The global inbox was once introduced because it became hard "to keep track of all your questions, answers, and comments across every site you participated on".

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The small red number tells you how many new replies you have across the entire Stack Exchange network of websites. And by replies, I mean:

  1. New answers to your questions
  2. New comments on your posts
  3. @replies to you in comments

However, it's been a while since 2010, and there are many more events triggering an inbox notification. What kind of notifications are there nowadays?

The following events trigger an inbox notification. They are grouped by the 'item type' which is displayed next to the site icon. It seems all items in the top-bar dialog are also visible on your global inbox page, except for Teams notifications.

Posts

  • "answer"
    • Another user answers one of your questions, or a question on which you have an active bounty.
  • "question migrated", "answer migrated"
    • One of your posts is migrated to another site.
  • "comment"
    • Another user comments on one of your posts.
    • Another user sends you a comment reply.
  • "notice on answer", "notice on question"
    • A moderator adds a post notice to one of your posts.
  • "edit suggested"
    • Another user suggests an edit to your post.
  • "question edited", "answer edited", "code edited on question", "code edited on answer"

Bounties

  • "bounty expires in three days", "bounty expires in one day", "bounty expiring soon", "bounty expired"
    • Approximately 72 hours, 24 hours and (depending on the site?) 15 or 0 minutes before a bounty you posted expires.

Messages

  • "moderator message"
    • You receive a moderator message.
  • "community team message"
    • Somebody (another moderator or a CM) replied on a community team message you've sent. (Moderator-only)
  • "message" (maybe a one-off?, sent on 2016-04-19)

Elections

  • "election"
    • The nomination phase of a moderator election starts and you have enough reputation (300 on most sites, 1000 on Mathematics, or 3000 on Stack Overflow) to nominate.
      • You also receive a notification if you have the required reputation but not all the required badges to nominate on Stack Overflow.
    • The primary or election phase of a moderator election starts and you have enough reputation (150) to vote.
  • "comment on nomination"
    • Somebody posted a comment on a post where you nominated yourself for a moderator election.

Chat

  • "chat reply"
    • You get replied/pinged in chat (unlike other notifications, which are instantaneous, this usually has a delay of 15 minutes unless you've opted in your chat profile to receive notifications more quickly)
      • You only get this notification if you didn't post a message in the same room as you were pinged after the ping, or manually clear the ping by clicking the number in the room, within the delay period.
  • "chat invitation"
    • You have been invited to join a chat by another user or moderator.
  • "chat event"
    • A scheduled chat meeting (which you've subscribed to) is starting soon.

Miscellaneous

  • "private beta invitation"

    • An Area 51 proposal you've followed starts its private beta phase.
  • "welcome"

    • After joining your first site (apart from Stack Overflow(?)), you're invited to take the tour: "Welcome to [site name]! Take the 2-minute site tour to earn your first badge."
  • "[Team name] user survey"

    • You're invited to a survey about Stack Overflow for Teams.

Notable events which do not trigger an inbox notification:

  • One of your posts is deleted.
  • One of your questions gets closed.
    • You do get notified by autogenerated "Possible duplicate" and "I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because of [custom reason]" comments.
  • One of your posts receives a non-substantive edit (e.g. a tag-only edit; this includes addition or removal of moderator-only tags, such as status tags).
  • The chat notification delay is 15 minutes. – Chair Dec 3 at 12:51
  • Thanks, I wasn't sure about that. – Glorfindel Dec 3 at 12:52
  • @Chair What is the delay for users who opt to receive notifications more frequently in their chat profile? – Sonic the Inclusive Hedgehog Dec 3 at 12:55
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    The short delay for chat is on the order of seconds. – Catija Dec 3 at 12:56
  • @Catija As this is a proposed FAQ, could you please make this question community wiki, as per the faq-proposed guidelines? – Sonic the Inclusive Hedgehog Dec 3 at 13:00
  • @Catija The chat profile preferences page does also use the wording "you have the option of having inbox notifications more frequently". – Sonic the Inclusive Hedgehog Dec 3 at 13:05
  • @SonictheInclusiveHedgehog The factor being changed is time. Saying "frequently" makes it sound like we otherwise only let you know about every n messages, which is wrong. – Catija Dec 3 at 13:07
  • Also: "bounty expires in three days", "bounty expires in one day", and "bounty expired". – Rob Dec 3 at 16:59
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    @Glorfindel - Do some sites offer a 15? minute 'bounty expiration warning'? - I only see 3 days, 1 day, and expired; no 'almost expired' warning. Screenshot of notifications. – Rob Dec 3 at 23:34
  • @Rob strange: this is what I see but that's May '17. It might have changed; it might be a timing issue. – Glorfindel Dec 4 at 7:08
  • @andmyself coincidentally, I got pinged by rene in the Tavern on 6:36am CET; I saw the notification at 6:51am, a few minutes before snoozing. So at least for me, it's 15 minutes; however, the inbox message is ante-dated to the moment of posting the chat message. – Glorfindel Dec 4 at 7:10
  • The "bounty expiring soon" was a notification sent when grace period starts, you also get email with title "Bounty Grace Period Started". The email is still being sent (got one today) however there is no longer inbox notification. Might be a bug though. /cc @Rob – Shadow Wizard Dec 4 at 7:15
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    Update: after deeper inspection, looks like the inbox notification appears only when there are answers that you can give the bounty to. Still need to test to be 100% sure then we can edit it into the answer. :) – Shadow Wizard Dec 4 at 7:28
  • I've found some more types by running this JavaScript snippet on the global inbox page. – Glorfindel Dec 4 at 8:19

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