I was testing the inbox/unread API but noticed that there is a big delay between one gets a message, and this message gets included in the API response. Like one minute or more.

Is this API not real-time, and is there a way to get real-time unread inbox items?

It would be essential for me, as I'm making an app to give user live notifications about new inbox messages.

  • By definition a real-time system has "real-time constraint"— e.g. operational deadlines from event to system response. So, if the response is guaranteed to be with in a minute I believe it would still be called real-time. Commented Jul 20, 2012 at 6:45
  • Oh thanks for the explanation on real-time! So I think my constraint would be like 20 or 30 seconds.
    – zavié
    Commented Jul 20, 2012 at 7:26

1 Answer 1


Every response from the API can be cached for up to a minute, so making the same request multiple times in that time-frame typically won't return different results.

We make note of this in the throttle documentation:

While not strictly a throttle, the Stack Exchange employs heavy caching and as such no application should make semantically identical requests more than once a minute.

  • So it's not possible to notify the user immediately with the API :(
    – zavié
    Commented Jul 20, 2012 at 7:24

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