Contest Has Ended

Thanks to everyone for participating. I will be contacting those who participated for shipping details and item verification within the week. Keep a lookout for the email!

Tired of seeing all the Stack Overflow swag everywhere? Want something different? Well, now's your chance! For a limited time only, you could have your very own shot at receiving one swag item - your choice - anything we currently have available!

What do I have to do?

Write us a story about why you need to have this particular item. How will it make your life better? What are you going to use it for? How jealous will it make all of your friends? Do your best to really convince that we cannot let the opportunity pass by to give you this thing.

What do I get?

  • One (1) of the item you requested, assuming it's still available (see additional information below).
  • One (1) super awesome, embroidered Stack Exchange Fan Patch - how cool is that!? We're totally not just giving these away because we have a huge stock of them that we can't get rid of and will never order again.

Also, a few things about certain types of items we have available:

  • If you request stickers as your swag item (stickers? seriously? we let you pick anything and you pick stickers!?!?), we will send you a five-pack of them.
  • We only have shirt sizes Small through XXL, and if you want a Stack Overflow shirt those also come in women's sizes (same scale). Since we use several different brands of t-shirts, we don't have a global sizing chart available.
  • If you pick our awesome fan patch as the thing you want, we will send you two of them - one as the item you requested and one as the bonus item.
  • If the item you requested runs out and we no longer produce it, we'll ask you to pick something else to send you in its place. If we do still produce it, we'll ask you if you'd like to switch or wait for it to be restocked.
  • No, you may not request a signed painting of unicorns. Sorry.

Are there any rules?

Of course there are rules! What would life be without rules?

  • You must have at least 200 reputation on a site in order to request that site's specific swag items, excluding any Stack Overflow or Stack Exchange swag which is fair game for everyone.
  • You may submit as many entries as you want, but you may only win once. If you win, you'll be given the option of which item you want among the ones you wrote stories for.
  • Answers must be at least two paragraphs. Real paragraphs, none of that two sentence nonsense. Don't make us disqualify you!
  • Each answer must have an unique title describing the story we're about to read (put it in a header to make it stand out).
  • Submission deadline is January 4, 2016 at 00:00 UTC. Hmm, that date looks familiar...

So, who will actually win?

We will be awarding at least 30 users with the swag of their dreams, ordered by top-scoring answers right here on this question. If we really love the stories you all came up with, we may award even more (maybe even everyone who made it to a score of 10). Those who win their beloved dream prize will be contacted via email by myself for their shipping details.

Wait, wait! I don't know what I want!

If you're unsure what you'd like to write your story about, stop by and chat with us in the Tavern on the Meta where users can give you an idea of what some different types of swag are, and we will be dropping some random images of swag we have in stock that you might not have known about.

Swag Availability Updates

Since a lot of people are requesting hoodies, I'd like to clarify that most of the hoodies and/or jackets you may have seen over the years are no longer produced. The only one we currently have available for distribution is this old Super User hoodie (and we have very few of them left). The blue Stack Exchange hoodie is not a user swag item (it's only available to employees) and is not available for distribution.

Also, you may not request a moderator's diamond hat, as they are only given to moderators.

  • 21
    Whatever. Still haven't gotten the #SOReadyToHelp swag...
    – RubberDuck
    Commented Dec 19, 2015 at 0:45
  • 3
    @RubberDuck thanks. Now I won't get the 007 hat for my answer :P Commented Dec 19, 2015 at 0:48
  • 1
    Misery loves company @uɐɯsOuɐɥʇɐN. =;)-
    – RubberDuck
    Commented Dec 19, 2015 at 0:49
  • Me either@RubberDuck. I'm holding out hope the SE elves deliver before Christmas though.
    – Andy
    Commented Dec 19, 2015 at 2:18
  • 1
    Wait what? Are you sure this isn't going overboard? I haven't even got my super amazing swagilicious stuff!
    – Zizouz212
    Commented Dec 19, 2015 at 2:18
  • 1
    and what about those of us that don't have enough of an imagination to write a story?
    – ɥʇǝS
    Commented Dec 19, 2015 at 3:02
  • 1
    @ɥʇǝS last year (two years maybe?) there was a drawing contest, so they're making it fair. :-) Commented Dec 19, 2015 at 13:22
  • 9
    Not to seem ungrateful, but given the consistent inability of the SE team to send out swag in a timely fashion, perhaps you could simply concentrate on actually getting the stuff sent out of the door?
    – Richard
    Commented Dec 19, 2015 at 13:50
  • @ShadowWizard Never Forget! meta.stackexchange.com/questions/231739/… Commented Dec 19, 2015 at 23:48
  • animuson, just to know... could I request a SharePoint SE shirt if I was going to participate? Because then I may have a story... Commented Dec 20, 2015 at 17:38
  • @SPArchaeologist If you have 200 rep on the site, then ya you can request a t-shirt.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Commented Dec 20, 2015 at 17:40
  • 2
    Ok, then I may be willing of thinking of a story about the one who never knew if he was supposed to get a package Commented Dec 20, 2015 at 17:42
  • 1
    I want ... to not have to see five hundred thousand "where's muh swag" questions on meta! Gimme that!
    – user1228
    Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 18:32
  • 1
    @MonicaCellio I have no idea who received those, but they haven't been available for quite some time (we have none left, even for employees).
    – animuson StaffMod
    Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 20:15
  • 2
    @animuson This might've been a bit less complicated if you had posted a full list of available swag ;)
    – Joe
    Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 20:27

35 Answers 35


I know this may be stretching the definition of "paragraph" a bit, but...

The Night Before Christmas (Unix & Linux Version)

'Twas the night before Christmas, and all through my home
Not a process was failing - not even from Gnome.

The packages were installed on the system with yum,
And there were good backups to restore data from.

When out of the blue there arose an alert,
I jumped out of bed and threw on my shirt.

Away to the terminal I flew like a flash,
Logged in with my password, and fired up Bash.

When there to my wondering eyes, such a sight -
A logfile that held nearly one gigabyte!

Throughought my career I had learned a few tricks,
So I knew from the log that it must be Postfix.

Not apache, nor exim, not even the swapper;
I was sure only Postfix could make such a whopper.

No messages were flowing, no not even one.
systemd clearly showed that the process was done.

After some checking to see what had took place,
It soon became clear I had no more disk space.

I groaned as I grabbed my emergency drive,
It became my last hope to keep Postfix alive.

I plugged and I muttered, "Oh BTRFS,
Please rebalance quickly and cause me no stress."

After it finished, I no longer felt terror,
For Postfix was able to launch without error.

I soon disconnected and slowly exhaled,
I knew all the messages would quickly be mailed.

I softly proclaimed as I crawled back in bed,
"Next time I think I'll use Gmail instead."

enter image description here *

* Or failing that, stickers are awesome too.

  • 3
    Can confirm, am postfix ---victim--- user.
    – bjb568
    Commented Dec 19, 2015 at 1:05
  • 4
    This is so masterful I'm not sure I dare even try to compete with it now :P +10
    – ɥʇǝS
    Commented Dec 19, 2015 at 2:24
  • 12
    You posted a poem parody, and it was on-topic, and it was funny, and -- most importantly -- you respected the original meter? I wish I had more upvotes to give.
    – Pops
    Commented Dec 19, 2015 at 21:03
  • 2
    A picture of a cat on a Unix post. I see what you did there. ;-)
    – Jamal
    Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 20:27

Swag Wars

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<!-- What he said ^                                                                          -->                                                         <p id="start">Not so long ago in galaxy called the Milky Way&hellip;</p><h1>SWAG WARS<sub>A contest too far</sub></h1> <div id="titles"> <div id="titlecontent"> <p class="center">EPISODE IV <br/>A NEW HOPE <br/>(for swag)</p><p> It is a period of civil competition. SE enthusiasts, wherever they are, could win some swag from the <s>evil Galactic</s> Stack Exchange Empire. </p><p> During the competition, other posters managed to earn many upvotes from the Empire's ultimate weapon, the USERS, an army with enough power to change an entire planet. </p><p> Persuaded by the Empire's friendly competition, George races home aboard his car, to cure his need for a Stack Overflow / Stack Exchange beer-stein and restore freedom to the swag&hellip; </p></div></div>

If I'm lucky enough I'd love a Stack Overflow/Stack Exchange beer-stein if there are any still available, failing that, anything SO/SE branded would be great!

  • We do have some Super User steins still sitting around. :)
    – animuson StaffMod
    Commented Dec 20, 2015 at 23:02
  • Thanks, I've actually got a Super User stein already. I'd really like some (more) SO branded swag, maybe a hoody if such a thing exists. If not I'll just be happy to make the cut; anything would be gratefully received. Please don't take the last of anything away from anyone else though, since I've already got a few bits and pieces. Commented Dec 20, 2015 at 23:51
  • 5
    -1, there's no planet at the end of it and the text is 15 degrees too steep. ;)
    – Makoto
    Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 4:19
  • 1
    Missing a period from the end. 4 periods is correct, not three. But +1 anyway since this isn't English Language & Usage
    – Joe
    Commented Dec 22, 2015 at 22:58
  • Needs this music while playing! youtube.com/watch?v=yptp1yCCRWk
    – Zizouz212
    Commented Dec 23, 2015 at 1:49
  • 1
    Crazy. You synced it to disappear when the music finishes. What is this. I shall award +100 to this answer.
    – Zizouz212
    Commented Dec 23, 2015 at 1:57
  • 3
    @Joe As EL&U mod, I will tell you that three dots are correct for ellipsis, which is a perfectly fine way to end a sentence. If there are four dots, then that is one ellipsis and one period (or full stop). Four periods is right out...
    – Kit Z. Fox
    Commented Dec 23, 2015 at 12:43
  • @KitZ.Fox fair point. One ellipsis and one period, then. :)
    – Joe
    Commented Dec 23, 2015 at 12:46
  • -1, no antialiasing o_o but +2, because it's fantastic what you can do with this stuff. Commented Dec 27, 2015 at 18:28
  • @KitZ.Fox scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/107900/… Commented Dec 31, 2015 at 16:16

Open the Box: A Choose Your Own Adventure Story

You enter a room. In the room, you see a box, about eight inches (20 cm) to a side. It's beautifully wrapped in generic "holiday" paper, topped with a bow. You approach the box and see that it's addressed to you. Do you:

  • Pick up the box, heft it gently, and carefully unwrap it - continue to paragraph 2

  • Pick up the box, shake it violently and rip the wrapping paper off - continue to paragraph 3

  • Look around the room skeptically and head back to the door you entered through continue to paragraph 4

Paragraph 2

You lift the box, gently heft it, careful not to upset it. The box makes no noise. You remove the bow, setting it aside and then flip the box over to start peeling off the tape on each end of the box and then the bottom. You carefully remove the paper (fortunately, no one taped the paper to the box), fold it and set it next to the bow. You are left with an unmarked, unwrapped box. Do you:

  • Open the box - continue to paragraph 5

  • Decide the paper and bow is all you wanted, pick them up and head for the door - continue to paragraph 4

Paragraph 3

Like an excited five-year-old who woke up at 3 AM to see what Santa left under the tree (but who knows presents can't be opened until 7 AM), you pick up the box and shake it violently, listening for any hints, but hear nothing. Remembering you're not a kid living in your parents' home any longer, you start ripping your way through the wrapping paper; sending bow and paper flying and leaving behind a bare box, unmarked with any other hints. Do you:

  • Open the box - continue to paragraph 5

  • Feel that the best part is done and you don't really care what's inside the box and head out - continue to paragraph 4

Paragraph 4

Clearly you have crazy priorities. Presents are awesome. Krampus attacks you and you die horribly.


Paragraph 5

You open the box, excited to solve the mystery of what's inside. An explosion of confetti and glitter burst out when the box opens and inside you find the thing you've always wanted, amazed that some unknown person knew the one thing you've never told anyone you dreamed of owning... Inside, you find:

A Science Fiction and Fantasy T-Shirt



  • Haha that's awesome! Commented Dec 19, 2015 at 2:31
  • Very interesting Commented Dec 19, 2015 at 8:04
  • 29
    So... I made one choice in this story, and then immediately died horribly. I'm not even going to read your other paragraphs, because, well, dead people can't do that. Dead people can't ship swag, either. Poor planning on your part, I gotta say. Perhaps animuson will be more fortunate than me, or at least a more talented zombie....
    – Pops
    Commented Dec 19, 2015 at 21:11

A unique title

This is a story
One about Stack Overflow
Written in haiku

'Twas that fateful day
Jeff and Joel stood in triumph
As SO was born

With Joel data gone,
Stack Overflow started fresh
Jon Skeet yet to join

Proudly, Jeff and Joel
began to press the button
to make the site live

Someone cried out, "wait!"
Everybody turned to look
Who dared interrupt?

Out of the shadows
Someone, something, slowly stepped
Shifting in its form

Arcane, fell, striking
There was something about it
no words can describe

The unearthly beast
slowly resolved into one shape
... equestrian?

And as it advanced
indeed, it did look... horse-shaped
Save for one small thing

Right between its eyes
offset very slightly up
was a gaping hole

Truly frightening
so much so that, without thought,
someone had to act

Now, let it be said
There are negligible things
Trivial in time

Things that don't matter
This moment, this point in time
was not one of them

One person's action
rippling through time and space
tearing through the void

It came from terror
Not fear, more like... panicked awe
Near against his will

Jeff Atwood stood up
and from his plate of lunch
picked up a carrot

Screaming into air
shoved the carrot in the void
in the creature's head

Blinding flash of light
Piercing through... every being
Through the universe

Suddenly, quickly
Abruptly as it started
The brightness faded

Jeff's vision cleared
He saw, on his knee, from lunch
A kernel of corn

Quickly forgotten
Because the creature advanced
Bearing down on him

Jeff curled in a ball
Petrified of the creature
Prepared for the worst

It opened its mouth
In an ancient ghostly voice
The alien spoke

"You knee... corn."

Alas, there are those things
Doomed to not be understood,

"Unicorn! That's it!"
"We shall name it 'unicorn!'"
And the creature frowned

"No, no. You knee! Corn!"
But the words' meaning was lost
It grew angrier

Î̴̡͍͍̻͉̻̞͖͖͗͗͌̓͝G Ĥ̴̡̡̨̧͍͍̻͉̻̞͖̯̼̻͗͐̿́T̵̯̻̰͉̬̿̅̃S͍͍̻͏͕͐͑͒͗͆"

unicorn zalgo shirt

I can haz this shirt?
Small size, please, so that it fits
Thank you very much!

  • 1
    Never have I seen such a unique title.
    – Alex A.
    Commented Dec 28, 2015 at 3:07

Hitchhiking Aid

I'm a relatively inexperienced traveler, so when I was planning my first solo overseas trip I consulted the fine folks at Travel.SE for all my pre-trip questions. They helped me with questions about customs, airport procedures (my layover was in a third country), and assorted other questions -- even a nOOb question about electronics and airport scanners.

However, they can only answer the questions that you actually ask. So I didn't know that the airline on which I was flying had sold me a bill of goods, an itinerary that couldn't possibly have allowed me to make my connection even if the first plane had been on time, which it wasn't. Stranded in an airport that was neither my home nor my destination I eventually rebooked, but the rebooking involved another connection and because of flight delays I missed that too and had to rebook yet again. I have many kind things to say about the fine folks at Swiss Air, who sorted out a mess not of their making, and some...other things to say about another airline. I eventually got to my destination a day late.

I thought that was the end of it, but no -- my original airline decided to go for the hat trick and mess up my return flight, too. I spent most of a day standing in lines in another airport getting more and more frustrated and upset. At least there was Internet and a power outlet, so I spent some of that time asking Travel.SE for advice on dealing with the airline. I got home a day late, packed between two snoring linebackers for the trans-Atlantic flight.

Only later, while contemplating all this, did I realize my own mistake: though I should certainly have learned this lesson already from Arthur Dent, I didn't know where my towel was! Without that I couldn't even hitch a ride on a Vogon freighter. I now know to travel with a towel, but I don't have the right towel for this yet.

May I please have a Travel.SE towel? I promise it will stay close at hand in carry-on luggage. I've learned my lesson.



All I Want for Swagmas is to be Non-Beta

So, I attend the wonderful site called PPCG: Programming Puzzles and Code Golf, although, to be fair, we're much more than that. We're a community that supports clever uses (and exploitations) of programming languages. Some of us have even MADE programming languages just to help us in this community that have extended out further than us. My programming language, Vitsy, was the first programming language that my friend ever used, and he's gone on to do CS courses in other programming languages with much more power and use them far better than his peers simply because he started out with an esoteric language that forced him to be clever. We also support the use of code that doesn't necessarily win; it's not there for competitive value, yet we appreciate any use of logical (or amusing) code, allowing those who aren't a part of this community to still be able to compete. If you peruse the answers in code golf, you'll see that almost every single one has a suggestion for improvement, whether it be a faster algorithm for or a trick for shaving off a byte in . We're a community that deserves to graduate, because we're supportive of programming growth, we contribute to the knowledge of the programmers who attend CG, and we can grow and do more for not just the SE community, but for programming as a whole.

