Current events don't really impact the technology for 99.9% of these situations. I've been editing such references out of various questions/answers, as well as correcting related typos.

Moving forward, I just want to know if this sort of thing is best removed or we want to encourage everyone asking questions about current events.

  • 6
    I don't think it was necessary to remove it from Which internet blackout technique works best?. It isn't essential to the question, but it provides the context and I don't think that would be typically be edited out. (The suitability of the question itself is another matter.)
    – Jeremy
    Jan 18, 2012 at 18:48
  • @Jeremy: I agree with the edit. SOPA will be long gone in a year and generalizing it to just "protest" extends the life of this question greatly.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Jan 18, 2012 at 18:55
  • 2
    Wipe them out. All of them. Jan 18, 2012 at 18:56
  • 3
    @animuson People usually include the reason they're asking a question or are encouraged to do so. Sometimes it helps answer it, sometimes it doesn't. I don't think the edit was particularly harmful, but I also don't think it's consistent with most people's normal editing habits to remove it.
    – Jeremy
    Jan 18, 2012 at 18:57
  • 1
    @Jeremy: The reason is still included, it's just generalized to account for a wider audience. Now when someone else has this question for another protest that will inevitably arise in the future, the answer is already there and the word "protest" will cover it perfectly. It's still specific enough to provide context, but not so specific that in a year people will be asking "What was SOPA?"
    – animuson StaffMod
    Jan 18, 2012 at 19:01
  • 5
    @JeremyBanks Hahahahahahaha. Awesome edit. Jan 19, 2012 at 20:44

3 Answers 3


Yes, please do. I just got up so I haven't seen this yet. But this is just the same as adding a signature to the post. If it doesn't serve any purpose there, or adds subjective text to the post, it should be removed.

I also agree with your edits by removing it so as not to make the posts too localized.

  • 5
    Agreed. SOPA or otherwise, noise should be removed.
    – David
    Jan 18, 2012 at 18:44

YES, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD YES! (I say this as a user who is over saturated on this issue, not as a mod).

(Puts on moderator hat)

As animuson points out, if it's just a signature, tagline, or whatever, REMOVE IT WITH EXTREME PREJUDICE.

There might be cases where the question is not just taglined, but truly core to SOPA, the blackout, and impacts.

If the question though relates to SOPA and/or the blackout today, it's probably more than likely that most of the instances are "too localized" or "off topic" (or will be at some point, regardless of the outcome).

If it's in reference to the blackout today, then I'd say it's almost absolutely "too localized". If it can be edited into a question dealing with outages in general, then I strongly recommend that you do, as removing something that can be transformed into good content is not helpful to Stack Overflow.

However, if the question has to do with dealing with outages in general and is using SOPA as an example, then I'd say that it's totally acceptable.

As an example, I posted this about the general impact of Wikpedia's approach to the blackout on on SEO over on Webmasters.SE which removed SOPA and the blackout from the core of the question (as it was an interesting SEO question in my mind, and not a conversation about SOPA and/or the blackout).


When it actually improves the question, yes, sure. Otherwise, no. Bear in mind that just because a mention of SOPA is not essential to the question, it doesn't mean the question would necessarily be improved by removing that mention.

In other words, as an editor, if you invent a rule "SOPA may not be mentioned on Stack Overflow" and start editing accordingly, that's just silly. In such a case one could even argue (whether correctly or not) that we'd be effectively censoring discussion of the censorship bill :-)

  • Meh. I think the "rule" should be if it's unecessary noise, edit it out. Most of these are cases where SOPA (specifically) is not essential to the question. Jan 18, 2012 at 21:44

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