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


56 Answers 56


To find the age of specific site, you can view the profile of the site's Community account, then the "member for" is the site age since this is the very first account ever created on each site.

For example on puzzling site: (URL template is //[site].com/users/-1/community)

Easier than going to the full sites list and looking for the site you want. :)


Quick access to see user's review stats: daily, weekly, monthly and total, plus last time he/she reviewed.

URL format is: https://stackoverflow.com/review/user-info/[review queue ID]/[user ID]

Review queue ID list:

  1. Suggested Edits
  2. Close Votes
  3. Low Quality Posts
  4. First Posts
  5. Late Answers
  6. Reopen Votes
  7. ? (future use, or maybe available on specific non SO sites only)
  8. Broken Links
  9. ? (future use, or maybe available on specific non SO sites only)
  10. Triage
  11. Help & Improvement

Some examples, using Geoff as model (and rene for the latest queues):

This is just raw data, unformatted and of course can be changed or taken down at any point.


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!


On per-site-metas, there is a tab for showing users by participation. According to the tooltip it shows: Users most active in the last 60 days (combined number of posts, votes, comments and edits).

The URL for this tab is https://[site].meta.stackexchange.com/users?tab=participation.

The main site does not have such a tab. But simply by removing the meta. part from the above URL, changing it to https://[site].stackexchange.com/users?tab=participation you get another list of users. Although it does not seem to be documented anywhere, it is quite probable that it orders users by activity on the main.

It works even for Meta Stack Overflow Meta Stack Exchange (which, as it is not a per-site-meta, does have reputation tab and not participation tab in the list of users): https://meta.stackexchange.com/users?tab=participation.

  • 1
    Hmm... I appear to be first in there - and I'm not that active on Meta so something is off in the calculation. :) – Shadow The Vaccinated Wizard Mar 21 '14 at 18:46
  • @ShadowWizard Yeah, right. Over 10000 comments and 10000 votes, with 1700+ edits to boot. – How About a Nice Big Cup of Mar 22 '14 at 4:32
  • 1
    @cheapeffectivedietpills true but still, there are surely others much more active! ;) – Shadow The Vaccinated Wizard Mar 22 '14 at 6:41

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 Jul 8 '19 at 15:41

Stack Overflow Meta

enter image description here


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


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

  • @ocæon no such button for comments. If you have a share button for comments, it's result of some userscript you installed. – Shadow The Vaccinated Wizard Apr 3 '19 at 21:10

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.


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
  • 1
    Ummmm that is no hidden feature of stack overflow. That is just a feature of browsers in general.... – Naftali aka Neal Jun 21 '12 at 19:00
  • 11
    @amanaPlanaCAnalPAnaMA. ummmm. Nope. try it at google. You can see they wrote code to make it work. – user173320 Jun 21 '12 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) – Shadow The Vaccinated Wizard Aug 3 '15 at 6:02
  • @ShadowWizard Hm, I did try it with Google search for comparison and it didn't open a new page there... – user259867 Aug 3 '15 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. – Shadow The Vaccinated Wizard Aug 3 '15 at 6:08
  • '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 Apr 3 '19 at 15:38

When you want to search for text found in code blocks use the code: search option:

too soon code:viewDidLoad

This will search for the words too and soon in the title and/or body text and for viewDidLoad in code blocks.

The code: option is not documented in the advanced search tips or the /help/searching page.

There is a feature request to update those pages.

  • 1
    Might be one of the most well known and used hidden feature but yeah, hidden it is. :) – Shadow The Vaccinated Wizard Jul 25 '18 at 19:26

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 Apr 3 '19 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". – P.Mort. - forgot Clay Shirky_q Oct 28 '20 at 21:58

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 Jan 15 '09 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 Jun 27 '14 at 0:02

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.

  • 3
    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 Sep 3 '13 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. :) – Shadow The Vaccinated Wizard Oct 3 '13 at 6:48

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.


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


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 – Daniel Springer Oct 17 '17 at 2:05
  • Wait, what? A non-CW answer here?? – EvgenKo423 May 3 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 from blahblahblah.com" 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 Apr 27 '11 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 Apr 3 '19 at 18:46

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


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 Apr 5 '13 at 10:07
  • 5
    It's hiding behind a curtain but it's feet are still showing. – Amicable Apr 5 '13 at 10:11

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. :) – Shadow The Vaccinated Wizard Aug 24 '11 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 May 22 '13 at 5:23
  • @ShadowWizard: Of course, that will show you only down votes on answers. – Scott Jun 9 '17 at 21:53
  • 1
    @Scott I think back then downvotes on questions also cost 1 rep. – Shadow The Vaccinated Wizard Jun 10 '17 at 11:07

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 Apr 13 '11 at 21:26

Shortening questions and answers URLs

Let's assume the following URL to answer:


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


Just try it!

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

  • 10
    Hidden feature? You can click on the link button under any question to get this link... – Kobi Aug 31 '11 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.) – Hendrik Vogt Aug 31 '11 at 11:46
  • @Kobi: Almost :-) – Hendrik Vogt Aug 31 '11 at 11:47
  • 4
    @Kobi you mean "share". ;) – Shadow The Vaccinated Wizard Jul 3 '13 at 13:08
  • 3
    you can also use just /a/ instead of /q/ for answers – MEE Apr 16 '18 at 13:15

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) – Daniel Springer Oct 17 '17 at 2:08

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.


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