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I occasionally see numbers in the top bar that indicate how many posts I can review, but I don't understand the meaning of the colors of the background behind the numbers.

example

In addition to the blue and tan colors, I think I've seen green and a light yellow used. What do these colors mean?

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There is no real "meaning" in my opinion, the designer just chose colors that look nice and fitting. –  Shadow Wizard Mar 3 at 23:16

1 Answer 1

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Blame Anna Lear. ;-)

The colors used to be pretty much random and different on each site (since they were left unchanged when the new uniform top-bar was deployed), but they were recently standardized across the network. While this was being done, the actual color scheme was tweaked a couple of times base on community feedback, until it settled to the current scheme with blue for flags and brown for suggested edits.

Here's the specific feature request that led to the current color scheme. Personally, I kind of liked the maroon suggested edit notification color we had briefly, but I'm not going to start demanding that we repaint the bikeshed once more. The current color scheme works (unlike, say the black on black we used to have here on meta), and that's good enough. Besides, you can always change it with a user style sheet.

In summary:

  • Reputation change = green background.
  • Normal inbox = red
  • Moderator inbox = blue
  • Flag review = blue
  • Suggested edit review = orange
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OK, orange is edits, blue for flag review. Any others? –  Kyle Jones Mar 4 at 19:42
    
@KyleJones: The moderator inbox is also blue, the normal inbox is red and the rep gain notification is green. AFAIK there aren't any other notifications in the top bar (unless you count the gray achievements menu icon turning subtly green when you have new achievements but no rep gain). Yellow used to be one of the old colors for the suggested edit notification, but I don't think it's currently used anywhere. –  Ilmari Karonen Mar 4 at 19:49

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