This question has guidelines for the new community promotion ads. Among other things, it says:

Images where the background is white or partially white, must have a 1px border of not-white around them.

This leaves a couple of questions.

  • How not white? Like, RGB #FFFFFE?
  • Is transparent okay?
  • For the double (quadruple?) resolution "retina" format, should this border be 2px?
  • 1
    The point is to make sure the ad image doesn't "bleed" into the page it is on. Hence, a request for a border. I don't think this really needs clarification - nit picking here is just that - nit picking. The intention is clear.
    – Oded
    Jan 21, 2016 at 12:30
  • 12
    I've been asked by our designers. If the answer is "it needs to be visibly distinct", that's fine. If the answer is "there's some technical reason it needs to be a different value but it doesn't need to be visible", that's fine too. But either way it seems like a reasonable question to me.
    – mattdm
    Jan 21, 2016 at 12:32
  • 3
    The answer is "it needs to be visibly distinct".
    – Oded
    Jan 21, 2016 at 12:40
  • 1
    Which still leaves the question what "visibly distinct" actually is. Sure, that may sound like nitpicking, but the worst thing would be for this image to just get silently ignored because it didn't pass some automated (or even manual) check only because my border is too light or too narrow or my background isn't dark enough, that would be bad. But if there is no check (like there seems to be with the filesize) and it's just a "please, kindly take care" thing, then well, I guess it's fine. Of course this is a more than valid question I wondered about, too, and simply didn't dare to ask yet. Jan 21, 2016 at 13:28
  • @Christian If there's an issue, it's not going to be silently ignored - I personally review every single submission and if there's an issue, I'll provide a comment stating exactly the concern.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Jan 21, 2016 at 13:44
  • @GraceNote Now that sounds very reasonable (and a little bit surprising). I just had the impression that previous ads didn't necessarily have to suffice the 150K limit. Jan 21, 2016 at 13:46
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    I would hate to ask one of our volunteer designers to work on a graphic from vague guidelines, have them come up with something that they think is reasonable, and then need to go back and say "oh, Stack Exchange staff disagree with your interpretation of distinct — please do over!". I don't want to be "nit picking", but I also want to be respectful of the volunteer design team I'm asking to do this for the open source project I represent.
    – mattdm
    Jan 21, 2016 at 13:55
  • When in doubt... fuscia? ;p
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Jan 21, 2016 at 14:12
  • 2
    @mattdm Might consider when bringing it to your creative team, describe it as "It has to basically scream 'I AM A BOX' when put on a white background." Also to clarify - "partially white" would be situations like, the left half of the ad is solid, let's go with fuschia, but the right side is white, that'd require a border (probably of fuschia to match the left half). In other words, if you have white (or barely not-white) background at all touching the edge, that needs a border.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Jan 21, 2016 at 14:17
  • @GraceNote so things like i.stack.imgur.com/94d7M.png are not acceptable? while i.stack.imgur.com/tfCZc.png is ok?
    – user213963
    Jan 21, 2016 at 14:24
  • @MichaelT Yeah, if that first one is one of our network question ads, even that should have a box because as it stands it's just kinda ???. But yeah, exactly as that.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Jan 21, 2016 at 14:29
  • 1
    @GraceNote it is indeed one of them. There are several of them that are similarly problematic. You might want them to have a look at DBA.SE's hot question advertisement doesn't meet guidelines. This has been an issue for awhile and keeps popping up again and again.
    – user213963
    Jan 21, 2016 at 14:33
  • @MichaelT Thanks for making that meta post. I'll find out who to poke to get that looked at.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Jan 21, 2016 at 14:38
  • @GraceNote it was also raised in Network engineering's background on Programmers adverts is less than ideal on a persite meta. (and my apologies to matt for forking the comment direction).
    – user213963
    Jan 21, 2016 at 14:40

1 Answer 1


How not white?

It needs to be visibly distinct. When looking at the ad on a page, the reader should see a very obvious box-shaped thing so that it's very clear "This is an ad, it is not part of the underlying site design". Everything borderless in the sidebar - question stats, related questions, they all are a direct element of the site. So stuff that isn't that stuff, especially stuff that is traditionally linking off-site, needs to distinctly look like such.

There's no exact threshold - just pick something that isn't, well, light and distinctly a non-white color.

Community Promotion Ad Twitter Template

The above is the sample ad we use. That's pretty light background, but there's a faint border of not nearly as light around it. That makes it look like a box, and that's the kind of effect we need. That's still a fairly light-ish color on the border, but it's still dark enough. Try working off of that.

Is transparent okay?

Nope. See above - the point is to avoid looking like it's an on-site element. If your image is basically on a transparent block, that's going to be equivalent to a white block.

For the I'm not going to write all that

I'm not a master of knowing exactly how these compress when resized to know for sure whether a 1px will end up as a 1px, a 0px, or only 1px on 2 of 4 sides. So to make sure it works out, I'm going to say it's best to stay on the safe side and go with a 2px border. I'll update the border requirement while I go and update the text to say "High DPI" instead of "Retina" later.

  • As a side note, also don't forget to adjust the filesize limit while you're at it. Jan 21, 2016 at 14:14
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    Yes, that'll also be happening as well. Lots of changes that I wish were easier to bulk apply, wahaha~
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Jan 21, 2016 at 14:14

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