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Okay, maybe not a nasty residue, but they did leave behind persistent "super cookies" in my browser's localStorage.

Each Stack Exchange site left four three values: wb:isparticipating, wb:unreadcount, wb:wearing, and nuCounter (This value not Winterbash related).

Since these values are not removed by, nor visible to, standard cookie cleaners, I thought people might like to know to look for and remove them.

It would be nice if SE ran a script to clear these values. If not this time, maybe at least for future Winterbash-like activities?

share|improve this question
"nuCounter"? I'm very sure that's not ours. Also, re "these values are not removed by, nor visible to, standard cookie cleaners" -- I have set my Chrome to clear data when I close it, which I do every day, and that includes the localStorage. – balpha Jan 22 '13 at 5:31
@balpha: I have a nuCounter Integer in my Local Storage as well. – animuson Jan 22 '13 at 5:33
@balpha, It was only set on those stack exchange sites that I visited during Winterbash. I just searched my scripts and add-ons and see nothing obvious that could set a value on SE domains. Also, is the lovely "Eeeek!" meme now banned? – Awesome Poodles Jan 22 '13 at 5:34
@animuson In fact I do too. Which proves that it's not winterbash-related, since winterbash is long gone. But I'm curious to find out what it is now... – balpha Jan 22 '13 at 5:34
@AwesomePoodles Some people hate the meme, some love it. I'm okay with it, but an "Eeeek" post is pretty well defined, and yours is about as far from an Eeeek post as you can get. – balpha Jan 22 '13 at 5:36
@animuson Mystery solved: "nu" stands for "new user". It counts of often the "Welcome!" box was shown to you (it's only shown ten times). – balpha Jan 22 '13 at 5:41
@balpha, Okay edited question for the "nu" value. It must be just coincidence that I only had it on the Winterbash sites. I was probably (re)authorized when I visited the SE sites without the "nu" and winterbash values. – Awesome Poodles Jan 22 '13 at 5:47
There's a special fungal cream you can get for it from your local pharmacy. – slugster Jan 22 '13 at 5:57

Because tagging this post carries an implicit accusation, let me address this part.

The nuCounter doesn't even have anything to do with Winter Bash, and all it does is count how often you've seen the "Welcome!" box in the sidebar (before you logged in). The only thing that counter is used for is making sure that this box is only shown to you ten times. This value is never transmitted to the server (nor would I see any problem with that if it were the case); the box is rendered into the page regardless, it's just hidden by default, and the JavaScript uses the counter's value to determine whether to show it or not.

The three wb: values, which actually result from Winter Bash, just contain cached results of HTTP API calls (who is wearing what hat etc.). There is no tracking going on. We figured that you don't have to download the same data on every single page view, saving both you and us bandwidth. This has nothing whatsoever to do with tracking. It's a cache.

If you (or anyone) still doesn't believe me, just run localStorage.clear() in your JavaScript console. But if you're so afraid of tracking, you probably also want to set your browser to do that automatically anyway.

As a side note, any "cookie cleaner" worth its salt should clear localStorage as well, and all browsers have such functionality built-in.

share|improve this answer
Of course we do use some analytics stuff, which you could probably call "tracking" if you wanted to. But the wb: things have nothing to do with it. – balpha Jan 22 '13 at 6:09
It carries no accusation and tracking isn't necessarily bad. Hence many of us don't blanket-delete all cookies and not everyone who uses stack exchange exchange sites would even know what you meant by localStorage.clear() -- much less want to run it for up to dozens of SE sites. (That JS only works one domain at a time.) – Awesome Poodles Jan 22 '13 at 6:37
What is the problem then? – balpha Jan 22 '13 at 6:41
The problem, and I admit it's not a big one, is a score of unused entries in browser storage. I thought that SE devs would want to be better netizens than that. – Awesome Poodles Jan 22 '13 at 6:55

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