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What are the common phrases, words, abbreviations that are used on Stack Overflow, Server Fault, Super User, Meta Stack Overflow, and the other Stack Exchange sites?

This is meant to be a very quick overview, not an in-depth tutorial. When considering whether a term ought to be included, please use this test:

New user comes in and posts on day 1. What terminology or jargon are they likely to run into (comments, support, system messages, etc.) that cannot be understood from the context without prior experience with the site (that is, clear only if known). For example: "This is a dupe. Flag a diamond mod to close or migrate to SU." Huh? Can these instruction be made clear from the glossary? Is it clear for those for whom English is a second language?


  • Edit the existing answer
  • Insert relevant links to more detailed information on the term/phrase/abbreviation
  • Add only factual information
  • Keep it very, very brief, terse, and to the point
  • Delete your own comments once they become irrelevant (integrated into the glossary)
  • Use the Edit Summary box to note reasons for your edit, not comments

Please avoid:

  • Opinion
  • Using abbreviations, terms, and phrases inside a description
  • Unverified information
  • Uncommon terms, abbreviations, phrases
  • Long descriptions
  • Unnecessary detail - link to the relevant FAQ instead
  • Citations or examples of usage
  • Inside jokes that are not common on all of the trilogy (see meme thread for those)
  • Common Internet jargon (that is, IMHO, TLDR, RTFM, etc.) unless usage here differs significantly

Recurring discussion:

While the experiment to keep meta-discussion in the comments is going well (that is, deleting them once consensus is reached) it is clear that some discussions will be recurring, and we'll have to keep a record around so people new to the glossary can understand the consensus already reached.

Add a new answer if you believe a new issue is likely to come up repeatedly. For instance, discussion about what terms to include, whether the glossary should be broken up to make linking easier, or formatting issues might be best discussed in new answer/comment posts.

Return to FAQ index

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0-9, A-M (N-Z)

2k User

See: Editor

3k User

See: Closer

10ker, 10k User

Refers to users who have surpassed 10,000 reputation which gives them access to moderation tools. While 10k users have access to moderator reports and notifications, generally only system-appointed moderators (♦ Diamond Moderators) can perform many moderator-level functions. These 10k users are still sometimes called "moderators".

10k Tools

Refers to the moderation tools that 10k Users have

See: 10ker, 10k User

Accept Rate

The percentage of a user's questions which the user has marked an answer as accepted. Some exclusions apply. The accept rate will no longer be displayed.

Accepted Answer

The answer selected by a question's author as "most helpful". Accepted answers are marked with a green check mark next to the answer. Accepted answers generally appear at the top of answer list.

See: How does accepting an answer work?

Answer Ban

See: Post Ban


The public API present on all Stack Exchange sites that provides access to question, answer, comment, and user data. You can find more information about the API on StackApps.


See: Jeff Atwood


Part of the Stack Exchange reward system. While reputation is generally awarded through the voting system, badges reward other types of participation, achievements, and behaviors. The list of Stack Overflow badges with descriptions and How do Badges work?.

See: Reputation

Ban, Suspension

Being temporarily blocked from using a site on the network. There are also question bans and answer bans, which prevent you from doing those activities only (on a specific site), and chat bans (which affect all chat rooms).

See: Penalty box, Post Ban


An amount of reputation which can be added to a question as a bonus and is awarded manually by the bounty offerer. If the bounty is not awarded within 7 days + 24 hours, half the bounty amount will be awarded to the highest voted question that has 1+ votes. It pushes the post to the featured tab for 7 days and visually distinguish it from other posts. Possible bounty amounts are 50, 100, 150, 200, 250, 300, 350, 400, 450 and 500.


Used as a synonym for deleting a tag. A burninated tag may not necessarily be blacklisted. See The true meaning of Burninate and The many memes of Meta: Burninate.

Cache, Server Cache, Caching

Storing dynamic data in static form to reduce load on server and get faster load time of pages. More technical details here.


A mechanism that prevents bots from participating. Some human behavior can look robotic to the system (extremely fast edits / posts, for example), and will occasionally trigger the CAPTCHA. This is the checkbox / kittens CAPTCHA now. Example:

Close, Closed, CV

A question where no new answers are accepted. Community members with more than 3,000 reputation can vote to close a question if, for a variety or reasons, it doesn't fit the site's requirements. Five close votes closes a question. Users may only vote once to close each question. See: Reopen


Community member with 3,000 or more reputation. Has the ability to vote to close questions based on criteria set forth in the FAQ.


