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Update: The ad collection posts on all of the sites listed below for the trial period have been posted. Submissions and voting will be open through August 2nd. Thank you for all the feedback — I tried to address most of it, and hope to be able to address some of the outstanding concerns (particularly surrounding ad rotation, etc.) after the trial is over.


It's now May, and if Community Promotion or Open Source Ads are something you care about, you may have noticed that there hasn't been a 2021 refresh yet. In case you missed this post, please check it out for some details about why the refresh was pushed back, and why a project around the rethinking of that initiative made its way into our roadmap for Q2 2021.

Here I'll focus mostly on the format for a new initiative that'll be broader so it can encompass the goals the Community Promotion and Open Source Ads initiatives tackled, along with a replacement for the Hot Network Questions Ads, and even some other types of ads that Nicolas has experimented with in the International SOs (like this, or ads that link to Meta posts like this). That means your communities can get three different types of ads for the price of one... which, by the way, is for free! ;)

The Goals

Some of the goals of this initiative you may already be familiar with, since we're iterating on the existing Community Promotion and Open Source Ads initiatives. To put it simply, Stack Overflow's variant of Community Promotion Ads focuses on highlighting open source projects, whereas the rest of the network allows for promotion of basically anything that each specific community might find interesting or important.

In addition to that slight variation, we're introducing a new additional goal that applies to all the sites. This is the bit that comes in to replace the now-retired Hot Network Questions Ads, and is broad enough to allow for promoting main site and meta content specific to each community.

With that being said, the revised guidance/goals for the initiative reads:

  • Community Promotion Ads (all non-SO sites)
    The goal of this initiative is for future visitors to find out about the stuff your community deems important. This also serves as a way to promote information and resources that are relevant to your own community's interests, both for those already in the community and those yet to join.

  • Open Source Ads (SO only)
    The goal of this initiative is to promote advertisements soliciting the participation and contribution of programmers writing actual source code. This is not intended as a general purpose ad for consumer products which just happen to be open source. It's for finding programmers who will help contribute code or other programmery things (documentation, code review, bug fixes, etc.).

  • "Hot Network Questions"1 Ads (all sites)
    This initiative has an added goal of providing your community with an opportunity to showcase exemplary questions from your main site, as well as frequently-linked-to guides from your Meta site. While the latter makes sense to be shown solely on this site, the former can be shown all across the network. These should avoid hot button topics, and instead focus more on evergreen questions that show what your community’s all about.

To clarify, and at the risk of repeating myself, all of these initiatives would be bundled into a single post, and the above guidance is a template split up only so it's easier to understand what bits replace the currently existing initiatives.

Further Guidelines

As is mentioned in the roadmap post, as well as my answer from a month ago, one of the reasons for reworking this initiative is the unmaintained old code that the current format relies on. Additionally, while having these ads be generated dynamically over the course of the year they run based on their fluctuating score is nice, it also produces overhead in terms of making sure the ads are compliant with our guidelines. The revised format will instead rely on an open collection period, at the end of which a "snapshot" of the ads that make the cut will be collected so they're run during the next year. We're proposing a single "submission season" at the beginning of the year, that runs for 1 month across all the sites where the initiative is run, after which all the posts with a minimum score of 6 will be selected and run for the coming year.

Obviously, all proposed ads need to abide by our Code of Conduct. Additionally, given we're trying to align this initiative with our Ad Team's regular ad campaigns' structure, our ad creative guidelines will also generally apply (note that the first 2 bullet points on the “Tracking” section do not apply, and a lot of the guidelines surrounding claims, comparisons, proof, etc., while still applicable, may not be particularly relevant for this initiative). Finally, ads can not be promoting products nor soliciting programmer time or resources for: knowledge sharing or collaboration tools for technologists, or for sites where ad buyers are primarily targeting technologists.

