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I edit a lot of posts every day. I often run across posts with 'Hi' and 'Thanks' on the top and the bottom of the post respectively. I also run across things like:

--User

Should these items be removed during the editing of the post by an editor?

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Not really a duplicate at all - the earlier question was about posting etiquette, this is about editing etiquette. –  Shogging through the snow Jul 8 '10 at 17:16
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@Shog: Okay, subtle difference, but when Jeff says "In general, taglines and signatures are strongly discouraged, and are likely to be edited out" (2nd paragraph in his answer) then I think this topic is covered. –  Jon Seigel Jul 8 '10 at 17:19
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@Jon: you'd think so, right? And yet, there was enough controversy surrounding the actual practice of editing them out that this question had to be asked anyway... –  Shogging through the snow Jul 8 '10 at 17:21
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@Shog: See also, Jeff's comment on this answer. IMO, the combination of (a) this content being disallowed/discouraged, and (b) the community being encouraged to improve the content of the site, makes this question almost a non-question. I do see your point, though I'm not sure it really makes a difference. –  Jon Seigel Jul 8 '10 at 17:29
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@Jon: Eh, it's something to point to when folks whine about it. There have been a couple of questions closed as duplicates of this, and I've actually seen at least one person using the URL as their "revision comment" while performing editing. Ultimately though, it serves the same primary purpose as most of the "etiquette" posts on Meta: get the discussion done with so we don't have to repeat it every week... –  Shogging through the snow Jul 8 '10 at 17:35
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Whats wrong with hi or thanks? Boy what is this world coming to. Mundane mutes who just want answers. –  JonH Jan 25 '12 at 17:13
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Kill it with fire. You want to do social you get on Facebook. :) I like the questions just to be questions (without any noise). –  PeeHaa Jan 30 '12 at 19:35
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+1 three years passed and this subject continues to be discussed onto new questions everyday! –  Zuul Jul 16 '12 at 22:02
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I can't speak for ALL the users, but I've just found this question yesterday. Despite the fact I find this answers very useful, doesn't seem appropriate to call it "clear decision" since opinions continue to go both ways. –  Zuul Jul 17 '12 at 14:32
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Opinions do not go 'either way'. Look at the answers and the votes on them. Just because we have a vocal minority it doesn't override the overwhelming support for the removal of such extraneous clutter from posts. It also does not override the site policy listed below as well. –  GEOCHET Jul 17 '12 at 16:27
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Just to be clear, I've been editing a lot lately over on SO, and I've become a little worried that I'm being perceived as a serial editor for no point, I've been formatting code and correcting spelling but also I've removed a ton of Thanks, Thx, Please help !!! Cheers etc... Can one reassure me I'm alright with this behaviour otherwise I'll stop doing it, but I do feel like I'm improving the quality. –  Daniel Aug 13 '12 at 21:44
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There are about 247 votes for answers that are ok with 'thanks being added'! It's NOT a minority of SO users who think being human is fine and doesn't take up much space/time. Go through and add them up yourself. –  Luke Stanley Aug 22 '12 at 20:11
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While 247 people are technically in the minority, it's roughly half and half. In other words, the community is divided. –  Herbert Sep 10 '12 at 16:45
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@GEOCHET, let me be more clear. It can not. –  Paul Aug 5 '13 at 8:52
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Should we promote this to faq-proposed (with the appropriate work)? It seems like a good enough thing. –  Cole Johnson Aug 13 '13 at 4:43

33 Answers 33

I am a die-hard thanker. I always end my questions with the phrase "Thanks so much!". (I do not start questions with "hi" for various reasons)

Game-theory is what mainly dictates my approach. This is an interesting situation to apply game-theory to:

Assumptions

  1. Ending a question with "Thanks so much!" clutters up the forum and makes it harder for people to scan questions and answers for the content that they are looking for.
  2. Ending a question with "Thanks so much!" increases the quality and quantity of answers because it makes people who might potentially answer the question feel respected and appreciated.
  3. Editing "thanks yous" out of questions discourages people from asking questions in the future, especially people with sensitive, creative personality types who are likely to carefully ask thoughtful questions.

