# Is 'Proper' English Required in Questions?

In a recent question, the poster used slang. When it was pointed out, his response was 'sorry, I'm from a the hood, tryna learn some math. You feel me'

My instinct was to take the OP for their word, no matter how high the probability that the OP was trolling. I looked around in Meta for a discussion of this, but found only a post encouraging proper English "to the best of the poster's ability."

My thoughts go this way--if the OP is not trolling (and that should be assumed until proven otherwise), then they would be discouraged when told to use 'Proper English' which would be a shame to me. If they really are struggling to learn math while facing difficult circumstances, encouragement or helpful direction on how to improve their question would seem more appropriate.

I'd be interested to hear other people's reactions.

• This question has it all to be closed for me. People should refrain from answering such questions but it is happening nonetheless. Apr 29 '17 at 4:08
• Generically, our standards concern the desired final products of various aspects of this site. Ultimately, it would be best if all questions and answers consisted of proper English, and that is "what we expect." But often, passable questions and answers are improved in quality (both English and MathJax) by other users. Great! But it depends on the willingness of others to edit content. This willingness depends on each post, in sometimes intangible ways. I do not answer or edit very badly formatted content. I answer and edit passable content (according to whatever internal criteria I have).
– davidlowryduda Mod
Apr 29 '17 at 6:37
• Makes sense. Of course everyone has different internal criteria. For me, the post I pointed to either was a troll or someone really trying to improve them self. I notice she or he posted another question with less slang in it, so I'm guessing the latter?
– Arby
Apr 29 '17 at 6:46
• Although it may be an aside, I have seen over fifty questions from a certain J. Doe, all accounts having single digit reputation and very few questions , and carrying all the hallmarks of a typical troll account (the earlier questions have been deleted). I think somebody should think of blacklisting this user(name) if it's the same person doing this over and over again. Apr 29 '17 at 6:56
• If that's true, I would agree.
– Arby
Apr 29 '17 at 8:53
• Let them use slang. But note: if you want an answer to your question, it is to your advantage to make the question as understandable as possible. Apr 29 '17 at 10:56
• @астонвіллаолофмэллбэрг We have dozens of users whose display name is (some variation of, different capitalisation, space or no space, dot or no dot) J. Doe. Many of those aren't trollish, others (also not few) are. Since (at least according to the movies) Jane/John Doe is how persons with unknown name are called in the USA, J. Doe is about the first that comes to mind if a user wants to remain anonymous but change the default userXYZ. Apr 29 '17 at 12:29
• @ Daniel Fischer Thanks for that clarification.
– Arby
Apr 29 '17 at 12:36
• If you want the notification to work you must not insert a space after the @ @DanielFischer (no spaces) is the most correct form of notifying string. But @Daniel or even @Dan would also work (you need to match the start of the name though. So @Fischer or also @Danny would not work.)
– quid Mod
Apr 29 '17 at 13:13
• @quid Although @Dan would work, I don't like that. I very very much prefer to be addressed by my name. Apr 29 '17 at 13:16
• @DanielFischer Thank you for clarifying this. I intended it as a technical remark, using the instance at hand as example, not as a suggestion how to address you.
– quid Mod
Apr 29 '17 at 13:29
• @quid Yes, I understand that. But just in case somebody thought it would be a good idea, I found it prudent to clarify that it isn't. Apr 29 '17 at 13:33
• @DanielFischer I did not know about the fact that this is how people with unknown names are referred to in Hollywood movies (I don't watch Hollywood movies, Indian languages are more to my liking), so my apologies on that. However, the number of such accounts is staggering. I think I'll intimate you the next time I see two or three such questions one behind the other, because the quality of the questions coming from J.Doe is usually poor, but inevitably users with low reputation pounce on such questions and answer them. Apr 30 '17 at 3:23
• Keep in mind that corrections to spelling and capitalization are valid edits, at least as long as there is actually a tangible math problem underneath the overly casual original post. If not, the Question should presumably be flagged and closed anyway for "very low quality". Apr 30 '17 at 4:20

It is near impossible to imagine circumstances in which the following is "to the best of the poster's ability."

trig problem using limit

lim x->pi/6 ( (| 1-2sinx |) / (4cos^2x-3) )

To be clear, I have seen worse posts, some of which actually may have been "to the best of the poster's ability." But that one is not.

This post uses a quite informal style, on purpose. OP may well have thought in good faith this is alright around here and it may even be their standard way of communication (online). In that sense they may not be trolling. However, this is not the same as them writing English "to the best of [their] ability." Therefore, it is good it is pointed out to them that such an informal style is not appreciated on this site.

• I'm still not sure of the OP's motives. I guess my feeling in general is that it's worth giving people the benefit of the doubt. My reasoning: the benefits if the person really is a person trying to better them self using mathematics are huge, so feeding a few trolls for a while (until they show their true colors or tire of playing games) is worth it.
– Arby
Apr 29 '17 at 12:34
• I am not sure there are any particular motives. I assume they wrote, just like they'd write to a friend about the issue. Only, this is not the best practice on this site, and they are told so. I cannot imagine circumstances where it imposes an undue burden to insist they write 'seriously' instead of 'srsly.' Indeed, they could save some of the time spent finding the vocals by reducing their question marks, cf. "where is the '-3' in the denominator ???????" To give a positive spin on it, not only will using the site help improve their math, it'd allow them to improve their writing, too.
– quid Mod
Apr 29 '17 at 13:25
• I agree that guiding them to 'better' practices is the way to go. Someone has already removed the slang from the original post, and the following post by the OP seems to reflect some learning on his part.
– Arby
Apr 29 '17 at 13:33
• Tangentially, as far as I can see they have two posts, and the 'other' post is in fact the older one. It seems they received some guidance regarding other aspects there. Namely not to use all-caps.
– quid Mod
Apr 29 '17 at 13:39