I think Stack Overflow is the most awesome site for programmers on the net. It has all the features one could expect from a programming forum.

But there are several features that I miss. In particular I think the discussions and posts are just plain text, which looks boring.

Apart from superhuman programmers who think boring is scientific, there are also people like me on this site who never even miss a chance to add smileys into source code.

Also, I think there should be an "Add as Friend" feature.

Right now I communicate with people that I know by posting comments in their answers so that they get notified and read it. How should I track people whose questions I find interesting? Or those whom I know can answer my question in the best way?

Does anyone else think that SO could be twice as awesome with smileys & friend groups?

  • 53
    You put smileys in your code? Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 10:12
  • 13
    let me poke you to death :-) Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 10:12
  • 5
    @Simon Too bad there isn't a poke smiley. ;-) Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 10:13
  • 37
    I think stackoverflow is good because it isn't a social network! Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 10:13
  • @ThePower If you maintained my code, you'll understand why. :-) Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 10:15
  • @MonikaMichael edited my post :-). Still, you are not going to get much support for this. Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 10:15
  • 6
    Just so you know, people aren't downvoting you because they hate you, they just disagree :) <--- smiley
    – Benjol
    Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 10:17
  • 8
    Downvoting is the equivalent of a 'dislike' button on facebook. Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 10:18
  • 43
    If we ever implement anything remotely like this, just kill me. Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 10:27
  • 2
    @AndrewThompson I would say it is the same with FB. You (dis)like what someone says. Anyone coming on SO is coming as a programmer. So if you happen to dislike all of his questions and answers, you end up disliking him as a programmer. Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 10:32
  • 3
    Boring? You seem to have missed all the fun April Fools jokes that happen here...
    – Oded
    Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 10:34
  • 6
    I promised myself that I would never utter this phrase. But I'll make an exception for this one: OH HELL NO.
    – Bart
    Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 10:35
  • 1
    @AndrewThompson voting up or down a question is equivalent to making a positive or negative judgement according to some criterion. On SO I may vote up a question for its relevance and the general effort put into writing it. It implies that I like this question in some ways doesn't it? Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 12:00
  • 4
    The controls that SO offers for managing the signal to noise ratio is one of the reasons it is attractive to technical users. Making it more "social" amounts to diluting this ratio. You don't want that, or, at least, we don't want that. There is a time and a place for purely social interaction, but a technical discussion forum is not it. Your comments suggest to me that you fail to understand this. You should make sure to fix that, because you will make yourself unpopular by trying to work against this rather fundamental principle.
    – tripleee
    Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 12:30
  • 5
    Hay guys, April Fool's is over now... Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 17:36

8 Answers 8


You are mistaking SO for a social network or forum.

It isn't. (+10k links)

It is a Q&A website for professional and hobbyist programmers.

  • How do you follow professional programmers whom you admire? It could be a way to learn a lot you know. Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 10:18
  • 30
    @MonikaMichael - If they have a blog or are on twitter, one can follow them. How do you follow the ones that want to keep private? You stalk them!
    – Oded
    Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 10:19
  • @MonikaMichael you can use the user feed available on the user profile to follow their activity Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 10:22
  • 2
    I use RSS feeds for those whom I wish to be informed of any activity. Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 10:24
  • @ChrisF Even Fb profiles can be set to private. Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 10:26
  • @Simon didn't know that. Thanks Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 10:28
  • 2
    Haha, bet you've been itching to use What SO is not :)
    – Benjol
    Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 13:48
  • 1
    I'm the hobbiest!
    – user206222
    Commented May 5, 2013 at 19:33
  • 1
    The links are broken.
    – JDB
    Commented Aug 29, 2013 at 17:46
  • @Cyborgx37 - You need 10k rep to see deleted posts.
    – Oded
    Commented Aug 30, 2013 at 7:33
  • 2
    Dang why is this deleted? It'd be nice for me to see it but seeing how this site is hard to get 10k, I guess I'll never see this haha. It's be nice if a screenshot could be posted.
    – puretppc
    Commented Jan 21, 2014 at 21:24
  • I think the link died.
    – Ani Menon
    Commented Jun 14, 2016 at 7:28
  • @AniMenon - nope. You just don't have enough reputation to see it. When you reach 10k in reputation, you gain the privilege to view deleted posts (that's what the +10k links text in my answer means).
    – Oded
    Commented Jun 14, 2016 at 8:17
  • 1
    It says "Page not found" shouldn't it say "This page requires more privileges" if its that.
    – Ani Menon
    Commented Jun 14, 2016 at 8:21
  • 1
    Nope - as far as most users know, that page is deleted. We don't want search engines to index it either, @AniMenon
    – Oded
    Commented Jun 14, 2016 at 8:24

