305

We are living in the gold age of user-generated content. Anyone can post a joke before breakfast, become a meme by lunch and be fired for the joke at the end of business. Ok, it's more like the "tin age", but still a unique moment in human history. Here at Stack Exchange, we're doing our part by hosting some of the very best content produced entirely by individual users at scale. I think it's fair to say we are the Wikipedia of Q&A.

It all started back in 2008 with a site named after a class of bug. Even so, it achieved some popularity within the developer community. The network first expanded to fairly technical topics, but very quickly sites popped up for just about every form of human knowledge including an endless variety of CMS and blockchain schemes. In the days BSE (Before Stack Exchange) it was certainly possible to share knowledge. There were podcasts and blogs and forums and Geocities pages. You could post on someone's Wall or microblog or be Tom's friend. And of course there were wikis and social news sites with alien mascots. But none of them capitalized on the simple genius of the question and answers format quite like Stack Exchange.

The Web turned 30 this year and we got to thinking it's too bad Stack Exchange sites have only been part of a third of that history. What, we pondered, would the world be like if Stack Exchange had started back in the year 2000 1998? Relieving you of the need to imagine it, we are proud to announce a new Time Machine feature that lets you experience Stack Exchange before its time.

Y2K baby!

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.

As you explore the Stack Exchange off-ramp of the Information Superhighway keep your eyes peeled for content that could only exist in the '90s such as:

Feel free to note especially appropriate examples in the answers below, but please don't spoil The Sixth Sense.

closed as off-topic by Pika the Wizard of the Whales, Robert Longson, Nathan Tuggy, Ward, Arulkumar Apr 3 at 5:02

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "The problem described here can no longer be reproduced. Changes to the system or to the circumstances affecting the asker have rendered it obsolete. If you encounter a similar problem, please post a new question." – Pika the Wizard of the Whales, Robert Longson, Nathan Tuggy, Ward, Arulkumar
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 72
    Sadly, I need a real time machine to go back and fix the alarm I set improperly this morning. – Jon Ericson Mar 31 at 15:54
  • 10
    I wonder what MyWhitespace.com would look like... – Jamal Mar 31 at 16:10
  • 44
    This looks positively awful on systems that don't have Comic Sans installed. i.imgur.com/O3G9t86.png – Nonny Moose Mar 31 at 16:45
  • 7
    Nice celebration. I reckon the SO/SE experiment has been one of the best in terms of peer-supported information sharing. Its philosophical underpinnings of freedom, responsibility and community place it far in advance of Wikipedia. – Lawrence Mar 31 at 16:56
  • 22
    I though stackexchange had been hacked! Since I came to it today from a Google search, I carefully checked the domain. Every letter was right so that led me here. – Dale Mar 31 at 17:14
  • 29
    I think that you should limit count of (displayed) votes to 99 on this question due to some technical limitations of system. – val Mar 31 at 17:53
  • 12
    At first I thought I landed onto a fake stackexchange website until saw this! – kiradotee Mar 31 at 19:13
  • 71
    Something's not right with mine. Those trailing stars on the cursor, which I assume were done with activex, load way too quickly, and don't slow down my machine one bit. – user4815162342 Mar 31 at 20:16
  • 15
    How is this making me nostalgic for 1998 if I wasn't even born yet in 1998? – DonielF Mar 31 at 20:20
  • 62
    1st time I saw it I did a double-take. 2nd time I smiled. 3rd time, I sighed. But now I've seen it over and over again, and am fed up of turning it off on every single page I visit, it's really annoying. Can't you allow us to disable it once and for all once we've seen it? I'm almost in the mood of avoiding SO until your odd sense of calendar decides that Apr 1st has passed. FWIW, it's 10:15pm on Mar 31st here in the UK, and I've been seeing this thing for hours already. Past a joke. – Avrohom Yisroel Mar 31 at 21:15
  • 52
    @JonEricson Do you really think people only want to disable this on one site? As in, "oh, it looks really stupid on this site, but I really like it on that site"? This perennial distinction between the different SE "sites" is getting really old. If I disable annoying crap once, I want it gone for good. – isanae Mar 31 at 22:03
  • 25
    Disable only working on one site is dumb. I suspect that most of us who turned this disaster area off aren’t doing so because we think it’s too awesome. – Rob Moir Mar 31 at 22:16
  • 16
    If Netscape 3 (for best viewing experience) won't install on a 64bit Windows, is that a Netscape issue, or a SysWow issue? – Éliette Mar 31 at 22:56
  • 21
    Why doesn't it remember my selection that I do not want to see that? This is really annoying that I have to disable this stupid look every time I look at an answer. – a_horse_with_no_name Apr 1 at 5:44
  • 5
    Why it is not a global toggle among all stackexchange.com sites? It's super annoying to disable it for every site. – VarunAgw Apr 1 at 13:56

48 Answers 48

239

Although the page footer saying

Best viewed in Netscape 3.0

StackExchange websites can't really be opened by Netscape 3 due to unsupported algorithms for TLS.

Error in Netspace Navigator 3.04

  • 69
    Ahaha looks like the devs didn't test for this! Good spot – Joel Murphy Apr 1 at 9:24
  • 4
    Is that netscape for sale ? – Archemar Apr 1 at 9:29
  • 75
    Netscape actually handled that reasonably. – DaveInCaz Apr 1 at 12:30
  • 6
    Please submit a bug report to have this resolved!... – Steve Byrne Apr 1 at 23:33
  • holy shit this is good. You've got more points as a new contributor than most get in 10 years of actively trying to answer questions, – Trent Apr 2 at 3:34
  • That takes me back to my college days in the late 90s, every computer used Netscape Navigator. I don't know if Firefox existed back then, fairly certain that Chrome didn't exist back then – SpacePhoenix Apr 2 at 8:43
  • 4
    @SpacePhoenix Umm, Firefox is a direct successor of Netscape Navigator. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mozilla#History – Emil Jeřábek Apr 2 at 10:12
209

I find your lack of <blink> tags </blink> disturbing.

  • 32
    I found the lack of midi or any webrings jarring! – Elliott Frisch Apr 1 at 4:31
  • 16
    Well that's only to be expected - this site is best viewed with Netscape. <blink> is an IE-only thing, to compete with Netscape's <marquee>. – Jiri Tousek Apr 1 at 5:17
  • 7
    Trying to edit my stack overflow profile to include any random HTML and Javascript which I see fit. Instructions unclear. Plz add me on MSN Messenger and send more info. – v25 Apr 1 at 6:49
  • 2
    did you deliberately get those the wrong way around @JiriTousek? – JCRM Apr 1 at 8:20
  • 8
    @v25 MSN Messenger? That new stuff from Microsoft? No way. I'll stick to ICQ. – dim Apr 1 at 11:23
  • Or purple visited links… – JeromeJ Apr 1 at 11:43
  • It's totally missing the "ripple" logo Java applet. – Jimmy Bosse Apr 1 at 13:07
87

Had Stack Exchange (and all the supporting infrastructure) been around in 1998, the 'Y2K bug' would have been a flash in the pan.

  • Q: Why does my system crash?
  • Response: Question closed for lack of research.

Then again, maybe not. :P

  • 5
    Q: Will my nuclear reactor core melt with y2k bug? A: Closed as off-topic. | Few moments later at a distant far, loud * * explosion * * echoes. – Mohd Abdul Mujib Apr 1 at 16:39
  • Don't forget the ensuing snarking in the comments. – Don Thermidor_Lobster Mobster Apr 1 at 19:32
  • 4
    @MohdAbdulMujib We need more detail, what have you tried? Otherwise this needs closing for being too vague – Toni Leigh Apr 2 at 7:58
86

I have only one thing to say: KEEP THE GUESTBOOK!

enter image description here

I mean, who wouldn't want to tell the world "OMG HAHAHA"?

  • 38
    OMG HAHAHAHA !!!ONEONEONEELEVENTYONE!!!!!! – Journeyman Geek Mar 31 at 23:49
  • 17
    Isn't that thing fake anyway? I always see the very same messages scrolling through. D: – Ray Apr 1 at 12:39
  • 2
    @RayKoopa I'm sure it is. They are the same and I've never seen anything custom (from other users). – val Apr 1 at 15:39
  • 2
    @val Yeah, now where I scroll through the list, it becomes obvious they're picked from a random set of messages and actually repeat D: – Ray Apr 1 at 17:44
  • 1
    When you look at the page source you can find an array containing all those comments, probably being regularly picked from and added to the pile – Mr Redstoner Apr 1 at 18:09
  • 4
    I signed the guestbook on parenting and it showed up in the feed at least once... – mkennedy Apr 1 at 20:26
57

I love this - the only thing I'm really surprised at is the seeming omission of the visitor counter.

