Community Bulletin was redesigned on June 23, 2014
More info on Redesigned community bulletin.
As some of you may have noticed, there's a new feature on Stack Exchange:
The Community Bulletin box is a tool for the community to promote events and initiatives that are important to them. On-site activities like tag cleanup events, chat events, and weekly topic contests are some examples of things to promote in the community bulletin.
The origins of this yellow grab bag of information are a suggestion by iKnowKungFoo: Should SO/SE have a Community Calendar? and another from Isaac Moses: Provide a non-system-message channel for moderators to contact all users. Both of these ended up approaching very similar problems from very different directions...
Every community needs some public area to post notices of general interest. Meta works to a certain extent, but not everyone visits meta. We needed a fixed, visible place to display this stuff that would be easy to find but wouldn't intrude upon the normal content of the site (in the way that system messages do).
So after a considerable amount of internal discussion, we came up with some fairly simple rules for displaying moderator elections, current events, blog posts, featured meta posts and hot meta discussions.
(For the specific details, see: What criteria are used to select the links that appear in the community bulletin sidebar block?)
Note that this replaces the "Visit Meta" sidebar block, which had very similar rules for what got displayed... But didn't consistently show up anywhere itself!
This makes it pretty easy for everyone to have at least some say in what gets shown there. Anyone can start a meta discussion. Moderators can feature them if they need some extra attention, and they can schedule events to promote chat discussion, contests, conferences, etc.
There are two missing pieces though:
It's not particularly functional for Stack Overflow, because there's no way to create per-tag events. Apart from things like Meetups and major cleanup efforts, there aren't a lot of events that are worth intruding on every single reader's view.
The best part — scheduled events — is moderator-only.
The reason for omitting both of these initially is to give y'all a chance to play with it a bit without getting too crazy. With no gatekeepers in place, a bulletin board quickly starts to look a bit... messy.
So for now, when you have something you'd like to announce, create a meta post describing the event and tag it discussion scheduled-event — you can then use this post to describe, discuss, and collect votes (for and against) the proposed event. If it gets sufficient activity, a moderator should then step in and add it to the site's calendar.
Use it! Together with community promotion ads, this is your space to talk about yourselves, share important news and keep each other informed of what's going on. We're excited to see what you can come up with...