In a recent question by Dor, wax eagle raises a point about the tone of humor in questions. From my reading of the interaction and the edits, the point of contention is in the closing paragraph:

Unfortunately Nash, again, won't take championship this year. It so devastating for this wonderful Point Guard.

I'd like to see some consensus from the community - should this type of humor be considered acceptable in our questions?

  • 2
    it's funny that me and wax eagle answered your question so quickly with our opposed opinions
    – Dor Cohen
    Jul 12, 2012 at 18:08
  • 1
    @DorCohen, thought it was an interesting scenario, so figured I should have the community comment. :)
    – JW8
    Jul 12, 2012 at 19:28

3 Answers 3


Because this question has the "discussion" tag, I think opinions do not directly correlate with the "usefulness of our site."

  • Am I saying there's no room for opinions and humor? No.
  • Am I saying there's a time and place for opinions and humor? Yes.
  • Is this time and place clearly defined? No.

From another perspective, as a community, we should lead by example. Creating reliable and quality content will attract new users and encourage existing users.

If we bash our most disliked athletes/teams, then what does that tell a prospective user? "Oh, I want to bash [enter athlete/team here], time to create an account!" Reliable and quality content diminish if this (albeit extreme) becomes our mindset.

To Dor's point of "self-expression," the aformentioned excerpt has no relevance to the question being asked, which was: "Why has Steve Nash moved to the LA Lakers in sign-and-trade deal?" At the same time, had he said, "The Lakers will win a championship next year with this acquisition," how would we react?

I also took it as brash humor. How did many of us feel when LeBron James announced "The Decision?" A question about James may include opinions similar to Dan Gilbert's.

Although a legitimate question was asked, one could argue that the excerpt was a "disguised rant."

it is a rant disguised as a question: “______ sucks, am I right?”

To his credit, under "Etiquette" in the FAQ, it does state:

Be nice.

Treat others with the same respect you’d want them to treat you. We’re all here to learn together. Be tolerant of others who may not know everything you know. Bring your sense of humor.

  • 4
    I think you've nailed it here. There is room for humor, but when it makes a good question bad, that's where the freedom stops IMO.
    – wax eagle
    Jul 12, 2012 at 18:52

I want to keep my answer short so I'll use bullets.

  • Humour is fine except when it solicits debate, argument or ill-feeling.
  • Humour is more suited to comments, rather than within the question or answer.
  • We don't want our site to be like Yahoo Answers.

Personally, I feel that the question, erm, in question violates the first bullet point. Stating that a certain team won't win will solicit debate so, in my opinion, is inappropriate.



This is the kind of asinine opinionated humor that is present in forums that SE sites are largely devoid of. The lack of this kind of tone and humor style is a big reason why SE is a superior platform to the traditional forum.

We are trying to build expert Q&A sites here and this kind of juvenile post style is exactly the kind of thing that will drive expert away.

In the specific case outlined here I made an edit that was rolled back by the OP. I didn't put up a fuss because I didn't want to deal with the drama. However, now that it's been brought up on meta, I have to say I was rather angry that my attempt to make the question more professional was met with a comment like:

@waxeagle I disagree with you, there's always room for humor and self expression in questions

I don't actually disagree with the sentiment, but I do (rather strongly) disagree that this is what is exemplified in the question. There are good ways to be humorous and self expressive, and there are annoying ways. this is an example of an excellent example of an annoying way to do so.

  • and again I disagree with you but I respect your opinion
    – Dor Cohen
    Jul 12, 2012 at 18:05
  • and unlike you I'm rewarding you with +1 (as opposed to your 4 downvotes to me at the last hour)
    – Dor Cohen
    Jul 12, 2012 at 18:06
  • 4
    @DorCohen why are you upvoting an answer on meta you disagree with? meta upvotes indicate agreement...
    – wax eagle
    Jul 12, 2012 at 18:13
  • For me +1 means good answer, and because there is no right and wrong here I think you question is well written and detailed and deserve +1
    – Dor Cohen
    Jul 12, 2012 at 18:21
  • 2
    @DorCohen meta.sports.stackexchange.com/faq#vote-differences
    – wax eagle
    Jul 12, 2012 at 18:22
  • You are right, Can you edit your answer so I can change my vote?
    – Dor Cohen
    Jul 12, 2012 at 18:24
  • @DorCohen have a ball.
    – wax eagle
    Jul 12, 2012 at 18:26
  • @waxeagle How would you interpret the use of humor in this question?
    – user527
    Jul 12, 2012 at 18:51
  • 4
    @edmastermind29 that's right on point to me (if a bit childish). It doesn't affect the bias of the question and provides a quick smile. It doesn't detract from the question, but provides it with some notability and memorability (like a witty title does). If over used it would be annoying, but as a once off it's a fun little gimmick. (wow, checking the edit history there, that pic is rather controversial)
    – wax eagle
    Jul 12, 2012 at 18:54
  • 3
    @waxeagle I agree. There's a difference between a light-hearted and a brash tone.
    – user527
    Jul 12, 2012 at 19:03

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