What is meta? ×
Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 129 Stack Exchange communities.

What are some features of this site that you consider "hidden"?

For example, I didn't know about the RSS feeds until Jeff Atwood and Joel Spolsky discussed them on the podcast.

share|improve this question

migrated from stackoverflow.com Jul 22 '09 at 19:05

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

13  
rly, you didn't notice the RSS icon in your address bar? –  Chris Marasti-Georg Oct 7 '08 at 19:01
34  
Chrome doesn't give the RSS icon on the address bar. –  Lakshman Prasad Jun 17 '09 at 4:25
29  
Until you mentioned it, I never noticed an RSS icon in my address bar ever. sigh –  Dan Neely Oct 12 '09 at 21:13
8  
See also List of unlinked pages on Stack Exchange sites. –  Arjan Feb 5 '11 at 12:01
1  
@Chris - I know I didn't, until just now. On my screen there's probably about 70 icons ATM, and I probably use between 5 and 10 on a regular basis. The address bar isn't used in my browser very often because of these things called "bookmarks". If I ever noticed that icon before, I assumed it was some kind of Firefox gimmick for working with addresses and ignored it. –  Steve314 May 22 '11 at 23:38

50 Answers 50

up vote 134 down vote accepted

Attached Firefox/Internet Explorer search plugin. In Firefox, when you are on Stack Overflow, just click on the search dropdown (to the left of the search text field) and hit Add "Stack Overflow".

EDIT: SO-family sites now also support OpenSearch, as described in this question.

share|improve this answer
1  
It has to support the "manage search plugins" option, and have discovery working. I'm using Firefox 3.0.2 on Fedora 9, so it definitely works under linux. It may just be that your version of firefox doesn't autodiscover. –  akdom Oct 7 '08 at 19:31
10  
In Opera, you can right click on the SO search box and click "Create Search" to add it to your list of search sites. –  Cristián Romo Jan 1 '09 at 2:52
3  
Cool, but nowhere near hidden. Lots of sites have this (more should!). And you can add sites yourself easily by generating the needed XML by searching a site for TEST and entering the resulting URL into microsoft.com/windows/ie/searchguide/en-uk/default.mspx –  peSHIr Jan 22 '09 at 13:31
1  
It get's better if you assign a keyword to StackOveflow as search engine for Firefox (e.g. "so"). You can then type something like "so python+hidden" directly as URL into Firefox. –  Cyberdrow May 23 '09 at 12:05
1  
Bookmark for quick search in FF/IE (or search engine shorcut in chrome) is, for searching: stackoverflow.com/search?q=%s or for taggeg questions: stackoverflow.com/questions/tagged/%s –  streetpc Jun 16 '09 at 17:16
1  
Cool - I just noticed in IE that the little drop down next to teh search box turns slightly orange when you're on this site. Sweeeet. –  Sam Schutte Jun 16 '09 at 17:19

If you need to tell someone to do keyboard commands you can use the kbd HTML tag.

Source

<kbd>Ctrl</kbd> + <kbd>Alt</kbd> + <kbd>Del</kbd>

Result

Ctrl + Alt + Del

share|improve this answer
2  
That's a standard HTML tag, though; it just has a really nice CSS style. –  WChargin Jun 3 '13 at 0:05

Clicking on Days Visited or Consecutive Days on the profile page

clicking on Days Visited

opens a calendar that shows which days the site was actually visited.

shows a calendar

share|improve this answer
3  
@Gabriel - também gostei do calendário e valeu um Badge para mim (I also like the calendar and I got a badge for it) :-) "You've earned the Necromancer badge for Hidden features of Stack Overflow" - this message is great too, just right for Halloween! –  Carlos Heuberger Nov 8 '10 at 20:02
2  
It already says I visited tomorrow. Now I am tempted to stay off tomorrow to create a space time paradox. Either that or the official time zone is different than my local time, but where's the fun in that? –  Karl Bielefeldt Jan 30 '11 at 4:37
1  

You can use:

http://stackoverflow.com/reputation

All the votes ( negatives and positives ) you have had, and the question where you've got them.

Source: Jeff answer here

share|improve this answer
11  
True, and you can also trigger reputation recalc there. –  Shadow Wizard Nov 9 '11 at 13:15
1  
@ShaWizDowArd used to be correct, but due to changes since his comment was posted, /reputation no longer has any effect on your reputation, it simply displays what you currently have. –  Richard J. Ross III May 7 '13 at 13:48
1  
@Richard as far as I know, it's still possible to recalc and it's still making changes in rare cases where it wasn't updated automatically. IMO this answer should stay. See here a related post. –  Shadow Wizard May 7 '13 at 14:23

URL tooltips

share|improve this answer
8  
talk about hidden, I'm going to use this in every post now just to show it to people who edit them. –  Gordon Gustafson Jul 25 '10 at 23:37

You can see the history of what happened to a question by going to:

http://stackoverflow.com/posts/{questionid}/timeline

In the details that are shown, a lot can be clicked to expand.

