When we first launched meta, something pretty amazing happened—we came together and defined what we feel is one of the most transparent and inclusive ways that a company can communicate with the people who use what it builds. We pretty squarely give credit to all of you for some of the best features that we've ever shipped, which were based on ideas that were ironed out here.
We are quite proud of how open, accessible and communicative we're able to be with the people that work hard with us to make our software as fantastic as it is. We're pretty confident that we communicate quite a bit better than most companies—but that luster dulls a bit when you consider just how low the average bar really sits. Being quite a bit better than awful isn't really being great. We need to do more; we need something else to fill in some gaps where we could do better at keeping folks in the loop and more involved in the longer haul to shipping.
We'd like to try something new, a monthly town hall style event in chat where we're able to get more immediate two-way communication with folks. We'll have the opportunity to give you more frequent updates about the stuff we're doing, discuss things that happened during the month, answer questions and just talk. Think of it like making a point to make sure that we sit down and have a long lunch together once each month.
The idea is taking form even as we announce it, and we're likely to try some variations in the format and time to get the right mix. Here's the sort of thing you can expect regardless of where the format settles:
- Updates from us on stuff we've been doing. This is an upgrade from responding to a feature or discussion that was posted followed by three months of quiet and then all of a sudden something ships.
- The opportunity for people to interact more with the community and engineering teams on a more personal level. You can get to know more of our community managers, developers, and even some of our product & engineering managers.
- The opportunity for other people in our company that do amazing and interesting things but don't often interact on Meta to get to know you better.
- A chance for us to talk about things that have been weighing since the last time we talked. Things can get kind of disjointed or lost in asynchronous comment ping conversations, this is a chance to catch up.
- Fun, shenanigans, and possibly even some loot.
Now, let's chew on some nitty-gritty.
How will the event be moderated?
This is one of the things we expect to have to tweak before we find what works the best. What we can't have is everyone talking over each other carrying on 15 independent conversations. Talking-stick style moderation (someone tells you when it's your turn to talk, and everyone else should respect the flow of conversation while you do) is probably the best way to go—but let's see as we go.
When and where will the event take place?
We'll be meeting in the Tavern on Thursday, May 5th, at 3pm EDT, for an hour. Here's a handy tool for figuring out what time that is in your part of the globe.
What are we going to talk about?
We could use your help compiling a list of topics you want us to make time for. Like event moderation, the process for determining agendas will involve playing around until we get the right mix. Getting a list of preferred items beforehand, which will inform the first few events, will be a big help. Maybe you want to pick our brains about the launch of Documentation, or our future goals, or comment moderation, or something else entirely. We'll be weighing a few different priorities and voting from folks here on suggested topics will be a huge determining factor.
See you on Thursday, May 5th!
Update: Our first event was held yesterday, and the topic was comment culture, as suggested by Monica. Thanks to everyone who stopped by and helped us give this a spin. The team is now considering what to tweak and improve about the format for a second town hall next month. Stay tuned!