Statistically speaking, whenever I write "please" I never receive a reply. No one has to reply at all, that's a fact, but with "please" they easily choose not to!

Should I avoid phrases like "please" or "I would appreciate it if" in replying to comments?


  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Do you have reliable statistics that say "please" causes the chance of a reply to drop to zero? $\endgroup$ – Ethan Bolker Aug 22 '17 at 15:27
  • $\begingroup$ @EthanBolker, my own experience but after many many times.. $\endgroup$ – L.G. Aug 22 '17 at 15:30
  • $\begingroup$ An example of what you are experiencing would help. I rather suspect that the inclusion of "please" causes no harm, but it does not make up for a lack of useful context in your Questions. No one is obliged "to reply at all," but Questions which demonstrate an effort to learn mathematics are apt to interest more Readers than ones that simply pass through a responsibility to get a solution. $\endgroup$ – hardmath Aug 22 '17 at 20:24
  • $\begingroup$ What should definitely not be included is a separate line: "Please please please I need the answer within two hours!!!!!!" $\endgroup$ – GEdgar Aug 23 '17 at 12:53

The general style of SE is low on formalities. For example, your "Thanks." at the end of the post could well be edited away by somebody as being 'pointless clutter.' In that sense there is no reason to be overly formal.

That said, it is not very clear to me what you mean specifically. I'd say it likely depends on the nature of the comment.

I doubt that you will get a better response to:

Elaborate on point A.

than to

I would appreciate it if you would elaborate on point A.

In some other cases, there might be a difference. For example, I would not write "I would appreciate it if you do not re-post a question shortly after it was put on hold." As this is not just my personal preference and desire but a rule of the site, and I think it makes sense to be more direct in the comment making this clear. One can still try to do this in a somewhat polite way, maybe like: "Please note that re-posting questions shortly after they were put on hold is frowned upon in this community and avoid this in the future."


You must log in to answer this question.

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