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What features of Stack Exchange sites do you consider "hidden"?

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migrated from Jul 22 '09 at 19:05

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

See also List of unlinked pages on Stack Exchange sites. – Arjan Feb 5 '11 at 12:01

50 Answers 50

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 or 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"/search?q=" + encodeURIComponent(d.val()), "_newtab"), !1
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Ummmm that is no hidden feature of stack overflow. That is just a feature of browsers in general.... – amanaP lanaC A nalP A naM A Jun 21 '12 at 19:00
@amanaPlanaCAnalPAnaMA. ummmm. Nope. try it at google. You can see they wrote code to make it work. – user173320 Jun 21 '12 at 19:03
@Norm I have rolled back your edit because this got nothing to do with Stack Exchange, it's a built-in behavior of Chrome:!topic/chrome/d2jrjkng900 (one might start "hidden features of Chrome", but it will be off topic in MSE) – Shadow Wizard Aug 3 '15 at 6:02
@ShadowWizard Hm, I did try it with Google search for comparison and it didn't open a new page there... – user259867 Aug 3 '15 at 6:05
@Norm I suspect it's due to client side scripting being used by Google, overriding the browser default behavior. SE's search box is plain <input type="text" /> without a submit button, no auto complete or anything like that. – Shadow Wizard Aug 3 '15 at 6:08

It's not a very hidden feature that, on Stack Overflow, the HTML <title> of each question page will have the most popular tag prepended.

What is hidden is that if the person names the question with the tag anywhere in the title:

[Java] How do I do this thing


How do I do this thing in Java

It will not also prepend java - at the beginning of the HTML title!

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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:

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I can't believe no one has mentioned descriptions of Stack Exchange functions and data hidden mostly in tooltips. This came up most recently in this question about privilege percentages. @Arjan commented "As always on these sites: when in doubt, hover your mouse over the text for more detail."

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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):

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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 the "Teacher" badge isn't exactly a perfect measure of user activity, the fact that we can do measurements of how many people have which badges is valuable. For any predetermined badge criteria, see how many people meet it. Poor man's marketing statistics really. – meustrus Jun 27 '14 at 0:02

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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I was about to add the same :) – hims056 Jul 10 '13 at 9:19
@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

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

For example comments on this very question:

Working on all sites of course.

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Associating your Stack Overflow login with another Stack Exchange site gives you +100 free reputation, just like that. I only just discovered this when I decided to set up a leatherworking site on Area 51, but there's nothing I can find about it in the FAQ or elsewhere. I think they wanted to make sure people weren't motivated just by the reputation, but here I go letting the cat out of the bag. :)

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It is mentioned in How does “Reputation” work? and on the blog, Cross-Site Account Associations. And the keyword is bonus. – Arjan Jan 31 '11 at 17:26
@Arjan: Huh, cool links. I'd still call it hidden, though; I didn't even know those pages existed until just now. :) – Justin Morgan Jan 31 '11 at 17:40
+1 because so many people have no idea about this bonus :) – Shadow Wizard Aug 4 '11 at 15:11

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

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or 'her' reputation! ;)] – Dan Hanly Sep 6 '13 at 14:05 Edit it! ;) – Ryan O'Hara Sep 6 '13 at 14:06
done. Let's be Politically Correct, people! ;) – Dan Hanly Sep 6 '13 at 14:08

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" it will then take you back to the question stub on the first site.

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And at the original one can also see the edit history prior to the migration (by, as usual, clicking the time next to "edited", if applicable). – Arjan Apr 27 '11 at 17:28

To find the age of specific site, you can view the profile of the site's Community account, then the "member for" is the site age since this is the very first account ever created on each site.

For example on puzzling site: (URL template is //[site].com/users/-1/community)

Easier than going to the full sites list and looking for the site you want. :)

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Shows recently upvoted answers from new users or users with low rep.

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Not hidden anymore.. – Shadow Wizard Jun 2 '13 at 11:02

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

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]

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] 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):

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Hmm... I appear to be first in there - and I'm not that active on Meta so something is off in the calculation. :) – Shadow Wizard Mar 21 '14 at 18:46
@ShadowWizard Yeah, right. Over 10000 comments and 10000 votes, with 1700+ edits to boot. – How About a Nice Big Cup of Mar 22 '14 at 4:32
@cheapeffectivedietpills true but still, there are surely others much more active! ;) – Shadow Wizard Mar 22 '14 at 6:41

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


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Nice, did you find it yourself or after reading this? :) – Shadow Wizard Oct 3 '13 at 6:38
@ShaWizDowArd - Nope. Actually today my internet connection is slow. And clicking on modified 1 min ago in the 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

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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You can browse directly to answers you have downvoted using a hidden feature of the 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 where XXXXXX is that answer identifier.

  3. You will be redirected to another URL in the format

    ...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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Nice! You can just search the reputation calculation page for instances of "(-1)" to find all the downvotes you ever cast. :) – Shadow Wizard Aug 24 '11 at 12:44
@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

View all linked questions of any post using the format:<post_id>

These could be further sorted as:

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

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

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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
@Mark it's still useful as a standalone way to view linked questions, many of the "hidden features" here are available somehow otherwise people won't have much chance of finding them. :) – Shadow Wizard Oct 3 '13 at 6:48

I was going to post a request asking for questions determined to be duplicates to be listed on the original question, but I found that there was already a feature request for it and that it was because you can find questions that are duplicates of this one by looking at the "Linked" sidebar. Cool!

(Note: also appearing there, are questions, comments, etc. that link to this question.)

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As an aside: the "linked" section does not only show things linking to a question, but also links from posts and comments of the question itself. – Arjan Apr 13 '11 at 21:26

Shortening questions and answers URLs

Let's assume the following URL to answer:

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

Just try it!

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

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Hidden feature? You can click on the link button under any question to get this link... – Kobi Aug 31 '11 at 11:45
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
@Kobi: Almost :-) – Hendrik Vogt Aug 31 '11 at 11:47
@Kobi you mean "share". ;) – Shadow Wizard Jul 3 '13 at 13:08

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protected by hims056 Oct 3 '13 at 5:42

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