In a recent SO question, I mentioned my app's name. It was edited out with the comment that I should not refer to my own work. Is there a written SO policy explicitly saying this? Bear in mind that no substantive edits were made of the question itself. IOW, it was an appropriate question. Reading this meta question it is clear that the editor made a different value judgement than the answers in the meta-SO question. He also elided my "Gentlefolk," which I also use above and he erased my close "Anon, Andrew", which I will use below.

As I don't terribly wish to get into an edit war with anyone, I just appreciate anyone's attempt to help me answer my question. That said, it seems I am within my rights to mention my own app.

My question for this community is: should I edit the edit to restore my app and the civilizing honorifics I use?

  • 2
    Related: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/2950/…
    – user102937
    Apr 2, 2014 at 21:18
  • Questions on stackoverflow should be to the point. By mentioning your app you are making your question more complex than it needs to be. Also, there's no need to add greetings to questions or sign them off. I find it humourous it was edited out of this post too.
    – dhsto
    Apr 2, 2014 at 21:18
  • 3
    About 80% of the text in the question you linked is extraneous noise that adds no meaningful content to the question itself (and in fact does the opposite - it obscures a lot of information by hiding it in the other clutter). Adding greetings and salutations would simply make things worse, IMO, and they aren't appropriate at SO according to the posted guidelines (which are established by the community).
    – Ken White
    Apr 2, 2014 at 21:49

1 Answer 1


The primary reason for removing it is that it's simply noise. It's not relevant to the question at hand. It does also have a somewhat spammy feel to it, but this is not the primary motivation for removing it.

The same is true if your introduction and your signature. They are noise.

You should not be editing any of that back into the post.

  • You are expressing a value. I expressed a value that is a civil thing to address people nicely and sign your work. Clearly we disagree. I live in a more polite world than you. Anon, Andrew
    – adonoho
    Apr 2, 2014 at 21:19
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    @adonoho You do not live in a more polite world. You simply do not understand the rules defining what is polite in the community in which you are participating. In this community it is more polite to elide an introduction and a signature. Including them is rude to me. Different communities have different rules/values that determine what is and is not polite. If you would like to be polite here, you should take the time to learn what this communities values are. If you don't care about being polite, and have no problem being rude, then apply your own rules/values.
    – Servy
    Apr 2, 2014 at 21:22
  • 6
    You "sign your work" merely by posting. As you can clearly see from your post here, your "signature" appears in the lower right corner of every question or answer you post, and at the end of each and every comment. The additional noise and clutter of doing so in the body of the text itself is therefore unnecessary. SO is a technical site, not a discussion or chat room. I find it unnecessary to put comments in my code at work acknowledging the gratitude I feel toward the compiler or library designers that made a feature I use possible, and our VCS tracks who made changes.
    – Ken White
    Apr 2, 2014 at 21:45
  • While a signature ia uneccessary, I don't see a problem with a quick/small hello at the top of a question. Editing out those two or three words is being overly strict in enforcing your own views of (what amounts to) stylistic guidelines, not laws. People really shouldn't be that overly concerned with a 'hello everybody'. That kind of editing can be construed as rude and one-true-wayish. There's no benefit gained in editing out minor bits of a person's character.
    – Squish
    Apr 9, 2014 at 14:59
  • @Squish It is not just my opinion though; it is the opinion of this entire community. The community here feels that such content is noise, detracts from the readability of the post, and therefore removing it improves the quality of the post. This is simply the determination that this community has arrived at. Part of this stems from the fact that questions are considered to be formal reference material, not an informal conversation between people. You're thinking of a post as an informal conversation. That's not what it is.
    – Servy
    Apr 9, 2014 at 15:05
  • @Servy The entire premise behind the founding of these sites is to provide a professional and friendly Q+A community. While it's focus is on brevity, the questions are still being asked/posted by people. There are several things that would merit removal/editing, but small bits of a person's personality don't particularly meet that mark. We are currently talking about a handful of letters, not entire paragraphs of off-topic introductory text. Editing out personality when it is not causing problems comes off as unfriendly. Most people will mentally filter such things.
    – Squish
    Apr 9, 2014 at 15:29
  • @Squish The founding goals of this site were to create canonical reference material, maximize the signal to noise ratio, and create canonical reference material. Having conversations between users is an explicit non-goal of the site. They work hard to actively discourage conversational interactions, because said interactions inhibit the reference value of the material. As I have said, the community has made it clear that, based on these values, it is appropriate to edit this material out of questions. You may not like it, but that's what this community considers appropriate.
    – Servy
    Apr 9, 2014 at 15:34
  • @Squish You say that people will mentally filter such things; the goal of the site is to not force people to need to do that. Rather than filling posts with lots of noise that needs to be filtered, posts here are designed to have as little noise as possible so that people can find the answers to their questions as effectively as possible. You say it's not causing problems, but it is; it's adding noise, and noise is a problem. The goal of the site is not to favor informal personal relationships over question and answer quality. In fact, they explicitly stated their goals are the reverse.
    – Servy
    Apr 9, 2014 at 15:36
  • @Servy I completely understand where you are coming from but disagree on it's necessity in the case of minor noise. Especially taken from a PR context. These questions are (often enough) very personal to (newish) posters and seemingly nit-picky edits like that are/can be construed as "personal attacks". Because of the minor nature of the changes. "Censoring" like that is a rather heavy handed approach to introducing a person to the nuances of a community.
    – Squish
    Apr 9, 2014 at 15:49
  • @Squish At some point they're going to need to learn how the community works, and how to not take improvements to their question personally. If they cannot, then they're someone that simply isn't capable of actively participating in this community. That's okay, not every site can be built for everyone. In attempting to avoid excluding a small subset of the people you're describing here, you end up pushing away other people; people that want a high signal to noise ratio. Many domain experts fall into the second category.
    – Servy
    Apr 9, 2014 at 15:54
  • @Servy Correct. "At some point" being the key phrase, though. It's relatively clear when a person is new to posting and when they are just being obstinent, though. And for new people there are better ways to introduce them to the nuances of the community. Especially in the context of such minor changes. Which, honestly, seem more like the actions of a bored veteran than a truly beneficial readability edits. Over-moderation is one of the few things that really annoys me and I think it's something to keep an eye out for.
    – Squish
    Apr 9, 2014 at 16:04
  • @Squish Your proposal to radically change moderation for posts by new users has a lot of problems. Chief of which is radically increasing the complexity of moderation. If I need to focus on what the rep of the poster is, make some sort of judgement call about whether they're "experienced enough" to have their post edited, etc. then it makes editing a lot harder, in addition to making the reviews of others harder.
    – Servy
    Apr 9, 2014 at 16:08
  • @Squish On top of that, if you go out of your way to not edit the posts of new users they'll just run into this exact same issue a few days down the road when they're "experienced" enough to have their posts edited. As a rule, with as much moderation actions as there are on this site, there is never enough. There are always important moderation actions that just don't happen due to a lack of moderation effort. There's always more content to improve. That you're interested in a very lax moderation model simply means you're values are contrary to this communities.
    – Servy
    Apr 9, 2014 at 16:09

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