We rolled out the new site theme for Mathematics. It is live now.

What new theme?

If you're like, "What the heck are you talking about?", then you should read the Meta Stack Exchange post entitled Rollout of new network site themes (and maybe the posts it links to for the full background).

Your help needed

You are one of the first sites to get a new, unified theme. I previously posted the designs for theme in meta. The feedback given to that post was considered prior to rolling out the theme. Please help us look for issues/bugs and post the details (including images where needed) as an answer below.

If you have concerns or issues regarding the left nav then this Meta Stack Exchange post is the right place for feedback. If you have issues with any functionality that is unrelated to the new theme, then please post a new question.

As you see, the team working on this theme design is seriously studying the criticism here, and responding to it. Editing this to allow anyone so inclined to change their vote.

  • 91
    I'm afraid it's as bad as it was on Meta and SO. The consistent downvotes and complaints every time this was rolled out (or even mentioned) have been ignored. It's sad to see that user feedback is no longer relevant for the SE staff. – 6005 Aug 9 at 16:51
  • 12
    As a follower of Questions: Newest, the font has been decreased (I find it harder to read, and I'm sure I'm not the only one.) One reason I used "Questions: Newest" was precisely because the questions and titles were more prominent. – amWhy Aug 9 at 16:55
  • 43
    I think that there is so much negative response because we only got to see screenshots. In the future, it would be a good idea to let people sign up for beta testing, where they can actually interact with the new design and make remarks. – Asaf Karagila Aug 9 at 18:02
  • 12
    Clearly people aren't happy about this (ahem) imperfect change, but I would humbly recommend that this post doesn't get downvoted below -8. This is because such downvoted questions are hidden from the main meta.math page, so users looking for information about why everything is different (and not working properly) all the sudden will have a harder time finding it. The change might not be good, but this post actually serves a useful function. – castor occupatus Aug 9 at 18:14
  • 9
    Why are the up/down vote arrow shadings so close in contrast on the main site?! I can barely tell if I've upvoted a question or not, there. They are much clearer for me on the meta site. This is just strange. – rschwieb Aug 9 at 18:34
  • 9
    There should be an arrow next to the sidebar that when clicked would make it disappear. I'm thinking of the Adobe Acrobat/PDF designs. – TheSimpliFire Aug 9 at 19:07
  • 13
    Just as @rschwieb said, the votes in the main site are very close in color. There are people with colorblindness that can't see the difference at all and there is no reason for this to happen, it should be either like the meta site or use 2 very different colors for natural and voted. And the same with the links – Holo Aug 9 at 20:08
  • 6
    @holo Can't do much with a comment. Feel free to post an answer. – Joe Friend Aug 9 at 20:26
  • 9
    I hate to pile on with my downvote, but ... see my answer. Looks like whoever is designing these ignores the problems of users like me. – Jyrki Lahtonen Aug 9 at 20:31
  • 4
    @castoroccupatus A good point, but seeing that this is now the third most negatively received math meta post of all time (in half a day I might add) I think that ship has sailed.... – T. Bongers Aug 10 at 5:01
  • 34
    I assume the rationale behind the new theme is "we wanted to change things, so we did". It's hard to see any benefit, and easy to see many issues. – Martin Argerami Aug 10 at 5:35
  • 9
    Quickly going through the list of most downvoted posts on Meta, this is third in overall downvotes and has the second lowest net score. This post might actually achieve the lowest net score this Meta site has seen. Somewhat annoying this change was made during election week, during an election on the meta site when I am forced to use the meta site. Things like this are what beta testing is for. – Brevan Ellefsen Aug 10 at 12:21
  • 8
    @BrevanEllefsen Now the most downvoted. Which isn't really a surprise. – TheSimpliFire Aug 11 at 12:23
  • 9
    I could tell it was live, because it shocked me. – Calum Gilhooley Aug 11 at 17:20
  • 6
    Minus 100! Woohoo! – Gerry Myerson Aug 23 at 12:30

27 Answers 27

My biggest complaint is about all the wasted space. I think the text size of the headers is the biggest culprit.

When I go to the main page of math.se, there's just an egregious amount of wasted space.

enter image description here

A user on meta suggested one improvement here. Whether you agree with that suggestion or not, there's got to be a way to use the space more efficiently. (I also really dislike the left navigation panel with its column of wasted space below, but I'm going to disable it so I won't complain about it more than this. My dream would to instead have the buttons from the left nav placed horizontally to the right of MATHEMATICS.)

EDIT: As Aaron Shekey mentions in his comment below, some of this space will soon be used by new features, as discussed here.

When I click on one of my watched tags, I get the following page.

enter image description here

The page is dominated by this huge box that is almost entirely useless to me. I just clicked on one of my watched tags, so I'd like to see the new questions with that tag. Instead I get this box whose features are things that I won't use on a regular basis, and hence don't deserve this prime real estate at the top of the page. I know that I just clicked on the tag, so I don't need the enormous "Questions tagged [abstract-algebra]" reminder of that at the top. Scaling this down and moving the Ask A Question button to the line above would probably already help a lot and might allow me to see another question. I also don't need a description of the tag here: this is a tag I've clicked on hundreds if not thousands of times. (Maybe the description could be drop-down or hover-over?) I also don't think the unwatch and ignore buttons need to be so large and so prominently displayed here. If I really wanted to edit my watched and ignored tags, I'd be more likely to use the panels on the righthand side.

