This might be hard to reproduce so I'm going to carefully explain what I'm doing, what I'm expecting to happen, and what happens instead. This whole episode has me concerned.

The whole incident began while I was logged into the Stack Exchange network with Firefox 13.0.1 on Windows 8 CP x64. I had previously authorized an API application to access my Stack Exchange inbox data and I revoked access to it (using this method).

I went to open the application (which isn't really an application - it's a web service) and of course, because the access token was invalid, I was redirected to the Stack Exchange authorization page. I wanted to test something, so I clicked the "log out" link at the top of the page:

enter image description here

So far so good - I was greeted with a page that stated:

"Clicking Log Out will clear all local credentials in your browser."

Sounds good, so I clicked the orange "Log out" button:

enter image description here

This logged me out so I began the process of authorizing the application again - only to discover that I am suddenly logged in again.

What's going on?

Edit: I can reproduce this in Chrome 21.0.1180.15 dev-m.

  • Note: I originally though I had an answer to this (which I have since deleted) but I still keep automatically getting logged in again. Jul 8, 2012 at 1:07
  • 2
    I'd test this to help, but having to relog in to every SE site ever on every device makes logging out extremely unnapealing
    – Ben Brocka
    Jul 8, 2012 at 1:11
  • 6
    <insert Hotel California joke here>
    – joran
    Jul 8, 2012 at 1:11
  • @BenBrocka: But the irony is that it appears you don't get logged out :) Jul 8, 2012 at 1:12
  • Maybe a work around for this would be that logging out on SE logs you out of all other SE sites. While logging out on a specific SE site, such as Stack Overflow or Super User, logs you out of that site.
    – user184498
    Jul 8, 2012 at 2:02
  • 2
    Why would anyone want to log out of SE?
    – Tudor
    Jul 8, 2012 at 9:26
  • SE doesn't support beta versions of web browsers.
    – user102937
    Jul 8, 2012 at 20:18
  • @RobertHarvey: Firefox 13 is not a beta version. Jul 9, 2012 at 0:48
  • Chrome 21.0.1180.15 dev-m is.
    – user102937
    Jul 9, 2012 at 0:54
  • 1
    But, @Bryan, since being logged in is tracked using per-site cookies which cannot be removed by the global SE site, logging one out of all sites is a bit troublesome. (It's doable, of course, when always comparing the cookie values to some centralized authorization. But then one of the goals of the global login was "Site level logins must not fail if the global login system is down", so it might need extra work/fallback/..., and needs extra internal traffic for each request.)
    – Arjan
    Jul 27, 2012 at 12:08

1 Answer 1


I had this problem too, I log into SE (stackexchange.com) using an SE OpenID account, and I could log out of SE just fine -- but visiting the SE homepage again (to check that I had indeed logged out) would simply log me back in again. It may have something to do with the fact that I have 3rd-party cookies disabled.

The "problem" appears to be that logging out of SE doesn't actually remove the openid.stackexchange.com cookies. So visiting SE again will promptly log you in again. Also, I believe even removing the openid.stackexchange.com cookie won't log you out of individual sites like StackOverflow or SuperUser or even english.stackexchange.com if you're already logged in.

The most reliable way I've found to log out of the SE network completely is to remove every single StackExchange 'user' cookie from my system. The cookie has different names, but is usually usr or englishuser (for english.SE) or somuser (for meta.stackoverlow) or se-user (for SE itself) or something similar (see picture).

Until the SE devs implement a 'global logout' feature (which is much requested), a GreaseMonkey script would really come in handy -- anyone know of one? If I find some time, I'll try writing one myself.

StackExchange and StackExchange site cookies

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .