16
\$\begingroup\$

Occasionally, I see a question on the main site that ends in

Thanks!

or

Thanks for any help that you can give.

or

Thanks in advance.

or one of the million other ways to write an insincere, impersonal "thank you".

I've read on the main Stack Exchange Meta that we should edit these out: they're noise, and they don't add anything to the question. I think that's how it works on Stack Overflow, where the number of questions is much greater than what we see here. However, EE:SE is much smaller and more personal, and people might have different opinions.

Should I be editing these out?

(I guess my question also applies to

Hi,

and

Would appreciate any insight you have

and

[insert name at bottom of question]

)

\$\endgroup\$
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ A great resource for answers for such questions that are not specific to EE.SE but apply to any SE site, is Meta.SE. If you search there, you find: Should 'Hi', 'thanks,' taglines, and salutations be removed from posts?. \$\endgroup\$ – Keelan Mar 26 '15 at 22:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Camil: that is the thing I "read on the main Stack Exchange Meta" - I'm really just curious how much it applies here. Thanks for the specific link, though. \$\endgroup\$ – Greg d'Eon Mar 26 '15 at 23:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sorry, I scanned through your post and didn't notice you searched there already. Yep, typically things stated there apply here as well. \$\endgroup\$ – Keelan Mar 26 '15 at 23:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ I wouldn't edit a question just for that reason, but if you're in there anyway, or can find something else to fix, by all means remove the silly fluff. Feel free to downvote the question in particularly over the top cases. \$\endgroup\$ – Olin Lathrop Mar 27 '15 at 12:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ Besides thanks and salutations, I would think this also applies to the OP adding their name at the end of the post too, e.g. "-- Tom", with or without a "Thanks". \$\endgroup\$ – tcrosley Mar 27 '15 at 22:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ @tcrosley: see the last quote block in my post. \$\endgroup\$ – Greg d'Eon Mar 27 '15 at 22:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Gregd'Eon missed that. \$\endgroup\$ – tcrosley Mar 28 '15 at 1:17
21
\$\begingroup\$

You can if you want to. Frankly, they don't seem to be all that bothersome here on EE.SE, and it's thankless work.

I generally do it only if I'm already editing a post for some other reason.

\$\endgroup\$
  • 9
    \$\begingroup\$ Is "thankless work" supposed to be a pun? \$\endgroup\$ – Greg d'Eon Mar 26 '15 at 18:34
  • 8
    \$\begingroup\$ @Gregd'Eon: Never even occurred to me. But I'll take it! :-) \$\endgroup\$ – Dave Tweed Mar 26 '15 at 18:49
9
\$\begingroup\$

As a rule of thumb:

a) if it's a short "thanks!", I remove such parts if and only if there's something else to fix in a post. There usually is, because 99% of the time such salutations are a sign of a newcomer, but if a question/answer is otherwise top-notch, it's a good idea to spend your energy elsewhere.

b) If it's, e.g., a 3-sentence "I would be very grateful if somebody would help me. Any help would be appreciated. My sincere thanks.", IMO it warrants an edit action of its own, because it makes harder (sometimes a lot) to figure what OP really wants/needs.

BTW, in such situations I often find the main question/problem statement repeated a couple of times in the text, sometimes the paragraphs are ordered strangely (e.g. question asked first, repeating the title just below it, the actual problem/research/thoughts described after that etc.) - in short, the Thanks! is usually a sign that there is something in need of fixing. If there ain't, I suppose it's best to let it be.

NB this is also, not surprisingly, along the lines of what e.g. Olin says on this matter.

As a side note: Greg, you got my +1 for or one of the million other ways to write an insincere, impersonal "thank you" - that's the main problem with such Thanks IMO - they usually don't make me feel better (regardless of the fact that's not what Q/A is about for me), but they usually make the Q/A worse in terms of readability & content.

\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ I agree with your thumb-rules - +1. I'll add that I've started editing out all forms of "Thanks!", no matter how short, in the First Posts review queue: it isn't much effort (most of the posts need edits anyways), and it has more of an impact on first-time users. \$\endgroup\$ – Greg d'Eon Apr 5 '15 at 20:23

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .