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.

Return to FAQ index

On other Stack Exchange sites

  • 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
  • 168
    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
  • 146
    You should totally drop those memes and try jQuery. Commented Dec 14, 2011 at 10:17

76 Answers 76


Meme: Jon Skeet

Originator: Jon Skeet

Cultural Height: Every Day. Ever.

Background: Jon Skeet is an avid user of Stack Overflow, whose many answers (primarily in and ) earned him over a million reputation points. This makes him the top-ranked SO user.

Related: Jon Skeet Facts.

  • 368
    He even gets the most upvotes as a meme!!
    – akf
    Commented Sep 2, 2009 at 2:13
  • 81
    6 to 8 weeks surpassed Jon Skeet, it only took 6 to 8 weeks. Commented Nov 4, 2009 at 23:06
  • 74
    Jon Skeet is now above 6 to 8 weeks, and it did not take 6 to 8 weeks. Only Jon Skeet can bypass this rule! Commented Nov 16, 2009 at 21:32
  • 151
    I thought Mum Skeet was the originator of Jon?...
    – Locutus
    Commented Apr 23, 2010 at 12:39
  • 39
    @Locutus: Jon Skeet coded himself in lisp so that he could go on to invent assembly language.
    – intuited
    Commented Apr 12, 2011 at 2:39
  • 20
    John Skeet is a computer programmer program (which programs computer programmer programs). Commented Apr 27, 2011 at 5:29
  • 9
    Jon Skeet is the new Chuck Norris meme? Amazing sure, but why the caveman idolatry? Skeet skeet. Commented Feb 2, 2012 at 7:15
  • 58
    Once, I told my friend about Jon and he was so impressed, he googled it. But he made one major fatal mistake he never expected...He typed "Jon" as "John". To no surprise, our entire district was blacklisted by Google.
    – Hele
    Commented Apr 18, 2013 at 4:16
  • 15
    As of May 2015, I can safely say, You Know Nothing, John Skeet Commented Apr 23, 2015 at 6:09
  • 1
    @9kSoft Ok, you've gotta tell us what you're talking about. Did you beat him at Jeopardy or something? Commented May 12, 2015 at 15:55
  • 7
    @iamnotmaynard its a Game of Thrones refrence, of the meme, "You know nothing John Snow" Commented May 12, 2015 at 17:31
  • 1
    @9kSoft Ok. I got it. I mean I get that it's a reference; that I needed it explained to me that it is a reference means I don't get the reference, but that's neither here nor there. Thank you. (So you probably only needed to tell me what you're talking about. I'm sure everyone else got it already.) Commented May 12, 2015 at 17:51
  • 1
    Avatar: The Last Airbender, Book 2: Earth, Episode 14 at 7:40: "Great news! Your request [to report urgent information that could change the course of the war] will be processed earlier than usual... 6 to 8 weeks actually!" Commented Mar 12, 2017 at 13:25
  • 3
    And now Jon Skeet is the first user to hit 1 million reputation: stackoverflow.blog/2018/01/15/thanks-million-jon-skeet
    – jpmc26
    Commented Jan 26, 2018 at 21:11
  • 2
    They invented the yottabyte to hold Jon Skeet's reputation.
    – Lordology
    Commented Feb 20, 2019 at 20:28

Meme: jQuery

Originator: Unknown (possibly Ólafur Waage)

Cultural Height: TBD

Background: A Stack Overflow-centric meme, jQuery began its career early on as the answer to beat for any question that even remotely referenced JavaScript. Its popularity became so great that eventually jQuery became the default answer to any potential question on Stack Overflow no matter how ridiculous.

Usage: "Hey, I see you are trying to connect to that Oracle database using C++. You should totally drop that and try jQuery."

See Also: Greasemonkey (Meta Stack Overflow equivalent)

enter image description here

  • 772
    I see you're trying to blame me for a meme. You should totally drop that and try jQuery. Commented Sep 2, 2009 at 9:22
  • 20
    I'd like to point out that since 1.4 dropped the answer to every jQuery question has been to use the new $.live() functionality.
    – Hogan
    Commented Feb 23, 2010 at 18:43
  • 253
    have you guys seen this? doxdesk.com/img/updates/20091116-so-large.gif (i.sstatic.net/sGhaO.gif) Commented Apr 22, 2010 at 23:24
  • 94
    omg that screenshot is priceless :D
    – wildpeaks
    Commented Dec 21, 2010 at 22:55
  • 18
    That picture is why I no longer participate actively on Stack Overflow... Commented Nov 2, 2011 at 21:06
  • 32
  • 24
    It's deleted :( Commented Jul 15, 2012 at 17:43
  • 75
    I think jQuery is the way to bring this question back.
    – Yamaneko
    Commented Oct 11, 2012 at 0:06
  • 15
    I bet the screenshot by @JeffAtwood was made using jQuery, perhaps with some Greasemonkey included. Commented Sep 20, 2013 at 16:35
  • 10
    jQuery? Use Python! (It has import antigravity!)
    – Kaz Wolfe
    Commented May 4, 2014 at 0:30
  • 13
    jQuery already supports jQuerying all the things. $("*").
    – Travis J
    Commented May 26, 2015 at 23:15
  • 28
    – bjb568
    Commented Oct 17, 2015 at 2:47
  • 9
    Wow. The question is real. Commented Aug 13, 2016 at 19:30
  • 18
    Why is that precious question deleted? It should be undeleted and locked for historical significance. Commented Feb 8, 2018 at 15:41
  • 5
    The related questions on that screenshot are gold too.
    – Zackary
    Commented Sep 17, 2019 at 18:02

Meme: 6 to 8 Weeks

Originator: Jeff Atwood

First Heard: May 13th, 2008

Cultural Height: In about 6 to 8 weeks

Definition: The time estimate given "off the top of my head" when the Stack Overflow team has only a vague idea of how long a task will take because they have little-to-no formal scheduling or even a list of tasks.


Taken from the transcript of Podcast 005, from 03 min 18 secs

Atwood: Some people have been asking about scheduling, and I want to clarify, I've been telling people six to eight weeks until we get to what we call our private beta of Stack Overflow […] and I've also been getting some very very nice emails from people that want to help in some way and contribute, and I've been inviting those people into our private beta later on. So—

Spolsky: Wait how do you invite what? Through what mechanism do you invite them into our private beta?

Atwood: Basically they email me directly and then, I add them to the list. And then six weeks from now—

Spolsky: Oh. And you have like a notepad file type thing.

Atwood: Pretty much, it's just a basic text file. But yeah, it's hard to manage having a bunch of people contributing at this point, cause we're still in very much the formative of stages. But certainly once we get into private beta, I want tons of people to look at it and provide feedback at that point. So if you can postpone your desire for about six weeks, uh, we'll get you.

