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I don't like cookies. My browser is set to discard them after it is closed. I have no problem with logging in every time I reopen the browser and want to use a Stack network in a non-read-only way and I fail to see why any of them would be "necessary".

Recently an enormous cookie banner was introduced in AskUbuntu. It takes about one third of the window until the user decides what to do about his cookies (and of course the shortest path is to accept all), partially obstructing the questions and answers, which are the very reason people visit this website.

enter image description here

The previous cookie consent banner was a decent footer that did not make it impossible to read posts. One could ignore its existence.

As far as I can remember, Stack has always had an uncluttered interface with sane and respectful choices. No gigantic banners. We know what the next step is: A large pop-up asking visitors to log-in or to create an account. Actually this is already a big header as you can see in the picture, but at least it goes away as one scrolls down.

The new banner harms the user experience. It is too big, too intrusive. I suggest the interface design team considers rolling back to the previous footer banner.

Note: A/B testing is ongoing, so the full page banner may be smaller for you (see comments to this related answer in Meta). Slightly better, but still intrusive.

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  • "I suggest the interface design team considers rolling back to the previous footer banner." — how do we know they did not have a legitimate reason for this design update? With this possibility in mind, I would rather suggest that they please acknowledge the latest attempt badly received (and consider therefore unsuccessful), and please try to meet their goal with a new, different attempt (while keeping feedback from this attempt in focus). In the meanwhile they could be so nice and restore the previous one :) – Levente Feb 16 at 13:52
  • FWIW, someone posted about the same thing on the original meta.SE announcement of the cookie controls here: meta.stackexchange.com/a/361009/299995. But I'm not seeing the same cookie control that you see. This is how it looks on super user for me: i.stack.imgur.com/fQqB4.png – Kodos Johnson Feb 17 at 0:58
  • It's not a rendering bug. When I inspect it on superuser.com with the inspector on Firefox 85.0.1 (64-bit) on Ubuntu 20.04.2, I see classes that are declared to behave exactly as seen. .hmn100 { min-height: 100% !important; } and .w33 { width: 33.3333% !important; }. There might be A/B testing going on... – Levente Feb 17 at 4:05
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I think we might have stumbled upon something here.

From HuHa's comment:

According to EU law, the default setting needs to be essential cookies, but they overlooked that all such banners provide a big fat "accept all" button and then a "settings" button where you have to click multiple times to get rid of the banner without accepting all cookies.

From my comment (the context being personal experience with other such widgets encountered):

Admittedly, it took me some time to figure this out, and in the beginning I too was indeed intimidated by the complicated interface and the manipulation by how those buttons are designed (prominence / color / contrast). Seems like there is some regulation, but the implementations are not free from attempts at using dark patterns. Site operators are indeed invested in keeping tracking enabled.

So I know this is speculation, and I know that speculation tends to be frowned upon these days, but I risk offering this:

One possible reason for the redesign could have been an attempt to apply pressure on the users to not explore and exercise their rights, but instead seek the fastest way of getting rid of this monstrous, unusual, intimidating thing. "Coincidentally", allowing all cookies in the process.

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I don't like cookies. My browser is set to discard them after it is closed.

As a web developer, that seems like a slightly absurd overreaction, but each to their own. It obviously means a site can't remember your preferences, let alone things like sessions and logins. I think you know that.

If you visit a site a lot, it might be worth using something like UBlock Origin. You can then right click elements to hide, forever. The targeting can be a bit iffy so the things you want to block are ##.js-consent-banner and ##.js-dismissable-hero. After that you'll simply never see them.

You can use similar techniques on other sites.

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    Using an adblocker to sculpt the website into an acceptable shape "fixes" the problems only for specific individuals — most likely those who have an account and are return users. But it's not helping occasional visitors, who just landed on the site through a search engine, googling their problem. And it's also not fixing the issue that the platform that we invest immense amounts of our time and efforts in, is not distancing itself from using dark patterns. – Levente Feb 20 at 12:54
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Thank the EU parliament for this: They forced that stuff upon us all.

I found the only way out to is installing the "I don't care about cookies" browser extension which silently accepts all cookies on sites that have such a banner.

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    AFAIK the law now requires consent to use non-essential cookies, but it says nothing about huge banners in our faces. I appreciate the suggestions to work-around that, but addressing the issue directly is always best. – Quasímodo Feb 16 at 11:28
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    That's not relevant to the size. The EU law may demand that a widget must be there, but I would be incredibly surprised if the same law prescribed that the widget needs to be so disproportionally huge. Until I'm convinced otherwise, I will assume that it — as long as it meets basic ergonomic / usability expectations (like the previous, reasonably sized version did) — is at the discretion of site designers. – Levente Feb 16 at 11:51
  • If some crooked lawyer can make a case that the banner is too easily overlooked, the web page provider may get fined, and obviously they want to avoid that; so they err on the side of caution (i.e. overdoing it). – HuHa Feb 17 at 12:03
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    That's inaccurate. The server must assume visitors do not want cookies except for the essential ones, unless the users consents to store them. So by placing a large banner the odds that the user will click "accept all" just to quickly get rid of it increases a lot, and that makes advertisers and trackers much more happy and increases revenue. – Quasímodo Feb 17 at 14:30
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    According to EU law, the default setting needs to be essential cookies, but they overlooked that all such banners provide a big fat "accept all" button and then a "settings" button where you have to click multiple times to get rid of the banner without accepting all cookies. Our EU parliamentarians are just clueless amateuers; whatever they touch they turn into garbage. Sad, but true. – HuHa Feb 17 at 16:26
  • @HuHa My experience in the recent months is that these complicated cookie-setting widgets tend to behave in a unified way. Once you open the "Cusomize my settings" option, the checkbox by the "strictly necessary" is of course enabled, but the rest consistently seems to be disabled initially. Like, these interfaces work by the principle of opt-in, not opt-out. If one of these mega-widgets you are facing adheres to this (there's a good chance it does), then you can get away with just 2 clicks: "Customize my settings" and "Save my settings". And it even leaves you as cookie-free as possible. – Levente Feb 18 at 12:07
  • Admittedly, it took me some time to figure this out, and in the beginning I too was indeed intimidated by the complicated interface and the manipulation by how those buttons are designed (prominence / color / contrast). Seems like there is some regulation, but the implementations are not free from attempts at using dark patterns. Site operators are indeed invested in keeping tracking enabled. – Levente Feb 18 at 12:10

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