We have just released a new feature for Moderators across the entire network: the ability to remove a Meta post from showing up in the Hot Meta Posts (HMP) section of the Community Bulletin on the parent site.
Some details about this feature:
- Moving forward, any meta posts that are added to HMP for the associated parent site will have a “Selected for Hot Meta Posts” history entry added (accessible on the timeline and revisions for the meta post). This will only be added once (the first time that the post shows up in HMP).
- Removal of the Meta post from HMP will be through the mod menu for the given post, where a “Remove from hot meta posts” option will be provided for any Meta post that has a “Selected for HMP” entry in its history (in the recent past) and has not yet been removed.
- This will work identically to the way that the "Remove from hot network questions" button works on main sites.
- A Meta post that has been removed from HMP cannot be selected again by the system to appear in the Bulletin as a Hot Meta Post (it could still show up as Featured).
- When this function is called by a mod, it will:
- Add a “Removed from HMP” entry to the post timeline (identifying the mod who removed the post).
- Immediately refresh the cache for the Community Bulletin for the parent site.
- Similarly, when a post on HMP is deleted, the cache for the Community Bulletin on the parent site will now be refreshed right away.
As many of you may know, Hot Meta Posts had been removed from the Community Bulletin on Stack Overflow for over a year, before they were restored a couple of weeks ago. To quote Catija:
What we really want to avoid in the Hot Meta Posts are questions that call out, or are rude towards, specific users, moderators, or staff. Usually these questions don't get upvoted so our concerns are relatively low, but please understand that if we see these in the HMP we may act to reduce their visibility by changing the tags…
This new feature will provide moderators with a much more robust (and transparent) way to remove posts from HMP than has been available to date.
Additionally, now that we will be recording HMP selection (and removal) in post history, we will be better equipped to analyze the effectiveness of Hot Meta Posts in the future, and to make decisions about how we can improve this feature.
The current state of HMP network wide & future discovery
Hot Meta Posts is a very useful way to share important discussions that take place on Meta sites with the wider community. For many users who are looking to be more active in the Community, it can serve as their entry point for meta. That said, while for the main sites with more active and frequent Meta discussions there is almost always something to show in the HMP section of the Community Bulletin, for other sites this feature can go unused.
For example, right now (as I am writing this), Hot Meta Posts are only appearing on 32 out of 174 sites where they could potentially appear. On the other 142 sites, there simply are no recent meta discussions (or feature-requests, for sites where these are allowed on HMP) with a score of at least three that can be shown.
To quote Catija again:
We're planning to schedule more investigation for improvements to Hot Meta Posts network-wide as a project in Q4 2020. When we posted about this change last year, several answers proposed ideas of how to adjust the HMP feature along with questions about the impact of this change that we should consider and we'd like to investigate some of those, particularly thinking about the things that Bhargav wrote in his answer. These are important concerns we need to keep in mind, and I'm looking forward to seeing how we can improve and grow from this rather than just returning to where it was.
So, having the goal in mind of making interesting and useful meta discussions be more discoverable to users on the main sites, what types of content from meta sites would you like to see surfaced on the main sites that is not happening now? How might that content help to create new engagement among users who are more interested in getting involved in the community, in content curation, and in site governance? Are there any pain points that currently exist with this feature (even if it is only on site specific) that you would like to see addressed?
While we cannot make any promises or commitments at this point as to what changes will be made, and when: We are happy to hear thoughts from the wider Stack Exchange community about this, having in mind the effectiveness of this feature on both the sites that currently use it widely, and those who do not. Thank you all for your contributions to this discussion.