After logging into one Stack Exchange site, when I visit another SE site, it says to me, welcome back - user - click here to refresh - web page.

Isn't it possible to refresh the page using code & without the user's interaction?

  • 1
    See also Kevin Montrose's answer here.
    – Pops
    Commented May 28, 2012 at 19:49

4 Answers 4


Because the auto-login process happens asynchronously. In other words, you may already be reading stuff, have already scrolled down, started typing, or whatnot, when the login process is completed. Automatically refreshing would be annoying in this case.

In one case, though, this will happen automatically (proving that it's not a technical problem): When you're on the login page, we take it as granted that you want to go back to whereever you clicked "log in" (e.g. on the chat site), so it's safe to automatically redirect you back.

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    Am I right to assume you considered loading the top bar (Inbox, user name, reputation, links) instead of showing that banner? (Apart from the development effort, I can also imagine that such would cause more confusion as the remaining contents of the page would not reflect favorite and ignored tags then.)
    – Arjan
    Commented Sep 1, 2012 at 12:15
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    @Arjan Yeah, there's tons and tons page content that changes when you log in. Requiring a single F5 or click (only happening once for a session anyway) to make sure that the complete page fits the login that's displayed in the top bar is just the best way to go. Changing the whole page content unobtrusively is just close to impossible (think: deleted answers suddenly appearing, the links under the post changing, comment controls changing, vote arrows changing, etc.).
    – balpha StaffMod
    Commented Sep 1, 2012 at 12:38
  • (Ah, I didn't even think about pages other than the home page!)
    – Arjan
    Commented Sep 1, 2012 at 12:40
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    why not do the refresh automatically if the user hasn't scrolled yet? Commented Mar 5, 2013 at 19:15
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    This is pretty annoying to see across 5 or 6 stack exchange websites one after the other - I'd prefer to see uncustomised content or asynchronously load the user information top bar rather than this banner.
    – Simon D
    Commented Aug 29, 2014 at 3:57

This is a very valid question.

It's certainly possible to refresh the affected parts of the page automatically through ajax; asking the user to refresh themselves the page feels hacky..

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    the user settings affect a large part of the page; you're hand-waving that away as trivial. Commented Dec 24, 2010 at 20:55
  • @Jeff, Rebecca is saying the same thing below. Could you expand on that or link to a blog post of yours explaining it?
    – GUI Junkie
    Commented Jul 18, 2011 at 6:47
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    @Jeff, I really don't see it (see my edit below, if you please)
    – GUI Junkie
    Commented Jul 18, 2011 at 23:20
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    @JeffAtwood Can't we have a few workarounds to ease the pain? Such as: On question pages when the user tries to do something that requires logging in, automatically refresh and perform the action they were trying to do. Commented Nov 2, 2011 at 23:30

It is a new feature, if you are already logged into one SE site, and you visit another SE site that you already have an account for, it will automatically log you in.

A user having logged into any SE-site will be automatically logged into every other SE-site on which they have an account

Source: How does SO's new auto-login feature work?

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    Then why does it says - click here to refresh page ? Commented Dec 24, 2010 at 11:07
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    @sagar: because it takes a sec or two to see you there and log you in.
    – studiohack
    Commented Dec 24, 2010 at 11:08

I think the 'click here' isn't needed. There is no need at all to show a notification bar. If SE is able to determine that the user is registered, they could 'just' put the username at the right spot at the top of the page.

The 'only' reason to refresh the page is the added functionality at the top of the page (StackExchange area with notifications, user area with hover) that nobody would miss really.

Edit Before clicking 'click here'. Logon

After clicking... After logon

The only difference I see is the 'Welcome' box on the right that was replaced by the 'Favorite Tag' and 'Ignored Tag' textbox.

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    Being logged in means a lot more than just a name shown at the top of the page. There are privileges that come with being logged in and having reputation, and that affects a significant portion of the page. Commented Jul 17, 2011 at 22:48
  • Arriving at Q&A? I only see a bunch of questions.
    – GUI Junkie
    Commented Jul 17, 2011 at 23:00
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    Maybe the user has favorite/ignored tags that affect the display of those questions. Maybe the user has notifications they are supposed to get. Maybe the user went directly to a question page and thus a significant portion of the page is affected. Maybe the user went directly to their profile and needs their authenticated view of their profile. Etc... Commented Jul 19, 2011 at 0:03
  • 1
    Now that many details are loaded dynamically (see Real time updates to questions, answers, and inbox), it indeed seems that the user details could be added this way too. But I'm not sure if it's worth the effort, given the exceptions that @Rebecca mentioned, and also her note about about how some users might expect some questions to be removed from their home page. So, a message about the refresh doesn't look too bad to me either.
    – Arjan
    Commented May 24, 2012 at 18:57

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