What features of Stack Exchange sites do you consider "hidden"?


61 Answers 61


All the editing keyboard shortcuts act as toggles, including add hyperlink.

  • 11
    I didn't even know there were keyboard shortcuts!
    – Tyler
    Commented Apr 17, 2010 at 3:59
  • 4
    what are the shortcuts? where can I find them? Commented Nov 16, 2010 at 16:07
  • 11
    @Gabriel: Hover over the buttons above the textarea and a tooltip will tell you what it does and what the keyboard shortcut for it is.
    – Sam Hasler
    Commented Nov 17, 2010 at 20:27
  • Thanks @Sam never noticed that. Commented Nov 18, 2010 at 14:38

It's not a very hidden feature that, on Stack Overflow, the HTML <title> of each question page will have the most popular tag prepended.

What is hidden is that if the person names the question with the tag anywhere in the title:

[Java] How do I do this thing


How do I do this thing in Java

It will not also prepend java - at the beginning of the HTML title!


Comment short links are now available: http://[site]/posts/comments/[id]

To obtain comment id you can extract it from the full comment link or use dev tools to inspect the HTML.

For example: https://meta.stackoverflow.com/posts/comments/14689


If you hover over a username in the comments section of a question you get to see their reputation.

  • this appears for all comment's usernames (questions and answers on all sites), good find!. slight niggle is i often only on the second or third time. the username link's title attribute contains the rep, and it's a slow fetch, and then is forgotten after some seconds.
    – ocæon
    Commented Apr 3, 2019 at 18:22
  • Confirmed. It still works (2020-10-28). And also in posts (questions and answers), hovering over a user's reputation display. Yes, it is not much, but it shows the exact score, e.g. 1,217,083 instead of the immediate display "1217k". Commented Oct 28, 2020 at 21:58

I can't believe no one has mentioned descriptions of Stack Exchange functions and data hidden mostly in tooltips. This came up most recently in this question about privilege percentages. @Arjan commented "As always on these sites: when in doubt, hover your mouse over the text for more detail."

  • I think the example you give has been replaced, by a single "next privilege" progress bar on the right, i.e. instead of % progress next to each privilege?
    – sourcejedi
    Commented Jul 8, 2019 at 15:41

On the personal profile page there is a Tags list just before Badges. There, some numbers are written before and after the tag, like

162 × 302

When you hover on that tag you can see the total statistics of

  • How many questions you have asked within that tag
  • How many questions you have answered in that tag and
  • How many upvotes you have received in that tag

For example, if I hover on the tag, I see these on the tooltip:

Asked 71 non-wiki questions with a total score of 56. Answered 230 non-wiki questions with a total score of 162.

302 is the sum of total questions and answers in the tag
162 is the sum of votes for answers in the tag


Recently I found one more hidden feature.

In the comment box, you can not notify more than one user, that is, you can not use @ more than once (until it is inside tilde). Doing so, you will get the warning below.

Only one additional @user can be notified; the post owner will always be notified

  • sorry can't see the point of making it bold. Commented Jun 27, 2012 at 7:14
  • okay.np. you are right
    – xkeshav
    Commented Jun 27, 2012 at 8:23

You can get raw view of post comments (either question or answer) by typing such URL:

https://meta.stackexchange.com/posts/[post id]/comments

For example comments on this very question: https://meta.stackexchange.com/posts/8211/comments

Working on all sites of course.


View all linked questions of any post using the format: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/linked/<post_id>

These could be further sorted as:

  1. Hot
  2. Newest
  3. Votes
  4. Active
  5. Unanswered

For example https://stackoverflow.com/questions/linked/3102819 shows a page having all questions linked to/from "Disable same origin policy in Chrome" post.

  • 4
    That's not hidden when it is needed. At the bottom of the Linked column on the RHS of the Q&As there's a link "see more linked questions…", such as for the question you've used as an example. This feature is hidden, i.e. still available but unlinked, for Q&As with only a few linked questions that all fit on the RHS.
    – Mark Hurd
    Commented Sep 3, 2013 at 17:44
  • 2
    @Mark it's still useful as a standalone way to view linked questions, many of the "hidden features" here are available somehow otherwise people won't have much chance of finding them. :) Commented Oct 3, 2013 at 6:48

While I answered this question in Stack Overflow: How does the Stack Overflow Search Input work?

I found this hidden feature: If you type your search expression than clicking Ctrl + Enter it will open a new tab or window with the results for your search expression.

For some browsers you will need to allow popups in the site to make it work.

For the sake of completeness The keydown (javascript - jQuery)code looks like this:

function(c) {
    if (13 == c.which && c.ctrlKey && d.val()) 
        return window.open("/search?q=" + encodeURIComponent(d.val()), "_newtab"), !1
  • 2
    Ummmm that is no hidden feature of stack overflow. That is just a feature of browsers in general....
    – Naftali
    Commented Jun 21, 2012 at 19:00
  • 11
    @amanaPlanaCAnalPAnaMA. ummmm. Nope. try it at google. You can see they wrote code to make it work.
    – user173320
    Commented Jun 21, 2012 at 19:03
  • @Norm I have rolled back your edit because this got nothing to do with Stack Exchange, it's a built-in behavior of Chrome: productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/chrome/d2jrjkng900 (one might start "hidden features of Chrome", but it will be off topic in MSE) Commented Aug 3, 2015 at 6:02
  • @ShadowWizard Hm, I did try it with Google search for comparison and it didn't open a new page there...
    – user259867
    Commented Aug 3, 2015 at 6:05
  • @Norm I suspect it's due to client side scripting being used by Google, overriding the browser default behavior. SE's search box is plain <input type="text" /> without a submit button, no auto complete or anything like that. Commented Aug 3, 2015 at 6:08
  • 1
    'ctrl+enter for open in tab' is a trend supported by many sites and many browsers, with varying dependancies and degrees of success. this is still of note if stackexchange currently adds support for it.
    – ocæon
    Commented Apr 3, 2019 at 15:38

Putting a parameter ?lastactivity at the end of the question's URL will redirect you to the last activated (modified) post.

E.g. https://meta.stackexchange.com/questions/8211/?lastactivity

  • 3
    Nice, did you find it yourself or after reading this? :) Commented Oct 3, 2013 at 6:38
  • 4
    @ShaWizDowArd - Nope. Actually today my internet connection is slow. And clicking on modified 1 min ago in the meta.stackoverflow.com/questions?sort=active page redirected me to questionsURL/?lastactivity which I was able to see that in browser's URL bar.
    – Himanshu
    Commented Oct 3, 2013 at 6:41

Stack Overflow Meta

enter image description here


You can determine the total number of active users by looking at how many people have the "Teacher" badge (posted at least one upvoted answer):


  • 32
    Is that right? I interpret the badge description as just users who posted at least one answer that was voted up, which should be number less or equal to the total number of users that posted at least one answer. Right?
    – peSHIr
    Commented Jan 15, 2009 at 14:22
  • While the "Teacher" badge isn't exactly a perfect measure of user activity, the fact that we can do measurements of how many people have which badges is valuable. For any predetermined badge criteria, see how many people meet it. Poor man's marketing statistics really.
    – meustrus
    Commented Jun 27, 2014 at 0:02

Associating your Stack Overflow login with another Stack Exchange site gives you +100 free reputation on that site, which adds to your combined total. Most people on Meta probably know about this already, but there's nothing I can find about it in the FAQ.


When providing links, people have always been writing

[Link text][1]

  [1]: http://example.com/

That doesn't look very great if there's a bunch of them

[Lorem ipsum dolor][1] sit amet, [consectetur adipisicing][2] elit, sed do eiusmod tempor
[incididunt ut labore][3] et dolore [magna aliqua][4]. Ut enim ad [minim veniam][5], quis
[nostrud exercitation][6] ullamco [laboris][7] nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat.
[Duis aute irure][8] dolor in [reprehenderit][9] in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu
fugiat nulla pariatur. [Excepteur sint occaecat][10] cupidatat non [proident][11], sunt in
[culpa qui officia][12] deserunt [mollit][13] anim [id est laborum][14].

  [1]: http://example.com/1
  [14]: http://example.com/14

However, you can make your post look better (don't let links interrupt you) by omitting the number (or custom texts) and simply use link texts. This will also make your link section look better:

[Lorem ipsum dolor] sit amet, [consectetur adipisicing] elit, sed do eiusmod tempor
[incididunt ut labore] et dolore [magna aliqua]. Ut enim ad [minim veniam], quis
[nostrud exercitation] ullamco [laboris] nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat.
[Duis aute irure] dolor in [reprehenderit] in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu
fugiat nulla pariatur. [Excepteur sint occaecat] cupidatat non [proident], sunt in
[culpa qui officia] deserunt [mollit] anim [id est laborum].

  [Lorem ipsum dolor]: http://example.com/1
  [id est laborum]: http://example.com/14

In fact, this has surely messed up some FAQs in Markdown source. Editing those FAQs is somehow a suffering if you want to add/modify links.

