437

Starting today, all staff member accounts will have "Staff" next to their name on their user profile.

It looks like this:

Brian Nickel's profile image showing both the orange "staff" and blue "moderator" labels

For reference, it used to look like this:

Brian Nickel's profile image before the update, showing "(moderator) but not "staff".

We took our cue from the existing design of the "top n% overall" label which we've actually inverted for everyone (not just staff) to stand out from the others. Additionally, we've updated the moderator label from "(moderator)" to an actual label, so it's easier to see and stands out. Staff with diamonds will have both of the indicators.


Clearing up confusion to improve interactions

We've noticed a shared point of friction for users and staff alike - staff often need to post answers on meta sites to explain how a tool or feature works or to respond to bugs. This is a great opportunity for them to interact with the people asking the questions but, sometimes, not having an indicator for every employee makes these interactions more challenging than they already are.

You might say "But what about diamonds, that's used for staff"... and you'd be right, in some cases. The primary purpose of the diamond is to indicate the moderators on a site. These are non-staff users who have extra tools at their disposal and special access to information. While we gave these to staff in the past, we now only grant them to specific types of staff members who need access to these tools - generally community managers and developers.

As such, for the rest of our cohort, we have relied on them mentioning their status in their "about me" sections. This simply isn't a sustainable option both because it's easy to forget but also because it's not actually proof. Anyone can edit their profile to state they're staff.

Adding an indicator like this isn't an original idea. Y'all have been asking for a way to recognize us for years and we're so excited to be able to deliver this change:

Fortunately, we already indicate staff status at the account level, so we can use that information to add a marker to staff profile pages that anyone can see. So this update makes most of these requests !

We'll still encourage our staff to be more specific about their job title in their "about me" but this marker will let y'all quickly and easily know if the person supporting a feature or answering a bug report is staff.

I'm really excited about this change and I hope it helps smooth out interactions across the network a bit. Questions? Ask them in the answers.

  • 70
    Oh that’s great!!!!!!! Good feature. – Stormblessed Jul 31 at 22:12
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    Nice! I'm glad to see SE finally addressing feedback from the community. That's a good show of trust. – forest Jul 31 at 22:20
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    Oh thank god! I have often been confused by diamonds in the past. Nice change! – Steve Bennett Aug 1 at 3:15
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    Thanks, nice improvements. Translated this post for our meta: ru.meta.stackoverflow.com/q/9394/15479 (: – Suvitruf Aug 1 at 7:32
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    This is a good thing. Sometimes I see an answer on meta from low rep user which looks very confusing, like some stranger suddenly start talking "we" and "us". Now his profile will contain "stuff" (or not). Even more better would be to see employee status without having to visit profile please. – Sinatr Aug 1 at 7:36
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    @Catija - do you want to add an answer here - meta.stackexchange.com/questions/310518/… - and I can mark it [status-completed] (or at least as completed as it's going to be) – ChrisF Aug 1 at 7:57
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    So diamond means "staff or moderator" and the label clarifies which? Or if "The primary purpose of the diamond is to indicate the moderators" then the moderator label is redundant if the diamond is present? – Caius Jard Aug 1 at 10:43
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    But not all moderators are staff? – Black Thunder Aug 1 at 12:04
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    @CaiusJard not all staff members need a mod diamond but could be speaking for the company – Journeyman Geek Aug 1 at 12:09
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    So the combinations we see in the profiles could be: Is staff, is not mod UserX [Staff], Is staff, is mod UserX♦ [Staff][Moderator], Is not staff, is mod UserX♦[Moderator] ? Does this mean the [moderator] label is a redundant re-statement of the diamond? – Caius Jard Aug 1 at 12:24
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    @CaiusJard It's not completely redundant. The diamond is kinda part of the username and (I think) it's not impossible for someone to find a way to add the symbol to their username. If so, the label is further proof that can't be faked. – Catija Aug 1 at 12:28
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    @rogerdpack I'm not quite sure what you mean. We don't generally get paid to use the site (with the exception of meta). – Catija Aug 1 at 17:02
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    @rogerdpack Hmmm. Well, if you're talking about me, I had most of my reputation on MSE before I worked here. :D – Catija Aug 1 at 18:29
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    @Catija Might be a good idea to put those characters on a blacklist somewhere. Now you've mentioned it, just wait till people try it. – Mast Aug 6 at 5:42
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    @Catija Doing this was debated ad nauseam for so long. Great add! – Joe Friend Aug 7 at 19:54

10 Answers 10

258

This is a vast improvement from the previous situation. But I'd like to request one addition:

Add another shape/marker representing that the user is a staff member, to user cards and wherever the moderator diamond is shown, on meta sites

In other words, also show a special marker not only on the user profile, but wherever a moderator diamond would be shown (if the user is a moderator), on meta sites.

