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I frequently visit Stack Overflow and other Stack Exchange sites from private browser windows, which means I get the cookie banner over and over.

Does it really have to cover the most useful part of the viewport?

Obnoxious banner covers exactly the parts you want to see

(Not a private window; this one is because I use NoScript when I am logged in.)

I understand that for legal (but still annoying) reasons, this probably needs to be in a place where it is hard to miss when you have something more important than cookies on your mind; but could it be made even a tiny bit less intrusive?

Removing the cookie outline image (I only realize now after trying to figure out a way to describe it that that's what it is supposed to be) or moving it to be next to the buttons rather than on top would already alleviate the usability problem significantly.

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  • 6
    There is another explanation, the prompt is broken, since it’s being asked multiple times in the same session daily/weekly while the user is continuously logged in
    – Ramhound
    Mar 31 at 1:18
  • A separate but related proposal now: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/362727/…
    – tripleee
    Mar 31 at 5:05
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    Or just revert it to what it was before: a bar at the bottom of the screen.
    – Ollie
    Apr 1 at 23:20
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  • @Ramhound - btw, for iOS users, it is very likely to be caused by the ITP expiring the cookies in 7 days if they are first-party, but set by document.cookie which the SDK uses to set the 2 cookies after consenting. Check the otBannerSdk.js for source. Apr 6 at 2:25
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    Thank you for reporting. This is part of a series of related bugs that the team is currently looking into.
    – Rosie StaffMod
    Apr 7 at 13:44
  • 2
    In mobile it's impossible to work with.
    – Braiam
    Apr 7 at 16:00
  • 5
    Yeah, it just got worse.
    – tripleee
    Apr 8 at 4:48
  • 2
    Now at least in Firefox on IOS I get a notification that my cookie preferences could not be saved. (Still sucks, but at least gives a clue that something is wrong, and a hint at a workaround which may however be unacceptable.)
    – tripleee
    Apr 20 at 12:32
  • You never click the green button at the top where it says you earned 5245 points? May 18 at 18:15
  • @user1271772 I've by and large stopped doing that, but it happens sometimes, mainly by accident when I aim for something else (otherwise it would probably say something like 25,000 points).
    – tripleee
    May 18 at 18:40
  • In this case only about 7000, but on SO maybe 25000 ;) May 19 at 5:42
  • It displays accrued rep across all sites in the network. On here I would have about +600.
    – tripleee
    May 19 at 6:23
  • I stand corrected :) May 19 at 16:29
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+50

I also found that cookie banner to be unnecessarily large in size.

The answer from SE so far says:

"we need the cookie banner to be visible enough that it won’t be missed.

but it can still be visible without covering up important buttons.

Indeed the EDPB guidelines say:

"Cookie walls (i.e. forced consent conditional for access to a website) cannot be considered valid consent, because user consents must be freely given and specific."

and the cookie banner on SE does force users to allow the "mandatory" cookies in order to rid themselves of the banner.

The answer from SE also says:

"Our goal is to collect user preferences, whether they would like to consent to cookies or decline them"

but some users may not want to give their preferences (especially if they think that not clicking any button at all may avoid them from allowing the "mandatory" cookies too). Others may be on a work computer or a library computer and need to check an answer to something quite quickly, and may not want to go through the hassle of providing their preferences.

While inconvenient, at least on desktop browsers it's possible to zoom in and out until the banner's placement relative to other features of the site is not as invasive. For example, the cookie banner in the lower-right corner would prevent me from clicking the "chat' button, but if I zoomed out just enough, I'd be able to click the chat button again. Zooming in-and-out is fairly easy either with CTRL+Plus or CTRL+Minus on the keyboard or moving the mouse's wheel forward and backward while holding CTRL on the keyboard (i.e. it doesn't take *too* long). Hopefully this will help for the case in your screenshot!

What was most inconvenient for me was the cookie banners in the mobile version and clicking "full site" or switching the browser's setting to "desktop mode" did not help. The worst was that I could not properly do reviews, because the buttons were behind the cookie banner. In the end I followed this user's advice and installed ublock on my desktop, and to install it on my android device I needed to actually download and install Firefox for Android for the first time because ublock doesn't work with Chrome on Android devices.

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    In my default resolution (while completely unzoomed) the cookie popup spans 80% of the vertical height of my screen. zooming out enough to hide that would make any content i'm looking for unreadable.
    – Kevin B
    May 24 at 18:22
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Unfortunately no, we need the cookie banner to be visible enough that it won’t be missed. Our goal is to collect user preferences, whether they would like to consent to cookies or decline them. Once they’ve provided their preferences, they should not see the cookie banner again.

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    "Won't be missed" is not equivalent to "ruins every page visit for users with aggressive anti-cookie preferences". Surely the first can be achieved without the second.
    – tripleee
    May 1 at 8:17
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    This is about the worst UI decision I have seen in a long time and is an exceptionally poor experience for privacy minded folks who do not keep cookies around. Very poor explanation. I expected better from Stack Exchange.
    – James
    May 10 at 18:22
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    "Once they’ve provided their preferences, they should not see the cookie banner again." Incorrect! If a person refuses to store cookies or deletes them, he will see the banner again. If a person uses the next-door library computer, he will see the banner again. If there is a bug in your code, banners again. Stop trying to force every person inside the trackers dream's category and learn from Stack's answers that users are fed up with popups.
    – Quasímodo
    May 10 at 18:46

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