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Recent announcements have not been well-received. This time, though, it's not outrage on meta or coordinated moderator action: it's ad-hoc vandalism and (I allege) community divestment. As such, there's no central record, and the effects will not be felt for some time. This is an attempt to keep track of that, so it can inform decision-making.

Please do not add individuals to the list, unless they are making statements on behalf of a community.

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    "inform decision-making " - I'd want some detail on the why (where available / known - and not an ephemeral comment ofc).
    – QHarr
    Commented May 10 at 16:41
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    @QHarr Stack Exchange employees can see everything that happens on the site, but they can't necessarily see the state of things outside it. (Neither can I, tbh; but given the low chances of me seeing any such announcement, the fact I saw one suggests there are more.)
    – wizzwizz4
    Commented May 10 at 17:00
  • Re "it's ad-hoc community divestment": Started on social media? Commented May 10 at 17:24
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    I mean... "communities" making statements such as the one referenced on the only answer here are often the opinions of individuals anyway. I'd hardly consider any of the "sites affected" actually affected by such a statement unless the people making it have any real control of their community.
    – Kevin B
    Commented May 10 at 20:58
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    While I don't fully understand the motive here and considered closing as unclear or not focused, this is surely about Stack Exchange so if anything, the close reason is wrong, voted to reopen. Commented May 11 at 7:51
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    Well, if "Stack Exchange" can be considered a "community", then some of the members already suggested Codidact (once again), but I believe it's not organized. Does it count? Commented May 11 at 16:01
  • @MetaAndrewT. Not sure. "Stack Exchange users" isn't a community of expertise, since people aren't asking / answering questions about Stack Exchange on Codidact. However, there are a lot of experts using Stack Exchange… I'm erring on the side of "no", since the company already has visibility into what's happening on meta sites.
    – wizzwizz4
    Commented May 11 at 18:01
  • I can see the value in asking this, but I think starball's framing of the topic works a lot better. Commented May 12 at 16:23
  • @KarlKnechtel That question is different. I've changed the title to make that clearer. (I agree that starball's question is worth asking… not so sure about mine.)
    – wizzwizz4
    Commented May 12 at 19:19

2 Answers 2

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Communities often die in a whimper, not a flash.

As a nearly 15 year veteran of the network I've seen communities torn apart by drama. I'd note that the most recent attempt at microblog driven activism is unusual in that it encouraged people to destroy their content and nothing else, and those people are not going somewhere else.

I've seen communities move to slack, discord, or matrix in the past. A few built alternative Q&As, and some folks tried to use discourse to try to build a kinder gentler programming support site (I honestly don't remember what it was called, and don't remember what happened to it).

Where people who are actually emotionally invested leave - you can see it in the communities. Meta becomes quieter, chat goes from absolutely hopping to a ghost town.

It is pretty clear almost no one involved in this is that clear about how the network runs, and we even have people salty over badges almost as old as the network.

The 'interesting' thing here, with the current outrage over the tie ups with genAI is there's no desire or attempt to build something better.

They're not aiming to go somewhere else, nor is there any particular attempt at pressure. Its akin to those folks who repost

Better to be safe than sorry. An attorney advised us to post this. Good enough for me. The violation of privacy can be punished by law (UCC 1-308- 1 1 308-103 and the Rome Statute). NOTE: Facebook is now a public entity. All members must post a note like this. If you do not publish a statement at least once, it will be tacitly understood that you are allowing the use of your photos, as well as the information contained in your profile status updates. I HEREBY STATE THAT I DO NOT GIVE MY PERMISSION."

which has a dozen variations and its own Snopes page, or in turn, almost feels sovereign citizen-ish.

Press amplification aside (and literally talking about the same user) I don't think the current events are causing a significant loss in traffic or loss of users core or casual.

I'd also add that some open source communities might find using a for profit, closed source platform that (occasionally to their surprise) runs on windows antithetical to their beliefs, or find they'd rather roll and maintain their own. This isn't a direct result of the company's actions.

I'd personally say, the fact that it's a good headline aside, this probably isn't as damaging to the network as even smaller site specific events or other actually company initiated ones.

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  • "some folks tried to use discourse to try to build a kinder gentler programming support site (I honestly don't remember what it was called, and don't remember what happened to it)" There was at least askquestions.tech, created shortly after the unwelcoming phase in 2018. It died off in 2021.
    – E_net4
    Commented May 20 at 10:33
  • Might be. I wish I could say it rang a bell but I literally don't remember anyone who was involved, nor did I keep track of it. Why did it die off? Commented May 20 at 13:50
  • I think April Wensel was involved. There aren't many clues as to why it shut down, the last few snapshots on the wayback machine suggest that traffic had already declined a lot before hosting was dropped.
    – E_net4
    Commented May 20 at 14:38
  • Ah, so a whimper, not a bang. :D. I do wonder what happened to some of the folks of past communities I called home Commented May 21 at 0:08
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(That's all I've seen so far.)

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    This might not represent a 'disinvestment' in SE so much as a limited number of people having a limited amount of time to handle questions, and handling things via their own "in-house" forum might allow better use of time. Certainly, it becomes easier to find relevant questions than it might be on SE, given that tags are ... not always properly used. Commented May 10 at 16:40
  • Re "...advises users to use...": Where does it say that, specficially? Commented May 10 at 17:26
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    To a extent tho - SO's model of being a profit seeking org even when things work well is probably anathemical to ideologically pure open source types. Its probably also easier to manage a forum then wade through the chaos that's stack overflow. Commented May 11 at 1:19
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    @JourneymanGeek It's worth noting here that forum software isn't what it used to be 15 years ago at Stack Overflow's inception, either. Discourse IMX is leaps and bounds ahead of anything PhpBB-based. Commented May 12 at 16:27
  • On the other hand some discourse instances (Ubuntu's comes to mind) is completely broken for me. I was talking the social/post volume angle more than the technical one. Commented May 12 at 23:07
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    I do see lots of language communities embracing discourse — Rust (455k posts, 30k users), Elixir (322k, 24k) Python (160k, 22k), Julia (534k, 22k), Swift (322k, 20k), LLVM (320k, 19k), Go (82k, 9k). Discord also seems to be on the rise.
    – mbauman
    Commented May 16 at 17:06

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