Am I the only person that is annoyed with the recent increase in the usage of the word "plz"?

Why do so many new users(and even some >1k users!) say "plz help" at the end of every question?

Also, just as a further of my ranting. I've seen some questions which literally are like this:

plzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelllppppp me someone

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    I believe it is a modern form of data compression. – James McNellis Apr 27 '10 at 18:50
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    Occupational hazard of working in a net community. – Grace Note Apr 27 '10 at 18:52
  • @James McNellis: I concur with your hypothesis. – Randolpho Apr 27 '10 at 18:54
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    @James i b3liv3 dat 2 1t s33m p0ss. 4 dat 2 B D ca53 – Earlz Apr 27 '10 at 18:57
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    They should receive a separate downvote for every additional "z", "e", "l" and "p". – Aarobot Apr 27 '10 at 19:05
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    Just send them teh codes! Can't you see it's urgent?! – Tadeusz A. Kadłubowski Apr 27 '10 at 19:32
  • +1 for a good question, and if I could, another +1 for the tags – Pops Apr 27 '10 at 19:37
  • I guess you're not that into the whole brevity thing. – user27414 Apr 27 '10 at 19:39
  • Requires [homework] tag, immediately! >: ] – rlb.usa Apr 27 '10 at 20:08
  • I blame today's fast food culture.. specifically McDonald's and their "I'm lovin it" slogan. – Locutus Apr 27 '10 at 20:26
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    @Locutus: I think you mean "im lvn it". – Aarobot Apr 27 '10 at 21:27
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    @Aarobot: "i <3 it"? – Pops Apr 28 '10 at 13:27

I usually sanitize them away. That's often enough hint to not do it the next time. If actually nothing left over from the question, then I vote for a "No real question" close.

I'm actually very happy with the ability to edit questions to a better quality at SO (when you have enough reps). The inability to do so at other forums was a reason for me to leave the other forum.

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    forums are just so lacking to me now. No voting, no different sorting, no editing, no closing. Forums just suck compared to SO – Earlz Apr 27 '10 at 19:32
  • Be happy then and don't complain elsewhere, but just sanitize it and go ahead ;) – BalusC Apr 27 '10 at 19:34
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    @Balus But I have to do something!! Someone on the internet is wrong! – Earlz Apr 27 '10 at 19:42
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    Grow more skin. – BalusC Apr 27 '10 at 20:04
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    @Earlz: Upvoted, but isn't it "Someone is wrong on the internet"? – Andrew Grimm Apr 29 '10 at 3:26
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    @And I'm sorry I haven't dedicated my life to memorizing xkcd comics.... yet – Earlz Apr 29 '10 at 5:48

If you say "plz" because it is shorter than "please" then I say "no" because it is shorter than "yes".


Same reason so many users write "u" instead of "you", "2" instead of "to", and "y" instead of "why." *

The more pertinent question might be, how did they amass so much rep in the first place? And I believe the answer is that we are too attached to our own rep points to downvote them into oblivion.

*They're idiots. Or they think they're l33t. Wait, that's the same thing.

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    I once knew an intellectual fellow who was trying to type out some calculus help to a friend. He actually typoed "u" into "you" in the middle of it. – Grace Note Apr 27 '10 at 19:00
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    @ccornet: Some otherwise normal people seem to suffer sudden, violent, but temporary onsets of idiotism. Medical science has yet to solve this riddle. – Aarobot Apr 27 '10 at 19:04
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    @Aarobot: I thought that was called sex. – perbert Apr 27 '10 at 19:40
  • @voyager @Aar I could've swore it was called beer – Earlz Apr 27 '10 at 20:23
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    I find it amazing that people actually communicate this way in a professional situation. My respect for coworkers goes down a few notches if they send me an email that looks like this. – Ether Apr 28 '10 at 17:04
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    @Ether: I suppose it's debatable whether or not Stack Overflow constitutes a professional situation, although my heart sinks when I see this kind of writing in corporate e-mail. – Aarobot Apr 28 '10 at 18:57
  • Be thankful you don't work in places where some people think that emails should be sent in all-caps. I'd almost prefer the shorthand at that point, it's actually more legible. – Grace Note Apr 28 '10 at 19:22
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    @ccornet: I had a coworker that used Comic Sans. When I gave her every reason I could think of for Comic Sans being inappropriate in a corporate environment and to reply to customers, she just shrugged and said I like it. – perbert Apr 28 '10 at 19:30
  • @voyager: Ha ha, Comic Sans, what a goof! Bauhaus 93 is a way better font for e-mail. And if I want to really "wow" them then I will break out the Playbill or Old English Text MT. – Aarobot Apr 28 '10 at 19:43

