- The Moderation and curator strike started on June 5.
- Stack Exchange has downplayed the effect of this to the press, while at the same time straight lied to the press about causes of the strike.
- Stack Exchange removed access to the data dump back in March but never told anyone until they were called out on it in early June.
- The moderation team has elected three representatives to engage with Stack Exchange to solve these problems and end the strike.
- Stack Exchange launches the GenAI powered formatting assistant. The community quickly shows that it's very bad at it's job and it is shut down temporarily.
Yesterday Stack Exchange announced the upcoming launch of a new Prompt Design site. To say the community disliked the idea would be an understatement. The community has pointed out that this will be incredibly niche, with very short term answers because models update constantly. There are also concerns that this will essentially become a "write my prompt" (instead of "write my code") site.
I agree with all of those concerns.
Also hidden in this announcement is another announcement. Stack Exchange is changing their method of launching new sites. This is something that should have it's own announcement. This is a big deal and the community has been asking for improvements to the Area 51 incubator site for a decade. Unfortunately, the new method is to completely do away with all of the work that Area 51 does - building a community, setting intitial questions, helping to set scope, ensuring there is an audience for the topic - and instead launching with a "Community Stakeholders" group that will do the work in either a private Stack Overflow for Teams instance or a read only chatroom.
Both of those options entirely exclude people that may want to participate but don't have access. It adds barriers that don't exist on Area 51.
The announcement sets a launch date of July 26 for this new site. This is the day before the CEO talks at WeAreDevelopers World Congress. A venure where the company has been promising a major AI announcement for months. This new site, combined with the formatting assistant failure from last week, is starting to show clearly what the company wants to do here.
I mentioned in my last post that I was becoming more pesimistic that this strike doesn't end with resignations. That continues to hold true. I also mentioned that Stack Exchanges seems to be keeping an eye on the Reddit strike - first with the blackouts, then with the John Oliver protests and currently with the NSFW toggles to prevent ads. Last night, Reddit started removing moderators as a result.
With the lack of updates and communication from Stack Exchange to the moderators and curators in the last week, I can't help but think that something similar is being discussed at Stack Exchange. Time will tell, but my feeling is that Stack Exchange is going to plow ahead with GenAI content on their platform. They are going to burn 15 years of trust and quality content and they are going to do with regardless of what the community wants. If they community protests, they will be shown the door.
Obviously, I'm still pretty pesimistic about all of this.