Spolsky: So how do you get this 6 to 8 weeks? What's this based on? Did you like make some tasks that you want to complete?

Atwood: uh no, I er… That's just sort of… off the top of my head.

Spolsky: [laughs] Well okay, you're doomed Jeff. There's some controversy. You, sir, are doomed, because you don't know what things you have to do.

Atwood: Yes. I know, I know.

Reference: Podcast 005

Related: What is the origin of "6 to 8 weeks" and is it really the Crazy Frog?

  • @David: In Sim Copter, it might not have been a joke (though most of the other messages shown during loading certainly are).
    – SamB
    Commented May 24, 2011 at 22:34
  • It's like Thomas Friedman's 6 months (fair.org/index.php?page=2884).
    – user140539
    Commented Jun 18, 2012 at 8:04
  • 225
    I just watched Madagascar 2 in German - and the penguins said when asked how long it will take to fix the plane after the crash: "Oh, we should be ready in about 6 to 8 months..." Coincidence? ;) Commented May 18, 2013 at 18:56
  • 9
    Wow, Jeff Atwood takes more fake hypothetical time to implement things than Jick (of KoL). Kingdom of Loathing has exactly the same meme, except in Jicktime, it's "2 weeks".
    – neminem
    Commented Nov 19, 2013 at 21:32
  • @SamB I really want to know what Sim Copter reference you were responding to. Commented Jun 8, 2015 at 13:29
  • 10
    BTW, private beta began 11 weeks later, on July 31, '08. Atwood said at the time that it would last "anywhere from two weeks to a month," and it ending up being five weeks. Commented Jun 8, 2015 at 13:44
  • 18
    – E.P.
    Commented Aug 13, 2015 at 19:26
  • 85
    Does anyone remember there was a web app that helped you "estimate" development time by asking you "How many developers are working on it? How many lines of code is the app? How many vending machines are available to the developers?" and it had a slider bar after each one. And no matter what you put, it spit out "6 - 8 weeks"
    – MattSayar
    Commented Sep 15, 2015 at 20:29
  • 1
    At 16:00 in this Drawn Together episode they won some sort of prize after “6 – 8 weeks”. I honestly wonder where they got that from… normally you’d know exactly how long it took if the waiting time is already over. Commented Oct 5, 2015 at 7:11
  • 2
    @Spontifixus it's actually 6 to 9 months... and it was the first thing I thought of when reading this also.
    – JeffC
    Commented Feb 18, 2016 at 20:17
  • 11
    @JeffC in German it's "Sechs oder acht Monate. - Sechshundertacht Monate?" Literally translating to "Six or eight months. - Sixhundredeight months?!" Commented Feb 19, 2016 at 10:48
  • 15
    @MattSayar it's not online anymore. But you can find it here web.archive.org/web/20100202011937/http://www.cznp.com/…
    – jfrej
    Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 12:48
  • 2
    The Wikipedia page of "Dartmouth workshop" says "The project lasted approximately 6 to 8 weeks". Coincidence? I THINK NOT!
    – zdimension
    Commented Feb 28, 2017 at 17:59
  • 1
    @iDebug With the addition of suggested edits, Community Wiki has been all but depreciated, but the consensus is that nobody's post should be forced to Community Wiki. I think it is a needless feature. Commented Dec 22, 2017 at 14:57
  • 2
    The Cultural Height made me chuckle Commented Jan 25, 2018 at 22:23

Meme: Freehand Circles

Originator: TheTXI

Cultural Height: TBD

(freehand-circled text) Background: Whenever screenshots are submitted, it is good practice to try and point the user to what you are talking about through the usage of arrows and shapes to lead one's eye. The greatest of these tools is the circle, and it has become customary to give cheap upvotes to users who painstakingly draw circles free hand and do not rely on lazy shape tools that give soulless circles devoid of personality. It has also become customary to unjustly punish users who refrain from using freehand circles, or who eschew the practice of circling important information altogether.¶ The effectiveness of freehand circles to illustrate screenshots can be further augmented via the usage of drop shadows. It has been shown that special combinations of freehand circles and drop shadows in unison have led to spontaneous erotic climax.

Variation: during Winter Bash season, some members substitute the freehand circles for freehand hats. Unlike the hats, they won't disappear after Winter Bash is over.

See Also: Here, and Here as answer to this post

  • 72
    I find the circle tool accomplishes the task faster than using the freehand tool. ... We're not designers!
    – chakrit
    Commented Sep 2, 2009 at 19:29
  • 504
    @chakrit: You have no soul.
    – TheTXI
    Commented Sep 2, 2009 at 19:42
  • 39
    Memo to self: Use the pen instead of the mouse to draw circles, that way they have a soul and can look great at the same time.
    – Joey
    Commented Nov 27, 2009 at 17:29
  • 112
    Ultimate combination: freehand circle and arrow, with drop shadow, on a picture with faded torn edge borders (themselves with drop shadow!). See stackoverflow.com/questions/2295414/…
    – VonC
    Commented Feb 19, 2010 at 12:05
  • 36
    I like scary monks much better!
    – Arjan
    Commented Jan 31, 2011 at 18:11
  • 64
    ...I couldn't help myself. This post needed more freehand circles. Commented May 5, 2011 at 0:35
  • 5
    Made me think of Steve Lord's famous SirJester quote- Auditor "are you trying to run rings round me?"; SirJester "Of course not, these are COBIT compliant control ellipses"
    – Rory Alsop
    Commented Jul 19, 2011 at 10:12
  • 3
    I think we should have a built in tool to allow us to draw freehand circles. This post proposes the feature request, but never received an answer (confirm or decline tag)
    – Ephraim
    Commented Apr 20, 2012 at 5:24
  • 2
    @Joey: I've got a Wacom graphics tablet for that :)
    – bwDraco
    Commented Mar 11, 2013 at 0:29
  • 7
    Is it frowned upon to use colors other than red?
    – Yawus
    Commented Apr 23, 2013 at 20:54
  • 91
    Feature request for image editors: Freehand-Looking circle tool.
    – Gaelan
    Commented Jul 22, 2013 at 0:21
  • 4
    @Yawus Yes.​​​ ​ ​ ​ Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 15:11
  • 4
  • 4
    @Gaelan though this may be a bit late, you can now generate freehand-looking circles using JavaScript: github.com/pshihn/rough
    – SplittyDev
    Commented Jul 19, 2018 at 8:30
  • 1
    Recently the arrows have become really crazy, e.g. [1], [2], or even a tentacle. Commented Mar 14, 2019 at 21:53

Meme: Two problems.

Originator: Unknown (the quote itself is by Jamie Zawinski)

Cultural Height: Neverending

Background: A quotation by Jamie Zawinski goes like this:

Some people, when confronted with a problem, think "I know, I'll use regular expressions." Now they have two problems.

There are many questions on Stack Overflow relating to regular expressions, and many answers that suggest regular expressions. In a lot of cases, a regular expression is simply not necessary or even useful. Hence the phrase, "Now you have two problems," usually posted as a comment.

Examples: Here, here, here, here, here.

A regular expression question also caused the breakdown of a Stack Overflow member.

  • 52
    meh, I don't really consider this a meme of SO or meta Commented Sep 9, 2009 at 21:39
  • 5
    Why only 5 ups? This is one of the funniest memes here.
    – HuBeZa
    Commented Nov 18, 2010 at 14:20
  • @Nathan That answer has 4351 upvotes. (It would probably have more, but it's been locked.) Commented May 15, 2011 at 21:58
  • 1
    Random picture. Commented May 15, 2011 at 22:12
  • 42
    – Piccolo
    Commented Apr 4, 2013 at 1:00
  • Intriguingly, this can now no longer be named in question titles, because of the 'problem' filter . . . Commented May 24, 2015 at 2:34
  • 6
    that username...
    – Downgoat
    Commented Feb 19, 2016 at 3:33
  • 4
    See also regex.info/blog/2006-09-15/247 where Jeffrey Friedl attempts to track down the origin of the meme. It seems to be such old folklore that we can't really tell where it comes from. Definitely older than Stack Overflow.
    – b_jonas
    Commented Mar 31, 2018 at 14:41
  • I didn't know the Meme, but I used a similar Wording (and definitely Meaning) in a Tag Wiki: "[...] Same Recommendation when selecting the regex Tag along with the iMacros one, but, hum..., regex is (nearly) "never" the "Best" Solution with iMacros, there are "always" better Solutions [...]"... // Next time the Tag Wiki needs an Edit/Revision, I might mention "two problems" and link to this Meme, ah-ah...!
    – chivracq
    Commented Jun 10, 2022 at 1:54

Meme: Unicorns (née Ponies)

Originator: TheTXI

Cultural Height: April 1st, 2009

Background: The pony meme began without fanfare early in TheTXI's time as a member of Stack Overflow. Its first recorded usages can be traced back to long-running comment threads and arguments on both Stack Overflow and User Voice. The comment "I like ponies" would be interjected into threads, seemingly at random, which inevitably led to those threads getting completely derailed.

Before long, it became evident that TheTXI was not the only SOpedian who found ponies to be the most wonderfullest things ever. Ponies' popularity grew to the point where Jeff Atwood and the Stack Overflow development team implemented the Cornify button on all questions and answers for April Fools' Day 2009. From there, the popularity of ponies — and their magical weaponized form, unicorns — grew exponentially.

Other Official References:
For April Fools' Day 2010, all avatar requests were sent to Unicornify instead of Gravatar, resulting in every user having a personal unicorn for the day.

On April Fools' Day 2011, voting on questions triggered unicorn animations.

On April Fools' Day 2012, the Clippycorn, a parody to Clippy Microsoft Office Assistant, was appearing at various conditions offering users a semi-joke tips on site usage.

For April Fools' Day 2014, unicoins were added to stack, allowing users to mine coins that could then be used to purchase different powers for use on stack sites. What are Stack Overflow unicoins?

For April Fools' Day 2019, a time machine version of SO was created to show how the site would have looked should it have been around in 1998. A unicorn was included in the page's background as well as ASCII art in the HTML source.

Related: In 2006, for April Fools' Day, Slashdot switched to a pink ponies theme. This subsequently led to an "OMG Ponies" Slashdot meme.

  • @TheTXI: Friend of yours? stackoverflow.com/users/27457/pitadev
    – user27414
    Commented Sep 1, 2009 at 21:02
  • Jon B - That is a unicorn, not a pony. They are very different. Commented Sep 1, 2009 at 21:30
  • Unicorns are magical ponies.
    – user27414
    Commented Sep 1, 2009 at 21:33
  • 255
    Unicorns are the magically weaponized form of a pony.
    – TheTXI
    Commented Sep 1, 2009 at 21:46
  • 11
    Sunshine and sparkles are their weapons.
    – user27414
    Commented Sep 1, 2009 at 21:47
  • 1
    obligatory link to i-want-a-pony.com
    – Sam Hasler
    Commented Sep 2, 2009 at 15:40
  • 47
    Unicorns are not magical ponies. They are a cross between a horse, a goat, a lion, and a narwhale (or something with a horn). A true unicorn has a goat's beard and a lion's tail. The equine part is horse, not pony. Unicorns aren't cute, they are dangerous. Commented Nov 12, 2009 at 0:38
  • 3
    There is an answer on SO with 1600 plus upvotes. Could this be mainly because it mentions ponies, in a beautifully subliminal way? stackoverflow.com/questions/1732348/…
    – MarkJ
    Commented Nov 20, 2009 at 13:34
  • 5
    @MarkJ: No, it's because it was featured on digg & codinghorror, and was actually modeled after the madmen often featured in HP Lovecraft's writings. However, in its sublime madness, it brought in many (MANY) SO in-jokes, and that probably did contribute to the orgy of upvote love.
    – John Rudy
    Commented Nov 20, 2009 at 22:45
  • Back in the days Last.fm still had a soul, one of the last.fm todo features was a free pony. Commented Dec 30, 2009 at 8:39
  • SO has lost it's soul. No hidden ponies!
    – abel
    Commented Jan 15, 2011 at 10:46
  • @boris callens - my ISP has a free pony as it's number 2 most popular idea on the todo list (and a moon on a stick at #5). Commented Feb 7, 2011 at 17:43
  • I can't believe that was the 2009 April Fool's day thing...curse you time! Commented Nov 6, 2011 at 21:16
  • "Sunshine and sparkles are their weapons" - Looks like they're in league with the Pyros Commented Jul 5, 2012 at 20:36
  • 4
    ..is the ponyoverflow link still related? It's a japanese page with no picture of ponies nor unicorns... wayback machine doesn't seem to help.
    – Bakuriu
    Commented Jul 29, 2015 at 14:40

Meme: plzsendtehcodez

Originator: TheDailyWTF, as documented here.

First Use of Tag: Documented Here.

Cultural Height: Unknown

Background: The tag was predominantly used on SO to label questions with some variant of the phrase "please send the codes" present in the language of the question, or more generally any homework question directly copied from an assignment without any attempt made by the original poster to solve it himself.

It is now considered bad practice to apply the tag to a question and users should remove it as necessary.


Meme: Fastest Gun in the West (FGITW)

Originator: Omer van Kloeten

First Heard: September 11th, 2008

Definition: A problem identified as a side-effect of sorting votes by descending score where first-posted answers are quickly up-voted, trumping vote opportunities for people who sit down and answer a question in a long, thorough way.

Background: This problem was originally identified on UserVoice.com and reposted to meta.stackexchange.com here: Fastest Gun in the West Problem. Whether the FGITW problem is actually a problem has been a source of controversy. Many considered it a feature — get fast answers, by design. Various solutions were suggested including this one (Randomly reorder all answers posted within 10 minutes of each other), which was eventually implemented, inciting another protest labeled "The Slowest Cheater in the East (SCITE) problem".

  • 13
    This is not a meme, this is just an acronym.
    Commented Sep 1, 2009 at 22:29
  • 73
    A meme is a catchphrase or concept. "Fastest Gun in the West" qualifies on both accounts (which just happens to have a convenient acronym). Commented Sep 1, 2009 at 22:38
  • 15
    Or is it an initialism? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acronym_and_initialism Commented Sep 21, 2009 at 4:40
  • 9
    @Christopher Galpin: Agreed. FGITW is an initialism (is not pronounced as a word, cf. MVC, PHP), SCITE is an acronym (can be pronounced as a word, cf. NATO, laser).
    – alastairs
    Commented Nov 11, 2009 at 18:11
  • 22
    I beg to differ. Fuh-Get-Wuh. (Actually, the last syllable would probably be better represented with a schwa.) C'mon, we're computer guys, we pronounce every initialism! (Hello, WSDL?)
    – John Rudy
    Commented Nov 20, 2009 at 22:48
  • @JohnRudy I pronounce it as fgitw.
    – EKons
    Commented Oct 14, 2016 at 14:40
  • @John Rudy: Yes, like TMTOWTDI (as "Tim Toady") Commented Nov 19, 2019 at 17:54

This meme is officially deprecated.

Please do not use this meme. It remains here while links to it are still quite 'out in the wild' as a reference to inform folks that they shouldn't be using it, and should be flagging comments linking to it for removal.

While at the time it was seen as light-hearted fun, that context (and Jeff) are long gone; the use of this is just confusing and definitely not in line with our Code of Conduct.

Meme: Pluralization Bug (aka Jeff Atwood's giant S)

Originator: Jeff Atwood

Cultural Height: Past

First Seen: Here

Background: Originally seen on Twitter here, Jeff made his feeling clear about user posting pluralization bug by saying

Dear Next Person Who Opens a Pluralization 'Bug', I will personally come to your house and bludgeon you to death with a giant S

It has since been used as a response to numerous post about pluralization and is the default accepted answer.

Also known as Jeff Atwood's giant S, for example.

See Also:

Here, Here, Here, Here and Here or the tag

  • 188
    I think you mean "numerous posts". Commented Mar 28, 2011 at 15:41
  • 3
    "I will personally come to your house and bludgeon you to death" is in blatant violation of the Be Nice policy, and even more so of the new CoC. Just because he is the co-founder of the site doesn't mean he can freely abuse people. "We won't fix pluralization issues for now. We have limited development time and would like to spend it on other more rewarding features." or something along those lines would have been adequate.
    – Masked Man
    Commented Aug 12, 2018 at 17:11
  • 4
    @MaskedMan Agreed, we'll deprecate it. I've added a notice to the top, feel free to flag anything you see linking to it as obsolete for removal. If we just remove it without a note, it'll just cause confusion.
    – user50049
    Commented Aug 13, 2018 at 12:17
  • 3
    @TimPost I’m case you haven’t read it yet, I’ve posted a meta question asking for clarification of this ban: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/338952/… Commented Nov 25, 2019 at 10:53

Meme: Stack Exchange™ MultiCollider SuperDropdown™

Originator: badp, made popular by rchern in a comment on this question

First Seen: 27 Sept. 2010

Cultural Height: margin-top: 6px;

Definition: alt text


  • Stack Exchange™ GlobalTag MegaBlender™ (1, 2)
  • Stack Exchange™ ChronoWarping ChatCombinator™ (1)
  • Stack Exchange™ PeopleEmpowering Diamond-O-Matic™ (1 - deleted)


  • Stack Exchange™ SuperCollider MicroDashboard™ (1 - deleted)
  • Stack Exchange™ SuperCollider Freehand Circle™ Editor (1)
  • 77
    Please move quickly to the StackExchange, as the effects of prolonged exposure to the SuperDropdown are not part of this test.
    – Josh Lee
    Commented Oct 6, 2010 at 20:40
  • 1
    I keep telling you... exposure to the MultiColider SuperDropdown is not a part of this test. >:|
    – Powerlord
    Commented Oct 13, 2010 at 19:38
  • 1
    @Jonathan: The cultural height line was balpha's edit. And I like it, too. Commented Dec 16, 2010 at 14:35
  • 1
    Also see: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/19478/the-many-memes-of-meta/…
    – user164291
    Commented Nov 2, 2011 at 15:30
  • 1
    This comment is intended to make @TheTXI happier by making TheTXI click the StackExchange™ MultiCollider SuperDropdown™. Commented Dec 8, 2011 at 1:23
  • MultiCollider - could this possibly be an oblique reference to the Fountains of Wayne song "Supercollider"? In which case there is meme spinoff potential here.
    – radarbob
    Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 16:37
  • 1
    Is there any reason for "Stack Exchange" to have a space in the middle? The referenced question doesn't have a space.
    – Bernard
    Commented Apr 26, 2017 at 15:07

Meme: Burninated
Original burnination image New graphics

Originator: Possibly Jeff Atwood / Strong Bad: Trogdor the Burninator (YouTube video)

Cultural Height: 2010 - …

Background: Used in reference to deleting a tag from the system.

See Also: , I made us some Trogdor graphics!, "TROGDOR!" Flash game.

  • 10
    Oh wow, the whole time I thought Jeff or someone else on the team made up that drawing as the pluralization mascot turned tag deleter. Commented Aug 9, 2011 at 5:24
  • 4
    Also addressed at The true meaning of burninate (but the answer is basically just this answer, copy-pasted)
    – Pops
    Commented Feb 29, 2012 at 16:31
  • You can now purchase a figure of Trogdor with this board game.
    – formicini
    Commented May 11, 2023 at 10:01

Meme: Parsing HTML with RegEx

Originator: Bobince

Cultural Height: Untl̕L H̸̡̪̯ͨ͊̽̅̾̎Ȩ̬̩̾͛ͪ̈́̀́͘ ̶̧̨̱̹̭̯ͧ̾ͬC̷̙̲̝͖ͭ̏ͥͮ͟Oͮ͏̮̪̝͍M̲̖͊̒ͪͩͬ̚̚͜Ȇ̴̟̟͙̞ͩ͌͝S̨̥̫͎̭ͯ̿̔̀ͅ

Background: This meme began as bobince has unofficially become the Assistant Don't Parse HTML With Regex Officer. He has described the terrible maw of horrors that will uproar if HTML is ever parsed with RegEx, such as in this post.

  • 10
    Isn't this a part of the Zalgo meme around the Internet?
    – user299123
    Commented Jul 16, 2015 at 7:56
  • 1
    @Texenox Yes it is... as far as I know.
    – SE is dead
    Commented Jul 1, 2016 at 18:04
  • 21
    @nine But the relation between Zalgo, RegEx and HTML is specific to Stack Overflow. Commented Sep 30, 2018 at 11:15
  • 3
    No mention of Pony the Tony? :-( Commented May 11, 2021 at 22:51
  • 2
    @val It's actually Tony the Pony. ;-)
    – EvgenKo423
    Commented Sep 4, 2021 at 9:12

Meme: Eeeek!

Originator: Marti

First Seen: 4 Mar. 2011 ~ Eeeek what happened to my envelope? (10k only). Screenshot for <10K users:

Eeeek! What happened to my envelope?
The envelope is gone from next to my name! How am I supposed to check where those recent points came from? I don't remember the link to that page!
Edit: just to summarize the ways that the reputation graph does not make a suitable replacement for the /recent page
• The recent page has just the information I'm interested in, front and center. The graph hides the
list of recent rep changes at the bottom of the page, below a bunch of noise, and it only shows the time period I'm interested in if it feels like it and/or I beg and plead.
• Not to mention, if the time period I'm interested in does not happen to coincide with a UTC
calendar day, I'm SOL.
• The recent page also includes comments that are new to me. With this new setup, that's in an
entirely different place (Responses tab of profile), at least 3 clicks away from the main page. (And a bunch of scrolling followed by a click away from the rep changes, if I've finally gotten them to show.)
• The recent page showed me only the things that were new to me, and all of the things that were new to me. On the Responses tab, I have to remember which activity I've already seen, but that's still better than the rep graph, on which it is completely impossible to see where those most recent reputation changes came from, because 1 whole day is as fine-grained as it gets.
• Being able to sort the rep changes by timestamp instead of grouping them would only be a
partial fix: there's still the issue of 1-UTC-calendar-day-increments, and again, I'd have to remember where I was last.
Edit 2: The MicroDashboard totally misses the point. The most useful feature of the /recent page is that it remembers where you were. Unless you tell it otherwise, it only shows the newest changes, the ones you haven't seen yet. Even the new graphless reputation page doesn't do that.
(Take the bug tag off all you want, that doesn't change the fact that something that used to work now no longer does.)

Cultural Height: Probably still to be reached, given the increase of developers working for Stack Exchange. Although see comments here for first signs of possible decline (2 weeks after first appearance).

Definition: Stack Overflow developers like to change things, just for the heck of it. This can be shocking for users, who find their site suddenly different in some way. Cherished envelopes go missing, then cherished posts complaining about cherished envelopes going missing go missing, then posts complaining about the missing posts go missing (sometimes before they're even given time to be cherished!).

The inevitable response to this shock is a high-pitched squeal, aptly captured in the title prefix, "Eeek!" (See FAQ section for proper spelling.)

Origin: Once upon a time Stack Exchange 2.0 supported a site-specific notification system to find all the things that had happened to your account since the last time you logged in to that one site. It was supposedly horrid and lots of people hated it. The SEI staff removed it so they could implement a new feature. People FREAKED OUT. I'm pretty sure that when Vesuvius blew that the people took it less hard than the users on Stack Exchange 2.0 sites freaked out over this new change.

Since then, several other topics have been raised with similar titles and topics.


  • 32
    All the people who hated the envelope with a passion hated its appearance only. The page it linked to was (and until it's deleted, still is) probably the most useful part of the UI.
    – Marti
    Commented Mar 17, 2011 at 21:19
  • @Marti then I presume you have not looked at the new replacement features?
    – jcolebrand
    Commented Mar 17, 2011 at 21:21
  • 4
    Sure I have. In all umpteen of the different places I have to look.
    – Marti
    Commented Mar 17, 2011 at 21:22
  • 9
    So to anyone reading this who hasn't read the edit revision log, you should. And the point of this thread in general is comedy. This post is not intended to be a dig at anyone, and is satire. Also, the regulars here know they can find me in chat most of the time. TTYL.
    – jcolebrand
    Commented Mar 17, 2011 at 23:21
  • @drachenstern: there, is that better? :D
    – Marti
    Commented Mar 17, 2011 at 23:53
  • @Marti ~ I don't know, I kinda liked the crowdsourced improvements. And I collided with you so I reverted to your revert. How odd that we hit within seconds ... serendipity?
    – jcolebrand
    Commented Mar 17, 2011 at 23:54
  • @drachenstern: that's one word for it, I guess. And I got shiny new Cleanup badge out of it. Tee hee.
    – Marti
    Commented Mar 17, 2011 at 23:59
  • 1
    How long until this gets burnified? Commented Mar 18, 2011 at 16:22
  • @Wikis three more days?
    – jcolebrand
    Commented Mar 18, 2011 at 16:26
  • 5
    or should I have said 6 - 8 weeks?
    – jcolebrand
    Commented Mar 18, 2011 at 16:26
  • 49
    @drachenstern You mean 6-8 weeeeeks? Ba-dum ching.
    – Nicole
    Commented Mar 20, 2011 at 4:59
  • Too much Eeeeking in Stack Eeekxchange!
    – Himanshu
    Commented Mar 18, 2014 at 12:13
  • Interesting.. if you have less than 10k rep it just shows you a Page Not Found?
    – Ray
    Commented Sep 16, 2018 at 4:48

Meme: Twitter-driven development (also occasionally called Twittergate)

Origin: Meta Stack Exchange on revisiting the Hot Network Questions feature Twitter

Cultural height: Whenever a feature is proposed or a bug is reported

Background: In April 2018, a Medium post detailing issues with Stack Overflow's issues with welcoming new users was shared on Twitter, and that tweet eventually led to the Welcoming initiative, resulting in noticeable changes to the site, including a revised comment flagging form, a new Code of Conduct, and the New Contributor banners. In October 2018, another tweet resulted in the development team quickly preventing the Interpersonal Skills site from providing questions to the Hot Network Questions list, while initiating a call for reforming said list.

