I posted an answer that was informative, albeit formatted jokingly (be it in bad taste or not), and while I understand 'we don't have fun here', or something like that, I was under the impression that fun was tolerable to an extent.

The post didn't last long enough for me complete my ongoing edit, in true totalitarian fashion it didn't last long at all, now left forlorn in deletion. I don't see any way to approach this from the post itself, and will admit I'm not familiar with the procedure of reinstating an answer deleted by a moderator - so here I am, wondering if and how I can do so?

On the other hand, it would also be nice to be able to understand who can have fun and who can't, i.e which SO social classes can get away with it, or any such criteria used. My post wasn't offensive or against any rules (to my knowledge), it was rather tongue in cheek, was being edited to elaborate with more content and the joke would have been edited out reasonably quickly by myself (I'm not really one to intentionally make a post anything that it shouldn't be.)

The deleted post can be found here, obviously you'll notice the t prefixes on words of the first sentence, this was in jest to all the t prefixes in the sample code - not really funny at time time, let alone in hindsight, but I just did it, and would have come around to my senses in a couple of minutes or so.

What is slightly frustrating, and perhaps the only thing that actually drew me here to post, was that the comment added didn't explicitly tell me why, but rather hypocritically took the approach of mocking me with prefixes of t on each word, and an inaccurate assumption (which I can actually see as a joke by that person) of why my posts ended up in that format... they seemed to miss the point that mine was, in fact, a joke. Lastly, the post was one single line, but yet informative with two very relevant links (i.e. good content) which could have been edited correctly in a matter of seconds. I've seen worse 'serious' answers, in fact, I do daily, and they go nowhere - often times people put the effort in to edit them if needs be. A simple comment by such a 'responsible' member would have no doubt urged to see the light sooner, had I not already.

I can pretty much think ahead before posting this that nobody will necessarily disagree with the action taken (at least not onymously) but I am interested in thoughts, and obviously answers to my question, and preferably (though not really pressing, I'm not too concerned about a single answer and believe more is at stake than it) my answer reinstated. I participate quite actively throughout the network, and it is pretty discomforting, and perplexing when seemingly double standards are applied with overzealous moderation.

  • @Cody Gray I appreciate that, and knew previous posts on humour exist, but I'm kind of looking for a case basis, I think there is more peripheral information regarding this one. Aug 17, 2011 at 14:16
  • Fair enough. Just getting those out there. There are some good answers and insight available already. Aug 17, 2011 at 14:21
  • 1
    (I thought it was funny)
    – jjnguy
    Aug 17, 2011 at 14:51
  • 4
    I reopened and edited to put the content first and the joke second. Check it out and see if you agree with my update.
    – user1228
    Aug 17, 2011 at 14:55
  • 4
    (also, I woudn't have reopened if it was just a single jokey line with two links to the relevant docs. The content you added made it worthy of undeletion.)
    – user1228
    Aug 17, 2011 at 14:57
  • @Won't Thank you for doing so. I'm well tempted, as I would have been regardless, to delete the joke, revisions serve to posterity. Aug 17, 2011 at 17:17
  • @Jeff Atwood, that is the funniest thing I've seen since... [removed so I don't get banned or flamed]
    – rickyduck
    Aug 24, 2011 at 7:37

5 Answers 5


I don't think your answer was deleted because you were joking, but because the joke rendered your first line nigh-unreadable.

Joking is fine (within reason), but it should not impair the readability of your answer. If it does, it lowers its overall quality and subsequently makes it a target for deletion, since readers will have a hard time understanding what's going on.

  • 2
    My only reply to this answer would be to say that posts aren't immutable, and although I'm not asking other members to carry my participation by correcting all of my posts (they're generally coherent), in this exceptional case, the edit button with a few keystrokes would have sufficed. It would have taken more effort to type the comment the way they did. Aug 17, 2011 at 14:19
  • Maybe the moderator was not in an editing mood at that time. A possible course of action might be to edit your answer yourself, then flag it for moderator attention, pleading your case and asking them to undelete it. Aug 17, 2011 at 14:22

Most likely, Lasse didn't get the joke. I didn't at first either. You have to read the question and pay close attention to how variables are named. Not something a busy moderator really has time for.

This is even more likely considering his comment to the now-deleted post:

tYou tmight twant tto tavoid thaving tyour tcat twalk tover tyour tkeyboard twhen tyou tpost tanswers.

Not, say:

tYou tmight twant tto tavoid tmaking toffensive timplicit tjokes tabout the toriginal tposter's tvariable-naming tconventions.

But I don't know. Maybe I should be giving him more credit. Maybe he was just keeping the joke going.

Either way, I don't think the answer deserved to be deleted, but it's a risk that you take in trying to be funny. There are so many users with so many different senses of humour on SO now that it's very likely a lame or unusual attempt at humour will get flagged.

(Also, the usual caveat applies: I probably have an unusually offensive brand of humour and quite thick skin, so I'm not bothered by what other "normal" people would call horribly rude. Your mileage may vary.)

  • 1
    Keeping the joke going by deleting my post? Surely it would have been simpler and given his side of the joke more exposure if he posted the comment, giving me a chance to repent and repair, prior to ruthlessly deleting. I know we're just guessing at an individuals behaviour and intentions here, though, so thanks for the input. Aug 17, 2011 at 14:23

Personally I don't think this answer is worthy of deletion.

Whether or not such "fun" is good or not should be decided by up- and/or downvotes in my opinion. And even if it gets flagged by enough users for some reason, then I think removing the ts is a much better approach than deleting which gets rid of a seemingly technical correct and helpful answer (I don't really know the topic, so I can't tell if it's really correct and helpful).


If the first line of your answer was all that it contained at first (and the rest was added in your edit) then I think a likely contributing factor to it being deleted was that it came across as an RTFM answer, with just links to documentation and no extra explanation.

Does this in and of itself make it deserving of deletion? I would say no. It's just not a very good answer. But combined with the somewhat mocking tone, and the fact that said joke made the answer almost unreadable, I could understand why it might be seen as a deletion-worthy answer.

  • Again, that doesn't give us much room to expand. It has already been well established that people post an answer then elaborate on it; it is pretty much standard practice in a lot of cases. I'm not keen on link-only answers, but my answers tend not to stay in that form. and I would assume some kind of grace period in favour of the community. Aug 17, 2011 at 14:24
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    Yes, but as I mention a short or incomplete answer alone probably wouldn't get deleted, but combining that with mocking and incomprehensibility might push it past the threshold. Had your original pre-edit answer simply not had "t" in front of everything, I don't think we'd be having this discussion. Aug 17, 2011 at 14:27
  • I think you're right. It would seem my approach was the problem. Aug 17, 2011 at 17:20

I'm firmly in the "add humour if you can" camp. That being said, this joke was rather esoteric, and could conceivably be construed as mocking the OP. I think that may have been part of the reason it got the axe.

Also, while I do appreciate jokes on SO, I tend to prefer them in comments, where the feeling is a little more loose.

  • So would you not agree that mocking humour is the best kind? How disappointing. Aug 17, 2011 at 15:04

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