You Hate it Already Redux

By Shamus Posted Sunday Aug 26, 2018

Filed under: Notices 152 comments

Yep. We’re trying the new theme again. It’s the weekend and all the performance problems are sorted out, so now is a good time to put up the theme and see what usability issues we run into. New themes always have a shake-out period as people point out the obscure pages and unexpected use-cases that I never could have discovered on my own.

For the record: I’ve tested this site on Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and my Android phone. The site works full-screen on my 1080p monitor and it continues to work as I shrink the window down to postage-stamp size. It worked in all of those cases, but I know there are a lot of browsers out there and I can’t hope to test them all.

Known issues:

  1. The main menu looks a little ragged if you’re viewing the site in portrait mode on a small screen. I’m not sure how much I care. It would be easy to fix by making the menu taller, but then the menu would be the length of the whole screen and you’d have to scroll down to get to the content.
  2. The Twitter thing doesn’t work. I’ll worry about that later. It’s pretty low priority. I barely use Twitter these days except to announce when my site is down.
  3. I dislike that the comment box is shown ABOVE the fields for name / email / website in the comment field. This is the default layout and requires custom coding to fix. WordPress insists this layout is better for usability. I have my doubts, but I figure I’ll let people discuss it and see if there’s a good reason to put in the work to put the comment box below the other fields.
  4. At small screen sizes, footnotes and image mouseover text are automatically displayed by default. Footnotes appear at the bottom of the post, and mouseover text appears as a caption. This is because it’s hard to “hover” over an image or click those tiny footnote links on a mobile screen.
  5. I just noticed this now, but the comments link at the bottom of the post is flush with the left edge, which looks a bit naff.

I’m sure there will be problems. Let me know in the comments. If you’re seeing something strange / crazy, please mention what web browser you’re using.

EDIT: Yes, I know it makes you type in your name / email every single time you post a comment. When you do a reply, it jumps to the bottom of the page rather than letting you reply in place. Also you can no longer edit comments. Sadly, these things are not related to the theme change. This is the fault of WordPress, which decided to force GDPR compliance on EVERYONE without asking. I can’t get stupid WordPress to save cookies for anyone. I’ve tried a bunch of different solutions and none of them have any effect. I’m still working on it.

EDIT II: Cookies should work again. Comment editing should work again. If you’re still seeing major faults with the site, make sure to hard refresh (Ctrl-F5 on most browsers) to force the CSS to reload. Browsers are shy about reloading that for some reason. I’m sure there are still problems with the theme, but the big ones should be solved by now.


From The Archives:

152 thoughts on “You Hate it Already Redux

  1. Droid says:


    No, seriously, this is great!

    What do you mean, right-aligned Name and Email fields??!! Right back to REEEEEEE!!!!

    1. ??????? says:

      Heh, I thought my computer was in Hebrew mode when I first started typing there.

      1. Yerushalmi says:

        Okay, apparently Hebrew letters aren’t supported in the Name field. I entered my name as ??????? instead of Yerushalmi in the above comment as a joke, and it turned it into all question marks. (In a moment I’ll find out if it will do the same inside the text of this comment.)

        1. Yerushalmi says:

          Yep. It did.

        2. Steve C says:

          I believe that is intended behavior. There’s a blog post about it somewhere. Shamus has limited the alphabet to fight spammers.

  2. The Rocketeer says:

    I see two horizontal gray lines, the same color as the sidebar and background for this column, that stay in the same position across the screen even when I scroll up or down. Screenshot here.

    I have Windows 7 (64bit), Firefox 64.0.2, and my screen resolution is 1920×1080.

    1. The Rocketeer says:

      I noticed another thing about those bars while scrolling. There’s a single thing that displays over the top of them, rather than being covered by them: the little triangular arrows on the buttons to navigate to the next or previous post in a category.

      btw, Droid is right; the right-aligned text entry on the name/email/site fields for comments is uncouth.

      1. Shamus says:

        Wow. Yeah, that right-alignment is crazy. That should be easy to track down.

        1. Shamus says:

          The grey bars problem:

          Class menu-item is 404 pixels wide. It holds a select element. The select has decided it should be 3700(!!!!!?!?!WTF?!) pixels wide. No reason. Even using “inspect element” shows no CSS is influencing its width. I don’t know if this is a bug in Firebox or some strange edge-case ambiguity in CSS, but I’ll need to find a way around it.

          EDIT: Ah! The width is the accumulated width of all child elements, EVEN THOUGH THOSE ELEMENTS ARE STACKED VERTICALLY because this is a combo box.

          So the box is a combo box like so:

          But Firebox calculates its width as if it were one giant thing like:

          That’s… weird. Why didn’t this show up in testing?

          1. Olivier FAURE says:

            Man, CSS alignment sucks.

            At this point I wish someone bit the bullet and developed a new alignment standard from scratch that didn’t have all the weird edge cases CSS has.

            1. King Marth says:

              Are you sure? (Xkcd link)

              Hmm, reply doesn’t pop inline with the comment on Android Chrome.

              1. Tektotherriggen says:

                You forgot the link, but it’s fine because apparently us nerds have the entire xkcd history memorised, and we all immediately know what you were thinking of. [Not sarcasm]

              2. Olivier FAURE says:

                Are there standards competing with CSS for decorating HTML-type pages? The only ones I know are CSS extensions that compile to CSS (eg SASS), and stuff like Qt’s layout format.

            2. Nick Powell says:

              That would be so much nicer. Imagine being able to define the sizes and positions of page elements using a proper constraints-based system like some UI libraries use

          2. Yep can confirm. Also using Latest Firefox and get two horizontal bars across my screen which don’t show up in compact view.

            Also annoyingly while I’m fine with the Name / Email / Website fields being below the comment box, it drives me crazy that they are right aligned.

          3. Kyrillos says:

            So I was having this problem, and on a hunch disabled my adblocker, which seems to fix this issue. Can anyone else try and see if it works for them as well?

        2. Skeeto says:

          I’m on Firefox 52.9.0 ESR. To work around the already-mentioned gray bars across the page, I shrunk the window horizontally until I got the compact view. However, I’m noticing that the page can scroll horizontally into empty space (via arrow keys), seemingly forever. There’s no horizontal scroll bar, but it shouldn’t scroll horizontally at all. Perhaps it’s related to the gray bar problem, with some element pushing the page out really wide.

