I got in the habit on SO of removing thanks and signature lines (and greetings) during edits because they don't add to the question and are relatively unneeded. I think we should adopt the same policy here and remove them from questions where they appear (and ideally not include them when writing new questions).

I don't mind going through and editing questions to remove them, but I would like it to be something everybody does so when they re-tag or edit questions for other reasons, they can remove these lines too.

You can find questions of this sort by searching:

thanks closed:no is:question

where you can replace thanks with whatever other words that could bring up things like greetings and signatures.

For the record, here is the MSO discussion on the same topic:

Should 'Hi', 'thanks', taglines, and salutations be removed from posts?

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    $\begingroup$ Possible duplicate: meta.physics.stackexchange.com/q/360/2451 $\endgroup$ – Qmechanic Jul 8 '13 at 20:59
  • $\begingroup$ @Qmechanic I guess that is a duplicate but never really settled (and I missed it when I searched somehow). I was actually going to edit it out of a question you had just edited but decided we should discuss and decide before I went on an editing campaign (slowly of course!) $\endgroup$ – tpg2114 Jul 8 '13 at 21:02
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    $\begingroup$ My rule: If I see it along with other problems in a post, I edit it. If the post is such that there's nothing obviously fixable sans thank-you, I leave it. $\endgroup$ – Manishearth Jul 8 '13 at 21:07
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    $\begingroup$ @Manishearth My only problem with just letting it go is the broken-window syndrome. My search link there gives roughly 1000 questions that have it in there. If we don't want people to do it, we may have to set the example by fixing it so it doesn't appear frequently. $\endgroup$ – tpg2114 Jul 8 '13 at 21:51
  • $\begingroup$ @tpg2114 Sure. f you want to, go ahead and start proactively cleaning up. Just try to look for other things to fix, maybe add some links, etc etc. $\endgroup$ – Manishearth Jul 8 '13 at 21:55
  • $\begingroup$ @tpg2114 the term "broken-window" has problems that it can be misused to justify zero tolerance policies. I dont appreciate this term and the way of thinking it introduces here, it leads to an unpleasent atmosphere. $\endgroup$ – Dilaton Jul 9 '13 at 3:34
  • $\begingroup$ @Dilaton I don't see why a zero-tolerance policy of not including salutations, signatures, and greetings is a problem. Nobody is saying close a question that has them, or suspend users who include them. I'm just saying edit it out, silently or not. I fail to see how that's a problem. $\endgroup$ – tpg2114 Jul 9 '13 at 3:38
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    $\begingroup$ @tpg2114 I stick with my and some other nice answers to this related question, that say that a bit of friendliness does not hurt, on the contrary it helps establish a pleasant atmosphere that makes people stick around. The term broken window, too often used on the larger sites in the network, I dislike more generally than just concerning this case for said reasons. This term can be misused to enforce everything against the will of people. $\endgroup$ – Dilaton Jul 9 '13 at 3:44

The stock answer is

"Yes, we like to remove greetings and sign offs but we prefer edits to address more than one issue at a time. Just removing the 'Thanks,' is a small edit and those are generally discouraged.

Of course, sometime it is hard to find other things to improve, which puts you (and the edit reviewers) in a bit of a bind. That may be the case with some of the ones you have pending.

Alas, I have nothing better than the stock answer to offer.


I don't care either way. It's unneccessary to remove thanks and greetings, but it's also unneccessary to include them. I wouldn't encourage anyone to search for them to delete them. If you're editing the post anyway, you're free to remove them and streamline the writing.

Cases where I would encourage editing out the bylines is when they become overly prosaic or distracting. In small doses however, they do no harm, and can make the tone friendlier.

Side remark: I often feel compelled to include a little "thank you" or similar, because I don't want the tone of the question to be demanding or unthankful. (From a utilitarian POV, I think you also get better answers if you ask nicely.) Because I know people are strange about salutations here, I often write something like "any ideas" or "I'd appreciate", and wrap it in the middle of a sentence, so it's hard to edit out. I end up spending way to much time thinking about stuff like this!

Personally, I'd like a no-intervention policy on "thank you"s. Let them stand as the author wrote them, unless they are distracting. Feel free to remove elaborate "Hello, I'm new here and let me as a question"-introductions, and forum-style signatures. But while you're at it, try to improve the actual question, because that's what's important.


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