A new user posted his first question on Stack Overflow, SMS HTTP API call from ASP.NET is slow, and the question was well asked, but he started with an "Hi" and ended with a "Thanks," which I normally do myself.

In the comments one guy completely shoot him down with, "Stop trying being nice, you are just wasting our time.."

Seriously, is that really the right way to go for an community to not even allow a little bit of courtesy?


Two things here:

  • Are salutations necessary in questions?

The consensus on that is: no, they can be removed since they add no technical value to the question.

  • Was that comment necessary?

IMO, no. That comment is, to say the least, not polite, and not helpful in any way if it said just that. I'd flag the comment for removal ("not constructive").


From the comment in question:

Also, please spare us greetings and gratitude. It wastes our valuable time reading it that should be spent on answering your question.

The language of the comment leaves something to be desired, and the user in question has editing privileges, so he/she should have probably edited the question and left a less strong comment in the edit summary and/or as a regular comment.

However, I think the message of "there's no need to put salutations and signatures in posts, as they are a distraction from the pertinent content" is reasonable.

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    I added a comment to that effect. If I were a newbie and were welcomed with "spare us your greetings and gratitude", I would probably leave the site, wondering what a bunch of dicks people there must be. – Pekka Oct 6 '11 at 10:24
  • @Pekka I'm definitely not disagreeing with you. I do think that people need to be gently reminded of the notion that the additional information is not required, as this may be something they have practiced on other internet sites. – jonsca Oct 6 '11 at 10:28
  • I'm with @Pekka on this, the 'be nice' injunction definitely takes precedence over our aversion to superfluous niceties... – Benjol Nov 23 '11 at 5:51
  • @Benjol I wasn't agreeing with the noxious comment as it was stated, but with the spirit of speaking up to say "There's no need for salutations, signatures, etc." – jonsca Nov 23 '11 at 5:55
  • @jonsca, I understand, but the tone of your answer did read to me as leaning more towards defending the commenter than the asker. In my opinion, if you have editing rights, you edit and you shut up. There's no reason to comment. After all, the community is still fairly undecided on whether just removing salutations is worth an edit, so I don't consider it worth a comment... – Benjol Nov 23 '11 at 6:01
  • @Benjol I think it's perfectly reasonable to leave a comment explaining your edit, as long as it's not obnoxious like the above. It's not required to do so, and it's probably not encouraged, but someone is within their rights to do so. Actually, since there is a system in place to automatically edit out standard salutations, I think the community does have a firm stance on them. – jonsca Nov 23 '11 at 6:16

I don't think that this is the right way. But I believe that the community (or at least the vast majority of the community) will not take this poor comment as example.


Greetings and thanks should not be added to questions, as they are not necessary for the question itself. There is the correct way to say that to the OP, and the wrong way; the FAQ clearly says, "Civility is required at all times; rudeness will not be tolerated."

The comment is quite rude and not necessary, considering that who wrote it has the privilege of editing any posts, as jonsca pointed out.

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