I'm not talking about trolling or heckling, or being rude, just trying to gauge the proper amount of humor in responding.

Personally, I think a little levity adds to the site, and so long as the humor doesn't detract for the point, I see no harm.

An example of an answer with a bit of humor for someone asking an on-topic legal question (HR type question) and a person responds with "Other than being a very good way to be sued, no. Here's why.... (good, reasoned, detailed answer)

However, knowing how things can get out of hand, is this something to avoid and instead put more of a "Just the facts" approach towards things, or is it acceptable if it is limited and does not detract from the quality of a comment or answer?


4 Answers 4


Just make pluperfectly clear what is and isnt intended to be taken seriously, rememberung that many readers are not native English speakers... and make sure it can't be interpreted as an attack on anyone.

My sense of written humor leans toward the sardonic. I learned long ago that anything subtle will be misinterpreted by at least one reader, and that I either have to be very explicit or hold it for another medium. I recommend not repeating my failing experiments. Yeah, it's frustrating at times, but needless battles are more so.

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    Humour is often also harder to spot in written language over spoken language where tone can also be used. In this answer, for example, even as a native speaker, I can't decide if the misuse of "pluperfectly" and "rememberung" is intentional or accidental! Commented Jan 15, 2017 at 11:31
  • @jameswebster: Former intentionally jocular, latter a typo, but good illustration. I do sometimes toss out a malapropism or other garbling deliberately, though I try to make it obvious when I'm doing so and keep it from interfering with readability. (Open file, insert foot?) And then there are all the touchscreen typos....
    – keshlam
    Commented Jan 15, 2017 at 15:22

I see nothing wrong with humor as long as that's not how you're answering the question. You can add humor or use humor to make your point, but I think it's imperative that we also answer the question in as plain language as possible.

The problem with humor is that not only is it subjective, but it's also subject to cultural perspective. What you might find to be a hilarious analogy, may fall flat to someone from another culture, particularly if that culture doesn't have English as its first language.

TL;DR to me humor is fine as long as you answer it in a serious way in addition to the humor so that people from all cultures and backgrounds can understand the answer fully.

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    Good humor is hard. It's a talent most don't have. Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 0:24
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    @JoeStrazzere But it's pretty good ice cream though.
    – Chris E
    Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 0:26
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    @JoeStrazzere I've actually done standup comedy. Not saying that I've got talent, just that I did it. Plus, I was able to make a very nice tomato sauce after one performance. Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 14:46

Humour is great, I tend to type it out, adjust it so I get just the right nuances etc,.

Then I delete it without posting it.

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    I don't see how does it answer the question, hence downvote
    – kukis
    Commented Jan 22, 2017 at 14:30
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    Upvoted for being a beautifully self-referential paradox. And very funny. (Or is it?) :)
    – Wildcard
    Commented Jan 22, 2017 at 14:53
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    @kukis, this is a perfect answer. It uses humor to assert that humor should not be posted here.
    – Wildcard
    Commented Jan 22, 2017 at 14:54
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    Brilliant, BRILLIANT response. Commented Feb 8, 2017 at 14:06

I think the current top answers get it's right, some humor in questions and answers (limited to one sentence probably) is good and lightens the mood, opening people up a bit.

I think that's fine, but humor in comments is only ever likely to start a chain of off-topic jokes. Even if they are funny, those only makes more work for the reader or the moderators, so I say keep comments dry!

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