edited problem statement

the link to return from meta to the main site is not "parallel" to the link on the main site to meta. i found the latter under "help", but the link from meta to the main site is only under the stackexchange list.

in the original configuration, the link on the main site to meta was on the right, and there was a corresponding link on the meta page to the main site. nice! so when the new top bar appeared (unexpectedly for me), i looked (on the main page) for the meta link, and found one on the dropdown list under "help". okay, that makes some sense. so it was natural to look in the corresponding location on the meta page for the link to the main site. not there. confusing!

okay, i'm a creature of habit. when a feature that used to have a nicely parallel construction suddenly changes, i find that disconcerting. if the link had been removed from (near) the original location on both pages i would have looked more closely at the other features of the new bar instead of making assumptions.

irrespective of other perceived (and unrelated) problems (see the edit history), i still feel this is a design flaw.

  • 6
    +1 for the last point. Can you please post a screenshot, since eveyrthing looks fine in my FF25.0
    – yo'
    Dec 5, 2013 at 17:00
  • 2
    Well, I can see the arrows, so obviously it doesn't affect all FF25.0, therefore I wasn't really sure if we speak about the same arrows...
    – yo'
    Dec 5, 2013 at 17:50
  • 3
    I can see stars, arrows and badges using FF25.0 on meta...
    – cgnieder
    Dec 5, 2013 at 18:21
  • 2
    Regarding the disappearances, it seems like a sprite image wasn’t properly loaded. Try a refresh or a hard refresh (Ctrl+Shift+R or equivalent) or emptying your cache. I don’t think this is a real reproducible bug. Your last point remains valid.
    – doncherry
    Dec 5, 2013 at 18:22
  • Just for Info and Testing on FF : I am using FF 25.0.1 on Ubuntu. Surprisingly, I can see normally all the features of meta site mentioned as bullets in your Q. On Last point,Related Q: meta.tex.stackexchange.com/questions/4004/… Dec 5, 2013 at 19:45
  • @doncherry -- i did a really "hard refresh* -- i shut everything down and rebooted. now things are worse than ever. i'm getting the message (from firefox) "TeX - LaTeX Stack Exchange requires external JavaScript from another domain, which is blocked or failed to load." so to be able to do anything here, i've now connected via explorer. it seems that, very recently, firefox launched "Java Deployment Toolkit 7.0.450.18 is known to be vulnerable. Use with caution." but i'm not given an option to override. i'm going to have to ask for help from our systems guys. maybe next week ... Dec 5, 2013 at 20:27
  • @texenthusiast -- i think, re my last point, you really mean [meta.tex.stackexchange.com/q/4003/579] where how to access across main/meta sites is addressed in the comments. since i think that's important enough to be addressed directly in a question, as soon as i get working firefox access, i'll edit the other points out of the question, as it seems i'm just caught in a trap that isn't affecting anyone else. Dec 5, 2013 at 20:41
  • Works fine with Firefox 25.0.1 under Linux Mint. Dec 5, 2013 at 20:58
  • 1
    more bad news ... without javascript in firefox, i'm unable to (a) show additional comments or add comments, (b) retrieve unread inbox messages, or (c) activate any pull-down scripts. i haven't tried to answer any questions, but am chary of trying that, under the circumstances. (this is also affecting some other sites, but i don't access them nearly as heavily.) Dec 5, 2013 at 22:10
  • 1
    I also use Firefox 25.0.1 and do not observe any of the issues. Regarding the last item: Both main and meta are reachable from the site switcher.
    – Speravir
    Dec 6, 2013 at 2:40
  • 2
    @barbarabeeton I’m sorry to hear that that made things worse. Note though that Java and JavaScript have – apart from the name – pretty much nothing to do with each other. As far as I can tell, SE does not require Java, but it does need JavaScript.
    – doncherry
    Dec 7, 2013 at 10:28
  • @doncherry -- thanks for the kind thoughts. yesterday, after spending about 3 hours trying to figure out what's gone wrong. our windows specialist determined there's no solution other than a complete rebuild after clearing all caches, trashing all cookies (losing a number of passwords that i didn't record and no longer remember), and wiping all bookmarks. i'm spending the weekend manually checking all bookmarks and saving the ones i really want to keep in ascii.html files on another machine. on monday, he and i will "break" what's left and start fresh. a drag. Dec 7, 2013 at 19:20
  • @barbarabeeton Jeez, that sounds like an awful hassle. Perhaps you can use MozBackup to transfer some of your personal data to the new installation?
    – doncherry
    Dec 8, 2013 at 12:55

2 Answers 2


Since this is posted as a bug here (and originally contained some other stuff, too), I decided to make a feature request about the "meta/main link asymmetry in help menu" on Meta.SO:

Add "main" link to "help" drop menu on "meta"

Just for clarity, we're speaking about the "Meta" link here:

enter image description here

  • I don't have a META link in my help menu. Jan 3, 2014 at 21:55
  • @GeoffPointer I updated the answer and added a screenshot of what I do see. If you can't see it there, you might consider posting a proper bug-report (including browser version, PC system etc.)
    – yo'
    Jan 3, 2014 at 22:26
  • I remember being taken to the non meta site with that link from both sides. My opinion, if I may is that the help link should only take you to the explanation page. The link in the StackExchange menu makes much more sense as in each case you are taken to the respective home page. I'm getting used to using the StackExchange menu to step between Meta and Main. It's probably not that bad an idea, though I'm perplexed why anyone would have wanted to change the previous arrangement for that function. Jan 4, 2014 at 9:42
  • @GeoffPointer Nobody forces you to use the link in the help menu, so what's the matter? Or maybe I think I lost you completely and I don't get what is the problem. The link I showed leads to Meta from Main and to "What's Meta" help from Meta.
    – yo'
    Jan 4, 2014 at 9:49
  • Two separate points. (1) I thought I remembered some time ago that the link in the help drop down took me to the "What's Meta" page from both sides. Now I'm not so sure. Clearly that's not what it is doing now. And I don't believe anyone is forcing me to use that feature. (2) I expressed my own opinion, as a person who has an interest in web design, about the feature as it stands. I don't like it, it comes across like a bit of a hack, it should just link to the "What is Meta" page from either side. The StackExchange menu is much more natural and logical. Jan 4, 2014 at 10:03
  • @GeoffPointer You can step in meta.stackoverflow and post a feature request there if you feel something should be changed. However, many requests about the new top bar have already been posted, and mostly rejected without discussion. In general, Meta.SO is not quite a friendly place, and it takes a lot of effort and cold-heartedness to push any of your ideas through.
    – yo'
    Jan 4, 2014 at 10:06
  • Indeed. I don't personally like stackoverflow.com much at all. It could learn a great deal from the culture in this place. Jan 4, 2014 at 10:31

While this does sound maddening, I don't think it has anything to do with the site redesign, based on some earlier comments and the lack of similar bug reports elsewhere on the network. Seems like it's just a coincidence that it happened close to when we rolled the new top bar out.

In situations like this, we typically recommend clearing your cookies and history, disabling add-ons (especially if they were recently installed or updated), unblocking any SE-related scripts or domains and seeing what the site looks like then. You may also find the question Which browsers are officially supported? And what else do I need? on the network meta helpful.

For what it's worth, I use Firefox 25.0.1 myself on multiple machines and haven't seen this.

  • most of the problems as originally stated turn out to be idiosyncratic and endemic to my particular installation; a major overhaul will be performed as soon as the sysadmin in charge of that function arrives. however, one point still remains, so i have edited the text of the question to explain just that. i didn't see the notice of the change beforehand, so it took me by surprise; unfortunately, a lot of other, unrelated, things went wrong at the same time. i apologize for the excess "smoke", but still feel the makeover could have been cleaner. Dec 9, 2013 at 14:53

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