When I come across things like "Hello everyone!" or "My English no good sorry!" or "Thank you for all you help!!!" I routinely edit them out. More than once, though, these edits have been rolled back not by the quærent, but by others with sufficient privileges. In one recent instance, the "thank you" was the only element restored!

My own opinion is that salutations and thank-you's are too chatty for our Q&A model, and that they distract from the content of the question. What interests me about this site (as opposed to, for instance, forum.wordreference.com or usingenglish.com) is the Q&A paradigm and the notion that we are helping to compile a reference site. The absence of conversational diversions, however well-intentioned or harmless they may be, is what can make ELL more than just another newsgroup redux. In that respect, I think we should endeavor not to be different than other SE sites.

I poked round and came across what seems to be the protean discussion of the issue at meta.SE: Should 'Hi', 'thanks', taglines, and salutations be removed from posts? . The conclusion there (I think) is that we (the SE we) prefer to do without such elements.

In How helpful is it to add "Hope this is helpful!" to an ELL answer?, Ben Kovitz and F⚡︎F between them seem to espouse the cut the phat line, and my own view pretty closely conforms to Ben's answer.

So: do we have a policy? Do we discourage salutations, thank-yous, and similar chatty bits? (Meta question: Is there even a useful antecedent for we in those two questions?) Since I wrote this question, I've learned that we do. Nevertheless, I'll leave this question in the corpus because the title specifically mentions thank-yous, and it may serve to direct later searchers to F⚡︎F's original.

  • @NathanTuggy How dogged ought a person be in removing fluff, then? One recent quærent was adamant at its inclusion, restoring "thanks" mutliple times with supporting comments. In another case, a moderate-rep user did the restoring. Sep 8, 2016 at 23:12
  • Point them to these discussions, and don't get in edit wars. Sep 8, 2016 at 23:13
  • Oh, I'm anti-war going back decades. Sep 8, 2016 at 23:22
  • 6
    It is of dubious value to edit out a simple thanks (in advance)/(for your help) just to follow some SE policy. It is dehumanizing and learners, who are writing in a foreign language and trying to be polite, don't understand this mindset and get confused, frustrated and sometimes never return. If there is a lot of fluff, sure edit it down. But a simple 'thanks (in advance)/(for your help')' is okay. And in some of the ELL meta threads where the issue had been talked about point out that ELL is not like other SE sites, and being a lit - tle flexible here might not be the end of the world. Sep 9, 2016 at 0:25
  • which is why I put the thank you in advance back into the question you mention: ell.stackexchange.com/posts/102969/revisions Sep 9, 2016 at 0:32
  • There's something to be said for flexibility. My guideline is chattiness. The cultural sensitivity point is less resonant. English-speaking cultures have the same tradition of politeness as any others. I'm working on a biolerplate pasteable that explains why Howdies and Thankies are distracting: making the case that by eschewing them, a quærent will help future quærents. Another approach that seems effective is "we get our thanks from the pleasure of helping." Sep 9, 2016 at 0:36
  • 7
    @AlanCarmack If you don't want to remove the fluff, that's fine, but I think it is counter productive to put it back in when someone has edited it out. We can encourage folks to not include the fluff without driving them away if we explain why it's unnecessary (and harmful even). It's like telling someone they have something stuck in their teeth. It's uncomfortable, but I think most folks would prefer to know. Leaving fluff in encourages more fluff. If we don't edit solely to remove the "thanks", and we explain what we're doing, I don't think it's a problem.
    – ColleenV
    Sep 9, 2016 at 2:23
  • 1
    A thank you in commentary is more than welcome, it's a treasure. Very gratifying. A pre-emptive "thank you all" in a question is a different matter and there I agree with @BenKovitz . The voting model is problematic, maybe, but it's an interesting experiment that hasn't yet run its course. Do I speak English in real life? Yup. Sometimes quærents, sometimes what the fuck. The language is rich and deep, and I employ whatever comes to hand. Having studied Latin as a tad has colored my speech a little, perhaps. Sep 9, 2016 at 2:36
  • 4
    "Thank you," "Thank you in advance," or "hey!" or "Hi!" or "hellowwwww" or "hello" or "hello, my name is this and that and I do this and that....and blah blah blah." These are the things I remove first. Totally/completely/absolutely irrelevant. Takes up space(especially when using mobile). Doesn't help us in answering. I believe that we are here by ourselves. No once called us to write answers/comments. So, there is no point in saying 'thank you" or whatever sign of politeness. But, I rarely remove "I live in [country]" because that helps. + what ColleenV said.
    – Usernew
    Sep 9, 2016 at 13:26
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – ColleenV
    Sep 15, 2016 at 21:42

1 Answer 1


There's quite a bit of discussion in the comments, but as the question lacks a formal answer I thought I'd provide one :)

The answer is two-fold:

First, yes, the SE consensus is to not add "thanks" or "hello", etc. The only modification ELL makes to this policy is that if the sentence helps you understand where the OP's confusion might be coming from (which is rare, and usually quite obvious).

Second... Provision one discourages adding "thanks" etc. to an answer, but doesn't comprise the full "ruling" regarding editing it from an answer. The reason that an edit that removes "thanks" might get rolled back would be because it only removes "thanks". The rule-of-thumb is that if you're going to remove a salutation, there are other problems with the post too... Take the time to edit those as well. Otherwise it's considered a "trivial" edit, which reviewers are trained not to accept.

If you are making substantial edits in addition to removing "thanks", and the OP is rolling back the edit, flag for moderator attention. We'll fix it and lock the post temporarily, and leave a comment letting the OP know that this is a valid change.

Thanks! ;) (Because this is meta, haha)


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