Archive for July, 2018

July 2018 Newsletter II

2018-07-23 by Grace Note. 0 comments

New themes will start rolling out this month!

We’re in the process of rolling out new network site themes this month. This means, if you’re a moderator of one of the 100 sites that currently use the stock ‘beta blue’ site theme, you’re soon getting a whole new look.

This has been announced and discussed well in advance, but we want to let you know just in case your users have questions and you want a resource to point them to. It’s up to you if you feel like you should post something on your meta site, we just want to make sure you and your users aren’t caught off guard.

Leftside Moderator Tooling Moved

Post-related moderator tools that were formerly located on the lefthand margin, have now been moved into the posts themselves. They are now listed vertically beneath the vote display for a post as a series of icons. With this, access to a post’s moderation timeline or comment/flag history can once again be accessed with a single click. By becoming part of a post, this means it will be accessible no matter the window width, even on mobile devices.

Note that no changes to the tools themselves have been done. It’s only the appearance and location that has been changed.

The second draft of the new CoC is now out for comment.

If you didn’t notice it in the community bulletin, there’s a new post on MSE inviting folks to provide any final commentary on our second iteration of the new CoC (code of conduct).

Many moderators provided us with some very valuable feedback, and we feel that you’ll be pleased with the amount of your feedback we’ve incorporated into this second draft. Our goal has always been to make it easier for you to enforce rules that we already have, and we feel that this accomplishes that. If you look closely, you’ll see that we’re not adding anything new, we’re just clarifying what we already have.

Enforcement doesn’t really change much, except that we explicitly call out certain behaviors (like subtle put-downs, sexually suggestive phrasing in chat, etc) that some folks prefer to argue as ‘not technically not nice’ instead of just stopping. We hope this prevents time-consuming conflict by putting a stop to quite a bit of rule-lawyering.

Please have a look, and let us know if you have any thoughts by leaving an answer or a comment (answers are ideal). Tim Post will be in the TL most of next week to answer questions in the context of specific cases that can’t be discussed publicly. You can also contact him directly at

Juan-at-large: New resources for the network!

In case you missed his post, Juan Garza is going to be transitioning from managing the international Stack Overflow sites to leading a small team tasked just with helping the Stack Exchange network stay healthy and grow.

Juan comes from an ‘old school’ community management background, where he helped companies build communities around topics from the ground up, and all he had to work with was his keyboard and some yucky forum software. He’s done an amazing job with helping our international sites take root, and we’re excited to reinvest his talents back into the entire network.

There will be more from Juan in the coming weeks, we’ll make sure that moderators stay up-to-date on any new initiatives through meta and this newsletter.

Last call to update your contact email address.

In the last newsletter, we asked that everyone take a moment to make sure the email address we have on file to send you mail is actually a valid email address that you check semi-regularly.

We’d like to send our thanks to everyone that made updates, you’re awesome!

We’re going to be sending out more invitational things that are just for moderators (including private links to participate in the new engagement survey) as early as the end of next week. If you have not already done so, please make sure your information is up-to-date.

July 2018 Newsletter I

2018-07-09 by Grace Note. 0 comments

Please set up a confirmed email address in the system.

We’d like to be able to reach out to you for important things, and we need to make sure that we have a working e-mail address on file for you that you check with regular frequency.

To check how you have this set and update it if necessary, go to and check the email configuration.

We like to stay out of people’s email inboxes and try to reach moderators through in-site means. Primarily this means we try to reach out via chat, or use the Moderator Inbox Announcement system to point at the newsletter or a meta post. Generally, if an email is being sent out, it’s something of urgency that requires a response from the moderator, such as:

  • Our annual “Stack Exchange Gives Back” charity drive, where you choose charities where we donate in your name,
  • Our annual moderator engagement survey (explained below),
  • Arranging elections and confirming moderator active headcounts on the site.

If it’s not something that requires a direct response, it would be something Earth-shattering important that we absolutely need you to know about as soon as possible. An example of this would be an account with moderator access showing signs of being possibly compromised.

Please don’t forget to take a few moments and make sure you’ve got a valid email that you actually check at least semi-faithfully on file.

The first annual moderator engagement survey launches soon!

We’re starting a yearly tradition by sending out a short engagement survey to all moderators that’s quite similar to the survey that we send to all of our employees. The survey helps us understand the following things:

  • How much personal satisfaction you get from your role as a moderator,
  • How supported you feel by us (the company),
  • How supported you feel by your community,
  • How supported you feel by other moderators,
  • Free-form input where you can express things that we probably wouldn’t know to deliberately ask for,
  • An option to have someone from the company get in touch with you (email, phone, carrier pigeon, whatever works for you).

The survey is completely optional and anonymous; aggregate data that is not free-form in nature will be made public in a way that doesn’t identify individuals.

There will be a place for you to include a link to your profile so that we can collect more context around your responses, but it’s in no way required, and not including it won’t make your responses less useful to us.

We’d like to give folks a week to make sure their email addresses on file are current (see above!!), and then we’ll send links to participate in the survey privately.

The first Code of Conduct RFC is open.

In case you didn’t see it, we’ve published our first draft of our new code of conduct for public commentary. This is, as the post says, just the first draft of something a bit more substantial than our current “Be nice” policy.

Our expectation is, when finished, the code of conduct will allow moderators to remove hurtful comments that harm the image of their communities without as much arguing over whether something was technically rude or not. One of our major goals is to set people’s expectations that the intent of the document should be observed, without rule-lawyering parades presenting toxic behavior as acceptable or encouraged.

While the code of conduct will apply to all contributions on the sites, the major problems we’re trying to solve most often manifest in comments. While it might seem tempting to solve this issue by feature changes that simply give comments less visibility, we feel that it’s better to eliminate hurtful things than hide them. A snarky comment left unmoderated for 2+ years could be the single thing that deters a potentially great contributor from engaging on your site, and solid codes of conduct help folks feel safe about joining a new community.

As we post follow-up drafts following the incorporation of feedback both from meta and UX research interviews, we’ll make a mention of it in this (now bi-weekly) newsletter, just so you don’t miss them. If you have feedback you’d like to express privately, you can email Tim Post directly at