On this answer, yesterday I edited to remove the Sapienti sat bit at the end. According to Wikipedia the common translation for that is 'a word to the wise is enough' or 'wise people will understand'. Today, the OP Your Common Sense has added it back in.

Is there a policy on including random bits of Latin in answers? For me, it seems to be a bit of a slippery slope towards signatures - especially given that this is a high reputation user.

So should it be removed? I don't want to start an edit war.

  • 2
    The tagline is most certainly a violation of SO's FAQ... but I'm not sure we can call it a tagline since that seems to be his only answer with it. – M.Babcock Mar 14 '12 at 16:18
  • @M.Babcock I guess it's not a tagline if it's only on one answer, but it still seems wrong. – Dan Blows Mar 14 '12 at 16:20
  • 2
    I think he thinks it's relevant, though, and not a tag line - it's the conclusion of his argument, like a "QED". I'd be inclined to leave it. – Rup Mar 14 '12 at 16:22
  • 1
    There's a big difference between not allowing signatures and simply muting people - but a fine line can divide them; rather than say whether it is itself appropriate, I'll say that it would be inappropriate to remove it. – Grant Thomas Mar 14 '12 at 16:39
  • 1
    @Rup: cui bono? Besides, it's not equivalent to QED. It's more like, "I'm not going to explain this because you should be smart enough to understand it." – user7116 Mar 14 '12 at 18:47
  • @six nullo bono, but I don't think it's worth an argument and I've seen worse. I can't quite bring myself to -1 him for condescension but I certainly won't sympathy-upvote him back for the -1 he's already got. – Rup Mar 14 '12 at 18:56
  • @Rup: on this point we agree :) – user7116 Mar 14 '12 at 19:27
  • 2
    Incidentally, this specific user can be somewhat prickly. This is actually his version of relatively polite. He's an incredibly detail-oriented expert and at this point you should consider the matter to have resolved itself pretty well. – sarnold Mar 14 '12 at 23:28
  • 2
    @sarnold - Is that really a valid excuse for being rude to your peers on SE? I would gladly become equally (or possibly even more) prickly for a chance to be consistently rude and not be called out for it. Which is the real problem here? His rep or his attitude? – M.Babcock Mar 15 '12 at 4:18
  • @M.Babcock: Oh, he's been called out for it -- even suspended -- I just thought Blowski'd like to know that it went pretty well. – sarnold Mar 15 '12 at 21:12

I agree with your decision to edit that out.

That latin phrase is not incredibly common (like some others, that are frequently used in English). That means that for "Sapienti sat" to be helpful, one has to waste time looking it up, only then to find that it's not helpful at all. The latin translation shows it's just fluff (and fluff that's slightly derogatory to the other answers on the page, at that). No value is added to the answer by the presence of said latin phrase.

All that being said, it's not really worth arguing / edit-warring with the user over. If they frequently and continuously added these unnecessary bits to answers (and had more clashes where they rolled-back useful / valid edits like yours), then it would be an issue to possibly bring up to them (or flag and allow a moderator to handle it).

  • I think you're right - it's too small to worry about. I think I might translate it into English in brackets, beside the Latin. – Dan Blows Mar 14 '12 at 16:34
  • @Blowski Indeed. In fact, I think you handled this very well (coming here and asking, instead of starting a rollback war). – Josh Darnell Mar 14 '12 at 16:36
  • Just read this answer and my comment from kiamlaluno's answer demands repeating: There are probably some English words you're not aware of, too... I don't think others should suffer someone not knowing common Latin phrases. To condemn this would be to stifle intellectual considerations and even ambitions, and I can trace the logic of doing so right down to us all using text-speak as standard, because, well, the masses understand it. – Grant Thomas Mar 14 '12 at 16:45
  • 5
    @Mr.D There are definitely (many!) English words I'm not aware of =) I don't see what that has to do with this situation or why you keep bringing it up. "Sapienti sat" is not a commonly used phrase in English (like et cetera). Even if it were, it's not important to the answer. If someone has a problem with having their personal voice edited out of their posts, they need to take a close look at the FAQ: "If you are not comfortable with the idea of your contributions being collaboratively edited by other trusted users, this may not be the site for you." – Josh Darnell Mar 14 '12 at 16:50

I don't see anything wrong in that Latin sentence. It's not a signature, and it's not worse than thanks, or greetings.
It's usually reported to just answer the question, but as the sentence is a single line sentence added after the answer, it's not something noisy as a useless paragraph added before answering the question. I would not have added it, but there is nothing against that.

The "how to edit" block (shown to users without the privilege of editing any posts) shows the following points:

  • fix grammatical or spelling errors
  • clarify meaning without changing it
  • correct minor mistakes
  • add related resources or links
  • always respect the original author

As the sentence is not offensive, the last point applies to the edit.

I don't know what you mean by admin, but on Stack Exchange, the user is just a high reputation user on Stack Overflow; he is not a moderator in any Stack Exchange site.

  • 4
    OK thanks. For me it was slightly offensive because it effectively means 'all these other answers are stupid - if you have any sense, you will choose mine'. But if you think it's fine, I'll leave it. – Dan Blows Mar 14 '12 at 16:23
  • 2
    Doesn't that fall on the wrong side of the "English" policy for SO? AFAIK it's not like "etc." or "e.g." which have been stolen into English. – Flexo Mar 14 '12 at 16:24
  • 1
    I agree with @awoodland. It's not English, and it's not helpful unless you know what it means, or waste time going to look it up (even then it's not exactly helpful, it's fluff). – Josh Darnell Mar 14 '12 at 16:26
  • @awoodland If he wrote all the answer in Latin, that would be the case, but a citation is something different. – kiamlaluno Mar 14 '12 at 16:26
  • 5
    I kind of agree with @Blowski. The arrogance of the statement could be considered offensive to anyone else who had answered. – M.Babcock Mar 14 '12 at 16:26
  • 2
    Wouldn't removing this irrelevant line fall under your 2nd bullet? The more junk the less clear the meaning... – Sjoerd C. de Vries Mar 14 '12 at 16:27
  • @M.Babcock And the OP of the question. It certainly doesn't add any value to SO. – Dan Blows Mar 14 '12 at 16:28
  • 1
    Possibly relevant: english.stackexchange.com/a/45913/5137 – Flexo Mar 14 '12 at 16:28
  • @SjoerdC.deVries I don't think that you are making the post clearer. – kiamlaluno Mar 14 '12 at 16:30
  • 4
    I disagree with this answer. Signatures and greetings are supposed to be edited out, but that's not clear from the "how to edit" either. Those quick points are not the complete guide to editing. Removing useless taglines is a good thing. – Matthew Read Mar 14 '12 at 16:45
  • @MatthewRead That sentence is not a greeting, nor a signature. The FAQ reports about signatures, but the FAQ doesn't say anything about citations, or smileys. – kiamlaluno Mar 14 '12 at 16:56

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .