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Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 134 Stack Exchange communities.

Catchphrases and concepts that spread from person to person are known as memes, which, courtesy the Internet, can now explode across the Earth like a highly contagious virus (hence "going viral"). As with their real-life counterparts, some infectious diseases are global (pandemic), while others are endemic to specific regions.

Stack Overflow, and now even more predominantly Meta Stack Overflow, have seen more than their fair share of these pathological social constructs spread through the user base. They are now ingrained units of our collective culture as SOpedians (a term which I hate, by the way).

Just as travelers' immune systems can be assaulted by new diseases in new places, new users are increasingly likely to be miffed by an ingrained meme and left sitting scratching their heads. I therefore propose that this space be used to document the memes endemic to Stack Exchange's culture.

Each meme should be listed separately and I hope that we as a community will be able to provide greater context to each one.

Please actually explain each meme in a way understandable to those not already in the know.

Return to FAQ index

On other Stack Exchange sites

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24  
Wasn't sure whether to add Joda Time (as the default answer for any Java date/time question). I don't think it really counts as a meme though... –  Jon Skeet Sep 1 '09 at 20:22
70  
faq? I'd call this just an aq –  John the Seagull Sep 1 '09 at 22:32
24  
Meh. People ask this stuff? It's merely a q. –  Shogging through the snow Sep 2 '09 at 3:13
11  
You hate "SOpedians"??? I'm going to kill a pony in revenge. –  Stu Thompson Sep 2 '09 at 15:44
11  
@Shog9: The a in aq stands for "answered", not "asked" :-) –  John the Seagull Sep 5 '09 at 15:06
2  
Does, the "jump the shark" qualify? What is it all about? –  OscarRyz Sep 11 '09 at 19:02
26  
@Oscar Reyes - "Jump the shark" is a phrase inspired by a popular TV show (Happy Days) when it's main character (Fonzie) was skiing towards a fishy death, only to evade it at the last minute via upwards aerial propulsion. It is used to describe a deus ex machina in a story that seems unrealistic, as if the writer had written him- or herself into a corner and couldn't come up with any feasible way to save the hero. It means the show is out of good ideas and is past its prime, and must use gimmicks (like aquatic carnivore leaping) to draw in audiences. The principle can easily be generalized. –  Super Long Names are Hilarious Oct 1 '09 at 5:45
16  
Please note: "Jump the shark" has specific meaning in the Jeff/Joel context: see here: codinghorror.com/blog/archives/000679.html –  Benjol Oct 29 '09 at 11:05
8  
What (TF) is "Cultural Height"? 6 ft 2 inches??? –  user135186 Dec 12 '09 at 5:26
45  
This question belongs on Meta-Meta –  JoelFan Feb 25 '11 at 18:33
3  
This whole page has me laughing out loud. –  Maxpm Jun 29 '11 at 5:07
3  
Meme? a meme is a funny joke with stick figures and funny faces..... curse you wikipedia. –  Gabe Dec 12 '11 at 18:17
1  
I don't understand mulching. Can someone please define it? –  Andy Thomas Dec 12 '11 at 18:25
37  
You should totally drop those memes and try jQuery. –  Alex Coplan Dec 14 '11 at 10:17

54 Answers 54

Meme: Rep Whore

Originator: ?

First Heard: September 19, 2008

Definition: Stack Overflow users who post questions or answers for the sole benefit of accumulating as many reputation points as possible, without regard to the technical merit or the contribution to the system.

Background: The term "whore" has been applied to many features of Stack Overflow — badge whores, question whores, karma whores — but the most pervasive term has been the title of "rep whore." The earliest use of this term I could find was in the comments of this answer, but its usage predates this example.

Examples:

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23  
The term "karma whore" has been used on slashdot for at least a decade for essentially the same thing – cynically making posts that align with the groupthink in order to gain karma. –  John Fouhy Sep 2 '09 at 0:23
19  
@rcartaino Leave it - it's important people understand why TheTXI is the way he is. And why he has so much rep. –  Jared Harley Sep 2 '09 at 3:59
2  
@rcartaino: It's fine to leave it. I was just pointing out that we've been rep whoring longer than we've been talking about it. –  Bill the Lizard Sep 2 '09 at 13:56
4  
rep farming is a WoW term. –  Paul Nathan Sep 2 '09 at 17:49
6  
Rep whoring is as old as politics. Reputation or Representative, take your pick. –  Kelly S. French Nov 11 '09 at 19:39

Meme: Bart

Originator: Bart, in chat

Cultural Height: The usage of the iconic glasses as profile images by multiple users.

Background: Bart, his glasses, his smiting stick and his stars are legendary in the Tavern on the Meta, as evident from the topic of the room "MY GOD, IT'S FULL OF STARS!"

Usage: If Bart posts a message, ★ it!

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4  
Glasses @TGMCians. Glasses ... –  Bart Nov 20 at 14:19
2  
It could only be done by a nemesis @ShadowWizard. –  Infinite Happiness Nov 20 at 15:02
4  
a memesis? facepalms himself –  Vogel612's Shadow Nov 20 at 15:49
1  
Yay @InfiniteRecursion. Well deserved. –  Bart Dec 13 at 18:13

Meme: GIF of fox jumping in the snow

Originator: TGMCians, in chat

Cultural height: TBD

Background: TGMCians posted the animated GIF of the fox jumping in the snow in chat, and later, the image was posted several times and some people even added it to the "about me" on their profile. The fox GIF looks like this:

Fox GIF

The fox is actually catching a mouse buried beneath the snow.

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Meme: EmoWolf

Originator: Boothby

**Cultural Height:**April 2014

Background: One type of challenge on Code Golf is called King of the Hill, which consists of writing an AI for a game specified in the challenge. Boothby submitted this entry which killed itself on the first turn.

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Meme: Jon Skeet

Originator: Jon Skeet

Cultural Height: Every Day. Ever.

Background: Jon Skeet is an avid user of Stack Overflow, whose many answers (primarily in and ) have earned him hundreds of thousands of reputation points. This makes him the top-ranked SO user.

Related: Jon Skeet Facts.

share|improve this answer
136  
He even gets the most upvotes as a meme!! –  akf Sep 2 '09 at 2:13
35  
6 to 8 weeks surpassed Jon Skeet, it only took 6 to 8 weeks. –  Ólafur Waage Nov 4 '09 at 23:06
30  
Jon Skeet is now above 6 to 8 weeks, and it did not take 6 to 8 weeks. Only Jon Skeet can bypass this rule! –  Ólafur Waage Nov 16 '09 at 21:32
46  
I thought Mum Skeet was the originator of Jon?... –  Locutus Apr 23 '10 at 12:39
7  
@Locutus: Jon Skeet coded himself in lisp so that he could go on to invent assembly language. –  intuited Apr 12 '11 at 2:39
7  
John Skeet is a computer programmer program (which programs computer programmer programs). –  muntoo Apr 27 '11 at 5:29
3  
Jon Skeet is the new Chuck Norris meme? Amazing sure, but why the caveman idolatry? Skeet skeet. –  one.beat.consumer Feb 2 '12 at 7:15
13  
Once, I told my friend about Jon and he was so impressed, he googled it. But he made one major fatal mistake he never expected...He typed "Jon" as "John". To no surprise, our entire district was blacklisted by Google. –  Hele Apr 18 '13 at 4:16

Meme: Oscillation

Originator: asdf_enel_hak

First Heard: February 3rd, 2013 (Deleted. >10k only. Screenshot for mortals)

Cultural Height: Oscillates between then and now

Definition: The repetitive variation, typically in time, of some measure about a central value (often a point of equilibrium) or between two or more different states (Wikipedia). Familiar examples include a swinging pendulum, AC power, and a fickle mind.

Background: A user experienced an existential crisis and, as a result of "a changing mind", started to "think larger", "in any direction". This led him on an answer-unaccepting spree, subverting (or, in his own words, oscillating) the accept system by taking away the well-deserved 15 reputation from every user who had hitherto answered his questions to his satisfaction, as well as the 2 reputation that was originally awarded to himself for accepting the answers to begin with.

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13  
It still brings tears to my eyes when I recall I was there for the creation. No, really. –  J. Steen Feb 6 '13 at 14:28
1  
Personally I prefer this form of oscillation –  Yi Jiang Feb 6 '13 at 14:34
4  
This has bled over IRL for me; I've started using this as my answer at home as well. "Why aren't the dishes done?" "Oscillation." –  LittleBobbyTables Feb 12 '13 at 18:51
1  
The original answer has been deleted. Screenshot here. –  Arjan Jul 29 '13 at 6:53
3  
Noooo, the answer got deleted?! That answer was amazing! :P But seriously, it's linked to all over the place; I'm going to have to get 10k on meta just to vote to undelete it :( (@Cody) –  Doorknob 冰 Jul 29 '13 at 13:14
1  
@Arjan Noooooooo –  Doorknob 冰 Aug 14 '13 at 1:35

Meme: Freehand Circles

Originator: TheTXI

Cultural Height: TBD

(freehand-circled text) Background: Whenever screenshots are submitted, it is good practice to try and point the user to what you are talking about through the usage of arrows and shapes to lead one's eye. The greatest of these tools is the circle, and it has become customary to give cheap upvotes to users who painstakingly draw circles free hand and do not rely on lazy shape tools that give soulless circles devoid of personality. It has also become customary to unjustly punish users who refrain from using freehand circles, or who eschew the practice of circling important information altogether.¶ The effectiveness of freehand circles to illustrate screenshots can be further augmented via the usage of drop shadows. It has been shown that special combinations of freehand circles and drop shadows in unison have led to spontaneous erotic climax.

See Also: Here, and Here as answer to this post

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14  
I find the circle tool accomplishes the task faster than using the freehand tool. ... We're not designers! –  chakrit Sep 2 '09 at 19:29
207  
@chakrit: You have no soul. –  TheTXI Sep 2 '09 at 19:42
14  
Memo to self: Use the pen instead of the mouse to draw circles, that way they have a soul and can look great at the same time. –  Joey Nov 27 '09 at 17:29
33  
Ultimate combination: freehand circle and arrow, with drop shadow, on a picture with faded torn edge borders (themselves with drop shadow!). See stackoverflow.com/questions/2295414/… –  VonC Feb 19 '10 at 12:05
8  
I like scary monks much better! –  Arjan Jan 31 '11 at 18:11
16  
...I couldn't help myself. This post needed more freehand circles. –  ElfSlice May 5 '11 at 0:35
1  
Made me think of Steve Lord's famous SirJester quote- Auditor "are you trying to run rings round me?"; SirJester "Of course not, these are COBIT compliant control ellipses" –  Rory Alsop Jul 19 '11 at 10:12
9  
Feature request for image editors: Freehand-Looking circle tool. –  Gaelan Jul 22 '13 at 0:21

Meme: jQuery

Originator: Unknown (possibly Ólafur Waage)

Cultural Height: TBD

Background: A Stack Overflow-centric meme, jQuery began its career early on as the answer to beat for any question that even remotely referenced JavaScript. Its popularity became so great that eventually jQuery became the default answer to any potential question on Stack Overflow no matter how ridiculous.

Usage: "Hey, I see you are trying to connect to that Oracle database using C++. You should totally drop that and try jQuery."

See Also: Greasemonkey (Meta Stack Overflow equivalent)

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338  
I see you're trying to blame me for a meme. You should totally drop that and try jQuery. –  Ólafur Waage Sep 2 '09 at 9:22
7  
I'd like to point out that since 1.4 dropped the answer to every jQuery question has been to use the new $.live() functionality. –  Hogan Feb 23 '10 at 18:43
123  
6  
@jeff - You've got me lol'ing - Oh wow, that's good. –  Adam Davis Apr 23 '10 at 2:06
34  
omg that screenshot is priceless :D –  wildpeaks Dec 21 '10 at 22:55
3  
11  
-1 not enough jQuery in this answer ;D –  Ephraim Apr 26 '12 at 19:51
2  
4  
It's deleted :( –  Joe the Person Jul 15 '12 at 17:43
10  
I think jQuery is the way to bring this question back. –  Yamaneko Oct 11 '12 at 0:06
2  
I bet the screenshot by @JeffAtwood was made using jQuery, perhaps with some Greasemonkey included. –  Simon André Forsberg Sep 20 '13 at 16:35
1  
jQuery? Use Python! (It has import antigravity!) –  Mew May 4 at 0:30

Meme: 6 to 8 Weeks

Originator: Jeff Atwood

First Heard: May 13th, 2008

Cultural Height: In about 6 to 8 weeks

Definition: The time estimate given "off the top of my head" when the Stack Overflow team has only a vague idea of how long a task will take because they have little-to-no formal scheduling or even a list of tasks.

Background:

Taken from the transcript of Podcast 005, from 03 min 18 secs

Atwood: Some people have been asking about scheduling, and I want to clarify, I've been telling people six to eight weeks until we get to what we call our private beta of Stack Overflow. [dialog deleted] ...And I've also been getting some very very nice emails from people that want to help in some way and contribute, and I've been inviting those people into our private beta... uh... later on. So

Spolsky: Wait how do you invite what? Through what mechanism do you invite them into our private beta?

Atwood: Basically they email me directly and then, I add them to the list. And then six weeks from now...

Spolsky: Oh. And you have like a notepad file type thing.

Atwood: Pretty much, it's just a basic text file. But yeah, it's hard to manage having a bunch of people contributing at this point, cause we're still in very much the formative of stages. But certainly once we get into private beta, I want tons of people to look at it and provide feedback at that point. So if you can postpone your desire for about six weeks, uh, we'll get you.

Spolsky: So how do you get this 6 to 8 weeks? What's this based on? Did you like make some tasks that you want to complete?

Atwood: uh no, I er.. That's just sort of... err... off the top of my head

Spolsky: [laughs] Well okay, you're doomed Jeff. There's some controversy. You, sir, are doomed, because you don't know what things you have to do.

Atwood: Yes. I know, I know.

Reference: Podcast 005

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146  
There's a WEBSITE for that?!? LMFAO! –  chakrit Sep 2 '09 at 19:04
14  
Some people have waaay too much money. –  Henri Watson Sep 10 '09 at 20:33
1  
OMG this is hilar! –  xanadont Oct 14 '09 at 17:53
35  
Reticulating Splines is from Sim City. –  Brad Gilbert Oct 19 '09 at 22:35
17  
The Sim City 2000 random map generator to be exact. It has since appeared as a joke in other (mostly Maxis/now EA) software. –  David Nov 5 '09 at 14:39
7  
I just watched Madagascar 2 in German - and the penguins said when asked how long it will take to fix the plane after the crash: "Oh, we should be ready in about 6 to 8 months..." Coincidence? ;) –  Spontifixus May 18 '13 at 18:56
42  
The site is down :( isup.me/http://www.cznp.com/6to8weeks/index.php. It probably won't be up for another six to eight weeks... –  gsingh2011 Jul 19 '13 at 22:01
1  
Wow, Jeff Atwood takes more fake hypothetical time to implement things than Jick (of KoL). Kingdom of Loathing has exactly the same meme, except in Jicktime, it's "2 weeks". –  neminem Nov 19 '13 at 21:32

Meme: Welbog has no body

Originator: Welbog (note linking to welbog)

Cultural Height: TBD

Background: This meme began with Welbog's feature request for a brain interface for post humans

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6  
I think it takes at least more than 24 hours for something to be considered a meme. –  gnostradamus Sep 10 '09 at 16:46
3  
I'm so confused... I was given to understand that Welbog was a maple tree: meta.stackoverflow.com/posts/18113/… –  Shogging through the snow Sep 10 '09 at 16:47
1  
@gnovice: please save your comments for an answer documenting the "everything is a meme" meme. –  Shogging through the snow Sep 10 '09 at 16:48
3  
@gnostradamus It actually takes 6 to 8 weeks. –  J. Steen Feb 6 '13 at 14:17

Meme: Oh! the huge Manatee!

Originator: The image already existed as a general Internet Meme, it was used first on a scared question by voyager.

First Heard: Stickers for non US residents? on Sep 17 '09.

Cultural Height: It pops up every now and then.

Background: ---

Trivia: ---.

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Meme: Neckbeards

Originator: user3184074 and "my forum websites"

Cultural Height: ongoing?

First Seen: http://meta.stackexchange.com/q/215805/ (meta 10kers only)

Background: Some random guy typed up a page-long rant with copious amounts of allcaps and calling people "neckbeards," which is apparently (slang) A nerd; a dweeb., although in the context he used it nobody is entirely sure what it means.

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Meme: You insensitive clod!

Originator: sixlettervariables

First Heard: June 9, 2012

Cultural Height: TBD

Background: After a question was asked suggesting that Stack Overflow modify their logo for holidays and events, sixlettervariables suggested that an imagined response from users might be: "Omigerd you left out Important Day X you insensitive clods!"

Related:

Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson

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3  
I'm pretty sure this originated on Slashdot and just carried over. I had not read the comment cited here before inferring the same about George Edison under his answer on the same question :) –  Tim Post Jun 9 '12 at 17:23
2  
Originally a Slashdot Meme, does that matter? :-P –  Martijn Pieters Jun 9 '12 at 17:24
7  
Yes, this is definitely a Slashdot meme, lots of people use it quite often. @Ben - you insensitive clod! –  Tim Post Jun 9 '12 at 17:27
2  
I thought phrases had to be used more than once to become memes. –  mmyers Jun 9 '12 at 18:30

Meme: Meta Meta Meta....

Originator: Pollyanna

Cultural Height: March 12th, 2010

Background: It was first fully realized with Pollyanna's posting of Question Title That Doesn't Describe The Problem it has since been regarded as the goto question for when you wish to talk about talking about talking about meta.

Further Background: It has existed before this question, but the tag has not existed and it was not as widespread.

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Meme: Caching (“caching, it's always caching”)

Originator: Jonathan Sampson (here)

Cultural height: just now

Background: Many "s" turn out to be a caching issue (client-side, or server-side, or in between) resolving itself later due to a cache refresh. Currently there are over 750 comments on Meta mentioning caching.

Taken to new heights while troubleshooting OAuth:

Too bad I couldn't clear the cache on my high school dancing... probably why my senior prom silently failed. Never saw my date or my wallet again.

Derived meme: “localization, it's always localization”, which appeared during the preparation work for Stack Overflow in Portuguese. And sometimes it's localization caching!

share|improve this answer
5  
I cannot believe this was never here until now. –  psubsee2003 Feb 16 at 17:39
6  
@psubsee2003 Are you sure you weren't looking at a cached version? ;) –  Travis J Feb 16 at 18:12
4  
@juergen why the rollback? Care to explain what was wrong in the edit? –  Shadow Wizard Mar 9 at 12:17
1  
@ShadowWizard: I just liked my revision more. –  juergen d Mar 9 at 13:42

Meme: Linking to Welbog

Origin: jjnguy / Shog9 / mmyers

Cultural Height: Linking to Welbog never goes out of style, but technically late July, 2009

Background: Started by jjnguy with this answer, as a genuine recognition of Welbog's brilliance. It was made into a meme by mmyers and Shog9 minutes later here and here.

share|improve this answer
1  
Pesto...I did it first just for the record...check the edit history. –  jjnguy Sep 1 '09 at 21:12
4  
jjnguy: Don't just sit there fabricating lies to make yourself seem important; edit the answer to add those lies. Jerk. –  Hilarious Comedy Pesto Sep 1 '09 at 21:18
1  
Fixed –  jjnguy Sep 1 '09 at 21:25
7  
1  
I have to upvote this answer because my name is mentioned. Also, see here for another good link. –  mmyers Sep 8 '09 at 15:20

Meme: Meta effect.

Originator: Mat (?)

Mentioned: MSO comments, Sep 8 2011

Background: Increase of voting activities observed in main site posts that have been exposed at meta. Most ironic when someone complaining to Meta about "unfair downvotes" on another site gets more downvotes. Also seen: closing, re-opening, deleting etc. Often the opposite of the desired result for the user who came to Meta about the specific question.

Cultural height: Low (seen infrequently in MSO comments).

share|improve this answer

Meme: name change to "Tim something".

Originator: Tim Post (?)

Mentioned: Tavern, May 14 2012

Background: Extraordinary ping-ability of the name @Tim.

Three Tims for the Elven-devs in the Tavern,
Seven for the Moderation-overlords in their halls of 01100010011010010111010001110011,
Nine for New Users doomed to downvotes,
One for the Jeff Atwood on his dark throne
In the Land of Horror where the Coding lies.
One Tim to rule them all, One Tim to find them,
One Tim to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the Land of Horror where the Coders lie.

- Anonymous

Cultural height: TBD.

Usage specifics: Put a space after Tim in order to get notifications when pinged @Tim.

share|improve this answer
6  
I'd say the originator was Tim Post. –  Cody Gray May 14 '12 at 22:29
3  
I am unfortunately to blame for that. Not my finest idea by any stretch. –  Tim Post Nov 16 '12 at 9:05
1  
Like this? Tim Burr! –  einsteinsci Jan 14 at 6:14

Meme: "Updating the Changing name Meme Answer"

Originator: Brad Gilbert

First Heard: Answer posted at Oct 19 at 23:28. First written acknowledgment of meme status was 2009-11-28.

Cultural Height: 2009-11-28, when it was crushed down by a locking.

Background: Answer to The Many Memes of Meta question, it had become custom to keep it updated whenever a user changed his/her/its name.

Controversy: Thanks to a big effort of the community, the answer was kept updated regularly, being edited sometimes several times in a single day. This ongoing edition of that particular answer, kept bumping The Many Memes of Meta question to the front page, something that started to bother some users. In an attempt to stop the ongoing edition, moderator Kyle Cronin ♦ decided to lock the answer in question, sparking some controversy. Most moderators and half users, including Jeff Atwood ♦, supported the decision at the time.

To be updated daily for the next 30 days.

