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New Post Notices have been launched network-wide. Please post all new feedback, bugs and feature requests to the new announcement post.


As has been previously announced, we have been working for some time on a full refresh for post notices. I am happy to announce that all initial development work and testing has been completed, and that the new notices are now live on Stack Overflow.

During our initial launch period these will be shown to 50% of users (with the other 50% viewing notices as they have been with no change). After evaluating the impact of the notices during this period and making any warranted changes, our goal is to release these network-wide, and to completely remove the old notices from the system.

For our purposes, a 'post notice' includes any status banner shown on questions or answers: deleted, merged, migrated, closed, locked, protected, bountied, as well as any information notices that can be applied to posts by moderators.

The visual change in styling and position relative to content should immediately be obvious. The current notices use legacy styling and for the most part appear below the post (question or answer) content. The experience on mobile and desktop is different as the old layout is not flexible enough to be used on both. The new notices will all appear above post content, will feature a refreshed look and feel (using the Stacks design framework), and will work identically on both desktop and mobile.

A primarily opinion-based close message: "Update the question so it can be answered with facts and citations. This will help others answer the question. You can edit the question. Closed 13 days ago by Donna." A new post notice, being shown to users with the close/reopen privilege on a post closed as being opinion-based

Beyond the look and feel changes, we have also rewritten the language for all of the different messages, with the goal of making them more friendly and results-driven, and taking into account the changing ways in which the notices have been used over the years. New messages language has been guided by our Content Style Guide, which itself is based on user insights and best practices. We hope that the language refresh will make it clearer to users what each respective notice is for, and if appropriate, to provide clearer instructions as to what they can do in order to improve the content that was flagged.

As Meg wrote in her blog post:

For people who ask questions today, if your question is closed, feedback that is directed toward you privately is shared publicly with anyone who views your question. Plus, the names of people who voted to close the question are highlighted publicly, too, setting them up for attack when they’re just trying to curate content according to the system.

Here’s what our holistic redesign of all post notices will prioritize:

  • Delivering improved, private feedback to post authors
  • Not putting users who curate content on the spot
  • Giving actionable, understandable information for the vast majority of public viewers

The change affects all post notices, including mod notices, post locks, migration notices, and every single type of close notice. Many of these feature different messages that will be shown to the post owner, users with close/reopen privilege, and everyone else, with each message designed to expose the information that will be most helpful to the viewer. Another goal is also to provide more instructions and options for post owners when it comes to taking steps to edit the content of closed questions in order to allow for them to be reopened.

A duplicate close message: "Some community members have associated this post with similar questions. Closed 2 hours ago by Frederico klez Culloca, Community." A duplicate closed notice being shown to the post owner.

This is a far-reaching project and is also touching other related content like the wording used in the close menu giving guidance on off-topic reasons and the instructions being shown at the top of the review queue. Additionally, the notification language, user workflow, and options being provided to post owners on questions where there are active close as duplicate flags has been modified to give post owners more leeway in preemptively accepting or rejecting potential duplicate posts.

This new set of features and improvements is the first of a series of related projects aimed at improving the user experience on question close workflows and review queues for all users. Our goal is to better facilitate feedback and content curation for all people who code, whether they are new to programming and Stack Overflow, are seasoned moderators and technology experts, or fit anywhere in between.

An old "On Hold" notice A new "On Hold" notice Old and new "On Hold" notices

General feedback is welcome on this post, as are and reports. We promise to read everything, and will do our best to engage with the community to address concerns that are raised.

FAQs

When will the changes roll out on SO?

The changes are live on SO right now

I still see the old notices and I would rather see the new ones

OR

I see the new notices and would rather keep the old notices

During our initial launch period the new post notices (and all related changes) are being shown to 50% of users. There is no easy way to switch between the group of users seeing old or new notices. If there are things about the new notices that you dislike, please let us know in a respectful and constructive way. We are happy to receive and take all feedback into consideration.

What are you looking for during the initial launch period?

The primary goal of the project is to improve the friendliness of the user experience when viewing post notices. This is a hard thing to measure. Some of the indicators that we will be using are the levels of engagement by users who see old vs new post notices and the rates of closed posts being reopened (specifically focusing on post edits and post reopen votes).

Can you please release a list of all the changes that were made to all notice language and functionality?

We are not going to do this right now:

  • There are sooo many changes that were made, that any attempt to document all of these in a clear way will probably still end up being confusing (and it will be challenging to keep this up to date as changes are made during the initial launch period).
  • We feel that in order to properly evaluate the changes to presentation, language and functionality, the changes need to be seen in the context of the site, by users who encounter them through normal site usage. Thus, we prefer to evaluate the success of changes by presenting them to users who will encounter and interact with them through organic site usage.

