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I've seen a lot of questions that are originally in CAPS LOCK and with no formatting at all. Most recently, was this and this question with caps lock body, this question with caps lock title, and this answer with caps lock body (although the answer is very bad in terms of detail).

Now, I know that someone else, or the OP can edit these questions to remove caps lock and add formatting, but can we add a hint or something somewhere on the site to let them know the disadvantages of posting in caps lock?

Some examples:

  • When a user clicks 'Post Question' or 'Post Answer' and all the 'checks' happen to make sure there are enough characters, (tags), etc..., we can add another check to make sure that a percentage (10%?) of the text is lowercase, or similar. If the check fails, the entire message body may be converted to sentence case / lowercase.

Note: there may be some questions that cannot help being in caps-lock ('MY SHIFT KEY IS STUCK' ;), in which case, we can do something like adding a tag 'caps-lock-check' or similar. If the user uses this tag, the caps-lock check will be skipped.

Don't write everything in CAPS LOCK

Our community sometimes downvotes questions with only caps lock in it. Downvoting = Less views. Less views = less likely for a good quality answer. If you want a good answer, please take the time to properly format your question, with lowercase where needed.

  • Or, here:

enter image description here

when asking a question, on the right, another reminder to not use caps lock.


Of course, it's up to the OP whether they want to ignore the reminders. There a lot of questions by new users every day, and some can be long, caps-locked questions that can take long to edit.

Some of the questions are not bad questions, but a low amount of views due to caps-lock means that they may not be answered.


Does anybody else think this should happen??

Please add answers saying what you think should happen, for example:

  • I think we should add another check when posting something. The check should look at the amount of uppercase characters in the question, if there are more than 5%, give them a message, or convert everything to Sentence case.

  • I think we should add another section on the How do I ask a good question page, saying ADD TEXT HERE.

  • I think on the blue reminder, add a reminder.

Of course, if the thing you think should happen is already posted as an answer, upvote it! :)

  • 7
    Obligatory bash.org comment – Canadian Luke Jul 2 '14 at 17:17
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    PEOPLE WHO WRITE IN ALLCAPS DON'T READ HELP PAGES!!! – Der Hochstapler Jul 2 '14 at 17:27
  • @shub Yeah, a check like that couldn't hurt. And, if the test is failed, the question body should be automatically converted to all lowercase ;) – Der Hochstapler Jul 2 '14 at 17:29
  • 8
    "Our community often downvotes questions with only caps lock in it. Sometimes moderators delete questions that are written in all caps on sight. Occasionally you'll find someone who'll grudgingly edit your question into something resembling a real question(tm). What you've got to ask yourself is do you feel lucky. Well, do ya?" – Mokubai Jul 2 '14 at 18:47
  • Joking aside ninety nine times out of a hundred I'd go ahead and edit the question into something at least vaguely salvageable unless it is an obvious spammer or hopeless help vampire. I'd rather be able to read the garbage and see if someone (hopefully OP) can further improve it. If nothing else I try to stem the down votes from people who assume ALL CAPS means shouting rather than, maybe, the result of some bizarre translation program. – Mokubai Jul 2 '14 at 21:38
  • @Mokubai Stil..., there's no harm in running a check (like they do for short posts), is there? – ᔕᖺᘎᕊ Jul 3 '14 at 6:25
  • I think this is what we should do meta.superuser.com/q/8182/235569 – Braiam Jul 4 '14 at 13:56
  • Wouldn't this be a good candidate for migration to meta.SE? – APerson Jul 16 '14 at 1:33
4

There are actually checks in place to block these. However, some still get through. Amazingly, folks who write ALL IN CAPS can be quite resistant to subtle hints that what they're writing is cripplingly bad and they should stop.

We're working on systems to beef up some of these checks, and should start rolling them out in the next few weeks, but in any case just flag these when you see them. Start with VLQ and work up to Offensive.

  • I never knew there were checks for this! So, are you saying that there is specifically a check for ALL CAPS questions and answers? Or do they only look for a certain amount of CAPS? I guess you can't tell me exactly because people would be able to bypass it, but could you give me an idea? Thanks! Could you add the status-completed tag to this question please! – ᔕᖺᘎᕊ Jul 20 '14 at 20:39
  • I would not want to use the Offensive flag for this purpose. The Offensive flag is for posts that "[contain] content that a reasonable person would deem inappropriate for respectful discourse." If a user is repeatedly posting content in all-caps, I would raise a free-text moderator flag, and a moderator can then discipline the user using the appropriate tools (superping, mod message, etc.). – bwDraco Jul 22 '14 at 14:31
  • All-caps is content that a reasonable person would deem inappropriate for respectful discourse. – Sod Almighty Mar 1 '16 at 2:10
  • I share your opinions on common SQL coding standards, @Sod - however, I'm afraid many here do not. – Shog9 Mar 1 '16 at 2:13
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I have to agree with Oliver there. Generally, those kinds of users who post egregriously low quality stuff are also the ones who skip past the guides you put in their way. The How to Ask page is not mandatory, so you'd have to actively click and read through it.

Posts in all caps lock are very rarely found. And I would assume that any reasonable person doesn't write everything in caps lock anyway. Those people that do, well, I'm sure there are other issues with their questions—unless the question is about their Shift key being stuck.