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10  
If this is updated daily, I will pillage your village !! –  Ólafur Waage Nov 28 '09 at 17:42
14  
Some legal advice: to sidestep the pillaging, update it hourly. –  alex Nov 28 '09 at 18:35

Meme: A Stack Overflow Carol

Originator: Tim Post

Cultural Height: Christmas

About: One day near Christmas 2011, Tim Post decided to change his name to Tiny Tim, a character from Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol. That prompted other users to change their names to other characters from the story, including...

And one character from a different Christmas story:

And yet another character from yet another Christmas story:

And from other holiday related things:

  • Shog9 - Nine Shogs Shogging

  • Kev - The AntiSanta

  • Pubby - Santa Claus

This occured again near Christmas, 2012 where the Stack Exchange moderators invited all to join in actual meta-carols, and again in 2013.

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Meme: Always Friday in Iceland

Originator: Ólafur Waage (?)

Cultural Height: TBD

Background: While programmers enjoy Friday Afternoons they've also been known to do things other than work during the week. So Shog9 created the tag, because we all know those Icelanders are always making jokes.

share|improve this answer
2  
Cf. Friday afternoon –  mmyers Jun 23 '10 at 18:18
2  
@MatrixFrog Please do not abuse the <kbd> tag - kbd abuse, as Meta users should well know, is punishable by castle banishment. –  Yi Jiang Dec 22 '10 at 8:43
6  
What, you guys don't have an always-friday-in-iceland key on your keyboards? –  intuited Apr 12 '11 at 4:07

Meme: Calvin and Hobbes-rolling

Originator: Pekka, Collaborator: Tim Manishearth

Cultural Height:

enter image description here

Background: In an effort to make it more fun for users who try and get around the question-asking ban on Stack Overflow by asking their wildly off-topic questions on Meta, it's now possible to get a customized "Calvin and Hobbes" answer, free of charge.

It aims to replace the "we get a hundred off-topic programming posts a day AAARGH!" complaint of MSO users with "Sweet! A hundred comic strips a day!"

There's now a script that aids C&H-rollers in their nefarious deeds.

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8  
Special bonus: lengthy suspensions for the hapless question-askers. –  Robert Harvey Jun 6 '12 at 6:21
4  
On a serious note: doesn't this somehow tell oblivious folks that it's okay to post unrelated "answers"? –  Arjan Jun 10 '12 at 8:43
1  
Of course, with the description above all is clear, @Robert. But when posted as "This is an interesting question, to which I don't know the answer, but I have this comic" things might not be that clear at all, I feel. Keep in mind the OP didn't even understand they were posting off topic to start with. I'm afraid they won't see the sarcasm in such response either. (But then indeed: I also don't know if that makes things worse.) –  Arjan Jun 10 '12 at 16:30
2  
@Arjan: I'd guess the 2/3 of all misguided posters are question banned on SO and will stop collaborating anyway (if it can be called that). The other 1/3 just missed the "Ask Question" button, landed on Meta, failed to recognize the different theme, did not notice the obscure must-have-tags which no other question on SO has and completely ignored any other hint that they are wrong...possibility that those become 'valuable' collaborators is...well...not so hot either. ... But you can show me examples to proof me wrong, please! –  Time Traveling Bobby Jun 18 '12 at 8:31
3  
@Arjan: I've gotten one response from a cartoon. It was: "Ah, yeah, you're right, posted in the wrong place. Sorry about that." Most of these folks are question-banned on SO; they know very well what they are doing. They want us to migrate their off-topic question to Stack Overflow. –  Robert Harvey Jun 18 '12 at 14:48

Meme: The Tim Stone Bat Signal

Tim Stone Signal

Originator: animuson in chat

Cultural Height: TBD

Background: User Tim Stone is well known for his in-depth knowledge of the system and his ability to find/answer questions. After the Trogdor the Burninator request image was created, a "Summon Tim Stone" image was created to summon Tim to investigate a bug report.

Usage: Comment / add to the end of a answer the image: http://i.stack.imgur.com/UjhhD.png. Also works in MSO chat, apparently.

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6  
Tim Stone signal for the win! –  Sathya Jul 20 '12 at 13:40

Meme: Greasemonkey

Originator: Jonathan Sampson

Cultural Height: First month of Meta Stack Overflow's existence.

Background: Greasemonkey originated as an offshoot of the Stack Overflow jQuery meme. This is due to the high frequency of requests by users for certain types of functionality for the Stack Overflow family of websites, many of which were easily solved using custom Greasemonkey scripts. Before long nearly every feature request could be seen as solvable through some type of Greasemonkey script (whether for real or just in the imagination of a commenter).

