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You know what day is coming up, right? Just to get you up to speed:

So, what about 2011? Well, while we do have some ideas, we'd be stupid not to ask the probably largest accumulation of… special… creativity on the Internet – and that's obviously Meta*!

So, offer your ideas! Of course you won't know until April 1st what actually happens (and we don't promise anything), but be sure that we plan to reward great ideas with a little more than just a Meta rep bounty!

Except that your suggestions should be a) funny (at least in the eyes of most people), b) doable, and c) awesome, there are no restrictions. C'mon get crazy!

*cue obligatory "the sites are run by you" :)

share|improve this question
22  
Changing reputation scoring once again would be nigh hilarious –  random Mar 1 '11 at 17:24
34  
Cut everybody's rep in half, and close Meta for the day. –  Pëkka Mar 1 '11 at 17:26
2  
Multiple all gained rep * a random negative number for that day, that will surely scare some users :P –  Ivo Flipse Mar 1 '11 at 17:27
5  
Captcha lottery: Those who guess both words are automagically moderators –  belisarius Mar 1 '11 at 17:35
48  
Open PoliticsOverflow and forbid subjective and argumentative** questions. Everything closed :) –  belisarius Mar 1 '11 at 17:44
3  
@GeorgeEdison: I thought we finally got the community wiki police off of Meta. I guess not... Anyway, let people get some reps for their good ideas, at least for a while. This'll be auto-CW'ed because of answer count in no time anyway. –  balpha Mar 1 '11 at 18:08
1  
I just passed 15k rep thanks to this question. And this is a question in need of protection if I ever saw one.... –  Pops Mar 1 '11 at 18:35
3  
@Ivo I see the question coming in SO: What is a random negative number? –  belisarius Mar 1 '11 at 18:52
14  
This is too small to be the official network-wide plan, but: post an unsolvable problem -- like my "solve P=NP" question from last year -- and attach a 100k rep bounty. –  Pops Mar 1 '11 at 20:05
3  
The time is right. Let's bring back the dead. –  Adam Davis Mar 2 '11 at 0:35
2  
@balpha, in all seriousness, I wonder whether whatever the joke ends up being, it might be best not to implement it on math.se –  Benjol Mar 2 '11 at 6:44
6  
@Benjol - If Math.SE doesn't want an April Fool's joke played on them, they should start lobbying against it on their meta, specifically requesting that the line, "Bring your sense of humor." be stricken from the FAQ. Yes, a lot of people will be confused and frightened by the joke, but we're going to ask them to put up with it and embiggen their cultural awareness to include the silly American thing. The day they remove teh funneh from stackexchange will be a sad day indeed. –  Adam Davis Mar 2 '11 at 17:03
3  
Please note that in NO WAY will earnest users of the various sites be impeded in their usage of the site. You'll still be able to ask questions, add answers, and vote. The moderators and people who can vote to close won't allow any significant amount of fun having in terms of real questions and answers. The question and answer pool won't be polluted. And, frankly, if it's a problem for some users, will it really hurt them to take a break from the site for a day? –  Adam Davis Mar 2 '11 at 17:05
6  
maybe apply a dark theme... –  Jin Mar 3 '11 at 5:16
3  
@Benjol @jjnguy Having recently read through some of meta.math.se and math.se I now understand the point of your suggestion. On the other hand, when your brother is so easily annoyed, it's wrong not to poke him once in awhile. –  Adam Davis Mar 3 '11 at 17:49
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75 Answers 75

up vote 73 down vote accepted

I think we could all use a little help with a variety of functions when we are composing questions and answers.

Clippy presenting user with a list of choices concerning code formatting

We'd need to generate several static images, and display them:

  • randomly when a user is editing a post
  • based on either keywords they enter
  • based on buttons they press in the markdown editor
  • ???

