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I just saw in the latest SO blog post:

7% of [stackoverflow's] overall audience is still on creaky, broken, ancient old IE6.

What do you think about putting an 'IE6 no more' kind of warning on top of the page if the user loads SO (or SF, SU, Meta...) in order to tell them about the suffering that their browsers brings on the web development community?

Also, SO has some bugs on IE6 (I noticed that the warnings messages are off)

Of course leave a button "hide forever" since some of them must be forced to use IE6 by their companies.

It would also be interesting to see how the stats evolve next month.

EDIT: I do get that SO doesn't want to alienate people. But I'm not saying "just redirect them to", it would be a warning that is possible to remove by one click. A lot of websites are doing it

alt text (image via)

I'm surprised that the SO community -so far- is against such an idea.

share|improve this question
well out of 6 answers 5 are against. maybe the wording isn't right (im not native english speaker) but you get the point. feel free to edit my post – marcgg Aug 21 '09 at 15:25
Where's the greater shame, IE6 or Facebook? – random Aug 21 '09 at 15:26
@random Facebook is a website with high traffic that's all. – marcgg Aug 21 '09 at 15:26
No problem! Thanks for clarifying your meaning. – jjnguy Aug 21 '09 at 15:31
up vote 21 down vote accepted

There are two reasons why you would still be using IE6:

  1. You have to (IT says so, some inhouse app that needs it etc.)
  2. You don't get it.

Neither of the two will be changed by a sevenup kind of message.

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"You don't get it." Maybe a warning message would help these users. And I said that it should be possible to hide the message forever if you are forced to use it – marcgg Aug 21 '09 at 15:10
So you want to force me to click something because of a problem that you don't even have? – EBGreen Aug 21 '09 at 15:11
I have the problem of spending hours every month fixing IE6 bugs... – marcgg Aug 21 '09 at 15:12
That is because you chose to support IE6. Not because I made you. – EBGreen Aug 21 '09 at 15:12
@marcgg Are you paid for this? – devinb Aug 21 '09 at 15:13
I would love to be off of IE6 and I agree that it is a horrible browser, but harassing people that have no choice is not the answer. – EBGreen Aug 21 '09 at 15:13
That is because my boss chose to support IE6 – marcgg Aug 21 '09 at 15:15
Ok, then take your problem up with your boss. – EBGreen Aug 21 '09 at 15:18
@marcgg: so you agree that your job is to support IE6. – devinb Aug 21 '09 at 15:20
@devinb: my job is to create websites – marcgg Aug 21 '09 at 15:21
@marcgg: But only for users who you approve of? – devinb Aug 21 '09 at 15:28
@devinb... seriously? Every web designer has concerns with IE 6, and despises it. If you don't, you're not in web design. If his job was to support IE he wouldn't advocate against it unless he wanted to be out of a job. – Ian Elliott Aug 21 '09 at 15:30
@marcgg/IanElliot: I am a web developer, and yes, working with IE6 is a pain. But then again, a lot of my clients are a pain, but my paycheque is based on my ability to deal with these challenges. If I told my boss that I only wanted to work on easier projects from now on, I imagine he would dock my paycheque to zero. – devinb Aug 21 '09 at 15:45
Cross platform compatibility will always be painful, but the answer is not to simply exclude those markets. If your client contracts you to support IE6 and you don't want to, then you have three choices. Get a new client, Get a new contract, or Get a new job. – devinb Aug 21 '09 at 15:48
COBOL will live on after IE6. Of that, I can assure you. – devinb Aug 21 '09 at 17:05

If you are using StackOverflow or any of the other sites in this trilogy and you are still on IE6, there is likely to be a reason for it and that reason is probably outside of the control of the person using the web browser. Putting a banner in their face telling them to switch is sort of like waving cake in front of a diabetic.

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Even thought I get your point, don't you think that out of these 7% of users there's some that use it just because they don't know? Or maybe people that would go complain to IT asking them to upgrade their browser... which will enventually get things moving? – marcgg Aug 21 '09 at 16:14
It would be impossible for me to say that there aren't some people in the 7% who are blissfully unaware that their browser is ass, but based on the demographics of people who use StackOverflow, SuperUser, and ServerFault, that number has to be absolutely paltry. I again reiterate that those who are "locked in" right now to IE6 probably HAVE talked to their IT department about getting it unblocked (or god forbid they ARE the IT department). If you really think that putting a banner up or some other message saying "you should really switch" is going to help, I will consider you extremely naive. – TheTXI Aug 21 '09 at 16:18
I'm not sure if it's going to help per se, it would just give these people another argument toward switching to IE6. But I do believe that there must be some people still using IE6 just because are unaware of the problems linked to this browser (not everyone is a web developer). Then maybe I'm naive, but after a day of fixing a broken layout in IE6 because it doesn't support simple CSS... I don't care :) – marcgg Aug 21 '09 at 16:24
"Hey boss, this website that I waste a lot of my time on tells me that I should switch to IE6 so I can use it better." I'm sure that would go over real well. – TheTXI Aug 21 '09 at 16:25
If you'd say it that way, that's for sure – marcgg Aug 21 '09 at 16:26
I'be been arguing to switch off of IE6 for years. Unfortunately, I work for a company that uses a legacy application that only supports IE6. We've been working with Microsoft for over a year on workarounds, and still have a ways to go. Installation of IE8 finally became an option about 6 months ago (we skipped IE7), but a large number of our users can't upgrade until the compatibility issues are solved. So yes, there is no point in nagging us with what we already know. (I get around this by using Chrome for all external sites, but most uses aren't lucky enough to be a local admin.) – chilltemp Sep 16 '10 at 19:54

StackOverflow probably doesn't want to alienate 7% of it's users.

