Sometimes I see a question and a humorous answer to it. Sometimes it makes me laugh, and I'm tempted to up-vote it, even if it doesn't really solve the problem stated by the question.

But, I have even bigger doubt: Should we down-vote funny answers?

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    Humor is for comments. Answers should be helpful in answering the question. – GEOCHET Oct 9 '08 at 18:40
  • How can this question have a correct answer when it is tagged subjective? Should the community not be deciding that with votes? – mattlant Oct 9 '08 at 20:00
  • BTW, I did not put the 'subjective' tag. Look into history, someone else added it. – Milan Babuškov Oct 9 '08 at 21:50

14 Answers 14


Humor should be allowed if they are answering the question.

If somebody posts something just to be funny, for the sake of being funny, but doesn't answer the question it should be down voted.

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  • I totally agree with this answer. Not the one selected as 'correct' :( – mattlant Oct 9 '08 at 19:57
  • Stupid questions require stupid answers.... – Joshua Oct 10 '08 at 12:36
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    Stupid questions require sardonic answers. – eyelidlessness Oct 11 '08 at 16:42

Humor is appreciated in technical books and blogs, assuming it's on topic and actually funny. I'd suggest the same bar applies here.

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    Yes, the definition of funny is obviously universal. – Adriano Varoli Piazza Oct 9 '08 at 19:51
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    My problem with this, is what if it is on topic, and it is funny, but it doesnt answer the question or doesnt even attempt to answer the question – mattlant Oct 9 '08 at 19:54
  • @Moranar - I know it when I see it....................hahahaahah! – curtisk Oct 9 '08 at 19:54
  • @Moranar - nothing is universal. If something isn't funny or on topic <i>in your opinion</i> then vote it down. – Cory House Oct 10 '08 at 16:01

Good lord I hope so, otherwise my reputation is about to drop into the basement.

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  • lol, i have taken quite a few dings for my wit. – Mostlyharmless Oct 9 '08 at 18:53
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    If you are taking dings then it wasn't wit – 1800 INFORMATION Oct 9 '08 at 19:11

If it answers the question, then sure. If the answer is just snarky or sarcastic, then save it for Digg.

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This site is only going to continue to work if people keep coming to use it, so what's wrong with injecting a little humor here and there to keep the process entertaining?

Insisting on a no-humor policy will probably have the same effect on StackOverflow that it would have on your place of work: you're going to go somewhere else at the first opportunity.

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I recommend only downvoting unintentionally funny answers.

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    this is like an infinite loop of funny. – Jeff Atwood Oct 12 '08 at 8:46

"You can laugh at everything, but not with everyone."
-- Pierre Desproges

Keep in mind that people cannot see your facial expression and gestures, so not all humor translates properly. Also, people from all over the world come here, and different cultures may not find every joke funny.

That being said: If people have a problem with Humor, they should remove the stick from their behinds and relax.

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To address your first question: The answer is THEIR answer, and it will solely their choice whether or not to include humor (or attempts thereof).

To address your second question: That's entirely your call, I don't think this needs to be a hard and fast rule. To blanket down-mod "funny" (now you have to quantify 'funny') seems a touch ridiculous.

Some have argued that "it goes against what the site is about", but that's just it, it's moderated by the community. Not any one or two or three opinions.

Perhaps I'm of the mindset that I won't mod up unless it is funny. Maybe I read a really,really misguided answer and think that its "funny" in a different way....

I think the point of user\community moderation is that you moderate what your gut tells you instead of following some pre-described rules or consensus verbatim.

Rectum? it nearly killed 'em! Bamp-rump-bum!

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This site is a forum for programmers. Humour has always been deeply mixed with programmers' culture. See "The New Hacker's Dictionary" for an example of how deep this goes.

I honestly don't see how you are going to get rid of that or why you should want to do so. So, in my opinion humour -- programmer humour -- is certainly welcome here.

That said, completely off topic answers, even if funny, are going to be moderated down. Witty, on topic answer to funny questions are going to be moderated up.

alt text http://uvshock.co.uk/badge.php?label=Witty+Answer

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Only if it's funny.

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I think that while humour is nice to see, these humourous answers should be provided as Community Wiki answers and yes, they should probably be either voted down or not voted on at all, otherwise they will detract from the real purpose of this site. However, we shouldn't ban humourous responses because we all need that unexpected chuckle every once in a while.

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  • Your avatar gave me an unexpected chuckle. Is that "Blue Steel" or "Magnum"? – Ben Hoffstein Oct 9 '08 at 18:55
  • @Ben - Man, can't you tell it's 'Le Tigre'?? amateur! – curtisk Oct 9 '08 at 18:58
  • @curtisk - Don't know how I forgot about 'Le Tigre' and 'Ferrari'!! – Ben Hoffstein Oct 9 '08 at 19:02
  • @Ben - Gotta stay true to the roots! Never forget! – curtisk Oct 9 '08 at 19:03
  • It's a new look I've been working on called "Cobalt". – Jeff Yates Oct 15 '08 at 15:58

To answer the direct questions: Yes, humor is allowed in answers. No, funny answers don't need to be downvoted.

To answer the metaquestion: I do not vote in either direction based on whether the answer is funny or not. I upvote helpful and accurate answers and downvote answers which are incorrect or unrelated to the question. Humor or its absence is irrelevant to this criterion.

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Thought 1: Humour is part of communication, so it can't be excised from communicating an answer.

Thought 2: Sometimes the deeper truth is revealed by humour.

Thought 3: Sometimes funny is just plain worth it.

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If this site is to be used as a serious resource I would have to say yes.

My selfish reason would be to maintain the integrity of this site as a repository for constructive answers and feedback. If people are rewarded for clever digg/reddit like comments I am afraid the quality of responses will decrease.

I've been very satisfied with the professional level of comments and responses that I've seen here. I look at this as a more accessible alternative to the Experts Exchange. I'd hate to see it move from that to another digg.

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