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I request an single checkbox and definite option in the user CP to disable all forms of April fools, Easter eggs, Winter hats and similar annoying stuff that only distract a user.

I have no problem with an existance of such "jokes", but I would like that to be done without me knowing.

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Why bother? The april fools only lasts for a day, and winterbash was an opt-in already. –  Richard J. Ross III Apr 1 '13 at 20:46
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@RichardJ.RossIII You still see the Winter bash buttons and hats everywhere. These things slow down your computer if it's older, too. –  tohecz Apr 1 '13 at 20:49
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@RichardJ.RossIII If I remember correctly, winterbash was opt-in only on Stack Overflow, it was opt-out on all other sites where it happened at all. –  Daniel Fischer Apr 1 '13 at 20:49
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@DanielFischer I only used non-SO SE sites during Winter Bash, and it was definitely opt-out there. –  Keen Apr 1 '13 at 20:52
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@tohecz Where do you still see Winter Bash buttons and hats? (Just curious) –  Daniel Fischer Apr 1 '13 at 20:54
    
What is the April Fools thing, anyway? Site seems normal –  Doorknob Apr 1 '13 at 20:56
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@DanielFischer Not now. I speak about any future stuff that might appear, like Winter bash for the next winter. –  tohecz Apr 1 '13 at 20:58
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@tohecz There was an "i hate hats" link that appeared during Winterbash that would've turned off hat display for you. –  Anna Lear Apr 1 '13 at 20:59
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@AnnaLear Did that work network wide, or was it like the 'never' link on today's expert chat? Having to click 'never' on every. single. SE. site. I visited today got old real fast. –  Keen Apr 1 '13 at 21:00
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@AnnaLear Yes, that one the last winter. Another one next winter. Not working (on my PC) "never" button for the April fool. How many more to go? –  tohecz Apr 1 '13 at 21:01
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There was a "never" link provided. We determined that it doesn't work for you because you're using an unsupported browser. So, even if we implemented an "opt out of all fun" link, why would we guarantee that it worked on unsupported browsers? –  Cody Gray Apr 1 '13 at 21:11
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There are new things showing up all the time. Like local storage, which isn't supported by obsolete browsers. Makes sense why this wouldn't work, if you think about it. Where should that "I'm a Grinch" preference be stored? Local storage seems like a good place. Whoops! You ain't got it. –  Cody Gray Apr 1 '13 at 21:15
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@CodyGray In the user profile stored on the server, so that I don't have to bother, and it does not bother my slow PC. –  tohecz Apr 1 '13 at 21:17
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Bah humbug at all ye fun & games - in my day we only smiled on our birthdays. Now all just crave circus-hood –  Adel Apr 2 '13 at 2:49
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Got to smile on your birthdays did ya, ya happy-go-lucky bunch! Back in my day, we were expected to sit and somberly contemplate our mortality; smiling was reserved for staring down rabid dogs. –  Shog9 Apr 4 '13 at 17:20

6 Answers 6

up vote 19 down vote accepted
+100

It's reasonable to have an option to disable this sort of thing. It would make a significant minority happy, and the existence of the option, implemented correctly, wouldn't likely really upset anyone.

We could call it something like turn off non-essential seasonal functionality. That's simultaneously professional sounding and silly-easter-eggish, so it's an appropriate name for a feature like this that resides on the border between them.

Named well and placed unobtrusively in the user's profile settings, the existence of the option shouldn't get on anybody's nerves too much.

I don't think this option should be enabled by default. If it's there, people who want it can use it.

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Except that if it weren't enabled by default, we'd be right back where we started. –  Cody Gray Apr 1 '13 at 22:36
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@CodyGray No, currently disabling one seasonal fun-feature doesn't affect other or future such features. Furthermore, this could be implemented so it's easy for the OP to apply it network-wide. (Whereas, some features, including this year's April Fools joke, are not so easy to disable network-wide.) –  Eliah Kagan Apr 1 '13 at 22:41

All of the extras you mentioned except for the April Fools day joke are already entirely optional. Regarding today's little joke, this problem will solve itself once April 1st is over. Adding an opt in/opt out feature sort of defeats the purpose; it would be like asking for a person's consent to be pranked. You can already click "never" to dismiss The Expert forever.

In the meantime, the site's not going anywhere. Take a day off if the humor is getting on your nerves.

