tl;dr: I propose that we encourage users to give feedback to this site's culture (main, meta, voting, moderation). Read more for the details

It is amazing to look at what we (the community) have done in the last half year since this sites private beta started. It is obvious that this could not have been made without YOU. Without all those committed users that helped to participate in this site by writing, voting and moderating.

When you compare the list of high-rep users and the list of active meta participants you might recognize this pattern: The high-reputation users are also those that participate most in meta. This is of course no fixed rule without any outliers. But it is still a very visible pattern.

The pattern can lead to the assumption that this site is governed only by the most active and committed users. That is not a problem. This is exactly how most modern states work: The government is formed by the smaller group of people being interested in governing the state.

High reputation scores indicate trust from the community. BUT this score is dependant from a user's main site activity and not their meta activity. Based on the fact that the highest scoring meta question has a score of 27 can be concluded that at most 50-60 people are actively watching/participating on this meta site.

And I think THIS is a problem.

There are many possible reasons why one would not come to meta:

  • You don't have enough reputation already
  • You are not interested
  • You don't know about meta (x)
  • You are to shy to write on meta (x)
  • You have nothing to say (x)
  • You have no time (x)
  • ...

My proposal will try to bring at least those people to meta that match the reasons marked with (x):

A short text about history

In the beginning of SE 2.0 (aka sites created via Area 51), the SE team hold Community self-evaluations every 90 days. These asked active users to evaluate the quality of a given set of randomly selected posts. Community self-evaluations were supposed to help the Community Managers to assess a sites progress. A few years ago these evaluations were stopped because they were not considered helpful.

What am I proposing

I propose that WE, the community, invite every user of this site to tell us what they like about one aspect and what they wish about that aspect in answers to meta posts.

My current idea is that we use these four aspects:

  • general activity in main site
  • general activity in meta site
  • voting culture in main site
  • moderation in main site

This evaluation would take four weeks. There would be four meta posts, each featured for one week. After this period this post would be locked or closed. At the end of the four weeks a summary of the highest voted responses would be posted on meta for everyone to assess.

Each post could be something like this:

Community self-evaluation: {aspect}

This week, we would like to collect feedback from you about {aspect}.

If you have ANYTHING you want to say, please read the section Giving feedback. Everyone should also read Responding to feedback and What else can I do.

Giving feedback

You want to give feedback? That is great!

Please read these hints before submitting your answer

1 Make sure your feedback is really about {aspect}. - It is about {aspect}: Great! Continue reading - It is not about {aspect}: Also ok! But please do not post it as an answer to this post. Instead you could open a new meta thread or wait for other iterations of this feedback post. 2. Ideally an answer has two parts: I like ... and I wish .... If you have only one of these: That is no problem either. You may also post that. 3. Ideal feedback is constructive. So you don't say I don't like XYZ but I think ABC would be better than XYZ. 4. Don't say something about specific users but about contents or behaviour patterns. 5. Don't ignore out our Code of Conduct

Still following? Great! Post your feedback as an answer NOW!

Responding to feedback

Please read through all feedback posts and VOTE on them whether you agree or disagree. Voting is as important as posting answers! Also don't forget the rule: Vote for the content and not for the author.

Comments should be used as little as possible. Do not answer to critique directly in comments. Only comment to indicate duplicate answers or to help correct small mistakes.

What else can I do

If you -- for some reason -- can't post here or if this feedback post is already over, have a look at these suggestions:

  • Start your own meta where you express your opinion and invite others to share theirs.
  • You can also join our main chatroom and discuss topics with other users.



What I want YOU to do now

Ok, first of all: Thank you for reading through this lengthy post. I know my English is probably not the best.

Please help me to correct mistakes in this post and share your opinions about this feedback idea.

  • $\begingroup$ it's a nice idea, but I fear it is also a bit of an overkill at this stage. What exactly do you think could be achieved by doing this? What problems are there to be solved? I doubt you are going to solve the "problem" of low participation of meta, or for that matter, do you even have a way to say that this is indeed the case? It is totally natural that only a small percentage of people on the site go on meta, and even more so that most people that do have higher-than-average rep. $\endgroup$
    – glS Mod
    Nov 4, 2018 at 15:38
  • $\begingroup$ You yourself note that the SE team shut down community self-evaluations as they were deemed not useful. Why do you think this would not be the case here? $\endgroup$
    – glS Mod
    Nov 4, 2018 at 15:39
  • $\begingroup$ @gIS to 1) I think especially in this stage it is important to listen to as many people as possible. Worth noting, that all non-meta-actives are also important for the community. And I think the bar for answering a question is much lower than asking one. Therefore I think more people would be posting something than normal. Oh and one thing that caused me to write this is that there were repeated critique from active meta users to other active meta users and I personally would like to know whether and how non-actives perceive these. $\endgroup$
    – luap42
    Nov 4, 2018 at 16:19
  • $\begingroup$ @gIS to 2) I think my proposal would be more useful because I don't encourage users to categorize questions but to say what problems they have with the community (and what problems they don't have). This should result in a thousand times more specific/applicable results than just looking at a few questions. $\endgroup$
    – luap42
    Nov 4, 2018 at 16:21
  • $\begingroup$ the bar would be lower, sure. Still, what I don't see is what could be actually achieved doing this. Like, apart from possibly "tuning" the way some people approach closing questions, what else could be changed? I doubt we can significantly change the way people vote, or the participation in meta, or other things like that, simply via a few meta posts. Indeed, I would argue that the bulk of the activity on StackExchange sites does not come from the kind of users that watch or care about posts on meta. At the end of the day, what really matters is the volume and quality of Q&A $\endgroup$
    – glS Mod
    Nov 5, 2018 at 19:28
  • $\begingroup$ @gIS 1. I think these data would be rather "interesting" and not directly actionable and 2. The current "Welcoming-Revolution" was triggered by a similiar "survey". So there might be something interesting. Maaaybe there is a hidden problem in the community and it could be discovered that way... Maaaybe users think that we should replace voting with emojis... I don't know. But I want to find out what might be. That is why I am proposing this. (Oh and I will NOT accept emoji-replacement - just to be sure...) $\endgroup$
    – luap42
    Nov 5, 2018 at 19:31
  • $\begingroup$ eh, I guess we'll see. Something interesting might come out. (Also, I've no idea what you mean by "emoji-replacement") $\endgroup$
    – glS Mod
    Nov 5, 2018 at 19:39
  • $\begingroup$ @gIS oh, that was just one of my example-results (replacing voting with emojis). It was rather sarcastic, sorry. I just used is as a placeholder for anything. $\endgroup$
    – luap42
    Nov 5, 2018 at 19:40
  • $\begingroup$ ah! I just missed that part of your comment, sorry. Great idea though, we should do it! $\endgroup$
    – glS Mod
    Nov 5, 2018 at 19:41


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