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Temporarily changing the app icon is a usability issue

Hey all,

I'm writing to start a discussion on changing the SourceTree app icon to a rainbow for Pride week. I'll preface my comment by saying I'm part of the LGBTQ community myself and I appreciate and support the intention behind changing the icon. Although I am registering disagreement with a particular UX decision, and not with the meaning of the Pride rainbow itself, I am posting this comment anonymously out of an abundance of caution. I hope you will allow it to stand.

First point - Dock icons (my experience was with macOS specifically, but across the board) are color-coded. When using the dock to switch apps, typically I move the mouse to the general area of the dock where I know the app is located, and then use color to hone in on the actual icon I need. This is a very fast, very frequent, practically subconscious process -- any time an icon changes, it disrupts the flow until the new color or position is learned.

This may not seem like a big deal, and indeed you might argue that the political or social good intended by displaying a rainbow icon outweighs it. I personally disagree. The famous "flow state" in which time seems to cease and your mind engages completely with code, design, and technical problem-solving -- that is the reason I do what I do. It is blissful. It is empowering. I know many developers and other SourceTree users agree with me on this, and it is well known that even a simple tap on the shoulder can disrupt the flow state for many minutes.

Even though the rainbow flag icon was intentionally put there to support people like me, I immediately searched for a way to disable it. I found a couple of threads with people who opposed the icon on political grounds, which were locked to further comments. That is not a point I am here to debate.

But it made me wonder why I had this instinct. I support the Pride movement. I go to Pride parades! But it's not that simple. Being LGBTQ is *not easy* -- that's why Pride exists. It's a fact of life that I deal with, engage with, and celebrate in my real-life community of friends, sometimes precisely by attending Pride events. But it doesn't always make me happy to think about it. The fact that someone put a rainbow on my desktop in defiance of anti-LGBTQ forces just reminds me that those forces exist (and that anti-anti-LGBTQ forces exist now too, and I'm held partially responsible for their decisions).

My whole life, the way I have coped is to cultivate a totally separate identity: as a thinker, as a developer and designer, someone who can understand problems deeply and solve them creatively and make a huge difference in people's lives. When I'm inhabiting that identity, I consciously (and unconsciously) avoid entire categories of thoughts and feelings which would take over my inner monologue and prevent me from advancing on the problems I'm working on. Social justice, as important as it is, is one of those categories. It has to be. If this seems unlikely or hard to understand, maybe read about the idea of "stereotype threat" -- this feels like a closely related phenomenon.

All I'm saying is that it's distracting, surprisingly distracting, unfairly distracting, to change a dock icon, and maybe next year you could theme the repository browser window header instead.


With deep respect and admiration for those who made this decision, I offer these comments and hope a respectful discussion will ensue.


Kat Marketplace Partner Jun 18, 2019

I enjoyed reading your perspective. 

I do not oppose LGBT people, I actually think they do not deserve any obstacles in their life just because the way they were born. 

I respect that Atlasssian supports them, but do not force your view on me as it is very unprofessional because source tree icon has nothing to do with LGBT rights. At all. It is a development tool and it should stay this way. Keep your world views out of my tools. 

Also forcing stuff down people's throat will have the opposite effect.

Like # people like this

I don't understand why this isn't an opt-in feature... I'm spending time during my development day trying to figure out why my icon changed without warning. There's no option in settings to change the icon back to blue and I have no idea why it would change without at least notifying me. 

So it turns out the Mac-pride-icon is located in in the program. I've figured out how to view the assets in the .car file, but I'm still struggling on how to edit them. I keep mis-clicking on SourceTree when I mean to click on Google Chrome in my Dock. It's happened half-a-dozen times so far today.


Does anyone know exactly when Pride week ends for SourceTree?



Open Terminal and type:


perl -i -p -e 's/Pridetree/Bridetree/;' /Applications/

Like # people like this

Do I need to start another discussion? Why was my comment removed without explanation?

Yes, please. It's sleepy time in Australia right now... so we can discuss this issue without fear of censorship for a few hours.

@AntonD ,

We are not sure why and we are looking further into it  but your comment above got caught and removed the spam filter.

It has been added back, and thanks for the input with the links to the workaround.



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