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I usually keep SO and SF open in separate tabs of my browser and I check them from time to time for new questions I am interested in. To keep them up to date, I have to refresh the page every time I visit it: would it not be better to include an auto refresh in the front page of the two sites? Say, for instance, a refresh every 5 to 10 minutes, so you just have to activate the tab and see the update immediately.

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This should have a 'feature-request' tag. Meta SO should let me do this stuff... –  jjnguy Jul 12 '09 at 16:40
    
@jjnguy: Tagged it for you. –  Jon Skeet Jul 12 '09 at 17:28
    
TY ! –  jjnguy Jul 12 '09 at 18:49
    
Only 5 more up-votes jinguy (2009-07-12:21:36 BST –  ChrisF Jul 12 '09 at 20:36
    
:) Yup, I cherish that day! –  jjnguy Jul 12 '09 at 20:46
    
Meanwhile, a live indicator has been added. Though on Stack Overflow: "Stack Overflow has a massive amount of activity so we have decided to limit this feature to tags only. Both the "newest" and "active" tab will have updates after first selecting a tag or tag combination." –  Arjan Aug 25 '12 at 7:55
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6 Answers 6

I think that would put way too much load on their servers.

Lots of people don't care to have the page refresh as often.

Your best solution would be a browser plugin to auto refresh the page for you. I know firefox has extensions to do that. (I'm not sure about other browsers)

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I don't beleive this needs to be appointed as an actual feature. If you want to keep the sites refreshing, you can use Firefox and the Tab Mix Plus extension's Auto Reload feature.

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Autorefresh can be very annoying though - if you're just about to click something and the page changes, that can be really surprising.

The update bar at the top is one thing, but I don't think I'd want a full page refresh - at least not in the current display format.

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Auto-refresh the top bar would be nice. –  Wernight Sep 22 '10 at 14:33
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If this is desired strongly enough, maybe they could do it like the status bar that tells you "n new answers have been posted" when you are writing an answer. That would just put an information bar at the top of the screen, but wouldn't steal focus or force a screen redraw or anything like that.

Another thought: you could make it like the Facebook homepage: only check for an update when the mouse is moved somewhere over the page (so that you are not hitting the server to update minimized windows, or windows in non-focused tabs).

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Although I wan the page to be refreshed constantly, I want it to refresh on MY TERMS. In other words, WHEN I CLICK THE REFRESH BUTTON.

If you want an auto-refresh, load a firefox plugin that does autoreload.

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Conditional Boolean-Refresh isn't such a bad thing :) See my response. –  Jonathan Sampson Jul 13 '09 at 0:01
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Roll your own solution. Greasemonkey-up a quick script using jQuery that periodically gets the front-page questions. Any question with a date newer than the first question on your page, you add to your page and delete that same number of questions from the bottom of the stack. That way you always have the twenty or so newest questions.

To address Skeet's concern about items vanishing/moving when you go to click on them, cause the service to wait while your mouse is over any particular question. This is nothing more than setting a boolean value when you enter/exist the hot-zone and checking that value before you update your stack.

You can create this on any subdir of Stackoverflow you like since they have a 404 page that doesn't change the url entered. Set your script to run on www.stackoverflow.com/live-ticker and you're all set. You can use $.get and $.post from the jQuery library to get the data you need from the front page.

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