One of the most popular questions on Stack Overflow, What's your best programming joke? has recently been deleted. Why was this done, rather than migrated to programmers.SE? Does this not fall into the broad purview of Programmery questions, or is it really off topic?

I'm somewhat neutral on this myself, as I usually oppose "fun" questions that are there simply for fun's sake, but this is a rather old SO question and historically other similar questions from SO's infancy have been tolerated with grandfather status. Can anyone make a strong argument for or against?

  • 16
    Short answer: They didn't want it either.
    – mmyers
    Commented Jan 26, 2011 at 20:57
  • 1
    Same issue of here and here. It may be wiser to advance at one of those two. But @mmyers (Yay! Your name is back!) has the short of it.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Commented Jan 26, 2011 at 20:58
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    @mmy, you should got with "Michael 'mmyers' Myers" - People with names like that rule!
    – jjnguy
    Commented Jan 26, 2011 at 21:03
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    No they ​don't.
    – mmyers
    Commented Jan 26, 2011 at 21:04
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    Poor Reddit is gonna have another broken link. =( Commented Jan 26, 2011 at 21:22
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    I was going to reopen and migrate it, but Programmers already has a What's your favorite programming joke? of their own that they closed. Commented Jan 26, 2011 at 21:34
  • @Bill: We discussed many of these questions in chat with ChrisF and the other Programming mods. That's why they didn't get migrated.
    – mmyers
    Commented Jan 26, 2011 at 21:43
  • @Bill: perhaps it might be appropriate to reopen, migrate, then merge with Programmers' existing question.
    – Ether
    Commented Jan 27, 2011 at 20:12
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    @Ether: I'd be okay with that if the Programmers community/mods want those answers. Commented Jan 27, 2011 at 21:22
  • @mmyers: booooo.
    – Ether
    Commented Jan 28, 2011 at 21:36
  • 2
    If you guys have the content from the old thread I suggest moving it over to quora. I am /sad that this was removed. quora.com/What-is-the-most-popular-computer-programming-joke I am surprised there isn't a jokes.stackoverflow yet. That would be a good place to migrate these non-sequitur humor threads to.
    – LLBBL
    Commented Oct 13, 2011 at 3:50
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    Dear god. If humans all viewed the world this way there would be no joy in anything. What a miserable boring corporate site SO has become.
    – Jez
    Commented Jan 13, 2019 at 19:20

2 Answers 2


Well, this was deleted for the second time recently so I suppose a proper epitaph is due.

The joke question was a fixture of the very, very early days of Stack Overflow, marked by exuberance and experimentation.

It was never a programming question; most of the answers were not programming answers. It is of a kind with questions like "Best place to meet female programmers (for romance)?" - the best argument you could make for it being on-topic was that its text contained the word "program".

And it did not age well.

When first it was deleted in '11, many remembered it fondly; by '18, we mostly just got complaints about it. Long ago locked, frozen in time and immune from edits or other forms of curation, it had clearly reached a point in time when whatever value it might've offered to the greater Internet paled in comparison to the cost of keeping it.

  • 1
    Were you the one who deleted it? Commented May 30, 2018 at 22:04
  • 1
    Nope, but I probably should have. I did vote to close it, once upon a time.
    – Shog9
    Commented May 30, 2018 at 22:05
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    "it did not age well" -- people are way too uptight these days, IMO. :/
    – Ether
    Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 19:17
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    the "cost of keeping it"? Clearly you guys have no sense of humor ;)
    – Andy
    Commented Jun 29, 2018 at 5:00
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    You can read the jokes that were deleted in this web archive
    – Bilow
    Commented Aug 8, 2018 at 13:26
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    "the cost of keeping it". Seriously, how much effort can a readonly, locked question take? Have you considered that maybe it's actually StackOverflow that "didn't age well"? StackOverflow used to allow more types of questions without people getting up in arms, and now it "isn't very welcoming". Commented Nov 12, 2018 at 14:47

For those still looking for the jokes: Waybackmachine provides some snapshots ;)

Overview of all snapshots here.

Most recent version as of April 5th, 2018 here.

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