          I was able to fix this by adding “html { overflow-x: hidden; }” to one of the stylesheets. Chromium doesn’t have this issue. (When it comes to CSS, it seems Firefox has overtaken IE as being the most wonky browser to support.)

          In writing this comment I’m also noticing the “Name,” “Email,” and “Website” input boxes are right-aligned which is really awkward. This seems to be intentional, though?

          1. Len says:

            Same issue, also on Firefox, fixed it myself by using ublock origin to block the two gay bars as though they were advertisements.

            Also is it intentional that the name email and website in the comment box are right aligned for some reason?

            1. Len says:

              The lack of an edit button just made me realize how much I’ve gotten into the habit of posting first as a preview then editing later.

    2. Droid says:

      Can confirm that this also happens with 4k resolution and 200% scaling factor, but only if using Firefox, not in Chrome.
      Also, when made smaller, the horizontal bars still remain, but they don’t show up as prominently in the top bar as they do in the sidebar because all they do in the top bar is pushing the rest of the links (and the icon that is supposed to go with the broken title) into a new line.

    3. Ramsus says:

      I too use firefox and have this gray bars issue. Basically just chiming in to let Shamus know how many people this effects.

      While I’m here I might as well say that looking at the page it feels really weird to see nothing at the top. Especially when it’s such a large empty space.

  3. Yerushalmi says:


    I have these weird grey bars that poke out from the menu on the left to cross the entire screen. They don’t move when I scroll up and down; the website is “underneath” them and they cover random lines of text.

    Here are three screenshots of what it looks like:

    I’m using Firefox 52.9.0 ESR. I don’t think any of my add-ons are related to it, but just in case, I have Chatzilla, Classic Theme Restorer, Context Search, Live Click, Places Maintenance, Tab Mix Plus, and uBlock Origin.

    1. Yerushalmi says:

      Hmmm. No edit button. But The Rocketeer reminded me I forgot some important info: I’m using Windows 10 (64-bit) at 1920 x 1080 resolution.

  4. Algeh says:

    I’m getting horizontal gray bars all the way across the screen for the dropdown menus for the archive by month and by category from the sidebar. They show with no text at all, just window-spanning blank gray bars across both the sidebar and the article text.

    (Also I hate change on basic principle. Whine.)

    1. Algeh says:

      Forgot browser info: Firefox 61.0.2 (64-bit) on Windows 7. I have no add-ons but do have a bunch of privacy/no tracking options turned on within Firefox that will break things like Twitter plugins and many ads.

    2. Fizban says:

      Interesting: I can’t actually see what buttons the bars are extending from. I see:
      Line 1: About with a person shaped icon
      Line 2: blank line with a bar
      Line 3: no words, but an box with dots in it icon
      Line 4: blank line with a bar
      Line 5: no words, pencil icon
      Line 6+ Labeled buttons.

      Though after typing this, I could have just checked the imugr, ’cause it’s the same.

  5. Fizban says:

    I’ve got some seriously bizzare errors: two grey bars across the screen, extending from the menu on the left (one line below About, and again two lines below that. My entry fields for name and email address are also right-justified. Anyone know a quick way to throw up an image without making a whole account? Or I could dig out my email.

    Running Firefox ESR 52.8.1 on Windows 7, noscript and adblock installed, scripts allowed and adblock disabled on

    1. Fizban says:

      Apparently I’m not the only one, and I didn’t realize my firefox was that out of date (they’ve burned me too many times on automatic updates). I’m also on 64 bit, and at 1920×1080 resolution.

      I will maintain that right-justified entry fields must be a bug.

  6. Kronopath says:

    Here’s another problem. I was poking around the archives and ended up on the post your wife made when your daughter had a seizure. The background of that post is completely transparent.

    Poking around in the CSS, I found that it’s because you’re using the “.admin” CSS class selector to set the post’s background, and that class is only ever added to posts by admins. It doesn’t look like Heather is an admin, so the post ends up with no background.

    I expect this might affect other posts by guest authors as well.

    1. Piflik says:

      The same thing happens on the About-page.

  7. killphi says:

    I tracked down the “weird grey bars” to a CSS problem with the elements within the tag.

    It is set to

    display: inline-block;

    After some guesstimated tinkering around with devtools, setting it to

    display: list-item;

    for the elements fixed it on my end.

    Browser: Firefox 61.0.2 (64bit) on Win10

    1. killphi says:

      Of course it eats the <> tags I used.

      The problem is with the OPTION elements, nested in the SELECT tag.

      option {
      display: list-item;

  8. Tonich says:

    I have the same problem with two blank bars (they’re white instead of grey for me though) in Firefox (Win7 64bit, 1600×900 resolution). Also when I click on them I get drop-down menus for Archives and Categories respectively.
    In my other browser (Yandex. Don’t ask :)) everything looks fine.

  9. bubba0077 says:

    I’m getting weird behavior in the left menu. When I mouse over some items, the cursor changes to a finger, on some it changes to a ‘I-beam’ text cursor, and on still others the cursor remains an arrow.

    Browser: Chrome
    OS: Win 10

    1. Eric says:

      The ‘Archives’ and ‘Categories’ buttons are actually drop-down lists, so they function differently than the other items. Other than some items not having mouseover text, everything else seems to be consistent (bar Twitter, as noted in the OP).

      While we’re on the subject, I would say the icon sizes could be more consistent; the “tag”, “calendar”, and “person” icons all seem smaller than the Forums, Twitter, Patreon, and RSS icons.

      1. Eric says:

        Oh, and I forgot to mention: the sidebar from the main page is a different width than the sidebar from the article/comments page.

  10. Shamus says:

    Testing leaving a comment while logged out.

  11. Grey Rook says:

    Hm. I’m not too fond of the big sidebar, it leaves a lot of dead space around and below the links. Do you think you could… I don’t know, maybe shrink it a little so that it doesn’t take up as much horizontal space? But then again, I’m on a PC using a 1920×1080 pixel screen rather than mobile.

    I’m on an old Internet Explorer install, by the way. I never got around to upgrading it.

    1. Olivier FAURE says:

      Agreed, the sidebar is way too big.

      I think it should be at least 40% smaller. You should probably put (a more horizontal version of) the Twenty Sided logo on top of the page, remove the “Go” button next to the “search archive” field, and then make the sidebar as narrow as possible given the remaining items.

