I guess my question is still a bit hypothetical at this point, but I'm wondering...

At what point does a "hack" solution become so common that it it isn't really a "hack" anymore?

As in the "life-hack" is so common and so well known that it becomes the conventional solution.

I guess Shog9's "Replace All Your Cleaning Supplies With Vinegar!!! #LifeHack" got me thinking about the issue. Using vinegar as a cleaning solution isn't really a "hack". People have been using vinegar that way for about as long as people have been making vinegar... So is it still a life-hack?

Please don't get too wound up about the vinegar. I'm asking about the broader issue not the specific example

2 Answers 2


This is a tricky question, but luckily...

Based on other Metas, I don't think the answer to this question matters

The answer to this question would be the basis for acting on this meta: Should we be downvoting conventional answers?

The answer there was pretty much "no", though perhaps there is some more discussion to be had there. But going with that answer, it seems that it doesn't really matter if a solution is hacky or not... you vote for it based on its merits as a useful, efficient solution.

This Meta might also be relevant: Do questions asking for common-sense advice really count as asking about lifehacks?

The answer is "Yes", mainly because what is common-sense for one person might not be for another, which again shows that the answer to "What is a hack?" doesn't seem to matter.

Leave the definition subjective, since it at most affects your upvoting/downvoting, which is already subjective

I think those two questions kind of point towards the answer to your question not mattering. Draw the line for yourself whether you think something is really a lifehack. This will be a subjective process just as the entire upvoting/downvoting process is, and since it sounds like about the only effect it will have is how you upvote/downvote (I mean, we can tell people not to downvote for certain things in Meta, but that's not going to stop everyone), I think it's perfectly reasonable to leave the distinction of "Is this hacky or not?" subjective and not try to lay out rules for what counts as a hack. Such rules would only matter if we were closing questions or flagging answers based on it. Unless such a policy gets traction, we don't really need to try to define whether or not something is truly a lifehack.


As Zach already mentioned, it's difficult to determine what's a common/standard method, because it's all depends on the country, culture and the background.

Most of the people here don't share their origin, but something obvious for the First World (Americas/Europe), won't be obvious for the Third World and especially for Fourth World, where they can simply go to the supermarket and get some vinegar.

This site suppose to be worldwide and timeless (like Wikipedia) and over 60% of the world population are not using the Internet yet and this is increasing every year, so the common/conventional method which we think it is useless (as minority of the world population using Internet), could be actually a useful hack for majority who will join our community in the future and possibly they can share their "hacks" from their culture (possibly surprised that we didn't know something).

See also:

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