See the following two questions:

Truthfully, I'm not here to make accusations, the title was just a cheap reader hook. Still, I'd like to call attention to the following characteristics:

  • The content is almost identical;
  • The format and wording/style are literally identical;
  • The questions were posted within 20 minutes of each other.

Which raises the following questions:

  • Is it kosher to copy another user's question verbatim and just change a few words?
  • Do the "Hidden Features" questions inspire copycats?
  • Weren't the "Hidden Features" questions [un]officially classified as grandfather questions, like the Cartoon question - having historical value but not intended as an ongoing series?
  • If so, isn't it time we started putting disclaimers on these historical questions?
  • Is there any language/product/technology that isn't eligible to be a "Hidden Features" question? And if not, aren't new "Hidden Features" questions just noise?


  • 2
    1 hour, 22 minutes to go. Also, I will be posting a new question on here titled "New “Hidden Features” meta-questions: Coincidence, Copycat or Sock Puppet?"
    – Jon Seigel
    Jun 4, 2010 at 2:39
  • It is now Friday!
    – Jon Seigel
    Jun 4, 2010 at 4:03
  • 1
    Yet another one just got added: stackoverflow.com/questions/3000344/…
    – Ether
    Jun 8, 2010 at 19:11
  • And it's not even wiki. KILL IT! SEND IT TO HELL!
    – Aarobot
    Jun 8, 2010 at 19:52
  • @Ether: Should some of the older hidden-features be cleaned up by closing?
    – Gnome
    Jun 9, 2010 at 20:13
  • 3
    I (and most of people, as you can see in the votes) think "hidden features" questions are very interesting, and should not be discouraged. Jun 10, 2010 at 19:06
  • 5
    @Tom: How did you arrive at the conclusion that "most people" believe that the hidden-features questions should continue to be asked? The top-ranked Hidden Features of C#?, has 1317 net upvotes out of 100,977 unique views. That's a 1.3% upvote rate, which means that most viewers didn't think the question was all that great.
    – Aarobot
    Jun 10, 2010 at 19:54
  • 3
    Compare to Most useful free .NET libraries? with a 2.2% upvote rate. My highest-voted technical question, Thread-safe cache libraries for .NET, has a 4.6% upvote rate. hidden-features questions and most of the other massively-upvoted bikeshed questions actually have very poor upvote rates, they just have stupidly high views; many less-viewed technical questions that are actually questions do much better.
    – Aarobot
    Jun 10, 2010 at 19:57
  • 1
    @Aarobot I think SuperUser is a good place for sharing and exchange of ideas, not only Q&A Jun 11, 2010 at 13:55
  • 10
    @Tom: "Super User is a collaboratively edited question and answer site for computer enthusiasts." Trilogy/Stack Exchange sites are not for "sharing and exchange of ideas" - they are for getting questions answered. If you want to shoot the breeze, go to Reddit or something.
    – Aarobot
    Jun 11, 2010 at 15:21
  • 1
    @Aarobot If I can give my user opinion, they should change it. And it's not just my opinion, as I said, many people here like to use this site for discussions, not only Q&A. But I can only opine. Jun 14, 2010 at 12:35
  • 2
    @Tom: The fact that many people like to use Stack Overflow for discussions only proves that many people are ignorant. Stack Overflow's Q&A format is exactly what distinguishes it from Reddit and every other programming forum. Trust me, that ain't going to change, and if it does, it'll be the death of the site. Now just quit this argument while you still have some dignity left.
    – Aarobot
    Jun 14, 2010 at 13:45
  • 1
    @Aarobot The discussion topics are useful, and they will not make thie site became like Reddit. Reddit is a every purpose site, SO is a programming one. Jun 14, 2010 at 17:33
  • 3
    @Tom: Yes, the discussion topics may be useful to someone. That does not mean that they belong on Stack Overflow. And Reddit has a programming-specific site, so that argument is totally bunk.
    – Aarobot
    Jun 14, 2010 at 18:52
  • 7
    @Tom: "...but they should" - that is your opinion and not a fact. I don't see how SO is a better system for discussions than Reddit, given that the default interface has no chronology and that you can only respond to the original question. Nevertheless, even if you do think that Stack Overflow has a better UI for discussion questions, that doesn't mean that they should exist on the site. It's rather like me being called in to fix some mind-numbing helpdesk issue because I'm quicker and more clear-spoken than the sysadmin. That may be so, but I have more important things to do.
    – Aarobot
    Jun 16, 2010 at 17:09

3 Answers 3


I like the idea of putting disclaimers on grandfathered questions, something like "This question is being preserved for historical and informational value, but DO NOT EVEN START TO THINK that this is an appropriate question for the new post-modern Stack Overflow, and any similar questions created will be summarily closed."

I find them annoying and of limited value.

  • 4
    Stack Overflow is post-modern? Jun 4, 2010 at 3:00
  • 8
    @Andrew, Stack Overflow is post-apocalyptic. Jun 5, 2010 at 15:36

Yes, they inspire copycats, since another was recently created.

I was also under the impression old "hidden features" questions are grandfathered. At this point, closing them as unreal and locking should send the message they are not to be repeated, much like other grandfathered questions.

If they stay open and unlocked, it sends the message that they are okay and should be repeated.


The hidden features questions are quite popular (look at the upvotes and number of answers it has received), just a minority few wants this closed.
Annoying to few, liked by many.

  • 6
    That can be said of any subjective question. Can we stop rehashing this inane argument? Votes don't work the same way for subjective vs. technical questions - they don't have the same meaning, and these questions were locked by the moderators. Anyway, this question wasn't about whether they're "liked" or "annoying", you didn't directly answer any of my questions, which I even helpfully put in point form, so -1 for you.
    – Aarobot
    Jun 8, 2010 at 13:06

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