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Some threads on meta are about making a collective decision or require action by the community. For example, there is the plan of reviving the blog or the proposal of creating our own security challenges.

Both projects have in common that there doesn't seem to be anything happening right now. An issue with the blog seems to be that nobody is assigned to it or feels responsible/entitled to pick up the work. Concerning the security challenge idea, I'm unsure at which level a proposal to the community can be considered approved. While I'd love to continue with the idea, there has in my opinion not been enough feedback to justify pressing on with it. So it will eventually just float around, maybe without ever being concluded in one way or another.

That's why I was wondering how decisions in the community are usually made and what could be done to ensure that projects like the blog revival don't stagnate. I feel like questions on meta often ask for a community consensus or concrete action but just attract a few opinions and then slowly disappear without an apparent conclusion.

Edit: Another example of an undecided problem might be the career tag issue. The community acknowledged that questions are almost categorically opinion-based but didn't come to a conclusion what to do about it. Hence, users are still falling into the trap of asking for career advice.

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    I can understand and adree with your feeling. I don't have a good answer to the question, though. – Anders Mar 15 '17 at 13:40
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    @Anders At least you are taking a bit of the awkward silence in this thread. :-) – Arminius Mar 15 '17 at 21:26
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Communities don't take action, individuals do. The community can reach consensus that writing in the blog is a good idea, but it's individuals who find time to do it that make it happen. In a business environment, management might make that somebody's job. 99% of this website isn't anybody's job, though. Right now, getting ready for my pilot's license is currently more important to me than writing for the blog.

Thus, we make what are generally powerless decisions, and that's OK. These tend to not be powerless when they are "We won't do X going forward," and people listen and agree, but for something that takes hours or days of work (migrating and writing blog posts), it's the whim of people who are interested and willing to do the work.

Decisions happen through consensus, moderators are figureheads that can help steer, but it's willing contributors who take action that make them happen. The desire to have something doesn't always line up with the willingness and resources to do so, and that's the normal state of a volunteer site. So, if you want to port a blog, go ahead and you may find some assistance. It takes much less of my time and effort to approve something and request record changes than it does to actually put a site up.

  • How dare you insult the moderators as figureheads! – this.josh Jun 22 '17 at 6:33
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Wow! I've heard about some Eastern, I think, saying that the question contains the answer. Until now I have not encounted that. Now I have.

As you can tell by my rep score, I'm very new to this arena. Therefore, you can take my views with a grain (block) of salt.

I think that what happens is that the "community" shows its support for an idea in meta by upvoting the idea (mild approval), adding comments or answers to clarify or define the idea (moderate support), or by offering their efforts to "make it happen" (strong support). If enough people in the communit show enough interest in an idea, and there's a sufficient supply of people willing to actively commit to the project, then it "happens." In addition, there may be a lot of background work, and/or progress, that happens in chat about it, which is not reflected in the question's activity on meta. Anyway, until that level of support and commitment is reached, or if that never happens, all proceeds as you said in your question.

So it will eventually just float around without ever being concluded in one way or another ... then slowly disappear without an apparent conclusion.

  • Well, I'm not convinced it's always that easy and that all solutions emerge automatically. Often users might be eager to take action but need a start signal or affirmation. After all, quite a lot of members agreed on helping with the blog and I don't think the reason why there is currently no progress and no schedule is that everyone has just lost interest. – Arminius Mar 10 '17 at 6:12
  • I suspect that with the SE limit on comments, once "interest" develops, the conversation move into chat. Specificity about the blog, however, there may be other issues. I read in the main SE blog that site blogs have been dropped from the servers and that they have to find a suitable host elsewhere, with all the overhead that entails for the community. Check this posting for more about that. – Gypsy Spellweaver Mar 10 '17 at 6:25
  • I amended my question with another example which I think supports the point I'm trying to make. – Arminius Mar 10 '17 at 6:41
  • @Arminius I've had that one as a favorite for a while. Yes, it's going nowhere fast, as the saying goes. Seems to me that those responsible, mods mostly, ave decided that the incident level is low enough to just deal with new posts as they happen. A consensus couldn't be reached, so it couldn't be enacted. After all, 17 questions over 12 months, even with a 66% close rate, isn't too much work. As with most types of questions that have a high close rate, most of them are from newer members who don't take the time to explore before asking. Just like homework questions on U&L, SU, SO, and CR. ... – Gypsy Spellweaver Mar 10 '17 at 7:13
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    ... Bottom line, the moderators help the community, they don't control it. If the community can't define what to do, they can't do it. Same goes for the Community Team, which are actual SE employees. They help guide the communities. Outside of some non-negotiable material, they don't force the communites. @Arminius – Gypsy Spellweaver Mar 10 '17 at 7:13

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