These boxes for tags were already a little annoying when they were changed (somewhat recently, I think?), but the new header text size and new placement of the Ask Question button have really exacerbated the issue. Here's what I'd rather see.

enter image description here

And just for comparison, here's what a similar tag page on another SE site still using the old layout looks like.

enter image description here

  • 14
    I came to write the same complaints about space and the annoying clutter on the tags page. Thank you~ – DanielV Aug 9 at 19:11
  • 18
    Excellent post: shows vividly all the white- space currently! And how un-intuitive the current design can me. – amWhy Aug 9 at 19:32
  • 3
    The white space on the left is particularly bad. It forces me to make the browser window wider to make the questions acceptably wide. – Carl Mummert Aug 9 at 20:17
  • 6
    @Carl You can get rid of the white space on the left by checking "Hide Left Navigation" in your profile preferences. However, as far as I can tell, this also completely gets rid of the links to "Home", "Questions", "Tags", etc. – Theoretical Economist Aug 9 at 23:30
  • 9
    Would someone inform the design team that my monitor is in landscape mode, not portrait? – Antonio Vargas Aug 9 at 23:34
  • 1
    @Carl Actually, if you hide the left nav, you can recover those links by clicking on the left-most icon on the top black bar. – Theoretical Economist Aug 9 at 23:53
  • 4
    My dream would be that we can drag and drop questions onto the left nav to pin them there, add our favourite links for chat rooms, meta, etc., all the things we use the most. – Robert Frost Aug 10 at 6:54
  • 3
    +1 for hitting the nail on the head. – gandalf61 Aug 10 at 7:42
  • 2
    It’s even narrower on the iPad. – Thomas Andrews Aug 10 at 22:59
  • @ThomasAndrews I'm not surprised. If you look under the heading Principle #1: Flexibility in the blogpost accompanying the new layout, there are illustrations of what the new layout will look like on various devices. On a phone, it looks like the left nav panel will take up about 40% of the screen... – André 3000 Aug 10 at 23:12
  • 5
    I'd also add that the "Ask Question" appears inside the same box as question titles, which is borderline confusing and somewhat annoying. – Asaf Karagila Aug 11 at 12:12
  • 5
    I hate the sidebar with a passion. Wasted space, making questions and such get crammed into a smaller area. And my eyes are accustomed to that not being there on all of the other sites, so when I jump to Math it's extremely jarring. Half the time I just go "ugh!" and go back where I came from. – zibadawa timmy Aug 14 at 4:27
  • 2
    Change obviously hurts familiarity, and people usually like the things they already know. So, any change needs to have significant benfits to outweigh the damage. I don't see any. – bubba Aug 15 at 3:36
  • 1
    With meta.stackexchange.com/questions/312781/… shipping, the space will be used in a way that makes a lot more sense. – Aaron Shekey Aug 15 at 20:35
  • 1
    epic answer!!!!! – clickbait Aug 21 at 18:16

Yet another problem with this is that (at least in a comment) a link is barely distinguishable from usual text.

enter image description here

How is anybody supposed to tell at a glance that 7 old answers is a link? THE LACK OF CONTRAST IS A SERIOUS PROBLEM.

In other words, the problem is not unlike what I complained about last time.

Did anybody actually test this in advance? I mean, somebody other than a 20-something with a graphical design degree and a 72-inch monitor. I will reach 55 in October. My eyesight is quite ok, I have an 18-inch laptop. Thankfully, in meta a link is using a distinguishable color (see three lines up). We need the same in main.

Update: links in answers and tag-wikis (in main) are similarly affected. Possibly the color scheme is the same, so fixing it in one place will fix it everywhere.

  • 2
    The screenshot is from here. – Jyrki Lahtonen Aug 9 at 20:26
  • 8
    Also depicted in this screenshot: the barely-noticeable contrast between the up and down vote arrows. – rschwieb Aug 9 at 20:35
  • Interestingly on meta they are also underlined now(?). Or was this always the case. – quid Aug 10 at 0:46
  • 7
    Hey, @JyrkiLahtonen I'm that designer. Nice to meet you. I'm 28, no design degree (actually no degree at all) and two 27-inch monitors next to each other (I guess that's 54?). And I also couldn't notice that link! So now that we know each other's bio, I'm happy to announce that fix for links color in question body and comments is coming. Also, happy birthday in advance! 🎂 – Paweł Aug 10 at 11:00
  • Thanks @Pawel! Sorry to criticize your work this much. Well, this happens when you make GOMs face a change :-) – Jyrki Lahtonen Aug 10 at 11:03
  • 4
    @Paweł: since you are reading this thread, you could also think of fixing everything else. And tell us what was the point in all these rushed and unwarranted changes. – Martin Argerami Aug 10 at 12:39
  • 4
    @JyrkiLahtonen It's all good. On serious note, we're launching new layout/design for bunch of sites at the same time. They are not perfect and they are not polished – we're aware of that. In this particular case we've decided to move fast, break things & iterate. Maybe it doesn't look like one, but it's actually tremendous project – in terms of code, design, infrastructure, information architecture and so on. We're making baby steps and bugs are expected. Math is one of first sites where we launched new design. It's not final, it's work in progress. And feedback from all of you is priceless. – Paweł Aug 10 at 12:49
  • 1
    Our feedback should not comprise common sense, though, otherwise, expect a sh**-ton of it. – Cleric Aug 10 at 14:36
  • 2
    A fix for this should go live in our next build. – Aaron Shekey Aug 10 at 16:48
  • 2
    Thanks @Aaron. Looking forward to it. – Jyrki Lahtonen Aug 10 at 16:58
  • 2
    Seems to be fixed now. Didn't check it everywhere yet. – Jyrki Lahtonen Aug 10 at 21:47
  • 5
    > "it's actually tremendous project". Then why are you doing it?? There's an obvious down-side: people don't like new and unfamiliar things. There need to be some significant benefits to outweight this and the time/effort spent on the project. What are those benefits? – bubba Aug 15 at 3:40
  • 1
    @bubba Our legacy themes often get in the way of our ability to ship bug free features to Stack Overflow and beyond. We need to reign these in and refactor so we can ship new features more easily and regularly. – Aaron Shekey Aug 15 at 20:33
  • "20-something with a graphical design degree and a 72-inch monitor." That's an accurate description of a web designer. The real problem is that she is only testing the design on her 72-inch monitor. – nilo de roock Sep 4 at 9:28
  • 2
    @niloderoock No, the real problem is that 20yo eyes have crazy ideas about low contrast being accessible when it's not. – tchrist Sep 5 at 4:29