This also works on Area 51.

share|improve this answer

You can see recently completed features on Meta Stack Exchange. There is also a formally-maintained list.

share|improve this answer
1  
Good point. Updated the link so it only shows questions tagged status-completed and feature-request. –  Patrick McElhaney Jul 26 '10 at 15:06
5  
And when noticing changes: consider adding them to the community maintained Recent feature changes to Stack Exchange. –  Arjan Jan 31 '11 at 16:03

If you have 1000+ reputation, you can click the score of a question/answer and expand the net value to see the total of upvotes vs total of downvotes

Source

share|improve this answer
7  
By misclicking (with the intention to vote). I just discovered it half an hour ago on SO... and wondered why it wasn't working on my meta account, until I found this. –  splicer Dec 1 '09 at 19:01

#stackoverflow IRC channel on freenode, and the SObot that will post new questions in the channel as they're posted.

share|improve this answer
5  
Quote from mibbit: Connections via mibbit are no longer supported on freenode. You may wish to consider using webchat.freenode.net instead –  Bob Jul 4 '09 at 14:32
1  
Except none of the support team is available when you need them :( –  uɐɯsO uɐɥʇɐN Apr 15 '10 at 5:14
2  
@George: It's not a support channel! It's a mostly off-topic channel for socialising. (I speak as one of the very first people to come to that channel, back when it started in August 2008. It was founded by non-SO-staff, and even now, SO staff coverage is very thin; Geoff Dalgas comes in occasionally, but nobody else.) –  Chris Jester-Young Apr 19 '10 at 17:28
2  
<byte_tongue/> –  IAbstract Nov 7 '10 at 16:19

You can search for multiple tags by typing them in the URL separated by %20. This does an AND search, i.e. only questions with all the tags you specified will be shown.

For example:

http://stackoverflow.com/questions/tagged/windows%20com

searches for both the 'windows' and the 'com' tags

Alternatively you can type the following in the search box in the top right for the same results:

[windows] [com]

share|improve this answer
7  
You can also do "tag1 or tag2" in the URL. –  Evan Jun 12 '09 at 11:30
2  
In fact, I think the "not" keyword works as well. –  Evan Jun 12 '09 at 11:31
4  
[or] is now a tag so you can do [foo][or][bar] in the search box. –  Dennis Williamson Feb 18 '11 at 4:21

The nofollow attribute on your profile website link is removed at a rep of 2000.

Jeff's answer

share|improve this answer
2  
Also mentioned in the podcast, episode 15 (2011-08-10, 30.1 MB, episode 100 in the old numbering scheme) at 43 min 00 secs. –  Peter Mortensen Aug 12 '11 at 14:21

I recently learned that the Your Question/Your Answer editor has an auto-indent feature (in source code blocks): Try Shift+Enter.

share|improve this answer
30  
Actually Shift+Enter is a continue formatting command: I.e. it doesn't continue extra indenting within code, but it does add the first 4 needed spaces if you're already in code. It also adds the next numeric value for a numbered list, a copy of the first mark for an unnumbered list, and for both of the latter it "fixes" the other numbers/marks to be sequential/the same. It also continues > blockquotes. –  Mark Hurd Jul 10 '10 at 3:16

Wildcards in tag filters

Adding *C#* to your ignored tags will ignore any tag that contains the letters C#, including C#-4.0 and visual-C#-express-2010. Likewise for favorite tags.

This is useful because there are often questions tagged C#-3.0 but not C#, so just ignoring C# wouldn't catch this. Its a really nice solution to ignoring all questions on a given topic.

You can even use it to ignore all questions not in your favorite tags by just ignoring * :D

share|improve this answer

It's possible to view the markup used to create any question or answer. (This may be useful if you wish to combine answers or quote part of the question with formatting.)

If the question or answer has been edited so that it has an edited X timeunits ago link, you can use that to view the revision history, then use the view source link.

If it hasn't been edited then you can still view the revision history, but you'll have to manually enter the url in your browser's address bar. For questions, take the number in the middle of the page's url; for answers use the link link for the answer to get it's unique number in the anchor of the url (after the # character) and then go to:

http://stackoverflow.com/posts/number/revisions

share|improve this answer
1  
A feature like this should not be hidden. –  romkyns Jan 29 '11 at 22:26
19  
I usually just click "edit". Now that even low reputation users can click edit, this is not very hard to find. –  Brian Jan 31 '11 at 16:58

I just noticed today that asker comments are shaded just like the background for the user box:

enter image description here

This applies in comments to everything for that particular question too. It can be handy for context on larger pages.

share|improve this answer
1  
I just noticed that this applies to self answers, too. –  lunboks Jun 21 '12 at 22:26
2  
this feature doesn't seem too hidden –  ajax333221 Sep 21 '12 at 16:35

Tag links:

Syntax: [tag:tag-name]

Meta tags:

(red because it's moderator only tag)

Syntax: [meta-tag:tag-name]

share|improve this answer
11  
There's also the [meta-tag:tag-name] syntax, and it might be nice to link to the MSO post in question here –  Yi Jiang Feb 7 '11 at 11:42

Modify tags in question (hidden area at right of tag list):

enter image description here

Note: This is only available with 10k rep or more.

share|improve this answer
2  
What's the difference between that and retag question that requires only 500 rep? –  HuBeZa Feb 7 '11 at 11:31
3  
@HuBeZa It's the same function with another user interface. –  belisarius Feb 7 '11 at 11:38
1  
@HuBeZa also the retag link is removed after hitting 2K. –  Camil Staps May 22 '13 at 18:33

Well, not only related to Stack Overflow but also AWESOME: ODATA for all Stack Exchange sites.

There's even some saved queries to know. For example, how much is still missing for me to get the X badge.

This is awesome!

share|improve this answer
1  
It is great, yes. Hopefully Area51 will soon be added. –  Wikis Nov 7 '10 at 16:35

Typing --- in chat forces a new section. Usually, consecutive chat messages from the same user are kept in the same box.

enter image description here

It is hidden in the transcript, but the separation between sections is still visible:

enter image description here

share|improve this answer

All the editing keyboard shortcuts act as toggles, including add hyperlink.

share|improve this answer
9  
I didn't even know there were keyboard shortcuts! –  MatrixFrog Apr 17 '10 at 3:59
2  
what are the shortcuts? where can I find them? –  Gabriel Guimarães Nov 16 '10 at 16:07
5  
@Gabriel: Hover over the buttons above the textarea and a tooltip will tell you what it does and what the keyboard shortcut for it is. –  Sam Hasler Nov 17 '10 at 20:27

Stack Overflow Meta

enter image description here

share|improve this answer
29  
meta sucks, never go there. :P –  Gordon Gustafson Jul 25 '10 at 23:39

When you search for a popular keyword the search gets auto-converted to a tag search.

- results: 6,560 questions tagged

You can override that by prefixing a plus sign.

+hibernate - results: 4,807 search results for posts containing +hibernate
(some of which are not tagged )

share|improve this answer

Every site on Stack Exchange network has a "network login help" page, which run a few tests to check for the availability of certain necessary features in the user's browser.

To reach the page just append /network-login-help to the URL of any site, e.g. for the main site: http://stackoverflow.com/network-login-help

share|improve this answer

You can write small text using <sub><sup> trick. For example wrapped with "single" <sub><sup>:

hello world

With two:

hello world

share|improve this answer
8  
Don't do that. It's an abuse of the markup, which is supposed to be for superscripts and subscripts. And it'll look horrible if you have multiple lines of text. –  Mechanical snail Jan 2 '13 at 0:44
2  
@Mechanicalsnail I just shared something I've seen lots of times here, not my idea. But personally I think that since we don't have any <small> tag it can be useful to show small sized text. –  Shadow Wizard Jan 2 '13 at 7:35

Comment timestamp is a permalink to that comment: (need to right click it --> copy link address)

In the above example clicking that timestamp leads here.

share|improve this answer
1  
Adding comment so I can see this feature. –  Kevin Panko Dec 1 '13 at 22:16
1  
@sehe now real magic is doing it without editing! –  Shadow Wizard May 14 at 20:18

While in the /about page aka guided tour of any site (e.g. Stack Overflow about page) in the network, press the following keys in the following order:
upupdowndownleftrightleftrightBAenter.
This is known as Konami code, and will cause the site icon on top of the page to become the Stack Exchange Venn Euler diagram.

If on mobile device, the following should work: tap-drag up, tap-drag up (,down,down,left,right,left,right), and then tap thrice.

Kudos to Geoff for revealing the existence of that easter egg. :)

share|improve this answer
2  
Do you randomly test the Konami code in websites? :D –  fedorqui Jul 3 '13 at 13:05

Start a blockquote with >! for:

spoilers!

share|improve this answer
7  
This is literally a hidden feature. –  Kevin Panko Dec 1 '13 at 22:18

On the personal profile page there is a Tags list just before Badges. There, some numbers are written before and after the tag, like

162 × 302

When you hover on that tag you can see the total statistics of

  • How many questions you have asked within that tag
  • How many questions you have answered in that tag and
  • How many upvotes you have received in that tag

For example, if I hover on the tag, I see these on the tooltip:

Asked 71 non-wiki questions with a total score of 56. Answered 230 non-wiki questions with a total score of 162.

302 is the sum of total questions and answers in the tag
162 is the sum of votes for answers in the tag

UPDATE

Recently I found one more hidden feature.

In the comment box, you can not notify more than one user, that is, you can not use @ more than once (until it is inside tilde). Doing so, you will get the warning below.

Only one additional @user can be notified; the post owner will always be notified

share|improve this answer

You can determine the total number of active users by looking at how many people have the "Teacher" badge (posted at least one upvoted answer):

http://stackoverflow.com/badges/1/teacher

share|improve this answer
25  
Is that right? I interpret the badge description as just users who posted at least one answer that was voted up, which should be number less or equal to the total number of users that posted at least one answer. Right? –  peSHIr Jan 15 '09 at 14:22

You must log in to answer this question.

protected by hims056 Oct 3 '13 at 5:42

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality answers, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site.

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .