I'm concerned about posts like the following:

$\langle$ Problem statement appears here$\rangle$

idk - u plz hlp me?!!!

I find that sort of question to be really rude; though probably not intentionally. What might be appropriate to say in a comment? Sure, every such post could be edited by someone, as we do poor grammar in general, but that's a drain on editors' time, which would be better used to help in mathjax formatting.

Perhaps a simple line added to "How to ask a good question" (meta post) to articulate some informative consensus statement addressing this?

Similarly I suggest we should discourage use of emoticons in posts, or use of multiple exclamation marks, etc.

Any ideas? Any thoughts?

  • $\begingroup$ On rare occasions, I have in a somewhat snarky manner responded in a comment to a couple such posts, in the same informal pseudolanguage they're using; chances are they still don't get it. I'd really like to know where the community stands, and whether we can brainstorm about a constructive manner in which to respond, if or when we should respond, etc. $\endgroup$ – amWhy Mar 25 '20 at 15:43
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    $\begingroup$ I believe that I have, on occasion, quoted the offending usage, and then asked, are you 12 years old? I don't know whether this actually does any good, but it made me feel a little better. $\endgroup$ – Gerry Myerson Mar 25 '20 at 21:36
  • $\begingroup$ I get it, @GerryMyerson! I've probably been there, and done that, too! Unfortunately, I don't know that said askers even "get" why we may say things like that, and don't get that my futile attempts, rarely, to speak to them that way, get it?! $\endgroup$ – amWhy Mar 25 '20 at 21:39
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    $\begingroup$ The usage of emoticons was discussed before, e.g. here and looks like the majority is in favor of "letting people express themselves with smileys". However a comment from there, "I'm fine with them as long as they're not overused" completes it very well. $\endgroup$ – Zacky Mar 26 '20 at 14:53
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    $\begingroup$ Maybe I'm wrong, but I wouldn't expect someone who is using "idk - u plz hlp me?!!!" to bother reading any line on "How to ask a good question". I see nothing wrong with editing the post when seeing SMS language, in the end it would be just an improvement. Also perhaps this shouldn't be specific to questions, but to the whole SE environment. $\endgroup$ – Zacky Mar 26 '20 at 15:06
  • $\begingroup$ I agree, @Zacky, that this is not local to this site. But I'm asking in my post what we can say to a user here on this site, that addresses such use of language, that will be meaningful to them. And in that sense, I think Asaf hit it on the nail. $\endgroup$ – amWhy Mar 30 '20 at 22:01
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    $\begingroup$ I think this is just being lazy. Here you are not restricted by number of characters like in SMS so better use that freedom and express yourself clearly. $\endgroup$ – Paramanand Singh Mar 31 '20 at 4:04
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    $\begingroup$ I don't think it's all laziness. Thanks to the internet, people are learning a lot more English while growing up from online communities and not just school. So I think they pick up idioms from those groups and don't understand the subtleties of when they're allowed. I've had ELL students write things like "I really wanna do well in this class" and not realize how it comes off. $\endgroup$ – Matthew Leingang Apr 1 '20 at 17:38

Taking off my moderator hat for a moment.

I have always been (since I was 17, anyway) a stickler for avoiding internet abbreviations, and I am still not a fan of emojis to begin with.

Participation in this community was always a point of pride for myself, and I felt that I can do this, because this is a community that at least tries to take itself seriously. Part of this is the presentation.

I understand that not everyone is a native English speaker (I'm not, for one), and that people are bound to have typos, grammatical errors, and use non-standard words.

But I am strongly in favour of keeping in line with at least attempting to be taken seriously. Part of that means that you at least try to write in proper English, and that you definitely avoid using emojis.

This extends to emoticons (although they are certainly fine in the comments). As far as multiple !!!! or ????, you'd be surprised how different these symbols are interpreted between cultures and ages. Pointing out these sort of issues is fine, but let's remember to do it with as much civility as possible, remembering that people might not realise that they seem "loud" in some sense.

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    $\begingroup$ I totally agree with your thoughts on being a matter of presentation and being taken seriously. And this angle is likely a key to addressing such posts, helping users to understand that how one presents oneself, in a question or answer, can play a role in whether they are taken seriously or not so much. I think when we can frame comments/policies in ways that suggest it's in the users' interest to think about how they can have more successful outcomes on this site. $\endgroup$ – amWhy Mar 25 '20 at 16:10
  • $\begingroup$ I will wait a tad, but I'm inclined to accept this answer, @Asaf. Thanks! $\endgroup$ – amWhy Mar 25 '20 at 16:11
  • $\begingroup$ quick question: Let's say I come across a poor post, and take a couple minutes to edit it. If I include an edit summary, does the user who asked or answered the edited post have access to the edit summary? I suspect they do if they click on on the "edited 4 minutes ago." $\endgroup$ – amWhy Mar 25 '20 at 16:16
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    $\begingroup$ Everyone has access to the edit summary, provided the edit was accepted by the system (i.e., you have enough reputation, or the suggested edit was reviewed and approved). $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Mar 25 '20 at 16:30
  • $\begingroup$ Well that's good, but I'm thinking that a good number of newish users don't know how to access it. In any case, I could certainly write a brief comment to notify a user, if I edit a post, and want them see why. $\endgroup$ – amWhy Mar 25 '20 at 16:32
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    $\begingroup$ Emojis are cool, though. $\endgroup$ – Andrés E. Caicedo Mar 25 '20 at 17:02
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    $\begingroup$ @Andrés: Not really, though. Not as cool as set theory, for example. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Mar 25 '20 at 17:21
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    $\begingroup$ Asaf: "Pointing out these sort of issues is fine, but let's remember to do it with as much civility as possible...". That's what my post is asking for: constructive ways to respond to such ways. Never did I ask if its okay for me to go ballistic on such users. It's not okay to do so. I wouldn't have asked this question if I thought it were. $\endgroup$ – amWhy Mar 25 '20 at 23:57
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    $\begingroup$ @amWhy: I never claimed otherwise. I am merely writing this for the benefit of everyone else reading this, as a good reminder, that we should try to be as civil as possible. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Mar 26 '20 at 0:02
  • $\begingroup$ @Asaf Thanks. I understand. I appreciate the good reminder we all need to hear once in a while, if not more often! $\endgroup$ – amWhy Mar 26 '20 at 0:05
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    $\begingroup$ @Asaf Just want to thank you for all your good work on meta, including moderating it! $\endgroup$ – amWhy Mar 27 '20 at 17:26

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