Nice thing is that it could apply to all sites across the board, rather than being programmer/geek specific.

share|improve this answer
4  
Change the third example from C to Perl and you might have something there. –  uɐɯsO uɐɥʇɐN Mar 2 '11 at 1:41
6  
This makes me want to slap you. –  squillman Mar 2 '11 at 2:04
33  
"I see you're trying to ask a question about JavaScript. Why not drop that and try jQuery?" -Clippy –  Bill the Lizard Mar 2 '11 at 2:44
13  
@Bill: "I see you're trying to ask a question. Why not drop that and try jQuery?" -Clippy" –  uɐɯsO uɐɥʇɐN Mar 2 '11 at 4:36
7  
Can we use jQuery to $.animate() clippy? –  xiaohouzi79 Mar 3 '11 at 4:45
7  
I think we need this for all users under 500 rep anyways :\ –  jcolebrand Mar 4 '11 at 17:43
12  
There goes my idea of proposing this as a serious feature request. –  Tim Post Mar 13 '11 at 13:51
2  
@badp I strongly suspect that previously you were mentally blocking it out due to the horrible abuse you must have suffered at its hands. Be at peace, it can harm you no more. –  Adam Davis Mar 22 '11 at 21:10
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I think all the sites should be grayscaled ... not just the metas.

Or better might be to reverse the site colorations, from meta to the host, etc. Too simple, but also easy enough it should be doable.

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show 1 more comment

Facebook integration.

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3  
What a... special idea! –  mmyers Mar 1 '11 at 17:30
13  
I am afraid many, many users will not get the joke :) –  belisarius Mar 1 '11 at 17:32
8  
@belisarius: those are the best kind of jokes... –  Shog9 Mar 1 '11 at 17:39
1  
@Shog That was the intention behind the ":)" and the +1 –  belisarius Mar 1 '11 at 17:41
4  
@belisarius: On Meta, we use ellipses to stand in for emoticons. (And "yo momma" insults. Context is everything...) –  Shog9 Mar 1 '11 at 17:43
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I'm not sure how difficult it would be... but how about switching themes between sites? For example, give Stack Overflow the Programmers theme for a day, and vice versa. Or perchance do a three-direction with Stack Overflow getting Programmers, Programmers getting Meta Stack Overflow, and Meta getting normal Stack Overflow. You can then mix and match the sites for different interesting combos. Gaming ↔ Game Development, AskUbuntu ↔ Unix & Linux...

Not all of them have good matches (Seasoned Advice and Photography stand out, although I suppose using Photo's theme with a picture of a delicious meal wouldn't be entirely bad...), and there's nothing to swap between the Beta sites. But I figure, the idea was a mite humorous enough to toss out.

EDIT:
Five-minute mockup for Shog:

the Seasoned Advice theme for Stack Overflow

share|improve this answer
1  
I think you stole my idea! :p –  jcolebrand Mar 1 '11 at 17:38
15  
Seeing the Seasoned Advice theme on SO would be hilarious... –  Shog9 Mar 1 '11 at 17:38
4  
This would be absolutely hilarious, but possibly confusing to new visitors. Maybe show to registered users only? –  Pëkka Mar 1 '11 at 17:44
3  
Eh, just distribute the old Physics SE light-on-dark theme to all sites and call it a day. –  Pops Mar 4 '11 at 17:38
22  
Snack Overflow? –  gnostradamus Mar 9 '11 at 20:54
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Take the "Stack Overflow Is You" motto to the extreme and instead of a Stack Overflow logo at the top, have a logo that is "n overflow" where n is the user's name. Adding the User's Gravatar (as recommended by Pekka) seems like a cool idea too (though not if it screws up loading time).

Or, replace all accepted answers' user name and links with Jon Skeet's name and profile link.

share|improve this answer
5  
Nice! Maybe even with the user's gravatar (if it's a photograph). –  Pëkka Mar 1 '11 at 17:44
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Stack Exchange, Inc is going public!

As our show of thanks to you providing all the great content for Stack Overflow, we're allowing you the one time opportunity to convert your reputation points into actual company stock.

This is a one-way transaction and any points converted will be deducted from your reputation and show on your user history and graph as "SOIS buy-in"

And create a page that shows how much stock they would get for whatever amount they want to pony up.

share|improve this answer
23  
Better yet: shutting down 'cause they were bought out by Oracle for internal mailing list uses –  Joel Coehoorn Mar 1 '11 at 21:05
1  
+1 for Oracle reference. –  uɐɯsO uɐɥʇɐN Mar 2 '11 at 5:09
2  
This...is...STACKOVERFLOW! Therefore, s/pony/unicorn/ –  Piskvor Mar 3 '11 at 10:11
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People joke that Jon Skeet can answer questions before they are asked.

How about you generate some fake content using Flack Overstow and auto post an answer by Jon (or someone else?, maybe the leader in the tag) and date the post a few minutes before the question was asked.

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1  
or just feature Jon's answers and have it subtract five minutes from all of his posts (or edits too!) when displaying? –  jcolebrand Mar 1 '11 at 17:37
4  
@Pekka, that would be interesting. Although, I wonder how many people would notice time stamp oddities. –  jjnguy Mar 1 '11 at 17:45
4  
@jinguy the answer is to always use jQuery anyway... –  Ivo Flipse Mar 1 '11 at 19:00
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I originally came up with this as a throwaway joke a few days ago, but since you ask...

for(Question q : questions)
    q.deleted = !q.deleted;

You could flip the closed bit in addition to/instead of the deleted bit.

... or perhaps the community wiki bit.

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12  
I'll be taking that day off. –  Bill the Lizard Mar 1 '11 at 17:50
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Announce that you're closing the sites down because you were bought out by Experts Exchange.

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3  
@belisarius Yeah. Or Yahoo! Answers, as would be another good inside joke here on Meta. –  squillman Mar 1 '11 at 18:14
1  
"You will be redirected to EE in 30 seconds unless you click this link to stay at Stack Overflow." –  Pops Mar 1 '11 at 20:00
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I think this year you should customize the April Fool's jokes for each community. Here are a few ideas:

  • Stack Overflow - re-skin the site to match the style and layout of that hyphen site.
  • English Language & Usage - Run the entire site through Google Translate to convert each question and answer to a random language.
  • Unix & Linux - Make people enter answers at a command prompt.
  • Seasoned Advice - Add a random spam haiku answer to every new question.
  • Gaming - You must beat 10 levels of Angry Birds to post a new question.
share|improve this answer
5  
Ha, there are currently 23 live sites. I think that would be a lot of work to implement 23 different pranks. (Although, those are good ideas) –  jjnguy Mar 1 '11 at 17:51
22  
...and for Ask Ubuntu: make the site look like microsoft.com >:) –  uɐɯsO uɐɥʇɐN Mar 1 '11 at 18:00
2  
@George: You go too far, sir! ;) –  Bill the Lizard Mar 1 '11 at 18:01
17  
As for English: translating to some language and back, yielding some sort of English, might annoy people a lot. :-) –  Arjan Mar 1 '11 at 18:23
3  
@Arjan ooooh yeah, auto-translate to chinese and back for every contribution! –  Pëkka Mar 1 '11 at 18:50
3  
but I don't have Angry Birds! –  badp Mar 1 '11 at 18:58
5  
On SU Clippy would offer help on every question :P –  Ivo Flipse Mar 1 '11 at 19:01
1  
Did you mean... jQuery plugin? –  badp Mar 1 '11 at 19:08
1  
@Bill Is it that much fun dissing the hyphen site? –  RichardTheKiwi Mar 2 '11 at 2:29
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A notification bar pointing to a breaking story in the blog, written by Jeff or Joel, to this effect:

The Stack Overflow team and the Venture Capitalists funding Stack Exchange have decided to provide additional funds in an unprecedented move to increase awareness of StackOverflow, and encourage participation.

Reputation points can be exchanged to money at a rate of $0.10 per point!

We plan to launch this some time this summer; however we will be beta testing this today until midnight GMT, or a maximum budget of up to $20,000, depending on what is reached first. If you earn 100 rep points or more today, a "claim my funds" button will appear in your user profile. Click it and follow instructions.

All you need is a major credit card, or a PayPal account.

This would be the most hilarious variation of a general "Money for rep points today only!!!!1" idea, because it would keep people on their toes for a while.... If it's not too blatantly obvious.

