This is an awkward question, combined with a irritated observation. Please forgive the irritated tone.

I am very frustrated by the repeated messages I get on YouTube if I want to do as little as click the thumbs-up icon on a comment. Immediately a message pops up, saying to "Sign-in again to post a comment!"... I'm already fully signed in and have access to my account, while the commenting seems to be forcing me a double sign-in.

First of all, I don't really understand what system could be setup that would require a second sign-in, except for obvious cases of security like major e-commerce sites such as amazon and ebay, where an account session may be active for a long time using cookies to add items to a cart, or similar low-level security actions (ie tracking my own product-view history for product recommendations). Those, separate from high-level security actions that ought to require authentication at the moment of the action, like purchasing or changing password (which is in virtually every user-account system across the web).

What would be the best way for this double-sign-in to be simplified? And truly, what is the actual meaning for it. It's a horrendous user experience IMHO, and has nothing to do with high-level security for payments or account management.

It makes me confused, and leads me to wonder, am I'm missing something in my observation of this particular system?

  • YouTube does not ask me for a login each time I vote something up, or perform any other action once I am already logged in. Perhaps you have an odd preference or add-on causing the issue. Commented Mar 26, 2014 at 19:41
  • As you tube uses G+ for the comments, I think the first time you comment or vote it needs you to login again as it's trying to upgrade your account to include Google+. Commented Apr 24, 2014 at 12:21
  • Basically Google is forcing YouTube users to sign up for Google+. That's the only reason for it. I agree it's disgraceful.
    – user43251
    Commented May 24, 2014 at 11:24
  • I believe now, there was a pair of sessions with different expiry dates. Although I have no evidence, it is the only thing that makes sense from a technical point. Sometime since I posted this question, the behaviour has disappeared, and probably the last month, I haven't seen the request for double sign-in.
    – Tom Pace
    Commented May 25, 2014 at 15:10

4 Answers 4


Often sites require a second sign in if they notice odd behaviour from your account. Facebook does this if some of your posts have been marked as spam. At times they ask you to fill out captcha as well to ensure you aren't a bot or a bot hasn't taken over your account.

While I have never noticed your issue, I am lead to believe it is one of two things. The first is that your browser may have some issue with your cookies. This can either be caused by security settings in your browser or a plugin. Generally 3rd party cookies are used in cases like this to authenticate you. The next issue is as I mentioned, your account may have become compromised or you've been getting downvoted a lot and it is forcing the system to ensure you are a real person.

Payments and account management aren't the only things that require high security these days. Spam makes user experience poor and sites like YouTube, Google, Facebook, etc want to ensure there is as little of it on their service as possible. Sometimes to ensure their spam numbers remain low requires them to make their users jump through hoops to perform basic actions like commenting or posting.


I think the most simplified way for a double sign-in is to remember the user and just ask for a password.

It's a common pattern I've seen across some large sites (Amazon for example)

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This pattern as a whole is much faster and causes a lot less friction when forcing a second sign in.

Facebook do it extremely well, they make it personal with my name and photo - which is a nice touch.

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As Francis has mentioned it is often the case that websites use double sign-ins as a security measure incases such as credit card usage or cases where an algorithm might think that an account is compromised.

I believe that youtube has this odd behaviour for some users as there are youtube accounts which are not yet tied with a google account. While youtube allows you to view videos with a 'youtube' account the google accounts are still managed by google account policy with supersedes a 'Youtube' account.

I would not think that there is an easy way to simplify a double sign in but the usage of it has to really be justified!


Rather than require a double sign in, what if you were to practice dual authentication? I've had solid results integrating Clef into a couple of projects. Granted, you've now built a smartphone requirement into your app, which is a very specific thing to do - but the pin + device methodology is very sound.

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Disclosure: I have absolutely no relationship to Clef, although I have conversed with the lead developer on several occasions and support what he's trying to do.

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