It seems that Stack Exchange is doing an increasingly poor job of communicating with the community about policy changes, decision-making processes, and problem solving. This has caused or exacerbated a number of recent crises, and is actively contributing to many of us feeling more and more distant from the company. I doubt I'm alone when I say that I feel like I don't really know Stack Exchange, Inc., any more. And if you don't know someone, it's substantially harder to trust them.
One way to build trust, then, is to bring employees and community members closer together, so we can see the humans on the other side of the monitor. I've found that chat is a great way for that to happen. Shog talking about chicken-fried steak in The Tavern, for instance, builds trust on some subconscious level. There's a person behind those words. As a mod, I tend to get more access to CMs through the Teacher' Lounge, and I've found that that access builds trust in those particular individuals, whereas I have less trust in the employees I don't interact with. It's not just correlation at work. It's human nature.
We used to have Town Hall chats on Meta, with the most recent reincarnation happening in 2017 (see an earlier post for details). Those seemed to be reasonably successful; I certainly enjoyed them. I would bet that they helped bridge the company-community gap a little, and I would further bet that more regular chats would do more.
Here's my proposal: We bring these chats back. They could happen maybe . . . once a week? Twice a month? (Timing estimates are not my strong suit.) The exact time could vary to accommodate folks in a variety of timezones. The chats would be ideally focused around a topic proposed in advance by community members and would provide an interactive way to informally discuss concerns, policies, and decisions. They'd provide users with a window into the company, and employees with another window into the userbase. The users feel like they better have the ear of Stack Exchange, Inc. - because they would. I don't have a great idea of the logistic particulars, and would love to hear suggestions for how to make this work.
The current relationship between the company and the community is not sustainable. It's not. Providing a space and a time for communication can be one part of the solution.
Note: As a clarification, I should add that this is not intended to be a measure to mitigate or solve the problems we're dealing with at present. It is intended as a way to reduce the chance of the company jumping off the same cliff in the future.