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It's become very apparent over the past few weeks that certain employees of Stack Exchange have not been able to conduct themselves in a manner consistent with community expectations.

The result of these inconsistencies has been harm to the community as a whole, as well as personal harm to individual members of the community.

It's obvious a lot of these inconsistencies are due to a lack of clear policies governing behaviour. This suggests there may be other areas where Stack Exchange may benefit from having clearer policies.

It's important to recognise that there are two different types of policies. Private policies that remain internal to Stack Exchange, and public policies, that form part of the contract between Stack Exchange and the community.

In the past few weeks, we have learnt that there will be the creation of the following policies:

So, the question remains:

What other policies does Stack Exchange need?

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    "Be nice". Should cover it. – Cerbrus Oct 21 at 11:25
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    Exactly, we need fewer "policies", the old ones worked well. – James Reinstate Monica Polk Oct 21 at 11:29
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    Anything that could avoid having to "learn" things from problems that could have been avoided. I will gladly admit that sometimes the community loves to nitpick and play devil advocate with anything the staff says... but at the same time I am often baffled that someone could thing that some course of action would be fine. Maybe there should be just one single rule: think of the consequences, think them again, let a day pass, talk with some coworker and then if it still seems a good idea do it. – Hitodama Oct 21 at 11:33
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    Didn't they already have a moderator dismissal policy? The problem is it wasn't followed, to the best of my understanding of this dumpster fire. – Mast Oct 21 at 11:39
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    A policy to make staff read policies before they carry out actions covered by a policy. – Script47 Oct 21 at 11:56
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    @Script47 But... should staff then read that policy before carrying out the action of reading that policy? – Inactive - Objecting Extremism Oct 21 at 12:19
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    @Inactive-avoidingCoC before, during, and after. Which means they must read the action's policy all three times too. This would ensure that they've followed it correctly and hopefully spot anything they might've missed. – Script47 Oct 21 at 12:20
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    We had fewer policies. Now we have more and everyone is happier. Don't stop now. – Scott Hannen Oct 21 at 12:46
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    @ScottHannen "Now we have more and everyone is happier" Are you from some parallel Universe? General sentiment I get is that no matter what people think about new CoC they are far from happy. – Resistance Is Futile Oct 21 at 15:24
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    @HerMajestyQueenofARC No, your majesty, I was joking. :) – Scott Hannen Oct 21 at 15:26
  • @ScottHannen LOL, you can also call me Sir ;) – Resistance Is Futile Oct 21 at 15:27
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    @Mast technically that was a policy for moderators to remove other moderators. Presumably the company has always felt that they could remove a moderator unilaterally at any time. – AGirlHasNoName Oct 21 at 17:03
  • @AGirlHasNoName They can do that anyway, it's in the moderator agreement – Mast Oct 21 at 17:29
39

An advertisement policy. Which kind of ads are allowed and which are forbidden?

It needs to address the network-wide stance on:

  • Animated ads.
  • Ads containing tracking, user profiling, spyware, malware.
  • Sexist/pornographic ads
  • Ads that contain scams: miracle medicine or "you have won the lottery" etc
  • Ads that contain gambling, alcohol etc
  • Ads with political or religious messages
  • Locale-based stances on all of the above, where applicable. Many of these are either strictly regulated or illegal in lots of countries.

Even better would be if the publisher took responsibility before the ads hit the sites. For the sake of self-preservation, if nothing else. It appears that we currently can expect pretty much all of the above ads on SE.

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Your basic assumption is wrong.

It's obvious a lot of these inconsistencies are due to a lack of clear policies governing behaviour.

The "inconsistencies" are a result of people ignoring very clear existing policies and doing what they want for their own reasons.

You say this yourself :

It's become very apparent over the past few weeks that certain employees of Stack Exchange have not been able to conduct themselves in a manner consistent with community expectations.

The fallout (i.e. mess) is a result of management not enforcing existing policies, in particular on themselves. They do not respect the rules. They (or a small subset of them) are the problem, not the policies which have otherwise worked well until management decided to ignore them.

So with that in mind ...

This suggests there may be other areas where Stack Exchange may benefit from having clearer policies.

We do not need more policies or even clear policies. We have policies and they are being ignored by the people who are supposed to enforce them at the highest level.

More policies would achieve nothing if the enforcement is not fair and impartial.

More policies will create a legalistic atmosphere and I do not see how that benefits anyone, especially when those at the top entrusted to execute those policies ignore them any time they like and do so with impunity.

In particular note :

A moderator dismissal and moderator reinstatement policy, in response to the summary dismissal of a moderator.

There was a perfectly clear policy for this which was ignored.

A talking-to-the-press-policy in response to the defamation of a user in the press.

This does not require a policy, it just requires common sense. A manager who cannot comprehend that public attacks on named individuals in the press is seomthing you dod not ever do is not fit to be a manager.

It's frankly hard to believe the managers involved are not already subject to a "policy" in their contract of employment and the company's own rules for employees. I cannot think of any organization I have ever been employed by or involved with which would not have fired me if I have done such a thing.

SE seem to be operating in a private little world where they see such common sense as no longer applicable to themselves. Bad behavior has no consequences for those high enough up.

The problem is not policies or rules, but the lack of respect for them at the very highest levels.

That is what needs to change.

Is this making SE/SO profitable ?

There's clearly a need for SE/SO to make money. This is also common sense. But SE managers alienating not just some users, but vitally important members like moderators, whose labors they get for free, is ludicrous.

SE won't be profitable with managers who the users do not trust and who have created (and failed or refused to fix honestly) a sense of deep distrust in these individuals who have worked so hard for all of us. Rules and decrees won't change these facts. SE needs managers who treat their key assets (users and moderators) with proper respect.

Going forward with more rules which SE managers ignore for whatever reason they want (and frankly ego looks like the biggest issue here) can only mean that whatever the outcome of the current problems, more problems will occur.

More rules will produce nothing but a complex operating environment for users and moderators which make problems more likely. The bigger the wall you build, the more cracks you see and the more paint you need to cover them up.

More common sense and trust and respect for moderators (from SE management), not more rules.

  • Do you have a link for the existing "moderator dismissal and moderator reinstatement policy"? I've heard a lot of conflicting things on this, and it would be really helpful to actually see this policy – divibisan Oct 21 at 16:34
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    The exisiting policy was for moderators to remove other moderators. Presumably the company has always felt that they could remove a moderator unilaterally at any time. – AGirlHasNoName Oct 21 at 17:04
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Quick response and frequent, detailed updates on feature requests and bugs policy. Like you would expect from any top tier software company.

It's time to stop hiding behind "We have more important things to do" -- this is the biggest, most important thing to do. Lack of transparency and the feeling of being ignored is one of the big straws among the pile that broke the camel's back.

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