For some reference as to how block quotes used to look like on EL&U before the the theme was overhauled, see English Language & Usage's updated site theme is ready for testing! and Make blockquotes inside blockquotes better distinguishable .

Pre-December, 2018

enter image description here

Since December 2018

enter image description here

According to a Meta announcement dated February 19, 2020, this will soon change.

Some improvements to blockquotes

We’re making a few changes to blockquotes soon. […]
We’re proposing we switch to a single gray bar in our blockquotes. This should fix those theming issues and make it easier to distinguish between quotes, spoilers and code.

This will also improve blockquote nesting, since our current nesting is a mess because the darker yellow bar is barely noticeable on the paler yellow background.

An example of how the proposed change will look:

enter image description here

(Yes, I could've cropped it better)

Apparently the grey sidebar is used on similar sites

enter image description here

The text says: There is a lot of prior art out there for this approach. GitHub has styled theirs this way for a long time. So has Slack

On EL&U, which has a yellow theme, it should look something like this

enter image description here

The above is a cropped image taken from a much larger one found here.

The Stack Developer/employee, Aaron Shekey♦ concludes with this message.

Let me know what y’all think. I think these changes will be an improvement, and I hope you do too.

Well, seeing as many users on EL&U are probably unaware of the proposal, because I haven't seen any announcement on EL&U meta, please make yourself heard on META (Stack Exchange) and post what y'all think.

  • 11
    I noticed this on Meta. I already downvoted the Q and all the pro answers, and upvoted all the contra answers, including the currently highest-voting answer. I often deliberately use block quotes because they have color, in order to organize and structure answers, which is particularly important for my longer answers. That is, my favorite ones. People need to be able to see, at a glance, that a long answer has structure, to avoid the wall-of-text TL;DR effect.
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Feb 25, 2020 at 0:50
  • Why are they changing the look of blockquotes instead of fixing the backlog of bugs with them?
    – S.S. Anne
    Commented Mar 5, 2020 at 12:50
  • 1
    And it's happened :-(
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Commented Mar 9, 2020 at 17:10
  • @AndrewLeach while entire Italy is in the red zone...
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Mar 9, 2020 at 22:43
  • 1
    Yes, well, it wasn't when I wrote that. (And it may well affect me, although there's a bit of time before I have to call on the travel insurance.) Bit of a surprise! Hope it doesn't make life too difficult. Stay well.
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Commented Mar 9, 2020 at 22:54
  • @AndrewLeach it wasn't meant to be a criticism, just a somewhat wry nod to reality. I am well... I live and normally work alone, and in small groups. Thank you for saying.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Mar 9, 2020 at 23:05
  • Stay well, @Mari-LouA. As for the bars instead of the blocs, I couldn't care less. However, I must admit to being a bit piqued with a description as English Language and Usage's "resident" authority. I'm not sure whether it's the distinction or the scare quotes that bemuses me more. Commented Mar 15, 2020 at 18:35
  • 1
    @JohnLawler the situation in the North West of Italy, where I live, is dramatic. The death toll rises and yet people get sick, people fall and break their limbs, ambulances must be called but there is a shortage of beds, and some hospitals are even quarantined. I have just spent 5 hours at an Emergency Room, outside, because relatives are not allowed to travel with their loved ones in ambulances, visitors are not allowed in ER but must wait outside, outdoors preferably. Today there was a magnificent blue sky and I thought, what if this were the last day, the last day of my being healthy?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Mar 15, 2020 at 19:58
  • 1
    Luckily the patient could go home, but there were no ambulances left, so I took her back home in my own car. An 88-year-old woman, my dearest aunt, whose children all live in London with their families and because of the lockdown cannot go and visit her. There must be hundreds of stories similar to mine, every day, for the last two weeks. It's so bad, You might have an inkling of what to expect with the Covid19, but until you actually experience it the self isolation, you won't understand.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Mar 15, 2020 at 20:02
  • Update: The region where I live is orange; the pandemic, and the now semi-isolation, no movement allowed between regions unless for work or health continues.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Jan 19, 2021 at 8:01

1 Answer 1


Why the [expletive deleted] would anyone think that removing the different background color from blockquotes is in any way, shape, or form a good idea? Just because everyone else is jumping off a cliff doesn't mean we should, too.

Don't tell me "because theming", because any theme worth the name will have a contrast background color available.


  • I can see I'm going to have to brush up on my userscripting to change the CSS.
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Commented Mar 5, 2020 at 11:28

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