A lot of mention has been made of the seriousness of Stack Overflow (and presumably Server Fault). Would it be a good idea to turn smilies :-) into actual images as per phpBB in questions and answers?

  • 11
    can you change the title.. you're really asking if smilies should be turned into images, which is different from asking if smilies (i.e. in text) should be allowed. – Kip Jun 29 '09 at 14:21
  • 3
    I'm still waiting for a flounder smiley: ") – mmyers Jun 29 '09 at 17:08
  • @mmyers meta.stackexchange.com/questions/636/… – nyuszika7h Feb 26 '11 at 19:29
  • 4
    When you paste code into Skype and it gets replaced with smiles all over the place, you feed bad... – Benjamin Crouzier Oct 6 '11 at 20:05
  • 1
    Why in the world is this downvoted? Both this and the accepted answer appear to have received votes simply on popularity. None of the top answers have a hint of explanation or discussion. I understand that people don't want emoticons (fair enough), but let's hear why that is. – jvriesem Apr 21 '16 at 19:54

17 Answers 17


Please god no.

| improve this answer | |
  • 3
    This marks the first gold badge on MetaSO. ROFL – TheTXI Jul 2 '09 at 17:03
  • 1
    The populist badge makes relatively easy to get a gold badge. Remove the populist badge! :P – Vinko Vrsalovic Jul 2 '09 at 20:53
  • 10
    I think this deserves a gold badge – Jeff Atwood Jul 5 '09 at 5:57
  • 4
    I have a question, are Ponies even eligible to win badges? – Brad Gilbert Jul 7 '09 at 14:14
  • 4
    what? Do you have a problem with ponies? – TheTXI Jul 7 '09 at 14:16


  • 6
    Why are there little hearts in your text? :O – Jeff Davis Jun 29 '09 at 15:50
  • 1
    Yeah, I had to look twice @ that too... o_O – GalacticCowboy Jul 2 '09 at 16:23

I will kill anyone who does this.

Just kidding! :)

  • 7
    -1 for "just kidding" – rightfold Sep 28 '11 at 15:55

If I wanted smilies, I'd go to Yahoo answers

| improve this answer | |

"Allowed"? Are we going to have a new close option? "Use of emoticons" is a reason to close a post?!?!

I can see it now...

closed as Using Emoticons by Ólafur Waage, malach, yshuditelu, TheTXI, dbr and Rich B

| improve this answer | |
  • Hehe good point. – Ólafur Waage Jun 29 '09 at 14:36
  • I wasn't suggesting questions be closed, or answer be down voted because of the use of emoticons; simply, the system that is SO, shouldn't encourage the use of emoticons by translating :) into an image as the OP was asking. – Timothy Carter Jun 29 '09 at 14:42
  • @yshuditelu: I was just teasing all the folks here who seemed not-so-keen on the emoticons :P No big deal! – Stu Thompson Jun 29 '09 at 14:45

Textual Smiles are fine. But all the graphics to represent them are lame. And it would be a shame to increase the "graphics load" of the finest text-only site on the internet.

| improve this answer | |

Ugh, no. My wiki at work does this, and it busts "count(*)", transforming it into "count" followed by a star gif. :-( :-( :-(

| improve this answer | |

I would say no. I believe a humorous answer now and then is a good thing and perfectly acceptable. However, I would see adding graphical smilies as encouragement to use them and I don't think its behavior that should be encouraged. It doesn't need to be discouraged, but I wouldn't want it to be encouraged.

| improve this answer | |

Here you go, your flounder smiley, mmyers:fish

  • 1
    A flounder smiley should have both eyes on the same side of its head. – mmyers May 16 '11 at 15:49

If you really care about smilies that much, use Firefox and write your own smiley-to-image converter in Greasemonkey.

| improve this answer | |

I love getting information from SO. Apart from fun questions, smileys always iritate me (even ASCII character based ones). If you want to be sarcastic, hint that something is not to be taken seriously, I suggest rephrasing in most cases. There is the odd case of humor - which most the times speaks for itself. And do not forget people with non English background.

But most of all, inline graphics are most distracting.

So please do not add this feature.

| improve this answer | |
  • Agreed, but could it be that ASCII smilies are helpful for readers who are less fluent in English or who do not share ones culture, and who may thereby not be equipped to pick up on ones attempts at subtle hints of humour or sarcasm? – mas Jul 9 '09 at 7:11
  • 2
    Whats wrong with ASCII smilies (o_O) ? – TJ L Jul 13 '09 at 19:14

If you really want smilies you can add them yourself.

The site could host a small number of often used smilie images so that you could do this for example.

| improve this answer | |

No way! Only the text smilies are universally loved. Everyone has different taste in graphical smilies.

| improve this answer | |
  • Text smilies are not universally loved. – ale Nov 23 '15 at 2:41

If it's added, it should be an option. I kind of like them, but I think the development staff have bigger fish to fry. Besides... you can always do it manually if you must.

alt text

You may ban my account now:)


The amount of emoticons a person uses on a professional site like SO.com is inversely proportional to their intelligence.

| improve this answer | |
  • 29
    Inversely proportional? So what's the intelligence of someone who uses zero emoticons? – Tom Hawtin - tackline Jun 29 '09 at 14:25
  • 10
    Depends whether you use integer or floating-point math. – Hilarious Comedy Pesto Jun 29 '09 at 14:35
  • 1
    Sorry, but I don't agree... they can sometimes be useful, they can sometimes add more meaning than you could ever say in a lot of words. I do believe it's something that can be overused, but to say that it is "inversely proportional to their intelligence" sounds quite offending to be honest. – fretje Jul 2 '09 at 7:44
  • 6
    I don't use them in answers (at least I don't recall having done so), but they can be useful in comments. Remember that on the Internet, no one can hear your tone of voice. A well-placed smiley may turn a comment from insulting to funny. You should try it sometime. – mmyers Jul 2 '09 at 16:55
  • 5
    You're a real jackass, mmyers. ;-) – Shog9 Jul 2 '09 at 17:01
  • 3
    I hope your family dies, Shog9. 8D – GEOCHET Jul 2 '09 at 17:07
  • @fretje: It was meant to be offensive. We could do without any user who thinks smilies are an effective form of communication. – GEOCHET Jul 2 '09 at 17:10
  • 3
    Much like people who think ellipses are a great way to express themselves... – GEOCHET Jul 2 '09 at 17:10
  • 2
    Ellipses are the BEST way to express one's self... They indicate indicate thoughtful reflection... and are not at all trite or misused... – Shog9 Jul 2 '09 at 17:12
  • 1
    @Shog9: For extra points... insert them... where they make... no... sense... A triple double bonus is collected if you screw up the ellipses.. – GEOCHET Jul 2 '09 at 17:15
  • 2
    @Rich B "We could do without...": Sorry, but what "we" are we talking about, you're confusing "we" with "I" me thinks. – fretje Jul 3 '09 at 12:06
  • Stereotype much? – womp Jul 8 '09 at 22:37
  • @womp: As much as possible. – GEOCHET Jul 8 '09 at 23:07
  • 1
    @Rich B: are you William Shatner!? – perbert Jul 28 '09 at 18:21
  • no , i don't think so – Mirage May 2 '11 at 17:20


(Answer added for the purposes of downvoting.)

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .