Catchphrases and concepts that spread from person to person are known as memes, which, courtesy the Internet, can now explode across the Earth like a highly contagious virus (hence "going viral"). As with their real-life counterparts, some infectious diseases are global (pandemic), while others are endemic to specific regions.

Stack Overflow, and now even more predominantly Meta Stack Exchange, have seen more than their fair share of these pathological social constructs spread through the user base. They are now ingrained units of our collective culture as SOpedians (a term which I hate, by the way).

Just as travelers' immune systems can be assaulted by new diseases in new places, new users are increasingly likely to be miffed by an ingrained meme and left sitting scratching their heads. I therefore propose that this space be used to document the memes endemic to Stack Exchange's culture.

Each meme should be listed in a separate answer and I hope that we as a community will be able to provide greater context to each one.

Please actually explain each meme in a way understandable to those not already in the know. Especially considering that a lot of these memes aren't really understandable to newer users who weren't around in the early years of the network, or are based on system features that no longer exist.

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  • 55
    Wasn't sure whether to add Joda Time (as the default answer for any Java date/time question). I don't think it really counts as a meme though...
    – Jon Skeet
    Commented Sep 1, 2009 at 20:22
  • 167
    faq? I'd call this just an aq
    – Vinko Vrsalovic StaffMod
    Commented Sep 1, 2009 at 22:32
  • 101
    Meh. People ask this stuff? It's merely a q.
    – Shog9
    Commented Sep 2, 2009 at 3:13
  • 36
    You hate "SOpedians"??? I'm going to kill a pony in revenge. Commented Sep 2, 2009 at 15:44
  • 36
    @Shog9: The a in aq stands for "answered", not "asked" :-)
    – Vinko Vrsalovic StaffMod
    Commented Sep 5, 2009 at 15:06
  • 7
    Does, the "jump the shark" qualify? What is it all about?
    – OscarRyz
    Commented Sep 11, 2009 at 19:02
  • 44
    @Oscar Reyes - "Jump the shark" is a phrase inspired by a popular TV show (Happy Days) when it's main character (Fonzie) was skiing towards a fishy death, only to evade it at the last minute via upwards aerial propulsion. It is used to describe a deus ex machina in a story that seems unrealistic, as if the writer had written him- or herself into a corner and couldn't come up with any feasible way to save the hero. It means the show is out of good ideas and is past its prime, and must use gimmicks (like aquatic carnivore leaping) to draw in audiences. The principle can easily be generalized. Commented Oct 1, 2009 at 5:45
  • 25
    Please note: "Jump the shark" has specific meaning in the Jeff/Joel context: see here: codinghorror.com/blog/archives/000679.html
    – Benjol
    Commented Oct 29, 2009 at 11:05
  • 28
    What (TF) is "Cultural Height"? 6 ft 2 inches???
    – user135186
    Commented Dec 12, 2009 at 5:26
  • 13
    @all: I think we should definitely vote up and down these answers, so that everything is in alphabetical order. It's horrible to find something. Commented Aug 3, 2010 at 19:44
  • 105
    This question belongs on Meta-Meta
    – JoelFan
    Commented Feb 25, 2011 at 18:33
  • 13
    This whole page has me laughing out loud.
    – Maxpm
    Commented Jun 29, 2011 at 5:07
  • 8
    Meme? a meme is a funny joke with stick figures and funny faces..... curse you wikipedia.
    – Gabriel
    Commented Dec 12, 2011 at 18:17
  • 4
    I don't understand mulching. Can someone please define it? Commented Dec 12, 2011 at 18:25
  • 145
    You should totally drop those memes and try jQuery. Commented Dec 14, 2011 at 10:17

76 Answers 76

1 2

Meme: Meta Meta Meta....

Originator: Pollyanna

Cultural Height: March 12th, 2010

Background: It was first fully realized with Pollyanna's posting of Question Title That Doesn't Describe The Problem it has since been regarded as the goto question for when you wish to talk about talking about talking about meta.

Further Background: It has existed before this question, but the tag has not existed and it was not as widespread.


Meme: Z̭͙̳ͮ̐̂̆̍̒̚͢a͇̬̯̮̱̮̮͆ͯͣ͋ͬ̚l͒̂g͖͙̲̭͋ͫ̓́̚o͊́͏͉̫̮̬͍ͅ ̣̟̯͚͕͓̍ͯ͐ͬ̃͑t͇̤͈͓̺͎̍͗̄̂͂ͮ̑e̺̗͎̘̋̄̐̉͒x͈t̟̮͓͚̟̘̃ͮ̀͠

Originator: Unknown, possibly bobince

Cultural Height: Taller than this.ͦͦͦͦͦͦͦͦͦͦͦͦͦͦͦͦͦͦͦͦͦͦͦͦͦͦͦͦͦͦ

Background: Zalgo text wasn't widely known on Stack Overflow before bobince got tired answering all the RegEx with HTML questions. There are also other references to the Zalgo text like How does Zalgo text work? and Zalgo in user names and effects on comments rendering.


Meme: Whoops Wednesday / Whoopsie Wednesday

Originator: Adam Lear

Cultural Height: Every Wednesday

Background: First mentioned in a bug report about a TODO comment showing up on question pages, this was labeled a “part of [the staffs’] new tradition here at Stack Overflow”. The original refers to it as “Whoops Wednesday”, but in later mentions, it’s usually called “Whoopsie Wednesday” because it rolls off the tongue more easily.

Essentially, it’s a silly bug, a blunder, a whoopsie that happened to occur on a Wednesday. The whimsical alliteration makes the phrase memorable.

Referenced here:


Meme: Wizards

Originators: Shadow Wizard, Ask a Question Wizard

Cultural height: As tall as the wizardry tower goes

Background: Shadow Wizard is one of the most prolific users here on Meta. While their name previously didn't hold that much significance, after another prolific Meta user, Sonic, also adopted the word "Wizard" as part of their username (per their normal cycle of changing usernames), there began a trend where many other active Meta users adopted it as part of their usernames.

After the Ask a Question Wizard rolled out on Stack Overflow, more Meta users also adopted the word "Wizard" into their usernames.


  • 8
    True Wizardry! :-D Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 7:19
  • 1
    Seems like this was previously positively received, but started receiving a lot of downvotes after my recent edit. Should I roll it back? Commented Mar 24, 2019 at 10:01
  • 2
    Downvotes are likely by people not aware of the game Normal Human and Andrew play for years, and don't understand the last two are actual users. I'd say leave it be. Commented Mar 24, 2019 at 10:12
  • 3
    I liked this meme because it gave me an excuse to draw SE and SO as wizards :) Commented Apr 11, 2019 at 15:46
  • 2
    Characters have entered the chat. Commented Jan 1, 2020 at 0:25
  • Shouldn't that be "as high as the wizardry tower goes", as towers don't go tall?
    – Joachim
    Commented Mar 9, 2022 at 12:44

Meme: Option Strict On

Originator: VB.NET

Cultural Height: It's larger in need than it appears.

Background: Visual Basic 6.0 wasn't too fussy about strict typing. You could add integers to strings and usually get the result you wanted. And vice-versa. Usually. VB.NET promised to change that and let you get predictable results from your code. As in, the prediction you made, and not what the compiler felt like doing. But that promise is Optional, and not Strictly On as the default.

Corollary: If your code does not compile after setting Option Strict On, it was faulty anyway.

Caveat: Without hours of delving through imprecise documentation, some things can only be found out at run-time. The increase in entropy of the universe for allowing run-time determination of types may be less than the entropy increase resulting from figuring out how to strongly-type something.

Usage: If someone asks a VB.NET question, look for something like TextBox1.Text = x + 5. Found it? Yes! Add a comment like "You should use Option Strict On to point out some problems in your code." Your work is done.

  • 5
    This sounds like a Stack Overflow meme, not a meta meme.
    – Jeremy
    Commented Jan 15, 2016 at 22:53
  • @JeremyBanks Wow, that was quick! How do I get it to SO memes instead? I couldn't find it. Commented Jan 15, 2016 at 22:54
  • Hmm... I don't think we have one, curiously enough. :/
    – Jeremy
    Commented Jan 15, 2016 at 22:57
  • @JeremyBanks I have a suspicion that this was born from MSO and had some transmogrification to MSE. Commented Jan 15, 2016 at 23:00
  • 3
    @JeremyBanks How on Earth did you manage this?
    – E.P.
    Commented Jan 15, 2016 at 23:46
  • @E.P. magic.... or just bug on your side. There's client side script updating comment time stamps on the fly, for some reason on your side it wasn't working very well. ;) Commented Jan 16, 2016 at 5:59
  • Of course, it should be pointed out this is often the actual issue and does need to be mentioned.
    – Mark Hurd
    Commented Oct 10, 2016 at 6:32

Meme: Roomba

Origin: Antiquity (or 2002, if irobot.com is to be believed)

Cultural Height: Fears of premature deletion in March 2013 (this and this). Still discussed regularly on meta. A comment on this question by Sebastian Simon prompted this entry.

