I don't particularly think I can add more to what Monica's said about what went wrong, and how it's hurting the community. Things could have gone better. I don't really see people getting any happier about it.
I'd like to ask for a few things going forward.
Firstly - that a community team member should be dealing with social media criticisms, and we really should also be giving our communities the benefit of the doubt. In situations like this - something like "Hi! We've noticed you have an issue with the content you see on SO's sidebar. We'll see how we can help" would have been a better starting point than knocking a site off HNQ. Under most circumstances, I'd actually trust Adam - as a former community team member - to deal with it, but in this situation, we basically had folks from two different teams that don't actually deal with users directly in such circumstances try to help, in good faith and, well it didn't work that well. We need to have someone specifically dealing with these things.
We also need a clear idea of how the folks who deal with these things need to engage with the affected communities if action is taken.
For most part, the community team's had to do damage control when they're the folks who should have been dealing with it. I do realise in the past few years they've basically been pulled in 20 different directions and have been constantly dealing with backlog - but one of the consequences is it feels like the management of SO and SE has been drifting further and further away from the community.
We've constantly been told that we need to make SE better for new users and we need to attract them and grow. I've occasionally accused SE of being short sighted. I think this is one of those situations where I'm starting to feel there's tunnel vision - since the end result of it is folks who would traditionally supported SE feel that traditional methods seem neglected.
You have one of the best community teams I've had the pleasure of interacting with. They're engaged, passionate and some of the best folks I've interacted with on the internet. You'd be down a lot of core users if not for them. They're also smaller than they have ever been, with a smaller team than some medium sized site. (This is a difficult thing for me to talk about - since I've expressed an interest in the role before). We constantly hear promises that they'll improve processes - and that they'll tackle the backlog. And what we really really really need is people on the ground listening. "Hey guys, so someone has issues with the site. Could you guys tell us what you think? Could we do something about it?" goes so much further than anyone realises.
We've been really really patient, but we shouldn't need to tweet at folks to get your attention. We've been really patient. We really would love SE to grow, but not at the expense of its heart.