Here's an announcement for those who do not frequent Meta Stack Exchange (MSE).

By 7 December, every site on the Stack Exchange network will adopt the new theme.

With the final transition of the entire network to Responsive Design on December 7th, we can start rolling out new features for the entire network - Custom Questions Lists and Saved Searches - and doing research into others, like updating user profiles to play nice with the new responsive layout, for example...

December 2, 2018

Say Goodbye to the classic EL&U theme and Hello to the responsive theme complete with left navigation panels, triple-hamburger menus, and the peculiar mix-match of fonts (no mention that this issue has been resolved).

On December 4, users on Meta were invited to fill in a form explaining what they may dislike about the profile page. Yes, just the profile page. Suggestions, comments, ideas, and confused mumblings of dissent may be read here:

Help us improve the user profile and settings

Below is a snippet of the announcement.

We need your help

We’re kicking off these changes by conducting user research about what people like and dislike about the profile, and how it might be improved. In addition to the folks on Meta, we’ll be talking to people sourced from our Research email list. The intent is to get some preliminary knowledge about what kinds of updates would be most beneficial to the most people.

If you can spare a few minutes, please fill out this survey. Among other things, it asks questions like: [blah, blah, blah,…]

We recognize that Meta folks are probably more likely to use the profile and settings regularly, which is why you’re one of the first groups of people that we’re talking to.


Please fill out the survey by Friday, December 7. Thursday, December 13.

Stroll over to Meta or click on the survey link above and let your voice be heard but hurry, this opportunity will expire on December 7th 13th.

The survey deadline has been extended, we actually have time to say what changes, if any, should be made to our profile pages. And we might as well discuss and/or suggest any aesthetic changes to the new theme while we're at it.


Catija, our Community Manager, is bringing us up to speed in her recent post, far better than I attempted here.


It's live. It's happened. It's here. The new theme has befallen us… sob

  • 7
    Do you like the new layout? I don’t.
    – user 66974
    Dec 4, 2018 at 14:52
  • Sounds to me like they're going to remove features and functions from the profile pages. That's annoying. I do like them how they are, but they say with all the stuff the profiles currently host, they can't make the design responsive to smaller screens. So they're going to take stuff away :/ And they just overhauled the things three years ago, too!
    – Dan Bron
    Dec 4, 2018 at 18:26
  • 2
    @DanBron - so what’s the point of asking users if they like it or not? They’ll implement the new version anyway, I suppose.
    – user 66974
    Dec 4, 2018 at 19:28
  • 1
    @user240918 My guess is they want to figure out the most and least popular features, so they can prioritize what will make the fewest people grumpy when they dump it.
    – Dan Bron
    Dec 4, 2018 at 19:29
  • 6
    @DanBron why can't they just say that the profile page is going to be modified, whether users want it or not. Tell us what features are at risk, and explain why. Then users can just say which feature they would miss the least. Too bad, it's too straightforward... This "help us improve something [which nobody has ever moaned about] by Friday" is so, so... blatantly let's cover our ass before anyone notices the discrepancies. Ack... the real problem is the quality of the questions across the entire net. We're lucky to get one decent question a week. It's so bad, I'm on the brink of leaving.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Dec 5, 2018 at 19:39
  • 4
    I filled out the survey, but was not warm and fuzzy about it. I wasn't actually rude (by my standards), but I let them know I thought it was a waste of time because they were going to fix the unbroken the way they had decided, no matter what anyone said.
    – ab2
    Dec 5, 2018 at 22:44
  • 3
    @DanBron Why would you say that? They haven't shown any sign of trying to minimize grumpiness .... Dec 6, 2018 at 2:10
  • 1
    @Mari-LouA I am in 100% agreement with everything you just said.
    – Dan Bron
    Dec 6, 2018 at 18:09
  • 3
    Everything now looks odd and strangely squashed.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Dec 7, 2018 at 17:00
  • 1
    I think I missed the point, why should this new “design” be better than the old one in any possible way?
    – user 66974
    Dec 7, 2018 at 18:30
  • @user240918 - By standardising the themes across all sites they can lower running costs.
    – Richard
    Dec 7, 2018 at 19:00
  • 3
    @Richard - I see, it makes sense. So just say the real reason and don’t try to pass it off as a design improvement.
    – user 66974
    Dec 7, 2018 at 19:18
  • 1
    @user240918 they haven't passed it off as a design improvement, initially yes, but then it was clear it was all due to "responsive" needs. You need to read up on this. See my post about the poor design elements of the new theme, posted in August there are links which explain this. It's strange to hear you protesting about it now, at the time you sounded very indifferent to the whole thing.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Dec 7, 2018 at 19:22
  • 4
    @user240918 So long as they keep pretending fixed-size fonts and fixed-width containers that max out without updating their font size, measure, leading, and letterfit depending on whether we're talking display/titling fonts versus text/body fonts versus caption/tiny fonts as being "responsive", they still don't understand what responsiveness is supposed to be based on how real people really use the web on high-resolution screens these days. Until they hire someone who truly understands how these affect typography, they're just wasting time and money cranking out ever-more-unhelpful designs.
    – tchrist Mod
    Dec 7, 2018 at 19:57
  • 1
    Uh, that isn‘t how red-green color blindness works, unless you’re talking about the miniscule percentage who can’t see red. It’s that, absent certain cues, we can’t distinguish certain reds and greens. And that’s 7-10% of the male population. Even if I'm not sure the "Ask Question" button is red or green, I can tell you it's too saturated to be anywhere near the banner. Are our names here orange, red, or green? It doesn't matter because they're brighter than the black type. Underlining is unnecessary.
    – KarlG
    Dec 9, 2018 at 13:23

1 Answer 1


Thank you for the alert. I've been focusing on other things and completely missed the original announcement.

I enjoyed our quirky corner of Stack Exchange while it lasted. The new theme seems to work for some sites, but I'm still not used to it on EL&U and put it off for as long as I could. I used to look for gems in the rough; now the landscape itself seems rather unappealing. Perhaps it would feel better if the font size for the content was larger and the side menus unified or at least formatted to not waste so much horizontal space. Anyway, the UI has been panned so much that the programmers probably consider this whining rather than constructive criticism.

It's about that time of the year in any case, so I might take a bit of a break from being an EL&U regular. I'll still drop by from time to time, but something about the site has changed - and perhaps it's me.

  • 3
    I agree with every word of this; perhaps it's just us. Dec 11, 2018 at 11:44
  • 3
    @TimLymington It’s not just you a­lone: plen­ty of us feel so un­wel­comed as not to par­tic­i­pate at all, or not much. Here’s a list. I've giv­en up try­ing to get them to un­der­stand why we feel this way about so ug­ly a de­sign. All I ev­er get for point­ing out these hor­ri­bly mis­matched de­sign col­li­sions is more grief from peo­ple tak­ing stern um­brage at whol­ly im­ag­ined in­sults, and I am just too strick­en by Welt­schmerz to strug­gle any longer.
    – tchrist Mod
    Dec 12, 2018 at 4:06

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