How are we to know how many 1337 h4xx0rs have visited each page???

But this is great - reminds me when Geocities was the pinnacle of what the Internet had to offer :)

Edit: Well, silly me. I didn't see it by the OP, I was expecting to see it at the bottom above/below the guestbook. I know know how many h4xx0rs have seent it :D

  • 17
    I see a visitor counter. I must have hacked too much time. – Andreas Mar 31 at 23:14
  • 4
    I like how this is one of the parts of the old web that was kept in most modern websites with user generated content. I almost feel like adding one of those odometer counters to my blog home page – Qwertie Apr 1 at 2:22
54

Just tried it on my i486DX with dial-up and Mosaic-browser and it looks as expected. The only downside was that I had to wait for 27 minutes for the page to load.. ;)

enter image description here

53

This is great! But I'm having trouble with one thing -- your frames aren't adjustable! I tried and tried and I couldn't get the controls to pop up over the division between the left and right frames. Also, isn't there supposed to be a line between them?

screenshot

  • 21
    Maybe they used tables instead... – an angle-bracketed arachnid Apr 1 at 1:36
  • 8
    @awizardarachnid oh, that could be it! I mean, frames are clearly the superior choice (that's an awful lot of stuff to pack into a table cell), but they also did this, so something funky is going on. – Monica Cellio Apr 1 at 1:40
  • 3
    I believe you need at least Netscape 2 or IE3 to view HTML frames. – Lundin Apr 1 at 10:47
  • 1
    I'm using Netscape 3. The page announces that it supports that version! It's so frustrating... – Monica Cellio Apr 1 at 13:50
53

April fool day

April fool day

  • 4
    OOOOH now I get it – Housemd Apr 1 at 12:42
  • 4
    Holy Sh*t!! this guy gets it!!! Are you a hacker dear sir? – Mohd Abdul Mujib Apr 1 at 16:43
  • 2
    @MohdAbdulMujib He is Madara Uchiha of the Uchiha clan. Maybe he read about this on the Uchiha stone tablet ;P – Sri Harsha Chilakapati Apr 1 at 19:02
  • @MohdAbdulMujib i used my mangekyou sharingan . lol – madara uchiha Apr 2 at 4:33
  • @MohdAbdulMujib nope, i'm not a hacker. i just viewed source code of this page – madara uchiha Apr 2 at 4:35
48

First of all, you need two versions of this page:

enter image description here

"Under Construction" should be a link leading to an empty page with the following information:

enter image description here

Also, each page must have this gadget with as many digits as possible:

enter image description here

The number should increment on every page refresh.

And don't forget to add this:

enter image description here

34

It STILL does NOT run with 640K memory!!

You need to free more conventional memory!!! *****^^^^^^^+++++++______+++++^^^^^^^******

  • 21
    LOADHIGH ! HIGHMEM ! – Manu de Hanoi Mar 31 at 20:23
  • 8
    My first idea was that you're speaking brainfuck – val Apr 1 at 7:12
  • 2
    QEMM is your friend. – montonero Apr 1 at 8:03
  • This is way to heavy for my 14k4 modem :( – Michel Apr 1 at 9:16
  • Don't forget to press the TURBO button – RickyA Apr 3 at 11:06
27

I've been seeing the unicorn like this the whole time:

enter image description here

24

Beautiful tribute to the internet's 30th birthday. Loved the comic sans.

The team at StackOverflow knows what's up. Proud of you :) :) :)

  • 24
    The internet is like 50 years old. I think you mean the web's. – JoL Mar 31 at 22:24
  • you're correct. – blackblather Apr 2 at 18:29
23

I think I've disabled this about a dozen times now, and I expect at least a few more today :|.

That is: both of the computers I use, each of my browser profiles on both of those computers, as well as every single site in the Stack Exchange network.

This really needs to have a single disable for all sites (either using cookies, if possible, or storing a setting on one's user profile, although this won't help with anonymous visitors).

  • 7
    OMFG yes I am tired of having to disable this every time I open a new site I haven't yet visited yet today. It was funny for about 30 seconds, I enjoyed it, waved my mouse around and watched the sparkles. I am significantly less enthused having been smacked in the eyeballs for the n th time today. – MikeTheLiar Apr 1 at 20:25
21

Check it out:

Editing with WINWORD.EXE

  • 15
    Good old Clippy! – winny Apr 1 at 7:56
19

Can you please make it work on profile and homepage as well? It only works when I'm on an actual question, and that makes me sad

19

It may not be very popular, but can I keep it for longer?
It keeps a good mood ;]

18

Thank you for rescuing me from....

..the barrage web perfection,

the high expectations, the sleepless nights, of debugging syntax, obsessing about border spacing, my inferiority complex, at not getting it right first time, the crazy ugly neatness, mind numbingly created by armies of...

Zombies like me. Brainwashed into forgetting how things used to be...

Although... if you really want to impress me, MAKE THIS BLINK. In rainbow colors.

Once again, thank you for making my day. Thank you for making me feel a little bit more human, and a little less numb. Thank you for making the Web a friendlier place, a little more human, always.

We love you!

Edit: I just noticed the color of the left bar changing as I scroll down. Wheee!!! That's so cool!
Edit: Wheee!!! Glitter in Chromium!

  • ...And just like that, the most glorious day on stackexchange, is gone :-o over, evaporated, to quote a famous PBX, no let's not... oh, but it's not! Hurraah!!! Someone asked a better question than me! meta.stackexchange.com/questions/326037/… – Dagelf Apr 3 at 18:06
16

>Y2K jokes

For those nostalgic about unwarranted doomsday calling, this April 6th we are getting the 1024‑weekly GPS rollover, just saying.

  • 2
    and the new generation is not much better: 2 more bits but only a 8096 weeks rollover... – Shegit Brahm Apr 1 at 8:50
  • 1
    Are bits really that hard to come by on GPS hardware? – theferrit32 Apr 2 at 4:03
16

Can we keep this? It's better than the "responsive" theme dumped on the beta sites?

14

MEMORANDUM

To: Design Department

From: Time Continuity Bureau

Subject: Navigation Enhancement

Message: Urgent, please use over designed graphical elements for the navigational links. Attached are examples for use (including "hover states") which have been submitted by the Dept. of Authenticity. Your designers may use them freely without concern for copyright as they do not "officially" exist in your time.

Be aware that failure to comply with this request has catastrophic effects in our time!

enter image description here

  • 1
    You mean 'effects'? – John Locke Apr 1 at 14:42
  • Not enough drop shadow on the text itself. It has to be as much as on the button, otherwise it's imbalanced and looks off. Also how the hell did you antialias the text so well? – Ray Apr 1 at 17:42
  • @dimmech You know I was only kidding ;P – Ray Apr 1 at 19:16
  • 3
    Don't forget the Java applets to make the buttons react on mouseover. – Mark Apr 1 at 22:04
14

This is nice and all, but I've noticed a troubling use of GIFs. As we all know, Unisys is trying to enforce their patents and charge us for using their new-fangled image format. We should remove all GIFs and become a certified GIF-free zone, at least until 2003 when the patent expires!

We need to replace all GIFs and add this to the footer:

gif free zone

This site is certified GIF-free. All images on this site are either JPG or PNG. Unisys are trying to charge all webmasters $5000 for the use of GIF images, which are patented. Don't let them get away with it!

  • Haha I just posted a GIF and then read your answer :) – WinEunuuchs2Unix Apr 1 at 23:10
  • 1
    s/copyrighted/patented/, or is that part of the joke? – Nathan Tuggy Apr 2 at 2:47
  • @NathanTuggy I just copied it off of an old website that hadn't been maintained since the early 2000s. I did notice but didn't think about fixing it. I guess I should. – forest Apr 2 at 3:25
  • 1
    @NathanTuggy, No joke. – Mark Apr 2 at 20:01
13

I like this even more than Space Jam.

enter image description here

  • A much superior URL warnerbros.com/archive/spacejam/movie/jam.htm – Won't Apr 1 at 20:22
  • @Won't Dumb question maybe, why is that one superior? – nmit026 Apr 2 at 0:32
  • 1
    The warnerbros generic domain adds just a bit more piquant flavor to it. It's so rustic. – Won't Apr 2 at 13:13
  • @Won't Right you are. You have good taste. – nmit026 Apr 2 at 21:03
12

This is not the real thing. ;)

enter image description here

I've created an update for your message board that is compatible with all internet browsers:

body {
  background-color: #0C0D0E;
}

marquee {
  border-bottom: 4px solid #32E830;
}
<marquee>
  <img src="https://meta.stackexchange.com/content/Img/april-fools-2019/headline.gif?v=f81430a4e488" alt="Welcome to Stack Overflow">
</marquee>

12

The wizard for creating a new question should be guided by clippy.

12

It really is better in Netscape Navigator 3.0 :D enter image description here

I've been using 2.0 for years, thanks for the heads up on the newer version!

9

My only reaction is to say "what in the fresh bowels of hell is this nonsense?".

I don't need to turn it off at every individual site - just each one where it's happening - which I don't know until I go to them. Great, more toggles to muck around with.

Please, stop doing things that aren't thought-out.

  • 7
    Hey, what are you doing outside of the office of the national treasury? Get back in there, never mind us. – Dagelf Mar 31 at 20:37
  • 7
    The April Fool's Ebenezer! Sounds like an interesting username ;) – Derek Adams Apr 1 at 1:32
  • You must be deep in some project and forgot the date. – Loophole Apr 1 at 21:59
  • 1
    Oh, it being April Fools Day makes it perfectly acceptable to reduce accessibility and mess with people's heads in harmful ways that Stack Exchange has hypocritically spent months telling us it is trying to avoid? Cool! Nobody else at all had tried to explain that to me in an implicit passive-aggressive way! Thanks. – Nij Apr 1 at 22:32
  • 3
    @Loophole Or maybe after 15 years of this nonsense on the internet, some of us have had enough of it. – Andy Apr 2 at 1:12
9

I like the fact that it's actually Proudly built in notepad
But, VIM for life everyone
P.S. don't start a emacs vs vim battle

P.P.S. Did they just say that this site was built in Windows? Win 98?

  • 2
    emacs vs vim.... – smileycreations15 Apr 1 at 14:08
  • 3
    You know, stack exchange actually use windows servers. – val Apr 1 at 15:42
  • 2
    Hmm. Does it have CR or CRLF line endings in the source code? – TRiG is Timothy Richard Green Apr 1 at 22:47
  • @val could you please share the source – Varun Chhangani Apr 2 at 2:52
  • 1
    @VarunChhangani It's true. They use IIS and write stuff in .NET. – forest Apr 2 at 4:16
  • VIM 7.4 or earlier +1. – Low power Apr 2 at 6:22
  • emacs + vim = vimacs – smileycreations15 Apr 23 at 20:04
9

Mercy! Please, mercy!! Make it stooop!!!

Well at least a meta posting debut to remember..

Please save it somewhere once it is stopped. :)

7

You'll always find your mouse pointer:

Ask Ubuntu star trail mouse pointer.gif

  • 3
    My favorite feature. – Low power Apr 2 at 10:09
6

I thought it would be interesting to see how this impacted new users, so I gathered some statistics about how many new users created an account on Stack Overflow during the last 24 hours compared to the same period previous weeks. I looked at how many Stack Overflow accounts were created between Sunday 19.51 UTC and Monday 19.51 UTC this week (when the time machine was enabled) and the previous weeks (when the time machine didn't exist). This is what I found:

  • Today: 8398 new Stack Overflow users
  • 1 week ago: 5143 new Stack Overflow users
  • 2 weeks ago: 5227 new Stack Overflow users
  • 3 weeks ago: 6082 new Stack Overflow users
  • 4 weeks ago: 5280 new Stack Overflow users

This means that 55% more users created a Stack Overflow account today than on a normal Monday. I'm not sure why this is, but looking at the numbers, this doesn't seem to be a coincidence. Maybe the new users liked the time machine. Maybe they were annoyed by this bug and thought creating an account would solve the problem. Maybe there are other reasons that I haven't thought of.

  • hillarious, absolutely hillarious – Vickel Apr 1 at 23:25

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