SO's getting a bit silly now. Almost every hour I'm editing tags and thanks out of titles.

If we're not going to have automatic warnings to users during question composition, can we at least add to the FAQ?


A "thank you", whilst polite, is unnecessary noise. This is not a forum or chat: it is a knowledge resource. The question body should just contain the question. Therefore, please do not write "thanks" or "regards" at the bottom of your post; if you do, they are likely to be removed!


Please do not write tags in titles. Adding tags like "jQuery - Why doesn't this dialog open?" is redundant and noisy, as we already have a consistent, indexable tagging system.

I realise that some people think that this is just pedanticism, or that I care more than is appropriate about this. But it is frustrating.. and ultimately needless. I'm happy to keep editing posts for now, but it'd be helpful to have a FAQ entry to which to point offenders.

"Thanks" have already been covered by some Meta posts, though the active ones tend to talk about "signatures" and stop just short of discouraging "thank you"s.

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    I should note that I'm referring to this FAQ, not the collection of posts tagged faq. I'm not quite sure which the faq-update-request tag is supposed to refer to. – Lightness Races in Orbit Jul 8 '11 at 12:21
  • +1 from me. Pseudotags in titles are my particular pet hate. :) – razlebe Jul 8 '11 at 12:27
  • @Grace: Thanks; was debating that. :) – Lightness Races in Orbit Jul 8 '11 at 12:36

About tags in titles, Jeff Atwood, in How do I write a good title?, said:

I think it is fine to duplicate the tags in the title, but only when they can be worked into the titles organically and conversationally.

It's not fine, if the tag is added to the title as in "jQuery - Why doesn't this dialog open?" or "[Drupal 6] What module should I use to create a feed from search results?" but it is fine to have a question title such as "What Drupal 6 module should I use to create a feed from search results?"

The FAQ should report a section about tags in the titles, but it should make clear when they are fine.

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This may or may not be appropriate, but I wanted to add this to the record before the original conversation (which was not enjoyed in the proper location, which would have been chat) gets moderated away.

The user I was talking to had repeatedly reverted my edit that removed a "Thank you." signature from his -2 question. Pretty much all of his 175 questions have tags and titles! (though I managed to edit the first page before getting bored)

The following conversation ensued regarding this topic:

Me Also, why did you add your tags and thanks back in? They are redundant and frowned-upon. I didn't remove them for fun.

Francisc I'm sorry Tomalak, I do not understand what you are saying. Only thing I got was you not liking that I said "Thank you." which I always do.

Me SO is neither a forum nor a chat: it is a knowledge resource; signatures and thanks are redundant. All that should be in a question post is the question. Please stop reverting my edits.

Francisc Dear Tomalak, the point of the question is not to explain how serialize works. If you have an answer, write it, if you don't, don't. Also, there are no rules saying that I cannot say Thank you. out of courtesy (you do know what that is I hope). It is not a signature. This being said, please top editing my question for no reason. As guidelines indicate: fix grammatical or spelling errors, clarify meaning without changing it, correct minor mistakes, add related resources or links, always respect the original author. Goodbye.

Me This proposal, requesting that the already-well-known conventions that I have described to you be added to the Stack Overflow FAQ, may be of interest to you. Also this section of the FAQ, which reads "if you are not comfortable with the idea of your contributions being collaboratively edited by other trusted users, this may not be the site for you."

Francisc Those are not rules. Sorry. As you said, it is a proposal.

Me Yes, a proposal to add to some documentation the already-well-known conventions. Conventions are not rules, but conventions are conventions, and a good member of the community follows them. A good member of the community certainly does not stubbornly insist on reverting edits that follow this convention, over and over again.

Francisc Which you just wrote... haha.

Me Yes, I wrote it a few hours ago because I'm getting fed up of having to deal with nonsense like this. It seems like common sense to me. You should notice that the proposal references other posts, where people (including 144k meta rep moderator Jeff Attwood) indicate that they also would like "thanks" to go away.

Francisc Tomalak, I like to say "Thank you." because if you got to that point, you read all that I had wrote. It's perfectly normal and polite. I have been doing this in all my question here and anywhere else. I can understand pertinent edits and so on, but this is purely subjective, I pasted the valid reasons for editing in my comment above. I'm not sure what else there is to talk about.

Francisc What seems like common sense to you doesn't mean it's a rule. Again, stick to the rules. Edit mistakes and clarify, don't rephrase because you don't like how it looks. How much does one line of text (which is also polite to write) change in terms of readability? Nothing.

Me Yes, I can see you've been doing it on all of your posts. I started editing them out but even I got bored. There are no valid reasons; you merely said "but it's polite", ignoring both my counter-advice and the established etiquette on this knowledge resource website. There is nothing else to talk about as long as you continue to blindly ignore it. Cheers.

Francisc fix grammatical or spelling errors, clarify meaning without changing it, correct minor mistakes, add related resources or links, always respect the original author

Me Also, I don't see why you think it's so damned polite. It's not as if you're giving anything up by writing "thank you". It's not as if it's unusual that you're asking for help, given the nature of the website. It's merely a reflex action, not an actual symbol of gratitude. An appropriate symbol of gratitude would be to contribute back into the community by voting, answering questions, and following established community etiquette... not by writing two arbitrary and redundant words at the bottom of every single question, adding needless noise.

Me You're also demonstrating, by quoting that passage over and over again, a lack of understanding of the distinction between hard-and-fast rules and etiquette. What would be polite, is for you to follow the established etiquette that I have told you about. What would also be polite is for me to end this conversation right here... which I shall now do.

Am I way off base here? Am I missing something huge?

For me, it keeps coming back to "SO is not a message board", and my programmer's instinct is telling me to hold the line, to fight the fight, to keep that "question" field in the database full of only one thing: the question.

It seems really obvious to me, but it's clear that either I'm missing something or some people just don't get it.

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    Flag for moderator attention. – user7116 Jul 8 '11 at 17:58
  • @sixlettervariables: I did. – Lightness Races in Orbit Jul 8 '11 at 18:01
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    I would venture to suggest that the repeated rollbacks and the comment war were much more noisy than the "Thank you". – mmyers Jul 8 '11 at 18:10
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    @mmyers: Yes, they were, but that does not change the content of the argument in the slightest. There's a principle to uphold here. – Lightness Races in Orbit Jul 8 '11 at 18:12
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    Why don't you cite this one: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/2950/… – Ladybug Killer Jul 8 '11 at 19:01
  • @Ladybug: I did, after the conversation had supposedly ended. :) At the risk of giving Jeff too much credibility, that he shares my opinion was too good not to point out. – Lightness Races in Orbit Jul 8 '11 at 19:01
  • Not to nitpick, but shouldn't this be part of your question? – Chris Frederick Jul 8 '11 at 20:53
  • @Chris: Probably. I felt that, ultimately, it was too long to add as an addendum. I'm still not quite clear on the metaquette. – Lightness Races in Orbit Jul 9 '11 at 0:04
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    I'd side with mmyers here. Don't ever get into a rollback war with the original author on your own. If there is really a problem, bring it up here first and get some heavy weights on your side :) I totally agree that pre-emptive thanks are extraneous and meaningless. – Benjol Jul 13 '11 at 6:28
  • My own policy is to remove thanks from posts only if there is something else in the post which needs editing. – TRiG Oct 13 '12 at 1:08
  • And I knew I had support for that from somewhere, blog.stackoverflow.com/2009/04/in-defense-of-editing – TRiG Nov 29 '12 at 2:22
  • @TRiG: Fortunately, in such cases, there almost always is. IME. – Lightness Races in Orbit Nov 29 '12 at 6:12

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