See Also: jQuery (Stack Overflow predecessor)

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Meme: Oy

Origin: rchern

Cultural Height: TBD

First Seen: MSO Chat, probably in The Tavern

Background: Not completely known. Some believe it is the Jewish / Yiddish phrase "Oy Vey". Others like Michael Myers believe "It's 'yo' backwards. [Because] everything is backwards in Missouri.". "Oy" most frequently shows up in MSO chat, with at least 2 - 5 "oy"s showing up per day

alt text

Also, roughly 85% of the time "oy" is said in chat, that message receives at least one if not multiple stars. Some like Yi Jiang believe "oy"s are a form of currency.

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9  
"oy" could refer to representation of Russian word "оу"(cyrillic) which means "Oh" in English. And considering that surname Chernoff (the surname of user rchern) has Russian roots it could be right explanation of oy's nature . –  igor milla Mar 22 '11 at 18:17
2  
@igormilla oy, it's obviously currency. –  Xeoncross Feb 22 '12 at 21:08
5  
Might also be related to Oi? –  Junuxx Jun 3 '12 at 14:40
1  
In Brazilian Portuguese it's "hello". –  JMCF125 Dec 30 '13 at 15:09

Meme: "The Great Mythical Rep Re-Calc"

Originator: ???

First Heard: (by me? two minutes ago. but I'm really awesome. Really sez so, so it's gotta be true, right?)

Cultural Height: 5'3" without shoes. Or so I've heard.

Background: Apparent fears of downvote weights increasing among the general user population. Rep-whores in fear for their ill-gotten points. Due to arrive in six to eight weeks, although it's possible my leg is being pulled.

Official Response: The Great Mythical Rep Re-Calc occurred in March, 2010. Rumors now grow of another Great Rep Re-Calc. It could occur in as little as 6-8 weeks...

More research is needed.

The other shoe dropped Feb 27, 2011. Nothing will ever be the same.

The final shoe dropped almost exactly a year later. Everything will always be the same (where "everything" encompasses only "display rep" and "actual rep").

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7  
You mean the great mythical rep recalc. :) Like unicorns, we don't know that it actually exists in anything but our wildest fantasies. It's promised to arrive "in six to eight weeks". –  Ether Nov 4 '09 at 1:31

Meme: Fastest Gun in the West (FGITW)

Originator: Omer van Kloeten

First Heard: September 11th, 2008

Definition: A problem identified as a side-effect of sorting votes by descending score where first-posted answers are quickly up-voted, trumping vote opportunities for people who sit down and answer a question in a long, thorough way.

Background: This problem was originally identified on UserVoice.com and reposted to meta.stackexchange.com here: Fastest Gun in the West Problem. Whether the FGITW problem is actually a problem has been a source of controversy. Many considered it a feature — get fast answers, by design. Various solutions were suggested including this one (Randomly reorder all answers posted within 10 minutes of each other), which was eventually implemented, inciting another protest labeled "The Slowest Cheater in the East (SCITE) problem".

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3  
This is not a meme, this is just an acronym. –  GEOCHET Sep 1 '09 at 22:29
31  
A meme is a catchphrase or concept. "Fastest Gun in the West" qualifies on both accounts (which just happens to have a convenient acronym). –  Robert Cartaino Sep 1 '09 at 22:38
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Or is it an initialism? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acronym_and_initialism –  Christopher Galpin Sep 21 '09 at 4:40
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@Christopher Galpin: Agreed. FGITW is an initialism (is not pronounced as a word, cf. MVC, PHP), SCITE is an acronym (can be pronounced as a word, cf. NATO, laser). –  alastairs Nov 11 '09 at 18:11
7  
I beg to differ. Fuh-Get-Wuh. (Actually, the last syllable would probably be better represented with a schwa.) C'mon, we're computer guys, we pronounce every initialism! (Hello, WSDL?) –  John Rudy Nov 20 '09 at 22:48

Meme: The Language That Must Not Be Named (or Brainf_ck)

Originator: Unclear. The censorship of the Language That Must Not Be Named has been around for a long time. However, the question that caused the ensuing war was asked by user Jon B in response to the favorite esoteric language question on Stack Overflow, where several people (notably Lance Roberts, myself, and, appropriately, He Who Must Not Be Named) were engaged in a low-intensity edit war.

Cultural Height: TBD

Background: The little question that started the big war was asked by Jon B after a certain more liberal (on this issue, at least - I can't speak for his personal or political beliefs) moderator asked that the term be preserved, as it is the name of the language. Several users replied, generating much heated debate and some equally heated flaming. The conflict lasted for several hours, generating 13 upvotes on two answers in favor of the term being used unaltered, 9 in favor of it being used but resigned that it probably shouldn't be, and several others, along with a notable (and rather noble) answer by Lance out-and-out opposed to the word that generated an impressive -19 votes. Then Jeff Atwood came in, edited (and locked) all posts to use the censored form, and effectively ended the debate.

Further Background: It should be noted that the accepted answer, while a good answer (it received an upvote from me), is not representative of the highest "community-choice" answer (and isn't meant to be - Jon B said he picked the answer he most agreed with, since there really doesn't seem to be an answer everyone can agree on in this situation).

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6  
WOW! I am new to the site and had never read this question. It saddens me to see that we are below the level of Wikipedia in formality. –  user150068 Sep 9 '10 at 23:00

Meme: Burninated

Origin: Possibly Jeff Atwood / Strongbad: Trogdor the Burninator

Cultural Height: 2010 - 2011

Background: Used in reference to deleting a tag from the system.

See Also: The official burninated dragon *New proposed graphics, Trogdor the Video Game.

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2  
Oh wow, the whole time I thought Jeff or someone else on the team made up that drawing as the pluralization mascot turned tag deleter. –  Jeff Mercado Aug 9 '11 at 5:24
1  
Also addressed at The true meaning of burninate (but the answer is basically just this answer, copy-pasted) –  Pops Feb 29 '12 at 16:31

Meme: Changing your display name on a whim.
Originator: Welbog
Cultural Height: TBD
Official Response: Limited to one change every 30 days.
Background: User Welbog likes to change his profile whenever it will make a post of his seem funnier. Other times it seems to just be on a whim. He will also edit his "About Me" text, to fit in with his current display name.

Also independently started by voyager in response to a post asking what constituted spam, trying to convey that some users are spam, comedic effect enhanced by answering in a post complaining about the Amazon Monty Python ads appearing when first introduced. After that, it just degenerated into a neverending competition with welbog to out do the wackiness of the other user's changes.

Other changes of management

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7  
This is no meme and voyager did it before Welbog. –  Ladybug Killer Oct 27 '09 at 16:11
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This is the first I've seen of this answer. You're missing "Colonel Cockpounder", "Colonel C", "Chicago Ted", "Susan Papadismouslauaslagwhatever" (what was the exact spelling of that?) and "I'm really awesome. Really.". You're not very good at stalking me, meta. –  XMLbog Nov 2 '09 at 21:00
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Oh yeah, I was "Ouèlbogue" for a little while, too. You missed that. –  XMLbog Nov 2 '09 at 21:05
1  
@mmyers: no, it wasn't your imagination, it was the drugs talking. I'm not sure if mine or yours. –  perbert Nov 5 '09 at 0:15
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It should stay open and attract all the downvotes that it can. –  random Nov 6 '09 at 22:55
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I actually like this post. Upon reflection, I decided to upvote it. But maybe that's because I'm flattered to be on this list, where I really don't belong. :) –  John Rudy Nov 7 '09 at 7:05
12  
I'm starting to hate this meme. –  Ólafur Waage Nov 10 '09 at 22:04
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+1 because, while this isn't a popular meme, it is a meme. –  Super Long Names are Hilarious Nov 11 '09 at 22:38
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Are you seriously going to try to keep this post up-to-date? It's a losing battle. –  mmyers Nov 18 '09 at 18:45
5  
The inaccuracies of this answer are almost compelling enough for me to go in and fix them. I had to stop myself twice in the last minute from editing it. It's very hard. Also, who has been upvoting this? I liked it better when it was at the bottom of the thread where I could find it easily to see how wrong you guys always are. –  XMLbog Nov 18 '09 at 20:43
1  
I fixed Welbog's inaccuracy just to spite Welbog, but I refuse to add myself. –  Super Long Names are Hilarious Nov 18 '09 at 21:35
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Why are you deleting it? Think of the children! –  Super Long Names are Hilarious Nov 19 '09 at 3:08
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Seriously though, why would anyone want to delete this great track in history? –  random Nov 20 '09 at 1:17
2  
Wow I had no idea that this was being tracked in such detail.. I should have picked a better post to be chronicled here than my drunken rant :) –  Ether Nov 21 '09 at 1:46
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@The thanks! :) We at P.G. Rep Mining Co. are committed to top-notch, optimized rep extraction in a changing world - with our environment in mind. We were voted the world's top sustainable rep extractor in 2010. –  Pëkka Dec 10 '11 at 17:08

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