I've been here for 10+ years now*. Like for a lot of people, Stack Exchange isn't a random website: it's a major chunk of my life. Years ago, Stack Exchange and the Community worked side-by-side towards a collective goal:
Making the internet a better place is the #1 goal of Stack Exchange.
Joel Spolsky ♦, 2011
Good days! We had an arrangement:
The unpaid communities curated questions and answers, and facilitated expert participation. Why do random people on the Internet provide a free service for a private company? Because we believe in making the Internet a better place. After all, random people don't mop the dirty floors at McDonald's for free.
In return for this free service, Stack Exchange provided us with the tools to make the Internet a better place. They edited the system to facilitate Q&A curation by the community, allowing everyone to participate through self-moderation. The provided SEO to attract experts and participants. They designed new sites for our favorite topics. They provided a stable platform where we can contribute without being HTML experts, etc.
Stack Exchange ran some profitable services, employees had full-time paid jobs, and everyone was happy that Stack Exchange made enough money to stay afloat. But above all, it was a partnership: we were equals, and were in it together.
Importantly, changes were predictable. We weren't surprised when features were implemented (even the ones we didn't like, e.g. mandatory arbitration), because we jointly discussed them first (months, even years in advance).
Q: Can we go back to this please?
Now is the situation is rapidly changing:
Stack Exchange are making unilateral decisions, as if they are the boss in our partnership. Consequently, community members are left wondering why they're mopping the floor at McDonald's for free.
Changes are now unpredictable, which leads to uncertainty: we don't even know if major sites will be shortly shut down. Thus, even if we continue mopping the floor, it might go to waste.
We also seem to be overlooking how much effort it was to attract experts in the first place, basically taking experts for granted now.
I think I'm like many people nowadays, I'm...
dejected: downcast, downhearted, despondent, dispirited, disheartened, discouraged, demoralized, low-spirited, ...
I truly want to continue helping making the Internet a better place, but with Stack Exchange making unilateral, unpredictable decisions, I'm now uncertain even if Chinese.SE will exist tomorrow. I've simply lost the motivation to mop the floor for free. I'm not going to rage quit, strike, or anything like that. Most likely, at some point I'll just unnoticeably stop mopping.
*(I have an inactive account as a result of transitioning.)