Given the huge resentment that is out there for the change in sort order for responses, I think that a problem has been identified. The community wants to feel that they own the site. Some of the most active members on SO are fairly active here on META too. People want to feel that they are heard, but it seems as if they don't feel like they are a part of the process when it comes to new code releases for the SO sites. Regardless of whether or not they are included does not matter as they "feel" like they weren't and that is something we should try to fix.
Personally, I think the community has a voice, but does not own the site. Nobody in the community pays the hosting bills, developer's salaries, etc. So when it comes to making changes, the community doesn't have the final say. However, I think that with sites that are heavily community oriented, a little transparency on things that are included in a next release or planned for a future release would not hurt anyone or their feelings. At least they know when to expect the change and had an opportunity before the fact to voice some concerns.
I know there are tags for planned, declined, etc., but it doesn't give details as to when it will be included in a release or anything of that nature.
Lastly, I really appreciate the work Jeff and team have done on the SO sites. I've saved months worth of time in solving some issues and none of that would have happened without SO.