And how awesome they are.
In particular, let's talk about how fundamentally what lim
did there was RE-WRITE LJ'S S2 ENTIRELY IN CSS. Hands down it is the most technically-impressive and well-designed thing I have ever seen come from the AO3 development team.
It's really fucking sexy, guys. Like. A lot. A whole lot. I've been playing around with it since it launched and I KIND OF WANT TO HAVE ITS BABIES.
Yeah, ok, the initial skins that launched with it aren't the best ever, especially to eyes that are used to the sexy layouts that most web2.0 social networking sites provide in advance. And yeah, there are some bugs in them. But the change this represents? Is probably the single thing I've wanted most from that site forever.
For the first time, the AO3 is offering its users a way to customize part of the site from the ground up and submit that change back to them so they can make it available to everyone. (No, the previous skin system did not do that. The previous skin system provided a way for people to override the look-and-feel of the site if they were willing to fill their code with painful overrides and forcing mechanisms.) And that is a very good sign of things that could come.
I am not an AO3 coder, and am very unlikely to become one any time soon. But now I can do really cool things with the AO3 and bend it to my will (visually, at least) without having to become one! And so can fandom's very many awesome designers--I've seen what people can do with an LJ layout, and I'd love to see what fandom will wind up with if those people are let loose on the AO3 and given encouragement and incentives to play with it. I'm competent, but so many people are BRILLIANT. (And while it's not great for a lot of *other* AO3 users, it's pretty swell for me that the set of available skins right now is really just a set of tutorials/examples for ways you can modify different parts of the site.)
Fundamentally, the revolution in social media in the last five years is "do not try to be everything to everybody. Build a solid foundation and give people the tools to bend you to be what they want." This, IMO, is the primary factor responsible for the success of Twitter (via replacement apps), Facebook (via add-on apps), etc. This skins launch isn't perfect, but it's the AO3's first step down that road, and it makes me more happy than you can imagine.
(Now if only they offered an API for bookmarks and tags. The things I would do with that! The glorious, GLORIOUS things I would do with that. (By which I mean, the fun I would have playing with that...))
EDITED: To remove the passive-aggressive block. This is a positive fucking entry, damnit.