I've been thinking about a particular proposal for the SE network as a whole for some time now. If implemented, it's certain to require considerable design work to balance a number of specific issues, a good deal of coding to implement, and no small amount of testing to catch the unexpected quirks. Yet, I feel it would be of enormous benefit in improving scalable, robust user-level moderation on all sites, and I'm loathe to let it drop, especially after working out many of the basic principles already.

How should I make this suggestion in a way that minimizes bikeshedding, maximizes attention to the fundamental workings or flaws, and avoids flinging huge walls of text around? Unlike the SE team, I have neither the benefit of private team meetings to hash out the broad strokes and a unified public face, nor the ability to wait until the decision has already been made to reveal a fait accompli in an enormous announcement post that doubles as a catcher for quickly-spotted bugs.

For that matter, is it even possible to suggest major changes as a simple SE user, or is that, de facto if not de jure, the exclusive province of SE employees? The largest user suggestion I can easily remember being implemented was the dupehammer, which, while inspiringly successful, is a considerably smaller feature than I am contemplating. (Although it's not the next Documentation-scale feature suite, either.)

I've considered splitting this into multiple posts, but I'm not entirely certain what split to use, as the initial post describing the concept seems to need to either be immediately backed up with analysis that demonstrates that all the obvious holes have already been considered, or the existence of such hole-patches taken for granted, which rather negates much of the purpose of the discussion. (There may also need to be an even earlier post to demonstrate the extent of the problem being solved, which has its own challenges, since people quite naturally tend to resist problem statements that come without any stated solutions.)

  • 2
    Now I'm salivating while I wait to see what you are going to propose :) Dec 3, 2016 at 15:32
  • did you consider starting with requests to collect (and possibly discuss) statistics that may be related to your proposal?
    – gnat
    Dec 3, 2016 at 15:41
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    @gnat: I've been collecting links to posts and comments where people have mentioned things that back up my problem statement, yes. Dec 3, 2016 at 17:33

1 Answer 1


I would propose the high level idea first, to try and get community endorsement in principle.

Then you can flesh out any implementation concerns and details about how to address them in separate Q&As that are linked from and link back to the high level idea.

To avoid any potential pitfalls tending to draw too much attention in the initial post, even though you will be addressing them later, I would make a conscious decision that the initial question will remain high level, by perhaps including at the bottom a simple list of Issues as dot points which each link to separate Q&A discussions.

An alternative to the above would be to make your question a description of the problem, so that anyone who agrees that it is a problem will be likely to upvote.

Then provide your high-level solution as an answer (still with links off to more detailed Q&As for more detail/discussion). An advantage of this may be that if your idea is initially misunderstood and attracts early downvotes, then it is quarantined into an answer that you can easily delete, and start again to try and explain in a more appealing way.


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