  • 7
    but editing text used in links means having to edit it twice...nice alt anyhow
    – user308037
    Commented Oct 17, 2017 at 2:05
  • 2
    Wait, what? A non-CW answer here??
    – EvgenKo423
    Commented May 3, 2021 at 9:53

If you click on a question that was migrated, it takes you to the question on the site of migration. If you then click on the "Migrated" (with capital M) link, it will then take you back to the revision history on the first site. [Note: it used to take you to the old question stub which was cooler]

  • And at the original one can also see the edit history prior to the migration (by, as usual, clicking the time next to "edited", if applicable).
    – Arjan
    Commented Apr 27, 2011 at 17:28
  • this answer may need updating. behaviour may be incosistant or may have changed, for example, this page it'self was originally posted on stackoverflow, and clicking the 'migrated from' link goes directly to the old revision history, not the stub. is this simply because the stub no longer exists?
    – ocæon
    Commented Apr 3, 2019 at 18:46

Shortcut to the Advanced Search Options

Just search for an empty (or 1 character length) query and you will see the page.

Note: it is not recommended to link to this URL, use it for personal use only as this method of accessing might disappear in the future leaving a bunch of broken links.


You can run queries against the database for any Stack Exchange site with the Stack Exchange Data Explorer.

I did not know about this feature, or see it linked, until I read a Meta Stack Overflow post which used this example.

Query for Most Common Comments on Stack Overflow.

*Although now I know it exists. I've found the link in the footer.

  • 2
    So its not really hidden then :P
    – Lix
    Commented Apr 5, 2013 at 10:07
  • 5
    It's hiding behind a curtain but it's feet are still showing.
    – Amicable
    Commented Apr 5, 2013 at 10:11

The Review icon appears when you reach a Reputation of 500, enough to perform review actions. It then appears in the top bar between the recent achievements icon and the help icon.

Until then you can still use this link to show history of edits suggested to you! https://stackoverflow.com/review/suggested-edits/history

  • 7
    Not hidden anymore.. Commented Jun 2, 2013 at 11:02

There are dev subdomains.

  • For stackoverflow.com, it is dev.stackoverflow.com
  • For meta.stackexchange.com, it is meta.dev.stackexchange.com (cannot be linked from here directly because the renderer rewrites it to the nonexistent URL dev.meta.stackexchange.com)
  • For area51.stackexchange.com, it is dev.area51.stackexchange.com
  • For stackexchange.com, it is dev.stackexchange.com
  • (I don't know what the domains are for other network sites. I tried probing for them and failed. They might not exist.)

If you go to the homepage of one as a non-staff user, you'll see:

Warning: this site is for Stack Exchange developers and staff - it is used for development and testing.

To log in, you must have received an invitation email. Click the invitation link in the email to log in!

I'm guessing that means that the data there is writable and periodically refreshes to match the production ("real") data, and that modifications to that data are separate from modifications to the production data.

However, you don't need to be logged in to fetch many page resources, like the CSS and JS, which exist there in non-minified form, which can be useful if you want to do some digging into the front end source code.

I learned about this from @double-beep.


Shortening questions and answers URLs

Given the following URL to an answer on Stack Overflow:


We can delete the middle text part, change the question to 'q' and leave only the answer number and still have a working URL : :)


Try it!

While this way is not recommended, it is supported and works - according to what @genesis wrote.

For further shorthand (especially when writing comments where every character counts), you can drop the protocol from the link:


Try it!

If you're linking to a post on the same site, you don't even need to specify the site's domain name - just the path, eg:


Try it!

  • 11
    Hidden feature? You can click on the link button under any question to get this link...
    – Kobi
    Commented Aug 31, 2011 at 11:45
  • 5
    That's not really "hidden" - try the "link" link below the question! (This gives you an additional /168089 in the end, which can be safely removed - this number is you user number, it indicates that it was you who posted that link.) Commented Aug 31, 2011 at 11:46
  • @Kobi: Almost :-) Commented Aug 31, 2011 at 11:47
  • 5
    @Kobi you mean "share". ;) Commented Jul 3, 2013 at 13:08
  • 5
    you can also use just /a/ instead of /q/ for answers Commented Apr 16, 2018 at 13:15

You can browse directly to answers you have downvoted using a hidden feature of the stackoverflow.com/questions page if you have the answer's unique ID (available on the Reputation Calculator page).

(NOTE: Why you would do this anymore given that the answers are now hyperlinked directly from the Reputation tab is questionable, but it still works anyway.)

  1. Browse to the Reputation Calculator and locate a line representing an answer vote.

    They look like:

    3 XXXXXX (-1)

    where XXXXXX is the answer's unique identifier.

  2. Browse to https://stackoverflow.com/questions/XXXXXX where XXXXXX is that answer identifier.

  3. You will be redirected to another URL in the format https://stackoverflow.com/questions/YYYYYY/name-of-the-question-here/XXXXXX#XXXXXX

    ...which is a link to the answer that you downvoted on the question YYYYYY. That URL you've been directed to is also the one you'll see if you hover over the "link" hyperlink on the answer that you downvoted.

(This actually works for any answer as long as you know the id XXXXXX, not just ones that you've downvoted.)

  • Nice! You can just search the reputation calculation page for instances of "(-1)" to find all the downvotes you ever cast. :) Commented Aug 24, 2011 at 12:44
  • 4
    @danny It would be more appropriate to post your alternative method as a separate answer rather than making such a radical edit to mine. I've rolled your edit back.
    – razlebe
    Commented May 22, 2013 at 5:23
  • @ShadowWizard: Of course, that will show you only down votes on answers. Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 21:53
  • 1
    @Scott I think back then downvotes on questions also cost 1 rep. Commented Jun 10, 2017 at 11:07

You can reply to yourself in chat.

  1. Go the the perma-link of the message you want to reply to, and get the message number.
  2. Type this number preceded by a colon :message id
  3. Type your message and send!
  • "Now you can send yourself a WhatsApp, email and not just a text, uh oh oh oooh, uh oh oh oooh" (and now a SO chat too!) (Song: ID Cover of Gelt, Lipah Shmeltzer)
    – user308037
    Commented Oct 17, 2017 at 2:08
  • You can also use this to reply to messages which are in the future (by editing your message, or predicting the message ID), or even to write a message which replies to itself!
    – pxeger
    Commented Dec 5, 2021 at 15:51
  • @pxeger it's very hard to reply to future messages when chat is active (i.e. there are messages in several chat rooms), as the message you reply to must be on same chat room. Commented Sep 8, 2022 at 11:41

Hidden answer sorting options

In addition to the 3 default sorting options:

  • Highest score (default): scoredesc
  • Date modified (newest first): modifieddesc
  • Date created (oldest first): createdasc

There are also the opposite of them:

  • Lowest score: scoreasc
  • Date modified (oldest first): modifiedasc
  • Date created (newest first): createddesc

These values were added on Revisiting changes to answer sorting menu: better use of space, moving menu into a dropdown, ascending/descending sort options, clearer descriptions. However, while the options have been removed from the dropdown visually, the values are still accepted by the system. Note that this has to be manually entered on the URL, so the easiest way is to select a different sorting option from the dropdown to display the full URL with the sorting parameter answertab, then change the value, and execute it.

Note that by using a hidden answer sorting option, the dropdown will show "Highest score (default)" since it cannot find the corresponding option and is the fallback option. However, the hidden sorting will still be in effect.


I was going to post a request asking for questions determined to be duplicates to be listed on the original question, but I found that there was already a feature request for it and that it was because you can find questions that are duplicates of this one by looking at the "Linked" sidebar. Cool!

(Note: also appearing there, are questions, comments, etc. that link to this question.)

  • 1
    As an aside: the "linked" section does not only show things linking to a question, but also links from posts and comments of the question itself.
    – Arjan
    Commented Apr 13, 2011 at 21:26

In the timeline of a post (e.g. this timeline) the timestamp is a permalink to the timeline event, e.g. this one. This will show the timeline, with the specific event highlighted.


The rickroll link on the declined flags help page is an actual rickroll

enter image description here

  • how is it a rickroll if it's clearly and non-deceptively labelled?
    – starball
    Commented Nov 29, 2023 at 7:40

You can determine if a question that you have a link to is spam/rude deleted or regular deleted without needing 10K tools by viewing the 404 page. If you see no similar questions list then the question was spam/rude deleted: Spam

Otherwise the question was deleted by some other means: Not Spam


You can view the error page of any given site (presumably without actually causing a server error) by going to the /error subdirectory of the site. Example: https://stackoverflow.com/error

Any other random word afterwords seems to just go to the 404 page meaning that the /error page is special.

Some of them have rather unique images in their error page.


You can force-sync your per-site Meta reputation with the main site reputation by going to the per-site Meta and clicking the Ask Question button.

Normally there is a delay between when the reputation a per-site Meta profile becomes synced with the main site profile reputation but I have noticed that trying to ask a question on a per-site Meta will cause them to sync immediately.

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