I guess this is very much an intervention.
There's a few policies in the pipeline - here's one, and there's another one that's not been officially announced that a good many moderators are opposed to. I'll update when (or if) it goes through, but it's not great.
Tied in with the new 'push' to AI (getting 10% of staff on that) and the loss of community team members including one who was a pillar of the community he founded (which on the whole resulted in a 10% reduction in staff), makes me feel that the company doesn't really have a long term plan and that there's a loss of trust in the company's ability to understand the needs of the community and that we've a real voice in these decisions.
Change is often give and take - we've contributed thousands of hours to moderation and working with our communities, and to an extent, it feels like we're underappreciated.
We've got features we don't really need being prioritized and features that we've asked for left deep in the backlog. We've asked for more community hires to give the company better insight into what the community needs - but practically we still have the same policies that exclude anyone who is still interested. We've asked for better accessibility to chat and meta, and work on chat as well as notifications and it's not really anywhere in our future.
I've brought up many of these concerns in the past - and made no real headway. Listening to fellow mods, I feel like the current course of action will lead to irreparable damage to the community. We've made headway over the past few years, but I feel like that a lot of that progress could be lost.
After so many rounds of being let down, SE feels like the dad in this ad, with quite a few smashed piggy banks and broken promises littering the floor.
Many of these policies seem aimed at appeasing the 'worst' part of our communities, rather than supporting the folks doing the curation and other tasks of actually running the community. Yet we're having things like 'we're suddenly overruling the communities on ChatGPT posts' without any real support happening with no real warning.
We've also had multiple rounds of 'we need to downsize to keep the company healthy' which generally has ended up in the community losing the voices we had in the company, and leading to a much more difficult time in it.
In the time since we first posted this post - the data dumps, which essentially are our insurance policy should the company go evil, were no longer updated, though this might no longer be the case. There was no consultation or even prior announcements of this. It doesn't even stop use of SE data in genAI tools since most of the big companies can just scrape the information... Which feels like an unnecessary bridge is currently on fire. Since then, due to a lot of pressure this move was reversed, but the damage to trust has been done.
Stack's always been 'We need to do this now' and not 'how do we build competencies and trust for the future'. It's been short-sighted - admittedly in the same way that most tech companies seem to be, focusing on the next quarter rather than the long term.
I've... been working on problems that started a decade ago, chipping away at them before suddenly having a giant pile of new problems dumped on it. I'm royally frustrated because eventually there's going to be a point where the things that keep moderators going are simply outweighed by the problems caused by policies that really don't reflect the realities of the sites as they are.
I guess if you got this far, you're actually interested.
Are there actually long term, 'we're sticking to this' plans to get to profitability and community growth? I mean if y'all are firing people, like Meta (who made a bad bet on VR), Twitter (which was bought by someone who made a bad bet on Twitter)... It means something is 'wrong'. We're invariably told everything is fine, and then things go wrong. This isn't the first time, and it's a case of 'say hi to the new management, same as the old management'?
Are there longer term plans to make working for SE more attractive to community members - and to make a greater effort towards hiring in the community? Seeing multiple rounds of downsizing clearly doesn't help.
Is there an actual plan for community growth as far as getting people to stick around? Sometimes it feels like it's a marketing term rather than an actual desire to do better. The community is people, not AI.
I feel like there's a major disconnect, and a lack of understanding of the mechanics and culture of the communities. Are there any long term plans to improve this? We shouldn't see changes in core mechanics and community policies without consultation, and many of these seem to cater towards the 'outside' and the 'complainers' rather than the people who're active.
Is there any plan for popular community requested features to get on the roadmap any time soon?
we need a way to ensure community interests are protected