enter image description here

  • 13
    This is what happens when we run out of flags. You have only yourselves to blame.
    – user50049
    Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 16:59
  • 1
    Needs moar tooltips. Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 17:37

Not me - I consider the lack of friends and (especially) smileys as a feature, not a defect.

I'd ask you to remove those smileys from your source code if I saw them in a code review. I guess I'm one of those boring people you're referring to. Smileys don't increase my interest in a person much.

  • 1
    To play devil's advocate, smiley can help in pointing out that a particular formulation is a joke. It sometime helps to compensate for the lack of meta-information in a written text. Although for this purpose "classic" smileys are enough. Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 10:25
  • 2
    @Simon - Emoticons are enough. :(
    – Oded
    Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 11:39

Smileys in source code is not making you interesting at all.

It's not about being boring but it is about being serious when the topic is programming.

  • On your job resume have you thought of putting smileys?
  • In a board meeting, do you show your disagreement by poking someone or showing smiley faces?
  • Have you asked your teacher to give you extra marks on a maths exam for making a flower on your answer sheet?

I am the person who chooses to answer those questions where I can help others or it's an interesting question to solve.

But I will never answer a silly question which has smilies on it; I will probably edit them out.

  • I agree I prefer to-the-point questions, but I think it's better to edit (or suggest-edit) the question down to something you are willing to answer rather than flagging it.
    – Rup
    Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 11:16
  • @Rup : that is also a good idea, editing a question/answer which have smiles in them and i am sure that peers will approve them. :) Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 11:20
  • @Fish just curious, how did you find this long buried, heavily downvoted, question to begin with? :) Commented Oct 14, 2015 at 15:03
  • This answer was edited just a few hours before I did. It was in the list of recently active questions. Commented Oct 14, 2015 at 15:24

Also, I think there should be an "Add as Friend" feature.

... and so on.

If they turn SO into another Facebook, I'm leaving!!

  • 1
    plz don't go alone i am leaving too...:) Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 11:21
  • The last "do something or I ragequit" did not end well for one user, who ended up with the most downvoted question on the site, ever.
    – tombull89
    Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 13:29
  • 1
    @tombull89: Wait, where did Adam go?
    – Dennis
    Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 13:37
  • @tombull89: Only because you can't see Evan Carroll's now deleted questions. Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 17:41
  • It was a (semi-)joke. I cannot imagine them actually doing that ...
    – Stephen C
    Commented Apr 3, 2014 at 13:18

The only benefit of follow / friends I can see is that it would make it easier for me to watch for new questions from colleagues' accounts: that way I can put my SO time-wasting to productive use for our company by trying to help them out. (And make sure they never get more rep than me :-) )

But I think that's a fairly niche use case, and I could bash out something to do that using the API anyway.


If any of language is giving support for smiley while you are coding, SO should give it.

if you write :) in any language it will not turn to smiley in your IDE, when IDE will give that support, stackoverflow should think about it.

As soon as there is no IDE with this kind of support, your question doesn't seems exist.

one more point is that, it is professional site not for flirting or making friends, if you realy want to do that there are lot many options available.


For smiley, it is already possible using Unicode characters !


I'm very surprised that this works.

The code used is


Stack Exchange is great 😉

I'm 58 year old (in 2020) and I begin using smiley because it allow me to express something that is not possible using little word. A text can be interpreted in distinct manner; using smiley can allow reader to understand my emotion and to have a better understanding of what I'am writing. It is a plus.

I'm a scientific and I regret to see how academic paper are now written. They are unreadable without fun and emotion. The formatting is more important than the content. I don't know if these articles has been written by an human or a robot !

Smileys on Wikipedia

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