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As you may have seen, this was Tim Post’s last week at Stack Overflow. To say that he has been a staple of this company for a very long time is an understatement. Tim has served as a community manager, evangelist, thought leader, anthropologist, psychologist, and mediator for this site for almost as long as it’s been around.

For me personally, Tim has been my right hand in this role. He has educated me on the history of our community, been the person I’ve gone to to ask “why is this thing this way?“, bounced ideas off of, collaborated with, and relied on as a steady voice and a thoughtful teammate.

We’re all proud to send him off and support him in any way we can in his next role. Tim has agreed to meet with me once a month to talk these things through moving forward and I’m excited to continue getting his feedback on our initiatives and goals.

Thank you, Tim, for being such a stalwart here for so long. We’ll miss you, and look forward to sneaking you into our “Among Us” games for as long as we can. We're also excited to see you request to rejoin the ranks of Stack Overflow moderators and continue to be a pillar in the community.

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    Does this also means we have to give up on finding his keys? – rene Nov 12 at 21:55
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    What's going on? Cheese, moose, Silly Putty...thank you, Tim Post. – Ollie Nov 12 at 22:45
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    Thanks for posting about it and thanks to Tim for all his time and devotion. I wish him all the best and I hope StackOverflow will become or remain all that people dreamed it to be those 10 years ago. – Trilarion Nov 13 at 14:19
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    @AsteroidsWithWings If this wasn't posted there would have been another announcement. It was mentioned a couple of times and I was like "Oh please don't make a big deal about me" or they (my coworkers) would have posted something already :) – Tim Post Nov 13 at 14:31
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    @AsteroidsWithWings We were planning something... and then Tim had to go and spoil it by posting about leaving on Twitter before we got to it. ;) You'll likely see some farewells added to answers here that were being planned for a stand-alone post over the next few days. – Catija Nov 13 at 14:54
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    @TimPost I strongly disapprove of you leaving. But I wish you all the best, and thanks for being awesome. I must have gotten a grain of sand in my eye – Daniel Fischer Nov 13 at 19:03
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    SO has been working on their own post. Timing was a bit unfortunate, with a tweet going out before that post. After discussing this with a CM, we've recommended still posting that official post, closing the first one as a dupe, and merging all answers to the new post. Which is what I'm doing now :) – Tinkeringbell Nov 13 at 21:36
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    This post existed prior to this, then how is it that it got called duplicate, rather than this one? – Dhanishtha Ghosh Nov 13 at 21:37
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    @Dhanishta see my previous comment. The company was working on their own official post, and as mods we recommended still posting it. Circumstances were rather exceptional, so I've closed and merged all answers of the previous post to this one, an official company post. No harm done :) – Tinkeringbell Nov 13 at 21:40
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    Other "Thank you" posts were not official ones. So why was it necessary for this one to be official? You could easily add official answer to original "Thank you" post. It does not matter who posted "Thank you" post, so it would be ridiculous to make big deal out of it, but by merging it you are actually making big deal about it, and this simply does not feel right and it isn't right. – Resistance Is Futile Nov 14 at 8:59
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    The core of the reasoning is essentially - SE ought to be commemorating their own, especially folks who have worked closely with the community. The fact that the other Thank You posts were unofficial was unfortunate. And well - I feel that this ought to be the status quo, with the folks who worked with and for us getting proper recognition for their service. I do hope we don't have any CM farewells soon though, we're running out of CMs faster than SE seems to be able to replace them, but if they are SE ought to do right by them IMO – Journeyman Geek Nov 14 at 9:47
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    Downvoting this post feels like down-voting Tim Post; I don't understand why anyone would do that. Perhaps some people are hostile to anything coming from SE, but the downvotes seem just churlish. – ColeValleyGirl Nov 14 at 17:14
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    We've deleted quite a few comments complaining about the merging and this post being made: the idea of merging was proposed by moderators, not the company. We could've just closed as duplicates but that would've meant having answers in two places which is far from ideal. There's an unnecessary amount of hate directed at the company over this. If anyone wants to open a post to discuss how to better handle stuff like this feel free, but the comment section on Tim's goodbye/appreciation post is not the place for this. – Tinkeringbell Nov 14 at 22:08
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    Since there's some controversy let me offer a comment as the original poster: I'm fine with the merge. In fact, I'd prefer SE made these because part of the mess with Shog9 was the community at large had to notice he was gone and thank him. I posted because that's what we had to do the last 3 times a CM left. Had I known there was an official post forthcoming I would not have posted it. This is a welcome change, and props to Sara for a nice sendoff. Downvoting it serves no purpose except to deter future posts like it. – Machavity Nov 16 at 22:01
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    @Trilarion Yeah, there's a few of us still around. This isn't a complete list, but off the top of my head from currently or formerly community-facing roles... Jarrod, Marc, Nick, Kevin, Abby, Grace Note, and me. There are, of course, also folks hired the same year as Tim who are still around. – Adam Lear Nov 18 at 22:50

