This is a weird problem that is hard to reproduce.

I leave my computer on pretty much 24x7 and I am logged in to chat all the time. Randomly, every few days, when I try to upload a picture, the upload starts but instead of submitting the picture, it logs me out.

I can't easily reproduce and it is at complete random, but it has probably happened around 15 times since I started using chat.

Just now was one example, I wrote some text (fine), uploaded a picture (fine), then I uploaded another picture to be straight after and it changed to the grey box at the bottom saying I need to be logged in.

Today was easy, I clicked the link, got the notification at the top saying I am in and I went back... other times it doesn't log me in and I have to clear cookies and do the usual mucking around.

Sorry I can't be more help in diagnosing, but as I said, it is very random.


This was caused by the clock on the database server being off after a reboot, and the time synchronization not working (again – this seems to be some sort of running gag).

The clocks of the DB server and the web server being far out of sync caused updated session information to be out-of-date immediately, so chances were high that your authentication cookie was considered invalid in certain cases.

The chance was even higher if you had a longer-running request, which is why this often happened after uploading an image (which naturally takes longer than a "Has anybody said anything?" poll).

After I manually set the clocks to roughly match each other, the random logouts stopped; in the meantime, the automatic synchronization has also been repaired.

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  • Sounds like a tricky problem! Anyway, Well done! :) – William Hilsum Jun 2 '11 at 9:55

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