71

The other day, SE Inc updated the FAQ with their post When will CMs or moderators remove the [featured] tag from actively featured meta questions?

Almost immediately leading to a community member asking: Is SE going to solely handle out edicts or actually engage with the community?.

Now let me quote one of the answers given to the user:

No, we are not handing down things and just expecting people to follow them - as Cody pointed out, this went through two rounds of feedback before making them final. It was actually a long, laborious process where we engaged with mods, compiled points, discussed them and reached a final version only after doing that twice.

So, why, why why, SE Inc, why didn't you say so initially?

I think we have been there more than once: when you make any kind of announcement on MSE or MSO, then please: include such crucial information as "we had two rounds of feedback with the mod team" in the announcement, or at least as a comment right there. It makes a huge difference whether something gets announced as a fait accompli, or went through two rounds of feedback with the moderator team.

Seriously: every time you first talk to the moderators, and then forget to mention that aspect, you create unnecessary churn.

It would be so much better for the relationship between community and company if users wouldn't have the constant feeling that we only get told things when we complain and push for it.

Or am I missing something here?

  • 2
    It could be because they didn't want moderators to complain that information was leaked out of the team. But that's a smaller worry in my opinion, as long as no specifics are published (the mere fact that feedback was taken is fine). – Sonic the Anonymous Hedgehog Feb 11 at 8:15
  • 32
    It's like primary school. When the parents want to discuss important matters about their children, they'll talk with the teachers/management but won't involve the children. They're too young to understand, etc. Same here. We (the non moderator users) are treated as children. – Shadow9 Feb 11 at 8:29
  • 13
    Sometimes I love Meta :D But I disagree with you, @Shadow9: I don't need the full discussion going on there, it's just a moderator thing, so that's okay. But they should state that they discussed it and that it's not a par ordre du mufti. Would have brought them some upvotes instead of downvotes ;) – Ocaso Protal Feb 11 at 10:16
  • I don't begrudge.. at least having a discussion somewhere that makes it very clear to distinguish mod voices and non-mod voices. Private -> public sounds plausible to me. It's the missed opportunity to mention that discussion, that makes one feel there is work left to do rebuild some trust. Who is this question likely to convince, more than the discussion present on the previous question in this chain? "Our resources to engage and parse feedback are limited, so we won't always be able to look to the broader meta community for everything."-Cesar. What other example are you citing as a pattern? – sourcejedi Feb 11 at 13:34
  • 5
    " every time you first talk to the moderators, and then forget to mention that aspect, you create unnecessary churn. " -- I'm going to disagree with this. Mentioning mods on carries the implication that moderators approved the messaging. I don't want to be associated, even by implication, with something I don't agree with. Mod feedback, while solicited, has had very little effect in SE messaging. – fbueckert Feb 11 at 18:04
  • 4
    @fbueckert Well, that is a piece of information that could be provided as well, as in: differentiating between "mods were informed", and "mod feedback was requested and somehow incorporated". – GhostCat salutes Monica C. Feb 11 at 19:07
  • 3
    @fbueckert I disagree there, and another mod seems to think it was too. Sure, the extent which people will be happy will vary (some people wanted it to be canned completely). But to say that we incorporated none or very little of it, I believe, is wrong. – Cesar M Feb 11 at 19:27
  • 3
    @CesarM I specifically said, "very little effect". I don't believe any volunteers, mods included, have any ability to alter what SE is doing; soliciting feedback from mods is limited to shaping it to be more palatable. Beyond that, all I'm asking for is that we are not associated, by implication or otherwise, in decisions the company makes. Doing so gives a false impression that it has an imprimatur of acceptance and approval. – fbueckert Feb 11 at 20:31
  • 1
    @fbueckert In this case, I did not feel like feedback was solicited only to make the message more palatable, nor do I think the announcement implied that there was some sort of moderator approval of the policy that was released, only feedback. Moderators are still free to express their disapproval publicly on Meta as they always have. – Bryan Krause Feb 11 at 20:42
  • 5
    @BryanKrause For a policy where consent is supposed to be explicit, I find it rather ironic that individuals in a group have to explicitly disclaim their responsibility in shaping it. – fbueckert Feb 11 at 20:53
  • They never have done this, historically. It only became desired when they started making changes the community didn't agree with. – TylerH Feb 12 at 15:04
  • 2
    @TylerH Sure. Thus it would be a nice policy to show A) they are listening B) the understand and C) mutual communication gets fixed on basic levels ... That wont solve everything, but would be a valuable first step to regain trust. – GhostCat salutes Monica C. Feb 12 at 15:08
48

I can speak for this case: before posting it, I actually thought, "we should include a notice saying this is result of working with mods on the mod team". But then decided against it to keep the policy as is without noise.

I have no reason to believe that, if suggested, this wouldn't have been done. So, it was within our (CMs) power, but we didn't.

Hindsight and all that, maybe next time :)

  • 13
    As said, maybe adding it as comment helps separating concerns. – GhostCat salutes Monica C. Feb 11 at 19:47
  • To balance my other negative comments, thanks for this answer. I'm happy to known it was just an oversight and not enforced by some 'internal' force enforcing the wording and, my 2cts: continue on this approach of 'better safe than sorry' by explaining what lead to it as if we're 5 years old (there's hints we are sometimes) :) – Tensibai Feb 12 at 19:32
  • 2
    @Cesar, with all due respect, the fact that you thought including a notice saying this was the result of working with mods was noise is astonishing to me, especially in the current context. I personally would have deemed that necessary, if only in order to demonstrate your efforts and good faith. Obviously one of us is wrong here, and maybe it's me, but I really do not understand your decision. (And no, this was not meant to balance the positive comment from Tensibai above ;) – Frédéric Hamidi Feb 12 at 19:32
  • 3
    @FrédéricHamidi still with all due respect, I think Cesar weighted the pro. And cons. Of adding this notice. The proof of good will vs 'factual policy', that's not an easy choice to make when posting something aimed to stand years, add to that everyone (se employees, cm or not, and us community) is high emotionally and there's far too much ground for battle. Let's embrace this post for what it is, a good sign of a real will to make things better – Tensibai Feb 12 at 20:36
  • 3
    @FrédéricHamidi I don't think it's a matter of right or wrong, we can't go back and edit and see how it'd have been. It might've been received better (I agree, probably it would have), it might've made no difference, or mods might've been upset by it like fbueckert said he would above. That's why I said: hindsight. I think Ghost's suggestion to leave it as a comment makes a lot of sense in the balance of things, so next time we can do that. – Cesar M Feb 13 at 1:00

You must log in to answer this question.

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