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, 2009 at 14:21
  • 3
    I'm still waiting for a flounder smiley: ")
    – mmyers
    Jun 29, 2009 at 17:08
  • @mmyers meta.stackexchange.com/questions/636/…
    – Alexia
    Feb 26, 2011 at 19:29
  • 4
    When you paste code into Skype and it gets replaced with smiles all over the place, you feed bad... Oct 6, 2011 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, 2016 at 19:54

17 Answers 17


Please god no.

  • 3
    This marks the first gold badge on MetaSO. ROFL
    – TheTXI
    Jul 2, 2009 at 17:03
  • 1
    The populist badge makes relatively easy to get a gold badge. Remove the populist badge! :P
    – Vinko Vrsalovic StaffMod
    Jul 2, 2009 at 20:53
  • 10
    I think this deserves a gold badge Jul 5, 2009 at 5:57
  • 4
    I have a question, are Ponies even eligible to win badges? Jul 7, 2009 at 14:14
  • 4
    what? Do you have a problem with ponies?
    – TheTXI
    Jul 7, 2009 at 14:16


  • 6
    Why are there little hearts in your text? :O
    – Jeff Davis
    Jun 29, 2009 at 15:50
  • 1
    Yeah, I had to look twice @ that too... o_O Jul 2, 2009 at 16:23

I will kill anyone who does this.

Just kidding! :)

  • 7
    -1 for "just kidding"
    – user146787
    Sep 28, 2011 at 15:55

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


"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

  • Hehe good point. Jun 29, 2009 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. Jun 29, 2009 at 14:42
  • @yshuditelu: I was just teasing all the folks here who seemed not-so-keen on the emoticons :P No big deal! Jun 29, 2009 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.


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


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.


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, 2011 at 15:49

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


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.

  • 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, 2009 at 7:11
  • 2
    Whats wrong with ASCII smilies (o_O) ?
    – TJ L
    Jul 13, 2009 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.


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

  • Text smilies are not universally loved.
    – ale
    Nov 23, 2015 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.

  • 29
    Inversely proportional? So what's the intelligence of someone who uses zero emoticons? Jun 29, 2009 at 14:25
  • 10
    Depends whether you use integer or floating-point math. Jun 29, 2009 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, 2009 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, 2009 at 16:55
  • 5
    You're a real jackass, mmyers. ;-)
    – Shog9
    Jul 2, 2009 at 17:01
  • 3
    I hope your family dies, Shog9. 8D
    Jul 2, 2009 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.
    Jul 2, 2009 at 17:10
  • 3
    Much like people who think ellipses are a great way to express themselves...
    Jul 2, 2009 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, 2009 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..
    Jul 2, 2009 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, 2009 at 12:06
  • Stereotype much?
    – womp
    Jul 8, 2009 at 22:37
  • @womp: As much as possible.
    Jul 8, 2009 at 23:07
  • 1
    @Rich B: are you William Shatner!?
    – perbert
    Jul 28, 2009 at 18:21
  • no , i don't think so
    – Mirage
    May 2, 2011 at 17:20


(Answer added for the purposes of downvoting.)


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