Today I chose to edit a post that I found in the "First questions" queue. It began with the words "Hey guys", and I chose to leave them since they expressed the OP's personality and style, even if I don't really like them. To my surprise, saving my edit removed these words from the post. I tried to edit it again several times in order to add them back, but each time the saved text did not contain them. What should I make out of this? Does the MSE software filter these words out automatically? If so, why didn't it remove them from the original version of the post, as well?

I won't link to the post because I do not want to artificially increase its view count, but its edit history should be enough for the curious.

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    $\begingroup$ I tried that post and same for me. I wonder why it is there in the first place... $\endgroup$ Sep 20, 2021 at 12:28
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    $\begingroup$ I have looked at the older post: Are users here not dear? It leads to this answer on Meta Stack Exchange, which contains a regex used for these purposes: Should 'Hi', 'thanks', taglines, and salutations be removed from posts? $\endgroup$ Sep 20, 2021 at 12:40
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    $\begingroup$ I guess this means the regex is used for edits, but doesn't it say that they are removed from posts at time of posting? (precise wording: "We now automatically remove salutations from posts as they are entered.") $\endgroup$ Sep 20, 2021 at 12:55
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    $\begingroup$ Just as a matter of record: salutations and sign offs (e.g. "Thanks!") are considered noise, and you should remove such phrases when you are making other edits. Don't edit a post just to remove this noise, but if you are already in there to do other stuff, "Hey guys" should be taken out. $\endgroup$
    – Xander Henderson Mod
    Sep 20, 2021 at 12:57
  • $\begingroup$ @CalvinKhor That is interesting - I did not look that closely into the revision history and I have missed this distinction. I assumed that the filter for salutation works the same way when a question (or an answer) is posted and when it is edited. Based on this example, it seems that I was wrong. $\endgroup$ Sep 20, 2021 at 13:17
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    $\begingroup$ @XanderHenderson this may be kind of a dumb question, but what's wrong with noise? $\endgroup$
    – jackson
    Sep 23, 2021 at 13:13
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    $\begingroup$ @Jackson The underlying philosophy of the SE model is that this is a Question and Answer site. It is not a social media site. The goal is to create a repository of questions with high quality answers, in a somewhat encyclopedic style. This is about content, not interaction. $\endgroup$
    – Xander Henderson Mod
    Sep 23, 2021 at 13:29
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    $\begingroup$ As far as direct impact to those goals, does noise lower the quantity or quality of questions or answers? $\endgroup$
    – jackson
    Sep 23, 2021 at 13:42
  • $\begingroup$ I enjoy occasionally stamping on my personality on an answer, such as via "$\epsilon$ and $\delta$ say hello, if I am going to be presenting an approach that uses $\epsilon$ and $\delta$. I can get away with it, because it isn't all noise, since it sends an informative message to the reader. I avoid doing that with questions however, because mathSE questions are very highly scrutinized, so I strive to a purist approach for questions. $\endgroup$ Sep 27, 2021 at 17:29

1 Answer 1


Does the MSE software filter these words out automatically?

Yes. According to Should 'Hi', 'thanks', taglines, and salutations be removed from posts?, "hey" and"guys" will be removed automatically, only if it's on the start of body (including whitespace).

If so, why didn't it remove them from the original version of the post, as well?

What happened with the original post was that it started with "\" (backslash), which is not the character included in the regex pattern.

For posterity:

Hey guys,\
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    $\begingroup$ excellent; I should have of course read the regex! :) $\endgroup$ Sep 20, 2021 at 13:56
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    $\begingroup$ @AndrewT.: Just curious: given that you are not really active on MSE (and even less so on Meta.MSE), how did you find out about this question? $\endgroup$
    – Alex M.
    Sep 20, 2021 at 16:58
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    $\begingroup$ @AlexM. just a coincidence while randomly browsing meta sites :) $\endgroup$
    – Andrew T.
    Sep 20, 2021 at 17:03
  • $\begingroup$ For me: hot network questions. I guess "hot" is a matter of debate 🤣 $\endgroup$ Oct 3, 2021 at 2:12
  • $\begingroup$ One of the dumbest things I've seen. $\endgroup$
    – user689775
    Oct 3, 2021 at 14:00

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