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Users sometimes post questions about issues that can be very emotional. This sometimes causes them to add lines about feeling angry, sad or powerless or otherwise describing their emotional state. I hesitate to call them "cries for help" but this sometimes comes close.

Assuming that the question itself is valuable and not an unsalvageable rant, should these post be cleaned up to remove these lines? Given the site's subject matter it's only normal that posters feel very strongly about certain questions but should we make an effort to keep the posts themselves professional?

This question was prompted by this post by a new user. It's a great question but while I was cleaning up some of the grammar I was torn between leaving his final line in or taking it out:

I just don't know what to do any more.

This doesn't really add any useful context to the question. After all, most people post here because they're faced with a difficult situation in the workplace and they're not sure how to handle it. I feel it also detracts from the quality of the post and sort of contradicts the site's aim to keep things professional. Whether editing it out changes the author's intent or not is probably debatable. Users might also react negatively to having some of the emotion filtered out of their post, though that might only come up in posts that are closer to rants.

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Emotions are part of the deal. The OP may feel anger, and I can add to my answer that the OP's emotion is misplaced if I believe it is misplaced. Someimes, people leave comments that on their face might be irritating but that I recignize as an attempt at humor through their emoticon.

I am willing to let live as long as their communication comes through clearly.

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Exactly so: This doesn't really add any useful context to the question.

You could even argue the opposite: it adds clutter. When writing an answer I want to address the factual question; I do not want to have to address the emotions of the OP too (when they are not part of the core question).

So IMO, remove them.

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I think the emotional context of the OP can be an important context to the question and important information for those trying to answer it. Furthermore, sanitizing everyone's questions too much can put people off asking: e.g. the OP doesn't care about answers to this question because it's not what he/she asked and won't be asking again.

I think a little is okay and best left, but if they are labouring the point of their emotions then removing that clutter is doing everyone a favour.

  • Agreed, we obviously don't want to remove statements that add value to the post, even if they could be considered overly emotional. The keyword on this topic seems to be clutter (which is best removed). – Lilienthal Jul 31 '15 at 7:44

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