share|improve this answer
1  
Or a contact at Western Union? –  Tim Stone Mar 1 '11 at 17:52
16  
THANK YOU BARRISTER IDRIS ENGA, I HAS RECEIVED MY MONIES FROM OUR PREVIOUS TRANSACTION, A+++++++++++++++++++++++++ WOULD ASSIST WITH UNSOLICITED INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL TRANSACTION AGAIN –  Pops Mar 1 '11 at 18:01
3  
@POPULAR I AM SO GLAD TO HEAR THIS. UNFORTUNATELY MY DAUGTHER WAS HOSPITALIZED AND I WAS UNABLE TO REPLY. LOOKIGN FORWARD TO FUTURE TRANSACTIONS AND GOD BLESS AND NOBODY SHOULD TARNISH THE NAME OF WESTERN UNION –  Pëkka Mar 1 '11 at 18:04
3  
I stopped after reading $0.10 just to mentally figure out how much that would net me... This would totally work as an april fools joke. –  Adam Davis Mar 2 '11 at 0:17
1  
s/some time this summer/in six to eight weeks/ :-P –  derobert Dec 22 '11 at 18:08
add comment

Fake privilege bar

Maybe some client-side generated blood-red @-notifications too while we're at it:

blood-red notification

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19  
Fixing Tim Stone would be a pretty funny joke. –  Shog9 Mar 1 '11 at 17:53
1  
haha this is fantastic and doable! –  Trufa Mar 10 '11 at 1:51
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When a user gets or gives their first up vote of the day they get a special Unicorn badge which links them to this little game which is hosted on agame

It would of course require you to get permission to use the game but it would be worth it.

Also, add the Konami code for the day and Cornify it up!

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1  
I like the Konami code idea. –  jjnguy Mar 1 '11 at 17:55
add comment

I've had an idea brewing for months and it kind of continues the idea from last year.

Last year we changed everyone's Gravatar, this year, let's change their display name!!!

The idea is that a bunch of first names, last names, and suffixes are collected and then randomly combined to form the user's new name...

Examples:

  • William van Smithstern the III
  • Dr. Joseph Samuels Jr.
  • etc.
share|improve this answer
8  
In combination with doing this, they should also obscure diamonds for the day. It'll be like a masquerade ball where you can't even recognize the host. –  Grace Note Mar 1 '11 at 18:00
7  
Everyone is named either John Skeet, Marc Gravell, Joel Spolsky, or Jeff Atwood. –  Joel Coehoorn Mar 1 '11 at 21:08
1  
@Joel: ...or Geoffrey Chetwood :) –  uɐɯsO uɐɥʇɐN Mar 1 '11 at 21:30
2  
@Joel DOOOO IIIITTTT!!! I literally laughed out loud when I read that. So great! (But add in "Rebecca Chernoff♦" for good measure :-) –  The Unhandled Exception Mar 6 '11 at 0:13
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A paywall for all users with 500+ rep for both asking and answering.

Complete with a credit card form (29.98/month) and a link to a blog post outlining why this is totally not a sellout.

Of course, you just have to scroll down to continue!

share|improve this answer
1  
@Klaus: I'm wondering if that typo was intentional :P –  Billy ONeal Mar 1 '11 at 18:21
2  
Does the joke on the "other website" ever get old? –  RichardTheKiwi Mar 2 '11 at 2:28
1  
@Richardakacyberkiwi: No. –  Thomas McDonald Mar 9 '11 at 20:37
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Redirect randomly between all Stack Exchange sites.

Stack Overflow might wind up on Meta.SciFi, or AskDifferent could be on Unix & Linux.

Or integrate it with a Wheel of Redirects, like the Wheel of Migration that we mods use to decide where to send questions. (oops, was that out loud?)

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3  
waves hands there is no wheel of migration –  Rebecca Chernoff Mar 1 '11 at 18:11
16  
LIES! –  Tim Stone Mar 1 '11 at 18:16
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How about adding the moderator diamond ♦ next to the logged in user's name all over the site (only visible to the user himself)?

share|improve this answer
25  
For added lulz, add a link to a fake moderator tools page and count the number of hits it gets. –  Bill the Lizard Mar 1 '11 at 18:11
3  
@Bill, good idea. And afterwords ban everyone where that page didn't get even a single hit ;-) –  Klaus Byskov Pedersen Mar 1 '11 at 18:13
19  
I'd like a count of how many times Jeff's account gets suspended or deleted. –  Tim Post Mar 1 '11 at 23:14
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Cover the sites in advertisements for the upcoming movie.

share|improve this answer
4  
@GeorgeEdison Hmm, I don't know what we'd do about the site itself, but clearly the promo game should be Robot Unicorn Attack. –  Tim Stone Mar 1 '11 at 19:10
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Upgrade CAPTCHAs to test basic English spelling and grammar. Keep the obscured text, so people can't just hook up existing grammar checking engines, but come up with your own images so you don't end up displaying GBLI^24[phi].

Might as well spend April Fool's Day doing some actual quality control. Hm? No, I'm not annoyed by any of the posts I edit on SO, why?

share|improve this answer
7  
Ooh ooh, how about CAPTCHAs that make you enter text that matches a regex? –  mmyers Mar 1 '11 at 18:27
add comment

Grant everyone the precognitive badge for the day.

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add comment

Hide the accepted answer behind an "INSTANT ACCESS TO THIS SOLUTION" banner... which vanishes as soon as you mouse anywhere near it.

Or announce a merger with Experts Exchange.

EDIT: Okay, so it looks like I wasn't the only one with ideas around EE. Oh well.

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8  
The instant access thing is new though. Could be combined :) –  balpha Mar 1 '11 at 18:17
add comment

EBay-style premium listings!

enter image description here

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10  
I want fries and a shake with my gravatar. –  Shog9 Mar 1 '11 at 18:23
5  
I <3 this - but make it cost rep –  8128 Mar 1 '11 at 18:24
7  
You forgot the $1.00 option where it's stamped with Jon Skeet's seal of approval. –  Tim Stone Mar 1 '11 at 18:38
12  
So, how much should we charge for allowing the use of <blink>? –  balpha Mar 1 '11 at 21:17
9  
@balpha, replacing <strong> with <blink> for the day would be... fun, too! –  Benjol Mar 2 '11 at 5:44
1  
I like a little <blink> in my <marquee><marquee direction="left">. –  mmyers Mar 3 '11 at 17:35
11  
Ban Jon Skeet from submitting a competing answer $34.99 –  TCPMAN.EXE Mar 6 '11 at 0:19
11  
@mootinator let Jon Skeet answer but attribute it to me $124.99 –  Pëkka Mar 6 '11 at 0:20
1  
@Pop I think it says "up to 3 / post $2 or 5 waffles" –  Pëkka Mar 7 '11 at 21:20
5  
You totally forgot "Protection From Moderators ..... $CALL" –  Tim Post Mar 13 '11 at 13:49
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You could make everyone think that the sites were hacked by Anonymous by replacing every user name with "Anonymous" and every user image with:

enter image description here

Or:

enter image description here

share|improve this answer
2  
Or maybe Guy Fawkes? –  mmyers Mar 1 '11 at 18:30
3  
I wonder if anonymous would take it as a challenge. How risk averse do you think SOIS is? ;-D Free security testing, and a great april fools joke to boot! –  Adam Davis Mar 2 '11 at 0:19
1  
@Pollyanna: Everybody wins! –  gnostradamus Mar 2 '11 at 7:14
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Allow (fake) protesting of OP acceptance decisions

Add a button right below the green checkmark labeled PROTEST which pops up a message saying you can overrule the OP's decision to accept this answer at a cost of 30 rep points.

If the user accepts, redirect him to a page on the site where the protesting procedure — a clear scam for stealing half the user's rep points — is described, and a confirm button is displayed.

If the user confirms again, say

Thank you. The answer will be un-accepted and your rep points deducted by tomorrow morning.

share|improve this answer
2  
@Justin I thought it more like a bet. If mods approve your decision, you lose 30 rep points and the answer is un-accepted. If mods deny, you lose half your rep. A fair game :) –  belisarius Mar 31 '11 at 15:13
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Zalgoize all questions and answers. Or even all text on the site.

share|improve this answer
1  
Zalgoize? What is that? –  Borror0 Mar 15 '11 at 2:55
2  
@Borror0: Google "zalgo text" and you'll find a few generators like this one. I̩̖̊̀t͔̪͠'̤͓͌̔͒ͅs̷̙̮̣̹̟̬͚̎͑̔́ͩ ͖̲̯̹͉ͭ̃ͯ́̑͢ͅg͉͓͉̱̜r̬̻ͭ̾̎̔͒̾͘ê̈́͏̯̞a͕͗̌͘ͅt̅͋ͦ̍͘!̭̣̟̫͍̃̏ͯ̈́ –  mmyers Mar 15 '11 at 3:56
1  
Oh! So that's what it's called! Thanks. –  Borror0 Mar 15 '11 at 3:57
add comment

Only allow comments shorter than 15 characters and questions or answers shorter than 30.

share|improve this answer
4  
SO > Twitter –  badp Mar 1 '11 at 19:04
add comment

Quora was right all along:

  • Unlock favourite/ignored tag editing for all users.
    • +2 rep per suggested interesting topic.
    • All suggested interesting topics are automatically accepted. No exceptions.
  • Followers!
    • You can follow people by starring them.
    • +10 per follow.
    • −2 per unfollow.
    • To kickstart things generate many followings at random.
    • Follow at 10 reputation
    • Unfollow at 125 reputation
  • Formatting!
    • Markdown is too hard. Get rid of it.
    • Replace it with an intuitive WYSIWYG editor. You cannot see or edit source, because HTML is so web 1.0.
    • Ban evil outbound links outside the site; URL copy and paste ought to be enough for everybody.
  • Janitors!
    • Moderators are so web 2.0; get rid of them.
    • Closing sucks; retag instead.
    • Janitors can super downvote: +2 reputation for the voter, −10 for the votee.
    • Become a janitor at 1000 reputation.
  • Notifications! Drop down a message every time:
    1. A post of yours was upvoted.
    2. A post of a follower's was upvoted.
    3. A follower upvoted a post.
    4. A post of yours was downvoted.
    5. A post of a follower's was downvoted.
    6. A follower downvoted a post.
    7. A post of yours was accepted.
    8. A post of a follower's was accepted.
    9. A follower accepted a post.
    10. A post of yours was commented.
    11. A post of a follower's was commented.
    12. A follower commented a post.
    13. A new question has been posted since you have loaded the page.
    14. A follower posts.
    15. A post of yours is answered by a follower's follower.
    16. A follower's question was answered.
    17. A follower was followed.
    18. A follower was unfollowed.
    19. A follower unlocks a privilege.
    20. You are followed.
    21. You are unfollowed.
    22. You gain reputation.
    23. You lose reputation.
    24. You would gain reputation, but a cap prevents that.
    25. A follower gains reputation.
    26. A follower loses reputation.
    27. A follower gains reputation, but a cap prevents that.
    28. A follower visits chat.
    29. A follower enters a chatroom.
    30. A follower posts a chat message.
    31. A follower stars a chat message.
    32. A follower flags a chat message.
    33. A follower is followed.
    34. A follower is unfollowed.
    35. A follower adds an interesting tag.
    36. A follower removes an interesting tag.
    37. A follower adds an ignored tag.
    38. A follower removes an ignored tag.
    39. Jon Somebody has started typing an answer for the question you are viewing.
    40. Jon Somebody has viewed a question of yours.
    41. Jon Somebody has started typing a question of yours.
    42. Oh, nevermind, Jon Somebody has stopped writing.

NotificationOverflow

share|improve this answer
2  
"Drop down a message"? Is that how the cool kids are saying "Send an SMS" these days? –  Pops Mar 1 '11 at 19:36
1  
Yeah, I know what you actually meant. But requiring users to provide phone numbers capable of receiving texts would be much more April Fool's-y. –  Pops Mar 1 '11 at 19:45
1  
Hey @Aarobot, I'm sorry but I could barely see your reply. I'll give you a screenshot as soon as I can display more than a line of text at a time... ah, here we go –  badp Mar 4 '11 at 19:47
7  
Ahahahahahahahahahahahaha! What a brilliant mockup. –  Pëkka Mar 4 '11 at 20:20
2  
Aces. This should definitely be on our screens as of April 1st. –  Aarobot Mar 4 '11 at 20:22
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Simple version:

  1. Make downvotes cost 1/2 the user's rep.

Extended edition:

  1. Make downvotes cost 1/2 the user's rep.
  2. Display a notification thanking the user for donating 1/2 their rep to the Jon Skeet foundation for terminally hopeless programmers (or some more believable fake charity incl. a link to fake site)
  3. Award a funny 'Philanthropist' badge to anyone who loses over 1k rep as a result over the course of the day.

(Recalc at the end of the day, of course.)

share|improve this answer
1  
Reducing or eliminating the vote quota and forcing users to "buy" votes (up or down) would also be interesting... –  Shog9 Mar 1 '11 at 21:43
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