Safe-mode failed with a plugin

Continuing the discussion from New avatar is scaling wrongly:

I couldn’t get avatar showing right and the reason for that was an experimental setting of sidecar plugin of topic list preview component.

That is another story. But finding that issue took a while and reason for that was failing of safe-mode. It should disable un-official plugins and it didn’t happend.


  • activate Topic List Preview, component and sidecar plugin
  • enable setting topic list enable thumbnail black border elimination
  • uploaded avatar and/or updated gravatar should show in wrong dimensions
  • reload site using /safe-mode
  • the issue of avatar dimensions is still there
  • disable setting topic list enable thumbnail black border elimination
  • the issue of avatar dimensions disappear, no matter is there /safe-mode in use or not

Just to note, safe mode only disables the front-end code and doesn’t completely remove all plugin functionality/interactions from the server:


That was actually very valuable note. And that means too that we can’t rely on safe mode too much, right?

That bothers me now quite lot because if there is chance to get false result safe mode is, not useless, but unreliable.

Because I disabled that sidecar, but it didn’t help either so I should rebuild one plugin after one to be sure. It would take awful much time.

So, this is not a bug then. But how we know when we (or I) can trust on safe mode and when not?

(Should this slip to support ?)


For themes, safe mode will 100% disable everything.

It’s fundamentally impossible for us to disable server-side plugin customizations on a per-web-request basis, so that’s why safe-mode can only disable client-side changes. It can still be useful to narrow things down though

  • If things work in safe mode, it must be theme/plugin causing the issue

  • If things are still broken in safe mode, it must be core or a server-side plugin issue

Perhaps we should improve the /safe-mode text to explain that. Currently it says

Safe mode allows you to test your site without loading plugins or themes.

Maybe we should make that

Safe mode allows you to test your site without loading themes or client-side plugin customizations. Server-side plugin customizations remain enabled.


That wouldn’t be the worst idea. Because I can’t be the only one who didn’t understand the difference. And Discourse is evolving more complex all the time.

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Let’s do it


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