Stack Exchange is recalculating everyone's reputation to award more reputation for receiving an upvote on a question. To my knowledge, the community wasn't asked for input on whether this was a good idea or not. Considering that 2.4 million people are about to receive varying levels of reputation increase and that's kind of a big deal - was the community consulted somewhere and I just missed it? And if they weren't consulted...why not? Seems like an awfully big move to make unilaterally.

  • 16
    Depends on how you define "community"
    – Kevin B
    Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 18:29
  • 74
    I guess we are no longer optimizing for pearls.
    – Skooba
    Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 18:37
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    @Skooba It looks like the site is rather optimizing for advertisement inverstors and "welcoming" at any price. Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 18:39
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    At least on SO this will make sock puppeting and rep farming even more attractive. With how low of quality most questions are (and still get answered) a moderately one will reap 10-40reps. Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 18:42
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    That whole blog post somehow creates the impression as if answering questions would be the easy part compared to can I haz code plz. That sounds wrong.
    – Marvin
    Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 18:42
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    I think you'd better get used to the idea that community participants no longer have any ownership or say in their communities (if, in fact, they ever did). You don't have to take my word for it. All you have to do is spend a few minutes looking around on this meta site to see that.
    – user102937
    Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 18:43
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    @Lyd When the company is built on the contributions of the user, then yes.
    – Skooba
    Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 18:54
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    @Lyd: No, but let's not pretend that, just because this decision might be innocuous, that it somehow relieves corporate from engaging in meaningful ways with their communities.
    – user102937
    Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 18:56
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    @Lyd I don't think they would be downvoted so heavily if they actually sought community input before taking action, and actually listened to the community's input rather than just pretending they know best.
    – mason
    Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 19:02
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    It's interesting that they didn't mention anything about doing this to benefit women, since women ask more questions than men, as was the reason given in the leak. Did the mod feedback cause the removal of that reason?
    – user245382
    Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 19:56
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    @House Yes, definitely. The genesis for this change goes WAY back to discussions about restoring parity between questions and answers. I didn't hear about this study until much later, so yes, it was best not to jeopardize the launch by trying to anticipate that benefit -- See stackoverflow.com/c/moderators/questions/1912/… Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 20:38
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    @RobertCartaino Man, it's just so incredibly sad to see you continually run into the same walls over and over again. Please listen and learn your lesson. The community must be consulted before any big change in the core site. It shouldn't be negotiable on whether you ask the community or not: just do it! If you want to make your case there, and request feedback, then that's great. You might get the community on board with the decisions, and you might actually find out how to accomplish the goal better with the community's input. Instead youre just creating another PR disaster. Make it stop
    – mason
    Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 20:53
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    @RobertCartaino It might not feel constructive because you keep doing the wrong things, over and over again. If you want to feel more welcome here, then start taking the feedback to heart instead of blundering into the same mistakes all over again like some tragic version of Groundhog Day. If the feedback is overwhelmingly negative, then don't just say "we're going to do it anyway". That's guaranteed to piss everyone off. I shouldn't have to point this out to you. You're paid to make the right decisions here.
    – mason
    Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 20:54
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    @RobertCartaino I could come here with a cure for cancer and I would get down-votes asking why I didn't free Monica. That's a fascinating belief. Good things the community supports still tend to get, well, community support here. See the work the devs are doing. Things the community doesn't support don't get community support. But SE acting against the interest and wishes of the community enough times seems to have convinced you that we'd downvote you to oblivion for doing the equivalent of curing cancer. That belief is the result of a cognitive bias. There is no evidence for it.
    – De Novo
    Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 21:38
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    Nostalgia time: "This is a community-based project, and all the content comes from the people participating in the site ... the better you can serve the people doing all the work in the system, the better the system is. You need people who are willing to help, to curate. You need those people to scale. Listening to those people helps you form your community. And even though 90% of the feedback you get is crap, the other 10% is gold. You just have to listen and you’ll get it." --Jeff Atwood Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 23:50

5 Answers 5


No, there was no such discussion raised by the SE team to normal community members.

There was a consultation made to moderators only in the private moderator Team. This was leaked to the public here in a now-deleted and redacted question. (Someone managed to archive it to WayBackMachine before it was removed, but SE contacted them and asked them to remove it. If you want to see a copy of that post, I'm afraid you'll just have to look for it elsewhere. After this change was put in place, the archived page was reinstated.)

This spawned a discussion here, but that was erased by a local moderator here (not an employee) as apparently it was attracting too much drama. (There was another post asking if the earlier post was real, which was also removed by a local mod.)

