In response to the amount of complaints about the necessary evil that is rate limiting, consider putting a timeout to rate limiting messages (when the timeout expires, the message would fade away).

The message should disappear by itself after the action becomes available again (you can still click to dismiss, however); the message, however, should remain displayed for enough time to be read (e.g., we can't have the vote count fetching message flash for a mere second).

A reasonable time out length would be, for some value of reading_time:

timeout = max(action_delay, reading_time)

A reasonable value of reading_time could be 10 seconds.

Messages could also be changed to expose this feature:

Only 1 comment allowed per 15 seconds; timer reset.

(wait 15 seconds or click to dismiss)

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    There's no countdown to entertain you during the wait (so you can focus on the action itself, e.g. revising your comment), but the system politely notices the expiration for you. (Yes, I am aware that messages do already have a timeout.) – badp Jul 27 '10 at 16:01
  • Yes, then I won't have to guess when 15 seconds is up. – jjnguy Jul 27 '10 at 16:12
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    FWIW, the box already does time out, but it takes longer than 15 seconds. – Pops Jul 27 '10 at 16:15
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    I actually thought it already did, but @Pop might be right about it taking longer. Looking at the code it seems it's around 30 seconds by default (1000ms*30), but there's another conditional in there that could change it. It's possible that it was 30 seconds intentionally when that was the rate limit, but when the limit was reduced the timer wasn't. – Andy E Jul 27 '10 at 22:40

Better plan -- make the reset message take 15 seconds to read:

We on the SO team are saddened to inform you that the comment vote you've tried to cast did not go through as planned. That is to say, your vote remains unrecorded. The reason for this is that you've voted on a comment in the last 15 seconds, and we only allow 1 comment vote every 15 seconds -- you're voting too fast, my friend! You are likely near tears at this point, wondering how you can possibly wait that long to give this comment the upvote it so rightly deserves. Well, we have excellent news for you! By the time you've finished reading this message, you will be able to cast another vote -- it happens that fast. Now, vote -- VOTE FOR GLORY!

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  • That's not 15 seconds long to read. – Grace Note Jul 27 '10 at 17:27
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    @Grace Note: Really? Not for you? This explains a lot, I think. – mmyers Jul 27 '10 at 17:28
  • @Grace Well, I ran out of things to ramble about :). Ideally, SO should determine how fast we read based on our answer rates, and tailor the message to our own individual reading ability – Michael Mrozek Jul 27 '10 at 17:28
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    Read once, shrug many... – badp Jul 27 '10 at 18:07
  • make one that fills the entire page for 15 seconds. – abel Jan 8 '11 at 10:41
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    It takes you 15 seconds to read “too long, don't read”? – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Nov 8 '11 at 20:02

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