These events contributed to the impression that Twitter is a better place to propose changes and features for the Stack Exchange network than the respective Meta sites.

Examples of use:

  • The correct way to report a problem is to use a Stack Exchange account and report on Meta Stack Exchange.
  • That's not the correct way! The correct way, if you want change, is to complain on Twitter! Meta discussions do nothing.

These are great suggestions. Someone should post them on Twitter.

  • 35
    About time someone made that meme official. ;) Commented Nov 15, 2018 at 11:36
  • 7
    I think it is me who coined this meme here
    – gnat
    Commented Nov 15, 2018 at 16:44
  • 4
    @gnat That seems to be accurate. This SEDE query reveals the first use of the meme, and some time later your comment defines "Twitter-driven development". Feel free to add this information to the post if you find it relevant enough. :)
    – E_net4
    Commented Nov 15, 2018 at 19:15
  • It wasn't a short Twitter post in April that led to the Welcoming initiative. It was a long-form Medium post. Commented Nov 24, 2018 at 22:46
  • 2
    @SonictheInclusiveHedgehog This is debatable. The way I see it, the blog post was at least partially caused by the tweet.
    – E_net4
    Commented Nov 24, 2018 at 23:21

Meme: Waffles

Originator: Eric

Cultural Height: Late August – Early September, 2009

Background: Eric just really likes waffles, and apparently so does everyone else who has even a shred of decent humanity. Those who do not like waffles may also be vampires and haters of all things pony-related.

Here's how Eric has explained it:

  1. I love waffles. I had some this morning for breakfast. Effing delicious, man.
  2. It was in response to this question, which wasn't a question at all. The OP made an assertion without any backing, so I stated my opinion with as much backing. I needed to make the 15 characters, so I said, "You know what, I'm going to spread my love of waffles." And so I have.

In an ensuing discussion regarding the delicious food, users were put in the penalty box for a day. There are conflicting reports that allege moderator abuse — perhaps, an anti-waffle agenda — and others who believe this was due to over-zealousness on the part of the suspended. Tragically, because most of the comments were deleted, a proper historical account is difficult to build.

It is also likely a reference to Oolong, a well-known Internet phenomenon:

"Oolong (rabbit) – a bunny trained to balance objects on its head. Famous for balancing pancakes and waffles, it has become a meme similar to lolcats." — From Lolcat # See also

See Also: Meta SO 404 pagewafflesThe Official Stack Overflow Bunny

  • 176
    ........... I Love
    – waffles
    Commented Nov 22, 2009 at 0:01
  • So do ... blog.ericandrade.com/…
    – Rosinante
    Commented Nov 30, 2009 at 1:07
  • Another waffle reference Jun 12, 2012.
    – GUI Junkie
    Commented Jun 18, 2012 at 7:22
  • 4
    i thought oolong was a genre for a Tea. Commented Dec 3, 2013 at 4:02
  • 9
    I don't like waffles.
    – user311528
    Commented May 6, 2016 at 15:55
  • 6
    @EᴀsᴛᴇʀʟʏIʀᴋ You're a menace to society.
    – MD XF
    Commented Dec 12, 2016 at 19:09
  • waffles waffles waffles Commented Apr 15, 2020 at 1:08
  • 8
    It takes true dedication to keep a username for 12 years to preserve a meme reference. Waffle? Commented May 7, 2021 at 11:18

Meme: Boat Programming

Origin: Santiago

Cultural Height: Discussed on both the podcast and the blog.

Background: See here.

Related: Capture of a capture of the original question

  • 9
    See also: youtube.com/watch?v=R7yfISlGLNU (explicit lyrics). Commented Sep 1, 2009 at 20:35
  • 8
    I really enjoyed that question...and I was sad to see it go. Commented Sep 1, 2009 at 21:23
  • 2
    Link to original question is dead, any other link? Commented Jan 26, 2010 at 17:26
  • 2
    @Koper: Matt McDole's capture is the only existing version that I know of (so if that's gone, it's gone). The original question was hard-deleted; not even 10k+ users can see it. It actually contained information that is against SO's privacy policy to release.
    – mmyers
    Commented Jan 26, 2010 at 18:48
  • @MMyers: Like what? Commented May 17, 2010 at 15:06
  • @Arlen: Jeff posted the user's IP address to prove that it was a fake question.
    – mmyers
    Commented May 17, 2010 at 15:21
  • 5
    @mmyers♦: Quoth the server: 404. (410 Gone would have been more dramatic, but OTOH it doesn't scan) Commented Aug 26, 2010 at 21:13
  • I'm still confused as to why they specifically chose the term boat programming...
    – Ephraim
    Commented Apr 20, 2012 at 15:19
  • 3
    last obtainable archive capture: web.archive.org/web/20100426125115/http://www.mattmcdole.com/… Commented Aug 13, 2012 at 6:36
  • 2
    @mmyers why not hard delete just Jeff's answer?
    – Cole Tobin
    Commented Sep 6, 2013 at 1:06
  • @ColeJohnson: A little late for that now, don't you think?
    – mmyers
    Commented Sep 6, 2013 at 15:43
  • 4
    @mmyers yes, but I'm asking why we just didn't hard delete Jeff's answer? Why'd we have to hard delete the entire question?
    – Cole Tobin
    Commented Sep 6, 2013 at 18:16
  • 2
    @ColeJohnson: "We" had nothing to do with it. When this happened, the only moderators were the four employees of Stack Overflow Internet Services, Inc.: Jeff, Joel, Jarrod, and Geoff. Jeff was the only one engaged in active moderation. (And for the record, I wasn't a moderator in May 2010.)
    – mmyers
    Commented Sep 6, 2013 at 19:52
  • 2
    @mmyers that's still doesn't answer why the entire question had to be deleted.
    – Cole Tobin
    Commented Sep 6, 2013 at 20:26
  • The "Background: See here" link points to a post that is closed as a duplicate of this question.
    – user312062
    Commented Oct 26, 2017 at 19:23

Meme: Spam haiku

Jeff Atwood likes fun
Played a trick on all of us
Now he must explain.

First Heard:
From ennuikiller
First to find it; asks us all
Jeff all so silent.

Cultural Height:
haiku always vogue
And some also like to spam
Now bot must protect.

Others hit haiku
Questions begin to pile up
Only talk: haiku.

Detection bot sees
Speaks in riddles of haiku
Makes us think again.

Little slab of meat
In a wash of clear jelly
Now I heat the pan

Cube of cold pinkness
Yellow specks of porcine fat
Give me a spork please

many seek answers
many more post meta-kus
no more is knowing.

  • 6
    I think "ennuikiller" is 4 syllables: on-wee-kill-er Commented Dec 14, 2009 at 15:25
  • 39
    @gnostradamus Everybody's a critic.
    – alex
    Commented Dec 14, 2009 at 18:08

Meme: Friday Afternoon

Origin: Olafur Waage

Cultural Height: Friday in Iceland

Background: Friday Afternoon is generally recognized as the period of the week when programmers like to slack off (more than usual) and begin an early unwinding from the past week's worth of not doing anything of great importance or productiveness. This time period would result in users posting "laid back" or "fun" questions on Stack Overflow, meeting both great acclaim and massive community outrage. (Note: such questions are no longer welcome there.)

The Friday Afternoon theme has now gained more traction on Meta Stack Exchange more than any other site in the League of Justice. It is not uncommon to see multiple "Friday Afternoon" questions posted throughout the day. This resulted in the creation of the tag , which used to be quite popular until one sad day it got marked as a synonym of and fun questions in general were curtailed.

There is no set time frame which Friday Afternoon falls, because as once said in a song, "It's 5 o'clock somewhere". Because of this, you are just as likely to see a question posted early on Friday morning (depending on your time zone) as you are to see one posted in the afternoon.


Meme: The Tim Stone Bat Signal

Tim Stone Signal

Originator: animuson in chat

Cultural Height: TBD

Background: User Tim Stone is well known for his in-depth knowledge of the system and his ability to find/answer questions. After the Trogdor the Burninator request image was created, a "Summon Tim Stone" image was created to summon Tim to investigate a bug report.

Usage: Comment / add to the end of a answer the image: https://i.sstatic.net/UjhhD.png. Also works in MSO chat, apparently.

  • 18
    Tim Stone signal for the win! Commented Jul 20, 2012 at 13:40

Meme: Everything is a meme

Originator: TheTXI

Cultural Height: 2009-09-10 16:41:20Z

Background: This meme began with TheTXI's obsession over memes in general, starting memes on Stack Overflow, and claiming memes for himself. In an effort to garner wide-spread adoption of his various bad habits and nervous tics, he began this project to catalog the prevailing memes on Meta Stack Overflow, making most of them up as he went along based on things that someone wrote, somewhere, a few times. It caught on. Sort of.

  • 34
    This meme entry is a meme. Divide by Zero. Oh shiiiii! Commented Sep 10, 2009 at 19:31
  • 9
    Why are TheTXI's ticks nervous? And why would I want to adopt one of them? Don't they already have homes? Or is that why they're nervous?
    – mmyers
    Commented Sep 11, 2009 at 22:08
  • 18
    TheTXI has been known to crush pets. The ticks are justifiably nervous!
    – Shog9
    Commented Sep 11, 2009 at 22:33
  • 2
    This video I think explains it all... youtube.com/watch?v=fRHzQYmLuXk Commented Jul 30, 2010 at 13:36
  • 5
    I think you mean 'tics'. Commented Oct 26, 2010 at 19:47
  • Milhouse is not a meme!
    – neminem
    Commented May 24, 2016 at 22:34

Meme: Puns in the titles of tag-related requests

Originator: Unknown

Cultural Height: 2015

Background: With first appearances in 2013 (All the [movement] has ceased | Hack at the hacking tag), it has become customary that burnination requests have catchy titles that pun on the name of the tag. Highlights (by vote count) include:

Some of these even have been edited on purpose after having initially been posted with a boring standard "Burninate XY" title. For the why, see Why do people have a little [pun] with their retag and burninate requests?

Related: Trogdor the Burninator


Meme: Move the turtle in LOGO

Originator: Joel Spolsky

Cultural Height: June 16, 2009.

Background: During Podcast 58, Joel Spolsky experimented with the SO-Community by seeing how the community would respond to the question "How do I move the turtle in LOGO?"

Further Background: LOGO itself has now been used as a quasi-popular choice for users who assign a random programming language to a question that is asking how to do something but not providing enough background material (such as what language they are attempting to use).

  • 1
    "How do I iterate over a recordset" [in VB?] was another early $QUESTION. If I recall correctly we'll know Stackoverflow has arrived when S.O. becomes the first Google hit on this question. Probably not worthy of "meme", though.
    – gbarry
    Commented Sep 1, 2009 at 22:03
  • 2
    @gbarry: Rigth now, stackoverflow.com appears consistently fourth in different querys for that question.
    – perbert
    Commented Sep 4, 2009 at 17:48
  • 3
    Now it's first.
    – SLaks
    Commented Nov 12, 2009 at 23:03
  • Any mirrors, caches or screens for this? I'd love to see this thread, but it's removed right now! :(
    – cregox
    Commented Dec 21, 2011 at 15:40
  • 1
    @Cawas I was able to find it on the Wayback: web.archive.org/web/20101030214847/http://stackoverflow.com/…
    – Sampson
    Commented Dec 21, 2011 at 21:58
  • Thanks @Jonathan! Unfortunately we can't participate on that one, but it's better than nothing. Here I just made yet another backup, as an image.
    – cregox
    Commented Dec 22, 2011 at 12:23

Meme: Hyphen site

Originator: Unknown

Cultural Height: TBD

Background: Jeff Atwood created a blog-post defining Stack Overflow as the anti-Experts-Exchange. experts-exchange.com was originally just expertsexchange.com. The change (to avoid the domain being mistaken for ExpertSexChange.com) occurred years prior to Jeff's blog, but the legacy of the site lent to this nickname on Meta Stack Overflow.

Often seen as "you know, that other question-and-answer site. With the hyphen in the name... you know what I'm talking about" or something to that effect.


Meme: Community Wiki Police

Aliases: Watchful, Community-minded Users

Originator: Lance Roberts

Cultural Height: 10th October, 2010 - the day Community Wiki questions went the way of the dodos

Definition: To demand, via downvoting or commenting, that a question be made community wiki.

  • that is a question are now all separate links
    – waffles
    Commented Sep 1, 2009 at 23:40
  • 68
    17 links in 1 line of text. That has to be some sort of record. Commented Sep 2, 2009 at 18:01
  • 1
    @rcartaino - And I'm sure they're the tip of the iceberg Commented Sep 2, 2009 at 18:09
  • 3
    @rcartaino: Ha, I've got that beat. Behold my 19 links: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/10114/… Commented Sep 10, 2009 at 16:40
  • 3
    Its interesting that some of my comments, particularly related to downvoting, was lumped in with the community wiki police when I've been posting pretty consistently for the last 9 months that CW is a bad feature. See this post (stackoverflow.com/questions/639035/…) for context: one user voted to close a "fun" thread unless wiki'd, which I feel amounts to bullying. So I singled out one his own non-wiki'd "fun" threads as a demonstration that CW policing is inconsistent in a "taste of your own medicine" kind of way.
    – Juliet
    Commented Oct 1, 2009 at 16:42
  • @Juliet: Your trolling has been duly noted and reported.
    Commented Nov 3, 2009 at 21:08
  • @kev: Right. We have been over this. I can point to your blog comments if you would like to cast stones. Try and get over your crush on me please, for the community's sake.
    Commented Nov 3, 2009 at 22:20
  • 2
    This CW police should no longer be possible under the new rules - maybe Cultural Height can be determined now. Commented Oct 26, 2010 at 12:06
  • I like the 'fade select' effect on 'that a question'. Oh wait... Commented Nov 2, 2011 at 4:34
  • @RobertCartaino It is a record no longer. meta.genealogy.stackexchange.com/a/1317/56 has beaten the record with 74 links in 1 line of text.
    – Luke_0
    Commented Nov 16, 2012 at 15:49

Meme: Meta effect.

