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Every year, we end up needing to get community managers to get someone to change the selected answer for this post. If I understand correctly, this needs a bit of a special tool or developer time. We also don't 'really' have a formal process for this.

It might be useful to have a 'service' account, so to speak, 'shared' between staff used for posts like this where changes need to be made 'despite' potential staff changes without the need for dev assistance.

I wouldn't think it's a great idea for announcements or policies - though I guess a "Stack Exchange Community Team" account would allow the team to speak through a common voice/account that doesn't change, and it does need SE to stay organised about these things.

"Community" doesn't count in this context since that account isn't really actually meant for interactive use.

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    We already have one: -1 Community! :-D just… ignore the non-interactive thing for there exception posts. Also, the T&Cs explicitly disallow shared accounts, let’s not give violators an exception to point at! Mar 22, 2023 at 0:40
  • There are also several posts that were deleted by staff for legal or privacy reasons, which can be voted (and have been voted) for undeletion once the staff member ceases to work for SE and have moderator privileges. Mar 22, 2023 at 1:18
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    Related feature request of mine: Add an option for mods and staff to pin a certain answer to the top on meta sites
    – 41686d6564
    Mar 22, 2023 at 1:45
  • Hmm. I think it's good that staff post their features, bug-fixes and other 'announcements' under their own names. That gives the element of accountability that is expected on the SE network. For posts like the one you linked, making it a Community Wiki seems to address the concerns you have about different staff members 'maintaining' such posts. Mar 22, 2023 at 11:50
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    ... basically, what I'm asking is, "What would a generic account accomplish that a CW doesn't already do?" Mar 22, 2023 at 11:51
  • Allow the tick mark to be moved more easily for posts that have updated answers + its 'one' account independent of who is working at the time. And in general, while I get accountability, in general, the poster is the messenger, not the person making the decision at worst, and in some cases its the company's policies that are 'at fault' Mar 22, 2023 at 12:13
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    I'd also note that staff are free to use their own accounts, and it ought to be encouraged. Its just a tool that, especially in the context of meta, allows for a little more flexibility Mar 22, 2023 at 12:15

2 Answers 2

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TL;DR:

There is not a life-changing need to have an accepted answer in Recent feature changes to Stack Exchange, so for that case there is no need to have a "generic" account.

Also content posted on behalf of the company in Meta SE should not be "perpetual". If the user leave the company maybe the best is that post be locked, converted into a community wiki or copy/pasted as standard way to transfer the ownership of those posts to the current person in charge of the topic, if that is something that is still current.

Staff leaving the company or users that used to be staff might ask that some posts be locked or be unlinked from their account to avoid getting clarification requests or whatever on topics that they can not longer answer on behalf the company.


Community

The need to have to change the accepted answer to Recent feature changes to Stack Exchange is an derived from using the Q&A model for doing something that is not a good fit for the Q&A on a site that is using a Q&A model that is not a good model for handling the interactions about the Stack Exchange network.

A "generic" account is a "sock puppet" account.

It might be good as an extraordinary short term exception in the mean time that a better way to track the features changes to SE.

But we should really ask if the current practice should be kept considering there are other ways to make an answer to stand over the others.

One option to accept an answer to make one stand over the others is to use formatting / content, i.e use Heading 1 or a nice banner only for the featured answer

One option to make it easier to find the featured answer is to add a link to the answer into the question.

Also users can sort answers by date, showing the most recent first.

The way that is currently handling in the current post, and in case that the the people involved in maintaining that post agreeds to use a sock puppet, IMO, should not be considered as a rule or bets practice to extended it to other posts in Meta SE or to be replicated other per-site metas. It should be discussed post by post, site by site.

Company / Staff

Regarding company announcements and other content posted on behalf the company that is something that the company should decide how they want to handle it.

I don't think that there is a "life-changing need" for a company sock puppet as there are tags for announcements among other standard features, as well there are staff only features that they could use without requiring dev time.

By the other hand it's possible that some staff didn't know about certain feature or that a post evolved into something different of the original intention. These cases should be handled one by one.

Posts on behalf the Company

I don't know at this time of any post made on behalf of the Company that might be better handled by a sock puppet account, that should be unlinked from the user account or should be locked, but I know about some farewell posts or posts announcing changing roles that might help to identify cases

Links that might help to find staff posts that might be good cases to review the convenience of using a company sock puppet account:

Related

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  • As I commented on the question, there are posts that staff deleted due to legal or privacy reasons (e.g., DMCA) that can now be voted to undelete by normal users as the staff have left SE (they couldn't while the staff were still employed). Many of these posts are currently sitting with pending undelete votes or have been successfully undeleted, exposing SE to liability. As a workaround while we wait for a fix for the bug that doesn't check if the deleting user was a moderator at the time, there should be a role account for such deletions so users can't undelete them. Mar 22, 2023 at 19:16
  • @SonictheAnonymousHedgehog I don't see how the bug relates to this answer. Regarding the use of a role account as a workaround to handle bugs that is something that should be done in coordination with staff due to the privileges required. IMO looks to be slighty similar but enough different use case to deserve its own question. Actually there might be possible to issues here, I don't know if there are alreay related questions: policies about deleted post due to legal or privacy and the bugs related to the workings / workaraounds derived from thos policies.
    – Rubén
    Mar 22, 2023 at 19:36
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It's not a bad idea, but if it's just for this post, it's probably easier to special-case it and give all users with a [Staff] label access to change the accepted answer if (Site == "Meta" && question.PostID == 59445). Or implement Add an option for mods and staff to pin a certain answer to the top on meta sites, but for staff only.

The problem with a shared account is that you need to maintain access lists; if somebody leaves or enters the company or changes roles, you don't want to change the password. So you have to do some development to make all staff members, when logged in, do some action as that shared account, and that's quite complicated. (At least I guess so, I haven't seen the source code.)

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  • You don't have to mess around with authentication. You could just perform an action as yourself, then edit the database to change the performing user to the role account. Mar 22, 2023 at 19:19
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    The goal is avoiding database edits and such. It's simpler to have a common regular account than database edits or special cases Mar 22, 2023 at 23:05
  • It's more elegant but not simpler; it's either more programming work or problematic to maintain access.
    – Glorfindel Mod
    Mar 23, 2023 at 6:00

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