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Why are there so many high-voted requests with status-declined?

I realise I not going to be popular for asking this and will probably be hunted down by a unicorn hit-squad in my sleep but it's a valid question so here goes.

Generally there's a lot of waffle that passes through meta and many requests are (and indeed should be) met with scepticism and a fair amount of apathy.

Every once in a while, however I see some great suggestions here that are simply not given the time of day for no other reason than it seems to be the norm. Before you ask, I'm not going to cite examples.

As developers we are all aware that users come to us with requests and there is generally some under-the-bonnet reason for not daring to entertain the thought of raking through code and address some uglies that would need to be tackled in order to restore balance to the force if a request were to be actioned.

My question is simply one of: Is Stack Overflow caught in a "It ain't broke we're not gonna fix it" loop?

More specifically is SO deemed to be complete in its current state and any change is outside the scope of some secret release schedule? Is there a roadmap and where do we find such information if it is indeed public. Have we lost some momentum?

Awaits hail of arrows with rainbow trails

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    I still see new things being added to Recent feature changes to Stack Exchange. – Arjan Jul 13 '12 at 11:06
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    @Arjan Like the voting badges, no one asked for? – yannis Jul 13 '12 at 11:07
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    @YannisRizos people did want more activity in elections though. Just because people don't ask for a specific feature doesn't mean it doesn't benefit them/the community. Sometimes it's about looking past what people request and finding out what they need – Ben Brocka Jul 13 '12 at 11:15
  • @BenBrocka Not really the point of my comment, the point was more than there's a ton of great features with strong community support that sit in limbo, and instead we got a feature that didn't really serve its purpose... Voting badges may help with future election participation, however introducing them mid election didn't do much (if anything) with the SO election. We'll probably get a clearer idea about them with the current SU election. – yannis Jul 13 '12 at 11:17
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    Do you have evidence for those claims/theories? – Time Traveling Bobby Jul 13 '12 at 11:22
  • @UristMcBobby The question states "Before you ask, I'm not going to cite examples" because I don't want this question to start debating specific requests. – Moog Jul 13 '12 at 11:29
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    @Merlin: Mh...but without anything backing that, I fear it's a mere subjective discussion. I mean, there is constantly something going on behind the scenes, many changes are not to the front-end, and the developers seem to be pretty busy. Okay, that sentence is maybe not English...anyway, I know how hard it can be to keep clients/customers/users within the loop of information about the software...it's hard, very hard. Just because we don't see a constant flow of new features doesn't mean that there's not much changed, going on or planned. It is simply easier to leave us out of the loop. – Time Traveling Bobby Jul 13 '12 at 11:48
  • @UristMcBobby I remember there used to be a blog link up top ... maybe that was the main site ... perhaps that could be restored on meta to provide info rather than hiding it away in questions like Recent Changes. I think this is a filing problem. – Moog Jul 13 '12 at 12:05
  • @Merlin: You mean that Blog-Link in the bottom bar? – Time Traveling Bobby Jul 13 '12 at 12:09
  • dang ... it moved, I forgot facepalm ;) – Moog Jul 13 '12 at 12:10
  • The blog link is still on top if there's a new blog, isn't it, @Urist? – Arjan Jul 13 '12 at 13:33
  • @Arjan: Yes, if there's a new entry it will show up in the top-bar (replacing the chat-link). – Time Traveling Bobby Jul 13 '12 at 13:44
  • why replace the chat link? that seems random and if you'll excuse my brashness, rather shoddy UX. Wouldn't a permanent blog link up top be perfectly acceptable? – Moog Jul 13 '12 at 15:03
  • Doesn't really matter where the blog link is. The frequency of blog posts has dropped significantly in the last six months. – Troyen Jul 13 '12 at 18:20

The team typically waits to see what Meta posts receive community members' support before working on implementation, with the exception of objective bug reports. That means that your issue boils down to some requests getting more community response than others.

There can be many reasons for a post to get a low amount of community response. For example:

  • it was posted at a time when there just aren't that many people on the site
  • people are focused on a more important or more controversial post
  • users who decide to view the post don't feel strongly enough about its topic to leave replies or cast votes
  • the title doesn't seem interesting to many viewers

I, too, have seen posts that just don't seem to get any traction, but I think they can be explained by normal random fluctuations in factors like the ones above. I see no reason to believe that it's "the norm" for the MSO community to actively/intentionally ignore high-quality posts.

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    Although I wonder if the OP is more so referring to the lack of response from the team? On that side of the coin, it's worth noting that things you'd like to have are not necessarily things that are actually useful. For example, I asked for and received a pocket projector as a gift one year because it seemed cool and I thought it would be useful to have, though in reality I hardly ever use it. Some popular feature requests here come across in the same way, to me. – Tim Stone Jul 13 '12 at 13:44
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    Also to that end, they just rolled out a complex review interface overhaul and there's a supposed search overhaul in the works, which would seem to suggest they are indeed fixing things that aren't optimal. – Tim Stone Jul 13 '12 at 13:48
  • I think this answers the question very well indeed. Thankyou :) – Moog Jul 13 '12 at 19:15

This is what the tag wiki for has to say:

"Proposals for new features on the site, or requests for a change to an existing feature."

And this is what the tag wiki has to say:

"A feature request that has been implemented, a bug has been fixed, or a request has been processed."

Completed Feature Requests

And searching for both the tags together brings 1621 results: https://meta.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/feature-request+status-completed

Searching for only feature-request tag brings me 10,661 results, which means at least 15% of the requests have been entertained.

Feature Requests where proposer accept an answer rejecting request

Then there are questions where the proposer has accepted an answer from the SE network owners/moderators why a proposal should not be implemented. For example:

  1. Shorthand links in posts as well as comments
  2. Increase reputation requirement and add other requirements for moderator elections on sites other than Stack Overflow


Status Declined

From a comment there are also 616 questions where a [meta-tag:feature request] has been explicitly declined and hence tagged .

People at SE have been listening from the community but haven't let them tell what to do.


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