A couple of little problems:

  1. When you ask a question, there is an info box on the right which gives advice on how to ask a question. The text "Provide details" is a link. It is hard to tell that it is a link (due to the low contrast and lack of bolding).

enter image description here

Indeed, as pointed out in the comments below, this is a a more global issue—there are two links in the following screenshot other than the "edit" button.

enter image description here

  1. Displayed math now has scrollbars.

enter image description here

  • 3
    You beat me to a post about the scrollbars by less than a minute! – Robert Howard Aug 9 at 18:01
  • 19
    The link issue is broader than that one example--the link color is generally very hard to tell apart from ordinary text. So for instance, words in the middle of questions and answers that have links are very hard to notice. – Eric Wofsey Aug 9 at 19:15
  • 2
    Looking at some of my answers, I've found that some of my equations do not have scrollbars; paradoxically, the ones that don't have scrollbars are commutative diagrams, which are bigger than simple equations. – Arnaud D. Aug 10 at 12:03
  • 2
    In fact, even normal equations don't all have scrollbars. I've even found several answers where some equations have scrollbars and others don't, for no apparent reasons. – Arnaud D. Aug 10 at 12:13
  • 1
    A fix for the link contrast should have merged and will go live with the next build. – Aaron Shekey Aug 10 at 16:47
  • 1
    @AaronShekey Wunderbar. When does that happen? – Xander Henderson Aug 10 at 18:02
  • 2
    @XanderHenderson it's already done – Joe Friend Aug 11 at 5:29

Let me comment with CSS style overrides I use, slightly updated for the new theme. Those style overrides also apply to first-time visitors to which the new site theme must appear like a torrent of voluminous screams under which the good stuff is buried, by now almost without trace.

Let me note that I am an old-school desktop user who does not like eternal sessions. I frequently close my browser and have it forget all session data then. As a result, I get to see the first-time visitors layout frequently, with all that "Here is how it works" stuff, GDPR consent banners, announcement banners and other useless stuff. Honestly, had the site looked like this back in the days, I would never have created an account here.

/* Remove Stackexchange's useless Logo + Link from SE's top bar */
.top-bar .-logo {
  display: none !important;

/* Remove Stackexchange's redundant "Here is how it works" info box */
.s-hero, .old-hero {
  display: none !important;

/* Remove Stackexchange's nuisance banners. */
#js-gdpr-consent-banner, #announcement-banner {
  display: none !important;

/* Remove Stackexchange's left sidebar. */
.js-pinned-left-sidebar {
  display: none !important;
/* Reclaim its space for actual content */
.container > #content {
  width: calc(100% - 16px) !important;

Edited: Changed the sidebar selector so that its pendant in the topbar menu remains available.

Edited: Changed the content selector to something less generic.

Here is how MSE looks to new visitors:

MSE to new visitors

That's repulsive. Here is how I like it, with the style overrides:

MSE with style overrides

Same for SO. To new visitors without style overrides:

SO to new visitors

Horrible. Just horrible. Here is how I prefer it, with the style overrides:

SO with style overrides

Notice how much more usable space can be gained by hiding the blurb?

Remember that Google became so popular not only because its search algorithm produced useful results, but also because its search form was free of clutter?

  • 11
    Oh, yeah, Totally. This is exacerbated when you use a phone, with a smaller monitor. Practically 60% of the screen is these annoying banners. Puts me back in 2002, when you'd go into and the first thing to do was to fight pop-ups that covered 60% of your screen. – Asaf Karagila Aug 11 at 16:31
  • 1
    +1 for this simple css fix. – Paramanand Singh Aug 11 at 17:24
  • 1
    Of course the CSS override doesn't help first-time users. Indeed, had I been greeted with the current version when I first discovered Stack Overflow (the first network site I found and used), I'm one hundred percent certain that I would not have stayed, but I would have run away and probably never come back. – celtschk Aug 15 at 10:17
  • @celtschk: The CSS overrides work as soon as the browser knows about them, and that preparation can be made more durable than SE session cookies (which I clear often). But yes, actual first-time visitors typically do not have this installed and are probably deterred very efficiently by now. I have long stopped recommending SE because of that terrible presentation. – ccorn Aug 15 at 20:46

Here is a screenshot of the behavior I mentioned in the comment.

enter image description here

Note how the title of one question is completely misaligned. This happens precisely on questions with tags I have as favorite. I am using Chrome for Linux.

