I think by now almost everyone using the site has already seen the fake "90's style" redesign that was created as an April Fool joke.
Many words were already spent discussing about it. From people stating it was poorly tested to people arguing that we should only prank logged-in users to people asking why it was activated by default and asking the staff to avoid such intrusive pranks in the future... so please apologize if this seems just another drop in an unneeded discussion and bear with me while I explain my point.
I won't hide it - when I first saw the joke I wasn't really enthusiast about it. For some reason something seemed out of place, but I couldn't really focus. That is, until someone on the chat pointed me in the right direction.
I get what the intended joke was: "Look at how bad sites looked in the '90s, when we didn't have the tool to build anything better than this." But I get the joke only because they explained it to me. Looking at the actual content of the restyle alone, I don't see much that seems to indicate that is a parody of how we had to code when we lacked better tools and web technologies weren't as advanced as now. What I see is just a site full of pink, glitter and unicorns.
... And what is wrong I can hear you saying? After all Stack love for unicorn-based memes is a know fact...
The problem is that right now the design doesn't look a parody of the '90s, not just an innocent parody of a time period. To my eyes it come out more of a joke at "someone with just enough knowledge of DHTML to be dangerous": so, instead of joking about the past, we are now apparently making fun of real people who still exist today. The "monster" as it was called does not appear like a anachronistic out-of-place reminder from a forgotten past - instead it just look like an enthusiastic amateur first discovering the joy of web design. And apparently that's something to be ashamed of (and to be fair personally I think that the specific design choices - glittering text, sparking cursor, unicorns and pinkish colors seems specifically aimed at making fun of younger female amateur programmers).
That comes out as wrong (again, I am sure that this wasn't intended. It just comes out this way). Are we laughing at people because they know less stuff than us? Because they are less professional than us?
Maybe I am overthinking it. Maybe I am just looking at the half-empty glass. Maybe it is just a light-hearted April Fool prank and I shouldn't be discussing it seriously but it kinda feels like I have to.
So here I am, asking. Did anyone felt the same, or I am just giving too much importance to what was only a simple joke? Do we really want to give out the message that you should be ashamed if you aren't skilled enough?