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As I was reading new questions for my tags on SO I saw one commenter mention the OP's acceptance rate and another commenter tell a newbie to use the tag. Folks who make the effort to participate on MSO would know not to do these things but it seems that the way we're currently educating the broader SO community is to flag comments when one of the Dos and Don'ts have been violated. That communication process seems to me to be glacial in speed and almost guaranteeing pockets of Do's and Don'ts ignorance on SO for quite some time.

Don't we have a better way to communicate what's decided or agreed upon here? We could:

  1. Send a message to everyone's inbox ("Homework tag has been deprecated, but still be nice to newbies", for example), or
  2. Have one blog where these decisions could be posted and some reward for people following, or
  3. Use the community bulletin to broadcast. The bulletin's scope is much broader that just Do's and Don'ts but the latest entry is displayed on everybody's front page
  4. Or maybe there is such a place and I just missed it, but then a lot of other SO users are obviously missing it, too.
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Pain and suffering is usually how we spread the news. –  user7116 Sep 22 '12 at 2:48

2 Answers 2

up vote 8 down vote accepted

There's relatively little "top down" governance on Stack Overflow. Folks can write up an answer saying how they think things should be here on Meta, but unless they can persuade a sizable portion of the larger community it really doesn't mean jack squat.

Meta is a medium for such communication, but hardly the only one. A lot of stuff gets passed around in Chat, or simply relayed in comments. Often, the best way to disseminate information is one-on-one, taking time to explain and answer questions. This starts slow, but for good ideas can spread quickly.

Of course, we do have a blog, and we do have a bulletin board, and we do use them both in cases where it's important to get information out to a broad audience quickly.

(psst! Don't let on that I told you this, but someone's working on a blog writeup for right now...)

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So you're saying someone's doing their own homework? –  random Sep 22 '12 at 3:55
    
I understand, but if we really want to curtail comments on the OP's acceptance rate (as an example) then we should actively broadcast the message that such comments are not proper ettiquete. That doesn't necessarily equate to top down governance. –  Chris Gerken Sep 22 '12 at 4:08
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@Chris: "That doesn't necessarily equate to top down governance." How does it not? Remember: the people who don't participate on MSO did not weigh in on these decisions. Thus, it would be MSO users and moderators making the decision without their knowledge or consent and then imposing it. That's top-down governance: the top (MSO) is imposing its will on the bottom (SO). –  Nicol Bolas Sep 22 '12 at 6:46
    
@NicolBolas: I don't disagree with you. I just think there already is some degree of top down control, but it's voluntary in its application and piecemeal in its enforcement. Just a matter of degrees. –  Chris Gerken Sep 22 '12 at 19:01
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@Chris: to address Accept Rate comments specifically, the "top down" solution is just to stop displaying accept rate. I'd like to replace it with something more useful. –  Shog9 Sep 22 '12 at 19:11
    
@Shog9: That's all good. I only wanted to raise the issue that there are some people who really care about SO here in MSO and they're spending a lot of effort here on MSO coming up with the best way to use SO, but the broader SO community has little, if any, awareness of the results of all that work. I leave the decision about how best to solve the problem to folks who are far more knowledgeable about SO and MSO. –  Chris Gerken Sep 22 '12 at 19:28
    
Yes! It has taken hours of lurking on MSO, reading endless debates to learn what's expected. MSO is the least newbie-friendly place on SE, and the relevant content is so diffuse. Can't we have a central, easy-to-find policy non-community wiki somewhere? You'd be able to tell so many more people to RTM if there was a M, and some of us would first! I really wanted to read the manual, before I used my priviledges, but... Oh. I just found THE faq. Why isn't this ridiculously prominent & linked from the main /faq? –  AndrewC Sep 23 '12 at 1:37
    
@AndrewC: look all the way at the bottom of stackoverflow.com/faq –  Shog9 Sep 23 '12 at 5:47
    
Yup. It's the first place, I looked, but the list is disorganised and encourages you to scroll in dismay through stuff that you're not interested in. It's not a good layout for a faq. It should link directly to meta.stackexchange.com/questions/7931/… . Please! What seems obvious to experienced users is not obvious to newcomers. –  AndrewC Sep 23 '12 at 7:38
    
@Shog9 The link to faq should be at the bottom of the categorised list, with an explicit instruction to search and maybe remove the faq from the search if you don't find what you need. –  AndrewC Sep 23 '12 at 7:46

What I usually do is to check FAQ for Stack Exchange sites post to look for generally accepted guidelines for the Stack Exchange sites. As an example, following information is available regarding tag:

How to ask and answer homework questions?

Don't edit a question to add the homework tag. The homework tag is deprecated. The homework tag is being actively removed from questions

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