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I was browsing SuperUser.com looking for a way to fix Widnows (Tantalus level effort, but still), and I noticed a duck asking me if it could help me.

enter image description here

My first thought was that my browser was infected!

However, after a little bit of searching, apparently it's an April Fools prank. I eventually came across questions on various meta boards (physics, meta, meta April Fools) explaining it was an SE-wide phenomenon.

OK, so now I know that my browser is not infected. How should I, or could I, have known it was a prank and not an infection if I could not have found other people asking about it?

migrated from superuser.com Mar 31 '18 at 19:09

This question came from our site for computer enthusiasts and power users.

  • 2
    -1 for spoiling – Strangelovian Mar 31 '18 at 16:25
  • 1
    Har har. After the adrenaline shot of thinking I was infected, I'll spoil your prank :D – YetAnotherRandomUser Mar 31 '18 at 16:27
  • good question. points awarded. – Hongkie Mar 31 '18 at 16:44
  • Answers could, and should, address the question in the abstract, not just for the specifics, which would make it a technical question suitable for the non-meta site. – YetAnotherRandomUser Mar 31 '18 at 19:48
  • Relevant is the question why you're on a site who's code you don't trust...or was this is a case of a drive by ducking? – Twisty Impersonator Apr 1 '18 at 4:11
  • You have been ducked! – Moab Apr 11 '18 at 20:44
6

You could've figured it out because the Stack Exchange network is the only site affected. Go to any other site, and the duck is gone.

This tells you the problem is on Stack Exchange, not on your computer, which excludes malware being the problem.

  • Couldn't malware detect I'm browsing SE and only then manifest itself? – Kamil Maciorowski Mar 31 '18 at 17:09
  • 2
    Why on earth would malware specifically target SE? That just makes no sense. Especially given that SE is a site for the power user, where most users will be able to understand and deal with spyware. – LPChip Mar 31 '18 at 17:29
  • 1
    Why? Because you just said you wouldn't recognize it as malware. – Kamil Maciorowski Mar 31 '18 at 18:15
  • @KamilMaciorowski Yes, given that it is site-specific, the chance of it being malware is slim to none, especially on SuperUser where the poweruser is visiting. If it happened on every site, then I would know it was on my system, or my browser. But given that it only happens on Stack Exchange sites, it was quite obvious a feature on this site. Sorry, I don't know how else to explain, if you still don't get it. Malware targetting a specific site just is a huge waste of development resources, because the chance an SE user gets infected with this malware is slim. – LPChip Mar 31 '18 at 18:47
  • My point is: this only works because there are people like me who "still don't get it", including antimalware software developers. If everyone thought like you then targeting this site would be a great investment of development resources. Imagine a casino that can nail every cheater. No cheater goes there because it's a waste of effort. "Whoever is here is not a cheater" is essentially true; but if the casino makes it their method of recognizing cheaters, then it will become the best place for a cheater. – Kamil Maciorowski Mar 31 '18 at 20:19

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