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I find the this gray color scheme extremely difficult to read. It's also very hard to tell the difference between questions with answers and without.

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20  
+1 for this. It is very hard to tell things apart when they are all just different shades of grey –  Sruly Jun 28 '09 at 12:11
75  
Don't talk about meta-stackoverflow on meta-stackoverflow. We need a meta-meta-stackoverflow site. Heading over to uservoice... –  Graeme Perrow Jun 28 '09 at 12:18
2  
agreed, the squinting factor is too much here –  redsquare Jun 28 '09 at 12:24
22  
this is how dogs see stackoverflow –  bananakata Jun 30 '09 at 16:13
15  
I thought it was pretty funny... "there are no black and white answers on meta, just shades of gray." –  Mark Harrison Jun 30 '09 at 18:31
5  
A little more color, or at least some customization would be great. Switching back and forth between SO and M-SO is like the difference between day and night... a very depressing night. When you create a M-SO account, they should send you a pack of razorblades and a bottle of pills. –  Pwninstein Jan 8 '10 at 6:40
    
@bananakata how do dislike dogs? style? –  stacker Mar 19 '10 at 22:29
10  
In the FAQ it states, "We don't run Meta Stack Overflow. The community does." This question is +86 vs -40 yet the request is denied. Maybe the FAQ should be updated to say something like... "We dont run Meta Stack Overflow, Jeff does." –  Locutus Mar 20 '10 at 14:23
2  
And its plain sad when you open meta in spring –  Midhat May 2 '10 at 20:23
    
@Grame And what if you'd need to talk about meta-meta-SO? You would ask to create a meta-meta-meta-SO? :) –  nyuszika7h Mar 4 '11 at 14:03
    
Meta must be a somber and dry arena. A place of hushed tones with our heads down, a place where we talk only in restricted sign language, using only our palms, fists, and eyelids. Shhhhh.. be respectful –  Adel May 11 '12 at 20:37

14 Answers 14

up vote -37 down vote accepted

I am open to tweaking some of the parameters, but the greyscale is here to stay.

Aren't all discussion sites just shades of grey, anyway? (rimshot)

All of the Oz sequences were filmed in three-strip Technicolor. The opening and closing credits, as well as the Kansas sequences, were both filmed in black and white and colored in a sepia tone. Publicity for the film mentioned the Technicolor but not the black-and-white or sepia, thus making it sound as if the entire film had been made in color.

Sometimes color and sepia would be juxtaposed in the film within seconds of each other. At one point, Dorothy sees her Aunt Em on the Wicked Witch of the West's crystal ball; she is then replaced by a vision of the Witch. Aunt Em appears only in sepia-toned black-and-white, while the Witch appears in the crystal ball in full Technicolor.

The Wizard of Oz

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12  
I like the grey. –  deleted Jun 28 '09 at 20:38
23  
I vote for a tasteful combination of white, off-white, eggshell, pearl, and alabaster. –  Robert Cartaino Jun 28 '09 at 23:47
3  
Don't forget "white chocolate" –  hernan43 Jun 29 '09 at 0:39
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meta.stackoverflow.com: Your place for soul-crushing monotony in a drab, lifeless environment. Now with more random Wizard of Oz discussion! –  Hilarious Comedy Pesto Jun 29 '09 at 14:12
11  
Here is an idea for even more grey: How about displaying user-pics with greyscale? =) –  Johannes Schaub - litb Jul 1 '09 at 16:57
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lol, the top hit for that is .. wait for it .. STACK OVERFLOW! stackoverflow.com/questions/609273/… –  Jeff Atwood Jul 2 '09 at 0:14
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First time I've seen an accepted answer with this many downvotes. –  ripper234 Jul 24 '09 at 13:58
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meta is death, and death is in greyscale –  waffles Nov 30 '09 at 23:41
    
I want Meta to be wonderful and colored like Alice in Wonderland. –  Pop Catalin Jan 22 '10 at 12:22
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The comment flag button is yellow. I hate yellow. I like gray. –  rightføld Jan 29 '11 at 13:44
    
