I posted a question, with what I thought were some clever (ok, probably silly) puns and word plays.

(Discussing a hole, a bor, and once filled in, saying a bor no more.)

But someone came along and edited them out. Perhaps it makes it a better question. (Not even going to debate that) but it definitely changes the tone of the question, which I liked a lot better before.

How much leeway as the 'questioner' do I have in terms of rolling back that style of edits?

  • Excellent question, although I think it might be better to focus first on whether the editor should have done what he did then if you are allowed to roll this edit back; the latter's answer will surely depend on the former's.
    – Double AA Mod
    Sep 5 '12 at 3:03
  • @DoubleAA My thinking in asking the question is related to humour in questions versus a more direct question. We can quibble which is better, but I think it more of a stylistic choice over right/wrong.
    – geoffc
    Sep 5 '12 at 3:17
  • geoffc, sorry about the edit: I didn't recognize your puns. I saw you mention bor, thought it was a distracting issue people might mistakenly try to answer, so edited it out; I also removed some stuff specific to your case and seemingly irrelevant to the question ("I was amused, since I saw the leaves" etc.). In this case, sure, feel free to revert if you think best; though this question also applies more generally.
    – msh210 Mod
    Sep 5 '12 at 3:57
  • @msh210 Mostly this is my writing style, being silly in questions with asides. Right or wrong, I don't care, it is a style. I like writing this way. Some people hate it, some people find it amusing.
    – geoffc
    Sep 5 '12 at 12:15

My humble opinion is that if the puns are a small percentage of the question and don't disturb understanding the question, they should be fine. If not, the question isn't particularly useful.

For example, a question written in rhyme is inherently distracting.

  • Plus one to you for your view; it's mine too.
    – Double AA Mod
    Sep 10 '12 at 19:29
  • I can live with that. Now in English, or Literature, a post in Iambic Pentameter would be probably more likely to be considered acceptable.
    – geoffc
    Sep 11 '12 at 0:22
  • 1
    Or, if somebody asked a question about poetic forms in tanakh in that verse form, I'd be likely to up-vote that. :-) But that's a special case and I agree with this answer (and msh210's). Sep 12 '12 at 12:49

I realized after penning it that this answer is really similar to Shmuel Brin's. I'm posting it anyway just for a fuller explanation, and one relevant to the main-site post that led to this question.

The pun in the main-site question referred to above was as follows. The question was about plants that grew in a filled-in hole. Now a bor is, in halachic terminology, anything that can be tripped over or into which animals can fall: it's a term from tort law, nothing to do with plants or the question asked. When the question indicated that the hole in the ground had been filled, it added, as a pun and in parentheses, "bor no more". To set up that pun, the previous paragraph was:

A neighbour of mine, had a fire hydrant replaced in front of the house, right at the curb, and the fill used settled leaving a hole. (Is that a bor? Does that make him responsible halachically?).

To me, that last parenthetical remark is distracting from the question (which, recall, was about the plants that later grew in the refilled hole). Moreover, it might have encouraged users to address that question instead of the actual question being asked. That's why I removed it, and I still think I was correct to do so.

So IMO whether puns should be removed depends on the puns and their effect on the question. Putting "bor no more" in a question about a bor is IMO certainly good; putting it in a question about plants that grew in a former bor is IMO okay (the distracting-ness is minimal because it's only three words and in parentheses, and a pun is worth including); but putting it in a question about plants and setting it up with a long parenthetical remark off the topic of the question is IMO no good. Likewise, inclusion of humor in general is fine if it fits in to the question, not if it distracts the reader therefrom.

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