This title was going to be "Is the subscription management interface the worst in history?", but I figured it not very good for searching.

I'll explain my flow, which will hopefully highlight why this is so bizarrely frustrating.

1. I discover this new subscription interface, which I didn't know existed, mostly, because I haven't been around for a while, and partially because there is nothing in the user interface that indicated to me this option was somewhere around here.


2. I click subscribe, and suddenly, I'm subscribed!. (I would have taken a capture of this, but the damn thing goes away and you have to repeat the action to get it back)

3. I look around in the user interface, and don't see anything vaguely resembling a list of things that I am now subscribed to. (And this absence is why I didn't think things could be subscribed to in the first place). I have looked around the entire Stack Overflow website, it simply isn't there.

4. I get an email from Stack Exchange telling me I've a subscription:

Subscription Email

5. Clicking that, of course gives me this page:

Confirmation Success

6. Out of curiosity, I click "Change Email Preferences", landing me thus:

Edit Page

Now based on what I've tried, if you click anywhere on this page not directly related with this specific email update, you'll lose this page forever and not have any way to get to it from anywhere via forward-navigation. One would assume that based on the colouration of the "tagged questions" and "my tag sets", that that is where I currently am, and clicking those things will get me back to where I am now.

So lets click these things:


== Um. OK. What the hell just happened? As you saw before,

  • yes, this is the site that controls my subscription
  • yes, we saw pages to that effect earlier
  • no, there is no way to get to these pages, resort to finding the right URL in your browser history or in an email somewhere?

Now I'm assuming this is just a bug, and there is perhaps supposed to be something displaying on the right hand panel that is currently not displaying, but outside that assumption, this is currently in the state of some of the worst UI I have ever used :/

  • 1
    ( Point 7 was getting a coffee before I went crazy and killed something/someone >_> ) Commented Feb 7, 2011 at 18:28
  • change or blur that one image that has your email address (altho it's not too hard to guess what a geeks' gmail is on this site)
    – jcolebrand
    Commented Feb 7, 2011 at 18:44
  • yeah... I contemplated that for a while, until I realised my email address is in enough public places as it is, and the net effort vs net gains just weren't worth it IMO. Commented Feb 7, 2011 at 18:52

2 Answers 2


Dear Kent,



Your Friends at Stack Exchange

  • Cool. Now for a link to it in the UI so I Can find it =). Commented Feb 11, 2011 at 5:55
  • hint: visit your flair page (for now). stackoverflow.com/users/flair Commented Feb 11, 2011 at 5:58
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    Curious: I've see the "Status: completed" but I still can't find the control of a subscription anywhere without first having a related email about it, clicking "Tagged questions" In stack exchange still gives me the infuriating empty list of no subscriptions. I'm not exactly subscribing to "Some random users tag", all I'm doing is subscribing to ONE tag using the stackoverflow interface. Commented Feb 24, 2011 at 14:28
  • That is, everything I did above still happens in the exact same way, and I am still completely unable to find anything about it. The best I can find is the "cross site tag set link" page, which sends me to a page showing everything EXCEPT my tag subscription, ie: identical to i.imgur.com/z8Nu9.png Commented Feb 24, 2011 at 14:31
  • If you're in doubt, please, create a blank profile, and follow the steps I did above, because every time I do them, I end up with the same result, subscriptions that I can only know about and manage if I have the relevant emails, and NO interface that I can find in the site itself for them. Commented Feb 24, 2011 at 14:33
  • OH< By more poking around I found it. I did not realise the text "Logged In" in stack-exchange is in fact an active link that goes somewhere. Once I clicked this I found the relevant subscription page, but it really shouldn't be that inobvious. any words other than "logged in" would have been useful. Commented Feb 24, 2011 at 14:37
  • IT's not perfect, but the thing that needs to be fixed now I think is a separate bug =) Commented Feb 24, 2011 at 14:41
  • @KentFredric Apparently that's meta.stackexchange.com/questions/80512/…
    – tripleee
    Commented Aug 2, 2012 at 10:11

First, I think it's more awkward when you subscribe to tag sets you do not own. Here's what I see under tagged questions | my tag sets.

enter image description here

(note subtle positioning of arrow) The difference, I think, is that I own these tag sets.. I subscribed to someone else's random tag set as a test, and of course that is not shown here as it is not "mine".

Now based on what I've tried, if you click anywhere on this page not directly related with this specific email update, you'll lose this page forever and not have any way to get to it from anywhere via forward-navigation

Please note that the link to the tagset page (whether it is yours or not) appears in every single subscription email you receive:

To change your email preferences, visit {tagset name} on stackexchange.com.

While I agree the current web UI needs some improvement, ignoring the fact that every single email has this link is a little... hyperbolic.

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    "[...]is a little... hyperbolic." - Should be - "[...]is the most hyperbolic thing anyone has ever witnessed in the history of the Universe."
    – jjnguy
    Commented Feb 8, 2011 at 5:37
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    I'm exceedingly dismayed that you appear to be ignoring bugs and discussions on meta :)
    – Benjol
    Commented Feb 8, 2011 at 6:47
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    every single subscription email you receive: <-- IMO, that is horrendous design. "theres a link to it, but its in your email". I can't find an analogy that explains how bad that is. And it being on "Every email" doesn't show you how many subscriptions you have, so if you have a subscription ( accidentally ) to a few tags that turn up once every few months, you won't know until the day the email for that comes out ! Commented Feb 8, 2011 at 10:53
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    @kent I totally agree that the UI needs to be improved, but at the time you would care about this -- when you get the email and are like "hmm, I don't want these emails any more" -- the link is right there in the email. Commented Feb 8, 2011 at 15:49

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