  • 8
    And props to all who can spot that the question is a favorite based on the color on a flat screen monitor which is not perfectly centered. – Tobias Kildetoft Aug 9 at 17:25
  • One can always customize that color with, say, a Tampermonkey script. With JQuery it would look like $("div.tagged-interesting")$. But yes, the color difference is painfully small. – barto Aug 11 at 11:15
  • What linux distro is that? – user159517 Aug 19 at 20:59
  • @user159517 Ubuntu with Cinnamon desktop. – Tobias Kildetoft Aug 20 at 3:56

The new design is TERRIBLE. Please, delete it or put an option to rollback. PLEASE!!!

Delete as soon as possible the left navigation column.

  • 13
    Go to your profile settings, site settings, preferences, check the "Hide left navigation" box. This is not a helpful suggestion of what can be improved. – Asaf Karagila Aug 10 at 10:35
  • 8
    Of course it is helpful, it is what many here seem to think. And after "hiding the left navigation box", the "questions" link (that many of us use all the time) is hidden behind a menu. – Martin Argerami Aug 10 at 12:42
  • 6
    @Martin: This is no more useful than asking that your friend is revived after their body has been through the wood chipper, and you are asked what could be improved. Yes, it would be better if that didn't happen, but reality is different. – Asaf Karagila Aug 10 at 14:07
  • @AsafKaragila Great way to put it. Thanks for the laugh. – 6005 Aug 10 at 17:47
  • 1
    @6005: I've had Fargo on my mind for some reason, I guess... :P – Asaf Karagila Aug 10 at 17:59

1. Repeated/overlapping equations in duplicates previews (for example through review queues):

enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here

(Go to review queues, review question that has flagged duplicate, click to Close, select duplicate of...). I don't remember seeing this before the new theme (I might be wrong though, but anyway would be nice to have this fixed). This happens in Chrome 68.0.3440.106, also in IE 11.0.9600.19100. It's also worth mentioning it happens in every single case if the duplicate has mathjax in it, not just occasionally.

This is not one time occurrence, happens almost always when there is and equation.

2. Plenty of [Math Processing Error]s before and after selecting duplicate

This might be related to previous one, but symptoms are quite different, so having this separately. In previous case, there are unusually many [Math Processing Error] occurrences, before selecting and after. However before selecting it seems that it needs to have more questions in review, but still it seems quite reproducible, not a single occurrence.

Example in list of review questions:

enter image description here

Example after selecting question:

enter image description here

3. Link underline going through math expressions:

enter image description here

Played with CSS a little, and seems that adding display: inline-block; does the trick, but content is then a bit taller and also forces whole link to be on one line in some cases...

EDIT 09/09/2018:

I think I've managed to fix or at least localize first issue (duplicate equations), and this also seem to decrease occurrences of second issue as well (math processing errors). Turns out that typesetting is invoked indeed twice from different parts of code. First is through MathJax.Hub.Typeset(this) in stub.en.js

"mathjax": function() {
                return this.each(function() {
                    "undefined" != typeof MathJax && MathJax.Hub.Typeset(this)

and second one is in full.en.js through styleCode():

var t = e.find(".list-originals");
            return 0 == t.children().length ? (t.hide(), void 0) : (t.show(), h(t, !0), styleCode(), t.find(".item").click(function() {

For a test I have removed above call to styleCode() from the full.en.js, and first issue went away, second one happens much less (which makes sense since it seems to depend on number of equations to be rendered). However I do not observe any new side effects after this update, but who knows why it was there, probably it was supposed to do something :). @JoeFriend , can you check it?

Also, the math processing errors, I have looked why they appear, and it happens when processInput in mathjax.js catches exception and does return this.processError(f, a, "Input"). The exception callstack seems to lead always to an issue that at some point, PHTMLspanElement() in TeX-AMS_HTML-full.js returned null object which was then accessed (but it happens randomly, timing?). Also this happens only in review queues, it does not happen in questions/comments which have much more math to be rendered, it seems to suggest that something on that review queue is not yet prepared and the math is already trying to be rendered there...

  • 1
    Is the first problem related to this older problem? Also reported here? – Jyrki Lahtonen Aug 15 at 5:22
  • Does by the way anyone else apart from me see it too, or is it just me? (see also added animation for reproducibility...) – Sil Aug 15 at 6:38
  • I see the overlap problem too. Refreshing the page does seem to fix the body (but not the question title) about half the time. Clicking on the question title loads the full question into a box on the page and that fixes it pretty reliably. If it wasn't common in the past, this seems like a regression. Perhaps related, I did see one preview with [Math Processing Error] in it. – Jon Ericson Aug 16 at 0:14
  • @JonEricson Nice observation, I am seeing the processing error as well in many cases both in questions review and after selecting one, added it to the list too. – Sil Aug 18 at 6:52
  • @sil Are you still seeing these? we made some changes recently that may have improved things. – Joe Friend Aug 23 at 23:27
  • 1
    @JoeFriend Only 3rd issue is gone, but I have tried to debug the first two issues, see my edited post (I am not a web developer, but it could be useful). Also an off-topic, but have you considered employing regular bug/features ticket system? Using question system is quite cheap, as we do not have guarantee anyone is looking at it, it gets lost in sea of regular questions... – Sil Sep 9 at 20:06

As mentioned in the comment, the left nav is still availble under the hamburger menu in the top left.

I did go to left nav link and turned off left nav panel as instructed (with some difficulty). But now I can't navigate at all - my work flow is to go back to the question list after looking at a question. The back button isn't always the best way to do that.

I will go to left nav link and post this there too, But I need to vent in several places.

