From the blog post announcing the new notifications tab:

Since notifications aren’t as important as inbox notices, whenever you have unread inbox messages we’ll display the red inbox indicator rather than the gray notification indicator. Of course, once you open the drop down you’ll see that you also have new notifications.

Moderator messages currently fall under the category of "notifications", but I contest that those are far more important than even our regular inbox replies. Since they're reserved for serious issues, it only makes sense that they request immediate attention from those involved.

The ice-blue icon that currently represents notifications is barely visible on the gray Stack Exchange navigation bar. This is mentioned in New "Notification" colour isn't obvious. In fact, I'm noticing that since the introduction of the notifications tab and the incredibly hard to see icon, less than a third of the moderator messages we've sent in the past week have been read on our site.

(I don't know if that's a cause for concern among others because granted, mod messages are also sent as emails to users who have an email address on record so they'll probably receive and read them. But users who for whatever reason don't have associated emails may not end up seeing the messages on site at all, because the notifications aren't obvious.)

Anyway, besides changing the color of the new notification icon, which would be great, can we have moderator messages show up as red like all other inbox replies to the users involved? I suppose it's alright if they show up as regular notifications for other moderators who aren't directly involved in the conversation, but to those who are, they are very important.

  • 3
    From the blog post, the red color is only for "actionable" actions; mod messages are * definitely* important, actionable actions for users and IMO moderators.
    – Ben Brocka
    May 28, 2012 at 13:49
  • 6
    Or, skip the notification circles altogether. Moderator messages should show up as modal pop-up dialogs, graying out the rest of the site and forcing you to read/focus on the message pop-up. They're of a completely different nature than the rest of the notifications (inbox or otherwise), and they shouldn't be subject to confusion with them. We want these to be annoying. May 28, 2012 at 13:49
  • Well I don't want to see MSO messages at all, they're almost always users who started asking programming questions on SO and I don't care if they get suspended or not.
    – Ivo Flipse
    May 28, 2012 at 15:08
  • @Ivo Flipse: If only there were some way to display them differently depending on who's involved. May 28, 2012 at 15:09
  • Actually, the orange bar is probably (still) the best way to show this on the receiving end. In fact, it should be a blinking orange bar with no means of dismissal other than reading the message.
    – user50049
    May 28, 2012 at 15:43
  • @TimPost unfortunately most modern browsers don't support the <blink> tag
    – Ben Brocka
    May 28, 2012 at 16:41
  • @Ben Brocka: Or text-decoration: blink for that matter. May 28, 2012 at 16:44
  • Good god blink was in CSS?
    – Ben Brocka
    May 28, 2012 at 18:05

2 Answers 2


Moderator messages should be going into the inbox as of the last build.

Just a historical accident that they were notifications at all. I suppose they were the "more annoying" option at the time, but that was madness clearly.

  • 1
    Ouch. i.sstatic.net/Ss9I3.png
    – mmyers
    Jun 4, 2012 at 15:05
  • I'd neglected to mention that they should be red only for the users involved, but it looks like you already have that covered. However I'm now seeing all MSO mod messages in red while they're fine on the main site. I'm not sure how it is elsewhere. Aug 2, 2012 at 17:53

(I sort of already discussed this with some of you, but it's better posting here since that's unlinkable)

Clubbing them with the red notifications is bad as well. Quite a few times, I miss a red notification when they're drowned out by the others. Mod messages are extremely important, we need to ensure that the user reads it. Emails are prone to being shunted to the spam folder (indeed, the bounty emails are doing just that currently in GMail).

As @TheEstablishment said, they should be in a modal dialog. The old orange bar is OK as well, but a completely different system for mod messages would be better. Something which will have to be clicked, and read through.

enter image description here

Note the lack of a "close" button.

The link opens the message in the same tab. The user has to acknowledge that it has been read, and only then will the modal stop bugging him/her. On ALL SE sites.

Or, we can do this ;-)

  • The response to the last mod message I send (revenge downvoting) was that the culprit changed their email address to something along the lines of "don't spam me". So, I'm all for extremely annoying mod messages, after all if you're getting a mod message, you did something extremely annoying first.
    – yannis
    May 28, 2012 at 14:39
  • 2
    Yeah. But. Why not just have the text displayed there? Why do we need to "click here"? (And I was thinking we'd just copy the infrastructure from the close/flag dialog for development simplicity and design consistency.) May 28, 2012 at 14:39
  • @TheEstablishment: Works as well, I've never seen a mod message yet so I dunno how large they are. I'll add that as well, one sec. May 28, 2012 at 14:40
  • @TimManishEarth - You're a mod on Chemistry, you should be able to see the templates by going to eg. chemistry.stackexchange.com/users/message/create/298 to send me a message. There are several templates, messages usually range between 500 and 2000 characters. If you want to test this stuff out, you can even suspend yourself. Your rep will temporarily drop to 1, and you can't make posts etc. but you can unsuspend yourself. Jun 1, 2012 at 19:12
  • @kevin alright, will do when I get the time. Might not suspend myself, though ;-) Jun 2, 2012 at 2:47

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