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All sites on the network were in a read only mode for 15–20 minutes a short while ago. This small notice appeared at the bottom of every question:

This site is currently not accepting new answers.

Could this be made more informative? The last change was good, but there's still room for improvement.

If I didn't know in advance and then go check that the message is indeed the same on many SE sites, I would have been confused. Was the quality of new posts perhaps so bad that SE decided not to accept any more user contributions for the rest of the year?

If you extended the note to something like

This site is currently not accepting new answers due to a short maintenance outage.

or something similar, the intent would have been clearer. This would sent two messages that were previously not included:

  1. The outage is short. (Maybe even include a time estimate?)
  2. The reason is maintenance (or some such thing), as opposed to the site being suspended or in the process of shutting down.

A refined suggestion based on comments:

This site is temporarily in read only mode and not accepting new answers.
(Maybe together with links to the status blog and Twitter?)

That would send the message "we're trying to bring the site back to your use, please wait" without implying any specific time frame. The word "currently" has little value, but "temporarily" sends a message. I hope the same status message is not shown if the read only status is permanent for whatever reason.

  • Correct me if I'm misremembering but didn't the "this site is in read-only mode" maintenance banner at the top of the page have a description of what was happening and a link to more details? – Jason C May 4 '17 at 1:03
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    @JasonC I don't remember; I didn't pay attention to it. But still, if we are to have the bottom banner, it should be more informative. If the top banner had all the relevant information, then removing the bottom one would be a decent solution. – Joonas Ilmavirta May 4 '17 at 1:07
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    @JasonC it says "This site is currently in read-only mode; we'll return with full functionality soon. Follow @StackStatus or visit our status blog for more info." (yes i did have a page that hadn't been refreshed to get that) – Memor-X May 4 '17 at 2:22
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    The outage may or may not be short. I wouldn't make any assumptions about that. Something like "This site is currently in read only mode and not accepting new answers." is doable, though. – Adam Lear May 4 '17 at 2:25
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    How about "This site is currently not accepting new answers. Visit our status blog for more info."? – Jason C May 4 '17 at 2:30
  • @AdamLear If the same message must work for outages of all lengths, how about "This site is temporarily in read only mode and not accepting new answers."? That would send the message "we're trying to bring the site back to your use, please wait" without implying any specific time frame. I wouldn't mind having links to the status blog and twitter. (I hope the same status message is not shown if the read only status is permanent for whatever reason.) – Joonas Ilmavirta May 4 '17 at 4:08
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    @JoonasIlmavirta +1, I like that. I'm about 95% sure this message is only shown in temporary read-only state and not in other cases (or at least, we've never permanently put a site in read-only before), but I'll see if the status/Twitter links are feasible as well. – Adam Lear May 4 '17 at 5:04

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