  • 4
    If you turn off the left nav, there is button you can click on the far left of the top bar to access it. – Eric Wofsey Aug 9 at 17:05
  • 8
    It'd have been helpful if this information were on the settings page that lets you hide the left nav. Otherwise, it seems like there was no way to find those links on the page. At least, it did to me, for a while. – Theoretical Economist Aug 9 at 23:56
  • I see that this is true. However, after the left nav panel is turned off, there is still wasted space to the right of the right panel. (I use screen res 1366x768px.) The main panel could be made to use all the width not occupied by the right panel. – Rosie F Aug 14 at 11:17

When I use a zoom > 100, say 125% , the subscripts and the low parts of the equations are masked by the scroll-bar, for example :

enter image description here

I read somewhere that zoom > 100% is not supported. Of course, this explains why the malfunction occurs. Never mind. Nevertheless this is a shame because the people with poor eyesight have trouble reading the equations especially the small characters.

Can we expect this will be fixed ?

  • By zoom you mean page zoom (of browser) or the zoom feature in MathJax menu? I normally use the zoom from MathJax, but there are problems now with the MathJax zoom also in the sense that some portion of the equations is not visible after zoom. – Paramanand Singh Aug 16 at 1:36
  • 1
    @Paramanand Singh : I mean the zoom of the browser (Internet Explorer). It is basically set to 125%. and I avoid to change it because this requires manipulations of setting and re-setting. I did not even try the MathJax zoom. – JJacquelin Aug 16 at 5:42
  • 2
    Then I think the issue is serious and related to the new theme in which they enabled scrollbars for mathjax equations. There should be some way to disable these scrollbars, but I am not aware of it. – Paramanand Singh Aug 16 at 6:23
  • @JJacquelin Are you still seeing this? I can't reproduce it in Chrome. We made some change recently that might have fixed things. If you still see it can you provide some details on browser/version and platform plus a link to a question that repros the problem? Thanks – Joe Friend Aug 23 at 23:31

I'm visually impaired and have huge problems with the new design.

I use the "Zoom only text" and a larger font under "Options" in Firefox. That worked great with the previous design. However, because of the bars (left and right) it's now hard to navigate the site and follow threads.

Two pictures:

Hard to compose questions because of the tight space: enter image description here

Hard to navigate and read the questions/answers: enter image description here

The font for posts on main is a serif font, while the one on meta is sans-serif.

I'd prefer the same font on both main and meta (either font is fine with me).

[I hope that's not a dupe, but I did not find it.]

  • 4
    Btw the profile page of any user on main site uses sans serif. Only when we visit questions the serif font is used. This should also get fixed with one font everywhere (main and meta). – Paramanand Singh Aug 19 at 1:22
  • 1
    @ParamanandSingh I keep telling them this, but so far it has received zero response from the dev team. The disconnect between the site theme's elegant serif font and the almost uncountably many places where this was replaced by a like-it-or-lump-it Microsoft Arial brutal sans is worse than merely startling. It is inconsistent, distracting, annoying, and misleading. – tchrist Sep 2 at 16:07
  • 1
    @tchrist: Perhaps someone in Dev team likes those Arial fonts desperately. As for me I find the serif ones far more beautiful and readable (especially on high resolution displays). – Paramanand Singh Sep 3 at 3:51

I don't see this here yet, but : in the Safari browser on a Mac, math that is larger than a normal text line seems to be cut off. See the integral signs in the top line here:integral cut off and more seriously the \lfloor nx \rfloor at the bottom here: enter image description here

Previously, the ambiguity was relieved by the bug allowing me to scroll the display math :) Now I have to right click and inspect the TeX commands.

My setup- Macbook Pro 2016 15 inch, macOS High Sierra 10.13.6, using the Safari browser. Note, the problem does not present itself in Google Chrome. Also the math is not cut off here in math.meta. Test code- $$\begin{array}{ccc}\mathbb R&\longrightarrow&R\\x&\mapsto&\left[\begin{array}{ccc}\mathbb{Z}&\longrightarrow&\mathbb Z\\n&\mapsto&\lfloor nx\rfloor\end{array}\right].\end{array}$$

  • 1
    If you have a wide formula, it used to line break. Now it can happen that the end seems truncated. On iPad I see no scroll bars but am able to move the content around, e.g. scroll to the left manually. So far I reformatted manually to avoid running into invisible scroll areas. – mvw Aug 12 at 15:50
  • Another example of cut off at the bottom. – mvw Aug 12 at 16:46
  • 2
    I'm working on fixing this, but currently playing bug whack-a-mole with math rendering. Argh! – Aaron Shekey Aug 13 at 20:36
  • 3
    This is fixed now. We had some CSS that tried to be graceful about LaTeX content when you resize the window. This created a tail of other problems though (that's what @AaronShekey's "whack-a-mole" is referring to). The unfortunate truth is that MathJax doesn't really work that way -- it renders content to fit the available space at the time of rendering; if that space changes, things may or may not look right anymore. An thus this special CSS wasn't really that helpful. In the rare case that you change your browser width, you may just have to reload the page to re-render the math content. – balpha Aug 22 at 10:53

I normally use the site in Firefox on smartphone with "request desktop site" feature of the browser.

The right side-bar which includes meta links, watched/ignored tags and hot network questions no longer appears on right side but is put after list of questions. Very annoying.

I guess this is primarily because of responsive design and I am not sure if something can be done to fix it.

On the plus side I love writing in the edit box (like this answer) while holding my phone in portrait mode (as the responsive design resizes the edit box properly).

