I'm an unusually frequent/avid SEDE user. It's like a gourmet buffet for a self-proclaimed "data geek" like myself. Thus, I've put off reporting this problem for a while, but it's continuing to cause frustration and lost time on a daily basis.

SEDE keeps users logged in for 24 hours. My issue is that if I happen to be using SEDE 23.9 hours later, SEDE will still de-authorize me, even though the page appears to still be logged in and functioning as normal.


I'll make changes to a query, run it, and get [2 rows returned in 4ms]. I figure "okay, that still runs properly, now I'll try this...", and repeat, until I eventually realize that my changes are having no effect.

The query result window still flashes and reports an execution time, and it even still lets me add/remove custom prompts as if it's working properly.


...so, it still looks like I'm logged in, unless I open SEDE on a new browser tab; only then do I see that I'm not. My actions that follow have become routine (basically copy my existing query then CTRL+Z as far as possible, and try to figure out what changes were applied before SEDE stopped working.

Personally, I'd prefer if it didn't log me out at all (like SO/SE sites/chat) or only after I haven't been active for 24 hours, but is it at least possible to make it inform the user if they've been logged out mid-session?

EDIT: Steps to Reproduce

A "cheater" way to reproduce the behaviour without waiting 24 hours is to delete the related cookies with a query window open:

  1. Login to the SEDE here.
  2. Create a new query (perhaps select * from users where id=1) and Run Query.
  3. Delete the cookies named ASP.NET_SessionID and ASPXAUTH.
    In Firefox:

    • go to about:preferences#privacy > Remove Individual Cookies
      (or F12 > Storage > Cookies),
    • Search for data.stack
    • Select cookies named ASP.NET_SessionID and ASPXAUTH and Remove Selected.


  4. Now, return to your query window, change the query (perhaps just change the ID# in the WHERE clause), and click Run Query again.

The query will appears to have run, the result will flash, but did not change.

JS isn't a strong point of mine but I suppose I could try to put together a script to, every few hours, Log Me Out and Log me In.

Or, if the returnurl parameter worked like it appears it's supposed to, then I could just change my "new query" bookmark to:


...and presumably I'd be re-logged-in every time I create a new query.

  • 1
    Getting logged out once every 24 hours can get frustrating, now imagine it happens every 10 minutes. The 10 minute time window has resolved itself back to what it is now, the non-sliding session and the bad UX when you run into this is still open.
    – rene
    Commented Aug 4, 2018 at 11:30
  • Thanks @rene. My main concern is "the not knowing". When a query gives me an unexpected results, my first step has become logging out-then-in, just to eliminate that possibility. You mention open issues, am I looking in the wrong place?
    – ashleedawg
    Commented Aug 5, 2018 at 19:03
  • Most of issues are reported here on MSE, roughly this search. Only sporadically things get reported on GH. With the open issue I meant both your and my report that request a better UX or handling this "session lost" status.
    – rene
    Commented Aug 5, 2018 at 19:13
  • ah, I see. Yes it's very frustrating and will be a "scary unknown" for those unfamiliar with the system. I feel bad complaining about SEDE since I do use it a ton and as far as I know there's nobody paid to maintain/improve it (although I'm a little unclear on where a couple people fall within the org chart). There are several other minor issues but this is the most frustrating by far.
    – ashleedawg
    Commented Aug 5, 2018 at 19:24
  • There seems to be a userscript: meta.stackexchange.com/a/207376/158100 but if the root cause for the issue is still what Tim Stone describes then the userscript will not fix it. The appdomain that hosts SEDE gets recycled and then fails over to a new server but as I think the IIS servers are not configured as a webfarm, at least not for SEDE, either the session or the de/encryption used by forms authentication invalidates exisiting cookies causing the effect you see. I would need to repro this locally first to see if a sensible fix is possible.
    – rene
    Commented Aug 5, 2018 at 19:24
  • @rene - I edited my question with steps to reproduce mid-day.
    – ashleedawg
    Commented Aug 5, 2018 at 22:00
  • @rene - re: the userscript - I don't think a "heartbeat" would help since I can be inactive for 23 hours of the day, but actively querying every few seconds around the 24-hour mark, and it will suddenly stop working. (However that will come in handy for an unrelated site I'm having an issue with!)
    – ashleedawg
    Commented Aug 5, 2018 at 23:12


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