I noticed that when I am in a Stack Exchange site other than Stack Overflow, I always get the:


when the April fool joke happens. For example, a screenshot when I am in Graphics Design:

Why does this happen? Is there anything I fail to catch? Is it ? Or it is just a ?

  • 7
    I can confirm that this appears on other StackExchange sites as well. In addition to that, the background image for all of the sites is the same.
    – Edric
    Commented Mar 31, 2019 at 14:49
  • 5
    The company is called Stack Overflow, the network is called Stack Exchange. Why they decided to go with the company name over the network name is really a question for the devs Commented Mar 31, 2019 at 15:47
  • 1
    Should this be hereby tagged status-bydesign?
    – DonielF
    Commented Mar 31, 2019 at 20:24
  • This really bugs me. For new users of an SE network site, it makes no sense to be welcomed to some programming website, because apparently it's the first product of the company that owns the site you actually visited. It'd be like reading "Thanks for drinking Coca-Cola!" on a bottle of Vitamin Water. For experienced users, it feels like a teeth-grinding reminder that SE staff see the rest of the network as, at best, Stack Overflow's poor relations; at worst, not even an afterthought. Commented Apr 1, 2019 at 9:55

2 Answers 2


According to Jon Ericson's post:

What's that? It says "WELCOME TO STACKOVERFLOW" you say? I asked our designers about that and they tell me dank fonts don't need lower case. Oh, you mean why isn't it STACKEXCHANGE? That's a bit of a time travel paradox. We set the baseline at 2008, but the Stack Exchange brand didn't really show up until a couple of years later. We have our crack quantum mechanics working on it. Once they patch the timeline, we won't have any way of knowing.

So, it is a part of the time-travel and not a ! Seems like almost everything was planned and organized well!

  • 1
    Despite being featured the linked post does not appear to me in the sidebar. Probably caching.
    – SeinopSys
    Commented Mar 31, 2019 at 17:38
  • 4
    I think it's a bug in time travel. I can't think our users will understand they're on the correct site (EL&U) when they're welcomed to Stack Overflow. We can try being even more condescending, but I'm not sure that's a differentiating factor.
    – Meta Ellen
    Commented Apr 1, 2019 at 7:52
  • 1
    It's also weird to welcome people to a site there's no reason they should necessarily have even heard of. Why should an English professor using EL&U, or a rabbi using Judaism.SE, or a chef using cooking.SE, or a motor mechanic, etc etc, even know that there's a popular computer programming website called Stack Overflow that is the first product of the company that set up the site they use? Commented Apr 1, 2019 at 10:15

Jokes aside, the designers ran out of time to create a "Welcome to Stack Exchange" banner. We wanted to throw as many 90s website tropes in as possible on a very short schedule. On Friday morning we considered whether to ship the theme to just Stack Overflow or to ship it everywhere with the wrong banner. I advocated for keeping to our original plan and vowed to lampshade the problem in my meta post announcement.

Ultimately the goal of an event like this is the same as Winter Bash: remind us that participating on the network is supposed to be fun. No, it's not unicorns and flower trails all the time, but asking and answering well is one of life's great pleasures. Goofy, dumb events like this contrast with the rest of the year not because we aren't having fun, but because our enjoyment comes from achieving a good purpose rather then novelty. It's obviously important on Stack Overflow, but it's no less importance on other sites. So while it would have been easier to just write one post for Meta Stack Overflow, I pushed for us to make the feature available everywhere.

  • Haven't all April Fool's jokes been played across the entire network? Were there years when SO was the only "victim"? Commented Apr 3, 2019 at 7:20
  • This is also the first time I have ever seen lampshade used as a verb, I had to check its meaning as it wasn't immediately intuitive for me. :)) Commented Apr 3, 2019 at 7:24
  • @Mari-LouA: We do try to make sure the event happens as many places as possible. Having run out of time to support more than one banner, we had to decide if this year would be different. (Also, TV Tropes warning. ;-) Commented Apr 3, 2019 at 15:45

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .