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Each Stack Exchange site should provide users the option of using a dark site design/theme. Why is this feature missing? The major IDEs are already a letdown regarding dark color schemes.

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    Well, but this is not an IDE..what kind of comparison is that? Also,websites that lets you change the whole theme are not so common – Damien Pirsy Nov 8 '11 at 16:32
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    Every April 1st you can hope for it. – Benoit Nov 8 '11 at 16:32
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    @Benoit - No, April 1st will have the hot dog theme applied to the whole site. Seriously, though, if you feel strongly about it, then create your own CSS rule set and apply it with Stylebot or something similar. – Kevin Vermeer Nov 8 '11 at 16:39
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    For what it's worth, Physics SE launched with a dark theme (it was supposed to evoke a chalkboard). It was such a problem that they went back to Sketchy, and have remained there for over half a year. – Pops Nov 8 '11 at 16:44
  • @PopularDemand They were clearly confused -- I loved the Physics theme – Michael Mrozek Nov 8 '11 at 18:22
  • @MichaelMrozek smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=2406#comic – Pops Nov 8 '11 at 18:28
  • @MichaelMrozek: I liked that theme for itself too. I liked it a lot. But it really was straining my eyes to flip between that scheme and otherwise dark-on-light web-sites and and my day-to-day computing environment (also dark-on-light). – dmckee Nov 8 '11 at 18:49
  • i am not asking for a mandatory dark theme, just for the option. And the IDE example is valid because i use stackoverflow almost everyday while programming - i also use my ide everyday while programming – mrt181 Nov 9 '11 at 10:06
  • @mrt181 I think there is a greasemonkey script around somewhere to skin Stack Exchange sites. – dmckee Nov 10 '11 at 2:02
  • There's a user-made solution for this posted on this very site. – Wildcard Oct 3 '16 at 21:43
  • Still waiting... – Yousha Aleayoub Mar 8 '18 at 17:44
  • With modern technology (oled) black themes let us contribute more (due to longer battery life). – user1133275 Dec 1 '18 at 23:37
56

I think this is a great suggestion. ProjectEuler.net has implemented this effectively, naming it Lights On / Off.


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    How is this the accepted answer? it does not solve the problem at all. – rafaelcastrocouto Mar 31 at 14:13
  • @rafael Votes etc. on Meta sites do not mean the same thing as regular SE sites. Votes on the question are not is this a good question but do I agree with the proposal; and an Accept may be given even if it is not a solution but simply an idea or position that the OP agrees with. The SE developer status- tags represent official positions on Meta questions. – Mr.Wizard Mar 31 at 16:50
10

If you're using Gnu/Linux and have compiz installed, you can always invert the colors of your active window (look for "Negative" in the CompizConfig Settings Manager).

Without compiz there is an alternative solution via xcalib -invert -alter.

Or you can use stylish which is available for Firefox and Chrome and look into userstyles.

It's how I circumvent this strange so-white-I-bleach-your-eyes-out-background-dogma that's cursing the interwebs.

But anyhow: Yeah, a supported dark theme would rock.

8

I see a couple problems with doing this.

First, there currently is no way to change to any different theme on a per-user basis. So that's something that would have to be implemented. I don't think it would be all that difficult, really, but still that's an non-trivial amount of work.

Second, the themes would have to be populated. Who will create these themes? Will they be user submitted? If so who would approve them? Would there be safety potential concerns? (I'm not a front end guy, so I don't know, could someone put 'bad things' in a css?) If it's internal would this the next intern's project or something?

Third, the themes would have to be maintained. When there's a formatting problem, we'll have to ask "What browser, what SE build, oh and what theme?" It's another piece of the puzzle that would just complicate things.

Now, who doesn't like the idea of customization? I think it's great when there's multiple themes. Stack Overflow has so much orange I feel like it's Halloween all year round!! But honestly, I think the costs far far FAR outweigh be benefits we would receive from a feature like this.