Background: A Roomba is an automatic robotic vacuum cleaner for cleaning floors. The Stack Exchange auto-deletion script automatically deletes inactive posts that meet certain criteria and has thus become known as the Roomba. The implication is that sometimes users will find posts have been deleted while they have been away, much like a Roomba might clean a house.


Meme: !!/blame

Originator: Undo (this commit)

Cultural Height: Every time this command is being issued in Charcoal HQ or Tavern on the Meta or another chat room

Background: SmokeDetector is a community-made chat bot that monitors new posts on the Stack Exchange network and filters out spam. It has a lot of commands that people can issue, among which are ones for joking or entertainment purposes, and !!/blame is one of the most popular joke commands. Whenever someone issues this command in a chat room that Smokey resides in, it will respond with

It's [someone]'s fault.

where [someone] will be a randomly chosen user that happens to be in the room at the moment (this includes SmokeDetector itself). It has since been a popular entertainment, and people star Smokey's response when it happens to blame an interesting user.

Usage: Drop into Charcoal HQ or Tavern on the Meta and post a message of !!/blame, then watch SmokeDetector's response.


Même: His Madnificents! (alternate versions include Madnifiscents, Madnifisense, etc.)

Originator: Ghanima

Background: It started when @Aurora0001 was automatically added as room owner of the IoT main chat room. He started out his career saying,

Say hello to your benevolent dictator of Internet of Things chat!

Ghanima replied right away (tm):

All hail to Aurora, first of his name, protector of the realm.

His message received exactly two stars, and from there it simply escalated, to the point where Ghanima posted,

@Aurora0001 Praised be thee, oh Madnificence!

By some odd chance, the message failed to be starred, but the title has stuck. Only anonymous2's and Helmar's mod hammers (🔨) can keep him in check.

  • 2
    It's right away (tm) not immediately ;) coming to think of it right away should be a meme in its own right. Post it right away!
    – Ghanima
    Commented Mar 21, 2017 at 19:24
  • @Ghanima, you are right! I've edited in the correction.
    – anonymous2
    Commented Mar 21, 2017 at 22:18

Meme: You insensitive clod!

Originator: sixlettervariables

First Heard: June 9, 2012

Cultural Height: TBD

Background: After a question was asked suggesting that Stack Overflow modify their logo for holidays and events, sixlettervariables suggested that an imagined response from users might be: "Omigerd you left out Important Day X you insensitive clods!"


Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson

  • sorry, but it was sixlettervariables in the comments who Tim was quoting. Commented Jun 9, 2012 at 17:21
  • 7
    I'm pretty sure this originated on Slashdot and just carried over. I had not read the comment cited here before inferring the same about George Edison under his answer on the same question :)
    – user50049
    Commented Jun 9, 2012 at 17:23
  • 2
    Originally a Slashdot Meme, does that matter? :-P Commented Jun 9, 2012 at 17:24
  • 10
    Yes, this is definitely a Slashdot meme, lots of people use it quite often. @Ben - you insensitive clod!
    – user50049
    Commented Jun 9, 2012 at 17:27
  • Hey! No C&H-rolling the meta meme post! meta.stackexchange.com/questions/19478/the-many-memes-of-meta/… Commented Jun 9, 2012 at 17:45
  • 4
    I thought phrases had to be used more than once to become memes.
    – mmyers
    Commented Jun 9, 2012 at 18:30

Meme: Boom

Originator: That Evil Chatroom that Organises Votes (aka, the SOCVR Chat)

Cultural Height: Early 2015-Mid 2016(ish?)

Background: Boom (or 'Booming') originated from the SOCVR chat-room, as a reply to someone requesting the closure of a question (primarily by using "cv-pls" [or "cv-plz", for the weak-minded]), that the question is now closed (or dealt with).

  • 2
    I'm sure this is something we stole from Tavern on the Meta chat room.
    – gunr2171
    Commented Oct 16, 2015 at 15:14
  • 4
    @gunr2171 And of course is now banned!
    – DavidG
    Commented Dec 13, 2015 at 14:17
  • 1
    @DavidG because we can't have nice thingz ...
    – rene
    Commented Jul 24, 2017 at 18:59
  • 1
    @rene 18 months to reply, nice!
    – DavidG
    Commented Jul 24, 2017 at 19:12
  • Also edited 'cultural height' as this was banned like, what, two years ago now? ;-).
    – AStopher
    Commented Jul 24, 2017 at 21:13

Meme: Blog Onebox Shenanigans

Originator: Andrew

Cultural Height: Every time a blog post is posted and shared in Tavern by Feeds.

