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I know that lots of people get help from the site everyday, and in general it is a great site. I love answering questions and getting answers for other knowledgeable programmers.

But.....

There is probably one feature, one thing about Stack Overflow (or related sites) that gets me annoyed. That is my question: What is the one feature about Stack Overflow that annoys you.

Post the features/bugs/habits up and if someone has already said it, give them an upvote.

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closed as not constructive by kiamlaluno, Al E., yhw42, jonsca, Toon Krijthe Sep 25 '12 at 7:28

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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This is a duplicate that is the mother of all duplicates. To get an idea of what annoys people the most, simply search in the [bug] or [feature-request] tags and sort by highest votes. –  Ether Feb 1 '10 at 19:05
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@AEther: Not necessarily true. A bad feature doesn't have to be a non-feature or a bug. –  Jonathan Sampson Feb 1 '10 at 19:09
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Why would someone vote to close this as "Not Stack Overflow related"? This is a good question to have on meta. –  Troggy Feb 2 '10 at 1:22
    
is it friday already? –  Matt Feb 2 '10 at 14:51
5  
@Matt is ALWAYS Friday in Iceland.... –  Tyler Carter Feb 2 '10 at 17:27
1  
Wow, it's amazing that not many of these are serious (meaning both not-funny and show-stopping)....guess that means the staff is doing a great job. :D –  Gordon Gustafson Feb 4 '10 at 21:21
    
Bounty put only to make a "supervote", it will be given to the most upvoted answer. –  Gnoupi Jul 6 '10 at 16:38
    
@Gnoupi You should be able to assign that bounty now. –  Grace Note Jul 7 '10 at 17:07
    
@Grace - indeed, supervote away! –  Gnoupi Jul 7 '10 at 17:41
1  
How is this not-constructive again? –  Dan Dascalescu Feb 25 at 8:06

30 Answers 30

up vote 105 down vote accepted
+100

Meta questions describing clearly broken behaviour closed as "status-bydesign" when Jeff really means "closed-because-I-say-so".

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22  
A superupvote would come in handy right now! –  alex Feb 1 '10 at 19:08
5  
+1 Even though this isn't a feature, I must still upvote after the response I got from this question: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/36049/… - I love what Atwood has done as much as the next guy, but bugs are bugs :) –  Jonathan Sampson Feb 1 '10 at 19:11
36  
I am superdownvoting this answer. –  Jeff Atwood Feb 1 '10 at 19:16
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status-I-could-care-less and status-get-off-my-lawn are more appropriate. –  alex Feb 1 '10 at 19:17
30  
@pi: wouldn't it be couldn't-care-less? –  perbert Feb 1 '10 at 19:20
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I agree with pi, this needs a superduperupvote. :-) –  Brian Knoblauch Feb 2 '10 at 13:27
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This is one of my favorite features. While I disagree with the Atwood from time to time, I appreciate having a clear and dedicated site owner. It's not easy to say no, especially when we complain so loudly...but let's be honest--a lot of our ideas suck. –  Michael Haren Feb 2 '10 at 14:32
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@Michael maybe a lot of your ideas suck....... ;) –  Tyler Carter Feb 2 '10 at 20:34
    
Oh I have no doubt –  Michael Haren Feb 3 '10 at 3:48
    
If Jeff is the designer, then isn't "closed: status-bydesign" the same thing as "closed: because I say so"? –  David Thornley Feb 9 '10 at 15:03
    
@David: no, not if the current behaviour was not "designed". This status is not appropriate on actual outright bugs that clearly were not intentional, but has been used to mean "won't bother to fix", e.g. the issues observed with voting and editing windows and also parts of the reputation cap calculation. –  Ether Feb 9 '10 at 19:39
    
@Ether: So he changes the design. He can do that. I understand frustration at annoying things that Jeff slaps some sort of "wont-fix" tag on, but 56 upvotes about the wording of that tag? –  David Thornley Feb 10 '10 at 15:13
    
Supervote on the way :] –  Gnoupi Jul 6 '10 at 16:37
    
@Gnoupi: ooh, this would be my very first bounty won on any site! :D –  Ether Jul 6 '10 at 16:55
5  
+1 This is about customer communications. When my customers wants something hard, I explain why it's better to spend the time doing other features instead. I don't just shout "No!" and hang up the phone. –  MarkJ Jul 6 '10 at 19:32

Nonintuitive search functionality.

