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I was reading a question, and the OP had entered a jsFiddle link without the http:// into the question. I wanted that to be a link, so I edited it to add the http://.

When I went to save the edit (yes, I forgot an edit summary, sue me), I got an error.

Your edit couldn't be submitted. Please see the error above.

Where's the error?

Unless I'm just blind, I don't see any errors. What's wrong with my (helpful) edit?

After staring at the screen for a bit longer, I noticed the error the message was referring to! It's on the right of the textbox, blended in with the Careers 2.0 ad.

The Error!

Can this error popup be a little more obvious? Maybe show the error with the message below the textbox?

Also, I'm guessing the OP entered the URL without the http:// just to get around this error (wonder if he noticed the popup). Can we maybe enforce this better? Like don't allow jsFiddle links regardless of whether they are clickable or not?

P.S. I copy & pasted the code into the question to complete my edit!

Helping search with/without punctuation: "Your edit couldn't be submitted. Please see the error above." - Your edit couldnt be submitted Please see the error above - "Your question couldn't be submitted. Please see the error above." - "Your answer couldn't be submitted. Please see the error above."

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@MartijnPieters: Didn't realize this was already posted. Sorry :-) –  Rocket Hazmat Feb 14 '13 at 16:32
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Not a problem; the other bug report missed the error message altogether! Only when you posted your report did I realize that that's what is wrong for the other report as well. –  Martijn Pieters Feb 14 '13 at 16:34
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This was not an obvious dupe. –  Martijn Pieters Feb 14 '13 at 16:34
    
@MartijnPieters: I'm glad I could be of help then! :-D –  Rocket Hazmat Feb 14 '13 at 16:38
    
@RocketHazmat just in case if your (better written and researched) question gets closed as a duplicate of an earlier one, consider "transforming" it into the answer to that dupe. I did that once or twice, works like a charm. If you're interested, here's an example: question -> answer in dupe –  gnat Feb 14 '13 at 16:55
    
@gnat: I guess I could answer and say "here's the error you're looking for", but I still think that the boxes are in a bad place and should be modified. –  Rocket Hazmat Feb 14 '13 at 16:57
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@RocketHazmat well in this case you probably better transform it into an answer that somehow backs up and enforces the OP complaint, like just look at this, it indeed sucks so much (another of my past dupe-transforms was like that: "hey just look how bad it is blah blah"). Although, I think it would rather be more fair to close earlier question as duplicate of yours, not vice versa –  gnat Feb 14 '13 at 17:03
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@gnat: +1 for Klingons :-D But, yeah, I could answer it and see what happens ^.^ –  Rocket Hazmat Feb 14 '13 at 17:05
    
@RocketHazmat yeah, though you probably better hold on for a while and see if maybe your question will be chosen as a "master" in dupe closing (I for one just voted for closing in that direction:) –  gnat Feb 14 '13 at 17:14
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@RocketHazmat no problem, meta concurrency isn't painful really :) –  gnat Feb 14 '13 at 17:16
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Maybe there should be red freehand circles around all error messages. That made it really easy to see. –  Eric Feb 14 '13 at 21:29
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Banner blindness; it should probably either be moved into the main content area or be more visible due to animation. Often forms will move your browser up to the error via an anchor; does SO do that hen you get? –  Ben Brocka Feb 14 '13 at 22:26
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Related, without any visible error at all in IE8: Getting “Please see the error above” but no error is visible for new questions in IE8. Comments from Bo in that question show that IE7 is okay. Both IE7 and IE8 are no longer officially supported by SE. –  Arjan Feb 17 '13 at 9:58
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Sorry about that SEO edit; it's needed for an unquoted Your edit couldn't be submitted. Please see the error above. –  Arjan Feb 17 '13 at 17:03
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We have hopefully fixed this with a one pixel red border around the elements with the error and also by lowering the contrast on the sidebar when there are errors. –  Jeremy T Mar 12 '13 at 16:29

2 Answers 2

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Here's how we plan to fix this specific issue:

  • Text fields with an error associated will now get a one pixel red border in addition to the error pop-up
  • The error pop-up itself will get a two pixel wiggle on a power of two delay, so that we get a few narrowly spaced soon after the error appears and fewer as you are presumably fixing the problems. [edit] We ultimately decided to go with lowering the contrast in the sidebar instead of the wiggle

    Having said that, here is our plan, in general, for error messages. We are hoping to finish completely by the end of this week.

Things we have already finished

  • A rewrite of about 40% of the errors on the site to make some a little easier to understand and more user-friendly. For instance, in places where we used to say "sorry, posts can't contain that content", we are now explicitly telling you what content you can't include.
  • The order of checks on submission has been changed. We now run our spam checks first, then the validation checks, then the captcha. Throwing a validation error should no longer cause you to have to fill out a captcha before you can correct the mistakes.
  • New styling. Errors are now bright red bubbles instead of maroon text blocks. We also added notification styles (blue), and each style has two different ways to close. See here: http://meta.stackexchange.com/a/167515/202998

What we are working on currently

  • Ajax errors. We're going to be running error checks on blur and also periodically. This means that you'll get errors much sooner, and issues with closing error boxes should diminish substantially because we will be automatically removing errors as you fix them.
  • As I mentioned earlier, we are adding the wiggle and the red border to make things more visible
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The problem still persists: meta.superuser.com/questions/6589/… –  slhck Apr 3 '13 at 6:07
    
@slhck We've got some more tricks up our sleeve on this –  Jeremy T Apr 3 '13 at 14:04

A common way to draw attention to form validation errors is to jump the user's screen right to the error when they try to submit via an anchor or other method. The jump instantly makes you see something changed and the error should be right about where you start reading. Since the error is off to the side one might want to animate it slightly, like with a color fade in/flash similar to the orange fade when you post a comment, to attract the eyes.

The fact that it's in the side column, where banner blindness is a significant possibility, is also problematic, but I'm not sure how that could be solved for this particular error message without obscuring the text area, since appearing below/above the text box might be distant from the actual error.

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In case of multiple errors, jumping is a bit hard. But then: another try to submit should have fixed one of the errors, so another error could be selected then. –  Arjan Feb 17 '13 at 17:35
    
@Arjan Most forms simply jump to the topmost error. That way you'll see the next error if you submit again, and the next error is below the top of the screen so it'll possibly still be in view. It's much better than leaving both/more errors completely above the current view –  Ben Brocka Feb 17 '13 at 18:22
    
It's gonna be harder to have the page seamlessly jump when posting a question, since that triggers a page reload. They could try to validate it with AJAX instead. –  slhck Feb 18 '13 at 7:16
    
@slhck AJAX validation would be better anyway...the current set up means that if you hit a validation error, fix it quickly and post again you're certain to hit a Captcha. Ugh –  Ben Brocka Feb 18 '13 at 14:21

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