I know that the meme plz send teh codez originated outside of Stack Exchange, and I know that there have been efforts to keep this out of Stack Overflow tags, but it seems to me that there is a fairly widespread acceptance of its use as a descriptive term, at least on Meta Stack Overflow.

I completely understand the need to characterize "please send me the code" questions, but it seems to me that intentionally using misspellings is unnecessarily offensive to those for whom English is a second language, no matter how frequently such questions are misspelled.

I looked at the Stack Exchange content policy and couldn't find anything that really addresses "respectfulness". There's something about not being defamatory, but I don't think that applies here.

Is there some other guideline that this might fall under?

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    "Be Nice" Aug 16, 2013 at 15:46
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    I think it probably means that site policy is "Be Nice" and you're asking "Is it alright to be rude?" Aug 16, 2013 at 15:49
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    My guess would be that those folks think this is an extremely simple question, and probably the answer seemed obvious to them. Just a guess. Aug 16, 2013 at 15:49
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    @mikeTheLiar - Since I explicitly said that I think such language is offensive, it's hard for me to imagine someone thinking that I'm asking if being rude is ok. Also, since this term is so widely used on MSO, its hard for me to believe that people think the common wisdom is that this "is" rude. Aug 16, 2013 at 15:54
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    Overwhelmingly- if not exclusively- the people I have seen use 'plz', 'teh', and the letter z to indicate pluralization have been native speakers. If that were not the case, this meme wouldn't have stuck around.
    – root
    Aug 16, 2013 at 15:57
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    The use of intentional misspellings isn't offensive, but does make it tougher for non native speakers (that is, non native to English internet slang) to grasp the meaning. The saying itself is rude because it's used in a derogatory fashion, including here on meta, implying that the asker isn't putting forth any effort and is lazy. Aug 16, 2013 at 15:57
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    @EsotericScreenName: If it's derogatory because it is "implying that the asker isn't putting forth any effort and is lazy", then would that also mean "You need to try something first and come back with an example" is derogatory? because it has the same meaning (by your definition)
    – musefan
    Aug 16, 2013 at 16:01
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    Internet slang is my native language. Aug 16, 2013 at 16:03
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    "plz send teh codez" origin story: thedailywtf.com/Articles/plz-email-me-teh-codez.aspx Aug 16, 2013 at 16:06
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    @AndrewBarber - After reflecting on my past experience with MSO and the comments/answers here, I'm pretty sure that most if not all of the downvotes mean that they disagree with the opinion I expressed within my question about policy. That is, they do not find the meme to be offensive. Aug 16, 2013 at 16:21
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    @musefan Derogatory yes, as it's critical, but it's not also rude. The definition of derogatory includes both rude and non-rude variations. Aug 16, 2013 at 16:27
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    @PeterAlfvin I think the downvotes are more about the content of your post i.e. the relation you seem to be suggesting between the meme and non-native English speakers.
    – asheeshr
    Aug 16, 2013 at 16:28
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    @PeterAlfvin that assumes we are using the term because we've read that post. I, for one, have not, and I certainly don't use the phrase with any connotation to anything except lazy, since it seems that the post implies that it is about foreign language speakers. If you choose to take offense to that, shrug. I don't think many other people here do. Can't please everybody.
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Aug 16, 2013 at 16:42
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    @AsheeshR - Sorry, I did not mean to suggest that people using the term were aware of the relationship. I accept that you and others saw no relationship and were thinking of it as simply textspeak or Internet slang. When I said that the relationship was "clear", I meant only that there was a correlation, as evidenced by the origin. Aug 16, 2013 at 16:46
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    No issues. I hadnt known about the origin similar to Aaron. I have seen the meme only within the context mentioned in my answer (within the SE network). The actual origin does not reflect the real usage in this case.
    – asheeshr
    Aug 16, 2013 at 16:51

2 Answers 2


The meme isn't about English: it is about a specific category of questions which consist of absolutely no research, no effort, and simply ask for the complete solution to a problem. These types of questions generally tend to assume that Stack Overflow is a free coding service, and the meme inside of SE is used almost exclusively to refer to that.

I have never seen it being used to refer to posts by non-native speakers. You seem to be making an inaccurate connection between the meme and something entirely different.

In cases where it is used in a manner which may sound offensive to non-native speakers, especially users who may not be familiar with the meme, you should flag these comments as either offensive or not constructive. These comments are, after all, not adding anything useful to the question/discussion.

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    +1 - the meme is about lazy users, not non-English users.
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Aug 16, 2013 at 15:53
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    How is this line of argument different from those who use/defend the contemporary use of certain phrases on the grounds that they're not intended to refer to the associated population and only meant to be generally derogatory? See thinkb4youspeak.com, for example. Then there's mentalfloss.com/article/12503/…, which have offensive origins that most people are unaware of. Given the various responses, I suppose this could fall into the latter category, but it's really hard to believe a significant percentage aren't aware. Aug 17, 2013 at 0:32

Personally, I think context is extremely important with this as it can refer to a specific category of question, but if it is directed at a specific individual, I think it can be used to mock - not necessarily due to the command of the English language, but due to the over use of text-speak when writing online.

I despise text-speak in posts, but I think there are far more constructive ways to address the matter than by mocking a user, however this objection is more related to its usage in comments on Stack Overflow and in misdirected questions on MSO when directed as a specific user or specific post.

The usage in describing questions on MSO, I think is acceptable as it is a common meme that most everyone is familiar with.

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    And why shouldn't text-speak be mocked? U no u want 2.
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Aug 16, 2013 at 15:56
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    @AaronBertrand I think there are more constructive ways to ask them to clean up the post Aug 16, 2013 at 15:57
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    If I take the question correctly, he's talking about the use of the term here on MSO, not directed at users on the main site. There are more constructive ways to say most of the things we say; that doesn't make them all offensive.
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Aug 16, 2013 at 15:58
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    @AaronBertrand I missed MSO in the question completely.... I've seen it used plenty of times in SO post comments and I was trying to address that. I actually don't have an issue with its usage on Meta because more often than not, it is referring to the class of question and not a specific user Aug 16, 2013 at 15:59
  • Right, here it is almost exclusively used to categorize lazy users - err, users who do lazy things - not poke fun individually.
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Aug 16, 2013 at 16:00
  • @AaronBertrand hopefully my edit clarifies my position Aug 16, 2013 at 16:02

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