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People are lazy and don't search first. –  random Feb 2 '10 at 5:19
    
true, but that's a separate issue. er, "bad feature". –  quack quixote Feb 2 '10 at 9:56
    
It's a bad habit. –  random Feb 2 '10 at 10:30
5  
Nonintuitive? More like: just doesn't work very well. How about giving us + - and real phrase searching. I'd prefer not to use google whenever I need to get quality search results on SO. –  user135186 Feb 5 '10 at 14:25
1  
I must admit I have had only good experiences with SO's search. Everything I've searched for (especially specific questions or answers) I've always found. –  Pëkka Feb 10 '10 at 11:42
    
I always phrase the question in the 'ask a question' screen. The recommendations search thingy always gives very accurate results. (So yes I think this qualifies as non-intuitive search) –  Toad Jul 7 '10 at 7:03
    
Like @Toad ask questions for my searching. There are 3 problems with this technique. 1) Click a "Related Question" and browse back you have to tab to get the related questions again. 2) You only get the question. 3) Limited number of related questions. –  Tim Murphy Jul 7 '10 at 10:34
1  
fixed? –  Tshepang Jan 5 '13 at 11:11

What is the one feature about Stack Overflow that annoys you.

It's not open source.

I'm not an open source activist, but stackexchange isn't customizable enough for my needs, and none of its clones are anywhere near feature complete, nevermind stable and usable.

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1  
It's amazing how cool it is without being open source, though... –  Nathaniel Feb 10 '10 at 6:36
    
-1 Making it open-source would wreck it. –  uɐɯsO uɐɥʇɐN Jul 6 '10 at 18:40
    
@GeorgeEdison Why, exactly? Are you afraid of the community being stolen, or something? –  new123456 Nov 3 '10 at 23:16
    
@new: I'm afraid of clones stealing community content and similar ugly things. –  uɐɯsO uɐɥʇɐN Nov 4 '10 at 1:25

Being asked to verify that I'm a human. I'm logged in, aren't I? If I abuse it, ban me - just stop checking so often!

EDIT: this is a duplicate of http://meta.stackexchange.com/a/37913; support that one instead.

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A bad feature is the orange colour for the highlighted tags. It's ugly.

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Automatic spell checking I think is missing for users of different countries (and they are many...) and not only for them...

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"letter" icon and link behind username are not very meaningful. There were so many times when I just couldn't remember on which one to click to find my last answer/question (example).

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Not being able to send a direct message to another user.

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Become a moderator –  jmfsg Jul 6 '10 at 18:28
    
@Juan - That means 10K rep, right? I've got a long way to go... but you can help! =:-) –  Wikis Jul 6 '10 at 19:30
    
Nope, "moderator" –  jmfsg Jul 6 '10 at 19:37
    
@Juan - neither the FAQ nor the search seem to elaborate on what that means (FAQ just states it). Seems like it involves a lot of work only to send a message from time to time! –  Wikis Jul 6 '10 at 20:38
    
You can send a direct message to another user by comments, so as long as it is related to a previous comment, or an answer they posted. And that's all you need in a Q&A context. Direct messaging outside of this context means you want to talk outside of the Q&A, and it's more about socializing then. –  Gnoupi Jul 7 '10 at 7:04
    
@Gnoupi - not necessarily socializing. I had a question about security settings. The person concerned offered to give them to me (but may not have wanted to broadcast further). How could we solve the problem without direct messaging? –  Wikis Jul 7 '10 at 9:13
    
put your email address in your profile. Then if someone wants to send you a message directly, they can. –  Erik Apr 1 '11 at 17:17

That you cannot vote for a comment more than once every 5 seconds. Some comments are very short and it is not impossible to read, decide and click within 3 seconds!

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...deleting more than three comments quickly is considered voting... –  Dan Dascalescu Feb 25 at 8:31
    
...even if the comments are my own. –  Dan Dascalescu Feb 25 at 8:32

Badge notifications:

You have mail-er-badges.

Cool! Wait, how'd I earn that badge?

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-1, as this has kinda been sorta fixed. –  Pops Sep 9 '10 at 16:30

Color themes for answered/accepted questions on Serverfault

alt text

When the display contrast / brightness are low or when using my computer outside, the colors themes are too close and confusing.

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Well, one has green lettering and one doesn't.... But yes, it is not different enough –  Tyler Carter Feb 18 '10 at 1:31
    
1  
we made this more different, so this is [status-completed] meta.stackexchange.com/questions/35024/… –  Jeff Atwood May 1 '10 at 12:30

Not being able to create a SOFU friends list.

