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When I take a look at the Stack Overflow user list I see a certain trend.

  • Jon
  • Marc
  • Greg
  • Alex
  • Andrew
  • Jonathan
  • Tomalak
  • Brian
  • Ólafur
  • Juliet

I think you see where I'm going with this. There simply aren't enough spider-men or bat-men or other variations of more-than-men. No, Stack Overflow seems to be populated solely by normal, plain, boring, weak, unlasery men. Just thinking about it makes me yawn.

If Stack Overflow were a movie, it would be one of those really weird experimental films that French people watch as a rite of passage to adulthood or something. I mean, it's one of those movies that has a scene in it where two people are arguing about C#, but all you can see is their shadows over a bowl of fruit on a table. And the fruit is out of focus. And the table has a finish to it that is rather unphotogenic in a way you can't quite put your finger on.

You know what I'm talking about. It's a movie about plain people doing plain things. Not even the type of men who would get into a knife fight over whether using jQuery on a ten-line HTML page is overkill (if you want to fight about this, talk to me after the movie – I'll be by the ticket booth).

I would like to see Atwood's Angels take steps to attract superheroic (and possibly supervillainous) users to the Stack Overflow trilogy. If we had these kinds of users, think of the good we could do in this world! Suddenly, XML-Parser-Man swings in and uses his XPath ray to eliminate nested regular expressions. Then camelCaseMan teleports in to format the question's content to make it readable. This would probably work better with comic-like onomatopoeic words like "kaboom!" and "kanye!".

Some simple changes could be made to the existing content to bring in supermen. I have prepared some examples to get us started. I'm counting on you, the Meta superherobase (instead of userbase – get it?) to do your part!

From the FAQ, instead of something like this,

Treat others with the same respect you'd want them to treat you. We're all here to learn together. Be tolerant of others who may not know everything you know. Bring your sense of humor.

Write something like this,

Treat others like the freedom-loving citizens they are. Evildoers the world over are trying to work together and learn how to crush liberty and justice. Be tolerant of the tiny men who are struggling because they are aspiring to fight the good fight in their own way. You may even learn something from them. Make sure to taunt your nemeses wittily.

That is so much better. Suddenly the camera is facing the men arguing about C# instead of the table, and oh my god they have knives! I can hear the popcorn popping now! But wait, there's more. Why write something like this,

How do I ask questions here?

When you could spice it up?

How do I thwart evil using only Stack Overflow, a butter knife and a piece of cheese?

Much better. MacGyver's mullet itself could not have phrased it better. The C# arguers' knives have morphed into light sabers. Darth Skeet is trying to win Marc Skywalker over to the dark side! What happens next?!

I have been doing my part by calling Jeff the fearless leader of the Atwood's Angels (which has a nice ring to it) who do everything in their power to fight giant bugs and install new features in spite of a rowdy, blind and raging userbase. See, when you put things that way it doesn't sound so French!

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closed as off-topic by ɥʇǝS, Monica Cellio, Jonathan Hobbs, Al E., hims056 Jul 15 at 3:45

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32  
Don't make me write a superhero avatar creator. –  balpha Feb 18 '10 at 17:32
6  
@balpha: That would be a good start! You're on the right track. I can smell that popcorn cooking and it smells delicious. –  XMLbog Feb 18 '10 at 17:33
    
For the record, I do get the reference -- I'm not sure I'd eat the popcorn. –  balpha Feb 18 '10 at 17:34
10  
I know all about your plans, Doctor Balpha! You aren't working on an amusement park for sick orphans at all, you're turning children into unicorns! You're playing God, and you won't get away with it... –  Shog9 Feb 18 '10 at 17:36
7  
Muuhahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! –  balpha Feb 18 '10 at 17:38
2  
I need more room in my cube to perform my afternoon crane kicks and practice breaking bottles with my karate chop... –  Miyagi Coder Feb 18 '10 at 17:39
1  
@balpha: The superfriend team made up of Shog9, mmyers and Urdnot Wrex's Klingon head will defeat you eventually balpha the bad! –  XMLbog Feb 18 '10 at 17:39
8  
My superpower is... um... missing the point, I believe. I guess that makes me impossible to stab. –  mmyers Feb 18 '10 at 17:45
    
The power of the swirly blue square of death shall defeat you all! MUHUHAHAHAHAHA! (See my avatar) –  Tyler Carter Feb 18 '10 at 17:47
    