Formatting bits

When the collection posts go out, they'll provide a detailed list of requirements surrounding file formatting names, sizes, clickthrough URLs, etc. For now, the two new bits worth highlighting are:

  • Whereas the current initiatives only allow for right sidebar ads (300x250), the new initiative will also allow users to submit banner ads (728x90). We recognize that not all sites currently have banner ads, so it's possible that if the inventory to be displayed on a given site is too low, we'd need to put measures in place to ensure users aren't getting exposed to the same ad(s) over and over again.
  • Whereas ads submitted in the current initiatives will only be displayed on the site where they're submitted (so, the MSO post will collect ads to display on SO, for instance), the new initiative will allow users to specify whether the ad should be displayed on the same site (mimicking the Community Promotion and Open Source Ads format), on all other sites (mimicking the Hot Network Questions Ads format), or on a subset of other sites (say, on all the tech sites). This'll also mean the CM team and the communities will need to work closely when defining their target audiences, to ensure the ads are relevant and not disruptive to the communities where they're being displayed.

Reporting

One of the benefits of revising this initiative, as I'd explained here, would be that we'd be able to provide the communities with more detailed reporting of how your ads are performing. As I worked with our Ads team in this initiative, a few things came up as the bare minimum of what we can report back on:

  • Metrics:
    • Impressions
    • Clicks
    • CTR
  • Dimensions:
    • Date
    • Site
    • Line Item (Type of campaign, e.g.: "Hot Network Questions,"1 Open Source, Community Promotion)
    • Creative

We'd like to hear from you on whether there are any other things you'd like to see reported, bearing in mind that we can't promise to publicly share any that could potentially be used to reveal trade secrets to competitors.

Trial

Since we're approaching the middle of the year, we thought running a trial through the end of 2021 might be appropriate. Last year there was a low level of engagement on many of the sites where I posted these, so given that we're running a trial on the 34 sites where at least one ad made it to the minimum score of 6 in 2020:

In June I'll post a collection question with the guidance defined above for these sites, where the communities will be able to post proposed ads that fall under the Community Promotion Ads (or Open Source Ads on SO) guidance, and also the guidance for the bit of the initiative that replaces of the now defunct "HNQ" ads — all under a single collection question.

The list of sites above constitutes a good mix of topics, sizes, and levels of engagement with the initiative in 2020, so we're hoping they'll be able to give us a decent overview of how the network as a whole would engage with the proposed new initiative.

Once that's over, we'd provide the aforementioned report on how the ads did, and will also be looking at general engagement with the initiative as a whole. Additionally, given the new proposed targeting possibilities, we'll also be looking at the amount of ads getting reported since there's a possibility that some of the "Hot Network Questions"1 ads may actually turn out to be somewhat disruptive due to their off-topic-ness. Based on what we see, we'll determine next steps — though assuming all goes well, we can start doing these on an annual basis, and adjust if there's a call for a faster rotation of ads. Stack Overflow's may be refreshed twice a year, as has been customary. Depending on the level of engagement we see, we'll then decide on whether to expand these to more sites, and potentially revise the current policy of only doing this on non-beta sites.

Conclusion

If you have questions, comments, or concerns, please leave them as an answer below. Please see the section on reporting above, and leave feedback if there's stuff you'd like to see reporting on and is not listed there. I hope I can address most of it, but can't make any promises, as usual. Please leave any feedback by May 31st.

That's prolly plenty of words for now. I hope that you find value in this initiative, and am looking forward to (manually) posting all of these in the coming month!


1 I'm referring to these as Hot Network Questions throughout the post, but once we roll this out we may start calling them something else since... well, given the nature of the new initiative, we won't really be looking for "hot" posts. They're more like "popular" or "frequently asked" questions, really.