16 Answers 16

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+100

I owe all of you so much. All of you.

As I read all of the wonderful things that folks are saying about me, I can't help but think of the people that led me to those qualities; almost all of those folks are people that I encountered through being here. I didn't arrive as the adult in the room who always seemed to have the right advice to give, all of you taught me how to be that person as I learned from every interaction that we had.

You made this place that, for all my faults, ambitions, hopes and successes that were usually more colossal than my failures, has been my home for over a decade. And it will continue to be. But what I've brought back to this place we've made pales in comparison to what I've taken from it.

I won't be gone fully; I'll still be around. I think zooming out a bit will be beneficial to how I see the sites and challenges that we face. There's still a lot of work to do.

I'll see you all in chat!

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    Tim Post without a diamond. Been a real long time since I've seen that – psubsee2003 Nov 24 at 16:55
  • Have you found your keys yet? – Serendipity Nov 24 at 17:27
  • @psubsee2003 Maybe he can have a 👑. – Ollie Nov 24 at 18:52
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    You have a good heart, don't ever forget it. All the very best to you and your family. – Mari-Lou A Nov 25 at 23:33
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While it is rather common these days to wave goodbye to old time builders of this very site we are in, I cannot get used to it. It seems to me that instead of giving a good tribute to the creators of all of this, we are making them run away, when not firing them. So hard and sad. Since last year, many of the members of the core of Stack Overflow are gone: Jaydles, Shog9, Robert Cartaino, Geoff Dalgas, David Fullerton, Jon Ericson, and many others.

There is a lot to thank you for, Tim, and I cannot imagine how hard it must have been for you to be in the perfect storm that Stack Overflow has put us all through since last year.

It made me smile seeing that we both come from the sysadmin world and how things have evolved from your very first answer here, almost 12 years ago. All the best in your future endeavours, how exciting is not being able to know where we all will be in 12 years from now.

Thanks for the effort you put in all of this and for inspiring the community with your views and attitude.

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I always thought you were too ingrained in the woodwork to leave, Tim.

The hole you leave behind is too large to be easily filled. I mean, you gave us hammers, measured responses to legal questions (that also affected you personally), and cheese boards. What more could we ask for in a Community Evangelist?

It seemed of late that you were stretched thin, having so many responsibilities in so many areas. Working cross-team like you did must have been exhausting, and I sincerely thank you for all the work you put into doing what you do... Because you truly did it with passion and care. Anyone could see that if they were looking for it - and I hope others recognize the depth of what you did as you move onward (and hopefully upward!) I have no doubt that you will do well wherever you go.

I wish you all the best, Tim.

A question, though... are you still a unicorn yodeler?

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In times like this I'm at the least articulate.

Apparently there was a time I was here, and Tim wasn't a CM, but I hardly remember it.

Back when every site had a designated CM, he was ours - this was before my time, but much of Super User's early development was under his watch.