Conclusions

(based on acceptance of all three assumptions)

  • People should probably say "thank you" at the ends of their questions.
  • The "thank yous" at the end of questions probably should not be edited out of them.

Analysis

If you accept assumption #2, then fewer answers would exist if people stopped thanking. This probably eclipses the problem of clutter when holistically looking at the overall best interest of the forum.

Interestingly, if you disregard the weakest assumption, assumption #3, then people should add "thank yous" when they ask questions and then they should be edited out later after the question has been satisfactorily answered.

If the forum was full of people like me, assumption #3 would be incorrect. But I've talked to very many super thoughtful and intelligent developers who never ask questions on this forum because they are afraid of backlash. And it seems very many other questions are asked by people who brazenly post questions that are not well thought out and detract from the quality of the forum. These people are likely more insensitive to the needs of others and likely care a lot less about "backlash".

If you disregard assumptions #2 and #3, then people should not say thank you at the ends of questions and if they do, they should be edited out.

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Stack Overflow is not a forum >:-| –  Jan Dvorak Dec 27 '13 at 20:27
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I don't ask questions because, most of the time, it's easier to just search on Google than to formulate a good question; The rest of the time, I discover the issue while preparing an example or a test case. Of course, if you just dump your code to Stack Overflow and ask why it doesn't work, your question is going to be received poorly. –  Jan Dvorak Dec 27 '13 at 20:59
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You have one major flaw in your theory: Stack Overflow is a professional Q&A site. Ask a question, get an answer. Nothing more and nothing less. If one is looking for sensitive and personal help, Stack Overflow is not the place anyway. –  Shadow Wizard Dec 27 '13 at 23:49

When asking a query I often write/want to write "thanks for reading". I honestly appreciate and am grateful for someone taking the time to read my query. If they can go on to answer in addition, I'll thank them for that also.

I think it's a disgrace that my warmth and appreciation is being removed and thus my presentation of myself is being violated.

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I think all has been covered in the 33 other answers. Upvote the ones you like, donwvote the ones you don't agree with? And FYI, see "Do not use signature, taglines, or greetings" in stackoverflow.com/help/behavior –  Arjan Aug 1 '13 at 8:42
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(Ah, you wrote "purely for that reason". True.) –  Arjan Aug 1 '13 at 8:45
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@Paul: Civility is about what you say, not about how you dress it up. If the content is rude, saying "thank you" after doesn't make it less rude. If the content is fine, saying "thank you" after doesn't make it more polite. So there's no point in writing it. –  Nicol Bolas Aug 1 '13 at 9:14
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I can see your point, @Paul. To me, Stack Exchange is not about helping someone, but about creating those "libraries of high-quality questions and answers", in which even a thank you feels like clutter. But I'm no saint either; I'm sure I've done it as well. Or wrote "Any ideas?" which is hardly useful either. –  Arjan Aug 1 '13 at 9:15

I feel enough like a robot. Please let us feel like human with a little "hi" or "thanks". There is nothing wrong with this I think... No, don't remove; especially askers may use "hi" or "thanks".

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Other than "this is what I think". Is there any other arguments that you can put forward? If not, this is not really an answer and should have just been an up/downvote on the posts that you agree/disagree with. –  Lix Apr 16 '13 at 8:15
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Beep beep beep... uhh... I mean sure I'm human!... hehe... Basically, what I'm saying is that saying I agree (or not) is exactly what the voting mechanism is for. If you want to add your own twist or explain your opinion, then post an answer. However an answer only saying YES/NO is not really an answer. It's much easier to gauge how much the community supports a suggestion by the votes on the question/answer than it is to go though all (33) answers and manually count the users that say "I agree!" or "No thanks!". –  Lix Apr 16 '13 at 8:23
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I can't tell you what to do - and I won't. You are free to post answers as you see fit and however you want. Together with that, users are free to use their votes and comments to voice their opinions and let you know whether they agree with you or not. I'm not saying that you have to write an entire blog post for each answer - but (at least here on meta) you are expected to provide some explanation or add constructively to the discussion. –  Lix Apr 16 '13 at 8:34

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