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Recently, every time I hit a new page in Stack Exchange, whether it be the list of questions in a given forum, or a specific question, I get a pop-up like this:

cookielaw.com popup

Your privacy
By clicking “Accept all cookies”, you agree Stack Exchange can store cookies on your device and disclose information in accordance with our Cookie Policy.

Accept all cookies
Customize settings

I am able to click "accept" and it will go away, but it comes back as soon as I reload the page or view a new topic. UMatrix shows it's a script from cdn.cookielaw.org and that it's trying to set a 3rd-party cookie.

My guess is that since I'm blocking 3rd-party cookies and scripts, it just keeps trying.

Given how bad we know 3rd-party cookies are, and how they are used to violate privacy, track people across sites, etc., why on Earth would Stack Exchange do this?

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  • 37
    I am having the exact same problem. I think their implementation was poorly thought out. Mar 15 at 2:00
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    That's their way to force us to accept the cookies: the banner will keep showing until you accept all cookies. Mar 15 at 7:08
  • 14
    I don't mind accepting cookies from SE... you pretty much have to for it to work anyway. The problem is them forcing us to accept a 3rd-party cookie, run 3rd-party scripts, etc. This is relatively new... I just started seeing it.
    – mikem
    Mar 15 at 7:15
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    It’s not due to not accepting all the cookies because the prompt is displayed multiple times no matter what combination of the cookies you allow
    – Ramhound
    Mar 15 at 12:08
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    I came to meta to ask “What the hell, SE?”. Glad to see someone already asked it more eloquently. Apr 3 at 3:57
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    Just came here to post this, glad you beat me to it. This started happening to me at work only a week or so ago, and now it's rampant. Every tab, every browser. And clicking the Customize settings button doesn't do anything. Actually, neither does Accept all cookies apparently, since the popup comes back on every tab. I have cookies enabled... Apr 3 at 4:07
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    So any progress? Whst was changed just before this hit us? Perhaps that should be checked...
    – Solar Mike
    Apr 3 at 8:37
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    @SolarMike non critical bugs take few months to be fixed, in average, if at all. This one isn't a critical bug so I'm afraid there's still a long time before it would be fixed. Apr 3 at 15:46
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    @ShadowTheVaccinatedWizard so “keep limping along with gaffer tape and baler twine” instead of “take something good and make it better”.
    – Solar Mike
    Apr 3 at 15:53
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    @SolarMike yup. And I'm afraid I was wrong before, or at least not accurate. The "take few months to be fixed" is for bugs that were deemed worthy by either a side mod or SE employee and got a status-review tag. In this case, the bug still didn't get to this stage, so there's 0% chance of it to be fixed at this point. Apr 4 at 12:30
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    Well at least there's now a JS error popup: "We couldn’t save your cookie preferences. Please adjust your browser settings or disable ad blocking. You can access your cookie settings at any time by clicking “Cookie Settings” in the footer." So there's some sort of movement here.
    – mbauman
    Apr 20 at 13:21
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    This is related to a known bug around the cookie pop up that the team is currently working on. Some fixes were deployed yesterday. We're gathering feedback to make sure everything is working before marking this as status-completed.
    – Rosie StaffMod
    Apr 21 at 13:01
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    Forcing us to disable ad-blockers isn't really an acceptable solution.
    – mikem
    Apr 21 at 22:11
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    @Rosie This is for sure NOT fixed. I keep running into this same problem since April 21st. Extremely annoying. Apr 28 at 17:23
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    "Every time I hit a new page in StackExchange" - You're lucky; I get it on Stack Overflow virtually every time I come back. Aug 8 at 1:49
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+50

Three times (different days) I’ve sat down when it’s quiet and reviewed my settings and extensions and I can’t figure why I can’t accept cookies effectively on all my devices either.

Safari settings - security and cookies

Abhi’s comment that cross site blocking may be relevant. This OS level feature by design learns how the device is used and changes blocking based on history. This checks out with my experience, but I can not find a reference how this works yet. An edit will be needed once I or someone reviews the settings above.


I don’t have a fix or workaround, but this happens to me on macOS 11.3 Safari and iPhone iOS 14.4.2 Safari and not initially on iPadOS 14.4.2 Safari.

Not all sites drop the cookie banner as hard, so there are some complicated state combinations at play and possibly adjustments / expirations server side based on the cookie policy and interplay of dozens of cookies listed.

With so many different experiences (some people are stuck in repeat pop up “jail” on iPadOS) picking apart vendor privacy settings and content blocker modifications is clearly a struggle to get past this splash screen for many of us.

So far, I’m not able to make any headway in selecting “accept all cookies” or selecting “choose to customize my privacy adventure” on iPhone or Mac.

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    Safari Intelligent Tracking Protection appears to be a red herring. It looks like there's just a maximum of seven days expiry on the cookie. And it's a per site setting, so if you visit more than seven stack exchange communities, you'll see the popup daily. That doesn't explain OP's precise issue (his is less than seven days) but it does explain the general complaint of people seeing this annoying popup constantly. Apr 27 at 4:55
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This was something we had to track down and reproduce. We found that the issue was happening to less than 1% of users who have configured browser settings or ad blocking installed. We’ve since updated the user experience to display an error message with more information when this occurs.

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    Ok, sure, I get an error now when trying to set my cookies preferences. But that also means I keep getting the popup. Just today I still got it. Why continue to insist on a third-party cookie?
    – mbauman
    Apr 29 at 14:50
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    @mbauman I'll take this back to the team. You shouldn't keep seeing the pop up.
    – Des StaffMod
    Apr 29 at 14:52
  • Yesterday I started sometimes getting popups on every tab when I hadn't been, that sometimes disappear after a few seconds & sometimes don't, that go away when I reload the page.
    – philipxy
    Apr 29 at 15:23
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    @mbauman what browser/device are you on?
    – Des StaffMod
    Apr 29 at 15:26
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    Safari 13.1 (14609.1.20.111.8) on macOS with "Prevent Cross-Site Tracking" enabled.
    – mbauman
    Apr 29 at 15:49
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    Happens with pihole still - really annoying.
    – Woodstock
    May 16 at 7:30
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    Thanks, I got some error message in red which says something about not being able to save my preferences. Note that nobody forces you to degrade user experience this way: you can do without the cookie banners if you only use necessary cookies. See e.g. the EPDB edpb.europa.eu/about-edpb/legal-notices/cookies_en . I would expect SE to be able to run a matomo instance and do without nasty third-party Google cookies...
    – Nemo
    May 22 at 8:02
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    @Des has there been any progress on this? I have to close the pop up multiple times per day. Using Safari on a Mac with default cookie settings and no ad blocker. Surely that's more than 1% of users? My understanding is the cookie for this popup is being flagged as potentially coming from a third party tracker and being removed after a short period. I recommend storing cookie consent in the user's stack exchange profile. Login cookies are assumed to be first party never deleted (as long as you return to the site occasionally). Jun 10 at 3:00
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    I get an annoying overlay panel, similar to the screenshot, but without Cookie-Image AND without buttons to accept or customize anything. System is ubuntu 20.04, Browser Chromium, 3rd-party-cookies disabled, too. Jul 4 at 0:32
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    This has been happening to me for some time now. The problem seems to be that after a while I randomly get logged out, and then the consent box appears because I'm not logged in. But once I log in again, it doesn't realise I've already consented previously, so the box remains awaiting my response. I think the box should go away once you've logged in, if you've consented previously.
    – Malvineous
    Sep 8 at 2:28
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    This appears from my view as being an obnoxious nag setting to force all cookies. I don't get logged out, but about once a week I get the pop-up, and the popup is configured so that "accept all cookies" is the easy 1-click choice, while keeping my customized settings is a click-though process, and a week later it's back. I bet it wouldn't come back if I clicked accept all, but I'm not going to.
    – Ecnerwal
    Sep 11 at 15:49
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    I don't understand why this is marked as status-completed when the problem clearly still exists for safari on Mac OS. I get the popup on EVERY SE page flip regardless of whether I accept cookies or not. This is annoying to the point that my use of SE sites has dropped to near zero. If you are trying to chase users away, congratulations on your successful campaign.
    – jalynn2
    Oct 6 at 13:40
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For users that are logged in, maybe the cookie settings can be stored in the database for that user? Then also this cookie setting can work across browsers and devices and all of the Stack Exchange domains.

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I've been really frustrated by these banners as well, and was disappointed that options like uBlock seem not to be available on Safari anymore. I was able to fix this in MacOS using the PageExtender Safari extension and the following CSS file:

body > div.ff-sans.ps-fixed.z-nav-fixed.ws4.sm\:w-auto.p32.sm\:p16.bg-black-750.fc-white.bar-lg.b16.l16.r16.js-consent-banner {
  visibility: hidden;
}

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