"Juliet" doesn't seem like a very masculine name to me. C-C-COMBO BREAKER! –  Ether Feb 18 '10 at 17:59
7  
"Juliet" is long for "Jules" which is a homophone of "jewels" which is slang for testicles which are very masculine. –  Shog9 Feb 18 '10 at 18:05
4  
Yay for the friday-in-australia tag! –  davidsleeps Feb 19 '10 at 4:21
1  
What did us poor French did for you to hate us so much ? Many of us are just normal geeks, like you :) –  Valentin Rocher Feb 22 '10 at 8:35
5  
@Bishiboosh: You do that thing where you put a space between the last word in a sentence and its punctuation. This infuriates me and I am forced to aim my giant space laser against not only France but the entirety of Europe. It is designed to wipe out Australia-sized (and Australia-shaped, coincidentally) masses of land in one go, so it might take a couple of shots to get everything. Just sit tight. –  XMLbog Feb 22 '10 at 11:43
1  
@Gilbert: Whoooooooooosh –  XMLbog May 27 '11 at 13:49
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11 Answers 11

up vote 15 down vote accepted

Well, I'll leave the gravatar switching to balpha, but I've made a greasemonkey script for the reveal the names of peoples secret identities at least...

Some examples:

  • Jeff Atwood => Jeff the Unicorn
  • Jon Skeet => Super Skeet
  • TheTXI => TheTXI the Pony Destroyer

Teh codez:

// ==UserScript==
// @name           SO Heroes
// @namespace      http://shog9.com/greasemonkey/scripts
// @description    Heroify SO usernames - By Alconja, simplified for Chrome by Shog9
// @include        http://stackoverflow.com/*
// @include        http://serverfault.com/*
// @include        http://superuser.com/*
// @include        http://meta.stackoverflow.com/*
// ==/UserScript==

var script = document.createElement("script");
script.type = "text/javascript";
script.innerHTML = "(" + heroify.toString() + ")()";
document.body.appendChild(script);

function heroify() {
  var prefixes = ["Super ", "Mega ", "Ultra ", "Bat-", "Spider-", "Pony-", "Sir ", "Astro-", "Darth ", "Doctor ", "Ninja ", "Professor ", "Captain ", "Dark ", "Night ", "The "];
  var suffixes = [" the Evil", " the Unicorn", " the Brave", " the Ultimate", " X", "zilla", "-bot!", " Skywalker", " Norris", " Skeet", " the Benevolent", " Overflow", " the Pony Destroyer"];
  var $links = $("div.user-details a, a.comment-user, #hlinks a:eq(1), div.started a:nth-child(2)");
  $links.each(function() {
    var uid = parseInt($(this).attr("href").replace(/\/users\/(\d+)\/.*/, "$1"));
    if ( !uid )
      return;
    var name = $(this).text();

    var spc = name.indexOf(" ");
    if (spc >= 0) {
      if (spc % 3 == 0) {
        name = name.replace(/[^ ]+ (.*)/, "$1");
      } else if (spc % 2 == 0) {
        name = name.replace(/(.*) [^ ]+/, "$1");
      }
    }

    if (name.length % 2 == 0) {
      name = name + suffixes[uid % suffixes.length];
    } else {
      name = prefixes[uid % prefixes.length] + name;
    }
    $(this).text(name);
  });
}
share|improve this answer
5  
This is the answer. Alconja, you are indeed a superfriend. –  XMLbog Feb 19 '10 at 1:31
    
Hail the superultrahyper-monkey! –  o.k.w Feb 19 '10 at 2:46
    
balpha the Benevolent expresses his gratitude to Astro-Alconja. My favorite so far is Joel X meta.stackoverflow.com/users/4 BTW, did you mean to write "Knight" instead of "Night"? –  balpha Feb 19 '10 at 7:19
2  
@balpha: I couldn't decide between "Night" (Owl) & "Knight" (Rider). In the end I figured Rorschach would kick Hasselhoff's arse, so I went with the watchmen reference. –  Alconja Feb 19 '10 at 10:36
1  
This script doesn't work in Chrome. I am disappointed in your silliness, Alconja. Please fix it so that it works in real browsers and I will re-instate your upvote and acceptedness. –  XMLbog Feb 19 '10 at 13:14
1  
it also cuts off @Urdnot's first name, which is just wrong. (and it gives me the last name "Norris", which is, if anything, wronger .) –  quack quixote Feb 19 '10 at 14:50
    
