I've seen a lot of posts complaining about the lack of announcements for new features. Jeff's stated time and time again that doing global announcements for all of these things is somewhat overkill, moreover redundant for the people who do follow Meta and the blog.

Currently, my daily routine involves visitting Meta. If I notice what seems to be a new feature (especially in the case of non-subtle changes like the bounty change), my first instinct is actually to pop onto the blog, where [big]% of the time there is an announcement on the very feature I found out. Potential question nipped in the bud. I've also found the blog convenient to summarize a new feature when I notice Jeff Atwood has marked 12-36 questions [status-completed] in a row.

But when I first came to Stack Overflow, I never paid any heed to the blog. I thought that the link at the footer was for Coding Horror at first, since that is written by Jeff. It's also on the footer, whereas I do the majority of my navigation in the upper areas. And the FAQ links to Meta twice while the About page links Meta in the contacts, yet neither even mentions the blog.

Maybe no one else confused the blog for another, but when I look at that entirely non-descript link down there, there is nothing that indicates to me that I might find information about odd new features there. There's nothing on the other sites that mentions the function of the blog at all, in fact! So the large number of people who do not follow the blog probably may not even know what the blog is about. And when these people see unusual behavior, they end up coming to Meta, en masse, to ask about it.

Coming full circle to how I started off, Jeff's stated time and time again that the combination of watching Meta and following the blog will keep you on top of new features. Obviously, people know about Meta - a significant number of the new feature inquisitions are asked directly here - but are there nearly as many people who realize the potential that is gotten by following the blog? As it is, I don't find that innocuous link to be intuitive to finding out new features. I don't think it's feasible to expect everyone to start following the blog, but I think that if its existence was highlighted more explicitly, if it's even just added into the FAQ or the About pages, this would promote the contained information better.


The blog link now highlights with a bright red "new!" indicator when there is a new post.

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Maybe the link could be renamed to something like Site News to increase people realizing what it is?

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  • 2
    Perhaps it need to be at the top of the page next to the "faq" link. This would be on all sites, not just Meta. – ChrisF Jun 22 '10 at 17:12
  • If it's on all sites, perhaps "System News" would be a better fit? – Joel Coehoorn Jun 22 '10 at 23:18

It still surprises me how terrible the documentation is for the sites:

Information on how the sites work is scattered all over the place (the FAQ link at the top, the blog posts, meta, meta.stackexchange has a couple critical things).

If you're mostly on, say, ServerFault, and have a specific question about how things work, you either have to dig through the in-jokes on meta, or ask and hope someone points out your question is a duplicate.

They've actually made it worse for the ServerFault'ers, since there's no link to the "real" blog, just to the stagnant blog for tech. details of the network's servers.

Based on how they've chosen to make information available, the only reasonable conclusion is that they only want to make the information available to true enthusiasts, people who will follow the blog, and meta, and glance at multiple sites.

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