Possibly this is just a problem of mine1 but fairly often I have answered a question and are in the process of refining my answer or am simply refreshing the page when I get a notification telling me that there is a new comment on my answer.

This annoys me slightly as my browser usually auto-scrolls me to my last point on the page on a refresh and I have already seen the comment before I find the notification. Normally I put up with this as I figure that there are use cases for the notification on the same page (e.g. responses to multiple comments that may be earlier/later on the page) and it doesn't really hurt anyone.

That is, until today when I managed to refresh a page, notice a comment and post a response, only to get a notification in my inbox upon leaving the page to find another question. I then followed the link thinking "Huh, he responded quickly" only to find that I had not only already seen it, but had already responded!

"This is the last straw that broke the unicorn's back" I said, and came here to rant about it.

Of course, I don't know if there's anything that can be done - really it's just a race condition where I refreshed in between when my inbox is updated and when the question itself is updated.

Does anyone else get annoyed by the inbox sometimes?

1 I compulsively mark all email as 'read' even if I don't plan on ever reading it, because I dislike having a notification that isn't dealt with.

  • 2
    my bad Sep 28, 2011 at 7:47
  • @KublaiKhan Are you stalking me? It's okay if you are, I'm just wondering.
    – Bringer128
    Sep 28, 2011 at 7:57
  • 4
    Haha don't flatter yourself, I just happened to hit up meta at the right time :) Now why aren't you returning my calls? Sep 28, 2011 at 8:20
  • I get annoyed when the inbox shows stuff I've already seen. Sep 30, 2011 at 5:48

2 Answers 2


Honestly, I can't say that I've been annoyed by that. It does seem like the top banner can be slightly out of sync sometimes, but on the whole it is farily well-behaved. Eventually, I would like to see that top banner updating in real-time though.

  • Real-time updates would be awesome, if only because then I wouldn't need to refresh the page.
    – Bringer128
    Sep 30, 2011 at 7:44

I have the "problem" as well, at least a bit.

I'm slightly annoyed, but I don't think there's an easy solution:

The problem is that just because you've opened a page that contains the new response doesn't mean that you've seen the new response. For example, you might be reading a different answer or you might be in the process of editing your answer and the comment is 1 page below the lower border of your browser.

And if SO wrongly decides that you've seen that answer, then suddenly "ugh, why do I get notified for what I already saw?" turns into "Oh no! Why didn't the gods of SO notify me of this immensely interesting comment that I didn't see 3 months ago?".

Edit: however, if SO realizes that I actually answered the comment (and the comment was shown to me before I started typing the answer*) then it could assume that I've read it.

  • "To err is human. To err on the side of caution is good design."
    – Bringer128
    Sep 30, 2011 at 7:41

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