Welcome to the Unicorn Meta Zoo, a podcast by members of the Stack Exchange community team. If you want to avoid spoilers, jump straight to the audio.


hairboat Juan M Jon Ericson

We are talking about aspects of leadership in our communities.



"This is the no touching podcast." This is certainly correct since none of us are even in the same state. If anyone ever asks you to explain a double entendre, change the subject immediately as every word out of your mouth will instantly take on an unintended sexual meaning.

My title really did change to Community Product Manager. It's mostly ceremonial.

"Unfortunately, as you probably already know, people" could be a leadership motto. It's tempting to blame folks for problems we have as Community Managers. On the other hand, we benefit from leaders empowering others to accomplish our goals. I am forever in their debt.

What do you think?

Take a listen and respond in the answers below.

  • 32
    Is the podcast wiki completely dead now? I never listen to these things but might find it interesting to skim through the transcript ... unfortunately, as you probably already know, people have stopped updating those pages since #3 or #4. Sep 3, 2019 at 11:03
  • 2
    @Randal'Thor considering this is the first I'm seeing it (that I recall) I'm guessing most users probably don't know that GitHub repo exists. Doubly so for people who aren't programmers who listen to the podcast and don't use GitHub at all.
    – TylerH
    Sep 3, 2019 at 14:28
  • 2
    @TylerH It used to be linked from the podcast announcement meta posts (which is how I know about it at all), but not in this one. Sep 3, 2019 at 16:26
  • 1
    @Randal'Thor I tried to transcribe a bit but it needs a skill I obviously lack and I apologized for that in chat. If you know anyone around that is better equipped please invite them to contribute.
    – rene
    Sep 3, 2019 at 19:14
  • 1
    @Randal'Thor: I'd really like to have a transcript, but we don't really have a budget. (Not that I couldn't ask for one, but I'm holding off until I feel the podcast has gained a footing.) I included the link to the wiki for a while since I was hoping it'd get used by volunteers. Frankly, it's way more work than I would be willing to put in myself, so I really can't expect it of others. So when it seemed as if people weren't using it, I stopped putting it in the announcement. (For what it's worth, I believe we have plenty of written artifacts, so I wouldn't worry about missing out too much.) Sep 3, 2019 at 19:45
  • 5
    @JonEricson Understood. My comment was less to ask for an "official" budgeted transcript from SO Inc than to remind everyone reading this meta post that there is a transcript page which they could help to edit and bring up to date. Fingers crossed for some helpful volunteers! Sep 3, 2019 at 19:49

1 Answer 1


In the podcast you talked about characteristics of leaders (and how that varies by where a site is in its lifecycle). One you didn't mention that I tend to notice on small or young sites is community members who help guide newcomers. This is most noticeable in helpful comments, but helpful edits are just as important (and sometimes require more work). This kind of direct outreach can have a huge effect when a promising newcomer's first post doesn't start out as a good fit.

All the other things you mentioned -- reviews, meta participation (especially asking questions), voting, flagging, asking and answering questions -- are important in building the site. A few things build the site by building the active user base, by lending that helping hand. These are things I take note of, and I think you do too when appointing pro-tems, even if you didn't happen to mention it.

  • 1
    Re "This kind of direct outreach can have a huge effect": Can you provide an example? (It can be an indirect reference, so it requires some effort to find - to prevent any meta effect.) Sep 3, 2019 at 23:51
  • 5
    @PeterMortensen the activity of the two candidates in Writing's recent election comes to mind. It's anecdotal, but we've seen increased engagement on the site this year, not just because of a contest we had, and I attribute that in part to this kind of assistance. (Other users do this too, but an election is easier to point to.) Sep 4, 2019 at 0:31
  • 4
    If we didn't say it, it was only because we thought it went without saying. ;-) Plenty of communities got off to great starts because one or two early contributors took on the role of community greeter. It's a real joy to watch when it happens. Sep 4, 2019 at 18:47
  • 5
    @JonEricson I figured you didn't say it because it's hard to think of everything on the spur of the moment when the question is asked. :-) (I assume I'm not the only person who finishes an interview or presentation or conversation and then says "oh yeah, I should have said that too, and that, and...".) Sep 4, 2019 at 20:50

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