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This question seems to indicate that it is inappropriate to say "thanks" at the end of a question, but does not provide justification. In a question I once asked, such thanks were removed and I tried to get justification, but to no avail (see the comments below the question).

Is it inappropriate to include "thanks" in a question? Why?

Thanks!

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    Must... resist... edit... the temptation to remove "Thanks!"... stay strong young grasshopper... – Werner Oct 16 '12 at 19:53
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    @Werner I was in a similar situation about 10 hours ago when I was trying to resist the temptation to include the "Thanks!"! – Quinn Culver Oct 17 '12 at 2:54
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    related question on [meta.so]: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/2950/… – doncherry Oct 17 '12 at 5:55
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    Sorry, I failed to delete your "Thanks!". – kiss my armpit Oct 18 '12 at 19:01
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    @ガベージコレクタ I forgive you. – Quinn Culver Oct 18 '12 at 19:28
  • It's understandable that we don't need to post thanks. But is there a simple way of emailing thanks to a user for her/his suggestion? (I'm new to this, but I'm not seeing an email address of someone I'd like to thank.) – Jay Beder Dec 4 '17 at 15:55
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Gratitude on the Stack Exchange network is provided by means of voting (bestowing reputation). We have a Text building block dedicated to this, which perhaps explains it best:

Welcome to TeX.sx! Usually, we don't put a greeting or a "thank you" in our posts. While this might seem strange at first, it is not a sign of lack of politeness, but rather part of our trying to keep everything very concise. Upvoting is the preferred way here to say "thank you" to users who helped you.

If need be, you could comment on the answers that helped you (most) by saying "Thank you." That would direct attention to specific answers in the way you wish.


Here are some things to consider regarding "thank you"s in posts:

  • By the time someone reads a post without a "thanks for reading this" I doubt they will downvote (assuming that a downvote is a negative and only response to not seeing a thank you) the post because of it's "lack of politeness". Moreover, I doubt they will consider not answering without a thank you.
  • Do you really mean it, or is it just a habit? If you read the post again next week, next month, or even a decade from now, would you still mean it? In a similar way, when one writes "I'm a newbie", it may be only relevant for a moment in time.
  • This remains a community driven site, so users with certain privileges are allowed to edit your post(s). If you don't like what they've proposed in their edits, you can roll back to a previous (more likeable) version. Edit-wars (perhaps a strong phrase) have happened in the past (see Respecting poster's style and Why were my edits rejected?) and people quickly learn who wants what and why.

As mentioned in the "text building block": It's not meant to sound impolite, we are trying to be concise and focus the posts.

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    But what about when "thanks" is intended to mean "thanks in advance for taking the time to read my question". If the reader doesn't post an answer, he/she/it cannot be thanked via upvote. Is the point that this is a small price to pay for concision? – Quinn Culver Oct 17 '12 at 2:57
  • @QuinnCulver: I've added some discussion regarding your comment. If you feel strongly about thanking people for reading your post (and by this I would include questions and answers) every time you write something, then go ahead. The motivation for the status quo is based on the entire community's feeling, but exclusions still exist. I know of at least two users who typically roll back edits made to their posts. That's just how they roll... get it? :) – Werner Oct 17 '12 at 3:39
  • Thanks. Regarding your first bullet point: I did not expect anyone would down vote without the thanks. I just like to show gratitude. That like for showing gratitude allows me to affirmatively answer your second bullet point: I am grateful any time someone reads it, especially since there might always be more to add. Whether it is just a habit might be a very deep question regarding the age-old nature vs nurture debate, but at least superficially, yes, I mean it. – Quinn Culver Oct 17 '12 at 17:41
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Adding to Werner's great explanation (coincidentally, it actually was me who wrote the text building block that he's quoting :)), here's another angle:

One of my favorite aspects about tex.sx and the Stack Exchange system in general is its Wiki-like quality:

Venn diagram: Wiki, Digg/Reddit, Blog, Forum

(We're the asterisk in the middle!)

We prefer a quite particular style of questions and asking – the most important aspect of which presumably are minimal working examples – in order to make every single question maximally helpful for other users. I might even go there and say that for me, it's almost more important to make questions applicable to a wider audience, i.e. more people with the same or a very similar problem, than helping the user who asked the question. The good thing, however, is that if you help "every" user out there, you'll also help the user who had the problem in the first place.

So this is really an essential concept that I try to keep in mind whenever I act on tex.sx, no matter if I ask a question, answer one, or edit posts. This also is the reason why we're on a perpetual hunt for duplicate questions: All the information and help for one problem should be in one place.

Coming back to your question about "thanks": "Personal" bits like that are not really relevant for an abstract problem that aims to be maximally widely applicable.1 Some personal background for the problem, e.g. for identifying XY-problems, can be useful, but it might be a good approach to separate this from the core question, like I attempted to in bibtex vs. biber and biblatex vs. natbib. But really, there's no general rule for that. For phrases truly irrelevant for the problem (i.e. "thanks"), however, it's definitely better to leave them out, even though it might feel to you like you're being rude. Rest assured that the best form of thankfulness that you can show to our community is asking well-prepared questions with MWEs and helping with other tasks, which you'll gradually be introduced to as your reputation increases.

1 Nonetheless, I feel like our community has a personal feel to it, just from conversations in the comments, in chat, and our blog. Besides that, many members (if not all?) have their characteristic style of answering; two examples that come to my mind and that actually happen to be middle-range rep users are Paulo, with his abundantly good-willed and duck-heavy answers, or ガベージコレクタ [or whatever their current user name may be], with their amazing, uncalled-for, randomly animated PSTricks answers.

  • I can't help but wonder what Kurt Vonnegut would think of you referring to the SE community as "the asterisk in the middle". – Quinn Culver Oct 17 '12 at 17:37
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    It's not that I feel rude without the "thanks" it's just that I like to express gratitude. – Quinn Culver Oct 17 '12 at 17:42
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    @QuinnCulver Well, let me pull out a cultural metaphor then: (I haven't actually experienced the first part, but I've been told so.) In China, it's considered rude to finish your plate, because it could indicate that you didn't get enough food. In Germany, however, it might rather be considered rude to leave food on your plate, indicating that you didn't like it. In order to please all of your international hosts and to show gratitude to them, you'll have to adapt your manners. Likewise, you'll have to adapt your habits of showing gratitude on Stack Exchange, as I outlined above. – doncherry Oct 17 '12 at 18:00
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    @doncherry Somehow this post greatly summarizes things that I would never thought that I can express in a concise manner. Gratitude!! :P – percusse Oct 17 '12 at 21:51

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