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As we've seen recently with both the updated user profile and homepage designs, it's difficult sometimes to gauge the impact that this will have on users' experience just from screenshots or a video of the new UI. You can't accurately judge how this will affect different groups of users, such as moderators, who have different priorities and goals in viewing content.

While the beta-testing release of the new UI to the Greatest Hits page was a step in the right direction, it still fell short in that it wasn't possible to test how this would affect daily workflows, because... an unlinked, practically unused page isn't the same as the home page for your site.

In the past, when the UI was being changed, SE offered the option to opt-in to testing the new themes. Could we please bring this back for any major UI change? This would allow different user groups to provide feedback on how this change affects their use of the site, and allow SE to take that into account before releasing the change to everybody.

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  • Opt-in was request by Sonic yesterday, it's the last bullet point at the bottom of his post.
    – bad_coder
    Jan 26 at 7:53
  • 16
    Mmm, I think that having a separate request rather than lumped in with "can I ask for the whole thing to be reverted" is better.
    – Mithical
    Jan 26 at 7:54
  • 2
    Opt-in has also been request in every thread on MSO and MSE since these design changes started shipping, one example among many.
    – bad_coder
    Jan 26 at 7:55
  • This has been requested over and over, it adds nothing new and I'm also sure dozens of posts just like this one have been closed and deleted since. A lot of them must still be hanging around, but it doesn't justify the effort of going to look for them. This post is a Nth dup.
    – bad_coder
    Jan 26 at 7:56
  • 12
    @bad_coder This is not a duplicate of my question. That question asks how to make such a request, while this one does so. Jan 26 at 8:20
  • @SonictheAnti-NewVariant-hog I do recommend close voters consider the above comment by Sonic ^^ (do we need 2 separate questions, one asking if they may ask and the other asking?!)
    – bad_coder
    Jan 26 at 8:28
  • So a few previous opt-out requests 1, 2, 3, 4, too many to mention... But I'm sure there's more with some digging.
    – bad_coder
    Jan 26 at 8:47
  • 7
    @bad_coder those questions are about opt-in and opt-out, that would remain available for users, after a change is made. The current question is about opt-in for testing and feedback while the change or new feature is being developed, and after the development period has ended the opt-in would no longer be available (because from that moment onwards all users are effectively opt-in).
    – Marijn
    Jan 26 at 11:05
  • @Marijn well no, T.J. Crowder's post asks for exactly the opt-in you're talking about and, again, it's one of many posts doing so...
    – bad_coder
    Jan 26 at 11:15
  • 4
    @bad_coder actually T.J. Crowder's post does both: his point 4 is about opting in before release and his point 5 is about opting out after release. But I don't think that counts as a duplicate because it is only one remark that is not the focus of that answer, and it is an answer and not a question. The "one of many" example you gave earlier (meta.stackexchange.com/a/367613, again an answer) talks about "opt-in for everybody", which in that case just means "make default", different than what is asked here - also in that case the real opt-in already existed (the "full site" button).
    – Marijn
    Jan 26 at 14:50
  • 10
    "This would allow different user groups to provide feedback on how this change affects their use of the site" - indeed. But then you assume this feedback is desired. I don't really see any proof in this round of changes that it was desired. I guess dealing with mountains of upset responses and meta posts is workable so they just go for the big bang and save the effort of the opt-in. If that is how they want to do it... well I don't think people are exactly unhappy to have a reason to voice disagreement. It's kind of a hobby, actually.
    – Gimby
    Jan 26 at 15:01
  • 6
    I would be very interested to see the site engagement statistics for the last 24 hours. It may be confirmation bias but the 'top questions' list on SO just feels like it's not being dealt with anything like as efficiently or effectively as normal.
    – JeffUK
    Jan 26 at 19:57
  • But if they offered that, it would be more embarrassing to then roll out undesired changes anyway.
    – einpoklum
    Jan 28 at 14:06
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    I'd settle for even a minor indication that the in-house team had done any testing at all rather than rolling out and waiting for the community to catch everything from spelling mistakes to glaring broken layouts.
    – pilchard
    Feb 10 at 2:37

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