Update: I finally did some experiment on desktop and found that if one reduces the widow width beyond a certain point then the right sidebar goes to the bottom. Reducing further width of window moves the left side also to a menu button on top left (in the black bar). So this is their responsive design in action.

The same behavior can be seen if one starts increasing font size (ctrl+) gradually. This is exactly what happens on a smartphone as you have large fonts on 5.5 inch 1080p display. Similar behavior should be seen by default on tab (iPad) in portrait mode although I have not checked it.

I think the way they move the left sidebar automatically into a menu button, there should be a way to move the content in the right sidebar into some menu button at the top.

  • Hear hear! ${}{}$ – Asaf Karagila Aug 10 at 15:43
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    @ParamanandSingh - The way I attempt to fix that is to uncheck "Request Desktop Site", go to the bottom of the webpage and choose "full site", now recheck "Request Desktop Site" - now you should see the desktop view of StackExchange using Firefox for Android. Sometimes it sticks and sometimes it reverts into a semi-mobile view, not exactly mobile but certainly not the desktop view. --- If they don't fix it soon I'm going to file a bug report. – Rob Aug 10 at 17:27
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    @Rob: thanks man, your suggestion works for me and the world feels a much better place now :) – Paramanand Singh Aug 11 at 4:51
  • @Rob: I added few more observations and it appears the behavior is by design. Also your suggested workaround seems to turn off responsive design. – Paramanand Singh Aug 12 at 5:16
  • @ParamanandSingh - I have responsive on. As I mentioned, the bug is still present, it's not a complete fix: "Sometimes it sticks and sometimes it reverts into a semi-mobile view, ..." --- Now when you reload, or un-check / re-check 'Desktop Mode' most 'new' sites reload as Desktop, and your 'Profile Page' should just load as Desktop without uncheck/check or reloading - sometimes it sticks and on some sites you lose and are stuck with the semi-mobile view ('cuz it's not exactly the same as if you didn't go to the bottom of the page and choose "Full Site") - part of the bug is CSS Bug. – Rob Aug 12 at 5:25
  • This Screenshot shows the desktop view I see, (I rechecked the left Menu for the purposes of making this screenshot, usually I have that disabled). It's not particularly sticky and reverts; forcing one to uncheck/recheck 'Request Desktop Site' to reactivate the desktop view (though the 'Profile webpage' remains correct, without the gymnastics). If responsive means fluid that's never worked for me (nor claimed to be avail. yet), but the webpages says it's on 4 me. – Rob Aug 13 at 3:28
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    This problem is persistent despite the fixes suggested here in comments. Every time I come back to MathSE or MetaMathSe, it reverts to this "everything in one column" view, not the desktop version. The mobile version is even worse since it just removes all besides the Q&A boxes. This "responsive" design ruins the ability to use full-feature MathSE on mobile. I doubt I am the only one who will stop bothering to come back. – Nij Aug 19 at 0:00
  • @Nij: yeah the responsive design is the culprit here. I wonder if the developers have tested the full site on a smartphone. There should be some way to show the right sidebar along with the list of question. – Paramanand Singh Aug 19 at 1:10
  • @ParamanandSingh We have tested the design on phones, even though we've specifically said that the new theme is not ready for use on phones. The mobile theme is what we currently recommend people to use. We will continue to work on the mobile functionality for the responsive theme. – Joe Friend Aug 23 at 23:36

There's always been a very slight discrepancy between the line breaks in the preview and in the posted version; every once in a while, one more letter would fit in in the posted version than did in the preview.

This discrepancy has become much more significant with the new theme. The line breaks are in completely different places now, and planning them using the preview has become impossible. This means that longer bits of math that don't allow line breaks can cause severely truncated lines, because you can't rewrite the text to prevent them from occurring at a line break.

This more severe discrepancy occurs only in the preview when the answer is first posted. When a posted answer is edited, the edit preview seems to correspond well with the posted version. If I remember correctly, in the old theme the milder discrepancy on the order of single letters occurred in both previews.

The discrepancy seems to be due to a significant difference in width that occurs because the posted version and the edit preview have the vote count next to them and the original preview doesn't.

Here are screenshots for this answer where I wrote the text such that a long link was all in one line in the original preview, and it's broken in half in the posted version:

Original preview:

original preview

Posted version and edit preview:

posted version and edit preview

The screenshots were made in Firefox 61.0.2 under Mac OS 10.13.6 (17G65); the appearance is the same in Safari 11.1.2 (13605.3.8).

tl;dr As a mathematician, I'm not all that experienced with CSS. However, after spending 5 minutes adjusting the page layout, I feel I got something far simpler and yet far superior. See below for a visual, with changes including

  1. removing the seemingly redundant "Top Questions" text
  2. removing line break for "active/hot/week/month" tabs
  3. removing the right and left sidebars

The left sidebar is universally hated and needs to either go or be redesigned for that reason alone. The right sidebar is filled with a lot of stuff users of the site don't often need - the newsletter notifications and "ignored tags" seem like they belong in user profile or as inbox notifications, and the "watched tags" could be put either in user profiles or as a compact drop-down menu.

You might now be asking: where do we put Teams, Hot Network Questions, Blogs/"Featured on Meta", and personalized question lists?