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    I think the wayback page was restored- at least it’s working for me again.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 18:57
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    @CobyViner You aren’t really missing anything. It was leaked to stir up drama and doesn’t have any useful information that isn’t already released. The leak itself is worth mentioning, but the content of the leak is pretty meh. It’s just more of people getting upset because we have little ability to influence what happens.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 19:18
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    @CobyViner Website owners are allowed to have archived pages removed upon request by contacting them. (It also used to be possible to have pages removed by using robots.txt, but they later discontinued this practice.) Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 19:47
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    Suggested edit: moderators were not consulted re the policy itself. They were informed about the policy. They were consulted about how best to pitch it to the community.
    – De Novo
    Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 19:54
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    @ColleenV, but the leaked Teams post (the quote from the deleted Meta post) showed quite a bit of detail about the number of users that were granted which additional privileges, and referred to some studies that are not mentioned in the blog or elsewhere now?
    – Arjan
    Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 19:55
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    @Arjan that's correct.
    – De Novo
    Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 19:56
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    I don't think the Meta post that leaked the Teams content has been wiped from archive.org, but @Coby's URL above refers to a different post. (I don't know if that post was ever captured.)
    – Arjan
    Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 19:57
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    @Arjan It was wiped, but later reinstated. Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 19:58
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    @Arjan Those numbers were mostly from SEDE queries and are out-dated. I think some of them were found to be miscalculated for some reason. I’m certain we could find or ask for better numbers in a constructive way without dredging up old drafts that were never intended to be released to the public.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 20:00
  • @ColleenV, thank, that might clarify the lack of numbers. Still weird that the "independent research" is not mentioned at all, but well.
    – Arjan
    Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 20:04
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    @Arjan That’s one thing they listened to feedback on; I don’t think it would be nice to stir up trouble over it.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 20:06
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    Frankly, the independant research was... garbage. Commented Nov 14, 2019 at 2:35
  • @JourneymanGeek Doesn't matter - it had all the right keywords in it Commented Nov 17, 2019 at 16:07
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    Demanding the Wayback Machine censors things like this is abhorrent. Yes, trust was breached by the leaker. Yes, it's embarrassing for the staff (their fault for coming up with it in the first place though). No, it does not contain "sensitive personal information". Get a grip, SE. Commented Nov 17, 2019 at 16:08

There was Should the weight of question upvotes be increased network-wide?, asked on November 9, 2019, although it was asked by a community member, not by the SE team.

  • 118
    And the answer was a pretty overwhelming "no."
    – Kevin
    Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 19:07
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    Note that the asker was Robert Harvey, who was a moderator on Stack Overflow prior to his resignation - so slightly more notable than a post by a random community member. He likely had some privileged knowledge that the change was under consideration.
    – Brad Koch
    Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 22:37
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    @BradKoch This wasn't announced to mods until after he resigned.. but it was leaked.. which directly led to several questions being posted here, and then removed (see the comments on that question) - until that one was asked without any direct reference to the leak, which I guess it why it wasn't removed.
    – Em C
    Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 22:42

Another addendum to the answer by JC007B, the Director of Product Marketing at SE Inc.:

We didn't solicit feedback from the wider community on this change. We have a robust roadmap and we are selective in asking the community for feedback on specific releases.

In other words:

  • SE Inc., on its own, solely, decides what goes on its product road map.
  • Of course, the road map isn't disclosed. (btw: "Thanks", that answers my question where I suggested it would be great for communication to share some of that information with us.)
  • SE Inc. also, solely, decides when to ask about feedback, and when to not do that.

So, basically, the new corporate communication philosophy can be summarized with:

Take it or leave it.

Makes total sense.

It is really not like the community and the users are in any way stakeholders in a sense of Agile development. And only stakeholders get a voice that needs to be listened to.

  • 9
    "Inclusivity" means "we don't really include anybody as stakeholders, we just pretend". Commented Nov 14, 2019 at 15:08
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    Yeah, well, me, I'm leaving it. No more questions, no more answers, no more reviews. I feel cheated. I thought I was helping people, somewhere, but I was just helping to enhance shareholder value. This action is yet another step down into mediocrity. Shame.
    – RedSonja
    Commented Nov 15, 2019 at 7:49
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    @RedSonja I still feel ambiguous. I am not a "first day" member, so I never attached myself to "the company" like others did. I always figured that I was contributing to the commercial success of a company, and that they own the servers, thus my work. And just to say something positive: the technical folks at SE Inc. are great people to work with. I disagree with the way the "question-change" was pushed on us, but I very much appreciate how flawless that worked out. That part of really working with some folks at SE Inc. that still works...
    – GhostCat
    Commented Nov 15, 2019 at 7:59

Some addition to JC007B answer. It wasn't feedback about the theme itself. Moderators were only asked about the pitching part.


