Whilst it seems perfectly acceptable to make humourous comments and answers in SO, particularly where relates to technologies or in reference to flame wars, is it acceptable to make comments that may be regarded as demeaning to the person posing the question.

This seems particularly pertinent with regards to typos, which may in-fact be a misunderstanding of English.

For example: PHP regular expressions and XML

Was originally badly written, had many spelling mistakes and ended with the line:

Amy help will be sufficient

This was greeted with the first comment:

Amy's busy. Can River help?

I don't deny that the comment was funny. I chuckled. But then reflected on what the person (a first timer) asking the question would have thought. Potentially:

I asked for help, and instead my English got ridiculed. Farewell Stack Overflow.

A more welcoming response to the post would have been to edit it so that the question was more clearly asked and could get a decent answer.

Am I over-thinking this? Or is this regarded as a potential issue?

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    How is that comment demeaning, exactly? It's a funny typo, noone is ridiculing someone's English here. – Martijn Pieters Apr 14 '14 at 15:19
  • @MartijnPieters I missed that somehow. Well then, is such a hypothetical response worth discussing? – Stijn Apr 14 '14 at 15:20
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    That line should be edited out for noise anyway. The comment doesn't offer anything to the question, however it isn't offensive. Not really an issue in my eyes – Joe Apr 14 '14 at 15:23
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    I get where you're coming from, but anyone offended by that will not like the Internet, the terrible depraved Internet – Richard Tingle Apr 14 '14 at 15:25
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    Besides that and misspelling "problem", the rest of the English looked like it was written fairly well so I don't think the OP will feel like they are being made fun of for poor English but just a simple(funny) typo. Now, if a non-native English speaker is trying but has poor grammar and are actually being ridiculed then that is a different story. – codeMagic Apr 14 '14 at 15:28
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    I would suggest that you just flag these comments (they are just noise), instead of engaging in a discussion with the person who posted it. – Taryn Apr 14 '14 at 15:28
  • @bluefeet - I agree, and will refrain from engaging in the future, but will only flag if I feel the flag is helpful, hence the question in order to ascertain the general position. – Rob Baillie Apr 14 '14 at 15:33
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    As someone who has never watched Doctor Who, OMG SPOILERS – BoltClock's a Unicorn Apr 14 '14 at 15:33
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    @codeMagic - Trust me, the original question was poorly written, which is why I (amongst others) edited it to bring it up to the current state you see. – Rob Baillie Apr 14 '14 at 15:33
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    @MartijnPieters - When looking at the question its current state, it's easy to think that it wasn't taking the mick out of a lack of English ability, and nor do I state that was the intent. However when seen in its original context it can be interpreted as such and it would have been much more helpful to edit the post instead. – Rob Baillie Apr 14 '14 at 15:37
  • @RobBaillie: I did look at the edit history. – Martijn Pieters Apr 14 '14 at 15:38
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    I agree that it would have been more helpful to edit the post instead of pointing out the mistake. But I read the OP. Sure, there were some misspellings and such but, all-in-all, not that bad. I have seen much worse. – codeMagic Apr 14 '14 at 15:38
  • @BoltClock'saUnicorn: You didn't quite hit the right inflection there. River says it so much better! Or did I just give away a spoiler? – Martijn Pieters Apr 14 '14 at 15:40

The comment is probably less rude (and more playful) than "You might want to consider fixing up your post to correct the spelling and grammatical errors. We're not a forum." But of course, we hate fun here.

In my experience, folks that can't proofread their posts probably won't understand "Amy's not here, can River help?" What does that even mean? Am I missing some cultural/movie reference? That comment is not for the benefit of the OP, it's for the benefit of the other community members at the OP's expense.

Overall rating: meh.

  • And it's the "at the OP's expense" that I'm concerned about. Is that acceptable? Especially as a first comment on a new OP's question. If the overriding opinion is yes, then so be it... – Rob Baillie Apr 14 '14 at 15:37
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    Humorous comment? $4. Comments protesting humorous comment? $10. Moderators getting involved and deleting all the comments? $100. Me answering a meta post about it? Priceless. – user102937 Apr 14 '14 at 15:40
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    Also, fun fact: this blog post is the first match in a Google Search for "Where we hate fun", and the second match in a search for "We hate fun here". New blog post about how everyone is too politically correct and how we've all lost our sense of humor? Jackpot. – user102937 Apr 14 '14 at 15:44
  • Classic. Though to be fair, I did self-moderate once I'd reflected on the comment. – Rob Baillie Apr 14 '14 at 15:44
  • Fair enough.... See? The system works. – user102937 Apr 14 '14 at 15:45
  • I have no idea if the poster of the coment self-moderated though. – Rob Baillie Apr 14 '14 at 15:48
  • The original comment was deleted by a moderator. Comments are second-class citizens, so we don't do a lot of hand-wringing over their content; we delete them when they have become a distraction. – user102937 Apr 14 '14 at 15:54
  • It might be a Doctor Who reference. – Peter Mortensen Apr 14 '14 at 17:05

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