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Screenshot of the "login data too old" error

Please show/tell people where you log out instead of just pointing to the FAQ. I have been a member for quite some time and I had NO idea where to log out. I had to go to meta.SO and do a search to find How do I log out of Stack Overflow?

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Could the words "logging out" possibly link to a page that destroys your SE cookie to let you reloggin? The chat login process is seriously buggy when you try to get in. Every time my "data seems old" I have to try multiple computers to log back on chat –  Ben Brocka Oct 15 '11 at 23:56
    
@SirTapTap a subtle distinction (especially to you,as the end-user), but strictly speaking that isn't a chat error... Just saying' –  Marc Gravell Oct 16 '11 at 10:38
    
@MarcGravell I don't think we're talking about the same thing, there's very clearly an error as once I hit the "data seems old" screen I often log in and out several times on multiple SE sites trying to log into chat after every operation, 90% of the time it doesn't work, I'm just thankful I stay logged in for a couple weeks. –  Ben Brocka Oct 17 '11 at 13:13

1 Answer 1

I am very open to suggestions for rephrasing that message (also, improving the login process for chat.SE is on the radar), but what you're suggesting is not going to work.

First of all, there's no "requirement". The point of the "possibly logging out before" part (which was added only a few months ago) and the reason for adding it is the following:

When people see

Please log in to any Stack Exchange site.

they often turn this into

Please be logged in to any Stack Exchange site.

and answer "But I am already logged in to foobar.stackexchange.com!"

What we're trying to convey with the "possibly logging out before" is that this answer doesn't count. The "Your login data seems too old" error message is a very generic one; it just means that there is some sort of global login data stored in your browser, but it's invalid in some way. Exactly how it is invalid is something we cannot tell you, because that would be a huge security hole.

So what we tell you instead is to get a fresh cut of global login credentials, and you get those at the time you log in to a site. That's why we ask you to log in somewhere, and that's why "logging in" and "being logged in" is crucially different here. And if as "somewhere", you choose a site where you're already logged in – well, you obviously can't log in again until you log out before.

So much for explanation; if you have good ideas how to phrase this in a short and sweet message: Hit me. Using a different language that has less ambiguity between "logging in" and "being logged in" doesn't count :)

Now for your request. You're asking us to tell you where to log out; the problem is that if we knew where you're logged in (if you are at all), we wouldn't be having this issue in the first place. But as explained above, the "logging out" part isn't the main point anyway.

If, on the other hand, your main point is about the discoverability of the logout link on the SE sites (it's not quite clear from your question), then this really has nothing to do with chat. In this case, maybe open a new question and explain why you didn't find it and where you would have expected it instead.

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After reading this I understand that it's not related to chat. So the question really boils down to. "Where do I log out?" And in this particular case I think the message should either tell me where I do this (I was looking around on my account page ) or just link the text in the message to meta.stackoverflow.com/users/logout –  Nifle Oct 16 '11 at 13:47

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