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I remember when I first began to frequent Meta there were jokes galore. And the moderators seemed pretty lax with humorous questions (and sometimes answers).

Then, something changed and Jeff began to lock and delete joke questions, and even joke tags.

Why exactly did such a change occur? Is it because at the time the change occurred, Area51 was just starting up and they needed to create a more serious environment for area51 questions? Or is it just that Jeff is becoming a grumpy old man? Or maybe Stack Overflow itself is becoming more mature and serious?

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closed as not constructive by ChrisF, kiamlaluno, Mark Trapp, Lorem Ipsum, Robert Harvey Feb 22 '12 at 6:25

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Although it's always Friday in Iceland, it's apparently no longer Iceland in Meta. –  Greg Hewgill Jan 20 '11 at 19:09
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I blame TheTXI and Pesto. They set the standards too high. –  mmyers Jan 20 '11 at 19:10
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Also, most of the funny stuff happens in chat nowadays. –  mmyers Jan 20 '11 at 19:11
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@Shog: But that post is over a year and a half old! Could it be that... no, that's impossible... but maybe... maybe people are romanticizing the past? Not that I'm pointing fingers, no sir... –  Aarobot Jan 20 '11 at 19:15
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@Mic who said I'm wishing for it. I was just going to propose we open a meta.meta.stackoverflow.com :D and I remember the change was sometime in like April or so of 2010. –  Earlz Jan 20 '11 at 19:19
    
It's because Jeff and other mods starting insta-closing such questions for a short period of time, sending everyone who participated the message that it was no longer permitted. –  Adam Davis Jan 20 '11 at 19:24
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Perhaps Meta has the same level of funny that it always had, and your standards have just gone up? –  Aarobot Jan 20 '11 at 20:57
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possible duplicate of Question title that doesn't describe the problem –  Adam Davis Jan 20 '11 at 20:57
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That's stone cold, @Polly. –  Aarobot Jan 20 '11 at 21:01
    
@Shog9 Page not found :C –  Jason Plank Jan 20 '11 at 21:13
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@Jason: it's funnier that way. For me at least. –  Shogging through the snow Jan 20 '11 at 21:14

5 Answers 5

up vote 54 down vote accepted

At some point Meta was starting to get an Eternal September of joke questions, because many new users were coming in and seeing "Hey, this place is a cool hangout!", and tried to be part of it, often just quoting overused memes for the umpteenth time and not realizing that while Meta does instead have its very own kind of humor, it was always based around the idea of having a support community, and the occasional joke might also have a purpose of keeping the community, well, sane -- and not go crazy with the hundredth "Where did my rep go" question.

This joke overflow (in which, I'm afraid, you also had your part) got on quite a few people's nerves, reducing the tolerance threshold.

I think meta is still a fun place (even if some of the crazyness may have moved to chat), but maybe the humor has grown up a bit.

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An astute observation! Also, WAFFLES. –  Shogging through the snow Jan 20 '11 at 20:59
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Ahem, meta.stackoverflow.com/users/142114/george-edison but yes, I definitely had my part as well... it was probably my manic tag creation that started the whole closing question bit anyway. but I doubt I'm that important. –  Earlz Jan 20 '11 at 21:55
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+1 for "some of the craziness has moved to chat" –  Joel Coehoorn Jan 20 '11 at 22:11
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@Earlz: I totally agree. I admit that I completely got carried away with the memes (in the early part of last year). But I think we've all grown up a bit since then. –  uɐɯsO uɐɥʇɐN May 30 '11 at 17:25

I take full responsibility. About 6 to 8 weeks ago I had my Freehand Circles (if you know what I mean) flattened in a tragic Waffle iron incident. Right after that, the Turtle in LOGO was trampled by a thundering herd of Ponies and Unicorns. I tried to call for help, but the Community Wiki police didn't arrive in time. They weren't the Fastest Gun in the West that day. I guess they should have tried jQuery.

Also, all of this took place on a Boat... On a Friday... In Iceland.

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You somehow just summarized every meme of meta in one paragraph. –  Earlz Jan 20 '11 at 21:59
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I think I'm going to be sick... –  Aarobot Jan 20 '11 at 22:08
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@Aarobot: Yeah... I definitely got that "too much of a good thing" feeling after writing that. I'm not proud. –  Bill the Lizard Jan 20 '11 at 22:40
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@Earlz Jon Skeet unhappy, plzsendthecodez oy's the rep whore, monkey mafia pending recalc, scite the unnameables, multicollide everything –  abel Jan 21 '11 at 18:36

I, for one, welcome our new reduced-humor overlords. An occasional joke is fine, but when I first came to MSO, all the in-jokes and memes were interfering with the actual purpose of the site.

