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Traditionally SE site users, moderators, and CMs have discouraged political conversation on main site posts, meta site posts, comments, and site-specific chat rooms.

Recently, SE's CEO shared a statement regarding a high profile political topic on MSO. A follow up was posted by a CM on the Islam site meta. Both are were featured posts.

My questions are:

  • Are political discussions now welcome on SE sites?
  • Where? Mains, metas, chat rooms, comments?
  • By whom? All users? Employees only? Upper level management only?
  • On what issues? USA-related only? Hot issues only? Only issues that have already had significant exposure?
  • On what sides of said issues? All sides? Favorable sides? SE-endorsed sides?

Having the CEO and a CM post a political statement on a site-specific meta sets an example and I am wondering what the new policies are.

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    Comments purged in response to multiple flags. Reminder that anyone who can comment here can also post answers; use that privilege. – Shog9 Feb 6 '17 at 22:28
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We need to be able to engage with you on our own platform when we feel that there's something important to say.

That includes:

  • Announcements about ways that Stack Overflow / Stack Exchange is changing or growing as a product,
  • Notices of job openings that are very difficult for us to fill, or we feel would be best filled by someone in our communities with a good understanding of what we build,
  • Silly crayon and paint contests to burn up an idle Friday and get a free t-shirt and some stickers, special events that we might be hosting or involved in some way, etc,
  • Communication regarding events taking place in the world that we feel could impact our business, our employees or our view of what community means, which has happened twice in the roughly nine year history of our company

While your question pulls context from Joel's recent post, the answer is a bit more broadly applicable. If we feel the need to make you aware of something, we need to be able to do it on our own platform, without any third party, with our own privacy policy, with our be nice policy and terms of service, and moderation tools.

Every employee in senior management is expected to be able to speak on behalf of the company should they need to without worry, direction or reservation. However, putting out communication that proactively puts us in a strong position for or against something will generally come from, or by the direction of our executive team. Or, pretty much, Joel.

It doesn't really boil down to political discourse being encouraged or discouraged, what this was about (and we didn't do the greatest job while rushing around) is that there's times that we just need to talk to you about something important; twice in roughly nine years this involved something resulting from politics.

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    @TimPost Thanks. Then, a question about the premise: "We need to be able to engage with you on our own platform when we feel that there's something important to say." -- Why do you need to be able to do that, as opposed to, e.g., doing the same thing that the rest of the world who doesn't have their own Q&A platform does, and using other platforms? To me there seems to be this pervasive and fundamental assumption on behalf of the staff that SE is the key to change, and that if it didn't exist, the world would somehow not have a way to effectively enact political change. – Jason C Feb 1 '17 at 17:11
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    Comments purged in response to multiple flags. Reminder that anyone who can comment here can also post answers; use that privilege. – Shog9 Feb 6 '17 at 22:27
  • I read a story once about an organization that hit upon the idea of avoiding user drama by posting potentially-upsetting notices in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying "Beware of the Leopard", @JasonC. I forget how that worked out for the users involved, but... Probably good? – Shog9 Feb 6 '17 at 22:36

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