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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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1 Answer 1

2k User

See: Editor

3k User

See: Closer

10ker, 10k User, 10k Tools

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".

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 involving a bounty have a yellow outline to the green check. 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. (See for example the list of Stack Overflow badges with descriptions and How do “Badges” work?).

Ban, Suspension

Suspension is 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 (suspensions).


A rep amount which can be added to the question, which will get awarded to the person whose answer is accepted as the correct answer. This costs a little reputation, but it will push your post to the featured tab for 7 days and visually distinguish it from other posts.


Used as a synonym for deleting a tag. A burninated tag may not necessarily be blacklisted. See What does it mean to "burninate" a tag? and The Many Memes of Meta.

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, for example), and will occasionally trigger the CAPTCHA.

Example: http://meta.stackoverflow.com/captcha

Close, Closed

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 Wiki

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.

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: Community Wiki


Close vote. See Close, VTC

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]

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. This is one of the reasons for a moderator to lock a post.


"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.


A list of questions that you can bookmark by clicking the star icon (star icon) underneath the voting controls for each question.

Favorite Tags

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

Formerly called "Interesting tag"


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.


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 (Stack Overflow podcast, episode 54, 05 min 48 secs).

See: Now Earn Valuable Flair!.
Example: http://stackoverflow.com/users/flair/1

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. Rarely, also has a top level domain (see Stack Overflow, Super User, Server Fault and Gaming Arqade.


Gravatar (an abbreviation for globally recognized avatar) is a service for providing globally-unique avatars.

Hat, Hats

See: Winter Bash

Hidden Gem

This term refers to a post that is surprisingly outstanding in quality, especially coming from a new user. Those are hard to find and rare, so keep your eyes open!

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 march first, 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 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?)


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


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 wish to discuss the operation or functionality of the site. The term "meta" also refers to the support site, meta.stackexchange.com, which was set up to handle technical support, feature requests, and "meta" discussions for all Stack Exchange sites.


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.


A Stack Overflow user that has been granted 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.


The Meta Stack Exchange website (this site). A place to discuss matters concerning the whole Stack Exchange network. Specifically intended to report bugs, request features, and discuss moderation.


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.


Abbreviation of Not a real question, one of the items in the close dialog for a question on a Stack Exchange site.


Abbreviation of Not constructive, one of the items in the close dialog for a question on a Stack Exchange site.


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


Original Poster. A quick way to point at the person who wrote the question. Alternatively 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.


Refers to either a question or an answer.

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”?

Preferences, Prefs

A small 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 here for 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 an existing member. 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 home page to consider showing the public. Then moves into "Public Beta".

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". 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".

Question Ban

See: Post Ban


See: Reputation Recalculation


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


Can lead to a Stack Overflow.

See: 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.

Reputation Recalculation, Rep Recalc

The process where a moderator or user can cause a user's reputation to be "recalculated" from the database record. Certain activities do not immediately change a user's reputation (i.e. deleting a post). A "rep recalc" can be performed to adjust a users reputation based on the current posts and votes in the database.

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 http://{site}/posts/{post-id}/revisions


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.


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 (organisation). SEI is often erroneously used instead of SE to refer to the network of Q&A websites.

Server Fault

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


See: Server Fault


See: Stack Overflow

Sock Puppet, 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.

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 Overflow.

See: Trilogy


Stack Overflow Internet Services, Inc. was the former name of Stack Exchange, Inc.

See: SEI
See: Jeff Atwood
See: Joel Spolsky


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.


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

Stack Overflow refers to the programming Q&A site at http://StackOverflow.com. 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 or Meta Stack Overflow.

Stack Exchange

The Q&A site network that Stack Overflow belongs to. The current version, Stack Exchange 2.0, consists of several community-driven sites operated by 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 http://stackexchange.com for more information.

Status Tags

Some 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.

Examples: [status-by-design] [status-completed] [status-declined]


See: Super User

Super User

The Stack Exchange site located at http://SuperUser.com. Super User is for computer enthusiasts and power users.


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 Overflow development team, which can be reached at team@stackoverflow.com.


Abbreviation of Too localised, one of the items in the close dialog for a question on a Stack Exchange site.


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

Has also been used to refer to:

  • SO/SF/MSO only
  • SOFU + MSO only
  • the list of all Stack Exchange network sites at any given time, including Area 51, any SE 2.0 sites, careers and apps


See: Undefined Behavior

Undefined Behavior

A feature of languages such as C and C++ where the standard specifies that the behavior of certain constructs in the language is undefined, meaning the implementation is arbitrarily correct no matter what it does in such cases. The burden is on the programmer, not the implementation. See here and here.

User Card

The name of the block after a post or comment that contains the username, gravatar, reputation, and badges.


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

Vote[r] Fraud

Suspicious voting patterns often related to multiple accounts owned by a single user. Can also refer to casting down votes as revenge. See here.

See: Sock Puppet Accounts


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 posts, downvoting subtracts 2 rep from the author and 1 rep from the downvoter.


Abbreviation of Vote to close, the act of voting to close a question on a Stack Exchange site.


Abbreviation of Vote to delete, the act of voting to delete a question on a Stack Exchange site.


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.

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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 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 at 16:44

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