      Ideally, I’d rather have the an old-school static gutter as a sidebar, rather than something that scrolls with you, but web designer everywhere seem to disagree with me, and want the links to be clickable at all times. I don’t really see the point, especially for this site where people almost never need the links anyway.

      Alternatively, forget the sidebar and just put all the links above the main paragraph (essentially a streamlined version of the old design). Honestly, screw sidebars.

      1. Grey Rook says:

        Or removing it entirely, yes. I mean, it seemed to work pretty well when it was placed at the top of the page instead of on the side of the screen. I must also say that I agree with the links being confined to the top of the page, rather than scrolling with you.

    2. syal says:

      Agreed with being too wide; I’m on a 42″ screen, the sidebar is wider than my hand.

      Probably needs color too. The big black-and-white logo feels like I’m looking at the framework behind the site. Like Internet drywall.

    3. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

      I concur in not liking the menu. I feel like I need to tilt my head to read the screen.

      It also resizes if I am looking at the main page, and is smaller when I look at it on the comments page. It still feels like it’s taking up 10-20% of the screen space.

  12. Redingold says:

    One small cosmetic issue: the most recent post isn’t at the top of the screen, there’s just a bunch of dead space there (image).

  13. Daemian Lucifer says:

    When zoomed in enough for the side bar to go to the top,the background picture disappears.Tried it on firefox,chrome and opera and got the same result.

    The name/mail being in the bottom are really weirding me out.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      For reference,zoomed in:

      Zoomed out:

      Also,what makes name/mail thing being down worse is that they arent being remembered after being typed in.Luckily,the browser remembers so its only two clicks,but still lots of muscle memory gone there.

      1. Shamus says:

        The problem of the site not remembering your name is apparently unrelated to the theme and is part of EU compliance. All WordPress installs now default to NOT storing cookies, which means you also can’t edit comments. The only way to fix this is to add a field to allow you to give the site consent to store a cookie on your computer.

        I’m looking up how to fix this now.

        1. Shamus says:

          Man, screw every single thing about how WordPress is handling the GDPR. (And screw the GDPR too while we’re at it, since the burden of compliance is placed on every single person who wants to run a website and bad actors will continue to be bad. This mess is like DRM. It punishes the innocent while doing nothing to hinder the guilty.)

          WordPress WILL NOT store any cookie data without permission. How do I get the user’s permission? Hell if I know. I’ve found three different sites claiming to have the answer, and none of their solutions did anything. WordPress ought to give me an admin checkbox for “Screw this nonsense. Be a rebel and store cookies without permission because the people coming to my site are grownups and they know how to clean their own stupid browser history if they need to.” Barring that, the solution ought to be a simple checkbox that I can activate somewhere.

          What a stupid waste of my time.

          1. Parkhorse says:

            WordPress ought to give me an admin checkbox for “Screw this nonsense. Be a rebel and store cookies without permission because the people coming to my site are grownups and they know how to clean their own stupid browser history if they need to.”

            Or an admin checkbox for “Screw this nonsense. I’m American and shouldn’t be subject to a European regulation.”

            If you’re an American business operating in the EU, sure, it’s reasonable that it applies. But if you’re an American operating a free website that just happens to be accessed by some Europeans? It’s not reasonable that the EU gets to control the entire world’s Internet.

            1. Droid says:

              “Stupid EU regulations should not have to apply to US citizens, especially if they’re interacting with dedicated US servers anyway!”

              This has been my stance for years. Only the other way around.

              1. Viktor says:

                GDPR only applies to websites while they interact with EU citizens. Plenty of services run differently for EU and US citizens now. WordPress is an exception because they don’t want to put in the work to add a check for that.

                As for why it applies to US websites while interacting with EU citizens, the EU wants to protect their people, and that means making sure EU privacy laws apply even if the server is based in some tax haven country where privacy laws apply only to corporations, never to people.

                1. Droid says:

                  I meant that US law shouldn’t have to apply to EU servers providing content to EU citizens.

            2. Bubble181 says:

              Good luck – but it’s Shamus who gets the hose if an angry EU official wanders by. And/or us Europeans who don’t get access to the website anymore for being in non-compliance.

              While I agree GDPR is far from great – it’s a solution to privacy concerns the way DRM is a solution to piracy, like Shamus said – a checkbox when entering is the lesser of two evils when compared to blocking all European visitors.

          2. Viktor says:

            GDPR is not intended to stop identity theft or anything that you would expect of the bad actors. It is specifically for stopping Facebook etc from selling psych profiles of their userbase. Yes, the regs apply to every website and every form of info that you can store because the legislators were smart enough to realize that anything they didn’t cover with their laws would be instantly turned into a loophole by Google. And since the criminal penalties are designed to keep Amazon-level companies from breaking the laws, WordPress is right that none of their users should want to risk violating GDPR.

            Want to complain about companies screwing the users? This is how they stop, with strict govt regs. And we were well past the time SOMEONE needed to smack some of the tech giants around.

            Also, I am seeing a “save my info” message here, but I can’t click it. I’m on Safari for iPad, so it may be a mobile issue.

            1. Shamus says:


              Yes, I’m sure this will magically turn Facebook into a nice company and they will never find any loopholes and all this burden on small-time sites like mine will be worth it. To you. Since you don’t have to bear the burden.

              But hey, it’s not four hours of YOUR life that just got pissed away. So why should you care?

              1. Moss says:

                Shamus, Google was recently fined $5 billion by EU for anti-trust violations. Facebook could face worse charges if they break GDPR regulations. EU doesn’t play softball.

                Edit: I should have stressed more that my point is that EU doesn’t play softball with big companies. I’m sure Facebook will find “loop holes”, but after years of legal processing they will be found to be in conflict with GDPR and then a hefty fine will be charged.

                I find your indifference disturbing to be honest. GDPR is the best solution to companies processing private information as freely as they do. Don’t you value our privacy?

                1. Shamus says:

                  I find your casual dismissal of costs bourne by others to be disturbing to be honest. How much of my life are you willing to sacrifice for your security?

