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When I arrive to a Stack Exchange site, I'm often greeted with this banner:

Welcome back! If you found this question useful, don't forget to vote both the question and the answers up.

To me, this comes across as condescending because I almost always upvote. And I feel like you (Stack Exchange) know who I am so you should know that I'm a habitual up-voter.

Per this answer, the banner appears if:

  • you haven't been seen on the target site for 48 hours
  • you hold a valid user cookie on the target site
  • your account has more than 15 rep on the target site
  • you arrive on a question from a search engine

For me, this criteria describes almost every interaction with SE sites. Nothing about it takes into account whether I'm the type of user who isn't upvoting.

So a few suggestions:

  1. If I'm someone who has a history of upvoting more often than not, don't show the banner. (Simplest implementation I can think of: if I cast a vote on a question or answer the last time I viewed a question page, don't show the banner.)

  2. If option 1 is too much work, at least auto-dismiss the banner when I do vote on a question or answer.

  3. Another option: Don't show the banner until the user copies, or maybe until the user clicks somewhere. (I know, not all answers are the type that the user would copy from, but if the user copies that's a pretty good indication that they found the answer useful and should consider upvoting.)

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  • 1
    I almost never see this banner. So are you either logged-out or browsing without cookies / incognito?
    – Luuklag
    Oct 14 at 13:07
  • 17
    What is unfriendly about it? Annoying, perhaps. Unfriendly? Come on. Also "insulting"?? You really make too much of a simple feature meant to improve overall rate of upvotes. Also I'm almost sure you get it only on sites where you have low-ish rep. Oct 14 at 13:10
  • @Luuklag If you're logged out you don't see the banner, only logged in users see the banner
    – Kip
    Oct 14 at 13:42
  • 1
    I think the banner only shows when you land on the site from a Google result, which is the main way most people interact with SO.
    – Kip
    Oct 14 at 13:46
  • @ShadowWizardIsVaccinatedV3 i get the on stack overflow where i have six digits of rep. i also changed the word "unfriendly" to "condescending". this is more appropriate. condescending, by the way, means when you talk to people like they are dumber than they really are
    – Kip
    Oct 14 at 13:51
  • 4
    That is weird because I never get this message on Stack Overflow (where I'm pretty active) even though I land on posts from Google very frequently. I do, however, get it on other sites (where I'm not active) and I don't really mind it as long as it's only on those sites, but YMMV.
    – 41686d6564
    Oct 14 at 13:51
  • @Kip OK, that's weird then that you get it on SO, surely there's feature request asking to disable it after certain amount of rep. Thanks for editing. Oct 14 at 13:52
  • @ShadowWizardIsVaccinatedV3 This looks like a feature request, but is tagged as support: Is it possible to disable the Welcome Back banner? Oct 14 at 13:59
  • 1
    Yes, this banner is the mother of all nuisances, and it is a perennial proposal to substantially reduce the frequency with which it appears (there are at least a dozen of posts about it here on meta already, going back a decade). Since none of them had an effect, it’s clear by now that the devs refuse to do anything about it. You can disable it by installing a custom stylesheet for SE sites with #overlay-header { display:none !important } using, e.g., Stylus. Oct 14 at 14:00
  • 3
    Here is the logic for when the banner should appear: meta.stackexchange.com/a/91564/361484
    – Luuklag
    Oct 14 at 14:08
  • 2
    I'm inclined to agree with the reopen voter that a suggestion to make the banner show up less is distinct from a suggestion to remove it entirely. Thus, voting to reopen as well.
    – Ryan M
    Oct 14 at 20:51
  • @Luuklag FWIW I just made some significant edits to this question to make it less hostile. :)
    – Kip
    yesterday
  • The real issue is that the banner is per site and does not take network-wide visits/actions into account. If I'm on SO all day but only click an SU link once a week, I frequently see the annoying banner despite being on SE sites constantly.
    – pkamb
    23 hours ago
6

Shog9 said in recent years that voting is "way down" (as best I can remember his words) on Meta Stack Overflow.

Catija recently said (perhaps in a comment) one of her main concerns is people just not voting. (Which takes away an important incentive to continue answering.)

[I just spent 30 minutes trying to find the references for the above ^^ posts but couldn't find them.]

  • I have to agree with them. As the Q&A repository matures and attention per post lowers because there's more and more content, users investing several hours of work to answer a difficult but relevant question (probably a pearl or new use case) tend not to see their efforts rewarded. (This also lowers visibility of innovative threads.)

  • The above can be contrasted with posters who joined the site in the early years when there was plenty of "low-hanging fruit" around. I could link to the profiles of some core devs who in recent years gained less reputation for 200 answers (of the uniquely authoritative insightful kind) than other users gained for 1 single post with a one-liner in the early days.

  • See Correlation of votes and answering within the first 5 minutes

  • It's happened to me many times that I reminded an OP with 5 figure rep they could accept an answer to their question (and maybe upvote) that had been polluting the hasaccepted:no search operator for years. Or saying in the comments: "the answer solved my problem" without remembering to upvote or accepting. (If you can't expect an experienced user to keep stewardship over for their own posts, can we reasonably expect the majority of users to vote responsibly?)

  1. If I'm someone who has a history of upvoting more often than no

I don't necessarily disagree with removing the banner for some users. But this raises the question: What metrics should be applied? Votes per year? Combined with percentage of votes and accepts on their own answers? Should this be calculated with a decay factor over time? How many users would it actually impact?

this condescending banner

Here is where I do disagree. On occasion I see the banner and I don't take offense from it. I understand the reminder can be useful to the community overall by reminded a percentage of users to fulfill their civic duty, and if someone gets an extra upvote from it I hope it does justice to the work they've put into their post.

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  • 1
    I made some edits to my question. per "But this raises the question: What metrics should be applied?", the simplest implementation I can think of is: did the user vote on a question or answer the last time they landed on a page from a search engine? More complicated implementation: keep track of the last N pages user viewed, and whether they voted on at least one question or answer on each of those pages. If at least X% of last N pages had votes, don't show the banner. (Not sure what the best values for N and X are, but N=10 X=75% might work.)
    – Kip
    yesterday
  • Speaking personally, as a longtime user: To be honest, I often forget to upvote questions... But this banner doesn't help me with that at all - especially because it appears before I've read anything else on the page. It doesn't really bother me since I only really see it when I'm finding a post via Google or something, but it also doesn't benefit me at all because I know how SE works already (and haven't read the page at all, so I don't know yet whether anything on the page is worth voting on). It might be useful for new users or users who haven't visited SE in a while, but that's about it.
    – V2Blast StaffMod
    19 hours ago

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