Is there a way, using Data Explorer queries, to find posts with chatty noise such as 'Hello guys' (or 'people', 'hi there', 'help me our', etc.)?

It occurred to me that I could try something like this:

select q.Id  from Posts q
where LastEditDate is null and 
q.Body like 'hello%' or q.body like '%hi%'

But I wondered if

  1. this is an acceptable use of the system
  2. this is the right way to go about finding posts that definitely need editing

2 Answers 2


"1. this is an acceptable use of the system"


"2. is this the right way to go about finding posts that definitely need editing?"

No. You should not go looking for these kinds of edits. If you happen to see them ...

However, you shouldn't see "hello" any more:

See Should 'Hi', 'thanks,' taglines, and salutations be removed from posts?

We now automatically remove salutations from posts as they are entered. I got really tired of performing this edit over and over, so anything matching the form of …

^                 # begins at start of body
\s*               # possible spaces
hii?(?![a-z])|    # any of these greeting words
.*?               # followed by anything, up to...
[.,;!-]+          # one or more bits of punctuation
\s*               # possible spaces
(\r?\n)+          # one or more newlines

… is removed automagically at the time of submission to the server.

Removing "fluff" like this is fine, but not on old posts (they get bumped) and on new posts you should also fix everything else that is wrong with the post.

  • thanks David... I saw one recently, and thought maybe I could find others with a query... Mar 21, 2015 at 21:56
  • 5
    sup! you forgot "sup!"
    – Robert Kerr
    Mar 23, 2015 at 18:24
  • 1
    You also forgot, "I'm new to <tag on question>, but"
    – k_g
    Mar 23, 2015 at 22:59
  • that means I can search for "I'm new to <tag on question>, but" or "sup!" Mar 24, 2015 at 15:15
  • 2
    I didn't forget anything, I was quoting from the linked answer :/ Mar 24, 2015 at 15:17

Only do this on posts less than a few hours old, or that gets lots of views.

As each post you edit makes it visible on the front page, there is a high cost to the edit. So don't edit unless there is a benefit to lots of users from the edit.

A post that will never be seen again by anyone should not be edited.

Just to add, if you don't have enough rep to edit without the edit being reviewed, then don't do any minor edits as reviewers hate it.

  • thanks Ian, this is something I wasn't aware of, and was planning on editing anything I could find regardless of how old it was! Mar 24, 2015 at 15:14
  • 1
    @OurManInBananas, Spending time on the review queue may be more useful for the site, see stackoverflow.com/help/privileges/access-review-queues Mar 24, 2015 at 16:24
  • 1
    Or even better choose a tag (say EXCEL-VBA) and create a list of the most common questions, then find the best question for each of them, and look at a lot of the new questions each day on the the tag, flagging as duplicates, or answers. Mar 24, 2015 at 16:30
  • 1
    Or just provide the best answer you can to 1 featured question in "your tag" each day, and then when you have enough rep start working the "close review queue" filtered by your chosen tag. Mar 24, 2015 at 16:31

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