As mentioned on meta.stackexchange.com several months ago, all network sites will be getting updated themes. Unix & Linux is one of the first sites that will be updated. As such, I'm posting the design here so you can see how the new theming will be applied to your site.

I want to acknowledge that this will be a painful change for sites that have rich, custom themes. I want to reinforce that the theme changes are a required step to deliver ongoing value to the sites with as little friction as possible. We released changes for tag watching (aka favorite tags) this week and will be releasing a beta of custom question list functionality soon. The only way to make sure Q&A improvements are quickly available to all Q&A sites is to fix our themes.

To recap from the original post on themes:

Every Q&A site has its own theme. But there is great inequality in the level of theming that we support. A few (~10) get Cadillac treatment, some (<50) are more like a Honda, while most (~100) are a Yugo. The reality is we created a theming system that we didn't have the design resources to fully support, thus the inequity. In addition, as currently defined, our theming gets in the way of releasing new features on the sites.

In order to deliver the left nav, responsive design and future improvements to all sites we've created a more standardized way to support theming. This will reduce the burden of supporting designs as we make Q&A improvements. The result is that most sites will see an improvement in the level of theming that they can get. While some sites will see a reduction. All of Q&A (Enterprise, Teams, etc) will standardize on this new theming scheme.

- Ch-ch-ch-changes: Left nav, responsive design, & themes

Next steps


  • Early July: Collect and respond to feedback from this post
  • Late July: Update the site


Please review the mockups and feel free to provide constructive feedback in answers below. We aren't going to revisit the choices we've made around simplification, so it would be more productive to keep feedback focused on the application of the new theme scheme.

Note: I'm leaving on vacation later today, but didn't want to delay getting these designs posted. As such, I'll have limited time/ability to respond to feedback and comments until I return.

Enough talk, show me the money

You can click on the mockups below to see the image in a larger format.

Unix & Linux

Unix & Linux home page

Unix & Linux question page

  • 9
    This is going to be rough 8-)
    – slm Mod
    Commented Jul 9, 2018 at 20:37
  • 8
    I honestly am not seeing major changes compared to the site templates I am using now? hmmm Nevertheless, why so much real screen estate wasted, especially on the right side? Commented Jul 10, 2018 at 0:27
  • 1
    @RuiFRibeiro, Left nav, responsive design, and theming next steps page has some response on this point.
    – andcoz
    Commented Jul 12, 2018 at 7:37
  • 1
    @andcoz I actually do not mind that in my personal Mac laptop that I use around 2500x1600. In my corporate PC with a meager 1920x1080, I would benefit from having a much larger text column. In the latter case, the left side is a significant real estate of the screen and seems to be wasted (empty) Commented Jul 12, 2018 at 7:45
  • 2
    Is it just me, or are the raspberrypi.se.com "Honda" and ethereum.se.com "Yugo" sites themed identically save for the color scheme? Is that a recent change, since that original post, that they've been brought in sync? Or am I missing some way that the rPi site has a marginally more lavish theme? (That C̶a̶d̶d̶y̶ Photography SE suuure do look snazzy, though.)
    – FeRD
    Commented Jul 12, 2018 at 13:34
  • 5
    Is U&L a Cadillac, Honda, or a Yugo? (That’s a sentence I could never have predicted)
    – Jeff Schaller Mod
    Commented Jul 12, 2018 at 21:29
  • So is the change applied at this point or am I just really bad at seeing differences? Commented Jul 26, 2018 at 16:40

4 Answers 4


I really dislike having the space on the left-hand side of the page being used up (wasted) for a few navigation links. I usually have my window manager configured so that my web browser uses half the screen size, horizontally. With the current SE theme, this mostly works well (other than working through the review queues).

On Stack Overflow, there is a Hide left navigation setting in the site preferences which works well for maximising screen real estate for displaying the Questions and Answers. I hope (and presume) that this setting will become available to users of Unix & Linux when this site has its theme updated.

Thanks for the update and enjoy the vacation.

  • 7
    Yes, having the left hand panel collapsible would be nice.
    – Kusalananda Mod
    Commented Jul 10, 2018 at 17:00
  • 2
    According to Left nav, responsive design, and theming next steps page, it'd be collapsible.
    – andcoz
    Commented Jul 12, 2018 at 7:38
  • 1
    Myself, I just added a Userstyle in Stylus that blocks the sidebar, which applies to stackoverflow now, and all stackexchange sites preemptively. (The sidebar does, at least, use well-defined semantic markup, rendering it easily styled.) I just published to userstyles.org if anyone wants to piggyback on my 5 minutes' worth of effort, instead of expending two minutes of your own to duplicate my work.
    – FeRD
    Commented Jul 12, 2018 at 13:58
  • 4
    You can hide the left nav via a global preference. Once you hide it on one site it is hidden on all.
    – Joe Friend
    Commented Jul 17, 2018 at 22:11
  • @JoeFriend That's good to hear. Thanks for the clarification. Commented Jul 18, 2018 at 8:16
  • Per @JoeFriend 's comment above, info on how to hide/collapse the left nav needs to be made very clear for all users. I, for one, think it is an abomination, and wouldn't have known how to get rid of it, if I hadn't seen his comment.
    – Time4Tea
    Commented Aug 10, 2018 at 20:01

Is it possible to include the feedback from Icons of the badge counts and change the icons to represent UNIX & Linux more clearly, as opposed to the barely-visible ~ symbol there now? example here.

I also second Pandya's suggestion to keep the forward-slash in the tag names.

I'd also mention Is it possible to have the <kbd> for the comma enlarged? as another that's not completed.

It looks like "/ask question" in the site header should be changed to "/ ask question" will be invalidated with the movement of the top bar to the sidebar. Could we re-instantiate the forward-slashes to the fronts of the side-bar names?

Also: Error image nominations from 7 years ago -- any possibility of including them?

Also (unclear from the given screenshot): Is expected that header elements use different fonts?

I was afraid I didn't understand the situation clearly enough, and it appears I didn't. Quoting from the Ch-ch-ch-changes meta page:

... there are several things that will now be standardized to follow the look and feel on Stack Overflow...

Standardized items will include:

  • Navigation
  • Fonts
  • Buttons/Icons
  • Badges
  • Tags
  • Newsletter ads

... which seems (to me) to rule out ... just about everything from the initial list, unless I'm still misunderstanding something.


To me it looks like any other beta stack exchange site with a logo. I really liked the fact that this site was a bit different specially the centred title and the blue navigation bar.
I understand the need of theme standardization but don't feel any need for change in the current theme. I couldn't agree more than this post :

  • 2
    I actually love the centered title and the blue nav bar, and I didn't even realize it. So irritating; this is change just for the sake of change. :(
    – Wildcard
    Commented Jul 25, 2018 at 0:42

I do not mind the design change much, and the new one is fine.

But the UI elements lost a bit of individuality (Upvote/Downvote buttons look normal instead of individual for the Unix/Linux Sta.X. network.).

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