Rate the quality of the ads
All this chatter on advertising has me thinking - we should be able to upvote, downvote, and comment on ads.
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We've been working on this, and will start testing a feature that will allow users to up or down vote ads. This will be rolled out to a small, randomly selected, percentage of our users initially, but if the test is successful we'll roll it out to all (and properly announce it at that time :). Stay tuned.
Just head to the unofficial Meta Stack Overflow Stack Overflow Ad Gallery and vote your heart out.
The people I talk to who have done this (voting on ads) indicate that it never results in worthwhile, actionable data.
That's a valid point. Advertisers have their own metrics (they literally live in their own world of 'ad response' statistics) and this additional metric may be off-putting to some.
On the other hand, Google didn't say, "Let's do advertising the way it's always been done" they decided to do it their way and accept the advertisers who were willing to fit into their model.
StackOverflow is a site built around the idea that the community can vote on and moderate itself - why not extend that to moderating the ads as well?
"The advertisers won't like it" is only valid if that means that we can't get enough advertisers to participate.
I suspect, though, that the advertisers who truly want our dollars won't mind coming into our community and participating, even if most of them only do it tongue in cheek (as woot did).
But I suspect this is one aspect of StackOverflow that the community won't be able to decide - at the end of the day it'll have to be a business decision.
Still, it would be a fun experiment.