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I posted a question here on Meta Stack Exchange, or on a per-site meta, regarding a bug I found in the system. I got no comments, or a few comments stating that this is a legitimate bug (and not by design). However, it's been quite a long time, and no official response was ever posted there.

Or, I had an idea for a new feature, but realized it's already requested, either by searching or posting a request myself only to have it closed as a duplicate of the existing one. It's been a while since the original request was filed, but no official response has been made.

What can I do to draw attention to meta questions for the SE team, so they can give an official response, and possibly implement the bug fix or feature?

Note: This is different from other general questions which ask for how to get attention for unanswered questions, since the procedures on meta sites are different, and getting an official response isn't necessarily the same as getting a good answer.

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    Putting a status tag on this so I can pick it up again soon as we solidify how meta and our behind-the-scenes bug tracker coordinate, and one of the first goals is to show a better sense of presence (is it being worked on? if not, when? Is it even being tracked? Can we give users agency into how priorities get set? Etc) Anyway, more to come, but this is a great reference point for more visibility into internals. – Tim Post Oct 31 '18 at 18:23
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    @TimPost Sounds cool. Can you please respond to this related question? – Sonic the Inclusive Hedgehog Oct 31 '18 at 18:24
  • “…so that people who search for different terms find the canonical one.” but the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and two different users posted two similar/quasi identical questions and evidently didn't see your post. Why? Because in English it is more common to say "draw attention to something" that's why. But nevertheless I appreciate your listening and the edit. – Mari-Lou A Apr 8 at 19:53
  • @Mari-LouA The recent body edit should take care of that; "draw attention to meta" should hopefully make this show up in search. Also, only one of those two duplicates was unintentional; the second was intentional. Per the FAQ on duplicate closures, duplicates are helpful as they help people find the canonical question. – Sonic the Inclusive Hedgehog Apr 8 at 19:57
  • The wording is a bit off, it sounds better if you said What can I do to draw attention to it, so the SE team can give an official response?* – Mari-Lou A Apr 8 at 21:10
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+50

First of all, it's worth mentioning that an official response from the team is not guaranteed. However, there are a number of things you can do to increase the chances that a bug report or feature request (overall, "request") receives an official response, which depend on whether the original request is your own or someone else's. (An official response can range from completing the request to declining it or dismissing it as by design; this post outlines what you should do if it doesn't get any sort of response from the team.)

If it's someone else's question, one thing you should definitely do is upvote it. Vote scores on such questions indicate how widespread the bug's effect is, or how many people are interested (or not) in a certain feature.

Another thing you can do to anyone's question (yours or someone else's) is edit it for grammar issues, further reasons why a certain request should be completed, or changes made to the system that make the request even more relevant today. This was something I did a few times as the anonymous editor (examples 1 2 3). Just as it does on main Q&A sites, editing a question will bump it to the homepage.

Third, if it's someone else's question, and you have a thoughtful explanation as to why the request should be completed (longer than would fit in an edit without changing too much in the post), answer it and provide your explanation there. Answering will also bump the post, and will increase the perceived interest in the request. (Note that your answer should expand upon the original request, and not be redundant to it.)

A final option, as a last resort for any type of question by anyone, is to contact SE. While this is more of an abuse of the contact form in my opinion, it was actually suggested by an employee as a good way of getting official attention for a request that slipped through the cracks. Personally, I wouldn't recommend doing this unless you tried everything else and failed, and you should refrain from doing this on a frequent basis (only do it very occasionally).


I'd also like to point out what you should not do, as well as give some tips to make your future requests more likely to receive official responses.

Don't repost the request. Under my previous (2013) incarnation, I used to intentionally post duplicates of old, unfixed bug reports to draw attention to them. While this did work about one-third of the time at the time, from what I've seen it's very little effective today. Your question will definitely be closed as a duplicate of the older request, even though yours is phrased better or contains more info. (I personally disagree with this practice, but right now, it exists.) In a similar vein, don't simply ask "when will [existing request] be implemented", as it will also be closed as a duplicate (and lead to no official response).

Don't post a simple, one-line answer asking why the request hasn't been completed yet, without supplying any good reasons for it. This is very likely to just get deleted as a non-answer. Similarly, don't post a multi-line answer that is merely redundant to the request, and doesn't add anything new.

Finally, a little controversial, but purely my opinion: don't put a bounty on it. While this is a great way to get attention for questions on main Q&A sites, from what I've seen, it isn't a good way to get official attention for bug reports and feature requests, which means the bounty rep you spend would be wasted. According to this answer, it's a good way to get community input, but not official input.

And now some tips for increasing the chances your future requests get official answers:

  • Phrase your request clearly. A good feature request or real bug report is less likely to get an official response if it doesn't clearly explain what the feature or bug is. Be sure to clearly explain it when initially posting your request.