First Appearance: September 10, 2019

Background: At some point, oneboxing of blog posts started to break randomly. Andrew started replying to almost every Feeds message with a funny reply. (list)
Others joined the fray, but he stays the most loyal.

  • 2
    oneboxing. - "A feature of Stack Exchange chat, "oneboxing", automatically inlines some links that are posted on a single line by themselves." Commented Jun 22, 2022 at 15:08
  • @This_is_NOT_a_forum that is correct. What about it? The meme is about users behavior, i.e. what they do in response to the onebox. It's not the broken onebox itself. Commented Jun 22, 2022 at 15:13

Meme: StackExchange™ Buggy Features™

Originator: Unknown, possibly badp

Cultural Height: Every time a StackExchange™ "Feature" Report™ comes up

Background: Starting with Stack Exchange™ MultiCollider SuperDropdown™, there has been a culture of naming Wacky Features™ of Stack Exchange (i.e. design bugs) as trademarks. Examples:

A variation of this meme is to use the name ".... Overflow™" (referring to Stack Overflow):


Related: Stack Exchange™ MultiCollider SuperDropdown™

  • 3
    According to Oxford Dictionaries, a meme is: an element of a culture or system of behavior that may be considered to be passed from one individual to another by nongenetic means, especially imitation. // a humorous image, video, piece of text, etc., that is copied (often with slight variations) and spread rapidly by Internet users. Randomly tagging a TM on a title doesn't make it a meme. Commented Oct 5, 2019 at 22:11

Meme: Neckbeards

Originator: user3184074 and "my forum websites"

Cultural Height: ongoing?

First Seen: https://meta.stackexchange.com/q/215805/ (meta 10kers only)

Background: Some random guy typed up a page-long rant with copious amounts of allcaps and calling people "neckbeards," which is apparently (slang) A nerd; a dweeb., although in the context he used it nobody is entirely sure what it means.


Meme: Oh! the huge Manatee!

Originator: The image already existed as a general Internet Meme, it was used first on a scared question by voyager.

First Heard: Stickers for non US residents? on Sep 17 '09.

Cultural Height: It pops up every now and then.

Background: ---

Trivia: ---.


Meme: gjlhglhfh

Originator: Unknown

Cultural height: TBD

Background: Whenever somebody suggests making comments mandatory with downvotes, a common argument against it is that people will just comment “gjlhglhfh” or some other random combination of characters to explain their downvote.

  • 2
    Not sure if this argument really qualifies as a “meme”. Commented May 5, 2021 at 13:40
  • @SebastianSimon probably not.. Commented May 5, 2021 at 13:45
  • 1
    It's too sad to be a meme @SebastianSimon
    – Luuklag
    Commented May 5, 2021 at 14:46
  • 3
    gjlhglhfhgjlhglhfh Commented Mar 11, 2022 at 5:30
  • Using the first three keys in that row, "A", "S", and "D", e.g. "adasdasdasd", is much more common. Commented Jun 22, 2022 at 15:10
  • 1
    gjlhglhfhgjlhglhfhgjlhglhfhgjlhglhfh Commented Jul 24, 2023 at 6:18

Meme: grabs/gets popcorn

Originator: Unknown

First Seen: December 3rd, 2010

Cultural Height: As long as there is drama somewhere

Background: Chat meme. Whenever a drama is about to begin, or is ongoing, anyone can grab some popcorn and watch the drama folding before their eyes.

  • 17
    Is this Stack Exchange specific? Commented Mar 3, 2019 at 9:50
  • @Randal'Thor Stack Exchange chat is the only place I've seen it used, so can't really know for sure. Commented Mar 3, 2019 at 10:20
  • knowyourmeme.com/memes/popcorn-gifs Commented Mar 3, 2019 at 10:23
  • 2
    @Randal'Thor "Added 4 years ago"... the SE chat usage predates that. Who said it didn't spark the meme elsewhere? Anyway.... even if non-SE meme that is often used in SE, think it might fit here. Commented Mar 3, 2019 at 10:48
  • 9
    @ShadowWizard, grabbing popcorn to watch the drama long pre-dates Stack Exchange. I saw it as a sight gag in a webcomic about 20 years ago, and it was an old idea even then.
    – Mark
    Commented Mar 4, 2019 at 23:14
1 2

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