Now that SO has launched with a stable and wonderful engine, would I be completely excommunicated for wanting a replicate / evil-twin site running the same engine, but solely for questions of a more off-topic, tongue-in-cheek nature? Sort of how Wikipedia has the Uncyclopedia.

Since SO is largely (if not entirely) community-moderated, this shouldn't theoretically require a lot of extra work on the part of the SO team, and the rep systems could even be kept separate to keep the integrity of SO rep independent of the more casual/informal SU rep.

Questions that would be allowed on the dark side of the stack:

  1. What is the average cruising airspeed velocity of an unladen European Swallow?
  2. What is the Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything?
  3. How much wood would a woodchuck chuck?
  4. What is the best geek hangout (ie. cheap beer and free wifi) in the Bay Area?
  5. Could Kirk kick Picards ass, and exactly how hard on a scale of 1 - 10?
  6. Is Jon Skeet a real person or a Chinese question-answering sweat shop?
  7. How badly do you want to be Jon Skeet?
  8. Could Jon Skeet kick Picards ass, and exactly how hard on a scale of 1 - 33.5k?

P.S. Stackunderflow.com isn't available, I just liked the pun.

P.P.S. I think that BufferUnderrun.com is the better name.

P.P.P.S. In case the between-the-lines-subtext is lost on you, the question is: Would the community support and use such a dual-site setup; and would the SO staff/implementors consider actually making it a reality? See, there was a real question in here, and while it isn't programming related, it is related to the SO community and the fabric of SO itself. So there.

  • 1
    Who is Jon Skeel?
    – Justice
    Feb 6, 2009 at 5:01
  • 1
    bufferunderrun.com ! (damn ad page though..)
    – Sciolist
    Feb 6, 2009 at 5:02
  • @Justice: ROFLCOPTER!
    – Jens Roland
    Feb 6, 2009 at 5:03
  • 2
    John Skeel: the off-topic, dark-side version of John Skeet.
    – Frederick
    Feb 6, 2009 at 5:04
  • +1 cause its funny, although this will probably be closed soon with extreme prejudice.
    – Matt Briggs
    Feb 6, 2009 at 5:06
  • 1
    Haha..... I misread Jon Skeet's name. Clearly, I fail at life.
    – Jens Roland
    Feb 6, 2009 at 5:13
  • Dude....its not P.P.S, its P.S.S.
    – BBetances
    Feb 6, 2009 at 5:30
  • Post Scriptum Scriptum? And what, pray, would that mean? :-)
    – Jens Roland
    Feb 6, 2009 at 5:32
  • (I do know some language butchers use P.S.S. and insist that it is an abbreviation of 'Post SubScript', but that is completely against the original latin etymology)
    – Jens Roland
    Feb 6, 2009 at 5:44
  • @BBetances, the only more annoying than nit picking something so trivial is being wrong in your nit pick. Both P.P.S. and P.S.S. are acceptable. However, P.P.S, P.P.P.S and so forth are more common.
    – BobbyShaftoe
    Feb 6, 2009 at 5:48
  • 1
    Why not heapoverflow.com?
    – utku_karatas
    Feb 6, 2009 at 5:56
  • @Jens I'm not picking on you but why is this question still open when good ones get closed? This is the best code forum that i have ever visited, but it is decaying quickly.
    – WolfmanDragon
    Feb 6, 2009 at 6:04
  • 1
    @WolfmanDragon: no harm done :) I suppose it's still open because it addresses the very issue of good questions being closed, and tries to remedy that situation by proposing a practical solution.
    – Jens Roland
    Feb 6, 2009 at 6:19
  • I'm for it, the stink of the double standard is stiffing me.
    – WolfmanDragon
    Feb 6, 2009 at 6:31
  • 1
    Democracy and communism have both been proven to not work. In a Republic or a Principality, there are leaders(i.e Admins) who make the decisions on what goes. This is nothing more than gang rule here. Wonderful site, bad management.
    – WolfmanDragon
    Feb 6, 2009 at 6:35

25 Answers 25


Only if people closed everything the least bit programming related, no matter how poor natured or un-funny it was.

