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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.

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

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

14  
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 136 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.

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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

Putting a parameter ?lastactivity at the end of the question's URL will redirect you to the last activated (modified) post.

E.g. http://meta.stackexchange.com/questions/8211/?lastactivity

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1  
Nice, did you find it yourself or after reading this? :) –  Shadow Wizard Oct 3 '13 at 6:38
2  
@ShaWizDowArd - Nope. Actually today my internet connection is slow. And clicking on modified 1 min ago in the meta.stackoverflow.com/questions?sort=active page redirected me to questionsURL/?lastactivity which I was able to see that in browser's URL bar. –  hims056 Oct 3 '13 at 6:41

You can get raw view of post comments (either question or answer) by typing such URL:

http://meta.stackexchange.com/posts/[post id]/comments

For example comments on this very question: http://meta.stackexchange.com/posts/8211/comments

Working on all sites of course.

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Edit [Jun 2009]: This feature is apparently no longer supported, or the format has changed. Sorry.

You can get a list of all of the questions and answers for which you've gained or lost reputation (along with the points up or down) in JSON format by pointing your browser at:

http://stackoverflow.com/users/###/0/9999999999999

Substitute your user number for the ### in the URL. The 0 and 9999999999999 are the starting and ending times for the report in milliseconds (so this goes from time zero to several hundred years).

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1  
it doesn't work for me –  Carson Myers Jun 10 '09 at 19:32
5  
But: there's a personal reputation report now. –  Arjan May 22 '10 at 11:50

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.

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

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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

On per-site-metas, there is a tab for showing users by participation. According to the tooltip it shows: Users most active in the last 60 days (combined number of posts, votes, comments and edits).

The URL for this tab is http://meta.[site].stackexchange.com/users?tab=participation.

The main site does not have such a tab. But simply by removing the meta. part from the above URL, changing it to http://[site].stackexchange.com/users?tab=participation you get another list of users. Although it does not seem to be documented anywhere, it is quite probable that it orders users by activity on the main.

It works even for Meta Stack Overflow Meta Stack Exchange (which, as it is not a per-site-meta, does have reputation tab and not participation tab in the list of users): http://meta.stackexchange.com/users?tab=participation.

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Tag links:

Syntax: [tag:tag-name]

Meta tags:

(red because it's moderator only tag)

Syntax: [meta-tag:tag-name]

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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

Quick access to see user's review stats: daily, weekly, monthly and total, plus last time he/she reviewed.

URL format is: http://stackoverflow.com/review/user-info/[review queue ID]/[user ID]

Review queue ID list:

  1. Suggested Edits
  2. Close Votes
  3. Low Quality Posts
  4. First Posts
  5. Late Answers
  6. Reopen Votes
  7. ? (future use, or maybe available on specific non SO sites only)
  8. Broken Links
  9. ? (future use, or maybe available on specific non SO sites only)

Some examples, using Geoff as model:

This is just raw data, unformatted and of course can be changed or taken down at any point.

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Comment short links are now available: http://[site]/posts/comments/[id]

To obtain comment id you can extract it from the full comment link or use dev tools to inspect the HTML.

For example: http://meta.stackoverflow.com/posts/comments/14689

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View all linked questions of any post using the format: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/linked/<post_id>

These could be further sorted as:

  1. Hot
  2. Newest
  3. Votes
  4. Active
  5. Unanswered

For example http://stackoverflow.com/questions/linked/3102819 shows a page having all questions linked to/from "Chrome: Disable same origin policy" post.

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1  
That's not hidden when it is needed. At the bottom of the Linked column on the RHS of the Q&As there's a link "see more linked questions…", such as for the question you've used as an example. This feature is hidden, i.e. still available but unlinked, for Q&As with only a few linked questions that all fit on the RHS. –  Mark Hurd Sep 3 '13 at 17:44

If you hover a username in the comments section of a question you get to see his (or her) reputation.

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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

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View other users' privileges page by visiting /help/privileges/user/<id> URL. This page is accessible without any restrictions which seems to be by design.

Came to know about this feature from a post made by animuson.

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1  
@hims056 too many hidden features already exposed, tough to find any more without the help of mods :) –  Aziz Shaikh Jul 10 '13 at 9:20

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. :)

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5  
Do you randomly test the Konami code in websites? :D –  fedorqui Jul 3 '13 at 13:05

If you click on a question that was migrated, it takes you to the question on the site of migration. If you then click on the "migrated from blahblahblah.com" it will then take you back to the question stub on the first site.

