As we continue to deploy new unified themes for each site in the network*, we realized we need more control over who sees what when. This allows us to better test the themes in production and allows people who are interested in them to test them prior to official roll out.

Beta test themes preference

(click here to check it out).

Beta test new themes preference

A few of quick points:

  • Check the box to opt-in to testing new themes across the network (it's a global preference).
  • On most sites you won't see anything change, since a new theme isn't ready for testing. We will post to the local meta when a theme is ready.
  • Everyone will continue to see the new theme on sites where the theme was deployed before today.
  • No, this isn't a way to permanently turn off new themes if you don't like them**. This preference is ignored if the theme has been officially released and will be removed once every site has a new theme.

What type of feedback do we need?

Bugs related to your site's theme: Please help us look for issues/bugs related to the theme design and how we have mapped the old theme to the new. This needs to be done within the limits of the new unified theme. I will post on each site when the theme is ready for testing and bugs should be posted as answers to that post with the details (including images please!).

General concerns about left nav or theming: If you have concerns or issues regarding the left nav or the overall approach we are taking to theming, then this Meta Stack Exchange post is the right place for feedback.

* See this post if you've been out of the loop and don't know what those are.

** That would require maintaining two separate chunks of code which would defeat the purpose of a unified theme.

  • Yay! New shiny themes! Thanks! Aug 22, 2018 at 19:45
  • 1
    Great! How hard would it be for somebody who's opted in to then disable that choice on a single site? If I encounter a problem in a new theme that's severe enough to block me, do I have to opt out globally until it's fixed or can I turn off just that one site? (Because this is a temporary measure it's not worth investing a lot of time on solving that, but if it's easy...) Thanks. Aug 22, 2018 at 22:11
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    @MonicaCellio We went back and forth on this. Global vs per site. There are arguments both ways. Since the goal is testing, we decided to make it simple and make it a global. Turn it on while you test and it works on any site that has a theme in beta. Turn it off and you're good to go. Once the theme is ready for prime time for a specific site, then the pref does nothing for that site.
    – Joe Friend
    Aug 23, 2018 at 23:47
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    On which sites is a theme available for testing right now?
    – MEE
    Aug 24, 2018 at 14:31
  • @mee Photo.se is in beta right now. We should have some more sites next weekish.
    – Joe Friend
    Aug 24, 2018 at 15:48
  • No 'beta' features are available for me. Is it only available to certain users?
    – Aryan
    Sep 27, 2020 at 12:22

1 Answer 1


Opting out doesn't work (right away)

After selecting the "Beta test new themes" options, I decided to go back (for a minute) to compare something, but it remains the same:

opt out doesn't work

As Monica pointed out, it takes a few minutes to refresh when going back to "normal", while the original opt-in was (near-)instantaneous.

  • 1
    It took about 5 minutes for opt-out to take effect for me. Opting back in was near-instantaneous, though. I went through that cycle twice (taking screenshots to report issues); same delay and non-delay both times. Aug 31, 2018 at 20:19
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    Yep, that's the reality of the system we are using. Best way to switch back and forth is using an incognito window in your browser so you can see the anonymous user view which is the old theme.
    – Joe Friend
    Aug 31, 2018 at 20:25
  • @JoeFriend That's what I would do generally, but I wanted to take a screenshot of watched tags for this post, and as far as I know that can't be done in incognito.
    – user395762
    Aug 31, 2018 at 20:30

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