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I strongly suggest to always allow showing posts created by SO Staff members on the frontpage of Meta SE. Currently, if the post reaches "−8" vote count, it is hidden from the frontpage. While this might be (or might not be) the desired behaviour for certain posts, it is certainly a bad idea to hide an announcement/information/discussion/suggestion created by SO Staff member, regardless of how the community reacts to that.

This feature is inspired by an "official reply" to the very popular and important discussion on potential fingerprinting by ads. Currently, the reply (which caused a lot of downvotes from the community) is pretty much hidden, and not really visible by Meta SE audience (even though it is pretty active).

Comparison to other feature-requests:

  • This feature request is a subset of a similar recent request; however, is devoted specifically to the posts created by SO Staff (also, due to @Shog's suggestion in the discussion below it).
  • In a way, it is an "extension" of this old request, which proposed to show only low-scored questions that had active bounties. In contrast, this suggestion is not limiting the criteria to active bounties but limits the originating author type.

Common scenario when this feature would be useful:

  1. SO Staff member publishes an important announcement or a reply (as with the aforementioned fingerprinting post)
  2. The community of Meta SE does not agree with it or is very concerned, which results in a lot of downvotes to the post.
  3. Currently: the post would be hidden from Meta SE frontpage as soon as it reaches "−8" and the majority of the audience would not see it.

    Proposed: since it is posted by SO Staff, ignore the "−8" and keep showing it regularly on Meta SE based on the activity (bounties, edits, answers, etc).

Advantage over a similar recent request: it is hard to imagine a situation when we don't want to see the post from a SO Staff (even if the community dislikes or does not agree with it), while it is very desired to hide certain highly downvoted questions from non-SO Staff, even if they are not (yet) closed.

Why not simply make the post ?

  • Because the staff member has to express that interest explicitly (which is not desired for several good and bad reasons).

  • Not all announcements deserve to be featured, but some deserve a fair right to reflect the activity on the frontpage regardless of the vote count.

  • Featured posts simply attract too much attention, as opposed to this request of having "just regular attention" without the discrimination by voting and community disagreement/concern with the piece of info shared by SO Staff member.

Benefits:

  • better dissemination of important information
  • discussion of the controversial decisions
  • feedback from the community to the company

Even more pronounced the necessity of some change towards visibility of staff posts became with today's post on "Update to our Community...". While it certainly is meant to be seen by a wide audience, right now it is not.

  • Possible duplicate of Featured questions are not shown network wide - If the staff wanted them to remain visible then they would be. Also: meta.stackexchange.com/a/130893/282094 – Rob Aug 20 at 23:23
  • @Rob added the note why marking it "featured" is not a solution for the described problem. – Anton Menshov Aug 20 at 23:41
  • Yes, the employee chose not to have it featured because regardless of the votes that's how it is. See the most downvoted posts, like them or not, that's how it is. If the author chooses not to feature them it's because they don't feel it needs more attention; message received. You request that they be shown regardless, but there was already a post about people's feelings on the subject. – Rob Aug 21 at 0:12
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    @Rob with that I am trying to suggest a compromise. Making the mentioned in my request post "featured" is probably a bad idea. What I suggest, is to give it "regular" visibility, and allowing a discussion triggered by answers/edits/bounties, as opposed to hiding it. – Anton Menshov Aug 21 at 0:15
  • You are allowed to ask them to do what they don't want to do, and they will decide on your request. You have no downvotes, but that doesn't mean that the subject isn't essentially asked and answered already; likely to be declined. Time will tell. – Rob Aug 21 at 0:30
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    @Rob it's much more likely to be ignored rather than straight declined. However, I tried to present the case as clear as possible with as a concrete solution as I was able to find. – Anton Menshov Aug 21 at 0:56
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    Good idea. Have you considered making a Twitter post about it? – Mark Aug 21 at 22:19
  • @Mark I literally haven't used Twitter at least for 5 years. I doubt my twit would achieve any visibility... – Anton Menshov Aug 21 at 23:19
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    @AntonMenshov ping the company. I personally have an active theory that the company listens more to Twitter than meta. Pinging the company alone grants you visibility, so if it contains reasonable arguments, you might actually be able to make more of a difference on twitter than here. – Zoe the transgirl Aug 24 at 11:31
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    Honestly - do we really want to propagate meta by twitter? Yes it happened a few times, but we of all folks should be trying to make things better, not worse. – Journeyman Geek Aug 24 at 14:02
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+100

TL;DR: This is kinda a potential superficial fix

From the perspective of someone who occationally interacts with some of the folks whose job involves communicating with us, that posts on meta get downvoted is a symptom, not directly an issue.

On one hand- well we're (hopefully) recovering from a period where trust's kinda was at an all time low. Folks in the community kinda turned, well towards various other projects and the environment on meta is different.

I've had fellow mods complain that meta felt toxic - and fixing that is kind of a longer term project. Just looking at the comments here - we've quickly had people suggest twitter (seriously folks - that's in no way helpful).

So frankly? We need to get better at constructive critique too. SO corp needs to work at communicating a little better (but that's something I personally feel we should give them time to do if they are actually making an active effort.

Honestly - rather than just focusing on the visibility of posts, we might want to consider the impact our actions have on the existance of these posts, and how we can better use them to actually try to create active, positive change.

If we don't really like folks outside the community effecting change via twitter - and we're mad at the company for doing so - we shouldn't be encouraging people to. We should try to make meta the place for it, and harder to ignore.

Admittedly, there's a few posts where I do actually see the value in downvoting - but in some of those cases, expression of displeasure is actually the goal, and its something we're unlikely to change.

So essentially - everything sucks, but this doesn't fix the underlying problem - that folks are mad or scared at each other.

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    Even if it is a superficial fix, that doesn't mean it's not worth doing. And as you just said, there are posts where there is value in down-voting. I don't think there's any suggestion that we ignore the overall down-voting problem, but that's not going to change overnight, and this superficial fix at least prevents that issue from being hidden away. – David K Aug 28 at 15:52
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    Agreed -- the recent post by SE Official People, even though it is downvoted due to its lack of full content, it should definitely still be HIGHLY VISIBLE! – April Oct 3 at 18:30

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