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You can click the button that does not work for me, probably because my computer is older (3 years), which means that every such thing slows down the browsing. Sorry, I'm rarely a person to appreciate things which other people consider funny. Having to disable every such thing is annoying. –  tohecz Apr 1 '13 at 21:11
    
@tohecz What OS, browser are you using? –  Asad Apr 1 '13 at 21:12
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It wouldn't be so bad if it was actually funny. It's just blooming annoying. –  TRiG Apr 1 '13 at 21:13
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@tohecz On a more serious note, it doesn't matter how old your computer is. That's not keeping you from upgrading your browser to one that is supported by this and most other sites. Google Chome and Firefox are both good candidates. IE 10 is out now, and IE 9 is still supported as well. –  Cody Gray Apr 1 '13 at 21:13
    
@CodyGray Fedora 12, FF 3.5. I'm not a person to manually upgrade my programs just because the upgrades are not provided in the repros. The fashion in having new versions of everything as fast as possible is annoying and time-consuming. –  tohecz Apr 1 '13 at 21:16
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@TRiG I didn't think it was outright hilarious, but hey, someone put in the effort to make me laugh, so I'm not going to complain about it incessantly. I had a chuckle, realised it was getting in my way, clicked never, end of story. It isn't like this is a permanent feature. –  Asad Apr 1 '13 at 21:18
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I agree that the april fools thing is annoying and should be opt-in, but FF 3.5 is now four years old and there have been literally dozens of updates since then. It's not reasonable to expect that the site would support obsolete software. –  Juhana Apr 1 '13 at 21:26
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@Juhana Which does not make the request unjustified to opt me out from whatever annoying STUFF the SE staff invents. –  tohecz Apr 1 '13 at 21:56
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The majority of the responses I have found to people who dislike the AF prank is to "blame the user". –  taz Apr 1 '13 at 22:31
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"it would be like asking for a person's consent to be pranked." An option to opt out from substantially visible joke functionality would not get in the way of "pranking" people who haven't actively decided they don't want to be pranked. Allowing people to say they don't want to be pranked and then respecting that ...it would be like treating people with basic human decency. –  Eliah Kagan Apr 2 '13 at 5:07
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@tohecz: Note that older browsers are anyway not supported by SE. If your main argument is that it wreaks havoc with your browser, you're not going to get far. –  Manishearth Apr 4 '13 at 7:54
    
@Manishearth My main argument is that I hate silly jokes on serious sites. –  tohecz Apr 4 '13 at 8:21
    
@tohecz: ...which is rebutted rather well by Asad's post here^ –  Manishearth Apr 4 '13 at 8:23
    
@Manishearth Which is not, as explained in Eliah's answer and comment. –  tohecz Apr 4 '13 at 9:52
    
@tohecz: Hm, right. I do agree with this, I just think that you need to be more convincing. –  Manishearth Apr 4 '13 at 11:49

Why the sour face? Deal with it, it's once or twice a year for a couple of days. Have some humour, man!

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I'd support this...

...if it was enabled only by entering the Konami Code while viewing the timeline of this question.

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Why have I done it?!! –  Mark Garcia Apr 4 '13 at 4:07

I'd like the opposite functionality: a button to turn on the April Fool's joke so that I get to see it (I wasn't here on Monday)!

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Inject pastebin.com/81rhJ2hW and follow the steps here –  Manishearth Apr 4 '13 at 7:56

This idea does not work. Firstly, "Similar annoying stuff" is subjective. So fine - stuff that "only distract a user."

I may agree with you on April Fool's - yes, a user can opt-in to not see the April Fool's joke while still maintaining the spirit and positive benefit thereof.

But nothing else you named "only distracts users." Winter hats increases participation, and actually, does so long term - users are encouraged to explore a wide range of functionality they might not dabble in otherwise, much like badges do. This is the general spirit of these innovations.

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It's clear what the OP means by "similar annoying stuff." It's seasonal functionality that is not essential to the site's operation. Furthermore, while I'm not aware of any hard evidence that the cool winter hats increased participation (compared to what? the last year when the site was less popular? the week before when people were busier with their jobs in preparation for taking time off?) suppose it did. So what? The benefit of empowering those who want to opt out proactively from all such "cheer" outweighs any disadvantages. –  Eliah Kagan Apr 2 '13 at 5:05

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