  • Teams is not something I had heard of until this UI controversy started. Perhaps put Teams in the top-left hamburger menu. Perhaps make them a parallel site like the meta pages are. I get Teams is important for revenue, but implement this in a way that won't impact those not using the feature.
  • Personalized questions lists, in my opinion, ought to belong in user profiles. Not only does this allow other users to easily see your list when they view your profile (if desired, there could be an option to hide your list from other viewers) but it also makes more pragmatic sense to me - a big focus of a Q/A site should be on reading, asking, and answering incoming questions and not merely going through beloved questions and answers. I agree that it would be nice to more easily maintain a list of great questions and answers than we currently can (via biography in user profile, list of favorited questions, or saving a list elsewhere) but shoving this into an already strongly criticized left sidebar does not seem ideal.
  • Blogs/"Featured on Meta" are good for easy visibility between SE devs and users, which I think is important; as such, while I recommend greatly shrinking the box and pushing some of the contents to users' inboxes, I don't necessarily think the box needs to be entirely removed. As a suggestion, perhaps shrink it and put it on the same line as the "Mathematics Logo" but floated to the right.

  • Hot Network Questions is the most regrettable loss in my opinion. Some users may mostly use a single SE Site, but I personally find the HNQ list quite appealing, as it generally has good questions/answers on topics I wouldn't encounter were it not for HNQ. Moreover, the HNQ give smaller sites the chance to gain visibility and fresh users, benefiting all parties.

Perhaps a smaller right sidebar could be retained to accommodate HNQ? An alternative would be to progressively load batches of 10-20 questions - put the HNQ at the bottom of the batch, and once a user scrolls past the HNQ, load a new batch and push the HNQ to the bottom of that batch. A third alternative is to use the current system of having a fixed number of questions per page, and put the HNQ at the bottom. A fourth alternative would be to follow the mobile app model and put HNQ somewhere else, e.g. as an option in the top-left hamburger menu. Each of these has pros and cons, but I am sure something reasonable could be arranged.

It should be noted that by removing the text "Top Questions", the header is at least as responsive, if not more; by pushing the "Ask Question" button to a separate line on small screens we can handle smaller widths than the new header design.

A final complaint I can think of is where I propose putting future site features if the sidebars are removed. To answer this, simply look at my proposed change below. There's plenty of whitespace remaining near the top of the page. If for some reason that doesn't suffice, one could add more dropdowns, toggleable sidebars, etc.

With all this said, you may try to convince me otherwise but I simply feel that this:

enter image description here

Is vastly superior to this:

enter image description here

  • I think you misunderstood the "persomalized question lists". From what I undestand, it's not lists hand-curated by users, but basically personal filter criteria. For example, if you like answering linear algebra questions, and want to learn about topology, you might make an "unanswered linear algebra" list which you go to if you are in answering mood, and an "answered topology" list which you go if you are in learning mood. Each list would always have the current questions fitting the criteria. – celtschk Aug 31 at 8:23
  • @celtschk perhaps I did misunderstand. I'll more carefully read the announcement post later and edit my answer accordingly. Thank you. – Brevan Ellefsen Aug 31 at 9:10

Please, center the "Mathematics" site title again. It has only whitespace to its side anyway, and glued to the left side it IMHO looks ugly.

Alternatively, find something useful to put on the right to it. For example, the "Top Questions" page title and the "Ask Question" button would nicely fit there. That would also reduce the amount of wasted space at the top.

But even in that case, the full line (consisting of site title, page title and ask button) should be centered, not glued to the left side.

MathJax Zoom doesn't work properly

I'm pretty sure that this is at least partially related to the new theme. In the MathJax context menu (right-click some MathJax) you can enable a zoom feature (MathJax Settings → Zoom Trigger). It appears that currently the zoom box is limited to the size of the MathJax area for displayed (block) math, and it wasn't before the design change. (Oddly, it seems to work properly for inline math.)

Here is a screenshot of an attempted zoom on math.se:

failed MathJax zoom on math.se

and here is a zoom of the same Markup from physics.se's "sandbox":

successful MathJax zoom on physics.(meta.)se

Both math.se and physics.se use MathJax v.2.7.4, so I don't think this is a MathJax problem. Physics.se is still using the old theme, which leads me to believe it is a problem with the implementation of the new theme.

(I am using Google Chrome v.68.0.3440.106 under Windows 10.)

Here is a snippet of the Markup for your own testing.

Given $\left\{ a_{n}\::\:n=1,\:2,\:3,\:\cdots\right\} $ is an infinite sequence in $\mathbb{R}$, and every term is positive. How to prove that the set

\begin{equation} \left\{ \frac{2+a_{n}}{\sqrt{2+a_{n}^{2}}}\::\:n=1,\:2,\:3,\:\cdots\right\} \end{equation} has a limit point?

Bolzano-Weierstrass theorem says that every bounded infinite subset of $\mathbb{R}$ has a limit point. But how to prove

  • Thanks for bringing it up here. I had mentioned about it in comments but did not explore the problem fully. – Paramanand Singh Aug 19 at 1:16
  • This is fixed now; it was another consequence of what I'm describing in this comment. – balpha Aug 22 at 10:54

Can we do something about the color of the tags? The blue(?) color makes the whole site appear depressing, like a Picasso from his "blue period".

And it could just be my visual taste, but it seems very clunky what with the warmer greenish(?) hues of the featured sidebar and the highlighted questions.

New version of MSE makes writing/editing questions very much difficult, i.e. when zooming the page topics to select (Home, Questions, Tags, ...) in the left hand side intrude the text : enter image description here

I have been looking at the design for a few days now, and it's (IMHO etc. etc.) eye-blisteringly ugly and dysfunctional. Even after hiding the primary culprit "I'm glorified as being super-useful but aren't" left sidebar something left me dearly wishing for improvement.

