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RECENTLY ON THE ANDROID SITE WE GOT THIS QUESTION WRITTEN IN ALL CAPS. THIS WAS SURPRISING TO ME, SINCE I ASSUMED IT WOULD HAVE BEEN CAUGHT BY THE QUALITY FILTER — BESIDES BEING INDICATIVE OF OTHER POST QUALITY ISSUES, IT'S AWFUL TO LOOK AT AND REQUIRES A LARGE AMOUNT OF EDITING TO FIX (EVEN IF YOU RUN IT THROUGH TOLOWER() FIRST).

WE ALL KNOW THAT CAPS LOCK IS CRUISE CONTROL FOR COOL, BUT STILL: CAN WE BLOCK THESE QUESTIONS?


RICK

RICK

OH MAN THAT STUFF JACOB G LINKS IS COMEDY GOLD

RIIICK

Note to editors: This post looks exactly like it is supposed to look, as an example of a question in all-caps. Please do not replace the uppercase letters with lowercase.

  • Maybe Android has a 110-baud Teletype interface? – tgm1024 2 days ago
  • @Sonic that's not helpful. Everyone knows what a post in all caps looks like. Leaving this post in all caps makes it difficult to read, and the extra stuff at the bottom is just fluff that needs to be removed. – Robert Columbia 2 days ago
  • 1
    @RobertColumbia we should allow fun. This post's point is certainly clear in its version that you reverted it away from. – Stormblessed 2 days ago
  • @RobertColumbia but this is Meta and not making our actual technical sites etc. seem crazy to outside viewers due to not being something many will ever see, and we should allow fun in these dark times. – Stormblessed 2 days ago
  • 3
    I wrote the accepted answer to the question cited. The all caps kinda helps illustrate the point. In think it would be nice to take a step back and admire the neon and dubstep beauty of this question. I would also invoke the zalgo answer on SO as precident. – Journeyman Geek 2 days ago
  • For reference: SE's policy on fun on Meta. It's also worth noting that this post was made in 2012, back when fun was much more likely to be well-received by the community, and the current consensus is to leave these past posts as they are. – Sonic the Anonymous Hedgehog 2 days ago
29
+450

The reality is that this is incredibly rare.

You can see the whopping 32 times it happened in the last month on Stack Overflow, or for example the 0 questions on android last month.

Our quality filter is incredibly effective, it catches so many of these automatically.

On one hand, the 32 questions/answers I linked to, probably should be blocked. On the other hand, this is such a drop in the ocean.

The one common semi interesting pattern that emerged here was that 10k+ users will often "ninja-edit" an answer they post to - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - just before they delete it, cause they don't want other 10k users seeing the content they posted.

I am not convinced there is a real problem we are solving with this particular fix, though I am not against improving our quality filters.

  • I think you have the wrong Data Explorer link there. First link. Not sure enough to edit it myself though. – BoltClock's a Unicorn Mar 27 '12 at 0:55
  • Thanks waffles. I certainly wouldn't have expected this to be a priority, but I thought I'd make the suggestion. 32/month is not much at all. – Matthew Read Mar 27 '12 at 2:04
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    @Matthew: There's a good chance most of these are either already blocked (folks who write ALL IN CAPS have a good chance of triggering the quality filter anyway), are quickly fixed by other users, or are simply deleted. Also note the frequent occurrence of SQL in that list... We don't want to increase the risk of blocking FGITW answers to SQL questions... OR DO WE? – Shog9 Mar 27 '12 at 2:06
  • @Shog9 Lol. I actually didn't think of applying it to answers. I certainly agree that all caps are likely to be accompanied by other quality issues. – Matthew Read Mar 27 '12 at 2:08
  • I do the ninja edit thing all the time (before deleting) - is that frowned upon?? – Adam Rackis Mar 27 '12 at 3:07
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    @AdamRackis I don't know, its just an observation, I don't feel this is abuse – waffles Mar 27 '12 at 3:16
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    Why not tagging as status-deferred? :) – Shadow Mar 27 '12 at 8:26
  • well I am declining this, until/if it becomes a problem – waffles Apr 5 '12 at 6:42
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    @AdamRackis I frown upon it, and have even been known to edit such posts to express my disgust should they return on day and see it; I have also flagged such users as abusing the system, as contrary to waffles, I think it is. If not, at the very least it is an exercise in obscurity and perceptually subterfuge. – Grant Thomas Apr 5 '12 at 7:42
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    it would have taken less time to add this as a weighting factor to the heuristic, than it did to research and type this answer.. just sayin' – Jeff Atwood Apr 5 '12 at 9:45
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    @jeff and then I need to add a block for questions that are "abcd abcdef afghi fghit hfsat fh angus " and so on, I dislike fixing theoretical problems – waffles Apr 5 '12 at 10:32
  • @MrD - seriously? The only point of ninja-editing before deleting is so future visitors don't see our brain-farts. It's human nature to be embarrassed about silly mistakes. – Adam Rackis Apr 5 '12 at 14:23
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    @waffles that's already blocked by the entropy check, btw. Adding a penalty for not detecting any lowercase would be literally a 30 second change. I can mail you the line of code. – Jeff Atwood Apr 5 '12 at 20:19
52

A question asked in all caps is either:

  • A dump of code with no context
  • The product of an idiot typing on the Internet
  • A malfunctioning WOPR with a TCP/IP stack that someone forgot to turn off 20 years ago
  • A future April 1 day prank when all your posts are shown in all caps, but only to you
  • Something else we probably don't want

I agree that it's something that the quality filters should be keeping out. I don't think it would interfere with people asking normal questions with code snippets.

I don't think we could keep the other variety out as easily:

I have a doubt on multiplying doubles.

... code code code

PLS HELP ME ASAP THIS IS URGANT!!!!

.. But hopefully ALL CAPS won't grace the database in the near future :)

Edit

As for all lowercase, I'm on the fence. I have seen quite a few all caps questions, but not many written in all lowercase. Additionally, posts in all caps require editing every single character, while changing i to I and correctly casing proper nouns is a bit less taxing.

Note, I did say all lowercase and new users often don't apply correct formatting. Plus, we have a mobile site. I'm not saying it's a bad idea, I just don't know how I feel about it yet.

  • 15
    Hmm, I'd be okay with blocking anything where "please" is spelled "pls" or "plz". – Cody Gray Feb 19 '12 at 2:54
  • Then what would us human text speak kismets do all day? – Tim Post Feb 19 '12 at 4:58
  • @CodyGray: If we exclude code blocks. There is probably some assembler language somewhere with PLS or PLZ instructions, or something similar. – hammar Feb 24 '12 at 15:20
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    @hammar Well, Intercal has PLEASE, but I think any programmer that is capable of implementing a language would rather jump off a cliff than make pls a keyword unless writing an esoteric language. This is because they also have to deal with communities. ICBW, I'm just sayin. But yes, code blocks would need to be excluded. I have seen entire crap questions posted in one big code block (text included), but not many. – Tim Post Feb 24 '12 at 16:20
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    I'm now trying to remember whether LOLcode has a PLZ command, @hammar. It probably does. – TRiG Apr 24 '13 at 2:19
  • @TRiG: Looks like it does. – hammar Apr 24 '13 at 2:22
23

A post that does not contain at least one uppercase letter and at least one lowercase letter is definitely grounds for automatic rejection.

There's an exception: sites where questions may legitimately be in a language that doesn't use a mixed-case alphabet (currently Japanese Language & Usage and Chinese Language & Usage).

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