One finds that many of our best CMs were story tellers, and I think tales of moved cheese, lost keys and mercury poisoning embroider the fabric of our history. Tim is a storyteller, and I will miss that.

I guess he's also the last of the old CMs - the folks who have shepherded the community through much of the last decade, and his experience and good cheer has been an aspect of the site.

From his tweet - I wish him luck on his new adventure, both on the new job, as well as joining the ranks of moderators (whichever site that may be.)

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    A sense of humor should be a prerequisite for all future Stack Overflow staff acquisitions. – Sybille Peters Nov 20 at 22:19
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Tim was a constant in my time as a SO/SE CM. He was hired a few months before me and it was clear he'd already become an integral part of the team. He literally wrote the book on how to do the job and my first responsibility was to take over editing the Community Team Manual.

I had an idea that Community Managers were sorta Super Moderators. That isn't wrong so much as wildly incomplete. He introduced me to team@, AKA user support. He showed me how to diagnose IP address bans. Tim had complete mastery over the extra moderating tools CMs use, in part, because he helped design them. I always felt one step behind Tim because he just understood the technical parts of the job better than I did.

Tim demonstrated care for people within the community that few people can sustain. Meanwhile, he was dealing with cancer. It was honestly inspiring. Perhaps because he'd gone through so much on a personal level he was able to understand what other people were going through.

The technical side of the job is important, but it's the human side that separates people who inspire communities to greatness from the rest. If you know Tim from his swag initiatives, you only know a small slice of his story.

I know it's hard to see people who have become fixtures around here leave. I was surprised to find out Tim was moving on.1 But the job is draining. Sometimes you need new people to step into a role like CM. And it looks like Tim has found another place to ply his trade. That just means new people will discover what a wonderful human Tim Post really is.


Footnote:

  1. I was going to say "hanging up the mod hat", but I'm glad to see that won't be the case. We have a lot more to learn from him in the TL.
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    Great to have more inside glimpses of Tim's contributions and compassion. And indeed, we're lucky to have some former CMs raised from the mod ranks, who (unlike Shog and Robert, say) can easily remain in the TL fold by resuming their old mod jobs. – Rand al'Thor Nov 14 at 14:16
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Tim,

Your guidance throughout my early days as a moderator and your diplomacy and tact were models for me and other moderators in our work. Thank you for everything you've done and I'm a better person for having been able to have share this time and space with you, and Stack Overflow is a better place for it.

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Thank you so much Tim!

It is so sad to see you leaving!!

Tim was one of the few CM's that had his email address publicly available, and this was extremely helpful at times, especially when Robert and Shog9 left and we needed desperate and urgent help getting around bugs on Area 51 that were preventing users from being able to commit to the Matter Modeling Stack Exchange site, which ended up being a successful Area 51 proposal and now a flourishing site (thanks in part to Tim and various others).

Tim was very professional and also approachable when we had problems, and he always gave us peace of mind to know that he was actually listening to us and taking our concerns seriously.

His emails were cheerful and friendly rather than "lawyer-like" or "business-like" and we could tell he was cheerful by his use of (sometimes multiple consecutive) exclamation marks. Some examples are copied and pasted below:

Thanks again for all you do!!!

Thanks again for being so patient!!

We will miss you so much and we are very sad to see you go, but also happy that you're following what your heart is telling you to do. I'm glad to see in the Twitter post that you'll at least stay as a moderator.

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    'Multiple exclamation marks,' he went on, shaking his head, 'are a sure sign of a diseased mind.' — Terry Pratchett. I guess Tim's the exception that proves the rule. :) – terdon Nov 14 at 18:58
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I have worked with Tim a fair bit over the last 9 years or so - and always found him a source of strength, but most of my interaction with him was around guiding new sites, or ones with specific challenges, to a level where they could stand on their own two feet and grow. And in that space he was a wonderful guide - being able to understand a huge variety of community motivations, and articulate them to me, a socially challenged geek.

