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I just learned that Meta Stack Exchange has a tag and a tag , and apparently at least one site regular sees sufficient difference between these tags to replace one by the other in an edit. But I don't know what the difference is (and the tag wiki excerpt even says it should be used for questions about hidden features), so I'm asking a meta meta question:

What is the difference in usage guidance between these two tags? When should one be used instead of the other?

Or, as there doesn't seem to be much difference in the meaning of the phrases used as tag names (one could argue that not every hidden feature is an Easter egg, but surely at least every Easter egg is a hidden feature), what about synonymising and merging them to make tagging simpler?

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    an easter egg is also hidden, but doesn't need to be a feature
    – Luuklag
    Oct 3 at 8:53
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    Easter eggs are supposed to have some kind of 'fun' component, so its tag wiki is incomplete.
    – Glorfindel Mod
    Oct 3 at 8:58

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I'll answer regardless of the tags, based on the answer someone (including me) might later edit the tag wiki(s).

Hidden feature in Stack Exchange is just a hidden feature, general case of something useful (i.e. a "feature") that isn't well known. It might be linked somewhere, but just not popular or known by many.

Easter egg in Stack Exchange context is a secret trigger that is inserted on purpose to some common feature, to expose a new feature, or a "secret" feature on its own (not part of other feature), but that was made on purpose a secret from the beginning, as a fun gesture.

Easter egg can be seen as a sub-set of hidden features, that much is correct.

So, what are the differences? Those are few I can think of now, might add more later:

  • Easter egg is made hidden/secret on purpose. "Hidden" feature might be hidden just because it isn't linked anywhere, or not popular, but it wasn't done on purpose by the developers.
  • Fun aspect: Easter Egg will always be funny for some people, once they learn about it.
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  • Are these distinctions worth actually keeping two separate tags though? On other sites, if two concepts are so similar/related that new users are highly likely to use them interchangeably, I generally recommend synonymising the tags. Oct 3 at 10:02
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    @Randal'Thor are they the same? Making a series of keystrokes to summon a unicorn on your screen seems different to series of keystrokes that activate formatting or anything more practical. The aspect of "they are not well known" doesn't really seem like the most prominent detail about these two. It's a bit like saying that mouse and keyboard should be combined on SU because they both have the trait of pressing buttons.
    – VLAZ
    Oct 3 at 10:06
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    @Randal'Thor yes they are different enough to justify separate tags. If nothing else, Easter Eggs are only small sub set of Hidden Features, so taking example from a different site, it's like The Last Jedi questions will always, by definition, be also Star Wars questions, yet they have their own tag as well. :) Oct 3 at 10:23
  • @VLAZ I still don't really get the difference. I guess if I need to ask any more questions related to such things, I'll use both tags and let the MSE regulars edit as they see fit. Oct 3 at 15:25
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    @Randal'Thor simple difference: is it something practical but not very well described? For example, did you know that you can try to "upload" an image but if you paste the URL of something that was already uploaded to SE, it would merely be formatted as a link, without uploading again? That's a feature. Which is not really obvious, or (to the best of my knowledge) well documented. Is it something that only exists to be amusing? Then it's not practical, it's just an Easter egg. For example, entering <[^>] in chat. So, there is your difference: practical or amusing.
    – VLAZ
    Oct 3 at 15:37
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Hidden features may also be things like Cisco Systems undocumented router features (configuration commands that do not show in help but if you know the complete command you may use the feature.)

Easter eggs rarely have functionality beyond displaying a message, art, or credits. You may not be able to stumble upon them in use of the software/hardware. Think about kids going on scavenger hunts for eggs. They may look in places atypical for an egg. You’d look in similar places in software looking for an Easter egg. 🥚̊⃝̢̋⃞̸̷̴⃦̣̜̙̖̦⃕̄̃̀̎ͣ̊͢⃝̢

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