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Is the notifications bar polled, or is it meant to happen instantly? I've found in the past an answer or comment is given, and the notification hasn't appeared until an hour later.

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Not instant! 5~20 minutes – Ian Elliott Jul 27 '09 at 12:52
up vote 3 down vote accepted

It's certainly not immediate. This may just be anecdotal, but it seems to me that it doesn't notify me about comments until the next time I get up/down voted.

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I hadn't noticed the upvote/downvote correlation, but it certainly takes a while for me too. I've taken to checking it just in case, even though the envelope is gray. – Kyle Cronin Jul 27 '09 at 16:41

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