I've never been a particularly active user on metas, so, perhaps, I'm missing a lot of things. Anyway, here's my humble take on the subject.
The main priority is right there at the top of the blog post. Here, I added emphasis to the first paragraph:
Since the early days of Stack Overflow, our community has seen a lot of GROWTH and change. As we reflect on 2019 and start thinking about 2020, our company also continues to rapidly GROW. We have new leadership, amazing partners using our Stack Overflow for Teams product, and north of 100k new users signing up to the public Q&A each month (coders are everywhere!). GROWTH on the business side of our company enables us to do more for our community, like relaunching the Stack Overflow podcast, creating a newsletter for developers by developers, and launching new features like authentication with GitHub, which is exciting for everyone. With so much change and GROWTH, we have been reflecting on how we can improve our communication paths to and from our community.
The subtle message is that Stack Overflow is growing. It's growing very, very fast, no doubt about that. The growth is tremendous, super, fantastic. I've never seen anyone or anything growing that fast in my life. So much growing, folks. Did I mention that SO is growing? Also, SO for Teams.
The takeaway here is that Stack Exchange is a private company and the Company's main priority is to inflate its own value to potential buyers. To inflate this value they need to show not only that SO is growing, but that the growth accelerates over time.
Recent skirmishes on MSE don't have any short-term effect on the majority of users on SO. Most of the users are not even aware of the existence of MSE.
Some things to note:
- Most of the sites on the network don't bring profit. Hence the focus on SO and only on SO.
- SO has a search-optimized database of ~20 million questions. It generates ~11 million page views every day. It will continue to bring a steady supply of new users, even if the quality of questions/answers declines.
- The training for moderators is going to be expensive. The Company doesn't have a business case for spending additional resources on growing the network.
- Only ~2% of users visit Meta sites (the concrete figure is old, but it shows the scale).
I strongly believe that feedback from moderators and MSE users is crucial to the long term improvement of the network in the most idealistic sense. However, their voices don't have a direct impact on the bottom line. The Company can afford to spend most of its resources elsewhere.
The calculation is simple. The sheer amount of traffic from SO will ensure that the Company will have enough user feedback through any channel they deem appropriate. And a lot of poor tortured souls willing to do menial tasks (SO is moderated by YOU!) in exchange for imaginary points. They've been doing it for 11 years, there's no reason for them to stop now. Over the years SO evolved into a frighteningly beautiful system of behavioral control.
This calculation is based on multiple assumptions. For example, that the lack of feedback from active users will have a negligible impact on the well-begin of SO. But even if this assumption is wrong, the effects will not manifest themselves immediately.
So, back to your questions:
Are these issues coming from C-level desks, or are they left up to the individual community managers?
Neither? We don't have any indication that these questions are going to be addressed. There's little to no reason for the Company to care about them.
If these issues are not deemed important, is there a way to make them important to SE?
Yes, to do this, one has to build a business case for improvements and present it to someone in the Company. Or, alternatively, figure out a way to somehow damage the Company's growth indicators. Frankly, none of these options looks like a good use of one's free time.
If so, how do we go about that?
Sorry, I don't have a working solution at the moment. It'd be nice to have a comparable non-profit Q&A site, though.
P.S. I'm terribly sorry, everyone, just couldn't resist.