The recent changes to the global authentication system are disrespecting my explicit wishes.

I am in the habit of logging out of some SE communities when I am done. In the case of one community I am actively heeding Josh's advice, spending as little time there as possible and much of that logged out.

In the scheme of things it really doesn't matter what my motivation for logging out is though. When I log out of a community it is a positive action on my part, I have to find the "log out" link, follow it and then confirm that I want to be logged out. I am explicitly saying that I do not wish to be logged in to this community.

Having done this, if I return to the community I do not expect or want to be logged in automatically and against my express wishes. The recent changes the global authentication system do exactly this.

I understand from Anna's post

We are going to recognize you in some ways on sites where you don't have a profile. This is still a work in progress, but most notably you will see "join this community" in the top bar instead of "sign up" and "log in".

Please extend this to recognise that I have a profile with this community but am logged out and offer me the opportunity to "log in to this community" rather than forcing me to do so.


2 Answers 2


For many, many technical reasons login will have to move to global completely. The cookie you're getting to login will be the same cookie per second-level domain. e.g. stackexchange.com will have one (not n), as will stackoverflow.com, etc. It's a completely new mechanism for how logins are handled, that cares about domains (as browsers and cookies do) rather than sites.

For example, to deploy SSL/TLS (HTTPS) support on child metas reasonably, we may need to go the gaming.meta.stackexchange.com route. This means the per-site cookies that would have resided at gaming.stackexchange.com no longer work as they would have with meta.gaming.stackexchange.com inheritance. We must use a stackexchange.com cookie to reasonably support this.

Now that's just technical reasoning. For the overwhelming majority of users (as measured by meta votes, feature requests, and email we get) this is a positive change.

I apologize that you personally don't like this change, but (to be blunt) we have over 8 million users now and it is effectively impossible to make any change that everyone approves of. So, we make the best net changes we can - this is one of them.

  • 1
    How would you feel if, after having logged out of your bank, 2 minutes later you refreshed the page and you were automatically logged in again ? logging out sets an expectation that, pretty much everywhere else respects.
    – user147520
    Jul 9, 2015 at 17:36
  • 12
    That doesn't happen - we won't be logging you in automatically. You simply login or logout globally. Automatically logging you back in is bad (which can happen today with the janky JavaScript approach...this removes that confusion). We have no intention of doing any such thing...really, that's no good for anyone. Jul 9, 2015 at 17:38
  • This is what appears to be happening to me now. Earlier I logged out of this site and unix and until I logged in to secse I remained logged out. once I had logged in to secse, the next time I refreshed here or on unix I was magically logged in.
    – user147520
    Jul 9, 2015 at 17:42
  • 17
    Yes, because you are logging in and out globally now - to all sites at once. We will not log you in if you click logout. You clicked login, which logs you in to Stack Exchange. Part of the next change round will be logging you in through a much more apparently-global page to further clarify and simplify it. Jul 9, 2015 at 17:49
  • @NickCraver Could the logout button be moved from next to the site you are on then? So it looks like a whole-network logout?
    – Tim
    Jul 9, 2015 at 22:16
  • @Tim You know...that hasn't been brought up but it is an excellent point. I just dropped this in our internal chat - I agree under "current community" isn't the right place anymore. Jul 10, 2015 at 14:05

Rather than thinking of logging into and out of communities, consider the new system to be logging into and out of Stack Exchange.

You can log out, and when logged out you won't be logged back in without some explicit action on your part.

The main difference is that if you are logged out, you are logged out everywhere. If you are logged in, you are logged in everywhere.

When you visit the community you don't want to show activity on, you will need to make sure you are logged out.

There are a multitude of ways to handling specific needs (multiple browsers, incognito mode, virtual machines, active cookie management using userscripts, etc) but the short answer to this question is no - the system is changing, and you will necessarily have to adapt.

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