At the moment, this is what Interpersonal.SE looks like for a user who doesn't have an account and just followed a link from Google:

The question about suicide

Now, I'm a frequent user of this site and I know that it isn't supposed to look like that. I get the joke and I'm OK with it, especially now, when it's relatively easy to switch back to a normal design.

But I don't think that it makes much sense to prank random visitors from Google. This joke won't work on them: from what they know Stack Exchange always has Comic Sans and unicorns all over the place. The popup message at the top is cryptic enough to confuse people even more.

May I suggest to disable the 90s look for non-logged-id users? Or, as an alternative, make it less intrusive (maybe even opt-in) for them.


5 Answers 5


I was about to raise the same issue. Our April Fool's jokes are aimed at insiders. The vast majority of our users come from Google and aren't logged in. These are people who are looking for an answer to something so they can get on with their day. I'd guess (though I don't have access to data) that the next largest set of users is people in that first group who saw something enticing in the Hot Network Questions list and clicked on it.

While some of these people are familiar with the network (and most programmers have heard of Stack Overflow), most of them aren't regular visitors, don't read meta, don't follow our antics at all -- and for about 36 hours will encounter a site that is unusable, unprofessional, and not at all like what they've heard about Stack Overflow. (Or they're on Physics or Great Outdoors or Seasoned Advice and SO's reputation isn't going to help.) This doesn't seem like a great way to draw those people in.

Please keep pranks for users who are signed in.

Also, thank you for making it obvious how to turn it off. That's a big help; I could play with it and enjoy the joke and then turn it off so I could get work done. I just don't think that's something we should make visitors do, especially since turning it off might not be as obvious to them as it was to me.

  • 7
    I never log in, unless I am super compelled to fix or answer something... which is less than 1% of my visits.
    – Dagelf
    Mar 31, 2019 at 20:27
  • 3
    @Dagelf fix, answer or comment.
    – David
    Mar 31, 2019 at 21:21
  • please consider that your view is not representative of all users, logged in or not. the attitude of insiders and outsiders creates conflicts and is specifically discouraged by moderators and management.
    – ocæon
    Apr 2, 2019 at 14:58
  • 5
    @ocæon you are missing my point. The vast majority of page views are from people who aren't even users. They came here from Google. They don't have our unicorn-filled context and they aren't part of the community. A few of them will become users, but that doesn't help mid-prank. Apr 2, 2019 at 15:02
  • Why would SO's reputation not help on Physics, Great Outdoors or Seasoned Advice? Apr 7, 2019 at 22:21
  • 3
    @JesseRezaKhorasanee if you've heard of SO but haven't used it, then a random Q&A site about Physics or whatever won't immediately scream "same platform, same high quality" to people. There are lots of Q&A knock-offs out there; why would people automatically connect a cooking site with a legendary programming site? Apr 7, 2019 at 22:26

having viewed thousands of stack* pages over recent years, this gag was the cake. finally went through the wibble of checking how this login system worked these days and signed up. just to say, thankyou devs for enlightening my day!

(edit) to clarify, this is a 'yes' response, we (all users, logged in or not) are in the same boat. to hide any aspect of the nature of this community from anyone would be misleading and regressive.

furthermore i would hope that the 'one of us' sentiment is not an exclusive or separatist attitude. i feel that the original question is a valid concern, and i'm glad to see that people are welcome to share and discuss such matters openly.

i did not find the restyle to be unusable, everything remained in place and all critical information has been readable. the issue of the 'cryptic' message was a serious concern for those with accessability browsers or a language gap, but it is not unexpected for any english speaking site to run such pranks given the day.

as for assuming where any affected people would be linking from this appears to be pure speculation and still doesn't say anything for their expectations or beliefs. however i thank you for speaking for yourself and showing concern for others.

  • 15
    Took a lot of work, but we finally gotcha... One of us! One of us!
    – Shog9
    Mar 31, 2019 at 23:18
  • 2
    Please allow us to keep this as the default styling permanently! Retro look is really in vogue right now. Apr 2, 2019 at 8:01

Pardon my ignorance, but I have no idea what this joke is meant to be. If anything, I agree that it should be restricted to an opt-in for registered users. It's annoying for people coming from Google, but even more annoying for users who are registered and use Stack Exchange in some professional capacity (for example, I know many developers who Stack Overflow on a daily basis).

  • 16
    I’m a registered user and I’m still annoyed by this so+called joke. It’s a pain anyway and it’s buggy which does not help.
    – Rob Moir
    Mar 31, 2019 at 15:08
  • 5
    I understand how this prank (or any other April Fools joke) can be annoying even for registered users. But at least I expect a registered user to immediately notice that something's wrong and to quickly figure out how to fix it (now, after the bugs are mostly fixed, it's not a problem). Mar 31, 2019 at 15:19
  • 6
    Come on guys, don't be so stiff... there was a time the whole web looked like this, and even this site, not even 10 years ago. Real life isn't as polished as all the stuff we see nowadays, let loose a little...! I would make this my new default. I need a break!
    – Dagelf
    Mar 31, 2019 at 20:26
  • 4
    Someone in the same room as me said, quite seriously "Stack Overflow is broken" after Googling a problem and told me "it says under construction." When I explained it was a joke and to click Go To The Future I was told it was not the slightest bit funny. A not-logged-in user and definitely not one who follows memes etc. Mar 31, 2019 at 21:38
  • 2
    The page even tells you that this is mimicking a 90s style website. Apr 1, 2019 at 7:51

Yes, we should prank everyone.

This network of sites tries to be inclusive, so it should treat everyone the same, logged in or not logged in.

The argument that casual visitors that arrive from Google couldn't make sense of all this has to be backed by statistics. My hypothesis is that the majority will get that this a April Fools prank. The fact that a prank is played on everyone can't only have a negative effect. I'm sure the balance will be on the positive side, no matter how much complaints are raised here on meta.

And for those few users that visited and got scared away? Another day for them will come, let's hope before the next April Fools.

Let's move on.

  • 2
    I still disagree but thank you very much for giving people an opposite point of view to vote on. Mar 31, 2019 at 19:19
  • 3
    It's still March 31 in many parts of the world (e.g. the United States), and many meta posts and comments were unaware of why the prank was already being deployed. (Yes, I know that it's on everywhere as long as it's April 1 anywhere in the world, but many others didn't know.) Mar 31, 2019 at 20:05
  • 5
    @SonictheWizardWerehog What is your point?
    – rene
    Mar 31, 2019 at 20:15

I believe we should I just don't see anything wrong with it. People that are redirected to/searching stack are, at least I believe so, familiar with internet and to put it bluntly not that stupid let this joke go over their heads. Other sometimes even bigger players take part in this, like Pornhub changed to Hornhub year ago and I don't believe anyone thought it is site containing horn music just like no one would presume Stack can look so ridiculous. Moreover everyone is or should be vary of everything and take it with the grain of salt around 1st of April.

Making it opt in for logged user would turn it more into theme not prank/joke it's like asking for permission for surprise birthday party.

BTW I quite like this style.

  • 1
    Welcome to Meta! Thanks for sharing your perspective. By the way, I'm not against the prank for logged users, I kinda like it myself. Also, I'm sure that everyone who ever visited Pornhub (well, just everyone) knows exactly how it works and won't get confused. Mar 31, 2019 at 20:25
  • Agree 10010% It's so refreshing, it's like a breath of fresh air in a pretty-printed, photoshopped, instagrammed, project managed dystopia... plus there's the little Time icon top right for the stiffs.
    – Dagelf
    Mar 31, 2019 at 20:29
  • 3
    @Dagelf: First I agreed, as I read "it's like a breath of fresh hair"... But then I read what you really wrote :O xP
    – Zaibis
    Apr 1, 2019 at 10:01
  • And who wouldn't mind a breath of fresh hair! :-D Oh look, all is back to normal... :-p
    – Dagelf
    Apr 3, 2019 at 18:01

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