21

I am posting this here instead of the main meta site, because I believe it will receive less traffic, and maybe provide some intelligent practical answers. I've spent more time in this community than any of the others, and I know this crowd really knows how to communicate in the nuts and bolts of "what are we supposed to do now?"

Many of the mods are currently on strike across the network. I want to support our mods during this time. Now, we all know solidarity is effective. But solidarity requires a certain level of agreement, coordinated action, etc.

Maybe some of you have already read "Stack Exchange Scandals 101: a proven formula"

The staff has their playbook when they want to pull something they know will not be well-received. On the surface, their playbook looks really good -- even when you know what is coming, there is not much we can do to counter these tactics.

But certainly an anti-playbook can be developed (or are we doomed to go on strike whenever there is a bad problem?)
What sort of actions can we take as a community that will counter the strategies that are currently in play?

4
  • 2
    Just saw this, but don't have the spoons to put together an answer atm. Will likely discuss this with other mods. In the meantime, you can join us over here discord.gg/PbEPURd where strike organization/discussion is happening.
    – Dragonrage Mod
    Jun 14, 2023 at 6:18
  • Not a lot, I'm afraid. Even now, with representatives chosen for the community, I doubt all of the demands will be met, and maybe not a single one of them. It seems like the Inc. simply does not care. Maybe they assume a new community will form as users unfamiliar with all this garbage will eventually take over. I don't know. I'm personally extremely cynical about all this.
    – Joachim
    Jun 14, 2023 at 7:23
  • 1
    The point is, that there is no leverage but inaction, ironically because the community cares too much about the network to start sabotaging it.
    – Joachim
    Jun 14, 2023 at 7:27
  • 1
    I plan on reducing my posting here until SE communicates with the community properly. I've been trying out GameFaqs as an alternative.
    – Stevoisiak
    Jun 19, 2023 at 1:06

1 Answer 1

8

As the author of that post I have some toughts on how to reply to this question.

As you said there is not much we can really do.
The company owns the servers and they are fully able to unilaterally change any "policy" they put up in the past. The only hope you would have to bruteforce them to roll back any change, would be pointing out some illegality issues... but obviously the company would be very careful in avoiding to put themselves in that position. And even if they did, remember that the community had to start an actual fundraiser so that Monica could defend herself.

Basically, if it comes to legal actions I expect the company to be able to sit-out on the expenses coverage capacity of their rival and to exploit the arbitration clause to play in a domesticated ground. It would become an attrition battle where the company just has to wait as the "enemies" consume themselves in legal expenses while the court plays for the company benefits.

This leaves you with only two options.

The first one is to just leave or stop contributing and just stay here to chat with friends. The second one is to find some other ways to "fight back" and learn to recognize the strategies that are being applied.

There is an ongoing issue in how the community reacts that I see every time and it is the actual reason I wanted to point out that every new incident is so horribly close to the previous one, to the point they look like the company is following an actual manual.
Most users "reset" their feeling for the company after every new incident and are willing to handle the new issue like it was the first time something of that caliber happened: so every new time the company withholds communication, every time they post a misleading article online, every time an agreement is changed without indication, the users deal with it as if it was the first, forgivable time that happened. Usually when someone points out that this is not the case and we should be far less tolerating this repeated abuse they are met with reasoning like "we assume good intention", "now you are the one trying to pick a fight", "you are just taking pleasure in the drama", etc.

I personally strongly disagree with this. We are past the point when every incident could be seen as a separate issue to forget afterwards with our disposition of intent resetting at the same time. The deliberate repetition of the same patterns and errors is something that should not be ignored.

When I mentioned the old saying "Hotoke no kao mo sando" - "Even with a Buddha nature (you can forgive) only three times" - I actually meant that. It is impossible to think that we should forget the past every single time and once again act like this never happened before.
Obviously this does not mean that we should reply with threats, personal attacks or violence - that would obviously be a horrible and unethical choice.
But this also means that we should stop waiting weeks for things to work out, for people to explain because "this has to be just a misunderstanding", and we should stop accepting to be done wrong every time just to get a non-apology ("if you were offended, we...") and a promise that the next time will be different.

It is evident that the community has no hope to compete on the site, but there is something else.
It is crystal clear by now that, while the company does not care at all about what the company says, it cares a lot about its public image, the way potential users see the site. It should be clear why: users are dropping and so is site usage, so the network is desperately seeking new users to bring traffic.
This also explains why the company is so eager to post fabricated interviews on the web: they need to show they care, that they are working to make the site better despite the bad actors' efforts, that they are actively removing "bad people" like the "evil" Monica from the site.

When the Monica scandal happened this backfired horrendously on them: they never asked to remove their initial interview to the Register, but the site still followed up the full story to the point that multiple articles now exist as a permanent proof of how the company misrepresented things. And it is worth nothing noticing that the company felt they needed to legally bind Monica to be unable to further comment on the issue as an actual clause in their agreement. Wonder why.

It is sad, but I fear that the only hope you have to change something is to hit where it hurts. The wallet. And this sadly will hurt the site in the process.

They are trying hard to build a reputation of a welcoming network that goes miles to be the best it can be, to be tolerant, to be honest, to never betray the trust of their users.

Probably it is time the news sites, Twitter, Reddit, Discord, etc. get to hear the other side of the story.

4
  • 2
    Yes, totally agree with hitting the wallet. (Any threats or digital sabotage are certainly not going to be helpful in achieving goals... nevertheless, I could not help noticing that many sites on the network have been running painfully slow these past few days. I am usually bothered by this kind of thing, but... not this time.) Jun 15, 2023 at 15:42
  • 2
    "they never asked to remove their initial interview to the Register" - The Register is a legitimate news organisation. If SE had asked them to remove the article, they would have been politely told to shove it
    – Valorum
    Jun 16, 2023 at 23:13
  • 1
    @Valorum I doubt they would be able to refuse to remove a "fake" news article since the thing was clearly a misrepresentation of the reality of fact but even in that case one could reach out for an apologize at the very least. Consider that the Register edited the article multiple time to reflect that following their own "investigation2 on the topic. Had the company contact them, I assume they would have at least posted a notice like "Update: Stack Exchange has contacted us to apologize for the initial ....."
    – Ꮢedacted
    Jun 19, 2023 at 7:54
  • 1
    @Ꮢedacted - I don't doubt that they would have added an addendum to it. That's a far cry from a retraction
    – Valorum
    Jun 19, 2023 at 8:14

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .