*sadly goes to reset the counter to 0 on the "days since I saw someone shit on the existence of light themes" sign*

I think on average I see this like once a week.

I cannot see dark themes at all. And it's a hell of a thing to see this hostility not just to a software option but to my own existence and qualities as a person who uses this option. Like I've seen people say you have to be a psychopath to use light theme, which is an awesome way to double up on the ableism!

Something else about light themes I don't think I've seen in so many words:

I strongly suspect most apps these days are made for dark theme, in dark theme, by people who only like dark theme. The light theme sometimes doesn't work great, or it feels grudgingly implemented, half-assed.

The dark themes you see probably are optimized by people who care about them but don't think that means the light ones are. They aren't necessarily ideal for people who need light themes; this is just all we get.

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Having just been talking about poorly-designed light themes this morning, I'm delighted to see that @Tusky updated for me this evening and its (already perfectly good, I hasten to add that this isn't one of the grudging, bad ones I was talking about!) light theme looks even better now! Better contrast. :) Hurrah.

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I'm so tired.

At first I couldn't even read this text telling me that the app had been switched to dark mode (no shit) and how to stop it.

The developers never consider that light theme could be a necessity, and it shows!

It was especially infuriating to see, when I did summon the spoons to change it, that it'd been automatically set to dark theme just because I have my phone in battery saver mode. It's not quite a myth that dark themes save battery, but it's certainly not usually the case!

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It says a lot when I see this and all I can think is "oh no, please don't be dark mode, please don't let this 'sleek new look' mean obligate dark mode, oh no it says 'easier on the eyes' helppp meeee..."

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They haven't made me use dark theme.

They HAVE made the text smaller.


There is no ability to change the text size (as far as I can tell know, I'm struggling to read the settings menu now!).

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You can change the font! They have three font choices! But you cannot change the size of the font.

Developers please stop thinking something works before you've hired disabled devs or paid good accessibility consultants to give you their expertise, because otherwise you're going to keep thinking "it works" means the same thing as "it works for me" and you're going to miss a lot of important shit that way.

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Oh by the way I confirmed this is true for Discord specifically.

"Even within our office, it was hard to find more than one or two actual light theme users. Our small team of designers didn’t design with it in mind when creating new features. It became an afterthought. Testing on light theme was rare, and considered a chore."

"It eventually became a Discord community inside joke that light theme was bad and you were bad for using it."

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Interestingly, that post is a couple years old and it was written to announce the new golden age of light theme; I started using Discord after that and I still hate it, haha.

But it's amazing to see how much worse it was! The sidebar was still dark! Because no one could need to read those words too! The contrast is terrible! If you love dark so much why is the text medium-grey?! The fonts are so thin! Fonts are the thing that shouldn't be light even in light mode! (

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@bright_helpings yeah I saw the psychopath one too, discord users definitely upped the hostility toward light themes with their edgy memes

@wolfie Discord is a nightmare for me to use anyway, it's so proud of its accessibility and its just the worst, so I'm not surprised it fosters this kind of thing because like I can't even see it well enough to go there and have arguments with people about it! 🙃

@bright_helpings @wolfie I remember when Discord made their light theme actively worse.

But now you can have like, the main text area be in light theme, and the sidebar be in dark, and get the unfortunate new best of both worlds.

@OchotonidKnight @bright_helpings the dark sidebar and light main area was the old way light theme was, it's not like that currently and I've never had major issues with the light theme - and it was bloody annoying when they removed it for that april fool's joke but at least it made them finally realise they needed to work on it and stop encouraging the edgelords

@wolfie @bright_helpings I miss back in the day when dark themes were the "edgy" unpopular themes people would get bullied for, that was usually pretty fun

@bright_helpings Thanks for sharing this; I didn't realize dark themes could be so hostile to accessibility!

@rusty I mean, any one option for the visual appearance of something is going to be inaccessible to somebody. And a preference/requirement is fine! The problem just comes in how that's expressed: there's this cultural assumption that dark themes are inherently Better somehow, more readable or more energy-efficient or whatever. And there's reason to believe that's not true but that never stops people. :) The hostility comes from them saying light themes should be illegal and stuff.

@bright_helpings Wow, folks being anti-light theme to that degree is, like, just gratuituous assholery.

@bright_helpings what the fuck imagine being like that about other people getting to choose different colored pixels on a screen

@ljwrites And not even their screen! It's fine for them to not make this choice but all these leftists going "I don't believe in the state or incarceration or laws" on the one hand but then "oh this should be illegal" on the other

I know they'd tell me that kind of thing is just a shitpost or whatever if I challenged it, so I never do, but I think it matters why that sort of thing keeps happening, why people think it's okay. Shitposts allow you to dehumanize people and call it humor.

@bright_helpings exactly. There's a reason so much of the fedi's harassment and hostile whisper campaigns have been via shitpost. Like find a better sense of humor, you unfunny assholes.

@bright_helpings I'm partially quoting a toot I saw before but some people choose done weird as hell hills to die on.

@adrianspade If it's just a weird opinion of theirs, that's cool! But this hurts people.

@bright_helpings Agreed! Not only are such people being terribly thoughtless, uncaring, ableist bullies but they are also misinformed. (Not to imply that their behaviour would be acceptable if better informed.)

“Research published in 2013 by psychologists Cosima Piepenbrock and Susanne Mayr showed that [reading] accuracy and performance are better in positive polarity conditions (i.e. black text on a white background).”

@bright_helpings Did a lot of reading on colour theory and text contrast as perceived by humans (as opposed to light-based simple formulas) a few days ago while playing with palette generation.

tl;dr – all other things being equal, dark text on light background ("positive polarity") has better perceptual contrast than light text on dark bg ("negative polarity").

this is what peak legibility looks like. they might not like it, but it is :blobcatuwu:

@elilla @bright_helpings Honestly for us which theme is better depends on the situation. In most environments, light backgrounds may technically be more legible but given that it /glows/, it tends to be subtly overstimulating. In a place that's bright enough to make that glow less overpowering, though, light themes are far more readable than dark.

@Ylfingr Yeah "it depends" is a fair enough response, and even someone saying they prefer dark themes is totally fine! Quite dull in fact because it doesn't impact on anyone else! It's when they start trying to make their preference universal, which they do by saying stuff like "oh it's inherently more readable" as if "that's why there should not even be the option for light themes and only bad people use them" that it's a problem. @elilla

@bright_helpings Light themes are just as good as dark themes and just as important!

We use light themes ourselves, although situationally (in bright environments).

@bright_helpings There's a huge, huge difference between "I don't personally like using this" and "you're /bad/ for using this yourself and it should not be a thing".

like... what's even the /point/. I don't get it.

@bright_helpings I really don't get why people are so antagonistic to light themes.

I prefer light themes. Just a preference, not a need in any way as far as I can tell. Every now and again I try a dark theme and it just doesn't feel right, but it's not actually a problem for me.

And I don't think I should need one for it to be a valid option for me. And I don't think it says anything bad about me that I prefer light themes.

@bright_helpings oh thanks for reminding me to add prefers-color-scheme to my website

@bright_helpings It's done! should display with a light background if your operating system or browser is set to the same. (Implemented using the prefers-color-scheme media query.) Hope this helps you!

@bright_helpings 100% with you on this.

Especially when research shows that light themes are associated with greater productivity and reduced eye strain.

@bright_helpings I don't know why, but I find I generally prefer light themes...

@bright_helpings Hearing you, and god, yeah, it sucks.

From an ND perspective--I've gotten used to it on Masto desktop, but for literally everything else, I use light themes because I can't process text much longer than a paragraph in white text on dark background.


I also just find most dark themes ugly. They lack good colour contrast also make them hard to navigate. From mattermost to obsidian to element I have had to make custom themes since in many ways both light and dark themes just don't have enough contrast to be usable.

@bright_helpings @Tusky still waiting on the update to come through on android but that's super awesome that they've worked on the light theme!

@wolfie @bright_helpings @Tusky so glad to see it's helped someone. I submitted that change to Tusky and wasn't ever sure anyone other than me was really bugged by the not-very-light light theme. I have eyesight deterioration that makes dark themed things pretty unreadable myself but it's always felt like nobody else cared much. :awesome:

@mike @wolfie @bright_helpings @Tusky This is literally the first time I've heard of a light theme for Tusky. Thanks!

@vertigo @wolfie @bright_helpings @Tusky it has been there for ages but it defaults to dark, not the system preference. Around Tusky 10 the light theme contrast got a lot worse though. In 14 it's properly light again.

@bright_helpings “it is accessible to me” is just spicy “it works on my machine”

@bright_helpings This power saving by switching to dark theme is so annoying!

I have an e-ink phone, which means that empty (= light) background and black text is optimal for it, but when I bought it I couldn't guess that so many apps are totally useless on it because of forced dark mode.

And when the battery goes below 20% (which still lasts for two days on e-ink device), the keyboard app forces into dark mode, meaning I can't see what letters I'm pressing. There's nothing I can do for it.

@bright_helpings Of course the default keyboard never changes to dark theme, but it's of no use to me, because it only has US-ASCII characters, meaning I can't write my own language with it. So I must use an external keyboard app...

@Stoori argh, this sounds like a nightmare! An e-ink phone would be great for me but dark apps in it would be the worst. I'm sorry you have to deal with this.

LB: there are just so many unintended consequences of the cultural belief that dark mode is inherently better for batteries or for eyes!

There's no benefit to assuming that one option is optimal in all situations! Give people choices and trust them to know what's best for themselves.

@bright_helpings I prefer a dark theme when I have a big screen close to my eyes, and a light theme if the screen is smaller or further away. So, it doesn't just depend on the person, but on the machine setup too!

@bright_helpings Another thing that annoys me about this is how many apps lack a "match system" option for dark mode and instead have "switch at sunset/sunrise". I'm sure that can be handy in California but in Britain it's at best chaotic neutral and in some places it means no light mode at all in the depths of winter and no dark mode in the height of summer when you really need it because sleeping is hard enough already without your phone insisting it's high noon all night.

@andrewt This is another reason a blue light filter is much better for the eyes at the things people claim dark themes are good for.

@bright_helpings honestly I think 90% of developers who closing they need dark mode as an accessibility feature just don't know how to correctly set their monitor brightness. If you're coding at night in a dark room then yeah, a white screen will glare, but changing decades of UI convention isn't the solution here, going the fuck to bed is the solution

@bright_helpings Out of curiosity I tried the light mode in Discord today and while it does now have a light sidebar, the contrast is too low even for me, fully sighted with glasses. It's just about usable (for me!) with the dark sidebar re-enabled, but the fact that they are still resorted to this workaround shows how bad they are at light mode.

@bright_helpings yeah it was impressive how they turned things around after that tone deaf April Fools "prank". I remember waking up to messages from friends to warn me not to update the app so I would be still able to access it! And now discord have something that's easier for them to work with on the back end and no longer an after thought

@bright_helpings for reasons, we are trying to poke through the SCSS for the themes on Mastodon

there are several pairs like "$ui-base-color" and "$ui-base-lighter-color" where the one labeled 'lighter' has to be darker and vice-versa on light theme 😐

- 🎒 💢

@bright_helpings Any idea where the current hype for dark themes comes from?

I thought going from green-on-black screens to black-on-white screens in the 90s was an upgrade. Easier on the eyes, more like paper print.

Is it all retro, or do people claim readability benefits? Power consumption benefits?

@clacke People claim both readability benefits and power consumption benefits. Both of which are only true in specific circumstances, if at all

People think dark theme is better in the dark but in darkness our irises have to open wider to absorb enough light. This deforms the eye a little, making us see things less sharply. The white letters bleed into their black background (an effect called halation), which is especially bad for eye conditions including the very common astigmatism

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