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I just posted my first quarterly blog post. I cover what I have learned in my first year at Stack and what the team has accomplished in Q4 and is working on in Q1. I welcome your thoughts and feedback.

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    Would you (or someone of your team) mind leaving an official SE authorized comment or answer here wrt Developer Survey? We got a bit worried you skipped it altogether so I'm happy to see that is not the case!
    – rene
    Commented Mar 10, 2021 at 16:33
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    Here you go "Update on our annual Dev Survey. Last year, we opened the Dev Survey on February 5, 2020 and released the results on May 27, 2020. As you well know, an awful lot happened during that stretch and we learned our lesson around needing a faster turnaround between the two milestones. This year we plan to launch the 2021 Dev Survey in or around June and have results back to everyone within 1-2 months. We're focused on shortening the window from when the survey runs to when it's released given how rapidly the world is changing right now." I will ask the team to answer the original one. Commented Mar 10, 2021 at 16:48

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I liked it.

The post focuses well on different aspects of the goings-on, balancing updates about Teams and other company-related topics with updates about community events and projects (such as the review queues updates and Winter Bash).

I do have a question, though:

This year we are going to continue to explore social impact initiatives in hopes of having an impact on developers and technologists everywhere, but also on making the world a better place.

What exactly does this mean? What kind of projects are you considering taking on that focus on "...making the world a better place"?

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    I can't share the details yet but will as do as soon as I/we are able. I am personally excited but the opportunity we are currently exploring. Commented Mar 10, 2021 at 16:43
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    World peace and vaccines for all, probably.
    – Mast
    Commented Mar 10, 2021 at 18:46
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    another "welcome wagon" perhaps
    – Kevin B
    Commented Mar 10, 2021 at 19:03
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    There is probably good intent behind it, but "social impact initiatives" usually turn out badly for all parties involved. Mostly because they don't ever come close to treating the real cause of the issues, but rather try only dealing with symptoms. Commented Mar 13, 2021 at 13:14
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    @Resistance Is Futile: I think it will be different (and effective) when Teresa is involved. Commented Mar 14, 2021 at 22:32
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    @P.Mort.-forgotClayShirky_q Applying US centric view on global community. What could possibly go wrong... except, everything... It may be better, but I highly doubt it will go well. I am just wondering which will be the next group of people that will be thrown under the bus first, before the bus gets out of control and runs over everyone else... Commented Mar 15, 2021 at 12:01
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What I found interesting was the comparably little use of the downvote functionality in private (Teams) instances. It seems that people that know each other do not downvote each other publicly. And you found a workaround or replacement, which is private comments.

Private comments may or may not be something for the public Q&A too, although I think that by and large downvotes and comments work quite well there. The anonymity of the public Q&A seems to enable people to be very honest with each other and really concentrate on the content alone, which in the end (probably) leads to a better content selection and higher quality of the content. A private comment may have an impact on content quality but not directly on score or sorting order, so it may only be half a replacement there.

In smaller groups one cannot simply see only the content, because one also has to interact with others in other ways and so cultural norms kick in. They are also present on the public Q&A here and downvotes are a frequent discussion point and draw (maybe even too) much attention. The risk aversion is so strong that people worry about a downvote given many times more than about upvotes not given, even though the reputation impact of downvotes is small.

Still I think it's worthwhile to continue discussing about downvotes and try to really completely understand them and their impact and compare them to all alternatives, if only to gain more understanding about how humans interact.

Alternatives could be ranking answers (if you say that answer A solves the problem better than answer B it's almost like a downvote for B but may be received better) or voting on different aspects (solves the problem, understandable, extensive, well researched) or showing relative measures (upvotes/(upvotes+downvotes) instead of upvotes-downvotes) that can only go from 0 to 1 and avoid negative numbers, which might be the problem. There are surely alternatives that deserve to be tested and compared against downvotes. Some of them might even work in private settings like Teams.

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Great to read this update, however I'm not completely sure about the timing of the survey you are proposing. In a lot of countries June is the start of the holiday season. That combined with the quick turn around you hope to achieve might make for fewer responses due to people being on holidays during the period the survey is run. That was less of an issue when the survey was conducted in February of course.

Was this considered during the planning of the developer survey?

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    As long as they keep it early in June, this shouldn't be a problem at all. Late June might.
    – Mast
    Commented Mar 10, 2021 at 19:51

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