This actually reminds me of what happens to small shops. When they start out, the founder works in the store, knows all the customers and employees, is fine with letting people say "oh, I'll come back and pay tomorrow," &c. People like the place because it has character and a nice sense of community.

Then as the business gets larger, the founder gets stuck in some corporate headquarters building, and new people start to think of him as just some suit, not the friend who hired and worked with them. More stores open, and each location is a cold, sterile clone of the others, staffed by people who just need a job and don't really know the customers. Before you know it, the place is Wal-Mart.

When you "first began to frequent Meta," the place was a small store where people came to hang out more than to actually buy stuff. To be honest, I think we've settled into a nice happy medium place now.

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Meta - we're the BestBuy of support sites! –  Shogging through the snow Jan 20 '11 at 19:21
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Why does big have to be boring? –  abel Jan 20 '11 at 19:29
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@abel - Because the progression ends up being Funny --> Big --> Goofy, and no one wants to be goofy. –  Adam Davis Jan 20 '11 at 19:34
    
@Pollyanna Aw! Then Goofy can be funny only once a year I guess. Sad. –  abel Jan 20 '11 at 19:43
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You forgot to mention when all the teenagers with their skateboards and baggy pants start coming in at 2 AM and stealing stuff. The founder can only shake his fist for so long before it's time to put up the "no skateboarding" sign and start packing double-barrel heat behind the counter. –  Aarobot Jan 20 '11 at 20:47
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The next time I have to endure something unpleasant, I'll close my eyes and go to my happy medium place :) –  Tim Post Jan 20 '11 at 21:10
    
@Aarobot, yes, we all know about Diago. –  Pops Jan 20 '11 at 22:08
    
@Pop: I was thinking of bobince, but that works too. –  Aarobot Jan 20 '11 at 22:14
    
@Aaro it was my understanding that bobince preferred tree pruners. (In fact, that's another thing I can pin on you today.) –  Pops Jan 20 '11 at 22:27

I left, and took my humor with me (which wasn't a lot)! Also Jeff hates me and my moon language.

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MOON. PEOPLE. –  Adam Davis Feb 21 '12 at 14:01

I thought I asked a funny question today, but people took it personally/seriously and voted it into submission.

That kind of behavior can kind of make a person want to seek their LOLZ elsewhere.

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Technically, this is not a place to seek LOLZ. So I would expect that most if not all, people would rather seek lolz elsewhere. –  jjnguy Jan 20 '11 at 20:23
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I did not find your question humorous, unfortunately, and your follow up comments strongly suggested that people should be taking you seriously. Further, in general, sarcasm is not as well accepted as humor as many people might want it to be. –  Adam Davis Jan 20 '11 at 20:27
    
I blame the lizard for that, criticizing my knowledge of CS. And, it wasn't asked in sarcasm. To replace all the stack exchange users with robots as a feature request sounds funny to me. –  Peter Turner Jan 20 '11 at 20:30
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When I first saw that question, I assumed it was a joke. But then you implied in a comment that only the last two sentences were in jest, so I was under the assumption that you did have a real problem with the concept. –  Grace Note Jan 20 '11 at 20:49
    
I got the impression that your question was, as @Pol put it in his own answer, a "serious question gussied up with funny". You said flat-out that the tail end of your post was facetious, which implied that the rest of your post wasn't a joke. Trust me, I'm quite well-acquainted with the "ha-ha-just-joking-except-serious-but-only-kinda" style of discourse, but it only works if (a) you're internally consistent and (b) don't give yourself away by over-stretching the metaphor. Otherwise people will just ignore the jokes, like I did, and assume the rest to be serious. –  Aarobot Jan 20 '11 at 20:55
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P.S. We have a [fun] tag which you should use if your question is really intended to just be a joke. Of course, people will still downvote it into oblivion and vote to close if it isn't actually funny, so use that tag at your own risk. –  Aarobot Jan 20 '11 at 20:56
    
Hey, @PeterTurner has an approximation of pi rep: 3.14E2 ;-) –  Jürgen A. Erhard Jan 21 '11 at 0:19

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