11

I am certainly not wishing to kick up a fuss, I am merely trying to clear up a somewhat unclear point, so that I don't end up annoying anyone.

I have been under the impression, that while a valid (and worthwhile) edit is being made to a post1, that unnecessary fluff (such as "Thanks", "Hi" and 'signatures') should also be removed, see Oded's answer to the question Should I remove 'fluff' when editing questions?

I only ask as I made a couple of edits, which also included the removal of "Thanks", only to have the edit approved and improved, with the "Thanks" being put back in.

I know that each SE site can have differing approaches to the language used and format of questions, so I just wonder if this is one way that SE Vi and Vim differs, as nothing is explicitly mentioned in this Meta.


1 Please note that I am not advocating editing posts solely to remove "Thanks", if there is nothing else that could be improved in the post. See A rash of minor edits, in particular Shog9's answer.

9

We don't have a policy as such about this, it's pretty much what goes on elsewhere goes here too.

That said, as with any policy, there will be some disagreement. Even Oded's answer is currently at +188/-11, so roughly 5% of users who voted on it disagreed with it. Maybe whoever approved your edits likes to see the Thanks in a post.


On a personal note, I remove signatures and thanks whenever I edit a post, but I don't care enough to get into edit wars.

16

Personally, I strongly dislike this guideline. I reject edits that do this on Stack Overflow and any other SE site.

When you ask a question here you're asking complete strangers on the internet to help you out. I would argue that saying "Thanks" is not just a formality, but a show of basic human decency. There is nothing wrong with being polite.

Now, overly long waffling introductions such as:

Hello and salutations, and good morning to you! I hope you are having a nice day and are doing fine today! I am a third-year student at the university of Aberdeen. I am currently learning to program C and C++ and am using the "Vim" text editor to do so. I really like Vim because it's very neat and cool! It's much better than Emacs if you ask me! I tried Emacs once but didn't like it very much, hence I am using Vim (or do you need to spell that as VIM? I don't know?!). Anyway, onwards to my question that I would like to proposition on this wonderful site that is part of the Stack Exchange family of sites: [...]

is doing nobody − least of all the author of the question − any favours, and should indeed be trimmed or removed altogether. As should overly long waffling thank you notes:

Thank you for your time and attention, it is greatly appreciated that you are willing to spend your resources to help me out with this problem I am having. I will pray to Yahweh tonight if you would like to, but please say if you are not a Christian (such as a Muslin, Jew, Hindu, Atheist, Agnostic, Humanist, Sananist, and so on) and I will not pray because I respect all religions! My uncle was bitten by a Moose once btw. LOLLL!!

Or, for that matter, meaningless signatures thanking the Kemal Atatürk.

But I can't recall seeing any of this here on a regular basis. Mostly, it's just a "thanks" or "thank you".

  • Is it really that distracting?

  • Do we really want to take away people's very human, natural, and polite response of saying "thanks!" when being helped out?

    • As a child, if I didn't say thanks my mother would make sure I would say it! I think the same counts for the most of us.
  • Is it really worth kicking a page to the front page just for this?

  • It is surprising to many users, especially new ones. Is it really worth offending people over this?

    • In the early days of the beta I've seen at least two users leave the site over removal of "thanks" with comments to the effect of "pfff, same autistic crap users as on Stack Overflow, fuck this".
  • It is not uncontroversial, even on Stack Overflow; see the original thread about it. Other sites (like TeX or EE) seem to have quite different guidelines.


To be clear, this is merely my personal opinion and not "policy". I just so happened to come across several of your suggested edits; all of them were constructive (thanks!), so I clicked "Improve edit" and added back the "Thanks" for reasons outline above. I believe I rejected one which only changed the capitalization of "perl" to "Perl" (I would consider neither to be "more correct" than the other) and removed a "thanks" as "no significant improvement".

I have no interest in going around the site adding back "Thanks" that were removed by other editors/reviewers, but when presented with a review task, I'll actually review it by keeping the good parts, and removing what I see as the "bad parts".

Thanks ;-)

  • 2
    Note Jeff Atwood's answer: He says they don't remove thanks, etc. because its riskier to detect those. If SE had set it up, we wouldn't be having this discussion. – muru Mar 14 '16 at 7:27
  • 4
    @muru Ah yes, that's the old "Argumentum ad Atwood". Just because Jeff said it back in 2009 doesn't mean it's a good idea ;-) – Martin Tournoij Mar 14 '16 at 7:28
  • 3
    I always considered the "Thanks" issue, or lack of, part of the this is a Q&A site, not a forum mantra, which I didn't understand when I first joined SE, but over time, I have become to appreciate it - especially when you take a look at some forums (i.e. Arduino). Some of those threads are quite painful to read. The rejection of the [Pp]erl edit doesn't bother me, as I thought that it might be considered somewhat tenuous, although it is a proper noun, and so is generally capitalised. It was the lowercase 'u', in 'using', at the start of the question, which bothered me the most... :-) – Greenonline Mar 14 '16 at 10:14
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    Personally I appreciate the atmosphere of this site: I feel it is much more convivial than SO. That comes from different factors but I think that the occasional "thanks" that we can see on here are one of these factors. Of course as the answer says it shouldn't be a 6 lines greeting which would makes the question unreadable but a simple "thanks" is always encouraging the reader to help the OP. So let's continue to be civic and to say thanks :-) – statox Mar 14 '16 at 21:23
  • 1
    @Greenonline You're right, SE sites are not a forum, and I certainly don't object the cutting out of unneeded waffling, irrelevant information, or rewriting to make the question clearer and more useful for both current (potential) answerers as well as future readers who end here. But it's also a platform where complete strangers ask other complete strangers for help, and in the light of that, saying thanks seems quite natural to me and is not something I want to "take away" from folk... – Martin Tournoij Mar 15 '16 at 3:42
  • +1 Your waffling introduction is brilliant! x'D It should be automatically prepended to each new post. I particularly like the triple greeting. kthxbye and ty, and thanks! – Aaron Thoma Dec 30 '16 at 3:44

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