It would be very useful on posts, as the user card would make it clear to users that a given post is from a staff member, without having to tap on the profile description or mouse over the avatar (which is not possible on touch and mobile devices), especially if the staff member has little or no rep on the site. (I often get confused to see a low-rep user introduce them as an employee, only to find that they're actually an employee after clicking on their username.)

Second, it would be nice to know on the home page when a staff member answers a post, so that I know to read their response and know in advance before my eyes reach their user card that they're an employee.

Finally, it would be significantly less confusing if an action taken by a staff member that isn't otherwise possible by a user with that much rep is clearly marked as being done by a staff member (e.g. editing moderator-only tags without being a moderator, migrating a question more than 60 days old, etc.)

I've read Jeff's original arguments against this, and I disagree. We already distinguish between moderators and normal users, and for many years, it hasn't really given off the feeling that they're "above" us and that we don't have power. Also, the quote "there should be very little difference between my [Jeff's] actions and another community moderator's actions" relates to differences between staff moderators and community moderators - given that we no longer hand out moderator diamonds to all staff members, this quote is now irrelevant.

I've also read Catija's comment that staff should be free to participate in sites as community members and not be treated differently on main sites just because they're staff, so that's why this request only applies to meta sites.

  • 32
    I agree that it would be nice to have a staff indicator in the usercard, but I think that only makes sense on meta. There's no reason we care about staff/not on main. – thesecretmaster Aug 1 at 0:11
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    @thesecretmaster To be fair, I'm sort of biased toward meta since my main site is this site. – Sonic the Anonymous Hedgehog Aug 1 at 0:37
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    Using indicators like ♠♥♣♦ ? Good, I'm in for a set of pokers. – iBug Aug 1 at 7:12
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    Using the white diamond to symbolize moderators and the black diamond to symbolize staff may be an intuitive way to do this everywhere. "Moderator ◊" "Catija ♦". – Peilonrayz Aug 1 at 8:48
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    @Peilonrayz Two problems with that. (1) The white diamond is already claimed by the "former moderators" feature request. (2) Don't take away our diamonds!! :-( – wizzwizz4 Aug 1 at 8:56
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    The problem with adopting a second symbol would be communication. What would that new symbol (mark) mean to visitors and new contributors? Do you think newcomers automatically understand what the black (or red) diamond next to a username represents? Give me words, each and every time, if the word looks weird, chances are there is a definition of it somewhere, in an online acronym dictionary for example. – Mari-Lou A Aug 1 at 10:05
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    @Mari-LouA, I think the 'it' in that sentence refers specifically to the fact that the mod indicator hasn't given off the feeling of them being "above us". Sonic's proposal is that another indicator isn't going to make that any different. If you are having issues with moderation (it happens, I'm sure they'll be happy to help resolve it) then I suggest an additional indicator isn't going to make that any better or worse either. – RyanfaeScotland Aug 1 at 10:40
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    Darn -- I wanted to see a white diamond on meta.SE to represent somebody who moderates somewhere in the network but not on meta.SE. Sad to see it's claimed somewhere else! But, I like this idea and would like to see something on the usercard. A red diamond, perhaps... – tpg2114 Aug 1 at 11:44
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    +1 - I came here to post this exact feature-request, with one addition: Different symbols for Devs vs CMs please. It's sometimes useful to know not only that you're interacting with staff, but also that staff member's general duties and what they might be able to help with. :) – Robotnik Aug 1 at 12:08
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    Just use the SO Teams Admin Hexagon ⬢ as it's already out there in use and it looks different enough – Machavity Aug 1 at 17:40
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    @rob I don't like hovertext as it's not visible on touchscreens and mobile devices. – Sonic the Anonymous Hedgehog Aug 1 at 18:24
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    I like how the SOX userscript decorates the usercard. I think it would be nice that if SE had copied this idea directly. – yivi Aug 2 at 8:32
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    "Just remember" breaks down when (1) people change names, perhaps more than once, and (2) when visiting a site you're not super-active on. I've experienced both - I see a diamond on a post that asserts facts, and I have to dig to see the source of that authority. – Monica Cellio Aug 6 at 15:09
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    Using color alone to distinguish values violates accessibility guidelines. – Monica Cellio Aug 6 at 15:10
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    @wizzwizz4 - "Using the white diamond to symbolize moderators..." I don't think it's a good idea to change any currently existing systems here, as moderators are marked with filled diamonds. That may caused some confusion, and switching your proposal around might work better... – Voldemort's Wrath Aug 8 at 2:38
92

Could you please make this show on the mobile website? Currently, employee profiles have no special indicator on the mobile site other than their description maybe mentioning they’re employees.

