Catija has recently explained that which blog posts get displayed in the side bar for each site depends on a blog tag:
Blog posts tagged "bulletin" appear in the sidebar on sites that are considered technology sites (based on the sites listed in the footer) but not on others.
Blog posts tagged "announcements" appear everywhere on the network.
There's a third for "stack-overflow" which only appears on SO unless it also has one of the other two tags.
We also have an "international" tag for blog posts written in other languages and that can be paired with a language tag to cause the post to appear on the Russian, Spanish, Portuguese or Japanese SO sites
However sometimes other posts also get shown in the blog sidebar without any of those tags...
The announcements tag is not however limited to actual announcements of relevance to non-technology focused sites. It also has included:
- announcements of Stack Overflow only features: 1, 2, 3
- ads for Teams: 1, 2: "Coming together as a community to connect" (this one's particular gross because it looks from the title like it will be something heartfelt, but it's just a regular ad, trying to take advantage of the pandemic)
- profiles on bootcamps, other education organisations, and programming languages, VPNs
- podcast episodes: 1
- weird fiction
- Two sets of post roundups, and not just the announcement of the The Overflow, which was a legitimate use of the Announcements tag, but the actual roundup posts:
- SE traffic/data analysis: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
- anti-phishing tips
- posts about working remotely: 1
- posts on the Stack Overflow developer survey: 1
- pointless fluff from the CEO
It has often been the case that the sidebar will show two blog posts, neither of which should be promoted in this way on non-tech sites (or even arguably on any site).
I would like to make the simple request that the announcements tag be limited to only those posts which are actually announcements.
Actually, no, I'll go further than that. There needs to be accountability for the way the blog is pushed onto the hundreds of sites in the network. It cannot be the case that one staff member can act like a free agent and push random posts onto our sites without oversight.