After Meg's blog post that first mentioned these changes, a post on MSE was made that solicited feedback on the preview given in the blog post. Were there any changes to this project that were made based on this feedback?

We read all of the feedback and found much of it to be very useful. Some of it was incorporated into this set of changes, and we hope to incorporate much more of it in a future project that builds on this one to address the underlying mechanics of the close->reopen workflows. Thanks for all the suggestions, and special shout out and thanks to Journeyman Geek for initiating and organizing the feedback post on MSE!

How long will the initial launch run for? When will this go live for everyone?

The initial launch is slated to tentatively run for 2-3 weeks. While we cannot commit to a final go-live date at this point, as there are many unknowns involved, we can say that we are interested in getting the final product out as soon as we can.

What is the average air speed of an unladen swallow?

What do you mean? An African or a European Swallow?

European, of course

Approximately 11 meters per second (40 km/h; 24 - 25 miles per hour)

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    Ok folks. Considering this is a positive change and I think having the Q&A team comfortable with meta, I shalt be quite cross with the next person who removes the swallow joke. – Journeyman Geek Nov 2 '19 at 23:35
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    To close-voters: While this is currently implemented on SO only, this question clearly states that it's the intent to have this network-wide: "After evaluating the impact of the notices during this period and making any warranted changes, our goal is to release these network-wide, and to completely remove the old notices from the system." Thus, this is not an issue which only affects one specific site, the close reason selected by four people. It's clear that this question solicits feedback on the feature being used on all sites, even though the current examples are SO focused. – Makyen Nov 6 '19 at 18:52
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    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. I've left a few essential comments in place for immediate reference – Journeyman Geek Nov 7 '19 at 22:58
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    Just coming in to say "yay" the Monty Python joke remains :P – Meg Risdal Nov 27 '19 at 8:07
  • Should bugs and feature requests be raised as separate questions? – Michael Freidgeim Feb 14 at 12:50
  • @mifreidgem yes, they should. – Yaakov Ellis Feb 14 at 14:06
  • @YaakovEllis judaism.meta.stackexchange.com/q/5288/759 – Double AA Feb 25 at 16:53

74 Answers 74

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The details of people who closed the question, when, and the fact that it is closed are missing on this question enter image description here
It was closed as too-localized:
enter image description here

This seems to the case for most of the old reasons. The same happens for "not a real question" enter image description here

Update (05.11.2019):

The names are shown floating on the right of the banner, completely squished together. This is an improvement, but IMHO not good enough. It is becoming unreadable, especially with long names. Can it be moved into a separate line below the main text? enter image description here

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    We are now showing the close dates for all close notices, to all users. And the layout bug is fixed as well. – Yaakov Ellis Nov 6 '19 at 8:21
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    @YaakovEllis Amazing job! Well done, thank you. – Dharman Nov 6 '19 at 8:24
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This:

can be reworded to:

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Viewable by the post author and users with the close/reopen votes privilege.

As a user with >9000 reputation I can see the closed questions. However, such question can also be viewed by a user with 60 reputation, but this message is no longer displayed.

What does this message mean?

What a user with 9k rep sees: enter image description here

What a user with 60 rep sees: enter image description here

What does it mean that it is viewable by users with close privilege? Does it only mean the names of people who voted to close? What is the point in the redundant explanation of this message? I thought it meant that the question is only viewable by users >3k rep.

Also, the message says that some community members closed the question, and then proceeds to list them out. Why not list them straight away? These some users are explicitly mentioned anyway.

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  • The upper section is shown to all users. The lower section is only shown to user's who have the privilege to perform an action based on the info - closed/reopen votes privilege or post owner. – Yaakov Ellis Oct 29 '19 at 17:47
  • I think I figured it out. My point is that it is confusing. This should be documented on Meta, but not displayed in the actual notice. For me it just adds noise. The little eye icon and the greyed out text are suggestive that the whole question is hidden from low-rep users. – Dharman Oct 29 '19 at 17:49
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    @Dharman This is already covered in this answer and the comment linked in the comments of that answer – user394554 Oct 29 '19 at 18:46
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The message “Viewable by the post author and users with the close/reopen votes privilege” with the little strike-through eye is inappropriate for posts closed as duplicates.

This message seems to indicate that duplicate posts should not be visible to other users, however:

  • it was my understanding that duplicates are still available because they add visibility to the original question, avoid a proliferation of duplicates that are more similar to the duplicate than to the original question (say if a single problem has a number of different possible wordings, for example), etc;
  • it seems from opening a dupe in a private navigation window (and finding it through a search engine − though that may be affected by caching) that accessing a duplicate question is possible even for users that are not even logged in, see screenshot below.

