There are lots of feature requests that end up in the "Diamond mods can handle it" and "It's not a problem yet, so let's not make a change until it is a problem" piles.

I suspect that these may need to be revisited now that the StackOverflow platform is being community-ized.

Early on Jeff and Joel held the belief (perhaps they still do) that a successful site needed to have strong leadership with an existing audience in the field of the site. It was easy enough for them to select diamond moderators in the field they knew a lot about. It appears that newly formed stackoverflow platform communities will not have this level of leadership - at best they will be formed by committee.

I expect when KnittingOverflow gets going, they may have some difficulty in selecting a good set of moderators, even with community input. Especially since the sites are not going to have a single person at the helm making the critical decisions. Perhaps moderators are expected to be generated out of the site proposal process, but I don't see how that's going to generate a good set of moderators. Perhaps StackOverflow, LLC will provide temporary moderators until there's enough community to select them, but the first few months of site moderation are critical in developing a site's DNA and community. This DNA can't simply consist of "Be nice" with generic moderators that have to deal with knitting on one site, pokemon on another, and pyrotechnics on a third site. It would be akin to trying to run a company with a "rent a CEO" and hoping the company will turn a profit. Someone needs to embody the community, and nudge it in the right direction in small ways as it develops so it doesn't become terrible.

This is a significantly deeper question than this post will go into, but as a first pass it may be time to revisit all those older feature requests with a critical eye geared towards the new direction and re-open some of those discussions. The more the sites take care of themselves, the better off everyone's going to be, especially when considering the newly developing communities.

  • 5
    "There are lots of feature requests that end up"...[Citation Needed]
    – user102937
    May 25 '10 at 15:02
  • @Robert - That's how I answered a lot of feature requests. I suppose I can give some examples later, but chances are good that I'll instead simply start by adding answers to this question that are links to other questions I want them to revisit. I encourage others to do the same.
    – Pollyanna
    May 25 '10 at 17:16
  • 3
    @Polly: while i agree and upvoted your post, I think you can make your point much stronger if you provide a list of specific examples. Jul 24 '10 at 21:11
  • @radp - I visit... occasionally... Unfortunately I found that SO really was too much of a time sink, and I'm unable to moderate my participation, so it's either full blast, or little to nothing, and at this point I have to choose the latter.
    – Pollyanna
    Dec 30 '10 at 22:12
  • @Pollyanna: And so much the worse for us.
    – mmyers
    Dec 30 '10 at 22:50
  • @Michael - Thanks for the kind words. I decided to quit my job in April and start consulting full-time. I'm still in the "where is the project that's going to cover next month's expenses coming from" phase, but things are getting better and I hope to be able to start budgeting time for SO and SE sites again.
    – Pollyanna
    Dec 30 '10 at 23:28

The answer is now history:

  1. SOIS provides pro-tempore mods that serve until proper automated elections are held.
  2. Proper automated elections are held.
  3. Community-elected mods take pwnership (the SOIS team may still opt in).

In a way, however, this is being handled. People may now trigger proper rep recalculations on their own. The diamond mod dashboard is being rebuilt (and the 10k tools benefited too).

As for how step 1 works -- in my experience of Gaming, it was beyond awesome. Our pro-tem mods are really great and I'm not alone in wishing they could just continue serving regardless of the elections. We could've handled some discussions better, but no one's perfect. In other cases, results were suboptimal.

What I feel some communities miss more than others is that we're all in it together. Users, avid users, mods, devs, staff, we all have a common objective: embettering the webs. The "us vs you" feeling, while sometimes rather justifiable, is eventually toxic.

Thanks to chat, we formed a really tight and active community out of nowhere. We had informal, relaxed chat between all parties involved. While fighting harsh battles, we understood that beyond our nicknames there are human beings like ourselves -- with the occasional killer ninja dagger-shooting diamond robot. I think it helped us immensely.

Your mileage may vary.

  • 2
    Wow, that Math crowd seems rough!
    – jjnguy
    Dec 29 '10 at 23:23
  • @jinguy Things have improved since the elections.
    – badp
    Dec 29 '10 at 23:27
  • @radp, they have improved since the last 30 days? (It's JJnguy)
    – jjnguy
    Dec 29 '10 at 23:29
  • 1
    @jjnguy Sorry about the reading failure. To be completely fair, I haven't lurked on their site as much as of late, but the negative buzz about the site has been winding down. That's an improvement. :)
    – badp
    Dec 29 '10 at 23:34
  • @radp +1 masterpiece Dec 30 '10 at 0:03
  • The moderator situation is a lot better than I expected at the new sites. I'm not entirely convinced that lightening their load by fixing/automating some of theses issues would be time wasted.
    – Pollyanna
    Dec 30 '10 at 22:37

Currently, due to deletions, migrations, etc, reputation is not exact. This results in noticeable overhead here on meta and some extra work for mods as they push a recalculation when requested for any given user.

As the platform scales to dozens and hundreds of sites with tens of millions of users, this work is only going to increase. A solution, such as the following, should be revisited for the overall platform:

Make scheduled reputation recalcs to increase transparency


Programmers are a very different breed than normal people. I suspect that many of the mechanisms that work well for programmers may not work so well for the Barbecuing Overflow crowd. Current dispute resolution works well due to rate limiting, but it might be worth looking at this again in terms of non analytically inclined folks.

For instance:

How should disputes be handled on Stack Overflow?

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