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Notification email from stackoverflow contains “<3” after zip code

When I received an e-mail from the Stack Overflow team this morning, there was a niggling "<3" at the end. I've seen this in various e-mails, not just from Stack Overflow.

Here's what it it looks like:

stackoverflow.com LLC, PO Box 1361, El Cerrito CA 94530 <3

Here's the source:

stackoverflow.com LLC, PO Box 1361, El Cerrito CA 94530 
<span title="because we care" style="color:maroon">&lt;3</span></span>

What could cause this? Is it an HTML character that Outlook does not render correctly? Or is Jeff trying to send me secret messages?

  • 4
    It means heart. Jan 7, 2010 at 15:40
  • 4
    I think it's Jeff trying to send you secret messages.
    – Tor Valamo
    Jan 7, 2010 at 15:40
  • 1
    Even, you know better than to ask this here...
    – Sampson
    Jan 7, 2010 at 15:41
  • 7
    What is love? Baby, don't hurt me. Jan 7, 2010 at 15:43
  • I know this just got migrated, but the reason I asked on SO instead of Meta was that I searched google for "<3" and found nothing. It wasn't until writing up the question that I searched on "&lt;3" that I figured out that it was a heart. I thought that it would be a useful (albeit fun) question to ask there.
    – Even Mien
    Jan 7, 2010 at 15:48
  • I'm almost sure I've seen this question before, but it's not in the 'email' tag. And as you said, it's hard to search for.
    – mmyers
    Jan 7, 2010 at 15:50
  • 3
    Unicode​​​​ FTW! ♥
    – bobince
    Jan 7, 2010 at 16:23

4 Answers 4


It's a sideways heart. The person sending the email is being cute.


It's because they care, but only to the extent of 2 care units (less than 3).


Stack Overflow loves you! <3

This is the actual code in the email:

<span title="because we care" style="color:maroon">&lt;3</span>

Its the symbol for love, a heart, expressing gratitude for reading their email and being a member of this community. <3

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