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    Are community ads only supported on non-beta sites? I didn't look through the complete list of sites, but most of the ones that made the list looked to be either graduates or in the limbo world between graduation and beta. – hazzey May 18 at 14:03
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    We've only done Community Promotion Ads for non-Beta sites in the past, correct, @hazzey – JNat ModStaff May 18 at 14:06
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    "They're more like "popular" or "frequently asked" questions, really." With frequently-asked, I think about questions which have lots of duplicates. However, that has nothing to do with the current HNQ system. – Mast May 18 at 14:57
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    Could you summarize what this effectively changes in the short term for the 34 sites you've listed? – Mast May 18 at 14:59
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    The part of this that'll replace the HNQ won't have anything to do with the HNQ system either, @Mast — all of these will be manually curated, rather than algorithmically selected. And I said "popular" because it will allow folks to highlight exemplary questions, and "frequently asked" because it can be used to highlight Meta guidance type of questions that may be useful for new users. – JNat ModStaff May 18 at 15:03
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    These sites will have a collection post in June to test this new model, in which they'll be able to submit proposed ads that align with the above guidance: stuff that falls under what Community Promotion Ads would have been, as well as stuff that falls under the new guidance that aims to replace the now-defunct HNQ ads — all under a single post/initiative. Is that not clear in the post itself, @Mast? – JNat ModStaff May 18 at 15:08
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    IMO it wasn't entirely clear, no. It looks like there's a lot of potential with this potential, but we'll have to figure out the details of how it works and what works best somewhere in the next month it seems. – Mast May 18 at 15:17
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    I agree with @Mast -- it's not clear what, if anything, is different on the upcoming collection round as compared to previous years. It sounds like you're changing the code internally but not doing that much to how it looks like to the site users. If there are significant changes, it would be good to see them listed explicitly. – E.P. May 18 at 15:38
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    Does my edit make it any clearer, @E.P. and Mast? I thought it was already clear given the "To clarify, and at the risk of repeating myself..." bit, but reiterated once again :P – JNat ModStaff May 18 at 15:46
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    @cs95 - Last time the Open Source ads were run, the top-voted ad was for Codidact, which is an open-source Q&A platform. SE apparently didn't like that a project that could be considered a competitor was advertising for free on their site, and so created a new rule to prevent it. – Mithical May 24 at 10:24
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    "Finally, ads can not be promoting products or soliciting programmer time or resources for knowledge sharing projects that are competitive to Stack Overflow, broadly construed." -- is that Stack Overflow the site, or Stack Overflow the company? Are ads promoting non-programming, off-network knowledge sharing allowed or not? – tpg2114 May 24 at 15:38
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    @JourneymanGeek That's my interpretation also -- but it would be important to have clear marching orders on it since Physics in the past iterations has run ads for a non-programming, off-network Physics knowledge site that is a direct competitor (not Codadict-based). So it will come up, and we'll need to know what to do given it's a touchy subject anyway... knowing what we need to do before it happens will at least head off some issues. – tpg2114 May 24 at 16:53
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    @JNat Some sites had community ads to other stackexchange sites, e.g. tex.se had an ad for writing.se. However some stackexchange communities (like SO) also show commercial ads targeting technologists (whatever that means). Can communities still show ads to such sites? – samcarter_is_at_topanswers.xyz Jun 10 at 14:36
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    Those restrictions don't apply to intra-network advertising, @samcarter_is_at_topanswers.xyz — if I'm reading you right, I think that's what you're asking about. – JNat ModStaff Jun 10 at 14:56
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+50

Finally, ads can not be promoting products or soliciting programmer time or resources for knowledge sharing projects that are competitive to Stack Overflow, broadly construed.

  • So, this clause was created just to eliminate those two, right?

  • The "broadly construed" phrase in itself is frightening, and probably useless. Otherwise, I could easily spot many of the candidates which are for "sharing knowledge".

  • Not sure to understand this clause. If the projects concerned are open-source, then Stack Overflow, as anyone else, will be able to reap the produced result, right?

I have not been and don't want to be involved in the debates that have stormed meta months ago, and initiated those linked projects above.

I think Stack Overflow as a company can and should prove itself not afraid of the community and to be above those pesky clauses and fights.

SO and the programming community itself could seriously benefit of some fresh point of view. And frankly, the chance of these becoming actual competitors of Stack Overflow are minuscule.

The result is just more stirring of what should have been settled. I was not involved, now I'm disappointed; I thought this was over.

Rise above this and let them be present (provided they meet the usual same criteria as the others, of course).

TL/DR:

There is nothing dangerous for SO/SE here. By adding this clause, it's just stirring old disturbances that should have been buried. Both SO and the community would benefit from having diversity in the knowledge sharing ecosystem. You should remove this clause, and treat all candidates the same, regardless on how "broadly construed" they seem to compete with Stack Overflow.

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    I wonder if Wikibooks is a competitor. – Nemo May 24 at 22:04
  • or the mdn or any github issue – aloisdg Jun 3 at 7:38
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    I made an edit to the language around the portion of text you're quoting so it's clearer and less ambiguous. I understand how the previous wording could lead to a reading of the situation such as the one you're presenting, but I think this revised wording clarifies what we're disallowing and why we're doing it. – JNat ModStaff Jun 10 at 11:46
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Are banner ads worth the trouble?

I almost didn't post this because I'm not really sure about this, but my initial impression is that banner ads add far more complications than they might be worth. You increase the amount of effort and knowledge necessary to post ads as people now need to be able to provide different ad formats and you also require them to understand the consequences of the ad format choices on whatever algorithm you have that selects to display ads. If this isn't done carefully, it also has the potential to annoy people because banner ads are more intrusive than sidebar ads. And most established users are above the reputation threshold where banner ads are shown, so the most active users won't ever see these banner ads.

Including banner ads feels like an unnecessary complication to me at this point. I think it would be safer to start this with sidebar ads only, and only go for banner ads if you're really sure there is a significant benefit there.

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    No, the regular community ads don't get seen enough. I am 100% in favor of the addition of banner ads. – user1271772 May 19 at 4:10
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    Folks don't need to be able to provide different ad formats; they can. Does the question convey that you'd need to submit an ad in both formats? If so, lemme know so I can clarify. I do understand the potential for disruption you mention, though, which is why I mention looking at reported ads, etc. Furthermore, we can all decide that we only wanna allow banner ads for same-site advertising, rather than random off-topic ads on other sites — as in, maybe Math can advertise a Meta.Math FAQ post in a banner, but Cooking can't have a banner ad for a popular question show on SO. – JNat ModStaff May 19 at 16:33
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    These can be worked into the guidelines if y'all feel it'd be preferable (now if we wanna prevent disruption, or after the trial if we wanna test and find them disruptive after all). – JNat ModStaff May 19 at 16:33
  • I did not see a single ad on the SO long, long ago. – peterh Jun 2 at 19:28
  • Fortunately, they do not use anti-ad-blocking measures. Hopefully they will continue to do that. – peterh Jun 3 at 12:37
  • @peterh well, other than using non-ad space for teams ads, such as banners and colorful boxes in the nav menu. – Kevin B Jun 3 at 15:27
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The revised format will instead rely on an open collection period, at the end of which a "snapshot" of the ads that make the cut will be collected so they're run during the next year. We're proposing a single "submission season" at the beginning of the year, that runs for 1 month across all the sites where the initiative is run, after which all the posts with a minimum score of 6 will be selected and run for the coming year.

That sounds extremely draconian and pretty close to a no-go for me. Community Ads evolve slowly, true, but making them be completely frozen in time for a year at a time does not allow for any flexibility at all as the conversation around them evolves, and it makes it unavailable to new users, who must wait for an average of six months before being able to propose one. (If you're looking for internal KPIs, this fails the "being friendly and welcoming to newcomers" checkbox, in a bad way.)

With this in mind:

having these ads be generated dynamically over the course of the year they run based on their fluctuating score is nice

I think "nice" is an understatement here. I would describe it more as a key feature of the mechanism.

it also produces overhead in terms of making sure the ads are compliant with our guidelines

That's fair. But what kind of overhead is this? Are they vetted by humans? Is it an automated process?

If continuous approval is not feasible, I would suggest changing the single "submission season" to a quarterly (ideally monthly?) sign-up process: set up a single thread per year, and then at the end of each quarter, any ads that have broken past the 6-vote threshold (and any that have been edited) go through any required vetting and then get added to the roster. This allows further ads to be vetted as required, without needing to re-vet any already-approved ones.

(And if the time requirements for this vetting are too much, I would submit that this implies that you do not actually have the resources to vet the ads that the communities require.)

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    How about one post per year, that is reviewed quarterly to see if any new ads have gotten six votes? I'm also concerned about smaller sites that might have trouble getting to 6 votes. These are the sites that arguably need the most promotion. – LShaver May 18 at 15:54
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    I did say "though assuming all goes well, we can start doing these on an annual basis, and adjust if there's a call for a faster rotation of ads." (with highlight added here) So I do recognize the downsides of have a "snapshot" of the ads, rather than a dynamically generated pool of ads to draw from. – JNat ModStaff May 18 at 15:54
  • @LShaver Yes, that was the idea -- it was implicit and should've been explicit, I guess. – E.P. May 18 at 17:31
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    @JNat That got lost in the sea of text. I think there's definitely a need for faster add-in than once a year. For one thing, if low engagement is already a problem, forcing communities to vote within one month or miss the bus is only going to exacerbate it. – E.P. May 18 at 17:33
  • @JNat This is close enough to the answer that I was going to write that I'll comment here. "We're proposing a single "submission season" at the beginning of the year, that runs for 1 month across all the sites where the initiative is run, .." - Could we start Nov. 15th and run for 6 weeks, with a 'Staff approval' made within the first week of a quarter? That allows the infrequently visited child-metas to accumulate enough votes and for the Community AD to run for an extra few weeks (rather than vote a month, wait a month); it also allows complaints, suggestions, even Flags to improve the AD. – Rob May 18 at 18:25
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    @Rob Honestly, I'd rather avoid the (relatively quiet) December season for this (personally)... I think it'd be better overall to move away from the January timeline and look at running these, say, starting in February or March or whenever makes sense for user activity levels. :) – Catija ModStaff May 18 at 18:28
  • @Catija I don't oppose Feb/Mar but if this answer gets enough votes, and quarterly submissions are approved, we still have a start 3 months before Feb/Mar; which would be Nov 1 / Dec 1, where 3 months later is Feb 1 / Mar 1 - so your comment seems to propose no change or 2 weeks earlier than my comment - if this answer is approved. – Rob May 18 at 18:35
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    @JNat I second that community ads can't work very well if we have only one month to submit them and eleven months to display them. In the model we've had until now, we could create new ads as things became relevant, and we could downvote ads out of the rotation if problems came up. You're taking a model that works well for enterprise customers and requiring ordinary communities to operate with it, and ... that doesn't work so well for us. Context may come up in our community that entirely fades from relevance by the time the next year rolls around. Can we start with six months tops instead? – doppelgreener May 21 at 12:50
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    We are starting with a 6 month period, @doppelgreener :) I wrote: "Since we're approaching the middle of the year, we thought running a trial through the end of 2021 might be appropriate." I know I also mention something about a yearly rotation in the post, but that's not because of some model we use for enterprise costumers, just me using the yearly rotation we currently do for Community Promotion Ads as a baseline. But as I mention multiple times in the post, we can always adjust depending on the trial :) – JNat ModStaff May 21 at 13:23
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    That's a relief! Thank you. – doppelgreener May 21 at 13:32
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    Some sites (here I represent tex.sx) have posted community ads to announce conferences or other special events. Limiting posting to January effectively prevents this practice as the timing does not mesh with the requirementss of the organizers. And the delay this year has already caused a number of relevant deadlines to be missed. (And it was highly embarrassing yesterday to see an announcement for a conference that took place last August.) – barbara beeton Jun 17 at 14:54
  • @JNat (cont'd from here) to clarify -- the questions in this post (what kind of overhead is this? Are they vetted by humans? Is it an automated process?) remain unanswered. This makes it very hard to propose alternatives that meet the community needs and the development realities half-way. So for now our only option is to continue to point out the places where the loss of value occurs as they crop up. – E.P. Jun 22 at 13:48
  • The overhead I was referring to there, @E.P., was the fact that the Ad Ops team would need to be constantly monitoring the Meta posts to check for new ads being displayed under the old system. Like I mentioned, the code it uses is unmaintained, and it does not serve the ads as per the same system the rest of the ads get served network-wide. While all other ads are vetted by staff individually and manually, these weren't. The old system did not allow for a reasonable way for the Ad Ops team (or the Community Team) to vet what ads are being displayed on our sites. – JNat ModStaff Jun 22 at 14:00
  • @JNat Thanks for the reply. If I understand your answer correctly, there is no technical (as opposed to organizational) barrier to scheduling such a process once a month? (particularly given that the ongoing vetting likely represents a fraction of the load in the initial 'submission season' and that ads that are already running do not need to be re-vetted.) – E.P. Jun 22 at 14:43
  • There is no technical barrier, no, @E.P. — but doing this once a month creates overhead elsewhere, since it'd require me posting ad collection posts on all eligible sites once a month, manually... unless we automate it. (You may see where I'm going next, but...) This is why we're running a trial, and will then decide on how frequently these should be posted, and based on that also have reason to justify automating some bits that need automating. – JNat ModStaff Jun 22 at 14:50
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  • "Hot Network Questions"1 Ads (all sites)

This initiative has an added goal of providing your community with an opportunity to showcase exemplary questions from your main site

This reminds me of the Tour which features one example question (which one can be selected by ♦ moderators). Would it make sense to integrate those features? Will ♦ moderators be able to showcase/unshowcase specific questions?

