Please add the functionality to dismiss or kill the site-wide announcement bars. Not the standard notification bars that come with phrases such as:

You've earned "Iconoclast" and 1 other badges. See your profile.

But the banner that runs on occasion like during an election for moderators or anniversary notices (as in the case of Super User) and things with chat or site downtime.

After X number of days, hours or minutes they just become visual noise.

Server Fault meta has further discussions on this in the adventures of Is the dark blue system notification bar annoying?

Suggestions have been made on how to make the system message bar friendlier while still achieving the desired results.

  • Interesting... it's a lot more conspicuous on SF than it is on Gaming and Meta Stack Overflow. I actually found myself bothered by the lack of it on Gaming for a week or so, even though the originally message was simply "go to our meta site". It meshed seamlessly on those sites to the point that the blank space is more disconcerting. But this varies by person, of course.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Commented Sep 10, 2010 at 15:31
  • 6
    +1 And we now have stackoverflow now has its very own third place - visit the real-time chat at chat.stackoverflow.com I know! I read it the first time it appeared, and the second, and the third...
    – MarkJ
    Commented Oct 25, 2010 at 16:53
  • Please check out my old answer here (meta.stackexchange.com/questions/64118/…). If it really bothers you that much, use grease-monkey to remove the notification. Unless the devs at SO decide to actually fix it, then there isn't much of another solution.
    – Kibbee
    Commented Nov 14, 2011 at 21:53
  • @Kibbee Thanks, but I'm not that into GreaseMonkey
    – squillman
    Commented Nov 14, 2011 at 22:29
  • @sqlillman, I was more commenting to draw attention for Peter who placed the bounty on this question. There isn't any other solution, unless the devs are going to provide a real fix.
    – Kibbee
    Commented Nov 15, 2011 at 0:41
  • What if you just scroll down, cocking a snook at it? I found that a very workable solution.
    – Kris
    Commented Nov 15, 2011 at 11:42

7 Answers 7


In support of being able to dismiss notifications, and in response to Diago's comment above, :

Are you ready to handle all the questions on Meta once they dismissed it? Wait there was this banner on the site I dismissed about x, how can I read it again*/*I never saw that, what is this new feature.

A "Notifications" page where these announcements permanently reside would nicely tie this up. I think that it would fit in well near the "about" or "faq" links. This way the notifications could be dismissed, but could be referenced by anyone who would care to look them back up.

I had also answered similarly on MSF

  • Hmm, didn't spot this before, but obviously I agree with it since it's ultimately the same thing I've just suggested. :) Commented Oct 25, 2010 at 12:41
  • Might be a good idea - won't it be pretty similar to the blog though?
    – MarkJ
    Commented Oct 25, 2010 at 16:54
  • @Peter Boughton - That's pretty funny; Great minds and such...
    – gWaldo
    Commented Oct 26, 2010 at 12:50
  • @MarkJ - What I envision is more like a list of previous headlines, perhaps more like a lame RSS feed. But it answers the (perceived) need to be able to go back and look at that notification that was dismissed...
    – gWaldo
    Commented Oct 27, 2010 at 13:00

In response to Diago's comment:

Are you ready to handle all the questions on Meta once they dismissed it? Wait there was this banner on the site I dismissed about x, how can I read it again*/*I never saw that, what is this new feature.


  • Allow unimportant notifications to be dismissed completely when they have been read - (I've visited chat, stop bugging me!) - not allowing this is insulting and very annoying!

  • Show the relevance/expiry date for important notifications.

  • Allow all notifications to be shrunk to a single exclamation icon, clicking it will expand the message again, and/or link to...

  • Create a /notifications page that shows all notifications, with start and end dates, highlighting any active/significant ones.

If you do all of those things and still get people asking questions, you're welcome to direct them my way.


When it comes to a System Alert style, the one on Server Fault is more effective. As compared to the SuperUser one, it more visually present and draws attention more effectively. On the other hand, the SU one blends into the overall style a bit better but the text on the SU style is not quite as readable as the SF banner. Take a look:





A persistent complaint has been that the WALL banner seems to render fairly late on the page. When someone has hit refresh and clicks on a link before the page is fully rendered, sometimes the click-target has moved down between the time the ole brain says "Click that" and the finger actually does it. It gets annoying.

Then we come to the method of usage. SU has a contest with prizes going, and both have a new chat platform. These are important messages to get out, absolutely. Unfortunately the method of display and the desire to hit as many users as possible is beginning to run up against the annoyance wall for a number of users (SF users more than SU users it seems, perhaps due to the effectiveness of the styling). Perhaps a better way to handle it would be to have it as a dismissible display that re-ups once every 24 hours requiring a new dismissal. Yes, that will still get annoying but at least it isn't as persistently annoying.

  • 2
    +1 on this - it being there doesn't bother me so much, what does bother me is thinking "woo, that annoying banner has gone away. Oh no, wait, there it is - just rendered." Commented Sep 17, 2010 at 19:29

This is probably not a good idea because that type of alert already exists; system messages are different and adding that feature would make them identical -- you might as well just remove the feature entirely. System messages are intended to be used very sparingly, it's just a coincidence that SU and SF happen to both have one right now

After X number of days / hours / minutes they just become visual noise.

It's probably worth pointing out that you can't create a system message without an expiration date, to avoid this exact problem

  • 3
    That's cool, then put the message in the std notification bar along with comments / badges / etc. The SU notification was more of another example. The one on SF is driving me freakin' nuts right now. To the point where I've quit checking in.
    – squillman
    Commented Sep 10, 2010 at 17:31


The purpose of the bar is to announce important system information, and by allowing users to just dismiss it once they have read it makes the whole purpose of the bar moot. It is not used often, mainly to announce important system changes or new features.

