Sometimes when poking around MSE (or any meta site, really), I'll come across an interesting feature-request, read through it, think it's a great idea, and notice that, oh hey, it's already been status-declined. It rarely actually happens in that order, but regardless, darn.
Here, this really cool idea got shot down. I'm left with two options--I can either begin wallowing in sadness and cursing the name of whichever CM is listed in the revision history, or I can go and read their response, and nine times out of ten think "oh hey, I didn't think of that unintended consequence of this otherwise well-meaning feature request. You guys rock."
In the interest of promoting the latter case, it would be nice to have some means of more easily finding that official response.
There's an unfortunate tendency of really good ideas--like the ones to which I'm most keen to read the official answer--to have a bazillion (I'm rounding) answers that say "this is great! And we could also do this!" and so on and so forth. That's also generally what the accepted answer is, particularly when the OP wasn't satisfied with the official response (if they saw it at all, amid all those answer notifications). So this leaves me scrolling through a list of answers that poke and prod at all the interesting twists and turns this declined feature request could have opened up. I generally start at the bottom, because I know a negative reaction to a positively-received request will likely receive a down-vote or 197. But even that isn't foolproof, and sometimes I find myself scrolling almost to the top of the list before finally seeing the post I'm looking for, if there even is one. If there isn't, well, I have to check again in case I missed it. Clearly, not all [status-*] posts have explanations, and this isn't about that. But it would be nice to know that the current one doesn't, just so I don't bother looking for one.
Okay, so perhaps I'm being a tad overly dramatic about all this. But my point stands.
Is there anything we can do to make it a bit easier to find the official response to a feature request, or perhaps even meta posts in general?
The best solution I can think is to have a banner somewhere either above or below the question (sort of like a locked, closed, or protected question might) that says something along the lines of "click here to read the official response," but honestly I'm not a huge fan of that, and I'm definitely open to suggestions that aren't so intrusive.
The biggest cons I can think of for any solution to this are as follows:
- I think it could be viewed as fundamentally undercutting a core SE philosophy, in that it gives weight to a representative of the company that a member of the community couldn't possibly receive. That said, however, I feel like some weight is deserved by said representatives on meta posts. Particularly since CMs and devs are the only people who are even able to actually answer a feature request, and everyone else is just giving their opinion, whether valid or not.
- It could make the system look bad, if a lot of questions were marked status-declined without any explanation. But I feel like anyone who frequents a meta site should be able to gather that not every feature request is deserving of a CM's time to respond.
- I'm not sure how we can handle "for fun" posts or community ads, where an employee isn't necessarily giving the resolving answer. This could be viewed as an argument to filter such a feature only to [status-*]'d feature-requests.
Beyond that, any implementation should be able to somehow accommodate times when multiple employees respond. As with the third listed con, this could be resolved by only displaying under those circumstances.
The thought has crossed my mind of only linking to the same CM as changed the posted status, but even that is not ideal both because of likely-prohibitive implementation difficulties, and because the same CM doesn't necessarily change the status as answer it (also a good argument against the very valid "why don't you just ctrl+F the editing mod's name," even on top of that their edit wasn't necessarily the most recent).
For what it's worth, this is the feature request I was looking at when I thought of this: Is there Markdown to create tables?. That's not a particularly difficult one, since Shog's answer is third to the bottom on it. But it's not hard to find high-rated feature requests on which this could be even more useful.
Also, just to be clear, I've mentioned status-declined a couple times here, but it's not like I don't also like reading the release notes of status-completed, or even the commentary on status-planned et al. when available. So in an ideal world, this would apply to anything.
And come to think of it, this feature could even be expanded to any moderator. If a moderator responds to a meta post, there's a reasonable chance that their comment is deserving of some special attention.