In A Nutshell: This is a question regarding the acceptance of asking instances related to esoteric programming languages, such as:

  • Brain@%#!
  • Ook!
  • Omgrofl
  • Whitespace

Historical Significance

Proof of (real-world) usage of esoteric languages lies inside the following quote:

The game Lost Kingdom won the First Annual Classic 2k Text Adventure Competition in 2004, and has been (re)written and enhanced by the original author in brain@%#!

Source: The Lost Kingdom Brain@%# Edition

This shows that esoteric programming languages can actually be used to develop real-world applications.

Actual Questions Relating To Esoteric Programming Languages

The Big Cookie

Now for the moment we've all been waiting for...

Are esoteric programming languages acceptable programming questions or discouraged?

  • 2
    If it's a genuine and serious question then of course it's encouraged. Even not-so-serious questions may be tolerated if they were worded well.
    – slugster
    Mar 25, 2012 at 6:04
  • 2
    Is the absurd verbosity really necessary? Mar 25, 2012 at 6:09
  • 3
    This really is not a frequently asked question, I see no reason why you would deem it necessary to tag it [faq-proposed]
    – Yi Jiang
    Mar 25, 2012 at 8:00
  • To the users who voted this question as "off-topic, only pertains to one site": remember that this question is also equally applicable to sites like Code Review, Code Golf, and others. As such, it's not just applicable to just one specific site. Oct 27, 2018 at 3:15

2 Answers 2


The Big Cookie

Now for the moment we've all been waiting for...

Yes! Obscure programming languages are still programming languages, and therefore questions about them are still on topic for Stack Overflow.

The notion that we might encourage or discourage questions about a particular language or technology strikes me as an utterly nonsensical one. If the questions meet our guidelines, then they are on topic. The only encouragement we do and need to provide is to ask questions that are constructive and on topic. If yours meet those requirements, proceed as desired.


There would be absolutely no reason to specifically discourage any language or family of languages. If you have questions on any language that would qualify as an esoteric language, feel free to ask them.

Esoteric languages are part of Stack Overflow as every other language, two of them (Python and Ruby1) are even featured in SO's 404 polyglot:

enter image description here

1 If you are a Pythonista or a Rubyist and feel like chopping my head off, just replace that with C and Perl.

  • I must be a bit slow today, what's the second actual esoteric language in the polyglot? I see brainf*ck. What's the second one?
    – sepp2k
    Mar 25, 2012 at 9:05
  • @sepp2k Befunge, but that's according to the 404 answer, I wouldn't really know... (and possibly Whitespace)
    – yannis
    Mar 25, 2012 at 9:13
  • Ah, I see. Thanks. Should have just clicked the link ;-)
    – sepp2k
    Mar 25, 2012 at 9:18

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