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I'm not saying "stop supporting ie6", I'm saying "put a warning somewhere". It's not that bad, a lot of major websites are doing it – marcgg Aug 21 '09 at 15:08
And I complain to them every chance I get. – EBGreen Aug 21 '09 at 15:12
@marcgg "A lot of websites are doing it"... seems to me like there's a gaping flaw in that logic. – devinb Aug 21 '09 at 15:14
Rich B must be off trying to sneak into women's bathrooms or he would be all over this. – TheTXI Aug 21 '09 at 15:57
Maybe he is in a meeting... – jjnguy Aug 21 '09 at 16:03
I wish I worked for a company that scheduled meetings in the women's bathrooms. – TheTXI Aug 21 '09 at 16:10
I could see someone remoting into a meeting on their laptop from a bathroom stall...that would be a great story some day. – jjnguy Aug 21 '09 at 16:13

Why do we care?

It doesn't affect us, and like it's been mentioned before, they probably have a reason (IT requirement, legacy app etc...)

It doesn't affect Jeff & the team (they don't bother testing in IE6 any more) and it doesn't affect any of the rest of us (we don't use their computers)

So lets not get in a huff about other people's technology choices (however poor we believe them to be). Remember, we don't have all the information and their decision may in fact be the correct one for their situation.

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It affects the one of us that are web developer and needs to deal with IE6 everyday. The more websites push to get rid of IE6, the fastest we can stop caring about it. – marcgg Aug 21 '09 at 15:14
just do as the SO team has done and stop supporting it. From SO podcast #65 - Atwood: Well, using IE6 is becoming its own penalty because we have rendering problems in IE6 that we're just not going to fix any more, I mean the site will work, but it;s going to look a little weird... – Nathan Koop Aug 21 '09 at 15:21
What's worse: get them to think that SO looks bad because the people that developed it made it that way, or let them know why it's rendering badly and how they could fix it? – marcgg Aug 21 '09 at 15:40
You left out the way that a lot of people will see it "Yell at them for something they have no control over". – EBGreen Aug 21 '09 at 15:51
@EBGreen: At work I use IE6.0 only for internal apps, everything else, including my own web development, goes trough Firefox first. – perbert Aug 21 '09 at 18:34
If you are willing to pony up the extra support cost for supporting multiple browsers, I'm sure I could do that at work too. – EBGreen Aug 21 '09 at 18:38

Man, I don't get you people. We'll spend all day arguing whether or not LMGTFY is an appropriate answer or simply disrespectful, but on the other hand we're going to suggest telling 7% of the SO users to get a new browser?

A 1972 Ford Pinto is still allowed to drive on the highway, even though it is old, ugly, and pollutes like crazy. I understand the problems that IE6 creates for web developers, but if we're going to limit what you can use in order to simplify things for the developer, then we might as well just restrict it down to one browser (or go to Flash (or Silverlight!)!). Yes, it's a reductionist argument, but so be it.

Because there are still many corporations requiring IE6, the solution isn't to shove a banner in their face. Most of the audience of this site knows that IE6 is a dinosaur.

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As developers, our job is to tackle challenges. SO exists because there are many major problems that recur, and we figured we would pool that knowledge. SO exists because we don't have the choice to just "ignore any problems we don't like".

Supporting IE6 is difficult, which is why sites like SO exist. If it was easy, none of us would need any help.

On the other hand, we don't get to choose who our clients are. If some person is working at a company that uses IE6 for various (perfectly valid) reasons, we shouldn't hassle them every time they come here for something that is out of their control.

Anything fancy that won't work in IE, don't provide it in IE6. It seems to me like all the "IE6 must die" people who complain that "coding for IE6 is next to impossible", are completely forgetting that people coded for IE6 for almost 8 years, and they sure as hell did not have the fancy tools that we have.

I say, if someone is using IE6 and wants to visit SO, we should be EXTRA helpful to them, because they're already working against uphill odds.

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Does anybody here actually ever worked as a web developer? We're here talking about a huge amount of time wasted to develop for IE6. But that's not the real issue discussed here.

If you want to make things move forward, you have to take action, why waiting? Warning people that the website won't look as good as it should by using IE6 is just a small step in that direction. The more warning messages displayed, the faster IT departments will be aware that it's time to upgrade (and hopefully they will upgrade to IE8, not 7).

If you guys are worried about user experience and that extra click one will have to make, why letting people browse a website with a browser not supported without warning users?

One more thing: when Firefox tells you that you should upgrade to the next version nobody's thinking it's wrong.

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This is a bad idea, not as bad as the anti-MS zealots who won't let you browse their sites if they detect IE, but still bad.

There are a couple of machines we have at work that still need IE6 for legacy reasons, I sometimes browse to the StackOverflow sites from these machines. I don't really need to be reminded every fecking time I hit StackOverflow that I'm running IE6. Of course I bloody know it!

This is preaching to the converted and verging on rudeness.

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I said "a message that you can remove forever". It can be linked to an account or a permanent cookie. It will appear once. – marcgg Aug 21 '09 at 16:07
It's still an annoyance and what happens when I clear my cookies each night? – Kev Aug 21 '09 at 17:29

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