There is this obscure document that says
What is "meta"? How does it work?
Meta Stack Exchange is the part of the site where users discuss the workings and policies of Stack Overflow the company and the software that runs the Stack Exchange Q&A network. It is separated from the main Q&A to reduce noise there while providing a legitimate space for people to ask how and why this site works the way it does. Meta is for...
- …Stack Exchange users to communicate with each other about the Stack Exchange network (asking questions about how the websites work, or about policies and community decisions)
- …Stack Exchange users to communicate with Stack Overflow, the company (posting bugs, suggesting improvements, or proposing new features), and
- …Stack Overflow, the company, to communicate with the community (soliciting feedback on new ideas or features, or discussing policies that affect the whole network)
In there it states that we – the ordinary users – do not only talk among ourselves. But that we and the company should communicate.
Lately, that is no longer the case?
So two out of three bullet points seem no longer reflect reality here.
The company seems to announce and implement changes without feedback wanted (stated otherwise but seemingly ignored in practice):
- via blog,
- via the press
- via some strange twitter back & forth
- internal secret channels (Teacher's Lounge, and probably more),
- abrupt policy changes,
- which are paternalistic and authoritarian changes to published documents outlining the policies (whether or not one agrees to the content)
- deleting opposing questions, answers and comments (with abuse and troll posts included, for sure, but by far not exclusively; haven't enough rep for giving a numerical on that ratio. What I am not aware of is that posts in praise of the change itself or the arguments and methods to arrive there were deleted?)
As to the stated intent and purpose of meta:
If votes or contents of the vast majority of posts are a measurement of approval or disapproval, then the latest company actions were "not approved" by the community? The community seems to have tried a lot to communicate that.
A quite legitimate question many users here seem to have: When do you roll back this CoC, the FAQ to the CoC, reinstate all mods that lost their diamonds recently instantly (should they still want to)?
'What for' does the company view meta now? What is the purpose of us ordinaries participating here? Pure acclamation and opposing opposers to company policies? Just geenrating some traffic and heat? I honestly don't know.
To get this into concrete problem territory:
Which conditions have to be fulfilled,
- if a company decision planned (in secret) is rolled out and rejected, for that change to be taken back?
- for a change to be amended or, well, changed?
- for an entirely 'new thing' to be suggested for becoming policy?
How is this now decided? Is there any codified process we might rely on?
Can we influence and change anything about policy or is at best our role reduced to mere exegesis of company commandments and acclamation of everything that's handed down to us?
This dichotomises to mark the two ends of a possible spectrum I believe to have identified. As I read and understand "What is meta?", the last weeks were in constant contradiction to stated policy. There was probably a lot of CO2, time and energy wasted on all sides if the company has already decided that bullet points 2 and 3 will get an update along the lines of 'less is more' anyway.
Note: Firing mods and forced relicensing: is Stack Exchange still interested in cooperating with the community? asks very broadly for the possible "motivation" of the company, has a long list of related complaints, but consequently no answer fitting this question.
Let alone an answer from an 'official' source. Neither here nor there is any official answer marked "staff" to be found.
Equally What are the effective communication channels for effecting change to SE? , which is old and outdated and starts with a premise in the question this one wants to ascertain. Is the premise really the case in the first place. The related question mainly veers into what off-site resources can be used to achieve something here. This one asks for on-site expectations and possibilities as hopefully explained from the official source.
This question asks of the purpose, opportunities and role for users and how this site is supposed to work now! If the company would address this on the other posts, fine. But the focus is entirely different.