Originator: Mat (?)

Mentioned: MSO comments, 2011-09-08

Background: Increase of voting activities observed on main-site posts that have been exposed at meta. Most ironic when someone complaining to Meta about "unfair downvotes" on another site gets more downvotes. Also seen: closing, re-opening, deleting, etc. Often the opposite of the desired result for the user who came to Meta about the specific question.

Cultural height: Low (seen infrequently in MSO comments).

  • 9
    The cultural effect may be low but the, well, vote effect - not that low at all :-(
    – einpoklum
    Commented Apr 28, 2017 at 21:51
  • I feel like this is getting more and more prevalent with time
    – Adalcar
    Commented Mar 29, 2021 at 16:24

Meme: Porblem, Proble, Halting Issue, Pro-blem, pr0blem, proble*

Originator: Kevin Montrose

Cultural Height: TBD

Background: Late 2011, the SO devs decided to add a filter to question titles blocking (among others) the word Problem. Even though this change undoubtedly managed to block a lot of crap (if just for a short time), it lead to great discontent among the Meta community. With great glee, they pointed out that people started circumventing the filter by deliberately misspelling the word or inserting punctuations - among them proble, pro-blem, and proble*. Various users and moderators have renamed themselves in protest:

  • Josh Caswell: Problem
  • MPelletier: problAm
  • NullUserException ♦: ProblematicTitleException ♦
  • Robert Harvey ♦: pr0blem ♦


  • 14
    Originator: Kevin Montrose, of course. Commented Dec 12, 2011 at 20:31
  • 3
    Another case, this time on Super User: p-r-o-b-l-e-m. (LOL!)
    – bwDraco
    Commented Jun 27, 2012 at 19:06
  • 2
    Not to mention replacing some letters with similar looking unicode variants (eg o with the greek omicron).
    – Calmarius
    Commented Oct 17, 2013 at 13:53

Meme: Changing your display name on a whim.

Originator: Welbog

Cultural Height: TBD

Official Response: Limited to one change every 30 days.

Background: User Welbog likes to change his profile whenever it will make a post of his seem funnier. Other times it seems to just be on a whim. He will also edit his "About Me" text, to fit in with his current display name.

Also independently started by voyager in response to a post asking what constituted spam, trying to convey that some users are spam, comedic effect enhanced by answering in a post complaining about the Amazon Monty Python ads appearing when first introduced. After that, it just degenerated into a neverending competition with welbog to out do the wackiness of the other user's changes.

Other changes of management

Several other users have subsequently engaged in this meme. See the edit history if you want to see all the individual participants and their name changes. Meme listings are not complete catalogues.


Meme: Greasemonkey

Originator: Jonathan Sampson

Cultural Height: First month of Meta Stack Overflow's existence.

Background: Greasemonkey originated as an offshoot of the Stack Overflow jQuery meme. This is due to the high frequency of requests by users for certain types of functionality for the Stack Overflow family of websites, many of which were easily solved using custom Greasemonkey scripts. Before long nearly every feature request could be seen as solvable through some type of Greasemonkey script (whether for real or just in the imagination of a commenter).

See Also: jQuery (Stack Overflow predecessor)

  • 9
    Use Greasemonkey!
    – Gaelan
    Commented May 25, 2015 at 5:56
  • 8
    Disagree. Use Tampermonkey :) Commented Feb 13, 2018 at 14:22
  • 9
    Disagree; Use Violentmonkey.
    – TylerH
    Commented Mar 21, 2018 at 16:26
  • 4
    It doesn't matter, get a monkey of your choice to do the job Commented Sep 8, 2021 at 16:18

Meme: The Language That Must Not Be Named (or Brainf_ck)

Originator: Unclear. The censorship of the Language That Must Not Be Named has been around for a long time. However, the question that caused the ensuing war was asked by user Jon B in response to the favorite esoteric language question on Stack Overflow, where several people (notably Lance Roberts, myself, and, appropriately, He Who Must Not Be Named) were engaged in a low-intensity edit war.

Cultural Height: TBD

Background: The little question that started the big war was asked by Jon B after a certain more liberal (on this issue, at least - I can't speak for his personal or political beliefs) moderator asked that the term be preserved, as it is the name of the language. Several users replied, generating much heated debate and some equally heated flaming. The conflict lasted for several hours, generating 13 upvotes on two answers in favor of the term being used unaltered, 9 in favor of it being used but resigned that it probably shouldn't be, and several others, along with a notable (and rather noble) answer by Lance out-and-out opposed to the word that generated an impressive -19 votes. Then Jeff Atwood came in, edited (and locked) all posts to use the censored form, and effectively ended the debate.

Further Background: It should be noted that the accepted answer, while a good answer (it received an upvote from me), is not representative of the highest "community-choice" answer (and isn't meant to be - Jon B said he picked the answer he most agreed with, since there really doesn't seem to be an answer everyone can agree on in this situation).


Meme: Too Many Shogs

Originator: JAL

First Heard: A bug report posted by JAL where when Shog closed a question as multiple duplicates, the iOS Stack Exchange App would show that the question was closed by multiple Shogs.

Status: no longer reproducible. Now we have Too Few Shogs.

Close bug

Cultural Height: Shortly after the bug report was opened.

Background: Due to shortcomings with the Stack Exchange API, a question cannot be closed as multiple duplicates. Shog voted to close a question three times using one account, carefully triggering a server error half-way through the processing of the first two votes so as to add multiple duplicate links. This gave the appearance that multiple Shogs closed the question. Thus, jokes about too many Shogs, what happened to Shogs 1-8, and Shog's Socks were shared on Meta and on Chat. The bug has since been fixed and we will miss all of the Shogs.

  • 14
    HTTP 509 (Too many shogs)
    – Jason C
    Commented Mar 3, 2017 at 17:52

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