  • 1
    Absolutely - anything that would be accepted on SO would be entirely off limits.
    – Jens Roland
    Feb 6, 2009 at 6:30
  • 3
    Well you could add a "move" feature between the sites. Exactly what is unsuitable in one side can be suitable for the other*, so somehow the webs could throw questions to each other. (*Except offensive, of course) Feb 6, 2009 at 9:20
  • Did no one else get the subtle dig at SO here :).
    – xan
    Feb 6, 2009 at 10:25
  • beautifully biting sarcasm. love it :)
    – Epaga
    Feb 12, 2009 at 10:45
  • 8
    Let's make it a site where you post answers, then other users post questions that might provoke your answer. The owner of the answer can reject one of the questions by clicking a big X next to the question, which adds a reddish background and moves it to the bottom. You can reject your own question to an answer, but it's frowned upon. Aug 5, 2009 at 5:36

Now that SO has launched with a stable and wonderful engine...

+1 grovelling

would I be completely excommunicated for wanting a replicate / evil-twin site running the same engine, but solely for questions of a more off-topic, tongue-in-cheek nature?

You're another of those askme merchants, aren't you.

I'll let Zadoc answer this one.

Ho! Zadoc!

<enter Zadoc, grovelling>

Zadoc: You summoned, oh He Whose Opinion Is Invaluable?

Oracle: I did. This supplicant has a question which is right up your alley.

Zadoc: I'll ... go and fetch it.

Oracle: <rolls eyes> <waits>

Zadoc: I didn't find it.

Oracle: Goof. The question is, "Would I be completely excommunicated for wanting a replicate / evil-twin ..."

Zadoc: What, like, in Blade Runner?

Oracle: No, Zot: more like, in Alice Through the Looking Glass.

Zadoc: ?

Oracle: Fool! Fetch me ... John.

<exit Zadoc>

John: <clears throat>

Oracle: John, this supplicant: would he be excommunicated for wanting a replicate / evil-twin?

John: Seriously?

Oracle: No.

John: No?! That's not a problem, then.

And, there you have it: your answers are, "Not a real question" and "Not programming related".

How much w..d would a w..dch.ck ch.ck?


You owe the Oracle a new lawn.

  • 4
    I would be offended, but I'm laughing so hard I can't muster up the bile.
    – Jens Roland
    Feb 6, 2009 at 6:22

Although the question was about a "fun" site, the question was none-the-less a serious one, and deserves a serious response, if not necessarily serious consideration.

I don't believe the model will necessarily work. SO works on the understanding that there are many programmers who have questions, and would like to open them up to the community, and also that there are many programmers who are willing to answer questions. Once the community has been built, then there will always be someone around who is willing to participate. As programmers, we appreciate the functional purpose it serves.

A second site that has no functional purpose would not be able to gather the same level of involvement, because it has no unifying theme (aside from your "unserious") which means that there is no strong identity for those who participate. Secondly, the reputation would have little meaning, since the posts are merely for amusement, so the upvoting and downvoting would be based on whims, and would not have any bearing or relation to any quality of the questioner/answerer/commenter.

The additional burden would be placed on the StackOverflow Overlords, which means they would have to pay for twice as many servers, work twice as hard on maintenance, update everything twice (or hire twice as many people, and work equally as hard. Or four times as many, and work half as hard.) And then they would need to find some sort of revenue stream to offset the cost of this new undertaking.

I believe that your idea amounts roughly to creating a forum for people to post whatever they want. And many such forums already exist.

I'm not saying I would not participate in such a site, I'm simply saying I think it's untenable.

  • Good points, and very much the same doubts I had that led me to ask the question. However, I feel that the upvoting and downvoting would still be important (if nothing else then to get the 'funnier' posts placed higher); the burden on the Overlords would be minimal since replicating an update can be
    – Jens Roland
    Feb 6, 2009 at 16:13
  • automated easily; and since a lot of the questions that would find their way to the bufferunderrun site are actually questions that are on SO now, I'm convinced that at least a portion of the bandwidth & server space needed for BU would be saved on SO.
    – Jens Roland
    Feb 6, 2009 at 16:15
  • 1
    The remaining points, that I suspect are valid ones, are: 1) the lack of a unifying theme, and 2) a certain added cost of running the duplicate site in terms of hardware and traffic costs.
    – Jens Roland
    Feb 6, 2009 at 16:17

In the spirit of your question...

Yes. This is completely unacceptable. You shall be burned at the stake. Insert Monty Python reference here.