I think the interesting question isn't so much the abbreviation, but why the questioner sees fit to include the plea at the end of the question.

Is it politeness, or an effort to bump up the priority of their question for potential answerers. As if the other people asking questions don't also need help? As if experts are thinking to themselves, "Well, ordinarily, I wouldn't answer this question, but since he added 'plz help' to the end of it, it's apparent he's in a bind, so I'll get cracking."

If adding "plz help" to the end of a question triggered a "Homework" tag, I suspect it wouldn't be too far off.


Regarding the first point:

plz site:stackoverflow.com -site:meta.stackoverflow.com: about 2020 hits.

please site:stackoverflow.com -site:meta.stackoverflow.com: about 87,100 hits.

plzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelllppppp me someone: no hits.

The vast majority of pleases are spelt correctly. Unless someone is continuously fixing spelling (go for the greengrocer badge instead, please!), I think the problem is exaggerated.

This is separate from whether "please" is appropriate, of course...

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    The problem actually happens more on the SOFU sites rather than Meta. Almost the only time plz is dropped in meta is when we are making a joke. – Earlz Apr 29 '10 at 3:27
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    @Earlz: My search was for stack overflow while excluding hits from meta stack overflow. – Andrew Grimm Apr 29 '10 at 11:41

Regarding why so many >1k users do it: This is known as the "shore, there's always gold" phenomenon. It was actually mentioned in the blog post about the change in question vote values:

There are a few users who ask hundreds, sometimes even thousands of questions. Over time, these users generate a fairly sizable reputation entirely through the tiny trickle of upvotes gained by these questions.

-Important Reputation Rule Changes

(... not to mention the rep from accepting answers on 500 questions.)

Really, it's a good thing. This behavior bothers me greatly. So much so that it motivates me to strive for 3k rep. Like many people, I refuse to gain rep from joke/poll posts. Thus it follows that these people are, in fact, helping the community by increasing the number of good answers. 5W.

  • @Pop you are excluding Meta in this correct? ;) – Earlz Apr 27 '10 at 19:43
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    @Earls: Of course. There are no rules here. UNICORNS! PONIES! WAFFLES! PANCAKES! JONSKEET! 75% OFF FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY! ALL MEMES MUST GO! – Pops Apr 27 '10 at 20:02
  • @Pop Earls is my real last name! How did you figure this out!? – Earlz Apr 27 '10 at 20:24
  • A little blogoblag told me. – Pops Apr 27 '10 at 20:48
  • @Pop so you clicked through all the way to my SO profile and then click my website link? Thats a bit creepy – Earlz Apr 27 '10 at 20:53
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    @Earlz: Okay, I didn't realize that was actually possible. It was originally a typo, which was followed up by an attempt to make it seem intentional for humor value. That said, why list your website in your profile, if you think people going to it is creepy? – Pops Apr 27 '10 at 21:21
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    What does "5W" mean? Someone is a low-watt bulb? – mmyers Apr 29 '10 at 18:50
  • @mmyers, it stands for "Which Was What We Wanted." Some of my profs in college used it instead of "QED" or "Thus it is Proven" or any of the other half-dozen alternatives. I do like your interpretation, though. – Pops Apr 29 '10 at 21:41

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