4,599 search results for posts containing 'plz'

I'm not big on adding heuristics for every little thing, but this is getting out of hand. This is not a feature request, it's just a discussion on what, if anything, should be done.

  • Add plz to the question/answer quality algorithm?
  • Silently convert plz to please during the markdown conversion?
  • ???
  • 7
    Shouldn't that be 'Please get rid of plz!'? :) – forsvarir Jun 14 '11 at 21:38
  • Isn't it already part of the quality algorithm? – mmyers Jun 14 '11 at 21:38
  • 17
    slippry slope, idk... must now convrt all txtspk. – user102937 Jun 14 '11 at 21:39
  • 5
    sounds like a goldmine for people that need edit badges. – Kyle Trauberman Jun 14 '11 at 21:41
  • 4
    possible duplicate of Can people PLEASE spell out their slang acronyms – squillman Jun 14 '11 at 21:42
  • 1
    What about all of my pointer to long string variables? plzMessage needs love too. – user7116 Jun 14 '11 at 21:45
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    @sixlettervariables: It should be plzMsg. Yours is more than 6 letters :) – Lorem Ipsum Jun 14 '11 at 21:52
  • @yoda: my name pays homage to such painful names as CMESAG or INUMBR or LTRUTH...or strings stuffed into REAL(4). I should be so lucky to have Hungarian notation! :) – user7116 Jun 14 '11 at 21:59
  • 1
    I don't think requests to please lower the zebra should be filtered out. – Nicholas Knight Jun 14 '11 at 22:33
  • you know what would be nice, if you could do a search and get the results in /review format :) – waffles Jun 15 '11 at 0:39
  • +1: It may be a cultural thing, but I've seen more 'pls' than 'plz'. In fact it pushed me over the edge, and complained about two in a single post yesterday. – pavium Jun 15 '11 at 0:55
  • 6
    Warning: "PLZ" is a common abbreviation of "Postleitzahl" in German (which means "postcode"). I know German is not a common language, but I often see code samples with non-English variable names and this can easily come up as well. – Joachim Sauer Jun 15 '11 at 9:21
  • @Joachim - one could restrict it to non-code text (that is anything without markdown the code indent, or backticks). This would also help with things like Lolcode. – Jonathan Dickinson Aug 23 '11 at 10:20

If there's one thing we've learned from blocking low-quality posts, it's that people will gleefully do whatever it takes to get around it, including appending "I'm adding this sentence so SO will accept my question" to the end. We can silently filter it out, but I'm not sure there's a way to do it safely, since it can appear anywhere and there isn't a great way to isolate it. The only option is to have it negatively affect the post's quality score, and I think it already does

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  • 12
    interestingly, the txtspeak detection had pls but not plz .. adding that now. – Jeff Atwood Jun 15 '11 at 6:23
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    @JeffAtwood don't forget pl0x. – Octavian A. Damiean Jun 15 '11 at 10:22
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    Accepted due to "I think it already does...negatively affect the post's quality score" and Jeff's comment that it didn't, but it does now. – Pollyanna Jun 15 '11 at 12:51
  • @Jeff thx alot! – Pollyanna Jun 15 '11 at 12:51
  • 1
    @Adam I got two badges and a checkmark for an answer that ended up being wrong. This is a good day – Michael Mrozek Jun 15 '11 at 14:46
  • @Jeff "could you help plz"? – Michael Mrozek Jun 15 '11 at 15:33

In my "too tired to give good answers"-time, I now go through the search results (in the tags I'm active anyway), and edit questions with plz in them. Often they have other edit-worthy stuff in them, so editing them is a good idea. (And sometimes I find nice answers on the way.)

I can only recommend this to anyone who still needs edit reputation (but don't edit only for plz, this gets old).

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  • 1
    I've been going through these on SO and searching for it on other sites too. It's a really good search term to find posts with other problems that need fixing. – Bill the Lizard Jun 30 '11 at 1:45

Automatically converting known abbreviations like "plz" is reasonable. Proper format and proper spelled language helps to get the information.

But how to make sure you replace the proper usage and it's not e.g. a variable. Pure automatic replacement might be difficult.

At least there could be automatisms to help people cleaning up, aka Wikipedia bots or search and replace across multiple posts for users with > 10k rep.

And there would have to be a list with abbrevs and their "support" what it really is. And typical known mistakes, e.g. http://www.yourdictionary.com/library/misspelled.html would have to be added, too.

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  • 2
    Can I have a bot that would allow me to search and automatically downvote all posts containing "plz". – Kibbee Jun 14 '11 at 23:28
  • There used to be a way to filter the low quality review list based on keyword, and "plz" and "thx" were excellent choices; I'm not sure why they got rid of that – Michael Mrozek Jun 14 '11 at 23:29
  • 5
    I think our users favor you'redictionary.com – user7116 Jun 14 '11 at 23:32
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    I'm trying to figure out what plz would be in Hungarian. Pointer to a long something... that's obvious. The only known use of "z" in Hungarian is in sz, for null-terminated string (z is the zero terminator). Maybe zero? So plz is a pointer to a 32 bit zero value. Not a very interesting variable, but there you have it. – Joel Spolsky Jun 15 '11 at 3:00
  • 1
    Packed Lowercase Ztring – Dr. belisarius Jun 15 '11 at 3:48
  • @Joel The MIPS architecture has a machine register dedicated to providing a 32 bit zero value. Perhaps rather than $0 we should be referring to it in assembly as $plz. In a loose sense it's a variable in that you can write anything you want to it, it just always reads as zero. No matter what you give this user, er, register, it will give you nothing back. – Pollyanna Jun 15 '11 at 12:58
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    kinda like the part of my brain i use to store phone numbers – Joel Spolsky Jun 15 '11 at 14:07
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    Or perhaps yoredictionary.com, @six? – Pops Jun 15 '11 at 14:49
  • @Popular: I think that's a favo[u]rite on EL&U. – user7116 Jun 15 '11 at 15:05

In a guestbook I once had a rule that if you wrote text with three or five !, you'd get the appropriate [Discworld error message] -after which you were allowed to post the comment anyway. The number of !!! comments dropped significantly :)

So I assume that the method implemented in the StackExchange sites ("seems to be low quality - really post?") stops most of the bad questions.

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