  • Try and ask for alternate fixes. (This doesn't really address the question, but is a good alternative.) Some bug fixes and new features can be implemented client-side as user scripts, and there are a few users who are adept at writing such scripts and provide them in answers or in a larger collection of scripts consolidated into one.

  • Post your request when the SE team is active and working. This is approximately Monday-Friday 9am-6pm in U.S. Eastern Time, or 14:00-23:00 UTC (13:00-22:00 UTC from March-November), excluding U.S. public holidays. Posting at a different time will at best delay an official response, and it's likely that other questions posted in between yours and the start of the work hour will swamp the team and your request will fall through the cracks.


Addendum: requests relating to specific features that are unlikely to be handled

As development work and priorities continue to develop and change throughout the Stack Exchange network, the following features of SE aren't currently receiving very much development work. As such, even if you follow the steps above, you may not be successful in getting an official response if your request is about one of the following features:

  • Chat (all servers)
  • Area 51
  • iOS and Android apps

Feel free to update this list with more features if they come to mind.

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    The bounty can work, I believe the Stack Snippets got their console that way. 2 or 3 users kept offering bounties one after another until SE gave in and implemented the frigging thing. – rene Jan 30 '18 at 10:31
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    Bounties on bug reports tend to be a bit of a waste, yes, but bounties on feature requests can result in new input or alternate ideas from the community that ultimately leads to something getting implemented. I've seen quite a few feature requests follow such a path in my time. – animuson Jan 30 '18 at 15:03
  • What about flagging a question for moderator intervention? Is that equivalent to contacting SE? My understanding is that all Meta mods are SE staff, or is that incorrect? – David K Mar 12 at 11:50
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    @DavidK Nope. As of November 2018, Meta.SE now has community moderators. – Sonic the Inclusive Hedgehog Mar 12 at 11:52
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For issues raised here on Meta.SE, the advice in Sonic's answer about editing to clarify or answering to strengthen the argument is sound. Especially for feature requests, sometimes the actual request (in the question) is poorly-argued but a strong answer can help. Requests or arguments based on actual data seem to particularly impress the team, so brush up on your SEDE skills. (For general advice on writing good feature requests, see this answer from Shog9 on Meta.SO.)

Bug reports and feature requests can also be made on per-site metas. That's OK too; while you may sometimes see comments there saying "you need to ask this on Meta.SE", that's not strictly true: the team is supposed to monitor per-site metas too. That said, there are times when it makes sense to bring it up here, which I'll get to in a moment.

For an issue raised on a per-site meta, particularly for a bug report or site-specific feature, if you're not getting any response from SE and the meta request has decent support from the community, then you can ask a local moderator to escalate. That part about support is important; get your community to show up and vote on meta. How much voting you need depends on the magnitude of the request. When moderators ask employees to do things like burninate tags, add a new migration target, or increase the number of custom close reasons, the CMs pretty much always respond with a request for a meta link. As a moderator, I've been able to get site-specific things like these addressed by escalating a per-site meta request to the CMs.

Don't bring things here to Meta.SE that only concern one site, like the examples I just gave; people here will just close it as "only applicable to one specific site". However, sometimes, a request has broader implications: either other sites might be interested in the fix too, or making the change would somehow affect other sites and not just your site. In those cases, you can get more input (both positive and negative) by bringing it here. When you do:

  • Do the stuff in Sonic's answer to present the problem clearly and persuasively.

  • Cite past discussions. If a request here on Meta.SE arose out of a problem already discussed on your site's meta, link to that and summarize the discussion.

  • Explain why this has broader application than just your site -- why are you bringing this to Meta.SE other than that you didn't get a response from SE on your own meta?

  • Show some understanding of the impact and effort. Is this a big change but you think it's really important? Show us your analysis. Do you think it's a small, harmless change? Why? (If you're wrong, you'll learn something that way.) What alternatives (for FRs) or workarounds (for bugs) did you try first, and why didn't they work?

None of this guarantees action, of course; you can get more attention for old issues and add strong arguments to support them, but in the end SE will decide.

  • What's your opinion on contacting the team? I didn't think of that until I saw Tim Post's response, but is it a good idea? – Sonic the Inclusive Hedgehog May 13 '18 at 19:44
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    @SonictheInclusiveHedgehog Tim's response to what where? In general I wouldn't recommend users contacting the team individually about feature requests (maybe for major bugs, i.e. ones that break important functionality, but they'd probably know about those). A request to the team is by its nature private; the whole meta model is designed to operate in public. – Monica Cellio May 13 '18 at 20:51
  • This response here: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/300822/… – Sonic the Inclusive Hedgehog May 13 '18 at 21:46

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