There have been several issues on meta that "the community" is supposed to decide, such as

but so far they're undecided, to my understanding, and there's no sign of any decision being made down the road.

I think this is a bad thing, because no decision means no feedback, and no feedback means it's dead. I want the community to be alive! [Edit: I'm quite ok with decisions taking a long time. What I'm concerned is decisions never coming around. There's an infinite difference between 'long' and 'never'.]

So how are these things supposed to be decided?

  • by someone?
    • by the moderators?
    • by Jeff?
  • by vote?
    • we can vote to answers or comments, but who decides when to close the votes?

[Edit: I don't mean to push things forward here by rhetorical forces; my focus is on the meta-meta kind of thing - How are SE communities designed to handle community-wide decisions? What systems are built into SE sites to facilitate decision-making?]

  • 1
    thumb wrestling matches... best of 3... only way to decide!
    – jkerian
    Commented Aug 30, 2011 at 21:11
  • @jkerian great idea.. thumb wrestling has elements of strategies sufficiently enough to warrant the best candidate to win, and yet so simple and easy. I can't wait for SE Inc. to begin distributing robotic gloves to every user for thumb wrestling matches..
    – ento
    Commented Sep 1, 2011 at 16:18

2 Answers 2


Generally, the type of questions you are mentioning are decided by consensus. If there's some urgency or a disagreement on whether consensus was reached, Question/Answer scores could be used as a way to vote.

As a last resort, I suppose moderators (for the site or for SE) could be involved in speeding up the process, but I don't think that should be their standard role.

Regarding the two questions you mentioned:

is still fairly recent and might still receive some element of conversation before hopefully acting on it.

is currently stuck on a consensus of "we don't need a consensus" (much to my personal dismay).

So... neither case clearly calls for taking action just yet... But I will fully support any effort to resuscitate the conversations and/or suggest an official vote that could lead to a decision at the end.

  • Given that our active user list is a fairly different set of people from two months ago, it might be worthwhile to repost some of those consensus questions. Opinions may have changed in the meantime as well.
    – Troyen
    Commented Aug 31, 2011 at 2:24
  • @Troyen: any change to either question, will bring them back to the front. But I am not convinced many of the new users are actively keeping an eye on Meta at the moment.
    – Dave
    Commented Aug 31, 2011 at 3:29
  • If I remember correctly, questions on "what notation to use to mark up JLU specific infos" (ruby, intonation, correctness of examples) are all stuck somewhere. I wonder if introducing a benevolent dictator for such matters can be beneficial overall, because I don't see that any one ordinary user can be motivated enough to push through a rule that requires conformity from all users, and I believe a facilitator is a must to build up a consensus among 100+ people. Perhaps it just means JLU needs more users to attract more enthusiasts, or these kinds of rules should be enforced by the system.
    – ento
    Commented Sep 1, 2011 at 16:49
  • to a (very limited) extent, pro temp moderators are the current "benevolent dictators" (incidentally, I doubt any dictator has ever fashioned themselves willfully "malevolent" ;-)... But pushing things like "recommended notations" are still way beyond what could be imposed by a moderator. And on that particular issue, the moderating team was more or less evenly divided between @Amanda considering there was no need for such a notation, myself thinking there was and YOU without a strong opinion (from what I can remember). So definitely a deadlock, any way you look at it.
    – Dave
    Commented Sep 1, 2011 at 17:27

In the case of the “automatic posting” question, I was too lazy to make an action in response to balpha’s detailed explanation (partly because I did not immediately know what to do). Sorry about that. Now that I know that hippietrail is the one who can actually turn off the feed, I have just asked hippietrail to consider about it in chat. Hope that this will bring things forward.

  • Yep I was wondering how useful it was even before the question but also wondering why there were no humans there to make it look other than just the autoposting lived there. So now I'm waiting for a consensus and I've made a clear and unambiguous spot to vote. Commented Aug 31, 2011 at 7:24
  • Tsuyoshi, thanks for the follow-up. And oh, please let me be the one to apologize =) I didn't mean to nudge or give a giddyup or anything towards your question in particular. But the approach taken here is worth examining! I think the problem of "automatic posting" has resolved fairly quickly because 1) the feed settings is reversible 2) few people are involved 3) presence of motivated facilitators. So "make adjustments and see" is a viable strategy for solving local, reversible problems.
    – ento
    Commented Sep 1, 2011 at 16:01
  • @ento: I know that the links in your post are just examples and that your focus is on the decision making process itself rather than individual discussions. No need for apology! Commented Sep 1, 2011 at 20:58

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