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The top bar that says "First time here? Check out the FAQ!" Is really useful for new users (it was for me), but I think it could be more useful if it also is oriented to registered users, including a form field to log in, something like:

"First time here? Check out the FAQ! Or already user? "

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The FAQ is in the top-right corner, right next to the search bar. Past that, I can't see why the banner would be necessary. If the user has registered, it's already quite clear that it isn't their first time at Stack Overflow. It'll just be something bothersome to clear every time I visit the site.

In re-reading your question, the login button is right at the top. Because it uses OpenID, I find it more convenient to use that button to get myself a full page for logging in. Adding a banner would push the link down, which to me is far less usable than the one extra click.

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The banner which say "First time..." disappear once the user log in, so I think is not a bother thing. And I'm not talking about delete the log in page, only add a way to log in without go to that page, especially if there's people that write her OpenID URL every time and don't need those Google/Yahoo!/etc. buttons. – Tae Jun 11 '10 at 22:03

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