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    Good answer, and a longer version of the objections you are raising can be found (on a different topic) here: steve-yegge.blogspot.com/2009/04/…. Conclusion of that long blog post: "Shit is NOT easy. Remember that. Shit is NOT easy. If you think it's easy, then you are being naïve. You are being a future VP. Don't be that way" – VonC Nov 9 '11 at 8:38
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    Why should I as user care it it is easy or not. My users also do not care if a task is easy or difficult. They just give me more time if something is difficult. – mrt181 Nov 9 '11 at 10:02
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    Don't get me wrong: the developers that work on the Stack Engine are not afraid of difficult work. They're just unlikely to take on a project with this much work involved for such a small net gain. – corsiKa Nov 9 '11 at 14:03
  • "small net gain" is simply one the most requested things on the site. you guys talk as if creating a dark theme is harder than rocket science. – rafaelcastrocouto Mar 31 at 14:12
  • For starters, things are a little different than they were in 2011, but I still think it makes sense even today. It's hardly even close to the most requested features. Sort meta by votes, this question (the canonical question for it) ranks as #250 with less than 100 votes over eight and a half years. It's just not worth the time. If the April Fool's joke has a CSS issue, literally no one cares. If the real site has a CSS issue, well that's a bigger deal. – corsiKa Mar 31 at 16:16
2

It's possible to have alternate CSS themes for sites — it's even common to have alternate themes designed specifically to support printing — and browsers often (always? I dunno) have an built-in mechanism for selecting between the themes at the user's request. I certainly remember using this with Firefox on a number of sites, but haven't tried for a while to be honest. However, that doesn't mean that it is necessarily a wise thing to do. In particular, the alternate theme would need to be developed and maintained; surely that developer effort would be better spent elsewhere?

If you really want your own style, force your own stylesheet that overrides key things like colors (you probably want to leave the layout the same though). I'm sure that's possible, and it puts the cost of maintenance squarely on those who really care (i.e., you).

2

Came here and realised that this still isn't a thing! You can use Stylish to either create your own dark theme or there are a number of dark themes available (I don't think they're that great but I prefer a slightly broken dark theme to the current white theme).

Would definitely prefer it to be officially supported, but this is a workaround if you're desperate!

  • Well, Stylish was already mentioned four years ago: meta.stackexchange.com/a/112403/152859. – Shadow Wizard Oct 8 '15 at 11:06
  • Ah geez, totally missed that. I thought the entire answer was about Compiz. That's what happens when you glance over other answers. – burythehammer Oct 8 '15 at 11:08
  • Well, you did add a link that isn't there, so the answer isn't worthless. :) – Shadow Wizard Oct 8 '15 at 11:13
2

Objective things

Note that IDE is not a webserver, IDE supports customization of colors initially.

Some time ago I've made a custom CSS for SO site for use with Stylish/Stylus plugin (not dark, but you can find dark themes). So I know that the SO's CSS is (or was at that time) really complex and that makes things hard. (It's main CSS file is ~5000 lines (400kb file), i.e. 10 times bigger than a CSS should be).
Specifically with a dark theme, it would be hard to adjust all corners of this site, there are many images and colored backgrounds. Too many elements would require manual adjustment.

If speak about feature requests towards themes, I'd wish first that the CSS reduces it's complexity radically. This would allow easy customization via plugins and solve the issue once for all and for everybody.

Subjective things & opinions

Some people want a dark theme, some people want e.g. better fonts, layout, ans so on. "Dark theme" does not mean anything specific, there can be many different dark themes, why you think the one you like would be better than some other "dark theme"?

And finally, I just think all these dark themes is just a gimmick (or exceptionally a technical requirement e.g. for improving battery life or working in dark environment). Moreover as someone who understands things from UX and readability issues, I'd just recommend to always stay with black text on light background when you have textual content. In other words, making dark theme for an informational site is initially a bad idea. It might be ok for Youtube or online cinema interface, but not for text-centric media.

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