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Notification email from stackoverflow contains “<3” after zip code

When I received an e-mail from the Stack Overflow team this morning, there was a niggling "<3" at the end. I've seen this in various e-mails, not just from Stack Overflow.

Here's what it it looks like:

stackoverflow.com LLC, PO Box 1361, El Cerrito CA 94530 <3

Here's the source:

<html>
<head></head>
<body>
stackoverflow.com LLC, PO Box 1361, El Cerrito CA 94530 
<span title="because we care" style="color:maroon">&lt;3</span></span>
</p>
</body>
</html>

What could cause this? Is it an HTML character that Outlook does not render correctly? Or is Jeff trying to send me secret messages?

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Jan 7 '10 at 15:42

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

marked as duplicate by Jon Skeet, Robert Cartaino, Marc Gravell Jan 7 '10 at 15:53

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

4  
It means heart. –  Daniel A. White Jan 7 '10 at 15:40
4  
I think it's Jeff trying to send you secret messages. –  Tor Valamo Jan 7 '10 at 15:40
1  
Even, you know better than to ask this here... –  Jonathan Sampson Jan 7 '10 at 15:41
7  
What is love? Baby, don't hurt me. –  Jonathan Feinberg Jan 7 '10 at 15:43
    
I know this just got migrated, but the reason I asked on SO instead of Meta was that I searched google for "<3" and found nothing. It wasn't until writing up the question that I searched on "&lt;3" that I figured out that it was a heart. I thought that it would be a useful (albeit fun) question to ask there. –  Even Mien Jan 7 '10 at 15:48
    
I'm almost sure I've seen this question before, but it's not in the 'email' tag. And as you said, it's hard to search for. –  mmyers Jan 7 '10 at 15:50
    
3  
Unicode​​​​ FTW! ♥ –  bobince Jan 7 '10 at 16:23
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4 Answers 4

up vote 4 down vote accepted

It's a sideways heart. The person sending the email is being cute.

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It's because they care, but only to the extent of 2 care units (less than 3).

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Stack Overflow loves you! <3

This is the actual code in the email:

<span title="because we care" style="color:maroon">&lt;3</span>
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Its the symbol for love, a heart, expressing gratitude for reading their email and being a member of this community. <3

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