Updated note (with the original post still below the line)- Thank you, very much, for the time you've spent answering these questions. I learned a ton. In fact, as I've hinted below, I'd like to do a set of questions and answers like this fairly regularly (roughly weekly, in the beginning, and with less frequency later). For now, my brain is full :). I will keep reading, but I have to shift my focus to writing the quarterly blog / meta post, for instance. So feel free to keep answering, and I'm still reading, but know that the frequency of posts from me here will slow down some (just to set expectations). Check out (and please answer) my next question!
As part of my onboarding as the new VP of Community, I want to better understand what Stack Exchange means to you (yes, you, everyone reading this question). I’ve got many questions and I know you have many answers but let’s start with one or two at a time and see where it goes.
Would you please take a moment to think about and tell me the following:
- One thing that you would advise me (in my role as VP of Community here) never to touch.
- One thing that you think I should change as quickly as possible.
What would these things be?
I understand that many of these answers may already exist here on MSE or over on MSO or other meta sites around the network but if you’d humor me by helping me find them more easily, I’d really appreciate it.
For the next 24 hours (at least) I’ll be checking here frequently to respond to any notes or questions that you may have. I don’t promise to have all the answers yet, but I will promise to read and take seriously everything said, and to do my best to answer questions where I can.
Initial thinking around some early goals
Yesterday, I promised some discussion around community strategy and to share my thinking about some early goals for my tenure here. One of my goals is to post a question like this for the community roughly every week as we get to know each other and discuss it so that you get a chance to know me, and I get a chance to learn more about you. I will probably muck with the format of this, (and possibly the medium.. Maybe chat, maybe text, etc). I’m also, hopefully very soon, going to begin a “listening tour” through the various stack exchange sites, once we get the logistics figured out.
When I was at Reddit, I had a “standing offer” to meet with any mod team that wanted an hour of my time and listen and talk about whatever they would like, provided they understood that I was not able to change the past, but only to talk about the future. Those conversations were the most meaningful that I had in my time there, and with a very diverse group of users (from those who ran big subreddits like r/news to those in more… esoteric parts of the site). I learned a ton, and I know that I will again, once we figure out how to execute conversations like those here. What I learned in those definitely influenced my decision-making every day.
Today, I’ll be in a monthly business review meeting presenting what the team will be doing in Q3 (this was a plan that I largely inherited, so it isn’t exactly “mine” as much as it’s the combined work product of the team and its interim leadership). Once we’ve kicked off the work of Q3, I intend to begin planning Q4. I have high hopes that we can make parts of that process far more open and collaborative (if not immediately, very soon). Catija is working with a group of moderators to identify mod tooling and policy improvements that would be beneficial for us to work on in future quarters. Some parts of our quarterly tactics are ripe for community involvement. Others, (for instance, Trust and Safety tools designed to prevent spammers and trolls from abusing the sites) absolutely are not likely to be discussed in public. We will continue to hold those tools closely, and won’t tend to discuss them much in public, other than in the most general of terms.
I have other, more internal goals as well, of course (for example, improving the way that the community team interacts with the product teams and how to improve the quality and frequency of the advice that we give them; improving the quality of onboarding that we give new Community Team members, etc). But one thing that I hope you will notice quickly is that we are going to be looking for opportunities to engage with community members in the spirit of partnership.
Which returns me to where I started: if there was a) one thing that you would advise me, in my role as VP of Community, never to touch, and b) one thing that you think I should change as quickly as possible, what would they be?