In keeping with the community's encouragement of carefully worded questions, I wonder if Stack Overflow could pop up a advisory box with writing tips when certain phrases are detected? My purpose in suggesting it is that a useful, highly indexable Q&A will be improved if it is written with reasonably clear and professional English; it might reduce a proportion of the edit workload too.
To start with, I propose that it would do so for any text-speak phrases that don't give rise to many false positives, such as:
- Kinda ~ 17K instances
- Wanna ~ 16K instances
- Gonna ~ 10K instances
- Thx ~ 15K instances
- Pls help ~ 2.6K instances
- Coz ~ 2.3K instances
- Bcoz ~ 500 instances
Some phrases cannot easily be detected reliably, so we'd have to leave out "pls", "wat" and "nt" used as abbreviations (thankfully I don't see those as often). The misspelled phrase " im " throws far too many false positives, though it can certainly be paired reliably, such as Im trying (16K instances), im doing (3K) and im new (2.5K).
This has been suggested before, specifically for the phrase "it doesn't work". I agree that this phrase can be unhelpful; however, its misuse is hard to detect, since its appearance in a question does not also mean that further details have been omitted.
Personally, I'd leave out "AFAIK", "AFAICT", "FWIW" and so forth, since I think these are useful and not automatically a sign of a poor post. I appreciate that the distinction might, nevertheless, be seen as rather arbitrary - comments on those welcome. (Edit: some users consider these poor as well).
I'd be inclined to make this feature advisory rather than mandatory, so as to guide users rather than to harangue them. In fact, as long as the rest of a post is well written, an occasional abbreviated phrase can add some colour - at least it seems popular here. (Agreed, the rules for Meta are rather different, but still).
I've tried educating serial offenders about writing style in the past, with rather mixed results, so I wonder whether the 'neutral' voice of a computer might do a better job?
I've found that some txt-spk phrases form part of the low-quality post filter; however, a request to auto-replace them didn't attract much support (and, for what it's worth, I think an optional notice is a better solution).
Post script: I'd love to include cant (62K instances) and wont (33K) too, but that might be taking the principle too far
:). Yes, they're real words in their own right, but both are rather archaic, and quite unlikely to be used here. And some more apostrophe sins purely for edification: whats at 26K and couldnt way down at 4K.
Post post script: it'd be great to discourage urgent as well, though there are several legitimate uses of that, so it'd be harder to implement.