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In Sept 2019 a number of moderators and high rep users were disappointed, to say the least, with the management of the SE network. I ultimately stepped down from moderating and stopped participating for a variety of reasons that were related to my belief that the SE management team was making changes that were not in the best interest of the community and were not listening to feedback from the community or providing the reasons for the changes they were implementing.

I am contemplating participating on the SE network again, at least asking questions. While I do not want to rehash old fights or pick at old wounds, I would like to know if things have changed since I left. Is the SE team more communicative and open to feedback than it was in Sept 2019?

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    Some of the staff that played a major role during that time have left. Other that that I have not seen a major shift in SE's approach towards the community personally, although there are some promising initiatives, for example regarding plagiarism handling.
    – Marijn
    Feb 19, 2023 at 21:18
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    While I do like my answer - I'd appreciate alternative points of view, especially if they're (constructively) disagreeing with mine. Feb 20, 2023 at 6:33
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    @JourneymanGeek I'd give current management C, at best. Here, I disagree with the answer. :D Feb 20, 2023 at 9:20
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    Well, why? WHYYYYYYY? Feb 20, 2023 at 9:41
  • As one of the moderators who has not resigned but whose moderator status was removed by SE as a consequence of the events of 2019, I still feel like we have lost and the bad guys have won.
    – Loong
    Feb 27, 2023 at 13:44
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    I think the community bot bumping questions (old) and making them active is very smart. I thought this question was and since it popped up first when I logged in but it was asked in February. So much about this site I love
    – Big Joe
    Jun 1, 2023 at 4:20
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2 Answers 2

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+150

Well, I'd give the company at the 'worst' of it an F. I mean, in the end, they could have done even worse, but advertently or otherwise the company as a whole somehow decided to be hostile to the userbase. While nearly everyone involved in the 'worst' of it left or moved on, I still think that while individuals are important, the company as a whole and its policy makes or breaks things.

Now, I'd give it a solid B. Rather than going over the negatives (which I'm sure at this point the relevant employees at the company are slightly sick of getting nagged over, and to an extent relies on company policy and resources), it’s probably worth considering the positives.

We have an actual community management team again, with, from what I can tell, a steady growth in numbers from quarter to quarter. They're good folks and while from what I can tell, very busy (but it’s better than the old "we don't really need a community management team, lets keep cutting it down" of the past). They're fairly communicative, though to an extent there's a lot of finding their feet with working with the broader community. They do listen to the concerns of the community - and where possible there's been quite a few positive changes. There's room for improvement IMO, but that seems heavily filtered through resources rather than individuals. I've also seen no real obvious meddling as we did in the past.

Their interactions with/through the moderator spaces has been excellent though.

We haven't had any real incidents of, frankly boneheaded adversarial behaviour, though to an extent, we also don't have the same level of very direct interaction we used to have. The focus for the community team feels like building a solid back end, and to an extent supporting collectives over the very hands on style of the past. I do realise SE of the early days was smaller, but that's something I'd love to see again.

Featurewise, it’s a mixed bag. From my (admittedly biased) perspective - while not perfect, we are getting development on the main sites, but sometimes it feels a bit 'too' slanted towards supporting the paid products (which is fine—other than a certain lack of focus). We got a left sidebar for teams, which then moved out to its own site.

We've had some interaction with staff across the network - not counting the 'formal' initiatives like the communitython, including on meta. Sometimes they even argue (this is fine!). This is a marked improvement from the old claims of staff being unwilling to engage with the community and while there's a lot of room for improvement is a good thing.

I am contemplating participating on the SE network again, at least asking questions.

As someone who stuck around through the worst of it, and admittedly at least due to spite, I'd say give it a shot. To paraphrase a certain former clean up guru... "If it does not give you joy, let it go" - but it’s worth seeing if it gives you joy.

While I do realise that the former management caused folks pain - and that's changed, I feel like a critical thing past 'do I want to support these folks?' is 'do I find value here?' And that's something you need to answer for yourself.

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    Thanks for this. No desire to rehash the negatives. I definitely see the value of SE in that if you ask a good question your are likely to get a good answer. What I need help deciding is if I want to support SE by providing them content. It sounds like they have put the bad behind them and are moving back to being neutral or possibly even a positive influence on the community.
    – StrongBad
    Feb 20, 2023 at 1:18
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    I'd say there's a redemption arc, but I'm still waiting to see how it turns out :D Feb 20, 2023 at 1:45
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    @JourneymanGeek turned down the B was just an accident. 3 months from your post, and it is again a solid F. I guess even an FD: failure with dishonesty. Jun 1, 2023 at 2:03
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    From one of your recent questions I am guessing you might be considering revising your previous grade.
    – StrongBad
    Jun 1, 2023 at 2:24
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    Well I feel like a new question wouldn't be out of order but that question covers my sentiment. Jun 1, 2023 at 2:44
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Frankly, I wouldn't say that the company has changed all that much. If anything, it may have gotten worse. Like Journeyman Geek, I would give the company an F during that time. I actually think it is more from the institution of cross-network advertisements (as that did stir up a reasonable outrage) to around February of 2020 which was when the outrage kind of died down a bunch and SE got a bunch better. I won't go over the bunch better; the other answer did fine with that, but I'd like to go over what the current state is. And that is all too similar. Let's see some similarities:

Disparaging moderators in the press

This repeatedly happened to Monica and is currently (as of June 6, 2023) happening to our moderators.

Firing trusted employees

During that time, a variety of employees, such as Robert Cartaino and Shog9, who were some of the most trusted by the community, were fired.

Communication

I wish I could give SE a G on communication. Both now and in the Monica era communication was downright horrible. I mean horrible. In the Monica times, a new Code of Conduct was rolled out without warning or approval. Monica was then punished retroactively. Then, they made false apologies and other things. They didn't listen to clear feedback. Now, let we substitute some words for the current. In the strike of June, a new Code of Conduct, bad UI change, and AI policy was rolled out some without warning and all without good approval. We then went on strike. Then, they made false apologies and other things. They didn't listen to clear feedback. See how little words I changed.

Final notes

To everything, basically, it's the same as it was. If you resigned then, you wouldn't like it now. Sorry to tell you the truth. SE is doing nearly the same things and does everything you said you didn't like. And SE is certainly not more communicative.

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    eh, nah, we definitely for a period there seemed to have someone in a leadership role that was above and beyond better for the community than what existed during the 2019 mess. They are no longer part of the company, so we can't really know how much impact they had or would have had on the current situation.
    – Kevin B
    Jun 13, 2023 at 18:42
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    Currently we have the same/worse as the 2019 period @KevinB Jun 13, 2023 at 19:01
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    i don't necessarily agree, as in 2019 we literally were on the cusp of losing meta entirely. Things are certainly bleak here, but it's all too easy to assume the current situation is worse given it's current
    – Kevin B
    Jun 13, 2023 at 19:05
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    We are on the cusp of losing our abilit to answer and having ai do all the answering @KevinB Jun 13, 2023 at 19:10
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    It was good until the cursed AI showed up, and blinded their eyes with its shining, made them lose direction and start the Hunt for Gold, destroying their morale and making them stick with the false AI god. ALL their bad actions are result of the attempt to integrate AI inside SE, and sadly there's no going back. Jun 14, 2023 at 6:45
  • @ShadowWizardStrikesBack "It was good until ..." Activity and quality are going down for years, AI is just an accelerator of that. I wouldn't say that it was good before. Jun 15, 2023 at 17:36
  • @NoData I mean the direction in which management were going, or appeared to be going in. Jun 15, 2023 at 18:25

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