@Shog9, thanks for making the script work in Chrome. However, it still doesn't work with Community Wiki usernames. –  XMLbog Feb 19 '10 at 18:54
    
@Urdnot: there's no user ID attached to usernames on CW posts, so I've just disabled it for those. –  Shog9 Feb 19 '10 at 19:58
    
@Shog9: Thanks for the fixes. I did notice the CW bug late last night, but didn't have time to fix it. –  Alconja Feb 19 '10 at 20:42
    
@~quack (@quack - not sure how the notification system handles ~): Sorry about the Norrising. :) Although it comes out eerily accurate sometimes (eg. TheTXI), it doesn't always give the best results (particularly with sentence style names like Urdnot). I guess my secret identity divining super powers must be a little inconsistent. –  Alconja Feb 19 '10 at 20:54
    
@Alconja - no worries. i'm really more of a Schneier, if anything. :) –  quack quixote Feb 19 '10 at 21:03
    
Super-hero Detector HUD: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/3687/… (screeny-shot: wittman.org/projects/stackoverflowqdashboard/… :) –  micahwittman Feb 19 '10 at 21:57
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Each community is allowed only one super-hero.

  • New York has Spider-Man
  • Metropolis has Superman

  • Stack Overflow has Jon Skeet

Jon Skeet

For the rest, we are all ordinary man.

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4  
What about the Fantastic Four? The league of Justice? The Xavier Institute in Westchester, New York? –  perbert Feb 18 '10 at 19:47
    
Those all operate in larger territories. –  Andrew Moore Feb 18 '10 at 19:50
    
Larger than SO? –  perbert Feb 18 '10 at 20:18
10  
I strongly disagree. 'skeet' should be a dictionary word (adjective/adverb/verb/noun but not that trapshooting kind). E.g.: skeet-man / your programming skill is skeeter than me / you need to be a skeet to do this –  o.k.w Feb 19 '10 at 2:56
2  
@o.k.w: you've been skeet'd! –  perbert Feb 21 '10 at 20:47
    
@o.k.w. when did the phrase "skeet" replace "1337" a.k.a. "leet"?? maybe I am too old-school, but I missed this change. or is it that count(e) in 'skeet' == count(e) in 'leet' –  Question-Failed Jul 30 '10 at 9:21
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I fail to see the problem. We have a fairly good mix of superhumans, but they often don't reveal themselves on SO. Some out themselves on meta, a very few of which I can safely name without putting myself in danger:

  • balpha - consisting only of beta and alpha particles is stopped easily by paper. Posts by finding very old computer equipment with glass exposed ICs and flipping bits.
  • Urdnot the Krogan has a posse - obvious.
  • Shog9 - As Lovecraft documented during his descent into madness, Shog9 is the 9TH shoggoth to gain sentience, setting himself apart from the other shoggoths, who were at first jealous, but no longer now that they see he wastes his talents on bits and bytes.
  • Miyagi Coder - Karate kid number 0x10. By this time Mr. Miyagi was transmuted into code, and placed in vidja games around the country. Teaching karate similar to DDR machines, one person found himself excelling, and like the last starfighter Miyagi Coder was born from a vidja game.
  • mmyers - One day a Fred Meyer and a Meijers opened across the street from - No, this isn't a joke, it's an origin story! Stop laughing! Alright, nevermind, now you guys will never know his powers or weakness, and thus will never defeat him. Your loss I guess.
  • Chacha102 - Chachi in disguise, cousin of The Fonz.
  • Ether - I'd tell you about her, but I'm feeling oddly .. sleepy and... ... numb? .... May..be..... later......
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6  
I didn't know we had so many superheroes in our midst! –  XMLbog Feb 18 '10 at 20:48
2  
@urd - You obviously need a new, more observant posse if you are that unaware. –  Adam Davis Feb 18 '10 at 21:19
1  
I'm just guessing, because I am the only active 'Chacha' on SO/MSO, that I am Chacha1? –  Tyler Carter Feb 19 '10 at 5:10
    
@chacha102 - indeed. I was simply using all the names of those that commented on the question itself, but I must have truncated yours by mistake.... Or did I, chachi ? :-o –  Adam Davis Feb 19 '10 at 14:41
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Something more is needed. Exciting back-stories! Someone needs to die in a freak closing accident (caused by race conditions on the server (caused in turn by Dalgas' scheme to siphon off extra milliseconds for use in his secret Dooms Day Device)), only to be reborn with altered DNA as a Crazed Defender of All that is Stacked and Overflowing.