I think showing only the box that says “This question already has answers here” should be enough, otherwise some other indication that the question does not currently accept answers, which you could bundle with @Glorfindel’s rewording request. See also similar answers by @TheLethalCoder and @Dharman brought to my attention in the comments.

view of a duplicate post in a logged in window and a non-logged in window

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    That messages ambiguity is mentioned here, here and here. (It's only that section of the box (below the horizontal rule) that is not visible to not logged in users and <3k users, it's not referring to the whole post) – user394554 Oct 30 '19 at 16:23
  • @NickA I went through the answers a little too fast apparently. Anyway leaving this up here as it is a little more explicit though only about one of the cases − in fact it’s a good duplicate example. – Cimbali Oct 30 '19 at 16:48
  • I was only aware of it because I raised the issue very early on ^^ the answers have quickly become hard to parse because of how many there are – user394554 Oct 30 '19 at 16:59
  • The layout of the bottom section has been updated to hopefully make this clearer. And yes, it is intentional that users who are not logged in or who do not have sufficient rep to close/reopen will not see as many details. – Yaakov Ellis Nov 5 '19 at 13:40
  • Thanks for the reply @YaakovEllis, much appreciated! Can you update the screenshots (or add new ones) in the original post? I’m getting the old post notices at the moment. – Cimbali Nov 5 '19 at 13:49
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Post notice does not display names of close voters.

I have 20K, I am logged in and have just voted to close that particular question

enter image description here

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  • I was going to post a bug for this question, but it appears to be a duplicate of this bug report. – Makyen Nov 6 '19 at 7:45
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    This notice (and all other close notices) now always show the close date (and names of close users if you have privileges to view them) – Yaakov Ellis Nov 6 '19 at 8:26
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For questions closed as just "off-topic" (custom close reasons and resource request), the post notice is missing features which are normally present for other closed-post notices. It's missing:

  • the eye icon (.iconEyeOff);
  • an <hr> separating the "Closed." line from the lines only visible to the OP and >3k users (e.g. the closed-by line);
  • the "(Viewable by the post author and users with the close/reopen votes privilege)" line;
  • and there's no indication of corrective action which the OP could do to make it on-topic.

What it currently looks like on this example question to a user with >3k rep:
enter image description here

To a user with >3k rep, I'd expect the post notices to look something like (the corrective action text is just a quick example of what might be used):
enter image description here

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  • This is all by design. We are not showing a bottom section here because we are reducing info that we are showing to users who do not yet have the reopen/privilege. For these users - while they could in theory edit to reopen, in practice this is such an exceedingly rare occurrence that it is not something we will focus on. Thus only the op section is shown, and therefore there is no need for <hr>, the "viewable" line, the corrective action, or the eye-off icon (intended to show that the bottom section is not being shown to all users). – Yaakov Ellis Nov 27 '19 at 12:13
  • @YaakovEllis I'm a bit confused, the screen capture is what's shown to a >3k user. I thought one of the goals was "consistent messaging for all cases". Is that not the case? If the eye icon and "(Viewable…" text (and the <hr> to show to what they apply) are not valuable here, then why have them for any of the notices? For other versions of basically the same notices, the eye icon and "(Viewable…" text take up page real estate. If they're not valuable and inconsistently used, shouldn't they be removed in other versions of the notices too? – Makyen Nov 27 '19 at 17:25
  • You are absolutely right. I would also expect it to look like the bottom. Going to dig into this more now. – Yaakov Ellis Nov 27 '19 at 20:06
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    You are on the ball again @Makyen. You found a bug on a specific edge case: where all of the close as off topic reasons on the close flags are Other. Fixing it now... – Yaakov Ellis Nov 27 '19 at 20:31
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    @YaakovEllis Thanks for looking into it and fixing it. Most of my time on SO/SE is spent with user-level moderation, which for me is mostly dealing with closing questions and interfacing/working with, or on, SmokeDetector. Thus, I see a lot of questions and answers with post notices. :-) – Makyen Nov 27 '19 at 20:52
  • Fixed now. Thanks! – Yaakov Ellis Dec 4 '19 at 6:44
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    @YaakovEllis This also looks good. Thanks again for working on these. – Makyen Dec 4 '19 at 11:49
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In past we had duplicate notice in the body of the question. Now with the new notices we see both of them. Are there any plans to remove the old in-body notice?