Comments can be added to a question or answer to communicate information that is not necessarily appropriate for the question or answer itself (asking for clarification, for example).

Community Manager, CM

They watch the various and sundry meta sites, answer questions, address or escalate requests and provide guidance in the use of the site's tools.

See: Who are the Community Team, and what do they do?

Community Wiki, Wiki, CW

A question or answer that can be edited by any community members having 100 reputation or more. Questions and answers marked CW prevent users from receiving any reputation from upvotes or losing reputation from downvotes. The community user "owns" this rep.

Creative Commons Data Dump

A database export containing the cc-wiki-licensed data from each of the sites. The database contains the posts, comments, votes, badges, and user data (“sanitized” to protect privacy by removing all personally identifiable information). Blog: Stack Overflow Creative Commons Data Dump

Creative Commons License

The license under which all contributed content is placed. More details on the SO blog.


See: Close


See: Community Wiki

Data Dump

See: Creative Commons Data Dump

Delete, Deleted

A question or answer that has been marked as deleted by a moderator, or voted to be deleted by users with at least 10,000 reputation points. Deleted posts remain visible to moderators and 10k users.

Diamond Mod[erator], Diamond User, Diamond

The name often used for moderators in the Stack Exchange network because of the small ♦ symbol next to their name on all posts / comments / chat messages.

See: Moderator


Automatically saved copy of a post that wasn't yet submitted. Full details here.

Dupe, Duplicate

A question which has been asked before. Duplicates are discouraged - ideally all the best answers for a given issue or problem can be found in one question. Community members with more than 3,000 reputation can vote to close duplicate questions.


Community member with 2,000 or more reputation. Has the ability to edit any unlocked post on the site, even if they are not community wiki.

Edit War

This is where two or more users continually edit, or rollback a post to undo each other's actions. This is one of the reasons for a moderator to lock a post.

Fastest Gun in the West

The tendency to reply to a question as quickly as possible, often motivated by hunger for reputation points.

FAQ, Frequently Asked Questions

While the "faq" generally refers to the specific "faq document" linked at the top of each site, "faq" can also refer to any meta post linked with the moderator tag . The Official FAQ is a community-moderated post which attempts to annotate the features and behaviors of all Stack Exchange sites in one central location.

Favorite Tags

Setting a tag as favorite causes all questions with these tags to be highlighted a different color in your questions lists.

Formerly called Interesting tag


A list of questions that you have bookmarked by clicking the star icon star icon underneath the voting controls for each question.

There are many other resources which can be "favorited" (bookmarked, liked, starred), so perhaps use this term with some caution or clarification.


See Bounty


See Fastest Gun in the West


Posts with serious problems can be flagged for moderator attention, being offensive, or containing spam. Any post receiving six offensive or spam flags within a two-day period is automatically deleted.

You generally only flag for moderator attention to ask moderators to do something that you don't have the ability to do (e.g. Making the post Community Wiki).


Refers to a small banner associated with a user's account, displaying their user name, reputation, badge count, and gravatar. Generally seen next to the authorship of a post but can also be embedded in an external website as a token of your membership and participation on any of the Stack Exchange sites. The term flair is from the 1999 film Office Space, and used in the Stack Overflow podcast, episode 54, at 5 min 48 secs.


See: Now Earn Valuable Flair!.

Gimmeh Teh Codez

What Help Vampires are thought to say.

Graduated Site

A Stack Exchange site available to the whole internet. Has its own graphical design, logo, etc. Rarely, requires registration to post questions. Privileges are the highest reputation levels. Sometimes will have a top level domain (see Stack Overflow, Super User, Server Fault, Ask Ubuntu).

See: Public Beta, Graduated Site


Gravatar (an abbreviation of globally recognized avatar) is a service for providing globally-unique avatars based on the md5 hash. You can change your image to a custom profile at the above address. By default Stack Exchange uses the identicon: a geometric pattern based on an email hash, or (if you are signed up to gravatar) your chosen image. All deleted user accounts use the mystery-man a simple, cartoon-style silhouetted outline of a person.

Hat, Hats

See: Winter Bash

Help Vampire

A user who shows little or no effort to solve their immediate problem, instead posting a question hoping that one of the Rep-Junkies will quickly jump in and post a working solution to their problem.

Ignored Tags

Tags that you specify as ignored tags cause all questions with these tags to be filtered out of your questions list, either by deemphasizing them or (at your option) removing them.