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Copy-Paste Answer Users

Many times, after answering a question (let say 6-8 min after) someone posts exactly the same response reformatted and added a link or any opinion only to get your points.

The bad feature is that a feature is missing to report / flag that kind of answers, down voting is not enough !

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The editor where I type in my answer. Most of it is fine, but I REALLY want a single return to show as a return! There are times I want just a single newline, but I can't get it. 1. Like a list 2. That is on a separate line for each number 3. Like this isn't, even though I'm typing it this way.

Yes, I know it is by design, yes I know Jeff has said this is the way it is, but it's still a bad UI.

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meta.stackoverflow.com/editing-help ... the "list formatting works if you add an empty line between it and the last paragraph" paradigm isn't that hard to get used to. –  quack quixote Feb 17 '10 at 23:01

Users who deliberately bump questions to expose their answer/question to the front page in hopes of harvesting rep.

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4  
Comments don't bump posts... –  Tyler Carter Feb 2 '10 at 2:22
3  
only answers and edits bump posts –  Jeff Atwood Feb 2 '10 at 2:23
2  
My point is, people who bump posts to harvest rep. –  dreamlax Feb 2 '10 at 2:41
    
Mostly, People bump posts to get answers. Bumping posts to get rep functions only when the question is very good. –  Pëkka Feb 3 '10 at 11:20
    
@Pekka, I suspect people also bump posts to re-expose their answer to a question, especially if it has a seemingly low amount of community support. –  dreamlax Feb 3 '10 at 13:42
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@dreamlax Still, then your answer needs to be good. As long as it's not bumping something every minutes for hours on end (which the system prevents anyway, I think) I must say I'm ok with it. A bad question or answer will not receive any more or less response from bumping. –  Pëkka Feb 3 '10 at 15:21
    
@Pekka, Thanks to the electorate badge, bumping questions does earn rep now. –  Perpetual Motion Goat Feb 10 '10 at 1:45
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I swear I did not edit this answer to bump the question to the front page. I just thought I would edit it to make it more relevant. –  dreamlax Feb 17 '10 at 22:18

The fact that the comment controls are hidden and only show up on mouse over and the fact that they aren't <a> tags. This seriously sucks for anyone using conkeror and, I imagine, anyone using a screen reader. Though we, or maybe I as I might just be the only SO user using it, can now vote with out reaching for the mouse, the comment controls still elude me because of this complete pain in the butt markup.

Also, another thing that drives me insane is how poorly SO handles larger font sizes. I'm one of those people who jacks up the fonts to a minimum of 14. On SO this causes text to disappear behind ads on the right rather than wrapping.

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we recommend the other, saner form of browser zoom. codinghorror.com/blog/archives/001212.html –  Jeff Atwood Feb 11 '10 at 1:06
    
'Cept that badly distorts images... –  baudtack Feb 13 '10 at 4:01

"Please post this on Super User." (works also with Server Fault)

And the worse is that the question gets migrated anyway, of course, so it's closed on the original site. So you can't even explain to the original commenter why he shouldn't recommend that.

Usually makes me turn green and rampage my desk.

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indeed. not to mention that the migrated question sticks around forever with no means of retagging to get rid of the awful [belongs-on-xxxxxxx] tags. –  quack quixote Feb 11 '10 at 1:08

Being awarded certain badges and having no idea why. Tell me which question or answer they pertain to!

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2  
now you are told –  Tobias Kienzler Sep 3 '10 at 12:43

Having no way to view all my comments, particularly as the data's there.

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Subscribe to your own activity in a RSS reader, it's a good workaround. –  Gnoupi Feb 9 '10 at 14:08
    
You can view them in the global SE Inbox –  Dan Dascalescu Feb 25 at 8:31

It annoys me that the "Related" column on the right hand side on every question leads to a lot of false positives when searching (e.g. with Google). Conversely if "-" is used to filter the result (e.g. "-Java" to exclude hits containing Java) it leads to false negatives.

It may be possible to restrict the search using the tags, but the search engine syntax for this is complex and has to be remembered somehow.

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see meta.stackoverflow.com/search –  Jeff Atwood Feb 9 '10 at 11:19
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@Jeff, you have recommended gooogle for complex searches. Do you not recommend it anymore? –  Perpetual Motion Goat Feb 10 '10 at 1:44
    
@perpetual google is great but it has no idea what our tagging structure is. Doing a search for "keyword [java]" will typically produce better results internally. –  Jeff Atwood Feb 10 '10 at 2:42

People who post questions like this, questions that are sooo subjective and EVERYBODY has an opinion on. People who have insanely high reputation all have questions like this as their "best questions" even if they have no technical merit or insight.

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6  
This... is... Spar^H^H^H^H METAAAAA!!!! –  perbert Feb 2 '10 at 13:57
    
Too many ^H :) . –  staticx Feb 2 '10 at 23:33
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@changeling: 1 for each char to be deleted, looks like the right amount to me –  quack quixote Feb 2 '10 at 23:49
    
@Changeling: ask jeff to accept <del> on comments. –  perbert Feb 3 '10 at 0:15
    
@~quack: This.. is.. Sparta^H^H would delete the ta to make METAAAAA!!!!.. that's what I am getting at :) –  staticx Feb 3 '10 at 2:48
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@Changeling, I don't get it; wouldn't that just be "This... is... Spar"? –  Pops Sep 9 '10 at 16:29

The fact that human verification appears too much in the way when reorganizing.

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Don't you like helping Google digitize books, though? –  uɐɯsO uɐɥʇɐN Jul 6 '10 at 18:41
    
@George Edison: I did not understand your comment. –  Daniel Daranas Jul 7 '10 at 8:19
    
The captchas are supplied by Google - they use them to help digitize books. –  uɐɯsO uɐɥʇɐN Jul 7 '10 at 16:21
    
Oh! I had no idea :) I'm willing to help Google, for a reasonable fee. –  Daniel Daranas Jul 8 '10 at 7:22
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Actually, Google already digitized all of the books. And the flowers. Captcha's are for digitizing bunnies. What's left of them. –  Ocaasi Aug 6 '10 at 4:43

The "fix" provided below is now part of the global feature itself, as such, this post will not make much sense to those who aren't familiar with the previous state of the feature.

The first time I clicked (accidentally) on the votes next to an answer/question and saw two 0's stacked, I thought it was a bug with the voting script (client-side). It wasn't until today that I actually learned that these stacked numbers (I've only seem 0/0) actually represent upvotes vs downvotes.

Now that I understand it, it's a great feature (not necessarily a good implementation though) - just confusing if you're not expecting it.

Firefox users, there's hope:

I've decided to whip up a small greasemonkey solution to colorize the differing vote details. You can click-to-install it over at http://meta.stackexchange.com/questions/37841/greasemonkey-colorized-vote-details

alt text

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+1 One of the worst bits of GUI design I've seen recently. Oops, sorry - I have to remove it for you saying this is a "great feature". –  nb69307 Feb 1 '10 at 18:54
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@Neil: You're right; it is a poor UI. However, it is a great feature. –  SLaks Feb 1 '10 at 19:00
    
@NeilButterworth: I said the feature is great, not the implementation. :) There, updated the post. –  Jonathan Sampson Feb 1 '10 at 19:00
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The tooltip explains what it is. Fractions seem pretty logical to me -- the number on top nearest the up arrow is upvotes, the number on the bottom nearest the down arrow is downvotes. shrug –  Jeff Atwood Feb 1 '10 at 19:17
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@Jeff It makes sense once you understand it. You, having conceived the idea, can understand it rather well. I truly thought this was a bug with the voting script. Differentiating the UI for each number would go a long way, in my honest opinion. I don't want to be all-gripe though, thank you for implementing such a wonderful feature. –  Jonathan Sampson Feb 1 '10 at 19:19
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I had the same reaction when I first accidentally discovered this feature. –  user27414 Feb 1 '10 at 19:35
    
Would it be enough to simply use colours (blue or green on the top, red on the bottom)? –  Ether Feb 1 '10 at 19:38
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@AEther: I think colors, as simple as they are, would accomplish a lot. Maybe even as simple as making the bottom number red. –  Jonathan Sampson Feb 1 '10 at 19:45
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Greasemonkey solution: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/37841/… –  Jonathan Sampson Feb 1 '10 at 20:31
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@Jeff - Keep in mind that 99% of people don't read the tooltips. Then design the UI. –  Super Long Names are Hilarious Feb 1 '10 at 21:09
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That color change is perfect! –  user27414 Feb 1 '10 at 22:01
    
@JonB: Thanks. Please feel free upvote the corresponding post if you don't mind. –  Jonathan Sampson Feb 1 '10 at 22:06
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Update!!!! as of svn revision 6217 sometime this afternoon, up and down votes are now coloured green and red. Woohoo! –  Ether Feb 2 '10 at 0:41
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Epic. I wonder if I get a badge :) –  Jonathan Sampson Feb 2 '10 at 1:47
    
So why doesn't this work on other sites?... –  Michael Haren Feb 2 '10 at 14:32

Poor iPhone support.