@Jeff send off the gray! :) –  Benny Feb 12 '11 at 4:22
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I don't know if this was tweaked or not, but it really needs to be tweaked more. On my laptop, I can only tell if a link has been visited on Meta from exactly the right angle, with the brightness turned all the way up, when my eyes aren't tired. The greys are just too close. –  agf Sep 29 '11 at 1:09
1  
I support grey. If you could make it darker, I'd be even 'happier'. ;) –  muntoo Nov 21 '11 at 1:38
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With the voting, this is gray, and is killing my eyes. –  hexafraction Oct 2 '12 at 10:41
    
By some cosmic force of irony, this question is downvoted so much that it's been grayed out. –  Ataraxia Aug 2 '13 at 18:11

If your browser supports user-stylesheets, you can always use that to change things - StackOverflow's CSS classes are nice and clean, which really helps.

For example, if you want to make accepted-answered questions bright green, unanswered ones pink, and regular ones blue - load this into Stylish or similar:

@-moz-document domain("meta.stackoverflow.com") {

    .answered-accepted {
        background: #0F0 !important;
    }

    .unanswered{
        background:#F00 !important;
    }

    .answered{
        background: #00F !important;
    }
}

You.. err.. may want to tweak the colours: Colourful Metaness

Also, any StackOverflow styles on UserStyles.org should work fine on meta., since it's basically the same HTML.. Just change @-moz-document domain("stackoverflow.com") to @-moz-document domain("meta.stackoverflow.com") and all should be fine..

Currently there's not many SO styles, but the "Stackoverflow Dark w Small UI Improvements" is a bit more contrasty

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48  
TASTE THE RAINBOW! –  Jeff Atwood Jun 29 '09 at 2:29
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Arrgh! that bright green permanently scarred my retina. –  Assaf Lavie Jun 29 '09 at 4:14
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Is it normal to still see that green box for several minutes after I look away? –  Bill the Lizard Jun 29 '09 at 14:10
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Bill: The hallmark of good design is it sticks in your head, I'm sure the same thing applies to your eyes –  dbr Jun 29 '09 at 22:18
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heh. the image + Jeff Atwood's comment reminds me of the Italian ice truck that came through my neighborhood when I was a little kid. –  Jason S Jun 29 '09 at 23:34
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These colors are too mild: use the hotdog stand color scheme: ;-) kevinski.com/0000/hotdog_stand.png –  splattne Jun 30 '09 at 13:40
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Jeez splattne, that color scheme is like cheap laser surgery! –  gnostradamus Jun 30 '09 at 16:04
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Props for having an actually useful answer instead of Jeff's pointless Oz reference. –  baudtack Jul 27 '09 at 17:59
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Dear God thats hideous. –  cletus Sep 3 '09 at 2:27
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Just change all Fs for 9s and it's already much better. I've also changed "background" to "color" and left just the answered-accepted with the background and a "white" color. –  Cawas Mar 11 '10 at 23:07

You need some color to let the eyes know where the focus should be.

I am partially dyslexic and what helps is to see visually (usually with colors) where one thing ends and another begins.

So the top bar to me seems mixed in with the rest of the site. Where on the other sites, it pops out and separates the top menu from the content.

Same with the vote count box and the question title.

You don't need much, a blue gray tone (#81819F for example) is more than enough.

EDIT:

Also the link colors are very hard to distinguish. (did you see it?)

I've been using this userstyle style to keep the neutral theme and help me use the site.

@-moz-document domain("meta.stackoverflow.com") {

.post-text a {
    color: #676B7F !important;
    text-decoration: underline !important;
}

.accepted-answer {
    background: #EFEFEF !important;
}

.nav a {
    background: #676B7F !important;
}

#topbar a {
    color: #676B7F !important;
}

.question-hyperlink {
    color: #676B7F !important;
}

.started a {
    color: #676B7F !important;
}

.user-details a {
    color: #676B7F !important;
}

.answered-accepted {
    background: #90AF8E !important;
}

.unanswered{
    background:#AF8E92 !important;
}

.answered{
    background: #81879F !important;
}
}
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I'm guessing no one saw the link in the last line :) –  Ólafur Waage Jun 28 '09 at 23:47
2  
that would be hard to see on stack overflow as well. Why don't you link a period character to make your point? Not a carefully selected edge condition, or anything.. –  Jeff Atwood Jun 28 '09 at 23:49
    
More of a joke than anything. –  Ólafur Waage Jun 29 '09 at 0:51
    
I agree that it would be okay to have muted colors. –  Brad Gilbert Jun 29 '09 at 2:25
    
Much better than dbr's try :) –  please delete me Jun 30 '09 at 7:48
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Me like, +1 :-) –  toolkit Jul 7 '09 at 21:39
    
I like it but it makes it hard to differentiate which questions you've seen and haven't on the front page. Simply change .question-hyperlink { to a.question-hyperlink:visited { and voila! –  tj111 Jul 9 '09 at 20:49

Jeff really didn't want to have this meta site, so it'll remain greyscale.

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4  
the sites need to look different to prevent confusion; beyond that, see answer below for update. –  Jeff Atwood Jun 28 '09 at 13:49
    
Everyone agrees on the necessity of different color schemes. It's just that the color schemes are making it too obvious which site gets how much love from the creators. SO has the best colors, SF colors are a bit dull, and meta SO is totally greyscale! :) –  Imran Jun 29 '09 at 4:57
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I don't think there is mutual exclusivity between "Preventing Confusion" and "Decent color scheme" –  TheTXI Jun 29 '09 at 14:08

Ok, Jeff, do the words contrast and readability tell you something? You have a transcript of your podcasts for the hearing-impaired. I am seeing-impaired but normally I have not to change my environment settings to read a page. Therefore could you please bring the colors or at least the contrast back?

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I like the color scheme. It treats the the meta site like a "shadow" of the real site. Very appropriate, imo.

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I agree. We're in that "gray area" of the overflow sites and it fits nicely. –  Dillie-O Jun 29 '09 at 23:20
4  
also, it makes TheTXI unhappy, which is good because I hate ponies. But seriously -- the "shadow" was the intent, so at least someone sees it.. :) –  Jeff Atwood Jul 1 '09 at 5:07
    
Perhaps if we instituted a 'pastel' colour-scheme, then everyone would end up being nicer to each other. –  devinb Jul 10 '09 at 18:38

Behold, the colors:

it's blue

MY EYES! THE GOGGLES DO NOTHING!

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5  
The terror! The horror! –  Jeff Atwood Apr 17 at 4:29

The gray-scale theme makes me think my monitor (or my eyes) are broken.

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Thanks to dbr for his great tip. However, those colors are a bit loud. I color picked some more familiar ones:

@namespace url(http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml);

@-moz-document domain("meta.stackoverflow.com") {
    .answered-accepted {
        background: #75845C !important;
        foreground: #E1E818 !important;
    }

    .unanswered{
        background: #9A4444 !important;
    }

    .answered{
        background: #75845C !important;
    }

}

alt text

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What I want is the colors to be almost indistinguishable from grey. That would make the site a little less drab, but it would still convey that this is not like StackOverflow or ServerFault.

I understand why the grey color scheme was chosen, it was to make it visually appear bland and nondescript, but that can still be done without removing all of the color.

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I'm a sometimes visitor to this site. Two things keep me away.

  1. The depressing colour scheme, or more accurately the lack of a colour scheme
  2. The excessive waffling, which just makes it harder to sift the content from the dross
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Answered questions should be black with light gray numbers, unanswered questions should be a very light gray with black 0s, and questions with accepted answers should have black with white numbers.

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For me there is still a wee bit of color that they didn't totally kill. Normally, clicking on a question with an accepted answer shows that answer in gray. But if I click on my profile and select an accepted answer, it first shows up as gray then fades to green.

Anyone else notice this? It's like finding a pretty flower growing up through the concrete! =)

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Its watching SO through eyes of colorblind

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