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You can browse directly to answers you have downvoted using a hidden feature of the stackoverflow.com/questions page if you have the answer's unique ID (available on the Reputation Calculator page).

(NOTE: Why you would do this anymore given that the answers are now hyperlinked directly from the Reputation tab is questionable, but it still works anyway.)

  1. Browse to the Reputation Calculator and locate a line representing an answer vote.

    They look like:

    3 XXXXXX (-1)

    where XXXXXX is the answer's unique identifier.

  2. Browse to http://stackoverflow.com/questions/XXXXXX where XXXXXX is that answer identifier.

  3. You will be redirected to another URL in the format http://stackoverflow.com/questions/YYYYYY/name-of-the-question-here/XXXXXX#XXXXXX

    ...which is a link to the answer that you downvoted on the question YYYYYY. That URL you've been directed to is also the one you'll see if you hover over the "link" hyperlink on the answer that you downvoted.

(This actually works for any answer as long as you know the id XXXXXX, not just ones that you've downvoted.)

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2  
@danny It would be more appropriate to post your alternative method as a separate answer rather than making such a radical edit to mine. I've rolled your edit back. –  razlebe May 22 '13 at 5:23

Start a blockquote with >! for:

spoilers!

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7  
This is literally a hidden feature. –  Kevin Panko Dec 1 '13 at 22:18

Shortening questions and answers URLs

Let's assume the following URL to answer:

http://stackoverflow.com/questions/5988444/why-is-the-llvm-execution-engine-faster-than-compiled-code/7250716#7250716

We can delete the middle text part, change the question to 'q' and leave only the answer number and still have a working URL : :)

http://stackoverflow.com/q/7250716

Just try it!

While this way is not recommended, it is supported and works - according to what @genesis wrote.

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7  
Hidden feature? You can click on the link button under any question to get this link... –  Kobi Aug 31 '11 at 11:45
2  
That's not really "hidden" - try the "link" link below the question! (This gives you an additional /168089 in the end, which can be safely removed - this number is you user number, it indicates that it was you who posted that link.) –  Hendrik Vogt Aug 31 '11 at 11:46
2  
@Kobi you mean "share". ;) –  Shadow Wizard Jul 3 '13 at 13:08

You can run queries against the database for any Stack Exchange site with the Stack Exchange Data Explorer.

I did not know about this feature, or see it linked, until I read a Meta Stack Overflow post which used this example.

Query for Most Common Comments on Stack Overflow.

*Although now I know it exists. I've found the link in the footer.

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1  
So its not really hidden then :P –  Lix Apr 5 '13 at 10:07
3  
It's hiding behind a curtain but it's feet are still showing. –  Amicable Apr 5 '13 at 10:11

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

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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.

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1  
Adding comment so I can see this feature. –  Kevin Panko Dec 1 '13 at 22:16
1  
@KevinPanko You failed to seize the opportunity to do a self-referential comment link, there –  sehe May 14 at 19:44
1  
@sehe now real magic is doing it without editing! –  Shadow Wizard May 14 at 20:18

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

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Shortcut to the Advanced Search Options

Just search for an empty (or 1 character length) query and you will see the page.

Note: it is not recommended to link to this URL, use it for personal use only as this method of accessing might disappear in the future leaving a bunch of broken links.

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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.

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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

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

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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

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

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26  
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

While I answered this question in Stack Overflow: How does the Stack Overflow Search Input work?

I found this hidden feature: If you type your search expression than clicking Ctrl + Enter it will open a new tab\window with the results for your search expression.

For some browsers you will need to allow popups in the site to make it work.


For the sake of completeness The keydown (javascript - jQuery)code looks like this:

function(c) {
    if (13 == c.which && c.ctrlKey && d.val()) 
        return window.open("/search?q=" + encodeURIComponent(d.val()), "_newtab"), !1
}​
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9  
@amanaPlanaCAnalPAnaMA. ummmm. Nope. try it at google. You can see they wrote code to make it work. –  user173320 Jun 21 '12 at 19:03

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

hello world

With two:

hello world

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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
3  
@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

Stack Overflow Meta

enter image description here

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30  
meta sucks, never go there. :P –  Gordon Gustafson Jul 25 '10 at 23:39

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protected by hims056 Oct 3 '13 at 5:42

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