                  More to the point: This argument blurs together two very different concepts: Information stored about you on other people’s computers, and information about you stored on your own computer. You don’t need a law to force everyone in the world to get permission to store cookies. All of that is easily handled on the client side. You can get plugins that will block cookies. One plugin and a whitelist does everything this part of the GDPR tries to do, with the advantage that:

                  1) It’s functionally unbeatable. (A website can’t MAKE me store a cookie I don’t want.)
                  2) It doesn’t require everyone on earth to re-engineer their website.
                  3) It doesn’t require all of us to click on those stupid confirmation popups websites throw up. (Which is bad for security since everyone is conditioned to reflexively click “YES”, thus rendering the entire system pointless.)

                  If we’re worried about cookie abuse, then handling it client-side is more secure, less overall work, and creates less collateral damage.

                  Now, if you want to talk about Facebook harvesting personal info and selling it to other people, that’s a completely different technology problem with a different solution. If you say the GDPR is a good solution for that, then fine. But it’s got nothing to do with the single-site cookies used the way they are here. My point is that this effort to punish Facebook for data-harvesting has made a mess for me, an innocent party, to deal with. And when I complain about it, you ask if I want Facebook to get away with their unrelated crime. The question presupposes it’s impossible to author a law that targets Facebook’s behavior without placing burdens on millions of private individuals for completely unrelated behavior.

                  (Although to be fair, MOST of my ire is aimed at WordPress because their GDPR enforcement is both mandatory and broken. It disables cookies by default without asking or warning you. It offers an option to ask the user for permission and then has that option OFF by default, even though defaulting to on would be less disruptive and GDPR compliant. And then the whole this is sloppily implemented and doesn’t work right with custom forms and the default hardcoded CSS tagging is weird as hell and ARRRRRGGGGGG!)

                  1. AConcernedEUCitizen says:

                    Way I see it, whatever time you spend on this is less than the combined time that would have to be spent by visitors to the site to achieve the same effect.
                    Also not everyone is knowledgeable enough in computer use to realise the privacy risks and how to mitigate them.
                    The GDPR is aimed at protecting people who don’t know to protect themselves.

                    1. Ander says:

                      Those people are not less likely to click “Yes” without reading the text; if anything, they might be more likely than someone who is more knowledgeable about privacy protection. This is not to say that the goal of the GDPR is at fault; rather, I’d say the implementation has been flawed.

                  2. Tuck says:

                    The problem really seems to be mis-interpretation of the GDPR by WordPress resulting in badly-implemented and inappropriate attempts at compliance.

                    The GDPR does not require consent from users if storage and processing of their data has a legitimate (and expected) use to allow completion of the service — in this case, by entering my name, email and comments I can expect that data (along with IP etc) to be stored and processed by your blog, in order to display my comment. In fact, storage and processing of that data is required for your blog to be able to perform the service. I don’t need to give explicit consent, and in fact the “consent” model of compliance is inappropriate as it suggests I can enter my details, not give consent, and still have my comments appear. All I need to be able to see, as an EU user, is a clear notice of how and why my data is being stored. Obviously you can’t go on to sell/give my data away, as that’s not an expected part of the service.

                    Cookies are a bit different:,-cookie-consent-and-customer-centric-privacy/ (the checkbox is plenty good enough)

                    There are certain groups and media outlets who heavily pushed (and continue to propagate) the incorrect interpretation of “everything needs explicit consent”, to the point where it’s become a common myth. But that’s tending too much towards politics…

                    1. Shamus says:

                      Thanks so much for the info! I am feeling a lot better about the GDPR knowing it’s not actually stupid, it’s just being interpreted stupidly.

                      I will take back some of the cuss words I muttered at the GDPR this afternoon and re-allocate them for WordPress.

                    2. Bubble181 says:

                      Agreed. All of these websites suddenly demanding consent for whatever is completely off the mark.
                      of course, GDPR hasn’t exactly been written by ICT-experts, either, but by lawyers.

                      The intentions behind GDPR are good. The legal implementation needs some work. The practical implementation by most websites and the way it’s been (mis)represented in media – even in more specialized places – is appalling. t’s one thing for popular media headlines to get things wrong, but GDPR is even being *explained* wrong on forums targeted at small businesses and small website hosts. It’s a shame.

                    3. Zak McKracken says:

                      Thanks for explaining it so well.
                      I had not been aware but always thought that all those GDPR consent thingies were a little on the passive-aggressive side because their makers would rather that all the users get annoyed and maybe the laws relaxed a little, than to make it easy for users to withhold their data…

                      Also: Big thanks to Shamus for implementing this in an eminently sensible way. There are sites out there with fullscreen pop-overs which refuse to let me read anything unless I either surrender everything or navigate through twenty layers of menus to refuse every cookie individually … (and also: Even with the new theme, Firefox remembers my name and e-mail address from before the theme change, so I only had to type the first letters anyway)

                    4. Olivier FAURE says:

                      I’m not familiar enough with the subject, but I suspect most website with “We need your consent for cookies” disclaimers are the websites that use cookies for targeted advertising.

                    5. Tuck says:

                      Oliver: no, the “accept cookies” thing that pops up on so many websites now is due to an EU directive in 2011. It has nothing (directly) to do with the GDPR.


    2. Shamus says:

      This is intended behavior. I figured that if the window is that narrow, you’re not going to see much of the background image, so why download it?

      Although, now that I’m directly comparing the two I guess the background ought to stay black, even if the image is gone.

      1. Kriellya says:

        I’d like to challenge that assumption. And also point out that the raggedy menu doesn’t seem to be limited to ‘small’ portrait screens, though I suppose that depends on your definition of small.

        I’ve got a couple 24″ monitors in portrait (1920×1200) that can see the background just fine and would love it if the background loaded when the menu gets pushed to the top of the screen :P

        Similarly, I see what you mean by a raggedy menu. It looks like the spacing between the icons and the text is off with the top-menu?

  14. Daemian Lucifer says:

    If you end up scrapping this one as well,Id like it if you kept the “by”, “filed under” and “comments” links above the picture instead of under.That one is a really good change since it always bugged me that I have to scroll down a bit to reach those links.Or scroll up from the text,instead of just hitting the “home” button.

  15. Kamica says:

    I think the modern internet has made my eyes want to focus on the left side of the screen, so the big-as side-menu being on the left side makes it seem… odd, I wonder if it’d be better to have the menu on the… right? That way the usual area where my focus likes to be (thanks to youtube, reddit, even facebook) is again a bit more to the left of the screen, rather than the right side of the screen.

    I don’t know if anyone else is noticing this, but it irks me unreasonably =P.