And now two more points stood out to me clear enough to pin-point:

  1. the horrible mixture of serif and sans-serif and different font sizes
  2. the white-washed look where all the letters seem floating around on the page in their sea of whitespace, making everything quite unpleasant to read

Two pictures for reference

main page question page

As to the fonts used: From top to bottom on the homepage, we see, all in different font sizes:

  • "StackExchange", sans serif
  • "Mathematics", serif
  • "Top Questions", sans serif
  • "Ask question", sans serif
  • "Interesting", sans serif
  • Question title, serif
  • Tags, sans serif
  • "votes", "answers", "views", sans serif

Honestly, it just looks like a last-second realisation that TeX + sans serif is ugly (as mentioned on Meta.SE ages ago), and hastily applying a serif font to body text without regard to overall look and feel. For example note how the "related" and "linked" question titles on a question page are rendered in sans serif.

As for the second issue (of the whitespace), what I find to be most problematic is that the question titles on the homepage stand out far too little! I'm continuously drawn to reading views, tags, featured meta posts, and it is nigh impossible to focus simply on a title. Or indeed on any text at all, due to the walls of white everywhere around. Perhaps just scaling the title font size up would already help.

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    The horrible mix of serif and sans, coupled with weird and sometimes unreadable sizes, is the worst problem. I believe the sequence of events here was they first mandated that everyone would use Arial for everything, like it or lump it, and that this was just not a negotiable thematic choice. After sufficient rebellion on sites like this one, the developers appear to have begrudgingly relented on that decision, but they appear to have done so in the very smallest possible way, still leaving countless areas that now look wrong because they don’t follow the site theme font any longer. – tchrist Sep 2 at 16:11
  • I've just notice that you took a screenshot of my question haha $\ddot\smile$ – Isabella Sep 8 at 6:44

The web page is a bit crowded. I'd like it to be more clean and focus more on the question content.

The sidebar in the first figure is not used frequently, leaving it blank looks more relaxed. The "Hot Network Questions"(the second figure) is unnecessary, I think people on one site are less interested in the content on the other unrelated site, and without it we can pay more attention to the question itself on current page.

I really like the stackexchange sites, and hope it can grow better!

figure 1 figure 2

The current mobile theme is unchanged and as such there is no left nav.

Show / Hide Left Nav Inaccessible

As shown on the screen shot, it's impossible to show or hide the left-nav on mobile because the hamburger's off the left hand edge of the page. Occurs on both Chrome and Firefox, on HTC One M8.

Show / Hide Left Nav Inaccessible

  • I don't think this change was supposed to affect the mobile skins. If you search the Ch-ch-ch-changes post on meta.se for mobile you'll find this: "First up is desktop (the mobile skin isn't going anywhere for now)." – castor occupatus Aug 10 at 10:52
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    This is how it looks for all sites on the mobile skin, even the ones that don't have responsive design. It hasn't changed recently as far as I'm aware. – Catija Aug 11 at 4:54

The smaller print and smaller writing space caused by the nearly useless left hand colume has made it harder to use MSE. Accordingly I've limited my participation in MSE. In other words, the new MSE is a deterioration in the quality of the site.

The use of areas to the left and right of the main area, for the Home, Questions, Tags... buttons, is very annoying. Even my home screen (not too big) I could hope to expand my window from left to right to get sufficient space in the middle -- but when I do that, the dead space to the left and right expands, while the useful center area containing the questions and answers and edit box stay the saem (reduced) size. If I had the option I would definitely go back to the old look, unless the new look gave some way to adjust the allocation of screen space.

The change of fonts seems to be following the trend of evening out the advantage that a large high-resolution screen has over a cell phone. The fonts previously used are superior (on the large screen) to the new ones, but that is not a big enough effect to be harmful IMHO.

Many users want to remove the left bar. But then it seems that a button for the questions is missing. But the link to the question can be found at the top bar. See the screenshot.

enter image description here

I was very upset when I noticed that the question button wasn´t available anymore after removing the left bar. It was very time consuming to get to the question site. And I think there are some (many?) users who have the problem, therefore I wanted to tell how I dealt with that problem. I hope it helps some users.

When I edit this answer, the edit preview has the same line breaks as the posted answer. If I click "Save Edits", a line break is introduced before the final $k$. If I then reload the page, it returns to the original form without the additional line break. (This also happened when I actually edited the answer, so it's not restricted to the case where nothing is changed; that's just a convenient way to reproduce it.)

Screenshots from Firefox 62.0 under Mac OS 10.13.6 (17G65):

Normal view: normal view

View directly after "Save Edits": enter image description here

(While this is slightly similar to this other problem I reported, I doubt that the cause is identical, so I'm posting it as a seperate answer so that it can be tracked separately.)


This just happened again here.


Another case just occurred here. In the penultimate paragraph, the inline equation $w(3;0,2,6)=2$ is at the end of the second line in normal display, but is pushed to the next line right after an empty "Save Edits". This example is interesting because there's ample space on the second line, so this isn't just a matter of the width being off by one or two pixels, but rather seems to be a more systematic bug.


Another case of this occurs here in the last paragraph.

The Ask Question button’s text blends in with the background (unreadable), if it is a visited link:


Unreadable “Ask Question” button


Badly readable “Ask Question” button

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    I don't have that issue. I think it's a local issue on your side. – Asaf Karagila Aug 12 at 22:22
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    (-1) for being too shouty and non-replicable. – T. Bongers Aug 13 at 2:01

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