Example:

enter image description here

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    In the very old days, when a question was closed as a duplicate, the Community user would edit a link to the duplicate into the question. There wasn’t yet a dedicated banner indicating duplicate questions. These old duplicates need to be manually corrected. The bug you cite is unrelated to the recent changes. It’s always been there. – Cody Gray Oct 31 '19 at 20:45
  • @CodyGray I know that, but the whole point of this change is that we unify the notice banners. I didn't tag it as bug, but as a feature request. Now that the banner is on the top of the body it collides with the old one. It would be a good idea to employ some automated tool to remove the old banners. – Dharman Oct 31 '19 at 20:47
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    Mmm, automated tools removing information from posts is dangerous, to say the least. It is perhaps better to just handle these as you come across them. – Cody Gray Oct 31 '19 at 20:52
  • There is ~41623 questions in the system with such in-body banner. That is a lot of manual work. – Dharman Oct 31 '19 at 21:02
  • @CodyGray Is it ok to just rollback the change made by community in such cases? – Dharman Oct 31 '19 at 21:09
  • Assuming that no other changes have been made since then, sure. But these are all old posts, so it's very likely that there have been subsequent edits made to them by other users. – Cody Gray Oct 31 '19 at 21:15
  • @CodyGray Obviously what I meant is if it was the most recent edit. :D I would assume that a majority of such posts were not edited after closing as duplicate. The few examples I found have community user as the last editor. – Dharman Oct 31 '19 at 21:17
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    The problem is the edge cases: the questions that were edited manually, including those that predate the Community edits entirely, as well as the even weirder cases where Community and an author edited simultaneously! There's no way to capture 100% of these, and every chance of breaking things worse in trying. – Shog9 Oct 31 '19 at 23:53
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    Related: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/337326/… – Shog9 Nov 2 '19 at 0:40
  • This is fixed. In these cases the new post notice will not list the duplicates. – Yaakov Ellis Nov 5 '19 at 12:21
  • @YaakovEllis So that means that the old in-line banner stays? I already rolled some of them back. – Dharman Nov 5 '19 at 12:37
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    @Dharman yes, the old in-line banner stays. As the duplicate links there are inline, it will take quite the effort to reliably convert them into duplicate listings (and we don't have the time for it at the moment). If they are really bothering you, the only way to take care of it right now is to get the help of a mod to reopen the question and close it right away as a duplicate (and then edit out the inline duplicate notice). – Yaakov Ellis Nov 5 '19 at 12:40
  • Actually the duplicate listing is already available i.stack.imgur.com/rbrmK.png, just the editing out is not trivial (but is it possible to just undo the effect of the community edit? There should be not conflict) – user202729 Nov 6 '19 at 23:56
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    @YaakovEllis Wouldn't it be better to just leave it like that with two duplicate links and have users edit out the link in the body as they come across them? It might be confusing at first, but eventually these posts would get edited manually and it would no longer be a problem. Whereas now those posts will be left like that until a moderator or gold tag badge holder fixes them, which will take a lot longer, and some users find that confusing as well. See my post here. – Donald Duck Jun 26 at 21:15
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Script47's status-completed answer wasn't completely fixed.

The serial comma, used incorrectly, can create an unwelcoming post-notice:

Errant Post Notice

The correction could have read: "Nobody, and Another Name", but that's inviting another problem ... and you need to avoid this happening again.

For example if someone's name was "downvoter", and they were second in the list, you wouldn't want that to read: "Someone the does one thing, and downvoter".

Example from: "Why vote order is important [on hold]".

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    I hear. We aren't going to fix this right now (it seems trivial, but localization can make things like this where you want to inject a word in a specific grammatical context exponentially more difficult) – Yaakov Ellis Nov 5 '19 at 13:45
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    I agree it's very difficult to fix so it can be read correctly in all circumstances. I would suggest a different seperation character, instead of a comma, use something like: | or • (bullet) or ⓵, ⓶, ⓷, ⓸, ⓹ or ↦(&map;), etc. that way it's enumerated unequivocally. – Rob Nov 5 '19 at 14:36
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There used to be a "Bumped by Community user" notice on the question page, when it was, well, bumped by the Community user.

Can it please be brought back?

Recent example.

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Make it obvious when opening the close vote dialog that the question can't be close-voted because it has a bounty in it.

Currently, opening the dialog and clicking Vote To Close after selecting a reason looks like this:

I think that we should be blocked from VTCing a bountied question like in the old UI.

