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Answer to What is your Best Programmer Joke

I can't edit the answer to show a previous archived version of the site or anything like that. there is no flagging because of the status of the Question(thread)

no way to comment or bring it to anyone's attention other than here. I saw a couple of others on there

I know that this question is just there for historical purposes but how should we handle these, if at all?

  • 10
    Not important. It's a question here for only historical reasons, some missing images that got link rot won't decrease the usefulness of Stack Overflow to anyone.
    – Linuxios
    Oct 11, 2013 at 20:49
  • 8
    Not at all. If I had my way, the whole thing would be dead and gone, but there was much hue-and-cry to keep it around for 'historical' purposes. There's no way those images can really be fixed, and no real benefit to doing so. Incidentally, for 'serious' posts, this is one reason why the use of images should be limited... especially externally-hosted. Oct 11, 2013 at 20:49
  • I agree with both of you. but the thing is, that question/answer comes up on Google if you search for programmer jokes, and if someone is going through the whole things and sees broken links, it's not going to look good for the site itself, even though this question should not represent a good template for valid questions. maybe there should be a site for "orphan" questions that have the historical-ness but don't fit with the way the site is supposed to be.
    – Malachi
    Oct 11, 2013 at 20:54
  • 6
    @Malachi In my opinion, what you just described is a great reason to nuke the whole thing. Oct 11, 2013 at 21:03
  • Good Discussion, I understand the purpose of making it locked and not wanting to touch it anymore. makes sense to me. thank you. hopefully I have not duplicated a question out there, and this can be a reference if it ever comes up again.
    – Malachi
    Oct 11, 2013 at 21:13
  • If you want programmer joke questions, it looks like Quora has you covered: quora.com/Jokes/… , quora.com/Computer-Programming/… , quora.com/Jokes/… , quora.com/Jokes/… , and there are even more ones than those. Oct 11, 2013 at 21:38

2 Answers 2


You don't. We don't want the users of their site spending their time maintaining the content of a joke thread, which is one of the reasons that it's locked in the first place. Just leave it alone. Spend your time answering good on-topic question, or editing answers with valuable information in them.

If it at some point gets so bad that there really is nothing useful there then it could be deleted entirely.

  • 1
    agreed, I only ask because of the presence that this locked question has on the internet itself, that it may represent StackOverFlow to people that don't know the site like we do
    – Malachi
    Oct 11, 2013 at 20:56
  • 1
    @Malachi That is taken into consideration when considering whether to use a historical lock or just delete. The decision was made at some point that there was enough value added to not delete it.
    – Servy
    Oct 11, 2013 at 20:59
  • 2
    but should we remove the posts that were picture only where the picture is now a broken link so that it doesn't make the site look bad? maybe it doesn't make the site look bad. I just know if I go to a site I have never been before and there are broken pictures, it seems old and outdated to me and detracts from the site I am on.
    – Malachi
    Oct 11, 2013 at 21:02
  • 1
    @Malachi As I said; we don't want to spend time curating posts like this. Either the whole thing is bad enough that we want to just delete the whole thing, or it adds enough value, as it stands, to be worth leaving up. Those are the options.
    – Servy
    Oct 11, 2013 at 21:18
  • 5
    FWIW I went through and just deleted the answers that had broken images. They're certainly not worth my time to try and find the original image and re-add it, but I think it makes our site look tacky having locked content with dead images in them.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Oct 11, 2013 at 22:38


  1. Presents a bad image of the Stack site from broken images & dead links, especially considering what Stack Overflow is all about.
  2. It being there sends an unclear message of what content the site actually allows.
  3. While the close message is quite clear, it's not necessarily going to be read, or even noticed as a visitor may be linked to one of the many answers beyond the close reason.
  4. Maintaining these questions will be futile as replacing broken images, links, etc will be an indefinite maintenance task as links continue to break (including fixed ones).
  5. There is no real place for these questions, and the site structure and community modding cannot manage them.


  1. It's a huge post and so many potential keywords and images to bring incoming visitors. People finding this from Google or other sites may eventually "wander" to other parts of Stack Exchange and sign up/participate.
  2. It is a bit of fun. While Stack doesn't promote this, a little bit especially "from the past" is cheery and shows the owners/mods/staff etc are not stuffy*.
  3. They're usually from a time when it was allowed (a bit more).
  4. They're a bit of fun (I know I mentioned this one, but I thought that it was such a big one that it was worth mentioning twice).

. * I didn't say they're stuffy, but there are plenty of sites and blogs slating Stack for "their hard edged ways", and fun and quirky questions being allowed to remain shows that where normal play is resumed, staff/mods are simply pushing to provide a decent and strict Q&A site, and not stuffy at all.


The points against are valid and quite detrimental to certain key aspects of Stack, however the points for are also quite valid.

So it certainly needs addressing, not leaving, although certainly not just "nuking" (especially with the potential of inbound traffic).


Malachi's suggestion was a good thought and would be perfect - to have a historical place for these things - but this is likely way to much dev time for what would be a few of these historical questions.

Ideally you'd have a message with fixed positioning so whatever part of the (usually huge) question the visitor hits they would see the message, however this is of course a fair bit of dev time again.

Something like:

This sort of content is no longer allowed to be posted at Stack Overflow! This question has only been allowed to remain for historical reasons and because it's gathered so much attention, and would normally be closed rapidly as "off topic". It is also not part of our maintenance system and so some links may be broken or answers not particularly useful (or funny).

Anyone reading it can see clearly it's not allowed, staff aren't stuffy as have left it in place, it's known there are broken links or other issues (so Stack don't look like amateurs etc) and all the above mentioned "for" reasons remain intact.

The same message could also be quickly applied to any other "historical" question which has the same issues of being off topic and sending out the wrong message, etc.

  • 2
    The historical lock message is already visible at the top of the page, right before the answers start
    – random
    Oct 12, 2013 at 18:25
  • 1
    I know, I made that point myself (#3 on Against), but if you do not start at the top and are past that message (ie a link on Google or another website to a joke further down) and scroll down reading through the jokes from there, the message at the top is pointless - ie click this: stackoverflow.com/questions/234075/…
    – James
    Oct 13, 2013 at 0:34

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