    1. Droid says:

      Yeah, my feed reader and my bookmarks also both open lists over the right part of my screen, which wasn’t an issue until now, but now that the text is centred on the remaining screen space without the sidebar, the article and comments have moved just far enough right to be partially hidden by those menus.

      I didn’t mention it since I just filed them under ‘personal preference’ that they’re on the right, but they’re both actually flushed right by the browser, probably due to those standards on the big sites out there.

  16. Husr says:

    Given that this is meant to be a bare skeleton on which the previous functions of the site will later be rebuilt, I think it’s pretty functional. I read on mobile a lot and I usually have to use the RSS ping I get to read the articles because otherwise I miss the mouseover text, so putting that directly in is a huge improvement for my experience at least.

    I’d second the idea of putting the menu to the right instead of the left (or maybe at the top like before), as it does kind of distract the eye when reading the content. The only other thing I’d add is that I think once you do have some time to start adding back features, I think the “from the archives” function should be a priority, as at least for me that was the pivotal difference between closing the window after the one link that lead me here and archive binging enough to subscribe to the site.

    1. default_ex says:

      It’s also way too bright as well. So much so that the time it took for me to read the post and some of the comments I’m feeling the eye strain.

  17. Moss says:

    There’s a huge margin of space to the right of your posts when viewing the site on a mobile device in portrait mode.


    I’m using Android 6.0 with Chrome version 63 on a 1920×1080 screen.

    FYI, this space was present in your previous site theme.

  18. rmt says:

    I actually like the new theme so far :)

    Two problems I’ve noticed:
    – The ‘Archives’ and ‘Categories’ entries in the sidebar are weirdly indented (this is on the latest Safari (11.1.2) on Mac OS.) See
    – Actually, an old problem for me that made it across: When reading on my phone, opening footnote “popovers” works perfectly fine, but I find it impossible to close them again. Which is pretty annoying when they obscure parts of the text, having me go hunt for another footnote to open to close the first one :-(

  19. Lee says:

    I don’t see that anyone else mentioned this. The
    38 thoughts on “You Hate it Already Redux”

    Text between the article and the comments is black (Chrome browser on Linux). Since the background is also black, the text is impossible to read without selecting it with the mouse.

    Also, I’m on the team that thinks the sidebar is too big, at least on 1920×1080 screens. I’d prefer it to be just wide enough to fit the widest menu item, the RSS link.

    1. Lee says:

      Hmm. Also, apparently the “blockquote” formatting in comments isn’t working.

    2. Dennis says:

      The sidebar is absolutely massive at 2560×1440. With my browser at full screen, the article text starts almost at the center of the screen.

  20. Raynor says:

    Oh no, plz not this thin wide font. It’s terrible for reading on hiDPI displays like iMac or mobile devices

  21. Bloodsquirrel says:

    The comments section is now as colorless as early 2010s video game.

  22. omer says:

    Also are the archive and categories scroll-down menus supposed to be right-justified? My windows is in Hebrew but the chrome is in English.

  23. Daniel says:

    I really like the logo at the end of each post :-D

  24. Zagzag says:

    I have a pretty small monitor that’s probably considered old enough to not be worth caring about at this stage (1280×1024), but judging by images other people are posting the site seems to think I’m on a mobile and is not giving me any background or colours or much of anything (but I am getting desktop style footnotes).

    This is what I get viewing this post with a maximised window.

    I’m not getting the sidebar (which makes sense when not in a widescreen resolution), but the top bar doesn’t look great and has a massive amount of wasted space. On top of that, pretty much the entire page (including all comments) are grey on a grey background. It’s hard to tell how this is supposed to look, and how much of this is intentionally not great for you to improve on later, but right now this is a huge step down from using the site a week or two ago.

    1. Shamus says:

      The gap at the top is strange, and you seem to be missing the categories drop-down. I suspect these are related. What browser are you using?

      1. Droid says:

        Shamus, I’m reasonably sure it’s the same problem that makes the grey bars appear in the sidebar on Firefox, they really long bars are just moved to the top so they create newlines there and therefore make it much taller.

        1. Zagzag says:

          That could well have been it, as this was with Firefox. The most recent round of changes is now giving me a nice looking sidebar and my background is back, so I seem to be getting the intended experience.

  25. galacticplumber says:

    The site seems perfectly usable to me. All I really have to test is whether it will finally remember required fields again.

    1. galacticplumber says:

      Nope. Well that’s disappointing. Still not noticeably worse than before.

  26. Hal says:

    Everything seems functional on Chrome for Android.

    Color scheme is kind of bland, but it’s not like it’ll keep me from reading.

  27. pfooti says:

    The top of the page is definitely a little manky on portrait phone width. I’d suggest not rendering the text for the main menu (patreon, other links) and just go for an icon row. Similarly, don’t render the icon text for the byline – by Shamus, folder icon (notices) comment icon (52) should clear up some pixels. Alternatively, stick some of the archives, top content, forums in a hamburger drop-down or push out side menu.

    Depends a lot on analytics I don’t have, maybe those controls in the main menu are used frequently by other people, but I land on story pages directly coming from RSS, so I don’t really care about basically the first vertical screen when I hit this page

  28. Hector says:

    Wow, Shamus is a fortune teller.. I *do* hate it already!

    Quick Shamus – what are the winning lotto numbers?!

    1. Drathnoxis says:

      It’s uncanny really. o_o

      For more constructive criticism. The way the background disappears as soon as I zoom in 10% and is replaced with grey makes the whole thing even more bland than it already is.

      Add another vote for the sidebar being too big aswell. Actually, I don’t think the sidebar seems very useful. There’s only one update to the site a day, at most, and it all gets dumped onto the main page anyway. I don’t see anything on the sidebar that I need access to at all times. Granted, I’m not sure I’m getting the whole thing because of the whole grey bars issue.

  29. krellen says:

    I think my biggest complaint is that your background images are too small now, making the right side of the side just a solid black instead of having the contrast of whichever image is used today. I find it very distracting.

  30. Forty-Bot says:

    Shamus you fucked it up

    Firefox 61.0.2 on Linux

    Also the boxes for “name” “email” and “website” start filling in from the right.

  31. Simplex says:

    Under latest Firefox I have two weird strips that obscure the page:
    Looks fine on Chrome.

    About page also looks weird (on both Chrome and Firefox)

  32. BenD says:

    This theme works better on my tiny, ancient iPhone. That may not be worth much but… yay? And so far the comment box doesn’t seem to freeze with half the comment offscreen while I’m typing it. That alone is a huge improvement.

