Each site has it's own colour, like Stackoverflow has orange, SuperUser has blue and Serverfault has red, not entirely sure StackApps (dark orange?). Would it be possible to provide these colours in the styling info from StackAuth or is getting too close to copy the style of the site? Just this would make it more obvious as to which site the currently viewed question on my app is on.

The colour I'm talking about is when you click one of the buttons next to the big site Logo image at the top, eg:http://stackoverflow.com/questions The questions button is orange, and it's that orange I'm talking about.


2 Answers 2


Probably not.

There's some room for expansion in styling (especially now that required/moderator tags are getting special use cases outside of Meta.SO and StackApps, like [featured]), but we don't want to go too far lest [app]s start looking "official" by accident.

As Sky linked, the use case for the styling info is inline linking of questions ala chat or any of the aggregation sites. There are plenty of other ways to do this too (favicon and site logo being popular), but the link and tag color minimalist way was important to support.

  • It's just that a favicon would really not fit in that well, I guess I could just get the colour manually as it's only a 50x25px ish rectangle that I want to colour in, If my app looks to official you could just remove the API key, blocking the app till I change it, if I was a difficult person.
    – Jonathan.
    Commented Sep 22, 2010 at 6:23
  • If I wanted to copy the look and feel of the site I'd need a lot more than the colour of a selected button
    – Jonathan.
    Commented Sep 22, 2010 at 6:30
  • @Jonathan - obviously we can manually ban anyone who infringes our L&F, but its very difficult to promulgate guidelines in addition to data; much more reliable to restrict the data. There's also a slippery slope problem with additional styling: add one of the button colors, and we'll be asked for the rest (and why refuse, exactly?), and then some more site-identifying colors. Things get trickier still when you consider the # of sites in question here: for instance "orange" might be SO's color, but [Cooking ](meta.cooking.stackexchange.com/q/783) will be very orange too. Commented Sep 22, 2010 at 9:44
  • 1
    There's also the risk of providing style information on UI elements that are subsequently modified on the sites themselves. In general, its best that the API never constrain the SE engine (in terms of changes), so we can only realistically provide styling information for "set in stone" things. Like tag and question link colors. I'm not saying we'll never expand styling information, just that its a much trickier endeavor than it appears at first glance. Commented Sep 22, 2010 at 9:48
  • Well if you don't call it "button_color" and just call it "site_color" then people won't ask for other buttons (you can also say no).
    – Jonathan.
    Commented Sep 22, 2010 at 15:36
  • @Jonathan - I suspect "site_color" would prompt requests for _primary, _secondary, etc. colors. A single site color is of marginal usefulness, especially as the number of sites (and thus of similarly colored sites) goes up. Commented Sep 23, 2010 at 16:18
  • No I really don't think that site_color will prompt requests for other colors, and you can just not implement them. If I want I can just go and get what I call the site's colour using a HTML Parser and just waste more bandwidth. I did say this in an edit of my last comment but it didn't get posted: The colour is not to say exactly which site, but to help. It is very easy to tell the difference between a SO and cooking question, but not so easy between a SO and SU question. The colours don't have to be completely unique but it would be better if each site has their own unique color.
    – Jonathan.
    Commented Sep 23, 2010 at 16:49

This has already been covered by Kevin here. The minimal styling is provided to help style links and tags, but the rest is omitted to prevent lazy devs from copying look and feel.

What value link and tag colors outside the context of the rest of the style is questionable, in my opinion.

I typically just use the icon or favicon to provide context.

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