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  • That's not really related to post notices. (aka it's NAA here) – Shadow 10 Years Wizard Nov 17 '19 at 12:30
  • @ShadowThePrincessWizard I'd say it's related because the old UI blocked us from CVing when opening the dialog, but the new doesn't. – double-beep Nov 17 '19 at 12:46
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    So that's a bug, caused by the new post notice somehow, but still, not directly related IMO. (So better be posted as new bug report) – Shadow 10 Years Wizard Nov 17 '19 at 12:49
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    Agree with @ShadowThePrincessWizard - this is not related to post notices – Yaakov Ellis Nov 25 '19 at 13:19
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Spam-deleted answers, if they need a banner link at all, should link to deleted-answers, not to the roomba.

Example: Spam-deleted answer. Banner is currently:

This post is hidden. It was flagged as spam or offensive content and deleted last year by Community♦.

but, like other deleted answers, it should probably link to /help/deleted-answers instead of to /help/roomba.

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  • /help/roomba is for the specific subcase of deleted answers that were auto-deleted by community. So in this case, it is the more appropriate help page. – Yaakov Ellis Nov 25 '19 at 8:54
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    Isn't it the other way around? The roomba automatically deletes questions only, and does nothing to answers. Nothing described on /help/roomba has to do with deleted answers, so linking to it when an answer (but not its parent question) is deleted doesn't make sense. – CertainPerformance Nov 25 '19 at 9:11
  • You are right. I didnt notice that you were talking specifically about answers - where roomba indeed does not run. This will be fixed. – Yaakov Ellis Nov 25 '19 at 11:14
  • The fix is live now. Help link now points to deleted-answers. Thanks! – Yaakov Ellis Nov 25 '19 at 21:56
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On this Q: Is it considered poor form to answer old and inactive questions? (thread resurrection) the suggested dupe comment hasn't been removed after dupe closure with the suggested target. The comment doean't appear to be edited, which would invalidate the auto deletion.

Perhaps because the comment is not by one of the people that closed the Q?

enter image description here Click for larger version.

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  • @JohnOmielan said user doesn't have the reputation to vote to close, so can't be one of the listed members. They can however flag as a dupe, which results in the same comment, AFAIK. – Luuklag Dec 6 '19 at 15:49
  • @John I can see there are no deleted comments on that post, and that the comment that's there seems to have been raised when the post was flagged. So I think this is definitely a change of how things used to work, as far as I remember those were always deleted when the post ended up closed too. – Tinkeringbell Dec 6 '19 at 15:53
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    @Tinkeringbell Thanks for the additional info, and to you as well Luuklag. I should have checked the user's reputation first to see they couldn't have voted to close themselves. Also, I've deleted my comment as it's not correct or particularly useful here. – John Omielan Dec 6 '19 at 15:56
  • @JohnOmielan It was a fair question, so no need to have deleted that. Anyways have a nice day. – Luuklag Dec 6 '19 at 16:00
  • See also meta.stackexchange.com/q/339762/369802 < Two comments deleted by community when it was closed (one for duplicate, one for off-topic/other). It does seem like the autocomment for duplicates is posted when someone flags (not votes), but not cleaned up? – Tinkeringbell Dec 6 '19 at 16:59
  • @Tinkeringbell, my auto-comment there appears to have been deleted. So I dont get your point tbh. But yes, when it originates from a flag it appears to stay, otherwise it gets deleted it appears. – Luuklag Dec 6 '19 at 17:12
  • Yeah, that was my point! To provide a bit more 'proof' that some comments seem to stick around because they are raised by flag, instead of vote :) Though now I also wonder if community always cleaned up both 'off-topic/other' and 'duplicate' comments, when closing, or used to just pick the one that the question is actually 'closed' as? – Tinkeringbell Dec 6 '19 at 17:13
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This answer suggestes moving the post notices back to the bottom of the post (it's also where I got the images). I'm aware that it was a deliberate decision to move them to the top of the post though and so this is unlikely to happen.

Instead consider moving them out of the post's body and above the horizontal rule. That is the location for meta information of the post and a more appropriate location for the notices. A change was made to move the "asked, active, viewed" labels there from the side bar so it makes sense to keep it consistent and have the notices in that location too.

They aren't part of the post or the post's content but information surrounding it and as such would be better placed above the horizontal rule.

or

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  • Thanks for the suggestion. We are going to leave them as-is. – Yaakov Ellis Nov 5 '19 at 13:47
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/ (reference)

The way the system is set up it only shows the users that closed the question, when you have the appropriate privileges to re-open a question.

In case of a (historically)locked question, only moderators have the privileges to re-open. This makes the closure notice not useful and hence noise.

Can we not show the closed notice when a post is (historically)locked.

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    No, I'd still like to know if and why a historically locked question was closed. – Cerbrus Nov 4 '19 at 12:54
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