Very recently, past few minutes or so?, a new build was pushed out that changed the location of a question's stats from the top of the sidebar content to underneath the title.

Screenshot of a meta question on SFF showing this

I can't exactly put my finger on why this change feels odd. Perhaps it is because statistical information like that belongs off to the side and not placed as the second most important thing on the page. But there is certainly something about it that seems odd to me having it placed there so I can't really work out why it was moved.

What are the reasons for changing the location of this information?


2 Answers 2


When we first created the responsive layout, we came up with a stop-gap solution for what to do with the right navigation on narrow screens... meaning we just dropped the right nav to the bottom of the main content. It was still on the page but you had to do a lot of scrolling to get to it. Here's what Joe Friend had to say about it at the time:

The current behavior is a bit a of a hack that we need to clean up. I think the direction we will move is:

  • some things (possibly the asked/viewed/active meta data) will get integrated into the post itself
  • some things get moved to the bottom (related)
  • and some things get dropped altogether (hot posts)
(slightly reformatted for clarity)

This was never intended to stay that way but we hadn't (until now) started working on a solution.

For a lot of the information, moving it to the bottom of the page doesn't matter but the question stats really should have been in the main column from the beginning. Their placement in the right column was incongruous with the other content there. The stats relate to the question, whereas everything else in the right column is linking you to related questions or even other sites (featured meta, hot network questions).

These are the sorts of things that the team working on formalizing the design of our pages ("Stacks‑ifying" them) is doing a lot of thinking about to improve the flow of our pages and making sure that important information isn't lost. We hear that you like this info (and I really like it, too), so we're trying to put it in a place that makes sense.

Switching position?

Some have asked why we can't keep the old positioning for desktop view and only move it for mobile. It's both technically complex and fails to be consistent. Switching would either:

  • require us to move markup around based on media queries.
  • require us to duplicate the markup and show / hide based on the media query.

Neither of these are great solutions, so we don't want to use them.

And, again, consistency. People generally like the information to be in the same place across platforms. We get frustrated users on MSE all the time who don't like that there are things you can do on the full site that can't be done in the app; we don't want to create those as we design our responsive site.

Specific placement?

The placement between the title and question body was chosen because it makes sense. It retains a similar position to the sidebar position which has the benefit of letting you see the stats without reading the question. Sometimes knowing the question age or how recently it's been active early on can be beneficial. If we hid it below the question near the tags, you'd have to go hunting for the info.

I've seen some concerns about whether the new position will impact whether people will participate in older questions. This is something we're willing to review in a couple of months to see if there is any major change. We're not expecting to see anything and we'll have to think about how to best do this but we'll check. If you have any ideas, feel free to suggest them.

  • 1
    This makes sense. But there is one thing: couldn't you guys have notified user script authors of this change in advance, shown them how the change was going to look like, and given them some time to modify their scripts so that they'd be working by the time the change would be fully public? This change broke two (actively maintained) user scripts I use, and the authors of them are scrambling to get them working with the new layout. Jul 26, 2019 at 21:37
  • 12
    @SonictheAnonymousWizHog SE has never notified script owners of changes. How would they even do that? There's not a registry of SE userscripts. Big changes often get announced in advance, but this is minor. SE shouldn't have to submit every change for advance review before deploying. I use userscripts here too, including one I can't moderate without (serious accessibility issue that I wish they'd fix directly), but while I can and do ask for help if they break something, it's still ultimately a client-side problem. Jul 26, 2019 at 22:24
  • 1
    @MonicaCellio Of course, emailing every user script author would be a burden. But what isn't a big burden is making an announcement on Stack Apps that "we're slated to make this change to the UI, have a look at how this will work, this will be deployed in 7 days". Jul 26, 2019 at 22:27
  • 6
    Thanks for the insight and I suppose this is one of those "just have to get used to it" changes. Two things though: 1. it's not as clear under the new layout that the "Active: today" part contains a link because it's the same style as the non-link labels and other components. 2. The rounding of the views is a little unfortunate, especially for posts in the 1k-100k view range and those people wondering how close they are to one of the "X people viewed" badges.
    – Troyen
    Jul 26, 2019 at 22:39
  • “whereas everything else in the right column is linking you to related questions or even other sites” – To me that sounds as if the right column should rather receive more stuff that is actually related to the content—the question—that I am looking at right now.
    – poke
    Jul 26, 2019 at 22:39
  • @Troyen we've added a hover for the exact view count. I didn't realize that "Active: today" was a link until yesterday... which I wish I'd known because it would have been useful. If it hasn't been requested already, feel free to make a FR for it. It could be more noticeable if it were link colored.
    – Catija
    Jul 26, 2019 at 22:52
  • @Catija In fairness, it wasn't exactly obvious it was a link on the old view either, and it's not always as useful as it sounds (if the newest answer/comment is deleted the link just goes back to the question). But since the link itself is preserved in the new style, I think it should be called out as a link and have posted a FR requesting such.
    – Troyen
    Jul 26, 2019 at 23:33
  • @Troyen Well, it works for me everywhere... ;) then again, that's only the case for a couple dozen people. 🤣
    – Catija
    Jul 26, 2019 at 23:37
  • @Catija stackapps.com is kind of a registry of userscripts... Jul 27, 2019 at 0:11

Disclaimer: this is by no means an official answer to the question, as I'm not an SE employee, but it does attempt a (necessarily speculative) answer to the question.

  • A similar feature was requested some months ago at Display post asked/viewed/active info directly beneath the question on mobile The unexpected [status-completion] of this is therefore in line with a recent trend of SE employees resolving more FRs than has been usual in the past few years. (Hat-tip to @Bergi for linking to this previous meta in comments on the question.)

  • Also, this info always seemed a bit out-of-place in the right-hand sidebar. Let's see what else is there: links to the blog, hot/featured meta posts, linked and related questions, a sample of the HNQ list, ... All of that falls into the category of "here's some other stuff that you might want to click through to", not info about the post you're actually viewing. It kind of makes sense to put info about the post in the same part of the screen as the post itself.

What are the reasons for changing the location of this information?

TL;DR: it was requested as a feature, and seems to make sense according to where other stuff is positioned on the page.


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