SE announced OverflowAI today, another attempt to incorporate GenAI into the sites. From reading this post, the uses actually sound like they could be helpful; I certainly hope they are. If they are not, though, and they are poorly received by the community, does SE plan to listen to and act on feedback? Of course, there is likely to be disagreement within the community, but if the clear community consensus is that a feature is harmful, will management at least strongly consider disabling it until all major issues have been fixed?
I wouldn't hold my breath.
This push to AI has been pockmarked with the declaration of "community inclusion" and acceptance, ever since the first blog post the CEO put up about this went live, but has been marred by a history of simply charging forward in the face of feedback that questions the worth of these kinds of things, with limited changes being made to shape their vision of the service or product.
It's kind of an unfortunate circumstance to be in. This would be an ideal opportunity for the company to really come together to work on what it is they want, or if they want something at all. However, the fist on the scales here says that "AI is the future", and that much really doesn't seem to be up for debate.
So if you want them to listen, well, I wouldn't expect much. But you're more than welcome to give them feedback. Who knows - they might read it.
If by community input you mean to use Meta Stack Exchange input, it's possible but might not have the weight we might be expecting.
I have learned that we are no longer "The Community". We might not be that in a long time. The Meta Stack Exchange users that actively participate here and in other places look to be just an "affinity group" that is part of whatever Prashanth, the Stack Overflow, Inc. current CEO, might mean when he mentions "community" in their posts.
His last post here was on October 2020. While he might have decided to use his time and "powers" better, apparently, he is looking for direct community input elsewhere. I don't blame Prashanth; it just looks that Meta Stack Exchange is not well suited for the CEO having direct input from an "affinity group". Instead, they have preferred to use other means like Twitter, LinkedIn, and surveys, among other ways, to get community feedback, probably giving high weight to the Stack Overflow annual survey despite the feedback about the bias, among other problems shown on it.
Note: Prashanth finished his WeAreDevelopers talk on 2023-07-28 by asking the audience to reach him on Twitter and LinkedIn.
- My "feature-request" about New blog post from our CEO Prashanth: Community is the future of AI
- What does Prashanth mean by "Community" in his blogposts, and how do the mods influence his perception of it?
- Is there any publicly available record since 2022 of Prashanth chatting with Meta Stack Exchange core community members?
- When promoting the 2023 Developer Survey, did you analyze how the phrasing of the survey invitation might have influenced responses?
If the input is
we don't want genAI at Stack Exchange
then no, they won't seek it, nor act upon it---the conversation has moved on. The decisions to incorporate genAI into Stack Overflow and subsequently Stack Exchange were made months ago (irrespective of our feelings towards it).
Features aren't set in stone and for the public platform features specifically, we need community input and feedback.
(I'm fairly sure they said words to this effect on the podcast, too.)
Stack Exchange have explained some things being implemented are experimental, which means some of them are inevitably going to "fail" (i.e., we succeed in figuring out how not to do things; laying the groundwork and gaining experience). It's why I ask questions like this. It'd be nice to get features more welcome by the community, and save time by identifying what's going to go wrong before committing too many resources.
Barring some historical blemishes, Stack Exchange have been incredibly interactive with users when it comes to development. For comparison Reddit, a few weeks ago, suddenly decided to retire "coins", which some users paid real-world money for. They had a strike not long ago too, which the CEO completely ignored; he didn't even take it seriously. Stack Exchange is listening, although they have to include input and factors outside of meta.SE and meta.SO (marketing, business, etc.).
In the end, if Stack Exchange want us to actually use genAI tools productively, they're going to need to develop these tools using user feedback.