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I think we need to shake hands, and realize that our "communities" are going to have to migrate. It's ok. There are other, amazing platforms out there. This one has decided to move on without us, and I think that's ok.

Let me open with a statement I made in chat earlier.

I think that SE is going to survive this, unfortunately. The general user base has no idea what's going on, nor do I think that they would care. Most of the new content is homework help, or duplicates. People just trying to get a specific job done. SO will continue to serve these people just fine. They just want to remove all semblance of community, so they can get to strictly managing content, and not necessarily interaction.

Stack Exchange has made several, very questionable decisions over the past couple of years. We can argue back and forth about their different qualities, but as a business, they are free to make those decisions. Might I remind you, as well, that it is people making these decisions.

All too often do we suspect ill intent, without considering the entire picture. A business' very purpose for existing is to make money, unless you're Elon Musk. It is going to be more profitable for Stack Exchange to migrate from a community based model, to one which serves monetization and advertisements.

Can you actually blame a company for desiring to make more money? Especially when beholden to investors?

I get it, I do. This behavior feels very slimy, as they work to displace communities with profit, but this is the purpose of a business.

And hey, you know what? Discord is amazing, among other alternative platforms. It's different, I give you that. Stack Exchange currently has a unique way to deliver content and interaction. We're going to have to get used to change, because it's here.

Overall, am I unhappy with Stack Exchange's conduct? Absolutely. Should they be held accountable? In some ways, they have been. Am I willing to invest more of my emotional energy into protesting this? No.

Many people wiser than myself have already left. Let's just go build/do cool things again.

  • 13
    This is...completely unhelpful. – Ash Jan 15 at 0:09
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    @Ash How is moving on unhelpful? Why would you want to be in a place where you're unwanted? Do you think there's a benefit to maintaining the current situation? – ndugger Jan 15 at 0:12
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    Maybe I misunderstood this. But I never saw Stack Overflow as something that is (and I'll also have to be careful to get my wording here right) a "community in the social sense". Questions. Answers. Period. These are created by "a community", of course. The community of all people who had the goal of creating the best Q/A site on the web. But "being" a (social) community was never the main goal of Stack Overflow. There are occasionally claims that changes and policies aim at "creating a (welcoming) community", but if that was the goal, then until now, they failed disastrously... – Marco13 Jan 15 at 0:17
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    "There are other, amazing platforms out there." People keep saying this, but name just one that has the technical and community chops to replace SO right now. – Rubiksmoose Jan 15 at 0:19
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    @Rubiksmoose By definition, when you replace something, it's not the same. I cannot. We've let Stack Exchange monopolize this format for so long. Nothing compares, yet. We can try to take the power away from the monopoly now, though. – ndugger Jan 15 at 0:21
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    @Rubiksmoose The monopolization that has happened over the past 10 years (caused, to a large extent, by deceitfully giving contributors the impression of meritocracy) cannot be undone within 7-9 weeks. Something new has to be built, and it has to grow (until it's once more so big that it collapses under its own weight). People are working on forum.codidact.org and such, but of course, they're not there yet... – Marco13 Jan 15 at 0:27
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    @ndugger the only option you suggest in your post is Discord, and while Discord is good at what it does, it's not a SE replacement, because at best, it only really replaces chat, and SE is...a lot more than that. – Ash Jan 15 at 0:39
  • I didn't realize it would have been useful to compile a list of alternatives. My point seems entirely missed on the audience. – ndugger Jan 15 at 0:46
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    I'm still thinking about what you wrote, but one statement bothers me, and I've seen it made by others as well: "Can you actually blame a company for desiring to make more money?". If I'm to buy into the premise here, I need to believe two things: 1) the community-based approach that served SO well since day one is somehow harming profitability, and 2) The controversial decisions that have been so dismaying are somehow improving the value of the company. Both would need to be true and yet I can't see any evidence or argument that either one is. – James Reinstate Monica Polk 2 days ago
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    Can you actually blame a company for desiring to make more money? Especially when beholden to investors? How does alienating the community and firing the CMs (and moderators) we want (instead of the ones we don't) help make money ? They're driving away users they have in favor of corporate business users they don't have (and won't get enough of IMO). I see no common sense in that - it's the worst of both worlds. The ship is sinking and they're making more holes in the hull. – StephenG 2 days ago
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    "Can you actually blame a company for desiring to make more money?" uh, how is the answer to this question anything other than "yes"? Yes, I can. Yes, we can. If the purpose is to make money no matter what, then what is with all the rights of workers we've been slowly getting ever since the industrial revolution (just to put a pin one time in history)? The lack of child labour, having to pay people appropriately, not to mention ensuring the workers aren't in literal mortal danger from their work all cut into the company's profits. Should we really fault them for using these practices? – VLAZ 2 days ago
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    I don't see Discord as an alternative platform – dustytrash 2 days ago
  • This is actually very much not okay. How could you say that it is okay? How dare you? – FreezePhoenix 2 days ago
  • I wouldn't say "it's ok", and I wouldn't "shake hands", but I would walk away. That's what they want - give it to them. Give them what they want. – wha7ever 2 days ago
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Community-driven project cannot survive without a community. And users asking and answering homeworks are not the community.

I think that in longer term, SE/SO will cease to be of enough quality to be the top place to reach by Google. People will also lose interest in paid services (Careers) as you need to provide quality to get people to pay. And you need money to run services.

The decline in quality may be very fast. At this moment some sites do not have moderators. Also, I don't think you'll get creditable, ethically strong people to want to become mods now, so if new ones are found, they'll likely not really care/know about good moderation. Without mods, the website's self-moderation can get seriously out of control.

So yes, SE/SO can survive. But if it does, it's gonna convert to things like quora or yahooanswers: soul-less, with much more bad content, much more difficult to use, much less credible, full of poor advertisement.

  • 7
    The platform that initially set out to be the "anti Experts Exchange" will end up turning into Experts Exchange. Unfortunately I suspect you're right. Jeff & Joel would probably have an interesting post-mortem to write in 3 years time, because on the current trajectory that's as long as I'd give it. – Maximus Minimus 2 days ago
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    "But if is does," -> "But if it does," (I am not allowed to do a one-character edit...) – Schrödinger's cat 2 days ago
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    @MaximusMinimus: I'd rather hear from Sara and Monica. Monica will be forever bound to silence. Not sure about Sara. – James Reinstate Monica Polk 2 days ago
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    In defense of Reddit (don't know Yahoo Answers): I find Reddit actually quite useful and not really soul-less. But then I hardly read the discussions there, just the actual posts. It's just a different thing from here. Not really comparable. – Trilarion 2 days ago
  • @Trilarion You probably have a point. Let's switch reddit to quora. (I actually meant quora in the first place, but 3am was 3am...) – yo' 2 days ago

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