Someone mentioned in a post I was reading that it is advisable to remove the word "plz" because it is offensive. Other posts here on meta seem to suggest the same thing, but I'm not entirely sure why. Why is this word considered so offensive?

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    It isn't considered offensive. Greetings, thanks, and other taglines are considered clutter though and shouldn't be included in questions or answers. Feel free to read through this page for more information. – Ren Apr 23 '13 at 13:57
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    It's not offensive; it's just noise. And at least, "please" should be spelled properly, if one insists. – Andrew Barber Apr 23 '13 at 13:58
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    It's not really considered offensive - more just "noise". Although, it's quite often a good indicator (along with other "txt spk") of the effort (normally lack there of) made to formulate a post. – Jon Clements Apr 23 '13 at 13:58
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    Also a good idea to avoid text speak if you don't want people to make snap judgements about your intelligence and the worth of your post. I'll freely admit that if I see a post with "u", "plz", or any of those other shortenings in it I assume that the poster is less intelligent than the average user and, by extension, that their post probably isn't worth reading. – Anthony Grist Apr 23 '13 at 14:01
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    plz dear give me teh codez i am beggin u. It's lazy, noisy, and shows sheer lack of effort on the users bart. – tombull89 Apr 23 '13 at 14:06
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    "Plz...to" is an automatic turnoff for a lot of people – Mike B Apr 23 '13 at 14:13
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    Offensive? No. Do I want to gouge out my eyes when I see it? You betcha. To me, it's the word equivalent of fingernails on a chalkboard. – LittleBobbyTables - Au Revoir Apr 23 '13 at 14:15
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    @tombull89 Leave me out of it, will you. :) – Bart Apr 23 '13 at 14:34
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    Write in English, not txt-speak. Show something that resembles respect to people who are trying to help you. – user164207 Apr 23 '13 at 16:19
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    It’s difficult to resist the temptation to kneejerkly closevote and/or downvote “plz help me!” questions, especially when you see a lot of them in a row. But really, the best thing to do is to first edit that crud out, then reassess. – tchrist Jul 27 '13 at 17:40
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    @LBT What would gouging out your eyes accomplish? As a SO member with a 16k rep and 10 gold badges, I assume you're all about helping the community. So in the spirit of helping the community, you should chop off the poster's fingers instead. – Adi Inbar Jul 28 '13 at 5:07
  • @AdiInbar- I didn't say it was a rational response, that's just how much it irritates me. You do have an interesting proposal though... – LittleBobbyTables - Au Revoir Jul 28 '13 at 11:19

Plz is slang, especially used by an immature younger person.

Often when having a formal conversation people do not like the use of slang in the conversation.

Also, to me, someone not taking the time to write out something as simple as please feels disrespectful to me; like I was not important enough to make our conversation formal. So things like Plz discourage me from helping you, because I feel you don't care what people say, you just want the quick answer and are not willing to take the time to learn.

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    Disrespectful...seriously? Welcome to an informal communication medium known as the Internets. You are (probably) not a member of Parliament or a guest at The White House. In this case using slang falls under the wheelhouse of, "didn't realize they were in the big kids' sandbox." If you see it as a sign of disrespect you are assigning far too much pomp and circumstance to the network. – user7116 Apr 23 '13 at 15:18
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    @sixlettervariables Do you take issue with the faq saying this is a site for professionals? – Mike B Apr 23 '13 at 15:20
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    @MikeB: perhaps you misread my statement. Misunderstanding the accepted community norms w.r.t. grammar and language requirements should be expected when using a communication medium which requires nothing more than a means of inputting characters into a text box. Some folks will likely miss that part of the FAQ, and it seems dubious to claim that this was an act intended to disrespect the network's users. – user7116 Apr 23 '13 at 15:24
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    @sixlettervariables it's a matter of readability. plz, u no i need sum help w dis is far less readable than Please, you know I need some help with this. Typing it like that saves you a handful of extra keystrokes, but takes many others a significantly longer time to decipher. You're coming somewhere asking for free help. You should do it in a way that is most readable to users trying to help you. I also consider plz hlp and related shorthand to be rude and immature in this arena. This isn't a text message. – MDMarra Apr 23 '13 at 15:27
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    @MDMarra: I don't believe I've defended that practice. I've asked that we not assign malice to inappropriate word choice (see Hanlon's razor). – user7116 Apr 23 '13 at 15:31
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    @sixlettervariables I don't see why is matters. Superfluous taglines, signatures, greetings, and salutations don't belong in questions or answers anyway. If a few people construe it as rude in meta, what's the difference? They don't belong in any case. – MDMarra Apr 23 '13 at 15:34
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    @MDMarra: enough folks wrongly construe it as rude and thus we end up with extraneous questions on Meta about it. They don't belong because they don't meet our quality standards; fin. – user7116 Apr 23 '13 at 15:40
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    @sixlettervariables Well, what's your proposal to "fix" that "problem"? Are you going to go through every meta on the network searching for plz discussions and leave comments asking people to edit their Q&As on the topic so that no one thinks it's rude? Are you proposing that we ban questions on meta with plz and rude in it? I know that these are ridiculous suggestions, but I fail to see how there's a solution to the problem that you're talking about. Actually, I don't even see it as a problem. Is one or two extraneous questions on mSO really a big deal? At least this one was coherent. – MDMarra Apr 23 '13 at 16:01
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    Actually, banning questions containing some txt-speak words ("u", "plz", etc) would be a good idea. – user164207 Apr 23 '13 at 16:22
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    @MDMarra I see what sixlettervariables is saying, though. It just sounds strange to me that we would characterize such misunderstandings of the format of the site as "rude" or "disrespectful". It almost seems similar to calling it "rude" to ask a math question on the SO site. I don't think we're so elite that such a mistake is anything more than a misunderstanding of the rules of the site,"disrespectful" implies that it's something that they should have already known. – Ataraxia Apr 23 '13 at 16:23
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    Not to belabor the point any more than it actually has been, but using slang and shorthand when asking for help from strangers is considered rude by many people, as evidenced by the upvotes on this answer and others like it on other questions. Whether you specifically agree with it or not is immaterial. – MDMarra Apr 23 '13 at 16:27
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    @JackManey then you get legitimate edge cases where they are real phrases in a different context. "Problem" is banned from titles, but the other day on Server Fault, a user was trying to create a question about a FreeBSD log message. The title he was trying to create was What does this log message mean? "Problem: blah blah blah" Unfortunately, the problem-police filter made him spell the title Pro-blem as a workaround. It did nothing except make a legitimate message less googleable. plz and u as standalone entities could very well be used in alternate context elsewhere in the universe. – MDMarra Apr 23 '13 at 16:33
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    @MDMarra: you're right and it is apparent that folks enjoy being up on their high horse; it paints our network in a poor light. – user7116 Apr 23 '13 at 16:39
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    If you go to How to Ask on any SE, there are links to resources on how to ask a good question. The first two links both make reference to "u" and "plz" in shorthand and both say not to use it. Also, there's nothing in the Summer of Love blog post about asking people to spell using whole words, it was about snarky responses, not about demanding a basic amount of grammatical effort from askers. I fail to see how the Summer of Love post applies here at all. – MDMarra Apr 23 '13 at 16:52
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    There is also the argument that maybe for a non English native speaker, these acronyms/abbreviations sometimes are not so trivial to understand (plz, imo, btw, ain't, etc). – Andre Silva Jul 28 '13 at 3:20

To say that "plz" is offensive sounds like somewhat of a stretch to me, but everyone has their own limits. In my case I do lose some of my motivation to help out with an answer or comment for mainly three reasons:

  1. From a personal standpoint, I tend to see SO and the other SE sites as professional communities. People who use slang and textspeak unfortunately send just the opposite message, hence implicitly saying that they don't see it as a professional place. Due to this difference of views - we are not here for the same reasons - it is a bit less likely that I will consider answering.

  2. The use of "please" (however it is spelled) creates a strange difference of position in the conversation: It can be used by a person in power (say, a boss) to politely, but firmly ask someone to do a small job for them ("could you please...") or it can be used by someone in a lower position to ask (or beg, rather) for aid (I don't understand how this works, please help me...). In my mind the poster by using "please" is saying that we are not really peers, and again I lose a bit of interest in helping on an anonymous Q&A site.

  3. It's textspeak, which does take me a short while longer to decipher, so I deduce that the poster prefers to save themselves some effort at the cost of me having to spend more effort to decode their text. That earns the poster a point on my twat scale, and also for this reason it becomes less likely that I will bother to answer the question or otherwise help out.

I am fully aware that SO is directed at "Professional and enthusiast" programmers, but I don't see a conflict with the community adopting a relaxed but professional culture.

  • Considering "plz" to be offensive is a stretch of the imagination, much like "thanks in advance". – user7116 Apr 23 '13 at 15:20
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    Fully agree with more 'off-putting' than 'offensive'. My natural reaction to 'plz' is 'whipper snapper' (and something about getting off my lawn) :) – Tim Post Apr 23 '13 at 15:32
  • @TimPost Got it. It's all about the lawn :-) – Monolo Apr 23 '13 at 16:02
  • I agree with this 100%, but you get my +1 for "That earns the poster a point on my twat scale". – Herbert Jul 28 '13 at 3:43

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