We informed site moderators of the change a few weeks ago, collected their input, and responded to it. We trust our moderators as representatives of their communities.

We didn't solicit feedback from the wider community on this change. We have a robust roadmap and we are selective in asking the community for feedback on specific releases.

As for why we didn't solicit feedback on this, Sara said it best in the blog post, "This change is about more than reputation; we want it to send a clear message—we celebrate the question askers."

  • 27
    I could understand coming up with the idea and workshopping it among staff and moderators first, but with all the recent controversy, you had to anticipate that the community would prefer to provide input as well. And failure to do so -- whether the right approach or not -- would simply turn the community even more against the staff.
    – AndyG
    Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 21:13
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    Did you solicit feedback on the actual policy, or just how to pitch it.
    – De Novo
    Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 21:16
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    @AndyG: With all the recent controversy I thought it's pretty obvious they don't want community feedback... :|
    – user541686
    Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 21:18
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    To be clear, it does not appear that you did solicit feedback on the policy, but rather only on how to pitch it. If you would like to repair the relationship and start building trust with the community, you should be completely honest.
    – De Novo
    Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 21:25
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    I'm a site moderator and didn't know about this. Maybe I missed something. When did you inform me?
    – Double AA
    Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 21:34
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    I can tell you what we did do. We sought feedback on open questions that we felt the network's moderators would be best equipped to help us answer / be prepared for together (e.g., impact on privileges, etc.). They know their communities best and we trust them to help us see blindspots in these areas. Their feedback did influence how it was communicated.
    – Meg Risdal
    Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 21:37
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    @MeganRisdal So you were planning on not actually gathering feedback to change how this was implemented at all, but only getting feedback from a few moderators about how to market this? So you're turning moderators into marketing analysts? Why was the community itself not asked? Why couldn't you just create a meta post, make your case? And then incorporate the feedback received - even if it turns out that making this change is overwhelmingly not what the community wants?
    – mason
    Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 21:39
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    @MeganRisdal Did you seek this feedback after or before a large number of moderators resigned or became inactive?
    – Alex
    Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 21:48
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    The blog post also says (in its last paragraph) "These changes ... are an exciting start to working hand in hand with the community to build a better Stack Overflow." I'm uncertain about how that squares with "We didn't solicit feedback from the wider community on this change." Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 22:48
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    Communities do not elect their moderators to make them unilateral decision-making representatives. Representation outside the network implies that the moderators show the world the why and the best of the community, because otherwise we would be giving sort of political power to them. If a decision affects the whole of the community than it is not morally right to consider moderators' views as the will of the community. I'm a Moderator and I disgree with this post (as conveyed rather indirectly) that my or of my fellow moderator's views alone count as the decision of the community.
    – 286110
    Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 22:58
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    @EmC so the OP meant "We informed some site moderators who frequent the dedicated moderator Team and Chatroom of the changes..." If they really wanted to inform the site mods they could have used a push mod notification or dropped a notice to check out the Team in the per site mod chat rooms.
    – Double AA
    Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 23:08
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    @EmC (sometimes they push notification or ping us in site chat rooms.) I'm not angry for not finding out, that is indeed my fault, but I'm unhappy this post gives the impression I was consulted. The people who frequent TL and the Team are a non-random subset of moderators.
    – Double AA
    Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 23:23
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    This new "Staff" mark is a good thing. Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 23:56
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    @Megan, "Their [moderators] feedback did influence how it was communicated": the leaked first draft emphasised on who would benefit from the change, which after the said feedback is now nowhere to be found. That really makes me wonder if/feel that you (SE inc) searched for a reason after coming up with the changes. And that in times where trust is that low. :-(
    – Arjan
    Commented Nov 14, 2019 at 10:31
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    You pursue this strategy at your peril. The consent of the governed (the community) to governance is essentially for its efficacy. If you think that you can fight the community head on and win, SE may soon join the large cadre of companies that held such hubris and failed all the same. I'm sorry, but this whole attitude belies a catastrophic failure in management and vision.
    – Magisch
    Commented Nov 14, 2019 at 10:42

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