Jeff Atwood

Jeff Atwood is a co-founder of Stack Exchange Inc. (previously known as Stack Overflow Internet Services, inc.), which is the company that runs Stack Overflow, Server Fault, Super User and other Q&A sites in the Stack Exchange network. As of the 1st of March 2012, Jeff has left the day to day operations of Stack Exchange. He is still present on many sites and acts in a moderator role from time to time.

Joel Spolsky

Joel Spolsky is a co-founder of Stack Exchange Inc. (previously known as Stack Overflow Internet Services, inc.), which is the company that runs Stack Overflow, Server Fault, Super User and other Q&A sites in the Stack Exchange network.

Jon Skeet

Jon Skeet is the Chuck Norris of Stack Overflow.


A moderator can "lock" a post where it can no longer be edited, voted or commented upon, closed or re-opened. If a question is locked, new answers can still be added to that question (provided it has not been closed), and any of the (unlocked) answers can still be edited and voted upon. What is a “Locked” question? How do they work?


Low-Quality Posts; one of the review queues.

See What are the criteria for low-quality posts?


Markdown is the text format used to style posts. Wikipedia entry, full reference.


MCVE refers to a Minimal, Complete, and Verifiable Example.


Although duplicate questions are generally closed, sometimes a moderator will merge the answers from the duplicate question into the original question, and delete the duplicate. The original question will now contain both the original answers, and the new answers from the duplicate.


Refers to any posts that discuss the operation or functionality of the site(s). The term "meta" also refers to the subsite,, which every sites has to handle technical support, feature requests, and discussions about each Stack Exchange site. Meta Stack Exchange (Meta.SE, MSE) is for questions that apply to the whole network. Originally, there was no Meta.SE - questions about the network were asked on Meta Stack Overflow.

See: Meta Stack Exchange, Meta Stack Overflow, Site Specific Meta, What is Meta?

Meta SE

See: Meta Stack Exchange

Meta Stack Exchange

The Meta Stack Exchange website (this site). A place to discuss matters concerning the whole Stack Exchange network. Especially for reporting network wide bugs and request features. Originally, there was no Meta.SE, questions about the network were asked on Meta Stack Overflow.

See: Meta

Meta Stack Overflow

The Meta Stack Overflow website. A place to discuss issues common to Stack Overflow. This was also the meta for the whole network before MSE existed.


Occurs when a question is deemed more appropriate for one of the other sites in the Stack Exchange network, and five users vote to close the question as "off-topic because..." and then selected "This question belongs on another site in the Stack Exchange network." The question (and all of its answers) are copied to the new site, and the original question is closed. There is a limited list for each site - and some sites only have their meta as a migration option.

Moderator, Mod, Diamond User

A Stack Exchange user that has been elected and has additional powers to oversee a site. They can merge questions, do mass-re-tagging, and have other fun powers. They are distinguishable by the ♦ after their names on all posts / comments / chat messages and on their profile. SE employees also have the ♦ and moderator powers across all sites.


See: Meta Stack Exchange


See: Meta Stack Overflow

Further Reading:

The Help Center


share|improve this answer
All: Please remember to delete your own comments when you find they are no longer relevant. Be aggressive in trying to keep this discussion area clean and clear for current, ongoing discussion. – Adam Davis Feb 24 '10 at 14:21
The close reasons have been changed: shouldn't this be reflected here? – user215114 Sep 19 '13 at 6:12
Perhaps keep the close reason entries, but note that close reasons like TL (too localized) are no longer valid? – Jeff Bridgman Dec 19 '13 at 22:15
@GuillermoGutiérrez The change that edit describes hasn't been made yet. It was announced as a change that will happen "soon". – Servy Apr 16 '14 at 16:32
@Servy even after it's changed this Meta site will serve all Stack Exchange sites, so the edit will be incorrect anyway. (Meta Stack Overflow will start blank, so it might need its own new Glossary) – Shadow Wizard Apr 16 '14 at 16:44
What does "DV" stand for? – Tom Dec 30 '15 at 20:20
@Tom downvote, probably – Adam Davis Dec 30 '15 at 23:03

N-Z (A-M)


See: Not a real Question


See: Not Constructive

Not a real Question, NARQ

One of the items in the close dialog for a question on a Stack Exchange site.

See: Close

Not Constructive

One of the items in the close dialog for a question on a Stack Exchange site.

See: Close


Usually to describe a question that is deemed outside the scope of a particular Stack Exchange network site.


See: Original Poster

Original Poster

The person who wrote the question. Alternatively (rarely) OP can be used to refer to the Original Post (question) itself.


See: Off-topic.


The principal login mechanism chosen for Stack Exchange; a single user name and password allows you to log in to any OpenID-enabled site.

Penalty Box

When moderators determine that a user's actions are detrimental to the site they may suspend that user for a period of time. During this time "in the penalty box" the user will not be able to post questions or answers, and their reputation will be locked at 1 until the suspension expires. Any rep they gained over the ban time is gained when the ban ends - a reputation recount happens.


Refers to either a question or an answer.

See: Original Poster

Post Ban

Refers to the automatic ban imposed by the system when the account accumulates too many bad posts thus can't post any more. The formula itself is kept hidden. More details and ways to lift the ban at What can I do when getting “Sorry, we are no longer accepting questions/answers from this account”?


A number of user-specific settings, such as Interesting Tags, Ignored Tags, Hide Questions for Ignored Tags, and Notify Me via Email of Activity on My Questions and Answers.


A summary of a user's activity on the site. See Jeff Atwood's profile.

Private Beta

A Stack Exchange site only available to those users who committed to the Area 51 proposal or have been invited by a member who did commit, and the SE staff (the only moderators). Has a plain graphical design that is shared by other sites. You can earn privileges with far less reputation than normal. Normally lasts 7 days, or until the site is "gelled" enough and has enough high quality content on the homepage to consider showing the public. Then moves into Public Beta.

See: Public Beta, Graduated Site, Moderators

Public Beta

A Stack Exchange site available to the whole internet. Has a plain graphical design that is shared by other sites. Privileges are earned at higher reputation levels than during "Private Beta", but lower than a graduated site. Lasts at least 90 days, though often a lot longer, until the Stack Exchange community team determines that it is likely to be self-sustaining in the long run. Then becomes a "Graduated Site". There is a bottleneck of sites awaiting graduation.

See: Private Beta, Graduated Site

Question Ban

See: Post Ban


See: Reputation Recalculation


The name of the service used to implement CAPTCHA on Stack Overflow.



Can lead to a Stack Overflow.

See: Recursion, Recursion


Closed questions can be reopened if five users with 3000 rep or more vote to reopen it. New answers can then be posted to the reopened question. Each user may cast only one reopen vote per question.

See: Close

Reputation, Rep

Reputation is a rough measurement of how much the community trusts you; it is earned by convincing your peers that you know what you’re talking about. Basic use of the site, including asking questions, answering, and suggesting edits, does not require any reputation at all. But the more reputation you earn, the more privileges you gain.

The primary way to gain reputation is by posting good questions and useful answers. Votes on these posts cause you to gain (or sometimes lose) reputation. Please note that votes for posts marked “community wiki” do not generate any reputation. How does “Reputation” work?

Reputation Cap, Rep Cap

You can earn up to 200 reputation from up-votes and suggested edits per day, but no more. Reputation earned from accepted answers and bounties is exempt from this cap.

Rep-Junkie; Reputation Junkie

A user who obsesses about building their reputation, sometimes to the point of violating the site guidelines for their personal reputation gain.

There are many colorful synonyms.

Reputation Recalculation, Rep Recalc, Recalc

The rechecking of the correct amount of rep, automatically done daily at UTC:00:00 for all users. Most reputation change events automatically change the rep count, but some don't (e.g. Deleted post).

See: Reputation

Revision History

A detailed accounting of all changes made by all users to a question or answer. The revision history can be accessed by clicking on the "Edited [Date]" link.

They take the form of


Occurs when a user edits a question, and selects one of the older edits from the revision history to paste back into the question, effectively undoing any edits made subsequent to the selected revision. The complete edit history is still preserved, and this becomes a new revision. The Edit Summary will say Rollback to Revision X.


When referring to a post (question or answer) it means the total amount of upvotes, minus total number of downvotes. For example answer with 8 upvotes and 3 downvotes has score of 5. (The number displayed to the right of each post is the net score)

SE, SE 1.0, SE 2.0

See: Stack Exchange


Stack Exchange Inc. The company that owns the Stack Exchange Network. SEI is often erroneously used instead of SE to refer to the network of Q&A websites.

See: Stack Exchange

Server Fault, SF

The Stack Exchange website located at Server Fault is for system administrators and IT professionals, people who manage or maintain computers in a professional capacity.


See: Server Fault

Site Specific Meta

The individual meta site that every site in the network has. 5 reputation on the main site is required to participate, and your reputation is the same as the main site. There are no review queues, so no suggested edits etc (only Editors can edit, unless the post is Community Wiki It should be about site specific issues. Meta Stack Exchange is the only meta with rep.