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    The mobile profile now shows the staff label for Stack Overflow employees. Thanks for the request. – Yaakov Ellis Aug 8 at 10:24
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    @YaakovEllis thank you!! – Stormblessed Aug 8 at 13:16
80

Alternative :

If the feature proposed in my other answer is not possible, or is not currently on the radar for implementation in 6-8 weeks, I'd like to propose another alternative/additional feature request:

Indicate in the expanded usercard if a user is a staff member

While this isn't an issue if the staff member has filled in their bio, this will bridge the gap for staff who haven't, choose not to given that their profile page already lists them as a staff member, or have filled in too little text that they're not eligible for the usercard. This should be significantly easier to implement.

  • I forgot how to see "expanded usercard" (I think I've seen it somewhere), can you give me a hint? – Sinatr Aug 1 at 7:38
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    @Sinatr Mouse over their avatar. – Sonic the Anonymous Hedgehog Aug 1 at 7:39
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    Oh, over that icon, thanks ;) I've tried it, but was moving mouse away too fast and due to delay nothing was expanded. Or rather.. try to mouseover "default locale" (author of other answer), he doesn't have expanded card.. Bug? – Sinatr Aug 1 at 7:43
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    Users need 1k rep I believe to have this "privilege" so staff would need to bypass that for this to work as not all have 1k on every site. – TheLethalCoder Aug 1 at 8:22
  • I like this idea a lot. If the user has either of the 'Staff' or 'Moderator' badges on their profile, enable the user card for that user and show the badges in the user card. Could also add the 'Top x' to all user cards too. – James Coyle Aug 1 at 8:26
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    @TheLethalCoder Staff get an expanded usercard as part of their staff rights, without needing to have 1,000+ rep. – Sonic the Anonymous Hedgehog Aug 1 at 13:19
  • @Sinatr In addition to the 1k rep or being staff requirements, the user also needs to have actually put enough into their About Me section of their profile to have something to display in the expanded usercard. You can tell if someone has one by looking for a drop shadow effect on their avatar. More information here. – 8bittree Aug 1 at 17:19
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    Sonic, regarding Staff get an expanded usercard as part of their staff rights, without needing to have 1,000+ rep... Do they? I checked this answer for example and it did not show. – fedorqui Aug 2 at 15:00
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    @fedorqui Sorry, looks like I was mistaken. It's awarded to moderators, not staff; I probably got confused since I was testing with a staff member who happened to also be a moderator. – Sonic the Anonymous Hedgehog Aug 2 at 15:02
  • Ah OK it makes sense. Thanks! – fedorqui Aug 2 at 15:30
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    The expanded usercard on meta sites now has a staff label showing up for Stack Overflow employees. Thanks for the idea. – Yaakov Ellis Aug 9 at 8:17
  • @gparyani No, they don't. Only staff with sufficient rep have expanded usercards. – Catija Aug 9 at 14:11
45

Is it possible to make both labels clickable? So we can easily search for all the moderators/staff members on a given site?

"Moderators" should naturally link to users?tab=moderators. You should probably create a similar page for staff members.

28

Awesome, nicely done. :)

Please add those labels to the chat profile as well.

  • Hm, I think two new colors will need to be introduced for that, orange (for staff only) and purple (for staff+mod). – EKons Aug 1 at 8:06
  • @EKons why? I don't mean the color of the name (e.g. blue for mods now), just adding the label in the chat profile page. – Shadow The Dragon Wizard Aug 1 at 8:07
  • Oh, I misunderstood then. This sounds a bit impossible though... – EKons Aug 1 at 8:07
21

Can we add the Staff label to the users Network Profiles as well. As example I redacted Catija's network profile: enter image description here

19

The colors chosen are intentional. The company colors follow the Stack Overflow orange, so staff is orange. Moderators are traditionally indicated in blue (for example, they have blue usernames in chat) and our moderator swag uses a blue diamond. This also echoes the blue of Stack Exchange, the primary color of the entire network. ~Catija

Can the color of moderator and staff indicator be changed according to the color of the site?

Examples:



Meta Stack Exchange:

enter image description here




Stack Overflow:

enter image description here




Bicycles Stack Exchange:

enter image description here

15

Thank you.

I like how you managed to preserve the essence of Jeff's original answer by restricting the "Staff" mark only on the profile page and not everywhere.

I had a question about whether the staff without diamonds will have privileges to update the red colored tags (including ), which were originally marked as "Moderator only". (I have seen a few cases where staff have done this, but they are only on MSE and not on other child metas).

  • I've seen staff (without diamonds) add/remove status tags on mso – Jon Clements Jul 31 at 22:46
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    Staff should be able to make edits, including status-tag edits, on any child meta or MSE; we've broken that quite a few times over the years, but as far as I know it's currently working. – Shog9 Jul 31 at 22:55
  • @Shog This post says that featured will be mod-only, not staff-accessible. Unless I misunderstood it? Or unless there's since been a change? Or unless it hasn't come into force yet? – Lightness Races in Orbit Aug 1 at 13:18
  • @LightnessRacesinOrbit Technically they'll still can, it's explained here by animuson: meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/387546/… – Tensibai Aug 1 at 15:41
-9

While we gave [moderator diamonds] to staff in the past, we now only grant them to specific types of staff members who need access to these tools

Does this mean that staff members who don't need access to these tools and who were hired after the recent change to internal policy, won't be able to moderate sites they're interested in, in their spare time? We had at least one staff member who didn't directly need access to the tools as part of their specific job duties, but served one site as a moderator purely using the diamond they were given as a staff member. Is this no longer possible?

(In my opinion, it's a good thing this was possible, since staff members who were actively participating in a site can provide better input to the team in various ways, such as the specific needs of the community, or whether other Area 51 proposals are duplicates of the given site. See also this MSO post: Require Participation in a Community Before Making Decisions that Affect That Community's Future)

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    This doesn't really relate to the label. There's no change in any policy regarding diamonds. – Catija Aug 1 at 0:45
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    @Catija The question in this answer is based on a quote from this post, and you do say that "questions" [regarding this post] should be asked in the answers here. – Sonic the Anonymous Hedgehog Aug 1 at 1:04
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    Presumably if they're active on the site independently of their job, they can and should acquire a diamond on that site in the normal way. – IMSoP Aug 1 at 10:23
-23

I feel like this is counter productive to have across all sites and creates a distinction between user groups that the site doesn't need. The Q/A sites have always kept equality over members. Everyone is a valuable contributor and should feel as important as anyone else.

The staff badges say things that may not have been intended.

  1. The staff are more important than everyone else.
  2. The staff have an authority over everyone else.
  3. Being a staff member is a goal each member should attain.

Everyone should feel equally important. This would be a beating around the bush method to deal with presenting a new authority anyway. The badges feel like a race for members to try and get on top to become staff.

enter image description here

The moderator diamond was subtle and small barely made any noise, and should have been extended to other symbols to signify other staff if necessary.

On the other hand the badges add two new achievements that regular members won't be able to attain and in essence belittles / discourages them.

Stack Overflow's co-founder's opinion on making staff more flashy over the entire platform (and therefore intentions the site was built upon): https://meta.stackexchange.com/a/82682/354123

  • 27
    If you're active on meta sites, you'll see that being able to distinguish who's a staff member is a useful ability. See my top answer here. – Sonic the Anonymous Hedgehog Aug 1 at 15:29
  • Thanks, maybe it shouldn't be across all the sites as someone mentioned. – CausingUnderflowsEverywhere Aug 1 at 15:30
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    But sometimes staff act in official or unofficial capacities on sites. Its also a replacement for the old staff page in a way. – Journeyman Geek Aug 1 at 15:37
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    This was chosen because very few people actually view user profile pages unless they're specifically looking for more information about users. That's why we'd never indicate staff everywhere they post as part of their username the way we do moderators. We want our staff to be able to participate as regular users without feeling like they're in a fish bowl. This is a relatively unobtrusive indicator. – Catija Aug 1 at 15:43
  • I hope so, I spend time on peoples' profiles sometimes to see all their reputation and awesome contributions they've made to the community :) – CausingUnderflowsEverywhere Aug 1 at 15:44
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    "the badges add two new achievements" -- no, they don't. These are not badges like "Editor" and "Autobiographer". These are indicators added to the profiles of staff. Staff are people paid by Stack Overflow the company, they have a different reason to be on the site than you or I: they are being paid for it. I don't understand why you think this makes it feel like a race or something you need to achieve. – Cris Luengo Aug 1 at 16:24
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    I guess if you really want to get this "badge", we're hiring... :) – Adam Lear Aug 1 at 17:45
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    Yes I absolutely need that badge in order to be able to cause underflows in places never yet before. Thank you for the offer. :) The badges should totally be hyperlinks that send people to the we're hiring page! – CausingUnderflowsEverywhere Aug 1 at 23:02
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    The first two points I think are intended, and seem now to be true, as discussed in this post among many many others in a long pattern of downweighting community input in favor of staff decisions. – WBT Aug 2 at 14:48
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    To clear things out I wasn't mocking Adam's comment, I was just making a little joke out of my name. And having the badges link to the we're hiring page sounds like a good idea to me. – CausingUnderflowsEverywhere Aug 3 at 16:02
  • @CausingUnderflowsEverywhere I'm upvoting because of your username! I find that username more agreeable than any counter-argumet to your question. ;-) – jpaugh Aug 7 at 19:53

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