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[flagged] Upvote for HN Darkmode?
344 points by ycombonator on Feb 23, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 92 comments
Reading HN in the dark and burning up my eyes. Can we have darkmode ?

I think we should try to avoid "upvote if you agree" type of posts (especially feature requests).

This call to action is too direct and it's too difficult to argue against it or retract the vote. In my opinion a better submission would be something that encourages discussion, like: "Do you think HN should add support for dark mode?"

This is a confusing username in this case. I read it as "ycombinator" and thought that this is an official request for feedback from the community.

Haha... I didn't even notice that but I just did a double take.

"Upvote for official ycombintaor up/down vote bot"

I still thought that even after reading this. Had to look a third time

Customizability of the web is a pet peeve of mine. And I wonder if selecting the color of text and background should really be a function of the website that the text is on.

There is no technical reason why not everybody should be able to set the color for any website any way they want.

I would expect it to be trivial to make a bookmarklet that changes the color of HN. Here is a quick hack that makes HN display green text on black:

javascript:(function(){s=document.createElement('style');s.textContent='*{color: #0a0 !important; background: #000;}';document.head.appendChild(s)})()

Just edit any of your existing bookmarks and put that line into the url field. Now whenever you click that bookmark, the current page turns into green text on black background.

>And I wonder if selecting the color of text and background should really be a function of the website that the text is on.

Websites, are intended to be an expression of their authors, and part of that intent is creative, including layout, color scheme and typography. Why shouldn't an author have control over the colors of their site?

>There is no technical reason why not everybody should be able to set the color for any website any way they want.

No technical reason, and plenty of plugins exist to enable that, and browsers have supported it to some degree for a while.

But modern websites are incredibly complex, and css can be dynamic. It would be an incredible burden to have everyone design a custom stylesheet for every site they visit from the ground up. The vast majority haven't got the time, talent or desire to do so, which is why it exists as an option, not the default.

Alternate style sheets were not uncommon in the early days of CSS. Firefox still supports them, but I don't think Chrome or Safari do anymore.

User style sheets are still supported by Safari, and I think there are extensions for Chrome and Firefox that add support.

Stop reading in the dark. It's not good for your eyes. The human eye has evolved over millions of years to work optimally in an environment where it is flooded with light (leaning blue).

Honestly, the mania for dark mode baffles me.

I prefer dark mode, and I code, read etc in a room well-lit by daylight. I find it to be easier on my eyes, and the contrast of white-on-black just seems to work better for me. Not sure if it's related, but I'm colour blind.

Dark mode isn't for everyone, but it does seem to suit a lot of people - enough that 3rd party themes pop up for popular websites and desktop apps.

The human eye also has evolved to adapt to different lighting conditions, so if you are in the dark for a while, it will get more sensitive to light. This is what dark modes fix.

Enjoy your perfect vision while you can. For some of us with broken eyes it isn't so easy. Most dark modes cause far less bloom for me. I use 3rd party extensions to adjust colours and contrast, but they often don't produce good results for complex pages.

Its for reading in the dark. Less stressful for the eyes

As OP pointed out. Reading in the dark is the problem to begin with. Dark mode themes are a poor workaround for the real problem.

Even though it's important to point that out it is rather unrealistic for some parts of the population to completely restrict reading in the dark and makes no argument against an optional solution that would mitigate some of the downsides when it occurs

While a parachute is helpful in certain situations it's better not to fall out of the sky to begin with. It is, so to say, a poor workaround for the real problem.

Shit, i tripped, fell, and started reading HN in the dark. Oops! Good thing it has dark mode.

But aren't there numerous situations in which it is rather dark and one might want to spend some time reading?

Like at a bus stop in the evening, long distance buses, during flights, while one has difficulties to sleep next to a partner.

I struggle to see how stopping to read in dark environments altogether is a serious proposal to the problem.

It's not the light that bothers me it's only the blue component. Dark mode does help a lot. All my ides/editors are dark mode (except xcode but I rarely do iOS) where I spent most of my time.

There is a big difference between a monitor that is off and a monitor that on, but every pixel is set to black. The latter gives off enough light -- particularly blue light -- that I definitely would get worse sleep if it were near my head. (This applies to monitors with backlights -- OLED and probably plasma monitors are a different story.)

One way to reduce the amount of blue light coming into the eye, it seems to me, is to add red light, which causes the pupils to contract, which makes it so that less of the blue light outside the eye will enter the eye.

I get the impression that the light coming from a black pixel has a lot of blue in it, and that turning on the red sub-pixel would decrease the amount of blue light entering the eye because the pupil-contracting effect I just described (even though it would not decrease the amount of blue light outside the eye).

My point is that using f.lux to dial down the color temperature as low as it will go (1200 K on my Mac after bedtime, giving the screen a pronounced reddish-orange hue) will result in less blue light entering the eye than making most of the pixels black would result in.

(Turning on a red light bulb would have the same effect, but f.lux is easier.)

A better way to avoid blue light would be to switch to an OLED display or to have a backlight that can be switched to producing only red light, but among the no-purchase-cost options, if the only displays available are LCDs with standard white backlight, making the screen mostly red seems to work better than making the screen mostly black.

(Neither is particularly good however if the goal is to avoid the effects of blue light on the brain.)

I don't know which colors are most effective at causing the pupils to contract. I don't have any hard data. But I'm sensitive enough to the effects of blue light on my brain at night that I believe it worthwhile to post here my subjective impressions of the relative effectiveness of f.lux adjusted (via its preferences pane) as red as it will go and a mostly black screen, which I achieved by making most things white, including a solid-white desktop, then "inverting the colors" using the keyboard shortcut control-option-command-8.

(It is possible to have both of the "interventions" or "settings" described above in effect at the same time, so I will add that once f.lux is as red as it will go, "inverting the colors" does not produce any additional benefit as far as I can tell.)

Good explanations. Note that often backlit LCDs do have settings for R, G, B drive levels which can be adjusted similarly to what f.lux would do, but without the timed functions. I have used that in the past to switch between 'normal' and 'user' reduced blue modes.

Here's an idea. I remember using some flakey DVI cables where one of the colours would drop out. How about making an HDMI-HDMI adapter that doesn't transmit blue? Even better make it a splitter where one has blue and one doesn't and feed them both into inputs of the same display.

So if you're in a dark environment doing something other than reading and want to switch to a reading activity, what should you do?

Turn on the lights?

Search Amazon for "USB light laptop"

Worry about your own eyes.

My recommendations for a global dark-mode:

- lightweight, not perfect, never crashes: https://userstyles.org/styles/112107/global-black-for-amoled... (but don't install "stylish" use something maleware free like "stylus"

- heavy, as good as it gets, sometimes hangs on certain sites: https://github.com/darkreader/darkreader

I tried Darkreader (along with a basically all the other dark theme addons available on AMO) and found those "hangs" really annoying. The one I've been using is this one: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/dark-backgrou.... It doesn't hang, works on pretty much any site and has customizable colors.

looks promising (as it actually analyses the css), but doesn't seem just a perfect as dark reader (when it doesn't hang)

I can recommend hackernews-one-dark theme with Stylus:


The orange + dark looks pretty good overall

I use darkreader based on someones recommendation here, i really love it.

On HN, I use DarkReader with the Grayscale factor turned up all the way. The background is an ugly orange-brown with the default settings.

http://hn.premii.com/ has a dark mode. Also available as an App. Best HN experience I've found.

The desktop experience is great. I gave up on the app due to freezes/crashes on iOS 12. In a hunt for alternatives, found this app, which is more than comparable.


That's what I use since forever. Can recommend. Be sure to edit settings to your liking also.

Edit: I was going to edit the post to include a link to the Android app I use (that mostly seems to embed the site), but it seems to have been removed from Play store. No idea why, works fine on my phone.


The username is "ycomb_O_nator". That's pretty sneaky, especially for a feature request post :)

Crossing my fingers for a http://hckrnews.com dark mode

There's an 'about' page with a contact mail address at the bottom.


Hardly helps when all the discussion is on the ycombinator site.

Funnily enough, ever since I found dark reader https://darkreader.org/ I've only really used it on two sites - HN and Github.

I'd support a dark mode, but don't really need one...

Thanks for this, I was using Stylus before and putting up with various bits of broken display but this has been perfect on every site I regularly use.

Bright white scratches my eyes while reading at night. A dark theme is greatly appreciated.

Pro tip: Turn down the brightness.

Even better pro tip: Turn on your lights.

Brightness set to 1. Lights must be out while my wife sleeps. I'm not pro, I've a girlfriend.

I'm strongly against the use of Stylish after this fiasco: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17447816

I agree; hence why I recommended Stylus (an open source alternative).

Oops! I googled Stylus to see if it was a Stylish alternative, and the first result was Stylish, so I assumed it was a typo. I’m ashamed to say I didn’t look into it further.

This is great as is and it would require minimal work to make it a profile setting.

Thanks, installed :)

I use a custom stylesheet anyway, but a native one would be nice, and less prone to breakage.

There're plenty of browser extensions for this which also prevent the problem you get when eventually you have to switch to a different site that doesn't have a dark mode (like 99% of the sites on the web). I use Midnight Lizard.

But then you have to trust that extension to not do anything malicious, because it must be able to read and modify every website you visit.

See https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17447816

Midnight Lizard is an open source project: https://github.com/Midnight-Lizard/Midnight-Lizard

You can read it's privacy policy: https://midnight-lizard.org/extension-privacy

Also starting from Chrome 70 you don't have to allow access to all websites: https://developer.chrome.com/extensions/runtime_host_permiss...

As a Midnight Lizard developer I'm doing my best to make sure it is as secure as it can be, but it is harder to prove that you are not doing anything bad...

Doesn't every browser extension increase the attack surface a bit? It all comes down to your personal risk/reward profile. I can't live without an adblocker, a Vim emulator and a dark theme in my browser, but I don't use anything else.

I've been using the chrome extension https://gabrielecirulli.github.io/hn-special/ which includes a dark mode.

Been using this for years, it's great. Occasionally HN makes a change that breaks it but he fixes in a day or two.

Although I like dark mode, I don't use it. Because the web is by default white.

Suppose I am using dark text editor and the websites I often visit are dark. Still every few minutes I will have to visit a site with white background. My eyes will have to constantly adjust between dark and light backgrounds. It can't be escaped.

I don't understand why developers use dark text editors when the sites they are building are white. They visit that every few seconds.

I've found this bookmarklet to work pretty well on most website:


I added it as a toggle-able script for TamperMonkey so I don't have to click on the bookmarklet on every page, and changed the 'invert(1)' bit to invert(.9) so it's not full black.

This should would be very easy to implement using the existing settings paradigm. For everyone recommending browser extensions, compromising the security of my browser so I can read HN (or any other site) better is not an option. See the discussion at https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17447816

I would very much appreciate a dark mode for the page.

Materialistic is a brilliant HN Reader and has a dark mode, maybe some of you will like it too (I have no connection with the creator, just a user that recommends it) https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=io.github.hidr...

I can never understand why a simple colour scheme is presented as a "big thing". Consistent dark mode themes seems so unattainable in modern software (in fact any theme customisation).

It is as necessary as cars with different colours. People's preference.

So let stop making a big deal about it, and just have it in all software. Its just a colour scheme! Stop being lazy software devs!

After using custom userstyles and the DarkReader extension in Chrome I tried leaving everything at its default bright theme and instead use a bluelight-filter at a very low color temperature (1900k). The result is still very ergonomic and I don't have to worry about slight theming errors like dark text on dark backgrounds anymore.


You are welcome.

I don’t understand why this was flagged ? It was a simple request for dark mode.

I use this extension and the dark mode is already there for me: https://mybrowseraddon.com/dark-mode.html

HN readers are probably tech savy enough to either have their own client or load their custom CSS (like for every other website).

If there was dark mode support, I think it should be based on `prefers-color-scheme: dark`.

If you add dark mode, please make it optional. I can't stand it.

How would a mandatory dark mode even look like? Would it be time zone / time based?

That would assume everyone only reads HN outside though.

I use a http://userstyles.org theme for it. Been using that site more and more these days.

I just added an Invert Colors shortcut to ⌘`. Gets me reasonably good "dark mode" for any website, instantly.

Normally that combination switches between windows within the same app. How do you handle that if you have it remapped? It's perhaps one of my most-used key combinations on macOS.

Context: On macOS, the equivalent of Alt + Tab is ⌘Tab. However, unlike on Windows, ⌘Tab only switches between apps--it won't iterate over multiple windows within an app. That has a separate combination: ⌘`. So if you want to switch to a particular window within an app, first you have to ⌘Tab to the app, then ⌘` to the correct window.

You can invert any page with this trick:

document.querySelector('html').style.filter = "invert(0.8)"

Midnight Lizard extension uses similar trick: `brightness(0.9) hue-rotate(180deg) invert(1) brightness(0.9)` This way resulting colors will be at least similar to the original ones and contrast ratio is also better

Well no dark mode option for mobile chrome.

Permanent b&w+dark mode:

iOS > settings > general > Display Accommodations

Turn on smart invert and color filter: grayscale

Yes, please and thank you.

I suppose one could make a Firefox/Chrome addon for that.

Dozens of those exist already.

The problem I'm having with these is that the need some time to load and apply. In the meantime, the default theme is used, which results in an unpleasant "flash".

That flash can be removed with custom CSS rules as well. r/Firefox and r/FirefoxCSS have multiple posts about this.

No.... There are tools already there. Or build your own?

An unequivocal Yes.

Another good usage for Stylus.

Why are dark themes only just becoming popular? I've been using dark, low contrast themes for more than a decade now. It used to be a sign of a true geek. Why is it becoming mainstream now all of a sudden?

My guess: increasing evidence that blue light disrupts sleep, and that sleep is very important.

Why is your monitor on, in your bedroom, while you're trying to sleep, and how will dark mode on HN help with that?

That's not what parent is talking about. It's not just about blue light when you're trying to sleep, but also before that.

userContent.css is your friend if you're not using a data-hoarding browser ;)

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