is there an option or setting to have the pagination of slides always visible, not only when the sidebar (with comments) is open?
this has not always been like this and leads to major client-side confusion.
Are you looking at something like this? Artboard page numbers – Adobe XD Feedback : Feature Requests & Bugs
If you have a different requirement, please start a new post using options in the link above. The product team can then prioritize your request.
If that's what you're interested in, please upvote this feature request: Control whether artboard navigation arrows are visible in prototype or not – Adobe XD Feedback.