I was just bouncing around the various Stack Exchange communities and upon going to upvote a question I discovered I'd randomly been logged out!

I know that cookies expire, but I'm not accustomed to cookies that expire quite that quickly - I signed in not much more than two days ago, many websites I frequent keep me signed in for months, years, or as long as my cookies are uncleared.

I'm also pretty sure I never directly clicked anything indicating I would log out of the website, as the button for that is buried well enough I actually have to go searching intentionally for it - points for good UI design there, as I prefer not accidentally signing out of services by mistake :)

I'm mostly left here wondering - is there a particular setting I can change for my account related to how long I'm left/kept signed in for? I seem to have missed finding that one if there is.

Or should I take this as another weird fluke from my web browser and move on?

  • I've only been forced to log out once—because I switched IP addresses too quickly (which if it weren't just me switching wifi networks would be suspicious). Could something similar have happened to you? – Laurel Jun 21 '18 at 8:45
  • Is there a chance you did login on a shared computer and didn't logout ? Mods can force a logoff when there's suspicious activities on an account (like sudden spam or rude behavior). – Tensibai Jun 21 '18 at 9:25
  • I have seen nothing to indicate my IP address has changed recently, my router reports to have been online and using the same DHCP assignment for the last six days - a greater period than when I most recently logged in (I was missing my account details until earlier this week). Could have been but appears not have been the case. – PowerLuser Jun 21 '18 at 11:07
  • While I do use multiple browser profiles on the same workstation for web browsing, only one browser profile is used to sign in from and unless my login details have been recently stolen, I should not be signed in from any other location to my present knowledge. – PowerLuser Jun 21 '18 at 11:08

There's a number of things that could cause this, suspicious activity involving requests coming from the same account across multiple IPs in the span of just a few seconds is one of them - but we'd have to talk to you more to try to figure it out. Some improperly configured Proxy or TOR setups can cause this, and you might not even be aware of a caching proxy in use by your ISP or such.

It's better if you just contact us directly so we can get to the bottom of it. We'll need to know more about where you were (which sites) when you saw this happen, and we can pull the load balancer logs to see what tripped up.

But we'll need to ask you about IPs and stuff, so .. better that we do it privately. The need here is to keep it from happening again, so if this is only a one-off thing that hasn't repeated, I wouldn't worry about it, could have just been a hiccup when you hit a deployment or something unlikely to ever happen again.

If it's getting in your way, get in touch with us, and we'll help you figure it out.

  • I figured it was probably more complicated than an account setting I missed, but it was worth asking to be certain! I haven't (yet) seen another random sign off, so it's not getting in my way so far, but if it continues to happen I'll be certain to dig deeper to find out more. IP-related privacy makes complete sense. Thanks for the answers you could provide. Hopefully it's just the one-off event. – PowerLuser Jun 24 '18 at 6:00

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