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Let's take a look at some data regarding site sponsorship announcement date and start date.

Site Announcement date Start date Time gap (approx.)
Salesforce June 29, 2021 July 1, 2021 1 day
Database Administrators September 23, 2021 September 27, 2021 3 days
Super User September 23, 2021 September 27, 2021 3 days
Unix & Linux September 23, 2021 September 27, 2021 3 days
Information Security April 14, 2022 April 21, 2022 6 days
Artificial Intelligence July 14, 2022 July 18, 2022 3 days
Cross Validated July 14, 2022 July 18, 2022 3 days
Data Science July 14, 2022 July 18, 2022 3 days
Server Fault July 14, 2022 July 18, 2022 3 days
Ask Different July 20, 2022 July 22, 2022 1 day
Ask Ubuntu July 20, 2022 July 22, 2022 1 day
Web Applications July 20, 2022 July 22, 2022 1 day

I am happy to see that Information Security community members were informed about the site sponsorship 6 days (approximately) before the start date. But, most of the communities were given very short notice periods. So, giving an adequate notice period to the communities regarding sponsorships seems to be the exception rather than the rule.

So, I request Stack Exchange to inform non ♦ moderators about sponsorships at least a week before they commence. If this is not possible, it would be better if Stack Exchange sends an email regarding sponsorship announcement to the users.


Now the question which some might have is: Why does this matter?

It certainly does to me. Since I am volunteer of the community, I would of course want to have enough time to think about the sponsorship and I might be using the site not much frequently (maybe once in 3 days) , so I could miss the sponsorship news before it commences.

One might say: "Sponsorship doesn't change anything to the site. So it doesn't matter much."

Well, it's one's personal perspective. Now, let's say I'm anti-XYZ company and XYZ company started sponsoring a site which I participate in. I might want to refrain from participating in the community as I don't want to associate with XYZ in any manner.

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    Sponsorship announcements are featured FWIW so its a little harder to miss Jul 23, 2022 at 19:12
  • @JourneymanGeek I know that it's harder to miss. What I am saying is there's a high chance of people getting to know about the sponsorship only after it commences as the notice period is short. Jul 23, 2022 at 19:13
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    So what would be the benefit i knowing it in advance? If you really dislike company XYZ you don't need to give it a second thought and you can stop contributing the first time you see their logo on the site
    – Luuklag
    Jul 23, 2022 at 19:56
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    @RandomPerson - as a mod, we get informed a wee bit in advance. The community finds out when the announcement is made. Knowing in advance will not give you anything. When their logo appears, if you don't want to participate, just stop. Your questions on sponsorship seem to be focused on your personal gripe with sponsorship as a concept, rather than aiming for solutions.
    – Rory Alsop
    Jul 23, 2022 at 20:05
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    @Luuklag Saying goodbye to a community which matters a lot to a person is not a thing which can be done instantaneously. Jul 23, 2022 at 20:10
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    @RoryAlsop You seem to have come to conclusion about me. Why do you feel I have a "personal gripe"? What do you mean by "Your questions on sponsorship"? This is my first question in MSE regarding sponsorship. Jul 23, 2022 at 20:13
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    @RandomPerson There is no need to say goodbye instantaneously. You can always take a break for however long you need to think this over. Jul 23, 2022 at 20:17
  • @RandomPerson people have lef the community for all sorts of reasons. And tbh, its a little easier to do it quickly and at one shot rather than dragging it out Jul 23, 2022 at 20:33
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    First question on MSE, yes, but I see others on other sites: Is Ask Ubuntu sponsored by Canonical?
    – Rory Alsop
    Jul 23, 2022 at 21:56
  • @RoryAlsop Firstly, you just saw one question in AU meta (which has many upvotes) which is about informal sponsorship (my MSE post is about formal site sponsorship program). All I could say you is that you have no idea about the blood, sweat, and tears behind that post. When I posted that question in AU meta, the situation in AU was complicated (and it's still kinda complicated). It's upsetting to see a multi-site moderator using "personal gripe". Please research more about the stuff happening in AU before coming to conclusions (perhaps talk to AU mods). Jul 24, 2022 at 12:08
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    You need to clarify what the issue is - it is very unclear what you want to change, if anything. I have read various of your posts - you may have put in blood sweat and tears, SE may have put in the same as regards bringing these sponsors on board, I don't know, but both are kind of orthogonal to this.
    – Rory Alsop
    Jul 24, 2022 at 16:07
  • @RoryAlsop I cannot elaborate further because of legal restrictions. Sorry. Jul 24, 2022 at 20:25

2 Answers 2

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FWIW, the community's moderators are informed a bit earlier - 6-8 weeks, in my experience. But I guess there's not much we can do, even if the company doesn't really relate to what's on topic on the site.

Now, let's say I'm anti-XYZ company and XYZ company started sponsoring a site which I participate in. I might want to refrain from participating in the community as I don't want to associate with XYZ in any manner.

There's no one stopping your continued participation in a community if you don't like the company which is sponsoring it. I doubt it makes much of a difference if you're informed about a week earlier than now. Either you're already heavily invested in that community, and the activity you're able to accomplish in one week doesn't matter that much, or you're quite new to the community and what are the odds after one week you start to contribute, a company you don't like starts a sponsorship? (And do you really keep track of that community's Meta?) I'd say the chances to hit the jackpot are much higher ...

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  • Regarding "community's moderators are informed a bit earlier - 6-8 weeks": Mods don't reveal about the sponsorship to normal users before official meta announcement, do they? Jul 23, 2022 at 19:06
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    We're not allowed to - it's shared via private channels.
    – Glorfindel Mod
    Jul 23, 2022 at 19:09
  • Well, then it's irrelevant in the answer TBH... anyway, thanks for the extra detail! Jul 23, 2022 at 19:09
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    Yeah, just as (ir)relevant as the fact that with an ad blocker, you miss out on almost all sponsorships. I'm lucky to be notified by all the edits to this post ...
    – Glorfindel Mod
    Jul 23, 2022 at 19:19
  • So, sending an email does make sense :) Jul 23, 2022 at 19:19
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    @RandomPerson I don't think sending an email is a remotely good decision here. Given that it would be announcing a sponsorship, I imagine most users would view it wholly as an unsolicited advertisement and the number of people upset about having it hit their inbox would be significantly greater than the (very few) people who would find it to be worthy of the email. If you want emails, maybe try setting up a filter that catches the site-sponsorship tag on per-site Metas?
    – animuson StaffMod
    Jul 25, 2022 at 16:27
  • @animuson Thank you! I didn't know that we could get email updates using filters. How about a setting like this (which should be turned off by default): i.stack.imgur.com/rGDRE.png? Jul 28, 2022 at 19:35
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This is an area that we've invested quite a bit of energy into, with the goal of increasing the lead time that we're able to give to moderators - some of the lead times that we've given are way below what we'd like to give, to be honest. When this topic came up earlier, Rosie posted:

I’m excited to share that Teresa has been working with Sales to ensure that in the future the Community Team and the Mods of the site(s) where the proposed sponsorship would be displayed are informed earlier — before the deal is signed. (Note: emphasis added - pb)

So while we may not have always been able to get it out with as much lead time as we'd like, we're constantly working to increase that time, and it has the attention of the executive team here (and indeed, is one of the things that Rosie reports to me on a regular basis).

We're trying out a couple of process and programmatic changes to see what works well here, but it's definitely an area that's received attention, and will continue to do so.

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  • Hey Philippe! It's nice to see you in meta after long time. Anyway, thanks for acknowledging that things can be improved. Your answer seems to focus more about notice period given to moderators than compared to normal users. One moderator said that they were given 6-8 weeks notice period (that's huge). I'm not sure about what was the least amount of notice period given to any moderator (if you know, let us know). It would be great if you could elaborate about notice period given to normal users in your answer. Jul 28, 2022 at 18:59

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