I know that we’ve had the discussion before – repeatedly. However, now that we’ve had the current system for a few months it’s time to re-evaluate it.

In my opinion, the system has failed.

The problem is that the note below the answer isn’t visible. At all. For instance, I completely missed it on this question and only noticed it after it was mentioned in a comment – and after I actively looked for it, still overlooking it the first time.

In my opinion, the solution should be very easy, and I would be interested if anybody finds it controversial:

Put the banner above the question / answer.

A common objection to editing the post was that “it’s intrusive”. But that’s the purpose! It should be intrusive, it should be noticed. At the moment, I don’t believe that the majority of users notice the banners on the majority of posts.

The banners currently also fail at a basic, very useful function:

The banner's boilerplate text should or must include a hyperlink to a relevant/helpful/informative FAQ page.

This should be fixed as well.

Notice: This is a UX problem. Developing a proper design for the banner might mitigate the problem. But I still feel (strongly) that changing the layout rather than the design is a better solution. Put the banner above the related post.

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I wholeheartedly agree. –  Sklivvz Feb 26 '12 at 22:26
    
I read "changing the layout rather than the design is a better solution" and thought: Maybe the layout could be changed through CSS (i.e. the local site's design) rather than a layout change affecting all the sites. But I looked at the HTML, and it is layout is done through tables, not CSS, so I believe that's a no go. –  Oddthinking Feb 27 '12 at 2:29
    
@Oddthinking: the layout could be changed per-site using Javascript, as I did in my script below. –  Jivlain Feb 27 '12 at 10:29
    
Once you have got a reasonable level of support here, we should escalate the request to Meta.SO (e.g.). –  Oddthinking Feb 28 '12 at 11:32
    
FYI, UX.SE are discussing similar (slightly different) changes. –  Oddthinking Mar 7 '12 at 13:14
    
This has now been promoted to Meta.StackOverflow as a feature-request. Please throw your weight behind it. (Unless you don't like it! Then go downvote it, so your opinion is heard!) –  Oddthinking Mar 7 '12 at 16:01
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2 Answers

As a temporary measure, I wrote a little user script which moves the notice to the top and also emboldens it. You can get it here.

On the downside, it won't add a link, and won't solve the issue of most users missing the notices.

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Bah! You fooled me! I installed this on Chrome, which isn't on the list. Didn't work. Forgot about it. Rebooted. Got totally confused about why one answer, with references, had the banner, and the next (with none) did not. –  Oddthinking Feb 28 '12 at 11:25
    
Yeah, I'd like to come up with some way of pairing it more with the post it's associated with - especially as it reverses the relationship of the horizontal line to the post. I eventually gave up on easy ways of doing it. If we had a finalised design that would probably make it easier, but in the meantime I'm open to suggestions... –  Jivlain Feb 28 '12 at 12:14
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One possible compromise suggestion I have made:

The banner could remain below, in a box, but the text could have (on the left or right) a distinctive stripe that leads to the banner.

← Notice the stripe on the left. That's the kind of thing I am talking about.

It would be less intrusive to new viewers who didn't initially understand it (until they reached the bottom), but it would be a bold flag to the regulars suggesting that this post needs improvement.

Edited to Add: Here is a mockup, as implemented by Jivlain's script:

enter image description here

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Hmm. “It would be less intrusive to new viewers” … this disqualifies the idea in my opinion. The banner should be intrusive, it provides crucial information, that’s the whole point. –  Konrad Rudolph Feb 28 '12 at 13:33
    
@Konrad, this is a compromise, for the people who don't want "a canker sore". I'm having trouble defending it, because I would rather it at the top, but if that is a show-stopper, this is second best. –  Oddthinking Feb 28 '12 at 13:49
    
I quite like that idea, I've changed my script to have a border leading to the notice. Or the original version is available if people want that :) –  Jivlain Feb 28 '12 at 14:17
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It should be above, because it should be read first. That's how disclaimers work, in my opinion! Not [read 200 lines] and then "By the way, we were kidding, this is unreferenced..." –  Sklivvz Feb 28 '12 at 17:54
    
I think having a line all the way (especially for long posts) is way more unaesthetic than having the banner at the top. –  nico Mar 4 '12 at 14:54
    
I gotta say, after using this script for almost a week, it is certainly growing on me. –  Oddthinking Mar 4 '12 at 15:17
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