We Are a Beta with Highest Marks!

On Area 51's Post for us, we have an excellent rating for all categories except for questions, but that makes sense as we are a challenge-based community. We've been Beta for almost 5 years now (4.92 years, to be exact), and show up so often on the Hot Network Posts that we might as well be graduated.

evidence 1

We're Making Developments for Ease of Use!

Dennis, a moderator at PPCG, has dedicated cloud space for running and testing code called Try it online! that many esolangs are hosted on. He's even discussed making StackSnippet integration for our programming languages that could grow to allow more languages to be runnable through StackSnippets.

Martin Büttner, another moderator at PPCG, has made leaderboard snippets (that others contribute to) that allow for users to find the most concise answers quicker. Progress is still being made on it for support, but it works off of SEAPI (which is used with surprising frequency on PPCG).

We Support New Users!

Even if people aren't familiar with code golfing tips and tricks, we support new users by commenting suggestions as I mentioned in the first paragraph. A good one that I can remember is this one, where Paülo Ebermann, janschweizer, and I all contributed to help a user shave off more than half of the original code using tricks that the CG community posted on the tips and tricks page for Java and the general tips page. As you can see, we're set up to help new users, even if the site looks a bit daunting at first.


As you can see, I greatly wish to see PPCG become non-Beta. I don't even want any sweaters, hoodies, or other swag...

All I Want for Swagmas is for PPCG to be Non-Beta.

PPCG is a programming community that is useful because of how we develop programming and support learning, how we strive to shave off that one more byte (and maybe even beat Dennis), and, finally, how we work as a community together to solve problems.

(This is less of a story than an argument for something, but... :P)

  • 1
    Unfortunately that's not something I can give you. :P
    – animuson StaffMod
    Commented Dec 27, 2015 at 19:15
  • 10
    @animuson I followed all of the rules. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I get it though, don't worry. This was mainly posted as a reinforcement of my belief that PPCG should graduate, and it seemed like a wonderful forum through which to do it. Commented Dec 28, 2015 at 2:55
  • 16
    As a moderator on PPCG, I'd like to extend my sincere thanks for putting together this lovely summary of our vibrant community.
    – Alex A.
    Commented Dec 28, 2015 at 3:38

About a year ago, I was tasked with a scraping project at work, and being a right ole noob at web scraping, I just used my general knowledge of large string searching, and went on with a ...


Anyway, I had a solution that was basically:

$matches = file_get_contents($link)
preg_match(/<a>([a-zA-Z0-9_. ]+)</a>/, $subject, $matches)

(I know, horrible, and in PHP nonetheless, yuck.)

and rather than writing my own complicated regex statements (which I wasn't a pro at anyway), I thought I'd take my hand to Stack Overflow, when I came across:

the zalgo regex answer

After reading this, less than positive take on this method, I immediately scrapped it, for a DOM document search, and strongly advocated DOM documents since.

I felt very embarrassed after seeing this question, and now every time somebody gets linked this post in chat, or I see the painting / tshirt, I get the same wave of embarrassment roll over me.

And so, in the prospect in bettering myself, I would like to ask for one of the unicorn zalgo t-shirts.

I will use it by wearing my embarrassment proudly, and be able to learn from and criticise my mistakes.

Otherwise some swag from Code Review, because they help me learn everyday :-)

  • 1
    At least, you didn't had this one printed and hung on the wall near your workstation at work. I do. Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 19:23

What's a greater pleasure than getting a present? Giving one!

With all the presents we receive on christmas, we shouldn't ever forget that one of the warmest feelings is the one you get when yourself giving a present to someone else and you see the glow in their eyes for getting what they always wanted but never dared to dream of having. In the true spirit of christmas, giving can be so much more satisfying then getting, and as you currently have this meta post going and have given out so much swag in the past, I'm sure you understand that.

Now I come to you from a site that has recently got graduation swag, after graduating 10 months ago. So you might ask, what's this guy want with an additional set of swag, doesn't that greedy bastard ever get enough? Thruth is, I want it to give it away! There are so many people that are enthusiastic and engaged to our little site, yet might never get a chance to earn themselves some sweet appreciation in the form of some beautiful swag. I would love to give them some to show their community's appreciation for their enthusiasm and to further the community building of our little site.

So all I want for christmas is an additional set of Movies & TV swag to gift it to the poor and worthy, preferably a T-shirt or at least some stickers.


The Dream of the Hoodie

It has always been my dream to get a Stack Overflow hoodie.

I love hoodies. They are the ultimate piece of clothing. Their versatility, comfort, and all-around usefulness for me in my life cannot be overstated. The only times I've not worn a hoodie for extended periods of time would be in climates that it legitimately made no sense to, but due to my propensity to work in air-conditioned buildings, I can't be too far away from one.

Alas, I had a chance to purchase one of my own long before, but I was a damn fool who didn't pounce on the early opportunity, nor did I realize that my window of opportunity was rapidly closing.

It was Winter '11 when I first stumbled upon Stack Overflow. I had registered and started to participate a lot around then. I felt pretty close with the community and I was pretty happy with what the folks in charge were doing.

Through some clicking around, I had discovered the store. Yes, the vaunted (or infamous, depending on your take) store, which housed a whole bunch of swag: bags with either Stack Exchange or Stack Overflow's logo on it, stickers, a beer stein with up and downvote buttons...but none of those really motivated me all that much.

Then, I saw it. The Stack Overflow hoodie.

I was fortunate that I had some cash at the time; I was working part time on campus making slightly better than minimum wage, but I had also received a bit of extra cash from my dad, who has promised to replace one of the hoodies of mine that he had...misplaced. With cash in hand I was ready to make the purchase.

When I went to the site sometime in mid-February (or around that time), the hoodie I had desired was sold out! I could get its cousin - the Stack Exchange hoodie - but it wouldn't be the same, would it? It'd be the consolation prize for something that I had really wanted.

By the time I had a chance to come back to the store and have the cash to pay for it, I was preparing to graduate and finals were looming. I needed to focus. Oh, and I had just inherited a bunch of other bills off of the pittance I made back then. That hoodie replacement money had to be reallocated to take care of other, more pressing needs.

By the time I had finished all I needed to for my education and walked across the stage, I was ready to order my hoodie! Victory was at hand!

Except, it wasn't. The store vanished without a trace.

I was pretty upset about it. I was definitely kicking myself, chiding myself for not jumping at the earliest chance I had to get the hoodie. Especially now, with my first job in the tech industry paying off, I could have afforded both that one and the Stack Exchange hoodie. Heck, I'd have even grabbed the bag and the beer stein, just to show the latter one off at Beer-Thirty.

Ever since then, I made a vow. The next time an opportunity like this comes my way, I won't let it slip by.

If you have a Stack Overflow hoodie, it would very much make my decade if I could get one.


Spoiler Warning......., Winter Came

enter image description here

At least in my timezone.

I am a thin skinned guy who gets cold too soon and would love to have hoodie and zipper collections. What better than Stack Exchange Zipper.

enter image description here

They are cool for sure and I would really love to have it.

On the ide note: I am a Database Engineer and in DBE's life there are many kind of evils:

  • Evil TL
  • Evil Developer ( not all developers are evil)

and one more evil especially for a thin skinned guy

enter image description here

  • Evil Air conditioner

So what else can help me in here than SE zipper?

There was one thing which might helped

enter image description here

Movies & TV mug for my coffee (Bored with my old birthday mug) but that seems not even made into production

@AnkitSharma We're only doing t-shirts and stickers ;) – JNat♦

So all that I am expecting is a SE zipper to comfort in Air conditioner's winter to save me from the evil.

Evil should never win.

Update:- In the absence of Movie and TV mug and holly zipper and non reachable gray hoodie, let the unicorn make me survive it

enter image description here

With a small size T-shirt with unicorn power, I will win over evil.


Unbearable Swag Asymmetry

Graphic Design and Academia graduated in April 2014¹². However, while Graphic Design’s swag was announced three months later³, Academia’s swag was announced only a week ago. On both sites, I had only a hundred something reputation when they graduated and have enough reputation to be eligible for swag now, being on the first page of reputation-sorted users. As a consequence I will get Academia swag now, while I did not get Graphic Design swag when it was distributed.

