I know that, according to forum policy we're not supposed to say kind regards, much obliged, etc. when asking questions, and the same could also be said about comments.

Well, why can't we? In my opinion it would give a more humane touch to the community, and I wonder if those answering questions would not feel more appreciated.

Sometimes I get the feeling that by being a bit more polite, I could be improve the interaction between users in the forum. I'm not saying that if someone doesn't say thanks then they should be downvoted, or something... What I'm proposing is for the economics community to give a bit of leeway to their users when it comes to being polite.

Kind Regards =P

Edit: It seems I may have been understood. I'm not defending a 'facebook'/'linkedIn' version of the community. In fact, I do not think much good would come of that. What I'm saying that a minimum amount of politeness should be allowed (allowed, but not official policy), like thanks,etc.

  • $\begingroup$ Whatever may be said on your general point on politeness, we should bear in mind that English is not all participants' first language. Some may not readily understand colloquialisms like 'much obliged'. $\endgroup$ Commented May 5, 2016 at 9:36
  • $\begingroup$ @AdamBailey True, but even non-natives know simple words like thanks and similar. Also, it shouldn't be mandatory. If the user feels comfortable, and wants to, in my opinion they should be allowed. $\endgroup$ Commented May 5, 2016 at 10:56
  • $\begingroup$ See this relevant discussion at the network meta: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/2950/… $\endgroup$
    – Ubiquitous
    Commented May 7, 2016 at 19:34

3 Answers 3


This is a question and answer site. We're not a social site, we're not a discussion forum.

The whole structure of the site is to have questions and answers. Anything else is clutter that gets in the way of people getting answers to their questions.

Lots of people have lots of ideas about things that would add value for them. Signatures, greetings, "friending", all manner of junk. In adding these things, it means less of the display is dedicated to Q&A. That matters a lot on small screens, but it matters on large screens too. It's stuff I have to read and process that gets in the way of the actual information I was after.

And it's all a distraction from the core business of the site, which is questions and answers. Everything on the page that isn't navigation, a question or an answer is pretty much clutter.

After many years of market testing, the Stack Exchange model that's been successful has been to minimise that clutter, and to focus on the questions and the answers.

You have a different idea of how this market should work. And that's ok, because no one's stopping you from setting up your own, much chattier Economics Q&A site - it's just a different model, and it's up to the market to decide which is better. The barriers to entry are staggeringly low - you could have it set up and working within hours, for under $20.

But instead, I hope you see the ongoing virtue of the way things are done across the Stack Exchange network, and stick around and continue to contribute quality content here.

  • $\begingroup$ see my edit, Energy $\endgroup$ Commented May 2, 2016 at 7:11
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ That's fine - my answer still holds: clutter is bad. Greetings, "thanks" etc will be edited out. $\endgroup$
    – 410 gone
    Commented May 3, 2016 at 8:06

How on earth did SE community members manage to reconcile the predominant "be nice" policy with the "no niceties" one?

From my experience up to now, the situation is the following:

1) Niceties in Questions most of the times are edited out

2) Niceties in Answers exist and are not edited out (like "my answer complements one more excellent answer given by X,", (this being a "opinion/nicety" so officialy qualified for deletion on two grounds -but it usually is not edited out)

3) Niceties like "thank you", etc exist and are not edited out in comments

Looks like a succesful balance, creating a nice atmospere while avoiding clutter.

In particular, welcoming new members in a comment (when they decide to become active with a good question or answer), is very often seen, and this is not clutter, just good marketing policy.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I agree with you, Alecos. I asked this question, because I thought the niceties in answers and comments, would soon also be edited out. At least I'm getting the feeling of a policy increasingly averse to politeness. Therefore, I thought that this should be discussed, at least to get a sense of where the community was heading. $\endgroup$ Commented May 5, 2016 at 16:39
  • $\begingroup$ I vote to remove clutter in comments whenever I see it and don't feel too lazy. Out of my 23 flags on comments, only 9 were declined - so I seem to have a majority on my side. $\endgroup$
    – FooBar
    Commented May 27, 2016 at 17:51

Although I largely agree with the answer by EnergyNumbers - we should certainly avoid clutter -, there are I suggest some situations where a very brief 'human touch' can be valuable. One is to welcome new participants, especially those who appear likely to make a valuable contribution to the site. Another is where someone is asked to do something, eg someone who has posted an answer is asked to add an example or a reference.

In practice it appears that we do allow a degree of leeway in this respect. A search on 'thank' gave 89 hits and one on 'welcome' gave 35, many posted long ago.


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