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On May 3rd, staff posted an announcement on the Software Engineering Meta saying that additional ad space would be added to Software Engineering in the next week and to raise and questions or concerns. Within 4 hours of that post, I raised a concern about navigability and discoverability that received supportive comments and 8 upvotes (and no downvotes). In the 7 days between the post and the ad space going live, there was no response from staff. Even with the concern, the ad space appears to be live.

Why should we engage with staff if you aren't going to engage back? Why bother asking for concerns if you aren't even going to acknowledge them? And if you need more time, why not push back the rollout of changes until you can at least acknowledge, if not address, concerns raised by the community?

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    @AaronBertrand There was a response this morning, after posting this. However, it's still concerning if your tumultuous week affected responses that changes were still pushed live. I don't think it's unreasonable to (1) expect at least a visible acknowledgement of questions or concerns that are asked for and (2) if there are other things going on that prevent addressing valid questions and concerns that changes with open concerns are put on hold until they can be assessed. These are both standard practices, in my experience. Commented May 12, 2023 at 13:32
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    @ThomasOwens as you mentioned the post has been responded to and I've dropped an answer below as well. I'm removing the status-review tag.
    – Rosie StaffMod
    Commented May 12, 2023 at 13:43
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    @AaronBertrand I'm sympathetic to the staff, but the troubles of this week are entirely due to the decisions of higher ups here. If folks are unhappy over response times - it is a sign that more, not less support is needed for the community, especially with trying to justify quality of life changes needed to improve revenue streams for the company Commented May 12, 2023 at 14:06
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    It's way too common, and the reason I stopped posting answers on announcements. It's waste of my time. Commented May 12, 2023 at 14:16
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    @AaronBertrand and more often than not - if we trusted the company to have our back, there's more focused feedback. f there's no feedback, its cause the community died, or left. I'm sure that this would be considered undesirable. With sponsorships, generally on my sites there's none and moderators in general are mindful to try to triage before we fuss. And I think this is very much a question of getting things right. by the community. Commented May 12, 2023 at 14:50
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    @AaronBertrand If you are making so many changes so fast where you can't handle the feedback, make smaller changes less frequently. See my comment on Rosie's answer. Don't roll out a change to 60 sites at once if you can't respond to questions from 60 communities. Maybe do it in batches of 5 or 10 instead and/or give more time to receive and respond to feedback. Commented May 12, 2023 at 15:00
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    @AaronBertrand So the team can't handle the work that is already before them. Something has to give. And it shouldn't be the community. Why both even soliciting feedback if you can't handle it? Of course, then you'll have us coming here to say that you're pushing out changes without engaging with the community. This is probably way above the CM team's level, though. Commented May 12, 2023 at 16:01
  • @AaronBertrand "The best feedback I ever received had fairly dismissive tone, I even planned to complain about it when I started working on it..." (FWIW, title reads rather mild to my taste, considering that this particular case is merely a most prominent example of multiple similar issues languishing at per-site-meta for much longer without any sign of being noticed by SE team, just a tip of the iceberg so to speak)
    – gnat
    Commented May 12, 2023 at 17:02
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    It often feels like feedback is request just for the sake of requesting it. What feedback would have any effect on the outcome of this change? SO wants to place more ads. Some people won't care, others won't want it. I seriously doubt you'd just not place the ads because a few people didn't want it, that certainly didn't stop them from being placed there on SO.
    – Kevin B
    Commented May 12, 2023 at 17:58

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Thomas I’m truly very sorry that you had to wait for a response. I have since gone in and responded to your comment. I understand waiting is really frustrating and I apologize for that. Separate from this specific instance I want to be transparent about a few things when it comes to staff responding to comments and answers that are left. My intention is not for this to be an excuse but to shed some light on why not every comment may get a response or why not everything receives an immediate response.

We get a really high volume of comments and questions. This particular post you were referring to was made on 60 different sites that would be impacted because we wanted to give those communities a heads up about these new ads appearing so it wasn’t a surprise out of the blue. We’ve been working really hard to make sure we’re giving heads ups about changes prior to them being released. Aside from various questions and comments around these 60 posts we are also receiving questions and inquiries regarding posts across the network of the 180 sites that make up Stack Exchange. We’re also receiving chat pings, emails, etc. We do our best to respond to everyone in a timely manner. It’s not always possible and it is certainly easy for an important comment or question to slip through the cracks.

On top of this there is all of the work that is happening off platform that is part of our day to day with attending meetings, as managers checking in with our team members, etc. Also sometimes the Community Management Team may not have the answer to a specific question that has been asked. We may need to be checking internally across other departments to get an update or answer to something that is in their purview. This can also lead to delays in how quickly we can get back to community members.

Again I share all of this not as an excuse but to share some context. We’re human and we’re doing the best we can.

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    Thank you for the response. Based on this, I'd hope that there's consideration for things like reducing the number of communities that changes are rolled out to at once to a manageable number, increasing the lead time for communication for changes that impact a large number of communities to give enough time to follow up on questions or concerns, delaying changes in light of events beyond your control, and, in cases where feedback is explicitly solicited, at least a quick "we saw this, it is [not] a showstopper - we'll get back to you later". Commented May 12, 2023 at 13:51

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