Would it be possible to implement a "Dark Mode" on the Physics Stack Exchange as is being trialed on the Stack Overflow? I personally would prefer that viewing mode. Use the upvote on this comment to express your support if you'd like this feature because it appears they chose to introduce this feature on the Overflow SE due to popular demand.

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    $\begingroup$ Whether this is possible is a question for the SE design team. The question, as tagged, should now appear in their issue tracking system. Feedback from the Physics community about whether this feature is desirable would help the SE team to prioritize this project; such feedback might be presented as votes on the question or as community-written answers. $\endgroup$ – rob Apr 16 '20 at 17:16
  • $\begingroup$ The blog entry specifically notes they have no plans to bring it to the larger network, which would include Physics. $\endgroup$ – Jon Custer Apr 16 '20 at 17:52
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    $\begingroup$ They also say "For now, we have no plans to bring dark mode to the many sites across the Stack Exchange network. Many of the designs on our sites have been around long enough that converting them to dark mode would require redoing the artwork completely." So I'm wondering if people would support this idea from the physics community for the physics community in particular - they also noted that they were introducing this feature because of popular demand - "a request for Dark Mode is the 12th most upvoted question and the #1 most upvoted on Feature Request overall." $\endgroup$ – Andrew Apr 16 '20 at 17:54
  • $\begingroup$ @rob Appreciate it $\endgroup$ – Andrew Apr 16 '20 at 17:58
  • $\begingroup$ For what it's worth: the initial design for the site was basically in dark mode, and it got pulled after ~3 weeks due to negative feedback on meta. But that was nine years ago, and it's entirely possible that we now host a good fraction of dark-mode-loving users. $\endgroup$ – Emilio Pisanty Apr 17 '20 at 20:03
  • $\begingroup$ If one prefers a dark mode, extensions such as dark reader work well on SE (Physics SE looks to me as Stack Overflow in Dark mode). Alternatively, on chromium-based browsers, it is possible to use the "Force dark mode" flag, though I personally found dark reader to give better results. $\endgroup$ – Jonas Feb 19 at 19:55

Is it possible? Sure.

Is Stack Overflow (the company) going to invest enough developer time to produce this (and commit to continue to invest enough developer time to maintain it, which is an even taller barrier)? Who knows.

People have asked for this, repeatedly, both on Meta Stack Overflow and on Meta Stack Exchange, over the better part of the last decade. Whether SO will go forward and use the opportunity to invest on the broader network (particularly now that they've invested enough to make dark mode in SO a reality, and given the investment early last year in unifying the theming for the network sites) is currently an open question.

The current status is best summed up in this MSE answer. This answer gives a short official statement about the current status, but it's too short to tell what the future plans are.

In addition to that, as you noted in the comments, the blog announcement itself states that

For now, we have no plans to bring dark mode to the many sites across the Stack Exchange network. Many of the designs on our sites have been around long enough that converting them to dark mode would require redoing the artwork completely. We would prefer to avoid giving anyone across our network a substandard experience and we don’t want to change those elements without the input of these communities.

which leaves the door at least a little bit open for this to be extended to network sites, but sets a clear bar in terms of the amount of work that would be required for this.

(To be honest, I'm rather surprised that they're saying this, since the uniform rollout of this kind of feature was sold as the advantage for the loss of theming during the Great Theming Debacle of 2018 (see here and subsequent posts for details). But then again, they know better, I guess?)

To be honest, I don't thing our site has the clout to request this. We're the 20th site by traffic, down from SO by a full two orders of magnitude. It took the most-requested feature on SO the better part of a decade to get addressed. It would take a close-to-unanimous, vociferous request for the SE devs to put any kind of priority into this.

Instead, the best bet if you really want this is to look for voices calling for dark-mode availability on places with more traffic and more clout on the SE network (my first guesses would be Software Engineering, Serverfault and Super User, but none of them seem to have such requests) and lend your support there.

... or, if not, to try to do it locally using Stylish or the other tools mentioned here.


Thank you for this. I know Dark Mode is a highly requested feature. We currently don't have plans to bring it to SE, one of the big issues here is the custom designs many of the sites had, it would make it difficult to build something that would work for all 172 sites.

Here is our current roadmap if you are interested in taking a look.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for coming back to offer feedback and explanations for the status-declined! $\endgroup$ – Emilio Pisanty Feb 21 at 10:57
  • $\begingroup$ I don't have any horse in this game (I'm perfectly happy with light mode), but it feels like there's a middle path to be walked here. There's already a "generic SE design" (used for sites that have left beta and haven't gotten dedicated artwork yet), and it shouldn't be an unreasonable investment to make a dark mode for that. This could then be offered as an opt-in for users who want dark mode so much that they don't mind losing the site-specific skin, no? $\endgroup$ – Emilio Pisanty Feb 21 at 11:00

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