It was mentioned in chat by someone recently that teaching users to dismiss important system notification are a really bad idea because it becomes the case of the boy that cried Wolf. (I am paraphrasing but if I remember correctly it was said by Jeff). I agree with the statement however.

  • 17
    A month of "Happy First Anniversary" hardly counts as an important system message to me. And if I visit chat.serverfault.com and start using it then obviously I'm aware that it's there and don't need to see the announcement anymore.
    – squillman
    Commented Sep 10, 2010 at 14:59
  • @squilman Considering the competition attached, I feel it is important. Any new user that visits the site stands a chance of winning. How else are they or anyone going to know there is a competition going? It's working as it should. It seems like everyone seems to just want to ignore that point. (Also a bit surprised to see this suggestion from a well respected sys admin who should understand the importance of system notification) Commented Sep 10, 2010 at 15:00
  • 4
    But if I am not interested in the competition then I'm not interested in seeing the announcement. New users will obviously see it. If they don't care then they can also dismiss it.
    – squillman
    Commented Sep 10, 2010 at 15:01
  • @squilman. Are you ready to handle all the questions on Meta once they dismissed it? Wait there was this banner on the site I dismissed about x, how can I read it again*/*I never saw that, what is this new feature. I can recall it being used very effectively during the great reputation recalc as well. I stand by my answer. Commented Sep 10, 2010 at 15:06
  • I'll concede the rep recalc announcement because that is in a different league than the others. In those cases don't provide the option. That's easy enough. And yes, that would admittedly put the decision on what's "important enough" in the hands of the team.
    – squillman
    Commented Sep 10, 2010 at 15:14
  • 5
    @Diago and @sqillman, I propose an alternative that allows for the dismissal of notifications (yes, I'm tired of seeing about chat), but allows for the messages to be referred back to.
    – gWaldo
    Commented Sep 16, 2010 at 12:41

Below is a greasemonkey script I created that is used to add a hide button to the system message. It first checks for a cookie (more on that later) and if the cookie is present, it hides the system message. If there is no cookie, it adds a hide button to the system message bar. When you click the system message bar, it hides the message bar, and sets a cookie, that expires in one day. So clicking the hide icon will dismiss the system message for a day, or until the cookie is deleted manually.

// ==UserScript==
// @name           StackOverflow Hide System Message
// @namespace      www.kibbee.ca
// @description    Hides the system message in stackoverflow
// @include        http://stackoverflow.com/*
// ==/UserScript==

function getCookie(c_name)
var i,x,y,ARRcookies=document.cookie.split(";");
for (i=0;i<ARRcookies.length;i++)
  if (x==c_name)
    return unescape(y);

var sysMessageElem = document.getElementById('system-message');

if(sysMessageElem != null && sysMessageElem.innerHTML != '');
    if(getCookie('HideSOSystemMessage') === '1')
        sysMessageElem.style.display = 'none';

        HideElem = document.createElement('div');
        HideElem.innerHTML = 'Hide';
        HideElem.style.border = '1px solid black';
        HideElem.style.width = '100px';
        HideElem.style.height = '100%';
        HideElem.style.cursor = 'pointer';
        HideElem.style.cssFloat = 'right';

        ExpFunc = function(){
            var exdate=new Date();
            var expDays = 1;
            exdate.setDate(exdate.getDate() + expDays);
            var c_value=escape('1') + "; expires="+exdate.toUTCString();
            document.cookie='HideSOSystemMessage' + "=" + c_value;
            sysMessageElem.style.display = 'none';

        HideElem.addEventListener("click", ExpFunc, false);



Caution: this is very quick and very dirty solution, which supposed to remove any system messages from now on.

With the help of DragonFly i figured out CSS expression which points to the offensive page element:

html body.question-page div.container div#system-message

and used per site preferences (see there) to inject user stylesheet to the any pages served from the stackoverflow domain:

html body.question-page div.container div#system-message { 
    display: none !important; 

This should work on the any browser which is capable to inject user CSS. Of course, Adblock Plus can make things even more simple, the following rule does the same:

  • 3
    This is a really bad idea. As annoying as this system message might be, you definitely don't want to "remove any system messages from now on". System messages are only enabled in very rare cases to inform you of very important information. The developers didn't turn this one on carelessly, and you won't want to miss the information that they provide in the future. Commented Mar 2, 2012 at 8:57
  • @CodyGray, that depends on how annoying is current message and how important future messages will be :-) Anyway, if developers will really want to force new message - the rule outlined above is quite easy to circumvent :-) As i said in the comment "no one wins at the end". So, to make a compromise on that subject is the only way to go.
    – user539484
    Commented Mar 2, 2012 at 9:15
  • Yes, they could probably circumvent it, but that's not very nice. You should be allowed to break things if you want. That doesn't make it a good idea. My point was that if you want to do this, full well aware of the risks, fine. But posting it here might entice other people to copy the code and use it for themselves to hide this annoying message, without realizing that they'll hide all messages from now on. As I said before, they're not turned on lightly, and all system messages have a definite expiration date. They're short term only by design. And contain important info by design. Commented Mar 2, 2012 at 20:12
  • @CodyGray, well, that's i wrote in the very first paragraph... The degree of annoyance and the degree of importance are very relative values and are highly depending of the personal preferences. Personally, i visit a lot of SO pages, so for me short-term appears to be quite long already, thus i decided to turn this rule on (ABP) two hours age.
    – user539484
    Commented Mar 2, 2012 at 20:50

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