  33. Mephane says:

    I don’t know whether the site choked on my previous comment, it didn’t show up after posting it. So if this is a double post, ignore the other one, because this one here has some extra points.

    I haven’t checked out all the other comments so please bear with me if I am being redundant here. This is all on the latest version of Chrome.

    * The font still seems too “thin”, like looking at a knife’s edge. It gives the text an impression of something hard, sharp, not really pleasant. Sorry that I can’t better describe it.

    * There is a gaping void at the top:

    * Comment box still won’t remember name/email/password.

    * I don’t like that name/email/password fields below the comment input, but I am giving the WordPress people the benefit of the doubt here regarding usability. Maybe it is more efficient overall once you are used to it.

    * Comment nesting is still a bit too sutble in my view. You have to look really hard to tell which of these comments is how many levels deep:

    * Btw these times are in am/pm, any chance to switch them to 24 hours (maybe the browser sends something that tells the site what date/time format it uses)? If it’s too much effort, don’t bother though, this is just a minor convenience thing.

    * – The comment help takes up too much space, can we get that in a more compact format, please? Or maybe move it to a static help site and just provide a link (with target=”_blank” so it opens a new/window tab automatically and doesn’t screw someone in the middle of writing a lengthy comment).

    * – Why are the name/email/website fields to massive and why does the text align to the right? Maybe cut the width of the name and email field in half and place them next to each other in one line?

    * With how large many things are and how generous the theme is with whitespace, padding etc, the “Post Comment” button is curiously small:

    * When you reply to another comment, the site jumps down all the way to the comment field at bottom, instead of opening one right below that comment. If you want to quote something or generally have the other comment at hand, this is a really, really big hassle.

  34. kdansky says:

    The new theme seems to mess with scrolling behaviour. It feels delayed and unresponsive on my chrome (with extensions disabled). I would guess there is something that tries to make the scrolling more smooth, but instead it just makes it slow and laggy. It is very noticeable.

    1. kdansky says:

      Easiest way to reproduce: Press Home/End and see how long it takes to scroll the whole page. Compare with (which is significantly longer, as it is the longest Wikipedia page) – Schubert goes by three times quicker, so fast in fact that Chrome has trouble rendering it in time. This page perfectly renders every in-between, at the cost of taking like three seconds to reach the top.

      Also something wrong with the cookies: It does not remember my name and email any more.

      1. Droid says:

        Cannot reproduce with latest version of Chrome on Win 10. Pressing Home/End repeatedly scrolls smoothly up and down in less than half a second (probably less, haven’t timed it).

        1. Droid says:

          What resolution are you using?

        2. kdansky says:

          I cannot reproduce it either any more (and I did not even restart Chrome). I think Shamus fixed it.

  35. Aevylmar says:

    The bizarre asymmetric left menu thing is *literally* giving me a headache. Not figuratively.

    It’s not, like, hate… I know what ‘dislike new interface for a website’ feels like. This is a pain in my head. Physical. Increasing. I have never had this problem before. I think it’s because you have the left menu, and then the main blog is centered in the remaining space, and my instincts keep being wrong about where my text bar is and where everything is? But all I know is that I now have a literal headache.

    I hope this gets fixed. Disappearing now.

  36. Misamoto says:

    Well, it didn’t solve the problem I had with previous theme – on Android while all the posts and comments fit nicely into screen, there’s an empty space to the right of the page. It doesn’t matter much, but feels wrong.

  37. Wiseman says:

    The comment section remembers my name.
    Anyway, I like the new bar. You like things BIG don’t you aw Shamus?
    If that 20 were smaller, maybe you could fit that Patreon link in sight.
    TBH I believe that WordPress is correct on the comment’s name and e-mail field. This is more user friendly. Now the comment box and name, e-mail, and website fields are all visible in my 15′ laptop screen without needing to scroll. One problem in this website’s design is how spacious it is. Everything is big and takes some time to scroll down to stuff, so I also appreciate the side bar. Overall the website is better. It’s too bad we can’t see your new backgrounds any more.

  38. Sartharina says:

    Can I please have my colorful gaming site back?

  39. Roofstone says:

    I wish the sidebar menu would hide and reappear when moused over or something, it is honestly very uncomfortable to have a giant grey square occupying 20% of my screen and forcing the actual site to be aligned to the right side of the screen instead of being centred. Makes for a cluttered reading experience.

    1. Sleepyfoo says:

      I second this desire for the sidebar to be minimize-able.

      As is it shifts my focus uncomfortably off center-right (center of the text), while at the time time trying to pull it all the way to the far left of my screen.

  40. Xeorm says:

    Thoughts: Wow, that’s a big side bar. That’s almost entirely the logo for the site, and little else. That seems excessive. I also have a larger screen, so the text I’m interested in being noticeably to the right instead of centered is not much fun to read. The white on black is also physically jarring to read. The combination makes it uncomfortable to read.

    Besides the location, I do in general like the changes.

  41. Michael says:

    One thing i miss that i am not sure whether it’s going to make a reppearance. (I know features are being re-added in) is the little fun text about the number of comments. “If X was 1 then the number of comments is X+1”

  42. OldOak says:

    Putting the hate/love/in between stuff aside, these would be some a short issue report (seamonkey 32 bit /firefox 64 bit on Windows7 64 bit):
    – gray bars where should be the “Categories” and “Archives” combo drop down boxes
    – the combo drop down contents appears when clicking the gray bars (a long concatenated string of all the options)
    – bonus on the 32 bit browser (seamonkey) — it switches the OS theme from Aero to compatibility “due to unsupported features”; 64 bit (firefox) doesn’t seem to mind
    – gray text on gray background hard to follow, sometimes
    – ditto with the comments title in between the article and comments section (black on black); similarly on the about page

    On the funny side: no plans to look at it on Internet Explorer, or Edge for that matter; things look alright in Chromium, though, if that’s of any help.

    1. OldOak says:

      Gray bars gone *thumbs up*

  43. acronix says:

    Well, I do like it. The sidebar does seem to be rather wide, but I can see that might be because “Search Archives” on the search bar wouldn’t fit otherwise. Not with that font size, anyway (and I’m fine with the font size).

    That’s the only thing I see as “wrong”. I’m using the latest version of Opera and I haven’t noticed any actual errors yet.

