Exhibit A:

Profile copying does not correctly copy empty age field

I just copied my profile from SO to meta. I had not given a date of birth in SO but I had entered date for meta.

After copying my profile in meta has correct information in other fields but the age field. I was expecting that the age field would be empty because it was empty in SO.

[bug] [profile-copying]

Exhibit B:

Why does Jeff Dislike Meta So Much?

On this question , Jeff comments: "I try to pretend meta doesn't exist".

Why does Jeff hate Meta so much? As Meta's parent, doesn't this seem like bad parenting? Shouldn't Jeff love all his (web)children? Isn't he afraid Meta will grow up with a complex?

[meta-meta] [discussion] [fun]

My question: Why in the name of all that is good and computable does Exhibit B appear as the top related question on Exhibit A?

  • 5
    HA HA HAHA HA HA HAA HAH AHAHA +1 Commented May 3, 2010 at 19:40
  • 2
    The only words shared between the two questions are "does", "I", "so", "to", "meta", and "a". They don't even share "not" because one post exclusively uses contractions while the other exclusively doesn't. Wow.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Commented May 3, 2010 at 19:43
  • Well, both contain several common words such as "meta", "the" and "and" ;) Commented May 3, 2010 at 19:45
  • 5
    Actually, I would have thought RMS and Jobs are exactly the same kind of person.
    – nb69307
    Commented May 3, 2010 at 19:55

5 Answers 5


A uses the word "meta", so it is obviously meta-meta. That's a keyword in B, so there's a very strong connection right there.

  • Hmm. I didn't expect to be correct with that... Commented May 12, 2010 at 13:05

This is easy. Clearly the system foresaw this very question that you asked. That is, those two questions are mentioned in this question, giving them a common link, and the system saw this linkage coming.

  • 7
    It's not a bug, it's telepathy!
    – mmyers
    Commented May 3, 2010 at 21:00
  • 3
    telepathy is magic, but this is just science. the SO engine is merely utilizing the many-universes principle of quantum mechanics, and evaluating several possible universes to determine which one is most likely to occur. in this case, it correctly determined that the universe in which @balpha would eventually post this question was the most likely. see, nothing magic, just simple science that any third-grader could do for a science fair project.
    – Kip
    Commented May 4, 2010 at 12:53

You aren't considering that having a Richard Stallman open letter as a Related question of a Steve Jobs open letter would indeed be very correct, as even when they most likely will show diametrically opposite views and arrive to very different conclusions, this linkage would allow you to view the different points of view that can be had on the topic at hand.

(source: shamusyoung.com)

Having said that, I would never imply that they are both relatives. I would never do that. They don't even look the same.

Now, why those two posts are related, I have no idea.

  • 2
    But Woz could pass for Stallman's brother. I had not noticed this before. Commented May 3, 2010 at 20:06
  • 1
    +1 for the office reference
    – Earlz
    Commented May 3, 2010 at 20:42
  • 2
    You could at least get the office reference correct. It should be Ricky Gervais ;-) Commented May 3, 2010 at 22:35
  • @Simon: it's an obviously flawed Gauss Bell. If I were to make it, I'd of course include Ricky Gervais and Steve Jobs in there.
    – perbert
    Commented May 4, 2010 at 1:26

A clue to understanding this:

   "profile copying correctly copy empty age field"
   "bug OR profile-copying"

Puzzle: what did I change to fix it? balpha is not eligible to answer as he knows the answer already :)

  • Mmm... disabled comparing tags and html body when determining related questions? Because meta. I had not given a date of birth in SO but I had entered date for meta. melted down to meta meta ?
    – Pekka
    Commented May 4, 2010 at 7:53

The same way this question is related to Badges algorithm in SO

  • 4
    eny meny miny mo....
    – Earlz
    Commented May 3, 2010 at 21:59
  • At least they're both tagged [algorithm]
    – balpha StaffMod
    Commented May 4, 2010 at 6:59

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