  • 5
    Poke him with the soft cushions!
    – ChrisW
    Feb 6, 2009 at 5:03
  • I didn't expect the Spanish Inquisition!
    – TGnat
    Feb 6, 2009 at 16:14
  • 1
    Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition...
    – TGnat
    Feb 6, 2009 at 16:15
  • Our chief weapon is surprise and fear.
    – einpoklum
    Dec 4, 2016 at 17:01

LOL I think this would be fun :)


Erm, how about Buffer Underrun? As in, out of on-topic posts.

  • Actually, I was thinking exactly the same when I realized stackunderflow.com was taken.
    – Jens Roland
    Feb 6, 2009 at 5:15
  • That's an excellent idea for the name! Feb 6, 2009 at 5:19
  • Plus, it would be less confusing for newbies - SO vs. SU would be too close compared to SO vs. BU
    – Jens Roland
    Feb 6, 2009 at 5:26
  • Looks like bufferunderrun.com was registered two days ago. Feb 6, 2009 at 5:33

I think it's a great idea. Would you get extra rep if everybody marked your post as offensive? :-)


As long as it takes all the wishy-washy rep-harvesting "fun" non-questions like "What's your favourite programming colour?" with it then it couldn't happen soon enough.

  • That would be my point exactly.
    – Jens Roland
    Feb 6, 2009 at 6:34
  • (and a +1 for reading my mind)
    – Jens Roland
    Feb 6, 2009 at 6:39

Well, there's an actual answer now: this sort of site is not permitted. The "Not Programming Related" proposal linked in the latest revision to the question evolved into Programmers SE. For a while, it did host questions like the ones suggested here, but the team eventually shut those down in what the locals call "the Great Disciplining of Programmers SE."

Some relevant links:

  • The reality is that these sites are not discussion sites, and philosophical questions, by their nature, are meant to be discussed. Still, if someone wants to take a stab at it with osqa or similar, I have stackoverflowoverflow.com and may be willing to part with it for free for such an endeavor.
    – Pollyanna
    May 9, 2011 at 19:17
  • So, I'd guess this answer is no longer relevant the way the network has evolved - with the network now having high-voted questions such as how do I lick a plane? or My head keeps falling off. What can I do?.
    – einpoklum
    Dec 4, 2016 at 16:59

I think you wouldn't be excommunicated but ignored. Part of the success of SO stems from the fact that it works on a limited set (programming questions) where there are lots of experts which are easily available for little return (just a tiny bit of fame per answer).

If you can't replicate this, you're doomed for failure.

  • Interesting. So if I can't replicate access to lots of experts within a limited field then I'm "doomed for failure"? I'm going to have to ask for your credentials, because if you're claiming to know the One True Recipe for online success, then you better be advising Fortune 500 CEOs for a living.
    – Jens Roland
    Feb 6, 2009 at 11:11
  • 2
    I don't know the recipe for success, I know the recipe for failure :) Feb 6, 2009 at 13:32

let the rep harvesting begin...

  • Lol. I'm almost at my daily limit now, and the day is only a few hours old, so I couldn't 'harvest' rep for this even if I wanted to.
    – Jens Roland
    Feb 6, 2009 at 5:16
  • lol, I mean the other site would also have to massively rep-havestable: +1 for visting +2 for staying longer than 1 second -1 for leaving, etc
    – starko
    Feb 6, 2009 at 5:19
  • On the other site you'd get 100 rep for every SO question you've had closed.
    – user27414
    Feb 6, 2009 at 5:33
  • lol.... very true
    – Jens Roland
    Feb 6, 2009 at 5:40
  • I don't really remember what "rep" is anymore.
    – BobbyShaftoe
    Feb 6, 2009 at 5:51

The answer to question #2 is "42". Common knowledge.

  • But I bet we would get more creative answers than that on bufferunderrun.com -- remember, 42 was the answer produced by the SECOND largest computer in the world. Posing the question on BU would be querying the LARGEST.
    – Jens Roland
    Feb 6, 2009 at 5:38

The associated costs would be minor compared to a whole new site, and bored programmers would have a place to ask these very important questions.


I think there's only one person who could answer this question.... Jon Skeel!


I think it would be much better just to open offtopic section on SO which will be separated from regular questions. Every forum has its offtopic section and usually it is the most visited and fun part of the forum. And with such mature and educated community I think there would be some really interesting conversations.

