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.
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