The first hidden features question was asked earlier today.

Now in my opinion these aren't questions that are suited for the WA site - there is no definitive answer for "What little known tips and tricks do you have for x?"

There are a number of points that I have issues with over hidden feature questions:

  • What makes a 'hidden feature'?
  • Are questions such as these appropriate for the WA site - for larger web apps such as Google there will always be features that users will not know about, and there is certainly no chance of an answer which encompasses every 'hidden feature', so there will never be a 'correct' answer.
  • There are already duplicate features listed - such as for the tilde operator (1, 2) and for the site: operator (1, 2) - as questions of this style get longer it will become more and more difficult to find and remove these duplicates.

While I do agree that there is a large amount of good information that comes out of these hidden features questions I don't think that SE is suited to this.

Now I did a fair bit of searching on Meta and there appears to be no real precedent over hidden feature questions, but there seems to be a fair amount of moaning here and here, both for and against. I created this on the MWA because to me it is important to set some form of precedent over whether hidden features questions should be allowed (and in what form) before we have hidden feature questions for multiple applications.

2 Answers 2


This type of question isn't even a question. It's a topic group baling answers together looking for a question to hitch their wagons to. It's a crock pot of potpourri which in reality is a blog post with voting on paragraphs and list items.

The constructive, valid version of these would be as answers to legitimate questions users are actually having that could be solved by one of these nuggets.

Thrown into one long page of sundry means you have to frame a reason the "hidden feature" would even see use. And that's why these are often "hidden" from the mainstream. No one has a pressing need for them. No matter the size of the web app.


I asked the question.

I don't think there should be a deluge of them, but I believe they're important in that they share the nuggets of information people have acquired about certain sites.

For instance, I'm surprised daily at the number of people that have no idea how powerful Google's syntax was. Before I asked the question, I didn't know about the '~' operator for Google.

Already the question is proving its worth.

If we keep them controlled to web-apps that actually have hidden features, we'll be much better off.

There should be some rules:

  1. Community Wiki
  2. If there ever is an 'accepted answer', it should be a compiled list of all the answers.
  3. Tight regulation over which Web-applications are 'worthy'. This is inherently subjective, but is important.
  • Just wondering why regulation is necessary over worthiness of web apps?
    – x3ja
    Jul 1, 2010 at 23:29
  • 2
    @x3ja It can easily devolve into a "Hidden Features of X" where "X" is every web application on the planet. There are webapps that What you See Is What You Get; and these WebApps don't have hidden features, and we just waste time and energy by opening questions on them. Jul 2, 2010 at 2:09

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