See: Meta, Editor, Community Wiki, Reputation


See: Stack Overflow

Sock Puppet [Account]

A duplicate account created by a user to perform activities they cannot perform with their main account. Examples include casting additional votes, voting on their own posts, or other activities prohibited or discouraged on the system. Some use them for testing new user restrictions.

See: Voter Fraud


Stack Overflow, Server Fault and Super User. The original collection of sites in the most common definition of the founding Stack Overflow Trilogy. The acronym also occasionally includes an M for Meta Stack Exchange.

See: Stack Overflow, Server Fault, Super User, Stack Exchange, Trilogy


See: Stack Overflow Internet Services


A post in which the primary purpose of the post is to promote a product or service, not to participate in a meaningful way in the question/answer process.

Spam Seed

A slang term that describes (usually soft-ball) questions with only usage to attract spam or to allow spam to be posted as an answer, caused by sub-waves of spam campaigns. See


See: Joel Spolsky


Short, Self Contained, Correct (Compilable), Example. It is a (desired) property of questions on code-related sites on the Stack Exchange Network, primarily Stack Overflow. If it is not code-related, SSCE (Short, Self Contained, Correct, Example) may be used instead.

Stack Overflow, SO

Stack Overflow refers to the programming Q&A site at In functional discussions, Stack Overflow is sometimes used to refer to the engine powering any of the Stack Exchange sites, especially Stack Overflow, Server Fault, Super User (the original trilogy) or Meta Stack Overflow.

See: Trilogy, Stack Exchange

Stack Overflow Internet Services Inc.

The former name of Stack Exchange Inc.

See: SEI

Stack Exchange, SE, SE 1.0, SE 2.0, SEI

The Q&A site network that Stack Overflow belongs to. The current version, Stack Exchange 2.0, consists of many (130+) community-driven sites operated by Stack Exchange (previously Stack Overflow Internet Services) that cover a variety of topics. A previous, now-defunct version, Stack Exchange 1.0, was a commercial, hosted platform built on the Stack Overflow engine which allowed individuals to operate independent Stack Overflow-like sites. See the Stack Exchange Tour for more information.

See: Stack Overflow Internet Services

Status Tags

Certain tags on Meta, denoted by their red color, can only be added to a question by a moderator. These tags are reserved for the purpose of giving a feature request or bug an official status from the development team. You may find that some of these tags have multiple meanings.

Questions marked with status tags.

Full list of tags: , , , , , , and

See: Tags, Meta


See: Super User

Super User, SU

The Stack Exchange site located at Super User is for computer enthusiasts and power users.


In the concept of Tags, a tag can be designated as a synonym of another tag. For example, is a synonym of, and thus redirects to, on Stack Overflow.

See also


Label words placed on each question by the OP. Questions are grouped by tags. Using the right tags makes it easier for others to find and answer your question.

The Team

The Stack Exchange team, who can be reached at


See: Too Localized

Too Localized, TL (or also spelled Localised)

A former close reason on all Stack Exchange sites. This close reason has been superseded since 2013, but questions closed for this reason still exist.


Stack Overflow, Server Fault, Super User. The initial collection of sites forming "The Stack Overflow Trilogy."

See: Stack Overflow, Server Fault, Super User, Stack Exchange, SOFU

User Card

The name of the block after a post or comment that contains the username, gravatar, reputation, and badges. The Original Poster will have a differently coloured user card background.


See Help Vampire.


The number of unique visitors to a question or user profile.


Very Low Quality. See LQP above.

Vote Fraud

Suspicious voting patterns often related to multiple accounts owned by a single user. Can also refer to casting down votes as revenge (serial downvoting). Vote Fraud.

See: Sock Puppet


Clicking the up arrow next to a question or answer registers an upvote, and awards 10 rep to the author. Clicking the down arrow registers a downvote. For non-wiki answers, downvoting subtracts 2 rep from the author and 1 rep from the downvoter. For questions there is no penalty for the downvoter.


See: Close


See: Delete


See: Community Wiki

Winter Bash

Fun event, celebrating the end of the year. During those events, users can win "hats" of all kinds (including garments like glasses or even moustache and secret hats) that can be applied over the profile picture.

See: Winter Bash 2012, Winter Bash 2013, Winter Bash 2014, Winter Bash 2015.

XY Problem

When a user thinks they need help with X in order to solve problem Y, when in reality they would have a much better question, and get much better help, if they would just ignore X and ask directly about Y instead.

See What is the XY problem?

Further Reading:

The Help Center


share|improve this answer
@Inian not funny, please don't make useless edits like that. – Shadow Wizard Apr 27 at 5:54

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