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Thanks for reading this question, it's something that has been bothering me for some time.

It often happens that people write things such as "thanks in advance", "I've been trying to fix this problem for days", "I'll be very grateful if you can help me". These things I agree don't really add anything to the question but I usually reject edits that only remove these "human" things.

While reviewing, one edit that removed all signs of humanity in a question was accepted by 4 people and reject by one. The editor's comment was something like "removing text that goes against how to ask a question on SO". So I wonder why? The FAQ on how to ask a question doesn't mention anything about greetings, thanks, and those things that make a post seem human.

I kind of feel bad every time I see a dry question that is just a task to execute, and prefer questions obviously asked by a person. Then I discover that the initial question was nicely asked and the person was asking quite politely, but someone came by and removed all humanity from the question.

These words of politeness that are removed certainly don't add anything concrete to the question, but it is a hell of a lot more pleasant to read a question that has some color than it is to read a question that is purely straight to the point.

What really bothers me with this is that in some of the edits people are removing these parts but aren't fixing more obvious grammar error or code formatting.

I appreciate your time and consideration, thank you again!

Best Regards.

marked as duplicate by gnat, Martijn Pieters, kiamlaluno, Bart, James Jan 17 '14 at 21:02

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • 3
    This answer addresses the first part of your question meta.stackexchange.com/a/3021/158100 – rene Jan 17 '14 at 19:34
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    For your last line the answer should be: fix everything in the post otherwise reject as too minor. – rene Jan 17 '14 at 19:36
  • @rene That's pretty much what I do. But my reject got refused because the edit were already accepted though they didn't really improved the question imho. – Loïc Faure-Lacroix Jan 17 '14 at 19:40
  • See also: StackOverflow, why don't you like pleasantries?, which links back to the above. It's not that we don't like people being pleasant, it's that we want questions and answers to get to the point quickly. – Brad Larson Jan 17 '14 at 19:40
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    @LoïcFaure-Lacroix many edits get approved by people who do not put thought into it. Do not assume they disagree with you about the quality of the edit. They might just be clicking Approve because it's faster than Reject. – Kate Gregory Jan 17 '14 at 19:43
  • @BradLarson that question is quite interesting, if you look at the revisions stackoverflow.com/posts/19665943/revisions The first edit is pretty much what I'm talking about. The second edit fix some capitalization and grammar, (and add a thanks at the end). The third edit finally reformat the code and remove the thanks. – Loïc Faure-Lacroix Jan 17 '14 at 19:52
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    The only part that is a problem is that people are removing these and not the other problems. – Aaron Bertrand Jan 17 '14 at 20:14
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    I... couldn't resist... – Adam Davis Jan 17 '14 at 20:19
  • @AdamDavis: You could've added "thanx in advanced" or something like that instead. ;-) – Jamal Jan 17 '14 at 20:29
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    I saw what you did there! – Loïc Faure-Lacroix Jan 17 '14 at 20:45
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    It's not "more pleasant" to read "good afternoon sirs, I have a question for you" at the start of every question. It's a waste of time. I don't want to have to seek past off-topic stuff at the head of the question to find where the actual useful content begins. – meagar Jan 17 '14 at 21:21
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Three rules about removing fluff:

  • be careful that you aren't removing context about how little this user knows. For example if they don't know how to run their code, or the difference between server side script and client side script, leave some of those facts in place for others to take into account when answering
  • do not leave any other errors in place at all. Fix everything - the presence of "fluff" is a great marker for a post that needs help, so provide all the help required.
  • if the only thing wrong is the fluff, leave it alone. People will just get offended. But if you're in there capitalizing I and putting apostrophes into cant and wont, rip out the fluff while you're there. The one possible exception is "signatures" like "Thanks, PostersName" at the end - I'll remove those even if nothing else is wrong

In the edit comment it's best to summarize the objective fixes (spelling, grammar, code format) and possibly say "and removed meta talk" meaning content that is about the post on SO rather than about the problem the OP is facing. Suggesting that being polite is wrong or a waste of space will only hurt feelings and possible start an argument.

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    I now have the urge to engineer a question which uses both cant and wont appropriately, then gleefully roll back apostrophe adding edits. – Esoteric Screen Name Jan 17 '14 at 20:04
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    Do it until it becomes your wont; those of us versed in the cant of meta would no doubt enjoy it :-) – Kate Gregory Jan 17 '14 at 20:08
  • @EsotericScreenName: i think its' a good idea irregardless. – Keith Thompson Jan 17 '14 at 20:34
  • @EsotericScreenName: Either that or we should get George Bernard Shaw to make an account. "Youve not shewn us your code so we havnt got any idea what the problem is." – Nate Eldredge May 16 '14 at 17:23
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It is a generally accepted function of the community that thanks, signatures, and other things like that should not be present in the body.

These kind of things that are removed certainly don't add anything concrete to the questions but it is a hell lot more pleasant to read a question that has some color than to read a question that is purely straight to the point.

We want questions to be straight to the point. I can't tell you how many times I've started reading a post and thought, "wow, I wish they'd get to the point already." Some users include greeting and signatures that can be quite excessively long - they're a waste of my time as a reader.

What really bothers me with this is that in some of the edits, people are removing these parts, but aren't fixing more obvious grammar error or code formatting.

If all they're doing is removing a signature and there are other blatantly obvious problems with the post, then definitely yes, you should be rejecting that as too minor. If they fix other problems as well, or there legitimately aren't other problems to fix, then there's no real reason why an edit like this should be rejected.

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