This means that an extra paragraph on an otherwise very condensed—and helpful—page would just take up space, and add text that might lead users (who would have otherwise read through the points) to skip reading altogether. We should really focus on explaining the most important points about asking a good question. The points that only the OP themselves can fix. Improper spelling and grammar can be corrected by others if need be. (And if the question is unsalvageable, we'll close and delete it.)

The only reasonable suggestion would be to extend the quality check for questions to include an all-caps detector. It would prevent the question from being posted altogether though, like it would with questions that are too short or otherwise low quality.

  • 1
    I completely agree with you, which is why having the extra quality check, I think, is the best way here. as for the 'rarely found' part, they aren't as uncommon as you would think... I think this feature should be added - I can't see any reason why > 10% or so of a post that is > 100 characters should be in caps lock (except if the question is about the shift key being stuck ;)). – ᔕᖺᘎᕊ Jul 2 '14 at 20:17
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    You don't have to accept it. On feature requests, the answers are often used for (dis)agreeing, or proposing changes, or further discussion. Whether the request is implemented or not is at the discretion of the Stack Exchange developers. Moderators can't really influence that. And we'Re not the ones who implement them either. (Unfortunately, since I would have loved to just add a few things here and there…) – slhck Jul 2 '14 at 20:55
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    YEA I AGRE WITH SHLKC THAT IF U ARE A PERSON WHO USES CAP LOCKS THEN U PROBLY DONT READ THE HELP CENTRE VERY MUCH BEFORE POSTING. IF IT WAS A CHECK BEFORE U POST THEN IT WOULD BE MUCH BETTER I THINK THAT. – nhinkle Jul 3 '14 at 4:17
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    WHAT IS A HLP PAGE BECUSE IT WOULD BELIKE GOOD THING U THAT NEED HELP BECAUZ I SEEN SOME POSTS THAT NEED HELP AND HELP IS GOOD BECAUZ NO HELP IS BAD – Carl B Jul 3 '14 at 18:04
  • Your last statement meta.superuser.com/q/8182/235569 – Braiam Jul 4 '14 at 13:56
  • @slhck - I feel that your last paragraph is exactly what should happen. Click Post->Get popup saying you're using all-caps and disallow them to post until it's rewritten – Robotnik Jul 10 '14 at 10:44
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    > unless the question is about their Shift key being stuck hmm, April Fools idea there – Bob Jul 12 '14 at 14:43
2

While we're at it, here's a list of other things to add to the "How to Ask" page and reminder text:

  • Don't type your question with alternating caps, like

    mY cOmPuTeR iS rUiNiNg My LiFe! HaLp!
    
  • Don't use 0s for os, 1s for is, 3s for es, and 7s for ts, like

    1 h4ve l1nux 7r0ubl3 guyz, 4 r34l
    
  • Avoid using more than one exclamation point or question mark at the end of sentences, like

    I spilled coffee on my keyboard!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1 What do I do???!?!?????????
    
  • Don't sign your posts with your social security number and mother's maiden name, like

    Just press F5 to refresh the page. That should solve your problem.  
    HTH
    Bob Smith
    SSN: 123-45-6789
    MMN: Jones
    
  • Don't pepper your posts with racial slurs.

  • Don't include pornographic images in any screen captures you include in your posts.

Et cetera, et cetera....

My point is that some expectations are common sense and (nearly) universal, and it's a fool's errand to start including these sorts of "pointers" on the help page.

Sure, maybe an automatic check for all caps could be useful, but my feeling is that this is a relatively rare problem that is already effectively addressed by the site's community review processes. It's probably not worth the effort to implement. Sorry.

  • I agree with the fact that this is common sense! But, I didn't think it would be that difficult to implement another check that says if body/title is all caps, add message saying 'please don't use caps lock' – ᔕᖺᘎᕊ Jul 15 '14 at 19:51
  • Your reasoning goes for all the checks that happen then. For example, the title must be > 15 chars. If not, we get an error message. Why? Our 'community review processes' would easily fix this – ᔕᖺᘎᕊ Jul 15 '14 at 19:52
  • Another example: The body of a question must be greater than 30 chars. If not, we get an error message. Why? Our 'community review processes' would easily fix this. – ᔕᖺᘎᕊ Jul 15 '14 at 19:54
  • We have to have 1 tag. Why? Our 'community review processes' would easily fix this. My point is, the same goes with caps lock posts. If you look in my question, you'll see 4 example of entire caps lock posts/titles in the last 13 days (since I asked the question). That's not rare, is it? I would think that < 15 char titles are rarer than caps lock posts based on that stat alone. – ᔕᖺᘎᕊ Jul 15 '14 at 19:57
  • @ṧнʊß None of these are really counterexamples because it's not common courtesy elsewhere on the Internet to post things with 15+-character titles or to post at least 30 characters or to help categorize your post. These are checks that help the site run as expected and have nothing to do with keeping people from being jackasses in general. And yes, 4 posts in 2 weeks is rare. – Excellll Jul 15 '14 at 20:46
  • We were talking about common sense, and I think it is common sense to ask a question that is greater than 30 chars or, if you want a solution to add a title that is greater than 15 chars, so people click on your question. – ᔕᖺᘎᕊ Jul 15 '14 at 20:47
  • Sorry for the minor edit--I had to retract an erroneous downvote. – bwDraco Jul 22 '14 at 14:42

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