Just wondering if there is any policy towards the use of M$ in place of Microsoft. If you're editing another user's answer, do you change it or leave it as is?
It's childish and immature. We're all adults here, right? If somebody doesn't like Microsoft, fine, but they don't need to act immaturely in the process.
Definitely edit it.
Note: I wasn't as clear as I could have been when I initially answered this question years ago. I'm making a minor edit today to better communicate my response. In the spirit of honesty, it's worth noting that I am presently employed by Microsoft; this was not the case when I originally answered.
Questions and answers should strive towards encyclopedia-like neutrality.
Each post should stick to facts without adding commentary.
You may be arguing that Microsoft is evil, and providing evidence to support that claim. That's fine, however, "M$" adds an emotional, punitive connotation that doesn't belong in a question or answer.
Within your post, you can state the fact that many people use that phrase to refer to Microsoft. But that's different from you using it.
In this particular case it's worth pointing out that not everyone will understand your reference, turning an otherwise perfectly fine answer into a confusing one.
I've made edits to answers in the past to remove M$ for the same reasons listed here. Some users have changed their answer back, thinking that M$ is an official acronym (citing this as a reference), in which case I leave a comment with a link to this meta question as well as this article on Wikipedia. If I think it is degrading the quality of the response or harming the community I will also flag it for a moderator to review.
I'm not saying we need to use all of the official product names (Sidenote: see this great list of official Microsoft product names), but even Wikipedia would not accept M$ when referring to Microsoft in an article. If you want to use it on Slashdot, Meta, or in chat that is your choice, but answers should be a bit more professional.
"M$" is more for subjects of forum posts than for question and answer sites. It's valuable for comment subjects on SoylentNews or Slashdot, for example, because it saves seven characters out of the 50 allowed in a comment subject while recalling Microsoft's heritage as a publisher of BASIC interpreters. But it's not quite as desirable in post bodies there or here. Even for subjects, the title of a question on a Stack Exchange site can be long enough that aggressive abbreviation isn't necessary.
There's one excuse for
M$ in the body of a question or answer:
10 M$ = "Microsoft" 20 PRINT M$;" introduces Edge"
But if you find "M$" in a post that isn't about line-numbered BASIC code, it's probably an excuse to look for other grammatical errors and edit them out at the same time.
Since I'm the guy who is being downvoted here, I feel I should present my view as well, no matter how much anyone else dislikes it.
I hate Microsoft. They made many years of my life miserable with their products and no amount of niceness they may have adopted in recent years is ever going to remove the stains from my soul. Having strong emotions is something that helps me get my job done and I can't simply switch that off. I'm me and me thinks of Microsoft as M$.
But: So what? Microsoft is big enough to withstand some teasing and if you can't stand it how is that my fault? You don't like my style? Well, who is childish/unprofessional then?
How much "political correctness" or "encyclopedia-like neutrality" is healthy? I don't know.
But having fun at what I do is what drives me. I prefer witty answers over neutral ones. My style gave me 50K so far.
The discussion right now upsets me. You are, right now, hurting my feelings. My fingers shake as I type this. My brain says "Don't send this, it'll only cause trouble." But my guts yell "STAND UP AND FIGHT" From now on, whenever I return to Stackoverflow, I will remember that some style nazis are in here, hurting me. That takes a bit chunk of fun out of my effort here. And fun is the coin in which you pay me.
What should I do? Love it, leave it, or change it?
I don't want to leave. I've invested too much in SO.
I can't bring myself to accept those edits. There is nothing technical wrong with my answer.
Change myself? Well, I'm doing that but it takes time. Do I want to be more neutral? Maybe. But that would also hurt my work performance. And I don't buy the reasons. So do I want to change in the way Greg Bray wants me? Not at all. So motivation is low on my side.
Am I being professional about this right now? Absolutely not! But that's also part of the 50K. So how about you love it, leave it or change it? Would be more simple for me.