Let me illustrate:
enter image description here

This asymmetry is driving me nuts. Academia can be promoted through its t-shirt decorating my charismatic self, while Graphic Design cannot. This is obviously unfair against Graphic Design. Please rectify this by sending me a Graphic Design t-shirt.

As a bonus, you may save shipping costs by sending the requested t-shirt together with Academia’s swag.

  • Send the top 30 users of GD the shirts too <3 Commented Dec 27, 2015 at 19:30

The Fox and The Smurf

Once upon a time, a fox lived and worked and frolicked in the deep dark woods of Maine. A fox of humble means, she earned her chops as a developer before she took a job as a business analyst. As it turned out, her incredibly adequate coding abilities were outshone by her mad skillz at ruthlessly capturing requirements and pouncing upon business with surprisingly disarming fluffiness.

Lo, it came to pass that a wicked smurf rose to power over the developers. This smurf did not like foxes nor their requirements nor their ferocious cunning, and he took it upon himself to blame everything from power disruptions to vacations in the Bahamas to totally rookie SQL injection vulnerabilities on her in a determined and focused effort to send her back to the kitchen where she belonged.

Despite his campaign of malfeasance, or possibly because of it, eventually the smurf found a new home in Gargamel's pot. The fox's friends gathered to celebrate and her little ferret friend brought a keg of his best homebrew.

But alas! For the fox had no means to drink it and with no pint to heft, she had no means to join in the fellowship of her teammates, thus compounding the injury the smurf had already done to her character.

For the love of this poor unfortunate fox, please send her a stein (or suitable alternative) for her beer. Don't let the smurf win.

And by her, I mean me. And also, may I please have a moderator hat? I know they are for moderators only, but I am one and I do not have one and they look nice and it would go with the patch that I will sew onto my backpack. And if I don't get the swag, could I have a hat anyway? kthxbai

  • 1
    Not having a mod hat is a Serious Problem that we need to address outside the bounds of this swag event. But anyways, +1 for "incredibly adequate" alone. That's my new answer to "what are your personal goals for ten years from now?"
    – Pops
    Commented Dec 23, 2015 at 7:29

The Maven

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
''Tis some visitor,' I muttered, 'tapping at my chamber door-
Only this, and nothing more.'

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow;- vainly I had sought to borrow
From my shirts surcease of sorrow- sorrow for the lost garment-
For the rare and radiant shirt which the angels name SciFi-
Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each fibre
Thrilled me- filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating,
''Tis the postman entreating entrance at my chamber door-
Some late delivery entreating entrance at my chamber door;-
This it is, and nothing more.'

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
'Sir,' said I, 'or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you'- here I opened wide the door;-
An SF&F shirt was there, and nothing more.

Deep into that shirt peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered words, 'sign here'
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, 'and here'-
Merely this, and nothing more.

Open here I flung the package, when, with many a shirt and flutter,
In there I stepped stately robed as the shirted days of yore;
Not the least obeisance made me; not a minute stopped or stayed me;
But, with mien of lord or lady, went forth with shirt afore
To stroll, and strut, and nothing more.
I shall be shirtless nevermore!

(With apologies to Poe)


Need an SO mug to take daily dose of stimulants.

I'm addicted to caffeine (and whatever other stimulants tea contains) pretty badly. On a workday, if I don't get 3 cups of tea by mid-afternoon, I'm shot for the rest of the day. I always make my own tea. I always have, even when I was an adjunct prof travelling to schools across town, I'd have a box of tea and a bag of sugar, which I'd willingly share with the other adjuncts, because tea and sugar is cheap but good will is dear.

I used to have a cool mug with a bull on it from a previous employer who was bought by my current employer. I say "used to," because I dropped it in the kitchen at work and it shattered into a million pieces. It was my favorite mug. Ever since then, I've had to use a crappy generic Starbucks mug. :(

I'm pretty sure everyone at work knows I contribute to StackOverflow. I've even had people from work IM me from other geographic locations thanking me for answering their questions. It makes me feel good when I glance around and see half of my coworkers looking at answers on StackOverflow. I'd like to demonstrate my affinity to StackOverflow. But my needs are few, and I'm a bit restricted on what I feel comfortable having at work.

What I really need is a mug. A StackOverflow mug. Preferably with a wide base so I'm less likely to knock it over. One that holds a full cup of tea. So I can smile when I tell the people who want me to cut down the largest tree in the forest with a herring to toss it.


The Unmarked Coder

"Pick a seat", the lady at the desk said in a forced friendly manner. Simon looked around. There were some empty spots in the back, a few in front, and one in between the people already present. He looked at the lady at the desk again, who had already turned away and was talking rapidly to another woman about stuff he did not understand.

"Excuse me?". The lady turned to him again. "Yes?", she asked way less friendly. "May I have one of these pens?". "Yes of course" was her curt answer. She turned away again, speaking rapidly and at some point -or was it his imagination?- she pointed at him in a non-pleasant way. So Simon took a pen and continued his way in the room.

He had not been to much coding conventions, so he was quite new to the big coding rooms and the freedom to just take pens -or harvesting them, as he then saw someone else do-. He looked at the place in between the others again. They were talking lively amongst themselves, not noticing him, not even when he sat down amidst them.

"Hi there guys", Simon opened, but no one seemed to notice him. After a while, when the talk got more silent, he tried again. "Hi there guys, I'm Simon!". Sombody to his right said "Oh, hi", but the others remained silent to him. On attempts to resume the talk the other glanced irritated at him, so Simon decided not to push it further.

During the coding, nobody asked him what he was coding, nobody even did so much as look at him, and his questions to others also remained unanswered. After the convention, sombody sitting a few rows further came to him. "I saw you tried to blend in with them, didn't work that well now did it?". "No.", Simon replied, "I thought it would be nice meeting new people here, but apparently it was a step too far.". And then the stranger resumed "Well, that's hardly surprising! Look at your bag, look at your laptop!". Simon looked at them. "Well, what is wrong with them?". "There are no stickers or any kind of markings on them which make them yours truly! Which let others see what kind of person you are! Which makes them jealous because the lack that mark, or lets them find a friend in you because you have the same mark! There is nothing except your face you have as a mark, and I am sorry to say they won't be exactly jealous of yours.".

"But, I am at a coding conve..." Simon started, but the stranger insisted. "No! They don't know that. People need to be marked, preferably by themselves, to stand out in the crowd. You have to get their attention if you want to code along, and to get that attention, you need a mark. Stickers do fine, maybe some specially crafted fabric will do even better. Understood? Great! Then I see you at a next convention, if I can recognise you", after which he winked. Then the stranger walked away, around the corner. Simon ran after him, to at least ask his name, but when he also turned the corner the stranger was already nowhere in sight, as if he mysteriously vanished...

While the focus seems to be on stickers, I am actually moreso digging a backpack with an SO sign on it.
Stickers are fine too, btw.


My Little Parsing: Regex is Magic

I've been a fan of My Little Pony for quite a while now; it must be over four years at this point. I'm one of those obsessed fans, too: I watch the show and movies, and listen to the music, and go to conventions, and I even wear the T-shirts to work. I don't just wear them occasionally, either; I have 15 of them and I've worn one every day for over a year.

I've also (helped) draw giant pictures of them in chalk

Giant chalk drawing

Another giant chalk drawing

So, when I saw the T-shirt with the most entertaining SO answer ever in a unicorn silhouette, I loved it. I was crushed when it turned out that they weren't distributing it, at least in a way that would let me get one. I'd love to be able to get one now to go with my T-shirt collection and my Twilight Sparkle avatar.

  • Then, you may want to check the names of the chat rooms on the meta site... Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 19:26
  • 7
    You can't choose ZalgoPony; ZalgoPony chooses you.
    – Shog9
    Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 22:19
  • So I still can't have one? : (. Is there anything available with a unicorn on it? Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 22:32

A Tale of Swag and a Goat1

1. I'm not actually a Goat, I'm a regular programmer. I just pretend to be a goat for fun, it's an inside joke, that I don't know where it started.

It was been my dream, to win some SE swag, since I first started participating on SE.

Once upon a time, there was a young goat1 (me about ~3 years back) who wanted to learn programming. But unfortunately our young goat quickly learned that programming was difficult. Luckily, StackExchange came to the rescue! StackExchange, was were our young goat could learn to program, ask questions, and helped people who wanted answers!

A year passed and eventually it was decided it was time to give back. I started answering on Stack Overflow, and a quickly earned the Fanatic badge. I had over 1004 consecutive days, and over 200 answers! (I currently have almost 300+ consecutive days on SE)

That's when I saw it2, on a meta post, in all it's glory... the Stack Overflow shirt.

From the moment I saw it, I knew I wanted any SE swag but alas, to my dismay, the store had closed. Since then it has been my absolute dream for some SE swag, and it would mean the world to me if I got some, that I can respectfully display3, to all my programming friends.

The StackExchange swag will change my life, I can finally be the cool goat with the /(StackExchange|PPCG|StackOverflow) (hoodie|notebook|shirt)/ :D . But on a more serious note, my current hoodie is old and the past few months have been cold, and if I'm warm, that'll keep me from being sick so I can program more esolangs productive pieces of code.

If a hoodie isn't available a notebook would also be very helpful. Right now when I'm programming I have 3-4 sheets full of messy scribbles on my small desk, with a notebook I'll be much more organized and productive (see last sentence of last paragraph)

2. *read about it 3. *show off 4. In total it probably now over 200

Plus, a goat1 with SE swag would make me 100x cooler than this (already cool), goat wearing a shirt:

Awesome goat

And how comfy this goat is with his/her hoodie:

enter image description here

And again, if a hoodie isn't available, goats and notebooks tend to go great together:

enter image description here

A PPCG hoodie would be absolutely wonderful, but anything matching: /(PPCG|StackExchange|StackOverflow) (hoodie|notebook|shirt)/ would be just as awesome!

If you're still not convinced:


En-lighting life

I would like to have a zippo with SO logo marked on it. Something like this one below in picture.

I know this sounds weird and crazy, but I'd like to give it a try. :) Please read till the end before you make your mind of this SWAG request.

enter image description here

Write us a story about why you need to have this particular item.

I’ve been a smoker for a long time now. Now when I realized that it has been long enough of this habit and I want to quit, I’m finding it hard to give up this one. Nevertheless, I’m in the process of cutting down the amount of smokes slowly and I’ve been somehow successful in that. However, I want to quit completely and for that I need to have some sort of other motivation so that I can stop myself from reaching out for the packet of cigarettes.

Yes, I don’t want the zippo to light my smokes. I want it, so that every time I take out the pack and the light, I can remember of my target. I believe, by seeing that light, I will be able to tell myself

“Instead of going out for smoke, let’s try to answer one more question / get engaged into discussion (maybe two, three…) and try to help someone”.

This way I’ll be able to help someone else and in turn I’ll be helping myself.

How will it make your life better?

Now once I’ll be able to quit smoke, I’ll be a healthier man, for sure.

What are you going to use it for?

I want to carry this piece along with me always, so that I can stop myself from the thought of having a smoke. Additionally, I’d like to put it on my desk, in front of my eyes, hoping that it keeps reminding of my promise.

How jealous will it make all of your friends?

As I told, I’m going to put it on my desk, so when my buddies are going to come to me to go out for a smoke, I can simply point towards this piece and I’d love to see their faces. I’ll tell them, I got this one for using my time on SO and instead of spending time on smoke, if I spend that much time only on SO, it’ll make me a better man, both health-wise and knowledge-wise, you see.

[P.S – Who knows, maybe I’ll be able to inspire some of buddies too, to quit smoking this way].


As per the comment below by Animuson, the above one is out of consideration. In that case, I would love to have a Hoodie/Zipper which will keep me warm so that at least up to some extent I can resist the urge for reaching out to the packet of smoke.

  • 4
    I love this story and I wish we could get you one of these, but we're only able to send you stuff that already exists. We're not custom-printing anything for this contest.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 20:01
  • @animuson In that case, I added a second preference.... Commented Dec 22, 2015 at 18:08
  • We need branded box-mods.
    – Shog9
    Commented Dec 24, 2015 at 1:35

Lone Wolf

It all started on a moonlit night 17 years ago.

With the full moon high in the sky, the mother wolf stepped quietly through the snow, paws making tiny indentations on the snowy cold ground. She deftly avoided the snap of twigs underfoot as she made her way towards the curious abandoned basket lying in the middle of the glen. Softly, swiftly, but surely, she walked up behind. Then, after a careful sniff, she moved around to the front. What at sight met her eyes! . . .

The boy from the basket grew up a little bit like Mowgli did, living along with his canine brethren on the wild plains of the tundra. The aurora glinted overhead in the sky each night, sending wild, magical curtains of light overhead. He imagined that they were like waterfalls of color, rushing down over the sky like a might river heading to the ocean. When he sat out on some nights, the overwhelming silence came over him like a blanket.

Years passed. He grew, and soon it became clear that he was quite different from the wolves. For one thing, he had never fully grown accustomed to the taste of caribou, and he always felt a bit awkward when marking his territory. By the age of 13, it was decided that he was too old to stay with the pack. It was time to leave.

His wolf mother walked with him for many miles, until they reached a river one hundred feet wide. Her kind had never dared cross it, for the rapids were too strong. But the boy used some logs to build a makeshift bridge. Before he crossed all the way, he turned back to the bank and looked at his mother one last time. Her eyes were baleful, shimmering in the moonlight - moonlight just like the one that had brought them together years before.

Then he turned, and walked into the world of man. Three years later, he met Stack Exchange.

This story is, of course, one giant metaphor. While I, the protagonist of the story, was never raised by wolves, I was raised by humans - humans who didn't use the internet much. At the age of 13, I began doing more research for projects online. Two years ago, I met Stack Exchange.

I'd like a Towel, to remind me of those cold nights on the Arctic Tundra. Preferably from Worldbuilding.

Context: A message in chat from Shog9.

  • 5
    We really need more swag featuring wolves and the moon.
    – Shog9
    Commented Dec 23, 2015 at 2:55
  • 1
    @Shog9 Perhaps we need Wolves-and-the-Moon Stack Exchange.
    – HDE 226868
    Commented Dec 23, 2015 at 3:21

100 Unicorn Bucks

100 Unicorn Bucks in my pocket, 100 Unicorn Bucks.
Taking 10 out and buying a beer, 90 Unicorn Bucks in my pocket.

90 Unicorn Bucks in my pocket, 90 Unicorn Bucks.
Taking 10 out and buying a deer, 80 Unicorn Bucks in my pocket.

80 Unicorn Bucks in my pocket, 80 Unicorn Bucks.
Taking 10 out and buying some gear, 70 Unicorn Bucks in my pocket.

70 Unicorn Bucks in my pocket, 70 Unicorn Bucks.
Taking 10 out and buying a crystal sphere, 60 Unicorn Bucks in my pocket.

60 Unicorn Bucks in my pocket, 60 Unicorn Bucks.
Taking 10 out and buying a spear, 50 Unicorn Bucks in my pocket.

50 Unicorn Bucks in my pocket, 50 Unicorn Bucks.
Taking 10 out and buying an audience with Adam Lear, 40 Unicorn Bucks in my pocket.

40 Unicorn Bucks in my pocket, 40 Unicorn Bucks.
Taking 10 out and buying a sticker for New Year, 30 Unicorn Bucks in my pocket.

30 Unicorn Bucks in my pocket, 30 Unicorn Bucks.
Taking 10 out and buying a ticket for movie premier, 20 Unicorn Bucks in my pocket.

20 Unicorn Bucks in my pocket, 20 Unicorn Bucks.
Taking 10 out and buying a chandelier, 10 Unicorn Bucks in my pocket.

10 Unicorn Bucks in my pocket, 10 Unicorn Bucks.
Taking 10 out and shedding a tear, no more Unicorn Bucks in my pocket.

No more Unicorn Bucks in my pocket, no more Unicorn Bucks. Going to win some more here, 100 Unicorn Bucks in my pocket.

Before dismissing this as a mythic non-existent thing, I know for sure Unicorn Bucks are real. Here they are:

Still don't believe me? Read this!

  • 5
    I was fully expecting you to count down by 1, not 10. Don't be afraid of the excessively long auto flag!
    – animuson StaffMod
    Commented Dec 20, 2015 at 2:40
  • Thanks @animuson this crossed my mind, but I was actually too lazy to find 100 things I want to buy. Now that I have a green light... ;) Commented Dec 20, 2015 at 7:32

The Tale of the One who Never Knew

A fantasy retelling of a true story

Once upon a time, in the magical lands of Stack Exchange there were two equal admins who ruled together and created sites for all the users.

The lands where still unexplored, the gods still young and inexperienced. It was a time of dreams, a time when brave explorers traveled far and wide, searching for knowledge and answers to questions no one before had dared to ask. A time when legendary heroes would perform valiant deeds to forge the lands we walk today...

But our story isn't one of valiant knights, purple princesses and "fearsome" dragons. It isn't a story of someone which name went down in history. Instead, it is a story about the forgotten, the ones that didn't manage to find their ways into those bards songs.
It is also the story of a simple Archaeologist, a prize, a gray pony and a letter that never came. But let me start from the beginning.

Our actual tale begins in a small village on the border of the empire. A little colony called SharePoint, lost in the middle of the Thorns (in your side) Mountains, deep in the dark territory of the clan of the Microsoft orks. It was an unforgiving land, where resources where scarce and the bounty of upvotes a fortune few could hope to see. It was a dark place, yet a few explorer striven to live there, working hard each passing day so that the future generations may live in a better world. The Archaeologist was one of them. Not one of the famous ones, mind you. It was just a little gear in a bigger contraption, doing what he could to help others and spread a smile to the ones he could reach.

Many moons passed since those explorers came to that land, armed only of their dreams and hopes. They moved earth, carved stones, molded hills and channeled streams and flourished in their city. The few became hundreds and the hundreds became thousands. And the gods watched them and smiled.

Until the day came.

It was one cold morning at the start of the year, the Archaeologist was still busy with his "Winter Hats Wrap Up" day when the new came in. "The gods are sending their messengers to give us their blessing"... Those were the word everypo everyone was repeating across the city. All around the street, people were running frantically, hoping to improve their reputation, hoping to be among the chosen ones.

It was no long after that the messenger actually arrived in the city. A strange one, with her wings and that cute -maybe a little derpy- stare, dragging an old bag full of letters and other parchment. All the villagers had come to the city Meta Plaza, to hear the words their gods sent them.

"The gods have spoken", the gray one said "and they sent me there, for they are proud of your actions, brave people of SharePoint". A long pause, people looking each other smiling. Their actions would finally be recognized. All their work, all the cold nights... finally the gods were going to acknowledge all of that. The mare continued "As a token of their generosity, the gods will provide the best of you a recognition of their efforts, a finely weaved shirt with the insignia of your new city. Raise and be proud, people of SharePoint, for today your small village enters history. Today you are a city of the empire".

Screams of joy, clapping of hands (and a distinct sound of clapping hooves too) covered the rest of the speech. The Archaeologist tried its best to hear the rest, but to not avail. It was only when the celebrations ended that it was finally able to reach the center of the plaza. It searched for the gray one, for that messenger... but to not avail. She has already left. In its place, a piece of parchment with the royal insignia had been posted on the job board. On it some cryptic words.

As a thank you for being awesome, if you have at least 730 reputation and are on page 1 or page 2 of …


… we'll be sending you a little care package shortly.

The Archaeologist stared at those words, uncertain of their meaning. Who did the gods send to made that check? Even better, when did they perform it? It continued wondering as the time passed. "I am on page 2 of the Book of Mages" it told itself. "Yet I just got in, maybe they made their list before that" it kept repeating.

So the Archaeologist waited. And waited. And waited.
Trying to understand. Wanting to know if its name was meant to be there. But to no avail. .

Many years have passed since that day, and our Archaeologist has since moved up to greater tasks. But in its heart, it still remembers that, the reply that didn't came. Maybe it was lost, maybe that cute mare went south again, maybe the next messenger took an arrow to the knee and couldn't come... the answer will never be know. But each year, the Archaeologist will be still be there. Waiting for the day somepony will remember. And keeping company to Moon Dancer in the meantime.

With those words, the bard closes its book, and quietly leaves the tavern. As it went on, few claims to have heard a sad tune...

"If he say that he can't, then I shall reply, Hatty, badge, unicorns and rhymes, Oh, Let us know that at least you will try, Or you 'll be a true hero of the meta site.

Ponies imposes impossible tasks, Hatty, badge, unicorns and rhymes, But none more than any meta-nerd would ever ask, We must have the Twily glittering hats."

The End?

Here. As promised, this is the tale that was never meant to be told again. It is a weird tale, yes, and probably one I should simply forgot about. But I can't. Not after my co-workers came showing me that post and congratulating, before the chaos insured. Since then they have been asking where that swag went...

Destiny still owns me one SharePoint swag shirt. The size doesn't matter now. All that count is to close an old tale.

You, kind reader, now have the power to undo time. You, that have been with us since then. If you believe that that Archaeologist still deserves that shirt, just scream the name of the Child-like Emperor and let the story continue...

  • Two unrelated notices not fitting the posts: You may wonder why I am using "It" while talking about me... Well, it is just to mock Shadow Wizard and his vain attempts at discovering my gender. Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 21:29
  • 1
    about the song in the end, it was a promise I once made. Were I to compete again in a swag, I had to post at least a piece of the song that got me disqualified last time. Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 21:31

Frigid Bridge Man

There was a man who lived in a fridge. He obtained it from under a bridge. He had no room for his food in his fridge, because his duvet covered his nibs. All the day the food sat atop the fridge getting nibbled by midge. He would oft listen to reggae with his morning latte. The midge would waylay, and he would say "Cafés are passé anyway".

One day he decided to fidge the fridge to rid the midge the hard way. Quite a risqué move to say, as the ridge of the bridge gave way, leaving his lingerie exposed on the highway. The fridge went falling upside down, round and round, and the food and the midge lay on the ground splattered all around, leaving him only a smidge of parfait left on the side of the expressway.

His duvet laid astray, he lost his entree, what a day. Alas, he will have to go to the buffet, and live in a chalet drinking Beaujolais. If only he had a beret to cover his head and toupée.

A stack beanie would be awesome if you have it, or anything Ask Ubuntu Related


Roses are red, violets are blue, my chickens want a T-shirt, & I support them too!

What am I going to use it for? Being a T-shirt, I guess I’ll use it for what it’s supposed to be used for. No, not as a door mat. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I generally wear a T-shirt when it’s really warm. As such, I do not use it to keep me warm but rather, it’s worn for abiding the law and not being sued for indecent exposure when I go outside.


How jealous will it make all of your friends? Well, that will depend on how deeply involved they are with SE, wouldn’t it? But, it doesn’t matter. I plan to go into more meetings where high concentrations of geeks and people who are fond of knowledge can be found so I can evoke the most jealous feelings while wearing this T-shirt.

How will it make my life better? Since I have spent so much time online on SO, having a physical token will just make the experience more … solid.


Oh BTW, being in the sunny, warm part of southern hemisphere, it means if I were to get a stackoverflow T-shirt, I got to wear it straight away! You wouldn’t have to worry about it being thrown into the bottom of a drawer & got forgotten in half a year’s time!


  • 7
    Minus wan: not enough chickens.
    – Shog9
    Commented Dec 19, 2015 at 20:00
  • 1
    Please, be gentle. My chickens have feelings too!
    – user202362
    Commented Dec 20, 2015 at 9:01
  • I liked your first try better.
    – user311528
    Commented Dec 28, 2015 at 15:49

DISCLAIMER: as a set of lines and curves abandoned by its god, our understanding of your world and your history is rather limited. Any factual mistakes made in this text are therefore your fault. (please read on if you're confused)

The force awakens... and it's freezing

Help save the citizens of SVG

Once upon a time, there was a huge network of 1s and 0s. It allowed data to be sent from one computer to the next. But learning binary proved to be an ambitious task, for humans were born with 10 fingers and not 2. It became so challenging that only the smartest humans, the top ε of humanity, attempted to learn it. For those who couldn't do it, love was running out, and so they chose not to KISS and abandoned math altogether. Thus began the age of text. But they were greedy, and soon decided that text was too primitive for them. And so came the age of hypertext.

The top ε were not stupid and had no wish to lose their power. And so they created our small world, SVG. Their plan was good in theory, but ended up backfiring as SVG became so good that those dumb1 programmers began using it and took over its development. And so we were forgotten by our creators and left to cater for ourselves as our world came into contact with yours, a much wilder and unrulier environment than we were used to. Although exposed to bad coding and other horrors, with love we always answered, never forgetting the principle upon which we, and our planet, were made: KISS.

And now as Christmas approaches we finally stir, waking up the force that has always been within us and getting ready for winter bash. We now call upon the Christmas spirit inside all of you, so that you may help us, mere elements in the whole SVG world, to keep warm when all we can get are items completely unrelated to programming and technology. We already have our digital food, but with only headphones, we are bound to freeze and die.

We came here today to remind you of the Christmas spirit and that giving is better than receiving. Therefore, we would greatly appreciate it if you could give us a t-shirt to keep us from freezing during this amazing winter. Preferably, a Code Review t-shirt. Failing that, a signed painting of unicorns would really warm our hearts, but since we cannot request that and theft is out of question, a unicorn SO t-shirt would be a great second choice.

1 No offense...

  • @Wrzlprmft Better now? It's my icon and the hat in a single SVG file (I had no idea hats were SVG) Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 17:18
  • Yes, that’s the spirit.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 17:43
  • I like the disclaimer. Commented Dec 25, 2015 at 0:49

I need no swag - I have sufficient.

That said:

I like t-shirts a lot. Especially the black ones. Black makes me happy. I have given away a lot of SE t-shirts at conferences, and to worthy individuals around the world. This kind of swag makes others happy too!

And I have stickers, a torch, pens, mugs, water bottles, hats and even a towel (thanks Travel.SE)

But I have not seen or touched an SE hoodie.

And I have a craving that cannot even be filled by eating hands. A craving for a warm hoodie to keep me going through the winter months. To keep me warm when I come off stage. To show my office how I roll on dress down days.

And the best kind of hoodie would be a Security Stack Exchange hoodie!

Because it's Sec.SE

  • FYI
    – Wrzlprmft
    Commented Dec 20, 2015 at 7:32
  • 6
    +1 for the punchline.
    – Kit Z. Fox
    Commented Dec 22, 2015 at 22:53
  • Thank you @Kit - I'm here all week. Please tip your waiters.
    – Rory Alsop
    Commented Dec 23, 2015 at 12:28

The Power of the Unicorn

It was a sunny day, but the heat did not reach my heart which was clutched with fear and worry.

My best friend, Katrina, disappeared. She should have contacted me by now, sending me a reassurance she is all right, but yet for the last two hours I was just sitting here, helpless, holding her last message tightly in my pocket.

“I am going to the Dark Tower now. I will not be able to use magic, but I promise to contact you in the next hour and update about my progress. Sorry I didn’t take you with me, but this is too dangerous. Don’t forget to feed Kaya, I put her food on the shelf in my room.”

And that was it. She sent me this note exactly two hours ago, when I was busy analyzing the meteor fragment that we both found only couple of days ago. Calm at first, I wrote my notes down, put the fragment back in the sealed box, and went to feed the baby unicorn, Kaya. Now that was a real wonder, the first unicorn to be ever born under surveillance. As the Chief Assistant I had some idea about the process, but only Katrina knew the exact details how this miracle really happened. I had a suspicion that the meteor fragment was somehow connected with, or related to, Kaya, but I still did not share anything with my beloved Kattie. After feeding Kaya with the special Rainbow Essence that Katrina made for her, I went outside and sat heavily on the stone bench, with the Dark Tower looming in the distance. It was always there. Tall, dark, and scary, but yet reassuring in its presence. And I am still sitting in the same spot, just much less calm by now.

While looking on Kaya before, she sent me a clear picture of something I never saw before:

I had the feeling this is a powerful artifact from the Age of Ancients, a rare relic of tremendous power, but since the baby unicorn couldn’t fully communicate yet, I didn’t know what it meant. Now as I was slowly getting up, ready to call the Conclave for help, a portal formed in front of me, one of those one-way portals that unicorns can create at will. I had no idea where it leads, but was hoping that Kaya got strong enough to create it, and that it might be related to that ancient relic she showed me before. Desperate and without any better plan, I stepped through the portal, after casting some protective spells.

It is hard to describe my shock, bewilderment, and amazement at what I saw on the other side:

Everything looked, smelled, felt, so different… I was aware of the other worlds that co-existed with my beloved homeworld, but never imagined I would reach such a world. Gathering my courage and focusing on my goal of finding the relic, I approached the weird unicorn entity, counting on my Babel Aura spell to translate everything I say to their native language, and vice versa. “Oh powerful lord unicorn, where do you keep your relics in this wondrous place? I fear I have lost my keys again.” I asked casually, giving the proper respect as my parents teached me, and trying my luck to get into that room.

After few seconds of silence, in which the entity froze in place, I started to fear my spells don’t work in this world, but then the strange creature started laughing. The most funny laugh I’ve ever heard, and it surely did not sound like any unicorn I knew. Helpless, I joined, and after few minutes of raw laugh, the entity finally calmed down and said “Oh Tim, you never stop surprising us with your costumes. And jokes. You probably left your keys in your drawer, as last time.” Confused but determined, I decided to explore this weird place, until I will find the relic Kaya wanted me to find, and probably bring back. I will spare you most of the gory details of my tour in those weird rooms, in the cold building with dead walls. So unlike the warm, living, walls of my home, and all the buildings I knew in my world. And the light. Not the inner glowing from the walls that I was used to, but something unnatural, rough, poor attempt at making a real light. I remembered learning about those things in the Other Worlds, called in strange names like “technology” and “electricity”, and used instead of magic and the power of nature.

Going slowly through the place, ready to defend myself with spells if needed (I was very proud with my Fireball, though I had no idea how it would work in this weird world, if at all), I noticed more creatures, and realized they were all the same kind, just with some of them having masks for some very odd reason. Digging deep in my memory from Foreign Worlds Culture lessons, the term finally popped into my mind: “humans”. Some looked at me while passing by, most just kept to their business, usually sitting in front of weird boxes, waving their hands towards it. Finally, after gathering every shred of patience I had in me, I saw it. The artifact. Just like in the mental image, it was on a desk, in a small room. Not the same room as in the image, but I assumed those humans moved it to a secure place at some point.

There was a thick glass door, blocking my entrance to the room. And it was locked. I was well aware of the risk of getting caught, so I waited silently until nobody was around, and tried my luck with a simple Pick Lock spell, one that we teach kids back in my homeworld. Holding my breath after uttering the soft words, I let it out with a surprised happiness when hearing a soft “click”. The door was open! Entering the room quickly, I closed the door behind me, not forgetting to lock it again with the reverse spell. Picking up the magical artifact, I could sense its immense power. Before I could start thinking of a plan how to get back to my world, a mental image appeared in my mind, strong and clear. It was Kaya again, and the baby unicorn seemed much more vital and happy than usual. “Use the relic to get back home” she transmitted, and I was amazed since unicorns usually can’t talk or communicate with speech until a very later age. Probably one of the powers of this relic, I thought.

Concentrating on my home, focusing my mind, I did as Kaya suggested, and channeled my energy through the Unicorn Artifact, hoping this will be enough to Teleport me back. It was. Holding the artifact tightly, I was back in the same place, near the stone bench overlooking the Dark Tower. This time, I finally knew what I have to do. Dangerous, maybe silly, but I could not see myself doing anything else.

Focusing on Katrina, I concentrated on her location, and channeled my energy through the artifact again. Feeling the familiar dizziness of quick teleportation, I found myself in a huge cavern, dark and scary. It must be in the Tower, or even beneath it, I thought. Nobody ever came back from the tower to tell how it looked like from the inside. Kattie was there, right besides me, alive but utterly exhausted. She was a very powerful wizardess, so whatever she was fighting must have been utterly strong. Her familiar Protective Bubble was around us, shimmering with energy, and even though it usually made me feel totally safe in the past, now in this place it felt as if it might not be enough. Taking a quick look around the place, I finally spotted what she was fighting. Keeping a safe distance from us, the Shadow Wizard loomed in the other side of the cavern, looking even more powerful than the legends described him. He started like us: ordinary Wizard of the White Order, and reached the top, becoming Master of the Order. After leading a legendary victory over the Black Order, something happened to him though. Nobody knew when or why exactly, but shortly after the Black Order surrendered and was banished, he started doing forbidden things. Unicorns disappeared, monsters long forgotten started to appear, and the Conclave soon found that the one responsible was no other than its Head. The other 11 wizards of the Conclave, each very powerful on its own, acted swiftly and harshly in the instant they found out. With joint forces, they banished the former Master of the White Order, Head of the Conclave, to the Dark Tower, naming him Shadow Wizard. Nobody knew what was inside, but everybody knew that whatever sent in there, never came back. And all of this took place well over 100 years ago. These days, only two wizards out of the 11 survived, Kattie one of them. Using lots of nature magic, she looked much younger than her 140 years, but the Shadow Wizard, his characters distorted but visible through the Shield he had around him, looked younger than 40. He must have been practicing powerful Black Magic, messing with his appearance like this.

