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At Spanish Language Beta we have an extremely useful "Resources for Learning Spanish" page.

We need to get a link to it into the sidebar, and it would be nice if it would stay put, i.e. stay there permanently. After careful community discussion it was decided to house this resources page on the main site (that is, not in Spanish Language Meta).

But when the page was moved out of our Meta, the link to it disappeared from the right-hand sidebar. Our respected moderators have said that they haven't found a way to get that page into the sidebar and keep it there.

Is there a way to do this? If not, how do I submit a feature request?

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There are a few ways you can approach this.

Mi Yodeya, Law, and Health all have "professional disclaimer" notices, which are placed on the right above the community bulletin. You can see Mi Yodeya's last request for more background on ours. For all three of these sites, the function of the notice is to deflect requests for personalized professional advice. The absence of such a notice was making some professionals -- the experts we want to see answering questions on our sites -- reluctant to participate. Your situation sounds different from that, so I don't know if SE would allow the use of this feature for your case. You would need to have your moderators request it from the CMs.

Another approach is the "events" section of the community bulletin. On some sites you'll see time-based notices there. (Mi Yodeya uses these heavily.) A moderator can create an event, specifying short text (a couple lines) and a link on your site. (It can't be an arbitrary link.) The event has a start date and an end date and is published during that interval. I've never experimented with long-running events, so I don't know if you could set the end date to 2038 or something and forget about it. Do note that if you use other events too, this one might get pushed off of the list at times; the space in the box is limited.

From the comments, it sounds like you want this so you can deflect a certain class of questions. If that's the case, you can ask for modifications to the "how to ask" help that comes up when somebody starts to ask a question. I haven't done this and don't know all the details of what's possible, but CMs can do this if your moderators make a request. Relatedly, if there is a specific tag that is causing you problems, you can add a notice to its tag wiki excerpt (see halacha on Mi Yodeya as an example).

Another answer suggested using featured meta posts. The problem there is that featured status expires, so the community would have to monitor it ("oops, expired again!") and moderators would have to keep re-applying it. Something that doesn't require monthly moderator action would be better.

  • The same meta post can be featured repeatedly. There is no need for "new meta posts (to be featured) every month". There are a few at Geographic Information Systems that I bring back whenever it seems like there has been another new influx of users who do not yet seem to be up to speed on the more important aspects of focused Q&A. Sometimes I run the same one for multiple consecutive months, manually turning it back on each time it expires. – PolyGeo Feb 27 '18 at 1:58
  • @PolyGeo I think I misread an earlier version of your answer; I'll edit. The problem with using featuring, whether it's re-featuring or something else, is that the community has to babysit it (notice when it's gone away and report it) and only moderators can re-apply it. That's why I suggested trying a perpetual event. – Monica Cellio Feb 27 '18 at 3:02
  • Yeah - it's sub-ideal, but instantly available and only needs a conscientious moderator to maintain. – PolyGeo Feb 27 '18 at 3:48
  • @PolyGeo but that conscientious moderator might first try creating a long-running event -- easier if it works, but I don't know if there's a limit on event length. – Monica Cellio Feb 27 '18 at 3:52
  • I've never looked into creating events on SE. My use of the term "conscientious moderator" was just meaning that the rest of the community might never need to look back in on it. – PolyGeo Feb 27 '18 at 3:57
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I am not aware of any way to feature a question from Main in your sidebar that is under moderator control.

However, your moderators can easily set a meta tag of on a question from your per-site Meta so that it appears in the sidebar.

That ages out after 30 days, to give other featured content a chance to surface. There does not seem to be any impediment to them giving the same question another chance to run as featured content later. I have not noticed any waiting period before it is possible to do that.

To me, hosting that question on your Main site sets a bad example for your users, because if it is one of the first questions that they encounter, it suggests your site is willing to accept questions that seek a list of answers, rather than always extolling the virtues of the focused Q&A that sets Stack Exchange sites apart from discussion forums and other Q&A sites.

You could mitigate that by putting a large notice at the beginning to say that it should not be used as a model for other questions on Main.

In other words, on Main you can have a minimalist question about where to find learning resources, with an answer that includes a link to a full Meta Q&A. You can make that "Community Wiki" and apply a wiki-lock to it so that there is only ever one community-editable answer (note, moderators can edit the question too). Only put enough text into the Main Q&A to enable it to meet your requirement to assist showing up in the similar questions. Anyone finding the Q&A on Main clicks through to the full details in the featurable Meta Q&A.

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    Thanks for your input. The question was moved to the main site so it can be used to close similar questions as duplicate, rather than off-topic (in line with many other language-centered stacks), and also so it appears in the "similar questions" list whenever someone starts writing a question asking about resources. To claim that such a question out of 5000+ makes a whole site look like it ignores "the virtues of the focused Q&A that sets Stack Exchange sites apart from discussion forums and other Q&A sites" seems like exaggerating things a bit too much, though. – walen Feb 26 '18 at 9:52
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    Also, please note that your answer doesn't actually answer the question. OP is asking about featuring a Main site question, not a Meta question. – walen Feb 26 '18 at 9:53
  • Our site is a pioneer in the valid use of multiple-answer questions. We were motivated to find a way to make this work, because Spanish has a wide variation across countries and regions. – aparente001 Feb 26 '18 at 12:09
  • @walen Rather than moving the Q&A from Meta where it is easy to feature, I think you could have achieved the outcome you were after by using a Main Q&A that was a slight embellishment on "Where to find Resources for learning Spanish?" with enough words in it to help "similar questions", and an answer that has content that includes a link to your original Meta Q&A. – PolyGeo Feb 27 '18 at 1:51
  • @PolyGeo - This is intriguing but confusing. Could you lay it out super clear for the fuzzy-minded among us (me)? Thanks. – aparente001 Feb 27 '18 at 5:16
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    On Main you have a minimalist question about where to find learning resources with an answer that includes a link to a full Meta Q&A like you currently have on Main and used to have on Meta. You make that Community Wiki and apply a wiki-lock to it so that there is only ever one community editable answer (moderators can edit the question too). Only put enough into the Main Q&A to enable it to meet your requirement to assist showing up in the similar questions. Anyone finding the Q&A on Main clicks through to the full details in the featurable Meta Q&A. – PolyGeo Feb 27 '18 at 5:20
  • With the "featured" tag, will it appear in the sidebar on Main? Just want to make sure I understood. – aparente001 Apr 3 '18 at 21:44
  • @aparente001 Yes - although not instantly, it is usually there within a few hours. – PolyGeo Apr 3 '18 at 21:48

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