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<spoilsport> Why would someone who died in a freak closing accident become a defender of all that is stacked and overflowing? That sounds more like a villain's backstory. </spoilsport> –  mmyers Feb 18 '10 at 17:47
2  
The split between Villains and Superheroes is determined more by personal psychology and public perception than anything inherent in their creation. –  Shog9 Feb 18 '10 at 17:50
    
-1 it's Domesday and it was quite public. Additionally, no devices except a quill and a press were involved. –  jcolebrand Jun 20 '11 at 20:47
add comment

I think you see where I'm going with this. There simply aren't enough spider-men or bat-men or other variations of more-than-men. No, Stack Overflow seems to be populated solely by normal, plain, boring, weak, unlasery men. Just thinking about it makes me yawn.

I was bitten by a radioactive deer, TheTAXI was bitten by a radioactive Pony turned Unicorn by balpha the bad, Alex is a vampire. We just don't want to get much attention.

If Stack Overflow were a movie, it would be one of those really weird experimental films that French people watch as a rite of passage to adulthood or something. I mean, it's one of those movies that has a scene in it where two people are arguing about C#, but all you can see is their shadows over a bowl of fruit on a table. And the fruit is out of focus. And the table has a finish to it that is rather unphotogenic in a way you can't quite put your finger on.

Hey! I like those movies! Also, it's a great analogy, but you missed that it's one of those movies where the present is shown in black and white and the past in color.

Much better. MacGyver's mullet itself could not have phrased it better. The C# arguers' knives have morphed into light sabers. Darth Skeet is trying to win Marc Skywalker over to the dark side! What happens next?!

McGyver uses regexes, he is one of the bad guys. Wait, what!? Skeet is Marc's father!?

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2  
Sshhhh... it's meant to be a secret. –  Marc Gravell Feb 21 '10 at 21:28
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I used to be a normal human woman, but wrote one too many bad pieces of code, and was cursed to live out my life as a tabby cat by the Egyptian cat-god Bast.

alt text

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4  
if you keep misspelling Bast's name she might just turn you into a fat, orange tabby cat and force you to live out your nine lives in a bad syndicated newspaper cartoon. –  quack quixote Feb 24 '10 at 8:14
2  
@~quack: Oddly, the source I looked at used the other spelling, but you're right, Bast is more common in translation. I could do with being in a cartoon, just not that cartoon, shudder... –  Ether Feb 24 '10 at 15:53
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I'm not just a man, I have multiple personalities

but they are all Abraham Lincoln

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9  
I'd like to respectfully invite you to a play. –  perbert Feb 18 '10 at 19:45
4  
Were you born in 200 log cabins? –  gnostradamus Feb 19 '10 at 2:06
    
Are you also divergent, friend? –  quack quixote Feb 19 '10 at 3:14
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Just doing my part!

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You don't want me to reveal my secret identity.

I'm pretty sure my secret identity is one of those annoying, minor villains that never get the good plots, the rivers of fire or the piranhas with laser beams, but do show up over and over again to cause plot twists.

But I'm not positive, 'cause he keeps me in the dark.

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No, that identity is already taken. Its owner is in the bin until February 4, 2011. –  balpha Feb 18 '10 at 19:04
    
@balpha: Does that mean I can have a lava moat? Pretty please? –  dmckee Feb 18 '10 at 19:52
    
ohmigod! you're Dr. Horrible! –  quack quixote Feb 19 '10 at 0:57
    
@~quack: That's a new one by me. I've been scouring the internet for Evil Harry Dread images to post herein, utterly without success. I really am crushed. –  dmckee Feb 19 '10 at 1:39
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Perhaps what the asker is really getting at is a need for a StackExchange based site for dating... for geeks? GeekMatch.com?

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5  
Isn't that what careers is for? Just sign in as an employer, and search for your soulmate... –  Adam Davis Feb 23 '10 at 20:38
2  
I was thinking about for like minded geeks who wanted to match USB plugs to USB ports... do you speak the same language... is your hard drive big enough? This is going to get flagged isn't it? –  Nick Feb 23 '10 at 21:12
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All I have to say is :

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1  
Looks like you've found ShadyURL.com –  random Feb 19 '10 at 5:11
2  
indeed, its friday –  waffles Feb 19 '10 at 5:17
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