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Okay, maybe this is a minor nit and doesn't affect anybody else, but I end up on the Careers page at least 10 times a day because the image expands and resizes after the page has started loading. If you never show ads there that are of a different size, can we please fix the dimensions of those ads so that the HTML doesn't adjust vertically as the images render?

When I'm navigating around Stack Overflow I click on the "Questions" tab in the main nav. Then I click on my "favorite tag" link on the right. When the page first loads, this tag is near the top, but if I don't click fast enough, the careers ad (usually, or some other ad in some cases) expands and loads into its place, and that's where my click goes. It is not a deal-breaker but it is frustrating.

I'm going to label this as a bug though it is probably by design that the content could support any height of ad. In the short term if all the ads are the same size I think <div id="hireme"> could have a hard-coded height so that the content doesn't jump around to accommodate the image(s) as they load in.

To show the actual symptom for those who can't reproduce it, here is how the questions page looks when I initially load it:

enter image description here

Sometimes I try to click that [tag:sql-server*] under "Favorite Tags" too quickly. By the time my click registers, here is what the actual sidebar looks like:

enter image description here

Is there any way (since it sounds like we can't assign dimensions to these ads) that the Favorite Tags div could be moved above the ad? I understand the goal of advertising but I also understand how inadvertent clicks contributing to an inflated click-through count is not helpful either.

The workaround of course is to be more patient and wait for the page to fully render.

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B-b-b-b-browser? –  user7116 Apr 30 '12 at 14:05
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Sorry, this happens in Firefox, but I'm sure the HTML resizes the same way in other browsers as well (I just don't use them very frequently). I just reproduced it in Safari as well. –  Aaron Bertrand Apr 30 '12 at 14:20
    
"If you never show ads there that are of a different size"....but we do, so that's not an immediate option. –  Nick Craver Apr 30 '12 at 14:21
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You must have a slow connection to the ad server, mine resizes almost instantaneously (and I'm behind a corporate firewall). –  user7116 Apr 30 '12 at 14:23
    
@NickCraver can't the dimensions of the ad be part of the metadata that comes along with the ad choice, and hence part of the rendering? –  Aaron Bertrand Apr 30 '12 at 14:26
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Hm... I've never had this problem in any browser, and I have pretty slow internet. –  U2744 SNOWFLAKE Apr 30 '12 at 14:27
    
@sixlettervariables I don't think my Internet connection is slow. speedtest.net/result/1923970892.png –  Aaron Bertrand Apr 30 '12 at 14:28
    
@AaronBertrand - no they cannot, that choice isn't made by the server that renders the page, it's made by adzerk. –  Nick Craver Apr 30 '12 at 14:31
    
So @minitech when you go to stackoverflow.com/questions the ads on the right side don't move at all, the images are clearly visible the moment the page loads, and you don't see any visual shifting of the content whatsoever? –  Aaron Bertrand Apr 30 '12 at 14:48
    
@NickCraver I'd even be amenable to making it a fixed height equal to the height of the largest ad you support (I'm sure the domain of ad sizes is known), knowing that will mean some white space in some cases. –  Aaron Bertrand Apr 30 '12 at 14:50
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I've run into this consistently as well. I just started going to my favorite tags pages from the "Interesting" tab (since the favorite tags are on top, there is no vertical jump to worry about). I don't find the "Questions" tab all that useful (unfiltered) anyway on SO =) –  jadarnel27 Apr 30 '12 at 16:02
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@jadarnel27 yes that's true, though occasionally in doing so I spot a question I can answer that falls outside of the tags I typically monitor. Ah yes, the "Interesting" tab has exactly the layout I like - favorite tags above the ads. Perfect, thanks. –  Aaron Bertrand Apr 30 '12 at 16:04
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Just a short question...why not create a bookmark? Would save you one click at least. –  Time Traveling Bobby Jul 2 '12 at 7:26
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You might want to consider using AdBlock. I use it because the adverts, although very fast, load so much slower compared to the rest of the page. –  thirtydot Jul 2 '12 at 12:28
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@thirtydot I agree that blocking the ads altogether is a workaround, but I don't think it's the one that will get any official endorsement from the network. :-) I am not opposed to seeing the ads, and I don't even care if they take a long time to load. But their speed should not impact the layout of the page or hamper my experience in any way. –  Aaron Bertrand Jul 2 '12 at 12:35

2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Thanks for bringing this issue up. While I totally respect that this is an annoying aspect of our sites, it is . This is because adzerk serves our ads for us, and they control the height etc. To be fair, at the time of writing this, the load is so bloody quick that I doubt you're able to reliably click the favourites link before the ad loads. Still, I understand your issue.

The short version is: we're not going to change it anytime soon. Sorry for the inconvenience!

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I begrudgingly accept this; thanks for the info. –  Aaron Bertrand Oct 29 at 2:17

I'm glad I'm not the only one to suffer from this (two in distress make sorrow less); I've almost clicked accidentally all of the Stack Exchange Ads for this sneaky behavior.

It would be cool to fix this, but I'm aware it's certainly caused by a slow connection to the adzerk server from my side (I'm from Italy).

enter image description here

share|improve this answer
    
pretty sure adzerk is on Amazon EC2 –  Jeff Atwood Jul 2 '12 at 8:17
    
@JeffAtwood Yep, it's on Amazon S3. –  systempuntoout Jul 2 '12 at 8:33

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