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There was recently an update pushed to stackoverflow and Meta SE that added a nav bar type thing to the left side of the screen and it looks terrible IMO.

Is this something that will be forced on us as a SE site, or does The Workplace get to choose if it wishes to implement this?

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    per my reading of this announcement we have no say in this. They plan that on September all Stack Exchange sites will be like that: "July - September: release to the remaining sites. As we have more details we will update individual communities in their local meta." – gnat Jun 13 '18 at 13:04
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    Also per that announcement, individual users can choose to disable the sidebar. I just tried it on Meta and it worked. – David K Jun 13 '18 at 13:11
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SE will eventually push it everywhere, the same as most other software changes. They are trying to both improve the user experience (on all platforms) and reduce the special cases (170+ sites) that make maintenance harder.

Not everybody agrees on what improves user experience, of course. The left navigation, which has drawn a lot of negative feedback, can be disabled. (I've already done so on SO and Meta.SE.) If you run into bugs or serious functionality issues, please report them on Meta.SE. There's no point in posting just to say "don;t want", though; besides, it would be a duplicate.

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Is this something that will be forced on us as a SE site

Yes. Long story short, they own the site, they get to decide the gimmicks features to implement on the site. What we can do is express constructive feedback in response to that meta post. Don't expect them to act upon every feedback though.

For example, I noticed that all the links found on the left bar are also found at the bottom of the page, making the whole left bar redundant. There are also as many as four links to StackOverflow on the StackOverflow page, which I found amusing, considering good web design principles and all that. I posted these and some other observations here. I also made another feature request here, which IMHO would be quite useful to a lot of users.

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