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our iPhone support is much better than it used to be, since we disable the WMD editor for iPhones now: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/33116/… –  Jeff Atwood Feb 2 '10 at 2:24
    
AND there is always stackmobile.com –  uɐɯsO uɐɥʇɐN Jul 6 '10 at 18:42

OpenID, not being able to post iPhone questions on Super User, the idea of a "trilogy" instead of just one site.

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Also people who can't accept realities. OpenID blows, iPhone OS questions are just going to be a more important to corner once the iPad hits, and the fact that it's 3 different sites means I have to hit 3 separate URLs to see what's going on. Oh well actually I don't really go to superuser anymore since they don't allow iPhone questions. –  bpapa Feb 5 '10 at 3:54
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On SU, we were all wondering where you went, we were really worried. –  Gnoupi Feb 9 '10 at 14:10
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-1 OpenID is the best authentication method in existence. –  uɐɯsO uɐɥʇɐN Jul 6 '10 at 18:43

Why was this answer just downvoted?

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10  
-1 just because. –  Super Long Names are Hilarious Feb 2 '10 at 0:35
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i think this answer has managed to flip the usual vote meaning. -1 means i agree! :) –  quack quixote Feb 2 '10 at 23:53
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Why is this comment asking why this answer was downvoted? –  uɐɯsO uɐɥʇɐN Jul 6 '10 at 18:43
    
I think this can be improved, so I'm adding a comment, just like the unicorn suggested. –  Erik Apr 1 '11 at 17:18

Not enough cowbell. I gotta have more cowbell!

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3  
Not enough YouTube links. I gotta have more YouTube links. –  Brad Gilbert Feb 9 '10 at 14:18

[Belongs-on-xxxxxxx] tags

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12  
[Closed-as-not-xxxxxxxx-related] –  Ivo Flipse Feb 1 '10 at 18:42
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I can see why users without 3000 rep would want to be able to chip in, but they don't really help any, –  Gordon Gustafson Feb 4 '10 at 21:19
    
IIRC, it takes 2K rep to edit (and presumably to put the tag on), and 3K to vote to close, so you'd think there wouldn't be all that many people who can put the tags on and can't vote to close or migrate. –  David Thornley Feb 9 '10 at 15:05
    
@David - Actually, retagging is possible at only 500 of reputation, without the right to edit the post. So from 500 to 3000, they put such tags (when they should flag it, eventually) –  Gnoupi Feb 9 '10 at 16:23
    
@Gnoupi: Ah, somebody who either looks something up, or has a better IIRC than I do. Thank you. That does change things. –  David Thornley Feb 10 '10 at 15:10
    
@David - As someone who climbed reputation recently in an objective to help moderating, I remember the steps, as I really "counted" them ;) –  Gnoupi Feb 10 '10 at 16:13

What I hate is users that whine when they get downvoted, or because their question got closed

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6  
-1 That's not a feature. –  Jonathan Sampson Feb 1 '10 at 19:01
7  
@Jonathan: It's a bug. –  perbert Feb 1 '10 at 19:23
    
-1: Whine for me! Whine, I say! Mwah-hah-hah! I HAS THE POWER! –  Chip Uni Feb 2 '10 at 7:19
    
-1 - Whiny users are not a feature. –  Heather Feb 3 '10 at 19:20
1  
@Heather, they are bugs (?) –  jmfsg Feb 3 '10 at 19:21
    
misslabeled bug as feature? –  Behrooz Oct 7 '10 at 19:10

I can't stop.

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1  
This isn't as funny now that the title has been edited. –  mmyers Feb 1 '10 at 18:38
6  
Actually... It's funnier! –  Shog9 Feb 1 '10 at 18:39
    
I didn't see the previous title, so I don't get it –  jmfsg Feb 1 '10 at 18:40
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It used to be Why do you hate SO? –  Tyler Carter Feb 1 '10 at 18:40
2  
@Shog9: Wow, how do I get myself into these things? I hadn't even noticed it could be read that way. –  mmyers Feb 1 '10 at 18:46

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