  44. Dreadjaws says:

    Here’s my feedback:

    * I find the new font irritatingly thin.
    * As you can see in the picture (, reading on my Notebook (resolution 1366×768) the sidebar is not fully visible unless zoomed out (no scrolling option, even with the mouse wheel or middle button).
    * When zoomed in enough to see a top bar, it is a bit of a disorganized mess. I’m sure it’s in the refining stages, and I’m likely to never even see it on purpose, but it still looks a bit ugly.
    * Comment indentation is barely identifiable now. Makes reading replies confusing.
    * Replying to a comment seems to reload the window instead of simply opening a comment box in place as it used to.
    * No more formatting instruction for comments? I keep in my memory the ones I use more frequently, but I honestly don’t remember others, and surely other people don’t either, specially if they’re new to the website.
    * This is quite a bit of a silly nitpick but if you look at the picture again (, you’ll notice that the comment field and the comments section are not equally centered, with the comments field being a bit more to the right. It’s silly, I know, and I’m sure most people won’t notice, but it drives me a bit nuts.
    * Also yeah, where are all the colors?

    1. Dreadjaws says:

      I had to write the other comment to see this, but it appears there’s no edit option. I’m sure it’ll be added later, but I mention it just in case.

      This is all Chrome under W7, btw.

    2. Dreadjaws says:

      I see you’ve changed the spacing already. Nice. Now where are my colors, mortal?

  45. MadTinkerer says:


    So this website runs on Unreal Engine 4?

  46. I don’t mind the change on the field order for comments. It does feel a bit weird to me to have the menu on the left-hand side of the screen, though. Not really sure why, because there are plenty of sites that do this.

  47. Shamus says:

    Testing comment form cookie.

  48. Dotec says:

    Well, it’s at least superior to RPS’ recent redesign.

    So bravo for that.

    1. Mephane says:

      That’s a particularly low bar to meet though…

  49. Shamus says:

    Again testing the cookies.

    1. Shamus says:

      Well, that was about two orders of magnitude harder than it should be. Damn. Cookies should now work. Comment editing should also be working. Everyone is again free to post all the typyos they want.

      1. Shamus says:

        Based on feedback so far, I’m thinking seriously about changing the main article font. I think it looks fantastic on my desktop, but I’ve had two complaints regarding readability, and for me function outweighs form.

        I’ve fixed a bunch of annoying little spacing problems that people have mentioned. I think we’re getting there. Keep the feedback coming.

        And yes, I’ll be adding the more interesting features (like the “From the Archives” stuff) once the basics are solid. I might give it a shot of color here or there. I’m toying with the idea of making the masthead (the big menu at the side / top) match the color of my comment boxes. Then again, that might be more ORANGE than a sane man wants on his front page. We’ll see.

        1. BenD says:

          I handle and choose typefaces for a huge part of my living. I didn’t complain about the font because perilously thin, yet square-ish blocky sans serif fonts scream “techy website” right now, and they’re kind of everywhere screaming that. But…I’m not a fan of this font. It is less readable than many of its peers in the I Am Techy typeface category, and it’s already a category that isn’t generally super readable. I will refrain from suggesting alternatives — I don’t know what you’re going for in tone and aesthetic, nor what your basic requirements are — but I’ll throw in with: Maybe something different would be better?

          1. BenD says:

            I do note that the nested comments become hilariously thin on mobile screens about 3-5 nestings deep, and a smaller typeface after reply level 3 or 4 might not be a bad plan.

        2. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Yeah,the orange might be too much if it were everywhere.Its inoffensive in the comments when it appears sporadically,nested between all the other colors,but maybe not at the top.

          Maybe if you gave it just a smidge of orange?Just as a sort of a soft glow at the edge of sight?That might look fine.

        3. Mephane says:

          Based on feedback so far, I’m thinking seriously about changing the main article font. I think it looks fantastic on my desktop, but I’ve had two complaints regarding readability, and for me function outweighs form.

          Maybe all it takes is to give it a stronger emphasis value, and not a change to a different font altogether. The shapes of the letters are fine, they are just too thin, harsh and… aggressive.

      2. Mephane says:

        It appears not all comments of yours get the yellow background. Is this intended?

        1. Shamus says:

          Yes. I was texting the comment form when logged out. (So I had to fill out the fields.)

          1. Droid says:

            Regarding that, the text “Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.” shows up (in Chrome/Win 10), but there is no checkbox to click, and it doesn’t do anything yet.

            EDIT: Nevermind, I apparently didn’t manage to press CTRL and F5 simultaneously.

  50. I’m not a fan of the dotted borders, a solid would look nicer IMO.

    Any chance the background artwork could be made to fill the width?
    Or perhaps put it behind the menu/sidebar instead?

    The way it is now the background is at least (if not more) obstructed than previously.

  51. Dragmire says:

    It feels like the side bar pulls my focus as I try to read. Muting the brightness or giving a little color to the sidebar would help.

    Not sure if this is the kind of stuff you were interested in feedback on, sorry if it isn’t.

  52. Flip says:

    Firefox 61.0.2/64 Bit/1920×1080

    The formatting of “Archives” and “Categories” on the sidebar seems broken. Their respective symbols are on their own line and not behind the words “Archives” and “Categories”, unlike the other links. Mousing over “Archives” and “Categories” doesn’t highlight them, it only highlights their symbols.

    You might want to reconsicer the layout of your “Top Content” page. All the grey boxes are different sizes, as are the pictures in them. It feels a bit inconsistent with the more modern theme you seem to be going for.

    Some colors for the sidebar and less space between “Twenty” and “Sided” would be nice.

    The formatting of the next post/previous post buttons is off when these posts have long titles (see for example Mass Effect Retrospective 22). It looks like the layout is just adding an arrow to the beginng or end of the title. You also might want to consider turning the entire grey box into a link, instead of just the title being a link.

  53. Ira says:

    I’m getting the same grey bars issue on Pale Moon 28.0.0. It works fine in Edge, but it seems the issue is still there for Firefox-derived browsers.

    The side menu is also cut off and isn’t resizing properly, with the net effect that it’s basically intolerable to use the site in Pale Moon or Firefox. Finally, the name and e-mail fields are right-aligned, not left, and the ‘save my name’ tick-box is the width of the entire page. This is a shambles, I’m sorry to say.

    I do keep Edge as a backup, but I’d really prefer to be able to use my favourite browser.

    1. Shamus says:

      For everyone still experiencing this problem: I updated the CSS about 12 hours ago. Try a hard refresh. (Ctrl-F5 on most browsers.) These problems should all be fixed.

      1. Ira says:

        Grey bars and side menu are fixed. The name and e-mail boxes are still right-aligned, and the ‘save my name’ box is still the width of the screen.

  54. CloverMan-88 says:

    Mobile view could really use some padding on the sides of the text, makes it way easier to read and pleasant to look at. Not much, like 10px each side.

  55. Fizban says:

    I am no longer seeing the grey bar problem. I am also seeing the checkbox for what I presume is the cookie to support further comments/editing of comments (though it doesn’t mention editing). Comments about the size of the sidebar and alignment of the blogroll make me think I might have been annoyed before when I was preoccupied with the bars, but their current size and alignment are just fine for me. I’ve also spent a lot of time over on the GitP forums, which have a similarly sized sidebar I never bother collapsing, so I’m used to it. Though it is a little odd that the size of the logo means the menu text only fills around 2/3 of the width of the sidebar, it’s probably not worth trying to make that adapt to every possible configuration.

    I will take up the call for a little more color. Grey is better than hard white or black, but when you get down to filling out a comment you end up with a whole lot of grey and it starts to feel oppressive. I’m guessing the comment box colors were a different setting, since they still have varying colors, just more grey and muted, which could be restored eventually. Not sure what to do about the sidebar though. It might be cool if there was some sort of rotation of sidebar backgrounds eventually as well?

    1. Fizban says:

      And it seems the edit button is working even if you don’t check the box to save data for further comments (though as advertised, it did not save the field data).

  56. Shivanshu says:

    Sidebar doesn’t contain a scroll bar when it’s content doesn’t fit on screen. It can happen on laptops with low res(720 p) monitors or when the browser is resized(maybe for a split screen usage).

  57. EwgB says:

    Will the new theme have any bearing on the Diecast RSS feed? I’ve really missed it, since I can’t get the podcast into my podcast app without a RSS feed. So I basically stopped listening to the podcast since the link is borked.

  58. DavidJCobb says:

    At small screen sizes, footnotes and image mouseover text are automatically displayed by default. Footnotes appear at the bottom of the post, and mouseover text appears as a caption. This is because it’s hard to “hover” over an image or click those tiny footnote links on a mobile screen.

    I’m not seeing this for footnotes… and I’m kinda glad. I’d much rather be able to view them inline even if that means zooming in to tap them sometimes.

    EDIT: Oh, this is in addition to clickable notes. I saw a clickable note and assumed. I just scrolled down and the footnotes are also shown at the bottom. /EDIT

    That said, for the old layout, I had a userstyle on mobile that would expand footnotes’ hitboxes. I set the notes to position:relative and overlaid a position:absolute pseudo-element — a circle (border-radius:50%) larger than the footnote, centered on the footnote, colored the same as the footnote but translucent. So, a tap anywhere on a circle would toggle the footnote.

    Also, the “save my name” checkbox is zero-size. I can only see the label, and a dotted focus line that appears when I click it. I can’t tell whether it’s checked.

  59. Cilvre says:

    i’ll leave my comments:
    Too bright on the left side menu
    Not a fan of the new font.
    I dont mind the comment being first as it gives me the ability to quickly start typing out the reply and i can worry about the other stuff after I’m done proofing my comment.

  60. Mephane says:

    Just commenting to get the name/email/website fields cookie saved.

  61. toadicus says:

    Shamus, at certain small “desktop” resolutions the side bar is too tall to fit and does not scroll. My laptop screen is 1366×768 and with Chrome maximized things cut off halfway through “RSS”, thus:

    The top padding is also a little excessive at that scale, IMO.

    Good news is it looks great at 1920×1080!

  62. Rick says:

    Even after forced refreshes I’m seeing numerous CSS differences between the HTTP and HTTPS versions. Plus the actual checkbox for saving my name etc isn’t visible on the HTTP version. It could be something with CloudFlare, I don’t know.

    The top nav looks a bit odd on mobile for me, but other than that I think it’s looking great :)

  63. Zak McKracken says:

    Some observations:

    In the previous post on the new theme, there’s a [quote|] tag in the middle of the post, and I think that was scheduled to become a block quote — did you change the behaviour of those tags, or did something else go wrong?

    The spacing in the comments is veery generous. I like that they’re full width now, but there is so much empty vertical space that I can’t see comment full comment box (comment explanations, input field, name/mail/website fields) at the same time, on a 1920×1200 monitor. I think it used to take less than half as much space.

  64. Drathnoxis says:

    ‘Twitter’ in the sidebar is the only item not bolded and it’s driving me nuts.

    1. Droid says:

      I think that’s only because it’s not an interactive element at the moment, but rather a placeholder for a functional link/embedding.

  65. Redrock says:

    – Oh, you’ve redecorated! I don’t like it.
    – Oh, oh yeah, you never do.

    Basically my entire internal debate on the new theme. I miss the pretty colours, to be honest.

  66. Dude says:

    Still no way to separate by author easily. This is the biggest issue with the site at the moment. I came here to read Bob Case’s writing, I only started reading yours because I figured any blog MrBtongue decided to write for might be worth reading.

    Trying to read all of Bob’s stuff without missing anything was a massive pain.

  67. CJK says:

    This center column is a bit wide now – line lengths are up around 120 characters, where usability guidelines would suggest 50-80.

  68. Bubble181 says:

    I will echo an earlier comment that nesting comments on phones become hilariously unreadable fairly quickly.
    I can’t convince imgur to play nice today, but the comment thread about anime on the GTA V post is a perfect example. Every line has one word.

Thanks for joining the discussion. Be nice, don't post angry, and enjoy yourself. This is supposed to be fun. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

You can enclose spoilers in <strike> tags like so:
<strike>Darth Vader is Luke's father!</strike>

You can make things italics like this:
Can you imagine having Darth Vader as your <i>father</i>?

You can make things bold like this:
I'm <b>very</b> glad Darth Vader isn't my father.

You can make links like this:
I'm reading about <a href="">Darth Vader</a> on Wikipedia!

You can quote someone like this:
Darth Vader said <blockquote>Luke, I am your father.</blockquote>

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *