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? – Lloyd Powell Apr 12 '12 at 10:12
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    let me poke you to death :-) – Simon Bergot Apr 12 '12 at 10:12
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    @Simon Too bad there isn't a poke smiley. ;-) – Monika Michael Apr 12 '12 at 10:13
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    I think stackoverflow is good because it isn't a social network! – Lloyd Powell Apr 12 '12 at 10:13
  • @ThePower If you maintained my code, you'll understand why. :-) – Monika Michael Apr 12 '12 at 10:15
  • @MonikaMichael edited my post :-). Still, you are not going to get much support for this. – Simon Bergot Apr 12 '12 at 10:15
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    Just so you know, people aren't downvoting you because they hate you, they just disagree :) <--- smiley – Benjol Apr 12 '12 at 10:17
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    Downvoting is the equivalent of a 'dislike' button on facebook. – Lloyd Powell Apr 12 '12 at 10:18
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    If we ever implement anything remotely like this, just kill me. – Nick Craver Apr 12 '12 at 10:27
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    @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. – Simon Bergot Apr 12 '12 at 10:32
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    Boring? You seem to have missed all the fun April Fools jokes that happen here... – Oded Apr 12 '12 at 10:34
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    I promised myself that I would never utter this phrase. But I'll make an exception for this one: OH HELL NO. – Bart Apr 12 '12 at 10:35
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    @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? – Simon Bergot Apr 12 '12 at 12:00
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    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 Apr 12 '12 at 12:30
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    Hay guys, April Fool's is over now... – Cody Gray Apr 12 '12 at 17:36

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. – Monika Michael Apr 12 '12 at 10:18
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    @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 Apr 12 '12 at 10:19
  • @MonikaMichael you can use the user feed available on the user profile to follow their activity – Simon Bergot Apr 12 '12 at 10:22
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    I use RSS feeds for those whom I wish to be informed of any activity. – Lloyd Powell Apr 12 '12 at 10:24
  • @ChrisF Even Fb profiles can be set to private. – Monika Michael Apr 12 '12 at 10:26
  • @Simon didn't know that. Thanks – Monika Michael Apr 12 '12 at 10:28
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    Haha, bet you've been itching to use What SO is not :) – Benjol Apr 12 '12 at 13:48
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    I'm the hobbiest! – user206222 May 5 '13 at 19:33
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    The links are broken. – JDB still remembers Monica Aug 29 '13 at 17:46
  • @Cyborgx37 - You need 10k rep to see deleted posts. – Oded Aug 30 '13 at 7:33
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    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 Jan 21 '14 at 21:24
  • I think the link died. – Ani Menon Jun 14 '16 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 Jun 14 '16 at 8:17
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    It says "Page not found" shouldn't it say "This page requires more privileges" if its that. – Ani Menon Jun 14 '16 at 8:21
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    Nope - as far as most users know, that page is deleted. We don't want search engines to index it either, @AniMenon – Oded Jun 14 '16 at 8:24

enter image description here

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    This is what happens when we run out of flags. You have only yourselves to blame. – Tim Post Apr 12 '12 at 16:59
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    Needs moar tooltips. – Cody Gray Apr 12 '12 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. – Simon Bergot Apr 12 '12 at 10:25
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    @Simon - Emoticons are enough. :( – Oded Apr 12 '12 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 Apr 12 '12 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. :) – Ankit Sharma Apr 12 '12 at 11:20
  • @Fish just curious, how did you find this long buried, heavily downvoted, question to begin with? :) – Shadow The Vaccinated Wizard Oct 14 '15 at 15:03
  • This answer was edited just a few hours before I did. It was in the list of recently active questions. – Fish Below the Ice Oct 14 '15 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...:) – Ankit Sharma Apr 12 '12 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 Apr 12 '12 at 13:29
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    @tombull89: Wait, where did Adam go? – Dennis Apr 12 '12 at 13:37
  • @tombull89: Only because you can't see Evan Carroll's now deleted questions. – Cody Gray Apr 12 '12 at 17:41
  • It was a (semi-)joke. I cannot imagine them actually doing that ... – Stephen C Apr 3 '14 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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