I remember Math.SE Chat looking like this:

From web.archive.org: A list of Math Stack Exchange chat rooms. In the top left there is a small logo with a 6 red squares logo and the text "Mathematics"

Now, it looks like this:

A list of Math Stack Exchange chat rooms. In the top left there is the 6 red squares logo, much larger than in the previous screenshot

To be exact, the logo changed from this:

A logo with 6 red squares followed by the text "Mathematics"

to this:

A larger logo with six red squares

From the sources, it seems like apple-touch-icon.png replaced logo.png.

I don't think this is intentional. Is it?

  • 2
    The same is true in TeX.SE, Physics.SE, Biology.SE. Not sure for the other sites. That is what I am familiar with. If I am correct, replacing [site-name] in cdn.sstatic.net/Sites/[site-name]/Img/logo.png?v=dc where [site-name] is from [site-name].stackexchange.com should give the "right" logo in Chat.
    – soupless
    Nov 17 at 4:15
  • 2
    Also true for MathOverflow. Nov 17 at 5:36
  • 2
    As of now, the chat that I encountered which is not affected is Meta.SE.
    – soupless
    Nov 17 at 7:08
  • 2
    @soupless and chat.stackoverflow because they are on different servers.
    – Wolgwang
    Nov 17 at 7:47
  • Also happening on the chat page itself: i.stack.imgur.com/z7LPO.png I presume because it's the same image?
    – Pureferret
    Nov 17 at 15:16
  • @Shadow why bug tag? It might be a by-design feature. I quite like it. Nov 17 at 15:40
  • 3
    I believe the site name used to be displayed in the bottom-right of a chat room you're in (to the right of the chat text box) as well, which may be tied to the same potential issue.
    – V2Blast StaffMod
    Nov 17 at 18:00
  • Same on Stack Overflow where the icon is now much larger.
    – bad_coder
    Nov 17 at 22:25
  • 1
    Same on chat.meta now.
    – Wolgwang
    Nov 18 at 2:31
  • 2
    @Randal'Thor because this is not pretty and appears to be just some dev mistake. In case it's on purpose, there is the status-bydesign exactly for this. Nov 18 at 9:50
  • 1
  • This appears to be network wide. It could be fixed by 1) removing the inline style max-width: 150px, and 2) adding a width: 30px style in Stacks.css as a replacement.
    – TylerH
    Nov 22 at 14:53
  • @TylerH Shouldn't it be that some logo.png should be apple-touch-icon.png?
    – soupless
    Nov 22 at 15:06
  • 2
    @soupless No, I shouldn't ever see something named apple-touch-icon, because I don't access SO from any Apple devices. Even on mobile I am using an Android device. I'm guessing the design team made an icon-only version of apple-touch-icon and copied the styles from it (150px width makes a lot more sense for something with a long site name).
    – TylerH
    Nov 22 at 15:33
  • I am not sure about how this works, but when I inspected the element, that was the name. See the one I linked from web.archive.org.
    – soupless
    Nov 22 at 15:55


That was my bad, sorry for the confusion. You should see full logos in chat again for sites that have custom designs. Sites that are using the shared default site design will still have the icon only.

But why?

First, some background. All Q&A sites and styles follow the same pattern in terms of the assets they need and where they are located. One of those assets is logo.png and over the years it has been almost entirely deprecated. The sites themselves have switched over to serving logo.svg for sites that have a custom design or rendering the site name in text for sites that don't. The only remaining uses of logo.png were in chat and in email templates.

A couple weeks ago I deployed a change that removed the dependency on logo.png from the email templates. I then removed all logo.png files for sites that don't have a custom design... and discovered that the API provides logo_url as part of the Site object. No problem, I thought - I'll just add a fallback to serve the icon_url when logo_url is unavailable.

In hindsight, this is obvious, but the API project doesn't have access to the same file system location as Q&A, so basically it considered all logos unavailable. :) Chat fetches the site list from the API, so that's how we got to replacing logos with icons.

(Side note: apple-touch-icon is just a filename. I don't know if it has origins in something Apple-specific, but at the moment for us it's synonymous with "the site's icon" across all devices.)

Okay, but really, why now?

We're building more tools to empower the CM team to handle parts of the site lifecycle that previously required a developer. One of those tools is automating the removal of the "public beta" status. So we built a shiny new tool that allows a CM to "graduate" potentially multiple sites at the same time. With the logos in place, they'd also need to edit them themselves to remove the word "beta" or coordinate with someone in design... and that's more overhead than necessary for images that are barely even used, as I mentioned above.

Going forward

We want to keep moving away from logo.png. The next steps here are likely to make chat grab and display SVG versions instead and improve the treatment that sites without a custom design get. The API may start pointing at SVGs as well, though we'll still need some sort of fallback for sites without a custom design.

  • 3
    That site object and those fields sounded familiar so I hoped on a side-(site?)-effect that this bug might have been fixed as well. Maybe a next time ;) Cheers for building stuff to support the CM team.
    – rene
    Nov 23 at 22:20
  • I think this bug was also partially fixed as a result of your change... some site homepage oneboxes no longer show old logos. It would be nice if you answered that, especially since you gave it a review tag back then. Nov 23 at 23:03

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