Three themes for the posters

I’ve been following the “one theme” thread, but

  1. it’s become clear that tastes vary, and since the software supports a variety of themes, we should take advantage of that
  2. there may now be enough consensus to hammer out a couple of themes that would collectively satisfy a large fraction of the users.

I’m not wedded to “three”, but as I tried to cluster the requests I’ve been reading that’s where I started. So I’m going to suggest three themes and some features they should have, and I encourage others to chime in, tune those suggestions, and suggest other clusters of features that would make a useful theme for the board.

Here’s my start:

(also, just an aside – this is they type of thread that benefits from allowing edits. If this board allowed edits indefinitely, as other boards I use do, I would next start four posts, one for each of my three suggested themes and one for “other”, and I would continually update them as suggestions are made and consensus is reached, and there’d be a nice summary of what people want handy and easy to find, at the top of the thread.)

Initial theme suggestions:

Two features that I think everyone would like in all these themes are mouseovers - preferably mouseovers that work even if you are using a modern laptop with a touch-screen, and the pretty version of the “Straight Dope” banner.

Text-based: Many long-time dopers like a text-centric environment. This theme would not show avatars, it would by default hide in-line images (ideally with a way to unhide them) and it would show the first and last poster’s name, rather than showing a little string of avatars. It would also show explicit time/date of posts, rather than elapsed time since a post. The “suggested threads” at the bottom of the page might also be suppressed in this theme.

Wide-Screen: A surprising number of posters seem to like running this board in a window that extends all the way across a wide screen, and want that wide screen to be full of text. There may be enough demand for this that it would be worth doing two versions of it, one with a light background and one with a dark background.

Discourse-style: This would be a theme similar to the discourse-standard themes we already have, but modified to be more conducive to using the board like the old board. So, buttons at the top of the page that take you back to “home” and to the category (old forums) would be larger and more prominent – especially the category one. It would actually show the pretty “Straight Dope” banner instead of the little “SD”. If you hovered over the category button at the top of the page it might show you the start of the text describing the purpose of that category, and it’s rules.

If you like any of these as a starting point, and have other requests to go with it, please post them. If there’s some other cluster of feature that you think worth making a theme of, please suggest that, too. I get the impression it’s not super-hard to develop a new theme, so I’m hopeful we might be able to actually get these made available.

I like all those suggestions, though this is my first time, I think, using a discourse board, so discourse-style doesn’t mean that much to me.

One thing I dislike about the way things are currently set up is that theme doesn’t mean ‘skin’, it’s not just changing the color scheme, it changes how things work. I never quite understood that. Why is it that if I switch from the blindingly white theme to the dark theme, I lose some features?
It also seemed to me that ‘themes’ should change the color, and how I actually interact with the board or what information is presented to me would be settings I could make on my own.

IOW, I want the colors from one theme and the settings from a different one.

I hear you. I’m actually using one theme and not another that might have slightly nicer features because I hated the colors of the better-feature theme. :slight_smile:

Three Themes for Doper Memes!

This thread isn’t going to work…most of the things @puzzlegal listed are not controllable through themes.

I don’t know if “wide screen” can be done in a theme, but I’m pretty sure the other stuff can be. A lot of the “text” stuff is already in the “simple” theme, the pretty straight dope logo is in the “straight dope” themes.

I don’t personally have any idea what the limits of themes are, but when I’ve asked that question, people have said it’s quite broad.

The one that probably can’t be done is fixing the stupid “you can’t have mouseover if your laptop has a touch screen” bug, because that seems to be an actual bug in Discourse created by assumptions made back when the world was split between tablets with touch screens and laptops without.

I could go for the cleaner looking text based theme. I’d love it if spoilered text was actually hidden instead of blurred. The blurring makes my eyes hurt from trying to get it focused until I click it. And the alphabet-avatar control/notification/inbox menu needs to be switched from notifications to the control menu by default. Those are the things that really bug me the most. The rest I can learn to live with

There is an option for that under the gear in the dialogue box.

Click here for spoiler

This is where the spoiler can go.

yeah, I don’t have that option for some reason

I meant spoilers in posts that I’m reading, not one that I’m posting.

Maybe boxed spoilers are for desk top only? Or is that another theme dependant function?

I don’t know if this is something that can be built in to a theme, but on the new Board, I really don’t have a sense of the forum I’m in. Would it be possible to have slightly different backgrounds for thread lists and threads in the different forums? That might bring back more of a sense of different “spaces” within the SDMB.

Why not? They seem to allow custom CSS and JavaScript widgets, based on this page.

The screen width thing is pure CSS. You can also easily hide images and rearrange text with CSS. And the info of who started the thread and who was the last poster is present with the avatars, so it could be able to be retrieved using a widget and then use the CSS to style that widget to it appears in the right place.

The stuff that can’t be touched by themes would seem to be more under the hood, like the auto-closing of threads or the auto hiding of posts. Anything that’s just visual should be themeable.

I said most…

Enabling Mouseovers is not CSS. Hiding/showing images/avatars is technically possible in CSS but shouldn’t be theme-specific, you want inconsistency on the actual content shown. Editing a poster’s content dynamically is a big no-no. Showing things like time/date and names are not CSS. Button placement and adding new buttons are not CSS.

Can we consider a wide-screen based theme…sure. Can we do a light and dark mode, yes. Can we remake Discourse into VBulletin…no.

I think you meant “consistency”. But I disagree.

We have people who despise seeing images and just want text. The old board supported those people, and if you wanted to refer to an image, you had to post a clickable link. We also have people who would like to post images. Due to the old rule, that’s not currently allowed, although the management seems not to have figured out how to prevent linked images from showing. So right now we have the suboptimal situation where

EVERYONE sees linked images, including those who dislike it, and no one can just post an image. It seems to me that if we had a theme that “spoilered” all images, so you had to explicitly click on the box/blur/target to see it, and a theme that just showed images, and allowed everyone to post images, that literally every poster would benefit. Both the pro and anti image people.

So why would that be terrible?

Same with hiding/showing avatars. It worked fine in the old software. Why is it suddenly a bad thing to do because we are in a different environment? If the “no image” theme showed user names, the folks who dislike avatars would be strictly better off, and no one would be hurt.

And a ton of people seem to want a wider screen? Why on earth not create a theme that does that if it’s not a lot of work to do it?

Because people would be having 2 different conversations depending on the theme. You don’t programmatically modify user created content, that’s pretty much rule #1 of online communities.

I’m not weighing in on the images/avatars debate. But whatever policy reigns, you need to have 1 policy.

We never had “two discussions” before, when some posters hid avatars and others didn’t. I suppose if there was a conversation about avatars those who had chosen to hide them wouldn’t follow, but that seems like a tiny fraction of likely conversations, and one that the avatar-haters would be willing to miss.

And if some posters saw the image immediately in-screen, and other’s had to click something to see it, I don’t believe that would engender 2 different conversations, either. Everyone has access to the same content, they just see it using slightly different methods.

I wasn’t proposing actually blocking images on-demand, just making them hidden until/unless the user clicks something. So I don’t think it actually IS different content, any more than a wider screen (that might put smilies in a different place) or a different color background (that might obscure a monochrome avatar) is creating different content.

Avatars aren’t the concern. Images in posts are. If it’s a collapsed vs. uncollapsed variation, that’s going to be OK I think. Though I don’t think the right way to do that is with CSS, it’s better as a user preference setting. CSS may not actually be possible there since it may require JS.

And One for the Dork Lord on his dork phone.

As mentioned in the other thread I would just like these two features which already exist in different themes to be available at once:

  1. Have the original poster and last poster written in text and remove the avatars like in Sam’s theme.
  2. Have a box around the posts like in Material Design

I would also like better use of horizontal space but that might be more difficult and just the above two would be a great start. Since they already exist it should be a simple matter to combine them in one theme.

Those are good themes. But so is the theme. From a Summer Place. From a Summer Place. The theme. From a Summer Place. Yes the theme.

Okay, not so helpful.