I think it would be nice to have an Announcements feature on the SE sites. An announcement would work different then a question in the form that some relevant information to the community as a whole is pushed rather then asked for. Before an announcement goes into the general announcements pool, it would need to be peer reviewed. Then it will be visible to the rest of the community and voted on. I imagine this working similar to a hybrid of the review system for users retaining a certain rep and the definition to commit system on area51. A feature like this would be very valuable. For example, recently I found a great free online course this summer for people interested in Machine Learning. An announcement like this would be applicable to a community like Cross Validated but I was unable to push this announcement to the community because there were no particular questions pertaining to the subject at the time or if there was, the questions were long forgotten.

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    So, like the per-site Meta? Or maybe the per-site blog? – Cody Gray Aug 19 '11 at 4:35
  • yes, I suppose - good point. More like the per-site blog rather then the meta. I would like to see this more widely available to users. Looks like you have to jump through a bunch of hoops to make a simple announcement. I'm suggesting this take more of the Q/A format for brevity. – Chamilyan Aug 19 '11 at 4:51
  • Right, the Q&A format is what you'd find on Meta, easily accessible for all users. Note that site moderators can add the [featured] tag to make a question more prominent and even appear as a link on the homepage. Use your flags to request that they do so. – Cody Gray Aug 19 '11 at 4:52
  • yeah but how many people are actually doing this on meta? As far as I know Meta is all about questions concerning the main site itself. In any case, I guess this is good enough. – Chamilyan Aug 19 '11 at 5:00
  • I don't know how many people are doing it on their per-site metas right now, but there's certainly nothing wrong with doing it. I've done it once or twice on the Philosophy site, but it's still extremely small. The meta site is there for all the community members to use as they see fit, though. It is for discussions about the site, but it's for any discussions related to the site. The rules are intentionally much less strict there to allow for things like this. (Note for clarity, I mean the per-site metas, not this one. For example, meta.gaming.stackexchange.com) – Cody Gray Aug 19 '11 at 5:03
  • Right, well cool - if that's within the rules then Meta would be applicable to what I'm suggesting. It still feels like a well we have Meta and we have Community Promotion Ads and as an edge case what your suggesting is applicable here kind of answer. – Chamilyan Aug 19 '11 at 5:10
  • Well, maybe. I kind of have a bias against new features when there's a simple enough way of doing it within the existing design and features that are available. The whole point of meta is kind of "do whatever you want, within reason, as long as it's somehow related to the site". – Cody Gray Aug 19 '11 at 5:12

I think the right way to do this is through a community promotion ad:

This is a method for the community to control what gets promoted to visitors on the site. For example, you might promote the following things:

  • cool site-related open source apps
  • the site's twitter account
  • scripts packs or power tools
  • cool events or conferences
  • anything else your community would genuinely be interested in

The last one seems to fit your purpose. If the ad gets enough votes (6, currently) it will show up periodically in the right panel

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  • I agree, this isn't bad. But it doesn't exactly line up with the same purpose. What if there is some trending information that would be applicable? Would I need to wait for a question before I can push something to the community promotion pool. And what if this applicable question is old and hardly visible? – Chamilyan Aug 18 '11 at 20:36
  • @egfx I'm confused as to why you're talking about questions. Michael's answer is about sidebar ads. Ads aren't attached to particular questions. – user154510 Aug 18 '11 at 20:42
  • @Matthew Read , from the suggestion in the link - put images and links in the answers. If they get voted up enough, they will appear on the main site as community promotion ads. – Chamilyan Aug 18 '11 at 20:45
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    @egfx So you're referring to the question about promotion ads? Michael links to the one for CV, and there should be one for all non-beta sites, so you shouldn't have to wait on anyone in order to post a suggested ad. You will have to wait for it to get upvotes, but that's exactly the same as waiting for the peer review you suggest in your question! Finally, when you add an answer the question gets bumped in the "Active" list, which is the default display for StackExchange sites, so people should see it; the age of the question won't prevent it from being visible. – user154510 Aug 18 '11 at 21:12
  • I think I understand this link now. What your saying is that this particular question is considered a special question and answers with enough upvotes to this question get a chance to appear as the community ad. It's very ambiguous and I had to read it three times to understand what was going on, but maybe it's just me. I think a simpler, less ambiguous, more direct feature would be better. I don't think many users know about this promotion ads system. And further They're not about to spend time creating an image for a link that isn't theirs but they want to let the community know about. – Chamilyan Aug 18 '11 at 21:52
  • @egfx That last sentence sounds like the real problem to me – Michael Mrozek Aug 18 '11 at 23:31
  • yep, but I guess in my case, I didn't know about this feature and I consider myself fairly active. – Chamilyan Aug 19 '11 at 0:22

I think a community ad, as suggested by Micheal, is the best solution, but the site's blog (if you have one) is another viable venue for this sort of thing.

Your example, Cross Validated, has a community blog. If you want to contribute to it, check out the info on the about page on how to get an account.

The benefit of using the blog is that since it isn't a Q/A, you don't have to wait for somebody to ask a relevant question. It is also automatically announced to the whole site when there is a new blog post, via a red new link in the site's header.

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  • The blog posts being pushed to the whole site is much closer to what I'm talking about. But, in the time I've participated. I've only seen a few special site announcements like the first birthday of the Apple site and what not. These are about the sites mainly and are not really repositories of community reviewed announcements. – Chamilyan Aug 18 '11 at 21:09

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