  • I agree, except that an offtopic section wouldn't address the rep harvesting issue..
    – Jens Roland
    Feb 6, 2009 at 16:19
  • it might address the rep issue if these offtopic questions were placed in a 'community wiki' like state
    – jweede
    Aug 5, 2009 at 15:49

Would motivated programmers in SO be equally motivated in a non-programming forum?

Sounds like another paradigm shift!

  • Good point. A "nonsense" forum probably wouldn't catch much attention from SO'ers, but what about an "IT questions" forum? Feb 6, 2009 at 10:14
  • If by "IT questions" you mean questions on project/team management, resource planning and other non-programming activities in a programming environment, I think that would be a better idea
    – Mystic
    Feb 6, 2009 at 10:26
  • I think you're missing the point. The point is not about catching anyone's attention or becoming the most popular site since sliced bread. The idea is to create an outlet for all the off-topic white noise that doesn't belong on SO, but still appeals to the same crowd.
    – Jens Roland
    Feb 6, 2009 at 11:22
  • I'm not trying to create a new need (the 'IT questions' idea), I'm merely trying to address a need that's clearly already there.
    – Jens Roland
    Feb 6, 2009 at 11:24
  • [1] I did get your point, and I agree that there is a need. And I think that such a need materializes to questions because of the pretty large community of like minded people (i.e programmers) hanging around at SO. As such I would rather see a separate "branch" within SO as opposed to a new site.
    – Mystic
    Feb 6, 2009 at 11:50
  • [2] Quite frankly, I read the "silly" non-programming/closed questions because I visited SO and because I enjoy reading a programmers take on such questions. On the other I would probably spend more time at dilbert.com than bufferunderrun.com which isn't going to be a programmer community anymore.
    – Mystic
    Feb 6, 2009 at 11:50
  • @Mystic: Valid points. You may be right, but I still think there is enough to win (and nothing to lose) that it's worth a try
    – Jens Roland
    Feb 6, 2009 at 16:09
  • Of course, didn't mean to discourage you from creating the site. I guess the only certain way of knowing if it will work is to try it out as you said. Perhaps you could design the site in some clever way that will seem more appealing to programmers than others.. "bufferunderrun.com" is a good start.
    – Mystic
    Feb 7, 2009 at 4:39

I was just thinking that something like that would almost be like twitter, but driven by a meritocracy instead of mediocracy. That would be cool.

  • Sorry, is not directally about your answer... I am looking for the "meritocracy": do you see a text (here or at meta-SO) that was much-voted or that is in the portal documentation? Nov 19, 2014 at 23:29

In response to:

How much wood would a woodchuck chuck? 

A woodchuck could cut a cord of conifer if you gave him a quarter for every cord he cut.


That list of questions sounds like ripe material for Wolfram|Alpha to sink it's fangs into.

And wasn't PrivateVoid.com one of the suggestions before SO was finally voted in?

  • It only knows the answers to the first three. For some reason, it hasn't heard of Jon Skeet.
    – mmyers
    Aug 5, 2009 at 16:28

This would be good for some questions that relate to general geekyness.

Like this question.

Nerd Or Geek - What Are You?


One of the problems with such a site (where anything goes) is that there's no barrier to entry. Ask.com, Ask Yahoo!, and various other sites were all disasters.

Ask Metafilter was successful because it has barriers to entry; you have to pay $5 to join. This keeps spamming, chatter, and general weirdness to a minimum.

  • You are forgetting about the voting power of the community - it is a powerful regulation mechanism.
    – akarnokd
    Aug 5, 2009 at 20:55

I just thought of a good name for it. "Meta Overflow"

Someone mentioned on another question all the "meta questions" and the name just sprang to mind. Doesn't look like the domain name is taken, either! Kind of ties to MetaFilter too.


Maybe a whole new site wouldn't be proper. It might make more sense to have a subsection on SO where these types of posts can go. i.e a bufferunderrun tab. The associated costs would be minor compared to a whole new site, and bored programmers would have a place to ask these very important questions.

Naturally, no rep would be rewarded, but more people would use the site. More people on the site certainly can't hurt SO's ad revenues.


Why wait for the Creators? Go ahead implement it using open source stack only and some nice and free hosting service, perhaps around Google or MS?



Silly goose that's what Meta is for!

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