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I have been encountering errors since today (Jul 25) morning while trying to log in to Stack Overflow.

  1. Like I do everyday, I navigated to Stack Overflow log in page from my browser's (Chrome) bookmark manager. I use Google account to log in to Stack Overflow. Refer screenshot #1.

  2. Since today (Jul 25) morning, I have to hit the Enter button twice or click the Sign in button to commence the log in process. Refer screenshot #2.

  3. After logging in, I am taken to the Confirm page. This happened even after I cleared my browser cache by pressing Ctrl + Shift + Delete and clearing every thing from the beginning of time, which I hoped would be sufficient enough! Refer screenshot #3 and #4.

  4. Every time I click the Log In button on the Confirm page, I get to see the most knowledgeable cat I have ever seen. Sometimes, the top level profile links appear correctly with my user name, refer screenshot #5. If I click on my profile, I am able to get to the web site. However, sometimes I don't see all the links at the top section. Refer screenshot #6.

  5. EDIT 1: Screenshot #7 shows same type of error occurs even while trying to log in through meta. Screenshot #8 shows the content settings on my browser and screenshot #9 shows the cookies currently saved on my machine. I have Windows XP SP3 installed on one laptop and Windows 7 on another laptop. The browser settings haven't changed and it has been the same for long time.

  6. EDIT 2: I was finally able to fix the issue on the Windows XP machine by completely uninstalling Google Chrome and re-installing it. That worked. Now, I am trying the same on Windows 7 laptop.

I always use Chrome to access Stack Overflow. I do access the web site through either of my two laptops. Does that have anything to do with this error? I did try clearing the cache on both the machines but of no luck.

Is it just me or has any one else encountered this error?

I can get to the site eventually but this happens every time I log in.

EDIT 3: I am able to reproduce the error with the following sequence of events. This is what I have found after struggling with the error. Until recently, I have been mainly logging in to SO using Windows XP machine and very ocassionally using Windows 7 machine. It seems that logging in to both the machines at the same time causes this problem. Probably, yesterday was the first time I logged in to both machines at the same time. That's why I am having this issue since yesterday.

Sequence of events:

  • Windows XP and Windows 7 machine had Google Chrome installed to begin with.
  • I faced the issue as described in this question.
  • Uninstalled Chrome from Windows XP laptop.
  • Cleared all temp files and registry entries on Windows XP laptop using CCleaner.
  • Re-installed Chrome on Windows XP machine and no changes were made to browser settings.
  • Only action carried out on the browser after re-install was to import my old bookmark manager settings.
  • Tried to log in to SO. No issues and everything worked as I expected it to work.
  • Uninstalled Chrome from Windows 7 laptop.
  • Cleared all temp files and registry entries on Windows 7 laptop using CCleaner.
  • Re-installed Chrome on Windows 7 and no changes were made to browser settings.
  • Only action carried out on the browser after re-install was to import my old bookmark manager settings.
  • Tried to log in to SO. Error occurs again as explained earlier. Now, Windows XP machine also is not working.
  • Closed the browsers on both the machines.
  • Re-opened the browsers on both the machines and pressed Ctrl + Shift + Delete to clear the browser cache.
  • On Windows 7 machine tried to log in to SO, same error.
  • Ran CCleaner on both Windows XP and Windows 7 machines to clear all temporary files, caches and invalid registry entries. I have selected every option in CCleaner except Wipe Free Space.
  • On Windows 7 machine tried to log in to SO again, same error.
  • Now, I am back to square one.

Is this an expected behavior when accessing SO from two different machines at the same time?

Screenshots:

#1: SO log in page.

SO log in page

#2: Google accounts log in page

Google accounts log in page

#3: Log in confirm

Log in confirm

#4: Clear browsing data

Clear browsing data

#5: Something bad has happened with all the top level links

Something bad has happened with all the top level links

#6: Something bad has happened without all the top level links

Something bad has happened without all the top level links

#7: I miss Zoe, the Cat

I miss Zoe, the Cat

#8: Browser settings

Browser settings

#9: Cookies on the local machine

Cookies on the local machine

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4  
Why did you black-out your rep/badges? It's public info – Michael Mrozek Jul 26 '11 at 0:57
1  
@Michael Mrozek, if you really want to know, just view her profile... – Thursagen Jul 26 '11 at 0:58
1  
@Ham You mean the one I linked to? – Michael Mrozek Jul 26 '11 at 1:00
    
Yep. I suppose @Siva is a little modest. – Thursagen Jul 26 '11 at 1:01
2  
+1 So many nice pictures. – M. Tibbits Jul 26 '11 at 1:05
    
Looking into it - seeing some oddities in the logs and trying to repro. – Jarrod Dixon Jul 26 '11 at 3:49
1  
What version of XP were you using when you were having these issues? And is this OS running normally or is it virtualized? – Jarrod Dixon Jul 26 '11 at 4:42
    
Also, on the right side of the address bar, what is that cookie icon with a red X? – Jarrod Dixon Jul 26 '11 at 4:46
    
Seems that's the "block cookies by default" setting in chrome - but you're getting our cookies, since we see you're logging in. – Jarrod Dixon Jul 26 '11 at 4:59
    
I'm not even able to log in with Google with the chrome://settings/content -> Cookies -> Block sites from setting any data, even after allowing both Google and Stack Overflow - can you try changing that setting back to Allow local data to be set and logging in? – Jarrod Dixon Jul 26 '11 at 5:20
up vote 5 down vote accepted

When we send you off to your OpenID provider for authentication, we save where you should be returned to in session state; this "return to" url was improperly encoded for certain urls and caused Chrome to not redirect you back.

This will be fixed in the next build.

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