And many thanks for the lovely swag that arrived over the years, even though that cheese competition did leave me in a serious lactose/cholesterol coma for some time.

@TimPost, it's been great having you as a CM, and I'll miss you and your chats.

(And apologies for Personal Productivity...)

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Tim was the first person I reported to at Stack when he managed the International CM team. I learned a lot about the network from him but what I enjoyed the most was his humanity and his humor. I consider Tim a friend who helped me not just on the network but also on things like kitchen knife selections, recipes for Cubano sandwiches, and the pros and cons of Minecraft. He always lit up when we talked about cooking or family. I'll miss those conversations with him. Tim has been a solid presence here and everyone on the Community Team is feeling the loss of Tim's decision to move on. It really is a bittersweet moment for us right now but we know that he's going to do great at his next gig.

While his contributions here will undoubtedly change, I'm glad to know that he's looking to stay on as a moderator. So, even in these changing times, I doubt we've seen the last of Tim Post's posts!!!!

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Thank you very much, Tim! You were an excellent Community Evangelist, and I particularly enjoy reading and re-reading your post about the moose and Silly Putty. The next CE has some big shoes to fill ;)

May fortune go with you, Tim, and may you never lose your keys again.

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Tim, I haven't been particularly active in the last year or so but I wanted to come back and thank you for the part you've played not just in my moderatorship but in inspiring me to be better in all aspects.

I've always been incredibly impressed with how you've dealt with the obstacles in your path and I've taken note of your teaching and applied what I learnt to my own journey.

Thank you for all you've done for the community. I'll miss seeing you here as staff but wish you all the luck for your next adventure and look forward to keeping in touch.

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Like many others that joined "a bit later" I didn't get to know Tim until last year, when the storms were raging. What I saw then was plenty, and I learnt a lot from the interactions I had and those I observed with Tim.

Me, personally, I would be very hesitant to seek new opportunities during such times of churn. The pandemic is still rising, especially in the US, and the political situation radiates into many aspects of life. Thus I just applaud Tim's bold move: know your goals, and try to live up to them, no matter the circumstances.

I am sure that Tim will bring an incredible amount of energy to his new place to make a difference there, too. And I am optimistic that the difference he made here, is reflected in the new attitude by MSE Inc, thus that energy is also to stay with us here, somehow.

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Ugh. Moved cheese was supposed to be fun...

We haven't personally interacted a lot, but I've seen plenty of great posts on here written by you. I hope that staying around as a moderator means there might still be a few new ones in the future!

You were the one that invited me to join the moderator team here, and I like to thank you for the trust you put in me back then... because I don't think I ever did so formally. Better late than never!

Lots of nice words can be constructed when someone is leaving, but since I look forward to still seeing you around the network, I'm not going to act like you're gone. I just refuse to :P I'll wish you all the best for your new job, and see ya!

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I haven't been here long on this site, compared to everyone else. When I came to Stack Overflow, I heard of moderators getting fired and whatnot, and I saw that Tim had been there for quite a while whilst going thru MSE and MSO.

It's hard to explain, but it's like seeing someone who you've encountered all over MSE suddenly go (in fact, that is what it is).

We've never interacted or anything, but the way I saw it, he was not going to get fired soon. As soon as I saw this post on featured, for some reason I remembered someone losing their keys ;)

I really feel sad to see people go in general, and this is no exception.

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Ah, Tim, you will be missed here. I can remember so many times there was some difficult or contentious topic being raised, and then cutting through the heat would be the Tim Post post. It always felt like an adult had finally entered the room, clearly explaining the situation with maturity, and such eloquence. It never felt like he was pandering to the community, or condescending, but often just giving a great explanation of why a decision was taken, or what the constraints on any choices were. Such a rare and valuable skillset.

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Hopefully now that he's leaving he can find his keys. Thanks for your great work, Tim!

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    I was about to say the same... (well, not really the same, but was going to mention that post) – Serendipity Nov 23 at 16:56

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