" in a coworker's email when replying? People that do it to me the most usually cannot gain from edits anymore, but it is very possible to gain rep just for removing a greeting (which doesn't really add to the answer/make it easier to understand). Like someone else said on another post, a three letter "Hi," isn't going to reduce the quality of the post and prevent people from vising: it's polite. – Anonymous Penguin Mar 9 '13 at 17:52
Is there nothing better to work on or improve on StackExchange, than to remove people for thanking each other??! What has this world come to :-O hahah – d-_-b Mar 9 '13 at 18:28
+1 simply for d? in adva?nce?d. That drives me nuts. However, I predict this could have a high rate of failure or false positives, perhaps too much to be worth it. – Wesley Murch Mar 9 '13 at 19:02
This would be great, thanks – Ben Brocka Mar 9 '13 at 21:28

You must log in to answer this question.

Browse other questions tagged .