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    The tour page itself is a bit scope-creepy for this project, especially during the trial. May be a reasonable thing to include in next steps, depending on how the test goes, though ^_^ – JNat ModStaff May 18 at 10:49
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    I think it is essential to the succes of HNQ ads, that these questions are really exemplar questions of that community. Therefore I don't think we should rely on metrics to decide which questions should be showcased, but on human judgement. Whether that is done manually by CM/Staff (let each site pick X questions to be eligible for ads) or have some Mod tooling to more frequently rotate questions is a detail that could be worked out later. – Luuklag May 18 at 10:59
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    Oh, I'm in agreement with regards to these needing to be manually curated rather than algorithmically picked — that's why my calling them "HNQ" is footnoted, since they actually are meant to replace those and won't be "hot" any more. Whether the tour page gets added functionality or somehow worked on as a part of this project is what I meant is scope-creepy for the moment. – JNat ModStaff May 18 at 11:04
  • eh... i dunno if i trust moderators to choose questions that are actually on topic rather than just interesting enough to avoid closure. – Kevin B May 18 at 15:39
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    @KevinB (and others) Not moderators - people voting on meta. If I understand the project, the "hot" questions would get proposed in the same manner as the ads do now - six upvotes on meta, the community has judged it to be a good one to include. This is not like the tour, which is decided by mods, it's like the community ads/open source ads we've had. Also, many sites have gone through a meta discussion process to decide what should be the featured question on the tour... so it's not even just mods deciding then. – Catija ModStaff May 18 at 15:47
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    That is correct, @Catija – JNat ModStaff May 18 at 15:49
  • Right, i was referring to this part of the answer, "Will ♦ moderators be able to showcase/unshowcase specific questions". I could see veto power existing – Kevin B May 18 at 15:51
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    I read that as being specific to the broader discussion around the tour page, @KevinB. But if it is about this initiative specifically, then I didn't foresee including a veto power for mods on this, no. – JNat ModStaff May 18 at 15:58
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  • Community Promotion Ads (all non-SO sites)
    The goal of this initiative is for future visitors to find out about the stuff your community deems important. This also serves as a way to promote information and resources that are relevant to your own community's interests, both for those already in the community and those yet to join.

The revised format will instead rely on an open collection period, at the end of which a "snapshot" of the ads that make the cut will be collected so they're run during the next year. We're proposing a single "submission season" at the beginning of the year, that runs for 1 month across all the sites where the initiative is run, after which all the posts with a minimum score of 6 will be selected and run for the coming year.

I regularly use community ads for time-bound events, launching the new ad when the event is announced or begins, and deleting the ad when the event ends. The ads have been well-received by the community. For example, one such ad currently has the second-highest number of clicks per day for the community in question.

Examples of such time-bound uses (dear reader: feel free to add to this list!):

This new system seems to prevent this usage. Please confirm that you want to get rid of my usage.

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    I can confirm that the use case you're mentioning wouldn't be possible any more, yes. Wouldn't say that "want to get rid of [it]" is an accurate description of the situation here, though ;P – JNat ModStaff May 24 at 15:01
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    @JNat Why not? You may not have been aware of this implication before, but now that you are, please consider it, and make a concious decision about wanting to get rid of it or not. If you don't want to get rid of it, you've got to change your plans! – Adám May 24 at 15:04
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    I wasn't necessarily aware of that being a common use case (if you have some examples, links would be appreciated). And while the proposed approach for the trial does indeed make that use case impossible, depending on its success and how frequently we end up doing and refreshing these, it may become possible again in the future. – JNat ModStaff May 24 at 15:18
  • @JNat I've added links to two examples. – Adám May 24 at 15:20
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    @JNat Btw, if Stack Exchange had asked the community before deciding on drastic changes like this, you could have known in advance. – Adám May 24 at 15:22
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    We have unmaintained code that needs to go, which is what prompted this project — getting rid of that code needs to happen. Doing so entails getting rid of the dynamically generated pool of ads, unfortunately. We're doing a trial of a new lightweight approach (code-wise), and will iterate on it — if there's enough engagement with the new format, we'll see what can/should be modified, both in terms of guidelines, etc. (meaning faster refreshes, or allowing for special use cases like yours), and potentially in terms of more dev work. So the "before deciding" you mention is now, on this post. – JNat ModStaff May 24 at 15:35
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    There might be other site specific events going on at specific times - Site anniversaries and other special events come to mind. It seems something that would add to how useful this is - but probably a pain to get working 'after the fact' - whether the means to do so is technical or a process to get someone adding and removing these ads manually – Journeyman Geek Mod May 24 at 16:29
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    @JNat I've added two more. With the new system, these two, potentially life-saving, ads might have had to wait for months… – Adám May 24 at 17:46
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    @JNat Will edits to the ads be possible? This system was used e.g. for tex.meta.stackexchange.com/a/8075 to avoid an ad for a conference to become obsolete. – samcarter_is_at_topanswers.xyz May 25 at 15:56
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    @samcarter_is_at_topanswers.xyz I've added yours to the list. – Adám May 25 at 16:42
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    To be fair, @samcarter_is_at_topanswers.xyz, editing ads while they're being served wasn't really a feature of the current implementation of Community Promotion Ads — in fact, doing so was actually discouraged. – JNat ModStaff May 25 at 18:28
  • @JNat but does it work? – Pureferret Jun 17 at 11:36
  • @Pureferret Yes. – Adám Jun 17 at 11:46
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Request for clarification about the ad sizes:

"Whereas the current initiatives only allow for right sidebar ads (300x250), the new initiative will also allow users to submit banner ads (728x90)"

The "current" rule that was listed in your (JNat's) post on all of the non-beta sites for the 2020 community ads says:

"The image that you create must be 300 x 250 pixels, or double that if high DPI."

which means that (600 x 500) is okay too. On Chem.SE 100% of the 10 ads used the (600 x 500) size, and 7 out of 8 ads on Phys.SE did.

I suppose that the ads that actually get shown on the right-side of the screen, end up only being (300 x 250) anyway, but it's useful to be able to show them as (600 x 500) when running these ads for election in Meta. Is it correct that the (600 x 500) option was only for running the ads for election in Meta (not for the actual ads as they appear anywhere) and that we would still have the option to post them in (600 x 500) format when running them for election?

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    That's a good point. Technically this would be possible, but it would add a layer of complexity to the process of setting these ads up. So for the purposes of the trial we've decided to only allow 300x250 and 728x90 banners. We'll see how this goes after that, and will consider including this possibility at the first evaluation of this project. – JNat ModStaff May 19 at 9:28
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    @JNat If the 600x500 doubled-for-Retina format gets ruled out it will feel rather antagonistic for no good reason. As mentioned in this answer, we have a large catalog in the large format. It would be very nice to be able to reuse it without being forced to re-sample multiple ads, particularly if there is no strong reason for forcing the change. – E.P. May 19 at 11:32
  • Thanks for the edit @JNat, I'm an alpha tester of the new Markdown/rich-text Stacks editor and while this answer seemed to turn out properly yesterday when I drafted the answer, something seems to have messed up afterwards (i.e. extra `\` escape characters) which you fixed just now. – user1271772 May 19 at 13:28
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    You make a good point about the re-sampling of the existing catalogue, @E.P. — I checked with the Ads team, and we'd be willing to allow for the higher density ads as usual for the trial, even if at the risk of incurring in some errors :) We can always adjust later, if needed. – JNat ModStaff May 20 at 11:43
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and even some other types of ads that Nicolas has experimented with in the International SOs (like this, or ads that link to Meta posts like this).

I find the examples very interesting, but I do have 1 significant problem: I don't speak Russian. For folks who don't speak Portuguese nor Russian they're left without a significant example of the "other types of ads".

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    Chrome has a tool that will translate the page for you, I'm sure that other browsers do, too - I can see that the examples are ads that link to meta posts that help users understand how to use the site. The images are described in text that can be (relatively) easily translated. :) – Catija ModStaff May 18 at 15:50
  • @Catija This post was meant as a well humored comment/observation not as a critique. (I can read one of the example threads and find it really funny in several ways). – bad_coder May 18 at 16:24

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