"How dare you be nice on a Q&A site. This isn't Facebook!"

A few months ago a Stack Overflow user edited a question of mine purely to remove my "Thanks in advance!" or something along those lines. It's my opinion that edits like that are petty, rude, and do not contribute anything or improve the question at all. But I've learned in the past that it's a waste of time to voice any opinion that dare suggest we take being respectful to question authors more seriously. God forbid you have the opinion that it's okay to use one line of text to say "thanks in advance" on thine holy Q&A site.

I know several colleagues that would have made great contributors to the site had their initial interaction with it not been so hostile. I've learned how to word questions ever so carefully in order to tease out the answers I really want but it took time and a thick skin. I was also lucky to have started using the site at a time when the meta community wasn't frothing at the mouth nearly as much as they do today. Ultimately I can't blame people for shying away from the site. It's a great resource when you learn how to ignore or flatter the somewhat frequent "meta enthusiast" that graces your question with their divine insight into things nobody except people with nothing better to do would care about.

I thought I had mastered the art of pivoting around tedious community members who spend all their time in Stack Overflow Meta obsessing about trivial nonsense. Recently however there seems to have been a huge uptick in the number of zealous followers of the "how can we spend our abundance of free time to make question authors feel even more unappreciated than we currently do" mission statement on Stack. I already thought that my little form of protest was petty, where I would periodically revert an edit to one of my questions that I thought was a trivial waste of time. Little did I know the user that edited my question a few months ago to "trim chat" would be ready to out-petty me, running scripts that monitor Stack Overflow and notify him of reversions to his own edits so he can come back and get into a self-righteous argument about tedious bullshit politely inform me about how my "fluff" really detracts from the question and might confuse users coming to it. You see, people coming to a Q&A site for information are easily spooked by unnecessary human pleasantries. They are unable to discern the actual technical information hidden and obscured behind this indecipherable and incomprehensible "thanks in advance" cipher at the bottom of the question.

Seriously though, I found his blog and he really does run scripts that notify him of all sorts of trivial things on Stack Overflow. I'm pretty sure he sees himself as the batman of Stack given his tone with me, on his blog, and in his comments on several meta posts he still sends my way after our little disagreement four months ago. I underestimated the levels of pedantry some people will go to in order to lord their petty opinions over the rest of the site. All we did was have a little comment exchange about our opinions on the subject and ever since then his name has been in my inbox every day removing more "fluff" from yet another of the many hundreds of questions I've submitted since I joined the site 8 or so years ago. He still fails to realize the irony in how much time he spends in this endeavor vs how much time he thinks he's saving users who might have to endure a whole line of text saying "thank you" underneath a question.

Ultimately I don't care enough to fight him. I should never have responded to his original comments months ago and I haven't reverted any of his edits since that first one. Even coming here and writing this post is more time spent on this stupid issue than I ever thought I would. I needed to vent after this guy came back months later to rub yet another meta post in my face, making sure to show me how much the meta community agrees with him. Maybe he really does think he's doing the lord's work and isn't trying to be as petty as he comes off but honestly that almost makes it worse if it's true. It only means that the Stack trolls are true-believers rather than just owning the fact that they've found a place where they can let their inner grammar-nazi flags fly free.

Anyway, I've gotten that off my chest. I guess I just wish people had better things to do. Ironic I know, considering I'm taking the time to write a post and complain. It's just a little hard not to be annoyed after being stalked for months by one of these people. I would consider myself to be somewhat well-written and I put a lot of time and thought into my questions in order to focus only on the relevant information. Some of those posts have been there for almost 8 years consistently getting a stream of upvotes signifying their usefulness. Regardless of my opinion they will win that war because it really isn't one I care enough to fight.

Chev

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