As far as I recall, every April Fool's prank that SE has made in recent years prior to this year has been non-intrusive, only showing up as a minor sidebar while not affecting the site's design much.

However, this year, the Time Travel Mode prank made drastic, intrusive changes to a site's design, which is not like previous April Fool's pranks. Additionally, it's enabled by default, which quite a few users have raised complaints with.

Last year's Quack Overflow and the "chat with an expert" from years back, by comparison, were simple buttons in the bottom right, with a pop-up prompt for users to activate it. The windows for each wouldn't activate immediately.

Why was the decision made to make this joke immediately activate, rather than keep it behind a prompt (much like the current "Back to the future" prompt) to activate it? In my opinion, it wouldn't have raised so many complaints, and it still would have been just as fun for users.

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    If one ask you "Do you want to try April fool?" then it will be meaningless since it will not be fool anymore!
    – Pandya
    Mar 31, 2019 at 11:35
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    This sounds like asking "Do you want to be fool?"
    – Pandya
    Mar 31, 2019 at 11:35
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    I wouldn't say that this one is any more intrusive than the other April Fools' pranks, save for the possible bug that disabling it only worked per page, rather than per site. All other pranks have been enabled by default, but note that it's only for registered users.
    – Cody Gray
    Mar 31, 2019 at 11:36
  • @Pandya It doesn't have to specifically mention April Fool's. Last year's Quack Overflow did a similar thing; a small icon on the bottom right with a prompt to activate it. Why not do the same thing here? Mar 31, 2019 at 11:36
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    @CodyGray You may not have found it intrusive, but a lot of people did. Mar 31, 2019 at 11:36
  • Are you asking because you're curious or because you don't like it all?
    – rene
    Mar 31, 2019 at 11:38
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    All April Fools jokes, ever, were enabled by default, otherwise it lose any meaning. But none was ever so intrusive. I agree they took it way too far this year. Mar 31, 2019 at 11:38
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    @CodyGray this definitely is super-intrusive. It's still intrusive even if the disabler get fixed. Mar 31, 2019 at 11:39
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    @rene I want to know if SE considered that the feature (as intended, not with bugs) would be friendly to all users and all computers, and decided to release it anyway. Mar 31, 2019 at 11:39
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    You guys must not remember Cornify... I didn't say this one wasn't intrusive. It said it doesn't seem any more intrusive than previous pranks.
    – Cody Gray
    Mar 31, 2019 at 11:40
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    Related. Enabling it by default this year was a horrible choice. Mar 31, 2019 at 11:43
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    The better question would be the reason an April Fool's day joke is activated 12 hours before April 1st.
    – Ramhound
    Mar 31, 2019 at 13:01
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    When I first saw that mess, I wondered if I was redirected to a clone site, followed by wondering if my computer was suddenly being attacked or had been hacked. I had to check the URL. Definitely not the reaction you want. Mar 31, 2019 at 13:17
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    How about an profile option to permanently disable all current and future April Fools related stuff? Mar 31, 2019 at 13:18
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    @Tinkeringbell There's a similar (if broader) request from a few years ago. Mar 31, 2019 at 13:43

1 Answer 1


Because no one would turn it on, it loses the element of surprise and bugs aside it would be pointless as an April fool's day joke.

It's a little on the nose, sure but having it off by default kinda defeats the point.

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    This is an incorrect justification. People were clearly willing to turn on Quack Overflow, "chat with an expert", and those other pranks. Why wouldn't they turn on this one? Mar 31, 2019 at 12:53
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    All of which were turned on by default
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Mar 31, 2019 at 12:54
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    No. The chat window of "chat with an expert" wasn't immediately displayed; you had to click on it to show it. Neither was the dialog for Quack Overflow; you had to explicitly click that as well to activate it. Mar 31, 2019 at 12:55
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    @SonictheWizardWerehog The different between this and Quack Overflow is that Quack Overflow was non-intrusive and fun to play around with. This is just pure visual diaherra on a screen - not the type of thing I want plastered on my screen when I'm trying to research something. And I know that I can turn it off, but it keeps turning itself back on.
    – Coder17
    Mar 31, 2019 at 15:09
  • I wonder... who refuses a good laugh with friends when given the opportunity? And what about a laugh by friends?
    – SPArcheon
    Apr 1, 2019 at 15:44

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