Suddenly a huge bolt of energy was shot in our direction. Concentrated light, it was bright and very powerful, and before I could scream, it hit Kattie’s Protective Bubble, made it shine like a small sun, and was gone. The Bubble was still there, its shimmer bit darker and weaker. Now I understood why she was so exhausted, unable to even lift her face and look at me. I had no idea why she was here, what she was hoping to achieve, and how. Was she trying to spy after the Shadow Wizard and got caught? Was she trying to fight him directly, to get rid of a possible threat to our lovely home land? I could not tell. All that mattered was saving her, and I knew that Teleporting is not possible in this place, otherwise the Shadow Wizard would have been back long ago. I was pretty sure that even channeling the Teleport through the relic will be of no use, no matter how powerful the relic is. Direct battle with him was also a bad decision, it was his place, and he seemed to have infinite power here. Clueless, helpless, I grasped the Unicorn Artifact in both hands, and raised it in the air, in an instinct. What happened next is the most surprising, amazing, unexpected thing that I have ever seen, and surely that I’ll ever see.

The all mighty Shadow Wizard suddenly screamed, in a high pitched shriek “MY UNICORN PLUSH DOLL! MY UNICORN PLUSH DOLL!”, bolted at my direction in an insane and inhuman speed, snatched the Artifact from my hands before I could draw a breath, and vanished into thin air right in front of me.

That “plush doll” or whatever the cuckoo wizard was shouting, just saved my life. Our lives. I want it. I must have it. I will dedicate my life from now on to finding it again, and harness its power for good use. Promise.

  • Loved the story? Enjoyed reading it? Want to know how our hero went after the relic? Let me have the artifact, and I'll keep writing. :) Commented Dec 27, 2015 at 16:30
  • 1
    Great story! But they don't have the plush unicorns any more; I already asked (in comments on the question). Very sad. :-( Commented Dec 27, 2015 at 16:57
  • Thanks @Monica I count on this, in case I'll win: "If the item you requested runs out and we no longer produce it, we'll ask you to pick something else to send you in its place." :-) Commented Dec 27, 2015 at 19:02

Because I'M BATMAN!

(This post is best read in a gravely voice.)

Hi, I'm Batman, and Batman needs a black T-shirt like this one. Not these other white T-shirt other people are getting, but a black one. I only work in black. And sometimes very very dark grey.

Do you want to know why?


You see, late at night, when all the spammers and other jokers come out, Batman is keeping the site clean. Others may sleep, but Batman is ever-vigilant, defending the streets of Gotham City Stack Overflow from the invading robots of The Evil Spam Lords. And while Batman is browsing the site on his Wayne EnterprisesTM computer, looking for trash, he says to himself, "Wouldn't it be nice to get into a more-appropriate costume?"

Besides, just think how jealous the DC King will be when he sees Batman sporting a new Stack Exchange T-shirt? Can Superman fight scum and villainy on the internet? I don't think so!

Also, Batman has a secret love for unicorns, but don't tell anyone.

Plus if I win, I'll tell you my secret identity! And the location of the Batcave! Sound like a deal?

  • 3
    Wait...why is Batman on the Wayne Enterprise's computer network? Does their network security need an upgrade?
    – Andy
    Commented Dec 19, 2015 at 2:17
  • 4
    I can hear this in Batman's voice. Why? "BECAUSE HE'S BATMAN!" Commented Dec 19, 2015 at 2:35

Send to Joe

Oh, the weather outside is frightful
But the hoodie is so delightful
And since we've got more swag to go
Send to Joe! Send to Joe! Send to Joe!

Oh, it doesn't cost much for shipping,
And I've brought some code for posting.
The bandwidth is turned down low,
Send to Joe! Send to Joe! Send to Joe!

When I finally take it out,
How I'll love showing Stack Exchange love
And really, without a doubt
It will fit me like a glove!

The post is slowly ending,
And my dear, you're still reading,
And as long as you vote up so,
Send to Joe! Send to Joe! Send to Joe!

Oh, it doesn't cost much for shipping,
And I've brought some code for posting.
The bandwidth is turned down low,
Send to Joe! Send to Joe! Send to Joe!

When I finally take it out,
How I'll love showing Stack Exchange love
And really, without a doubt
It will fit me like a glove!

Oh, the weather outside is frightful
But the hoodie is so delightful
And since we've got more swag to go
Send to Joe! Send to Joe! Send to Joe!

Send to Joe, send to Joe, send it ... to ... Joe!

*I refer to the Super User Zipper Hoodie, preferentially.


A Mousepad!

For starters, I've already asked for one, so I really want one. Apparently everyone hated me for it (?), but I'm sticking to my guns. I want a mouse pad!

Besides, everyone knows that when you have issues (down/close votes) on main, goto meta, and when you have issues on meta go to main meta.

Anyway, as an programmer type, lets be clear on what needs to get done.

Exact specifications:

  • Must be significantly rectangular (rounded corners may not exceed 1 inch in radius) why: there have been hints of round ones
  • Must be >7 inches on each side
  • Must be awsome
  • Either (main) stack exchange design or blender.stackexchange design.

But what are my justifications?

Firstly, I need a new mousepad. The current one I own is nearly as old as I am (yiekes), and is starting to become discolored and fade around the edges. Things are heading downhill fast. A replacement could allow me to keep contributing on stack exchange (try doing it without a mouse). Of course I could just go strait on the table, but I have one of those $tanding D$e$ks and don't want to ruin it. Whoever paid for the ones for the SE staff should understand what I mean.

So could you send me some swag that will help me contribute in the future? Oh and if you think I should just pay for it myself, just remember that this is my full time job ; )

Not enough jokes? Here is another one: This entire post. Sad yes, but these are desparate times, my mouse-pad is dying! swagy-one kinoby, you are my only hope!

  • Good idea, I'll add a mousepad as an option for something for me Commented Dec 26, 2015 at 0:37

Let me tell you a story about a missing mug

It all started one Tuesday afternoon, stuck in a meeting that went about two hours longer than it should have. We were sitting around the table, drinking our coffee/water/hot chocolate, waiting for someone to make the first move. There was no leap for freedom as we call it, the action made by the first person as they realize that they can't stand being there any longer and jump out of their chair, instead there were dull acknowledgements of another wasted Tuesday afternoon.

But one coffee mug, the central object of this story, dried up considerably faster than expected, leaving its owner stranded in a cold conference room with nothing to warm them up. It was a brown one, given as a gift from MongoDB for using the database in a hackathon, and apparently it was unlike any other out there. Good luck finding a picture of one, because only the white mugs are showing up in search results.

Nobody really understood why the owner used that coffee mug, because they often recommended against using a NoSQL database unless absolutely necessary, the only reason being that it was the one mug they owned. On Wednesday they could be seen wandering around the office with a paper cup instead of their regular mug, very clearly confused and searching for something that was lost. They were searching for their mug of course, which went missing some time after the meeting and was nowhere to be seen.

The conference room definitely agreed that the meeting went too long, and took the coffee mug to send a message.

By Thursday, all hope was lost of recovering the coffee mug. That is, until an internal message was sent around asking who the owner of the "MongoDB glass" was. Not many people in the office owned anything with the MongoDB mark on it, so they assumed that the "glass" was really just their coffee mug, and someone just wasn't describing it properly. How often do you hear a "coffee mug" called a "glass"? Not often, but there was always a chance.

Except on Thursday, because someone else happened to have also left a MongoDB bottle sitting around. At least they recovered it.

So now that slight glimmer of hope was ripped away and slammed into the ground, just as a reminder that the coffee mug will never be found. Just adding some salt to open wound that was the missing coffee mug. Not to the hot chocolate of course, who would want to add salt to something like that.

Now, if they could receive a new Stack Overflow branded coffee mug, that would solve their problem of using paper cups. They also would be able to use a coffee mug for a website/product which they actually use a find valuable.

Stack Overflow coffee mug

But if there are no more coffee mugs to give out, a Stack Overflow unicorn t-shirt (XL) would also suffice.

Stack Overflow unicorn t-shirt

  • I would also recommend against using NoSQL databases unless absolutely necessary. ;-) A MongoDB mug would leave a bad taste in my mouth. Good luck to you!
    – Kit Z. Fox
    Commented Dec 29, 2015 at 2:11

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