The blog post "Introducing “The Loop”: A Foundation in Listening" recently published on the official Stack Overflow blog mentions the creation of two working groups.

One for users:

That’s why we’re creating a working group of users made up of people from all corners of the developer community — from folks new to programming, those who don’t participate in Stack Overflow but are passionate about programming, experienced Stack Overflow users, frequent contributors, and more. We’ll hand-select folks of diverse backgrounds who are excited to chat with us regularly about everything from new ideas to features, to how we communicate with the broader Stack Overflow community.

And another one for mods:

To address the challenges we identified, we’re putting together a moderator advisory team drawn from our 550 existing moderators (folks who volunteer their time and donate their knowledge and leadership to the community): a small, self-replacing council of moderators who will be tasked with keeping our moderation guidance and methods up-to-date, along with ad-hoc working groups of moderators to work on specific initiatives as needed

I was wondering: will the composition of these two groups be public or will it be kept secret? I tried searching here on Meta and asking on chat but apparently this info hasn't been mentioned anywhere yet.

  • 3
    Why would anyone want the group members to be publicly known, except in order to (either directly or indirectly) influence them and the feedback they give to SEInc? That would defeat the purpose of individually selecting each person to obtain their perspective and views.
    – Nij
    Dec 6, 2019 at 11:20
  • 7
    @Nij yep, you are right but on other hand keeping the composition secret in the current climate will only result in more claim about "choosing just the supporters" or even "the groups don't even exist". It is a loss-loss situation I fear. Anyway, right now I am just interested in knowing what the current plan is.
    – SPArcheon
    Dec 6, 2019 at 11:28
  • 3
    @Nij Over the internet nobody can pressure you to do anything. You are already anonymous. These "anonymous" people need to be public, otherwise there is no way to be sure such a group exists at all. Dec 6, 2019 at 11:44
  • 2
    @Atizs You are anonymous. Not all people, including mods, are. Considering the amount of hate email the mods already get, adding additional stress to the mod team is a non ideal solution to lack of trust for SE. The working group however seems to be the more critical point. Without revealing users, it seems like Νеvеrꭑoꭇе says: a loss-loss. Distrust coupled with secret polling groups is a recipe for disaster. Curious these decisions were made retroactively rather than proactively. It seems they would have laid a better foundation for recent events rather than a bandage to fix them.
    – JFoxx64
    Dec 6, 2019 at 12:50
  • 4
    For now we’re in planning phases of what the groups will look like. The blog is an early explanation of the work we’re doing in an effort to keep communication open when we can. We can’t really answer the question at this point.
    – Catija StaffMod
    Dec 6, 2019 at 12:59
  • 4
    @Catija you... actually just did?
    – SPArcheon
    Dec 6, 2019 at 13:03
  • 2
    Saying "I don't know" is ... not the kind of answer that I generally find helpful, so I don't post it as one. If I had to guess, we will not reveal the people in these groups but will likely not prohibit themselves from mentioning it. With the mod team, whether the group is publicly recognized will be up to the moderators to decide. We're not planning to hand pick the team, the (current, very early) plan is for them to be elected by the mods.
    – Catija StaffMod
    Dec 6, 2019 at 13:54
  • 5
    I kinda disagree, @Catija. Not everyone will notice the comment you left, but many will notice the empty answer. Even if the full detail aren't ready yet, just saying that helps users seeing that you actually took time to answer and reach out to them, even if the info isn't yet available. And reaching out to users is what the site needs more right now imho. But I won't push you.
    – SPArcheon
    Dec 6, 2019 at 14:02
  • "Over the internet nobody can pressure you to do anything" is clearly false, we already have users influenced to behave in certain ways by how they are voted on or spoken to in comments. To think that this would not occur if the SE userbase knew who was in the working groups is laughably naive. Even totally anonymous people can be influenced, and knowing just the usernames would be too much.
    – Nij
    Dec 6, 2019 at 19:33

1 Answer 1


At this point, we don't know. We're still in early planning for what these two groups will look like. The blog is our way of keeping you involved in what's going on behind the scenes so that it doesn't look like nothing is happening.

I don't have a ton of information about the working group but I'm going to guess that we will not (and would not want to) keep a public list of these users for a variety of reasons, foremost, protecting their privacy. What I do hope is that we will talk about how they're chosen and what sorts of groups are represented. On the other hand, we likely won't prevent them from being open about this themselves.

I do have info about the moderator team and that's mostly to say, at this point, it's going to be up to the moderators to decide. While we're creating this group, the mods themselves will play a huge part in deciding what the team looks like. We will be offering a foundation for them and making suggestions but selecting who sits in the group won't be dictated by staff. It will likely be selected through nominations and elections within the moderator community. It will also be up to the mods to decide if the team is made public.

This wasn't an aspect that I'd thought about previously, so I do appreciate you raising the question so that we can discuss it.

We should have more information as this work progresses.

  • 3
    After all the mess about SO being opaque and non communicating the question about making the 'representative user groups' public or not didn't ring a bell for anyone at SE when writing the loop blog post? That itself is really enough to totally give up any interest here and that's really deceptive...
    – Tensibai
    Dec 6, 2019 at 21:27
  • I’ve already said that I’m not involved in that group, so me not personally thinking about it means exactly zero.
    – Catija StaffMod
    Dec 6, 2019 at 21:37
  • 3
    It might seem counter-intuitive, but in cases where information is sparse or not final yet, this is exactly the kind of answer the community would want to see, in the sense of frequent transparent updates. So thank you for posting this, and I hope to see fewer questions left without responses on questions like this in the future. Dec 7, 2019 at 0:34

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .