[MeFi Site Update] December 22nd December 22, 2021 12:40 PM   Subscribe

Hello Metafilter! Thank you for waiting. We decided to postpone last week’s update to this week to avoid having 2 updates so close to the holidays. Please find more details on the state of the site below. Reminder: I will be the only mod monitoring this thread so please be patient as I reply to your feedback and questions.

- Marketing/Growth Plan
Working on a Marketing deck outlining: Social Media presence. Content updates. Newsletter (which is already ongoing) as well as possible brand marketing updates. Once it is ready I will go over it with the team and present more details here.

- BIPOC Advisory Board
I still need to sync with the team on the status of this so that we can make the 2022 plan public. Once we have feedback from the Board I'll provide more details in a future update.

- Improvements to the Signup flow
This is at ~70% but has been placed on hold for 2021 and will come back to this and complete it in January.

- Flagging (UX)
This will be pushed in several batches, starting with the most-visited pages. I’ll let you know the progress as it happens.

-Technical changes
I’m following up on the status for removing the limit of questions you can post in ASK. Most likely this change will be pushed in January so that we have full mod availability to make sure the change is smooth.

- Planning for 2022
Cortex has been going over budget and revenue. So far, it is clear that rearranging mod coverage has made a huge difference. I’ll make sure to report back once this is completed and let you know any important findings/plans coming out of this (aside from the Marketing plan).

If you have any questions or feedback not related to this particular update, please Contact Us instead. If you want to discuss a particular subject not covered here with the community, you’re welcome to open a separate MetaTalk thread for it.
posted by loup (staff) to MetaFilter-Related at 12:40 PM (27 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

Thank you, loup.
posted by mochapickle at 10:56 AM on December 23, 2021 [2 favorites]

Thanks, loup!
posted by kimberussell at 1:40 PM on December 23, 2021

posted by sciatrix at 5:41 AM on December 24, 2021

As a longtime Mefite and a person of color, I would like to note that it has been more than a year and a half since plans to launch the BIPOC Advisory Board were officially announced by MeFi staff, and it still seems to be a vague aspiration.

If it's not a priority for site adminstration, just say so please.
posted by tivalasvegas at 6:23 PM on December 24, 2021 [9 favorites]

tivalasvegas, you do know the BIPOC board launched and has met, right? Checking since your comment sort of implies you think it has not launched at all.
posted by brainwane at 2:29 AM on December 25, 2021

Sure, it's met a couple times and not really accomplished anything. Then there's been months and months of "oh, well we can't figure out a time to meet so uh we're working on it." I have followed the updates.
posted by tivalasvegas at 10:39 AM on December 25, 2021 [9 favorites]

Yeah, I was cautiously excited that the BIPOC Board wasn't just wokewashing back in 2020, but until/unless it's able to issue recommendations that actually have teeth, it's just one more diversity initiative implemented by white-led organizations during 2020's summer of racial reckoning that turned out to be a valuable strategy for garnering goodwill from the white members of that org, but too much trouble to actually maintain in a way that benefits the POC involved. Oh well.
posted by knucklebones at 11:30 AM on December 26, 2021 [4 favorites]

Do you know brainwane is on the committee? Seems rude.
posted by michaelh at 5:17 PM on December 26, 2021 [3 favorites]

Mod note: Regarding the BIPOC Advisory Board, this is one of the projects that we have been discussing the most in the past weeks, even though there have been 3 board meetings, it seems that the format is not working quite as well. So we are proposing a new format and allocating more resources to it in 2022. I can't share more details until this is discussed with the board, but this is one of the 4 most important projects going on right now and I'll provide more details as they are available.
posted by loup (staff) at 12:52 PM on December 27, 2021

tried asynchronous slack chat? cause that works well for the two mags I slush read for.

also, was this thing really announced in 2020? Because, well, now it's almost 2022, I can completely sympathize with people being annoyed that the only thing the BiPOC Board does is nominally exist.

I also sympathize with people who signed up for the thing and, because there is a seeming lack of institutional support, are not getting the resources they need to do x y and z. Then again, the answer to that doesn't seem to be statements that a) there is a board and b) I'm on it. That doesn't obviate the question, what has been done.

And, given the last vigorous debate on metafilter was about a restaurant review, I honestly welcome a bit of salty talk about, you know. Fucking important shit.
posted by angrycat at 1:11 PM on December 27, 2021 [1 favorite]

You know, I kinda love these threads. They give me a sense of nostalgia for an old dive bar in the town next to where I grew up. We used to call the place "battlefields" because if you were all fucked up in the middle of the night, and you felt like getting into a scrap, you could head on down to battlefields and within about 5 minutes you'd find someone willing to throw down. Lots of folks would mill around outside battlefields on Friday and Saturday nights, many of them there just to watch. Sometimes it's nice to have an audience.

Anyways, happy holidays!
posted by some loser at 6:04 PM on December 27, 2021 [1 favorite]

One thing the BIPOC board has accomplished is to show that a BIPOC board (so far) is not a viable substitute for having more staff diversity. That’s something.
posted by snofoam at 6:12 AM on December 28, 2021 [4 favorites]

this is one of the 4 most important projects going on right now

So, it's the fourth priority? I'm only being mildly sarcastic in saying "ok, that's helpful".

I'd like to know what the priorities actually are, what projects are the mods working through and in what order? That really would be helpful: if you want to be transparent with the community, then that shouldn't be a problem. And if you don't, then... again, just say so!

A lot of longtime posters, particularly queer and BIPOC people, have already left this community, and I believe a lot of it is because we are exhausted by the ongoing lack of clarity as to whether this is just Josh Millard's small business for posting interesting links (and Dear Abby letters) or whether it's intended to be a community that has group conversations about site policies, and substantive input into them. I (and I think many others) hoped that the BIPOC board was a step in that direction, but the fact that it really hasn't seemed to amount to anything or produced any substantive recommendations in a year and a half, it's just a slap in the face.
posted by tivalasvegas at 6:15 AM on December 28, 2021 [6 favorites]

Mod note: Hello all! I hope you are enjoying the week. The four main projects we currently have are listed above and we'll keep reporting on them as they progress:
- Marketing/Growth Plan
- BIPOC Advisory Board
- Improvements to the Signup flow
- Improving the Flagging UX

All these are main priorities (with different team members working on them) and are being worked on. I'll also ping Thyme (who currently owns communication with the BIPOC Board) to provide more details here.
posted by loup (staff) at 10:19 AM on December 28, 2021 [2 favorites]

In regards to the board, we have had 3 meetings. We met on slack for 1.5 hours and managed to get through a lot of agenda items which were agreed upon by the board - many of these items were intended to help us set up a solid foundation for efficient meetings - feel free to check out those minutes here.

Before I could plan our 4th meeting, I experienced an intense (which I am still navigating) life transition that required uprooting my life and trying to remain as functional as a human and moderator here. Things have not been ok, and as such, I communicated with the board months ago about needing to put a pause on meetings. A few other members actually wrote to express that they too, needed a pause because ~life~ SO we paused and I reached out just this month about getting us back together again.

Thankfully, I am back feeling more present and have already sent out a scheduling poll to get us a meeting date for January 2022. I've heard back from a few members and I'm giving a few other folks a couple more days before I set a meeting date.

I had a meeting with staff as well about needing support with getting things up and running in a way that is sustainable for me and everyone involved. With the help of loup, I'll be handing off some logistical meeting duties so that I can focus my capacity on continuing to facilitate productive and meaningful meetings as well as doing some research/troubleshooting around what tools I can implement to aide us in conjunction with these meetings.

Once we start meeting again, I'll continue to share meeting notes and any actionable steps we've come up with as a group on the board landing page. I recognize that this may not be the most ideal/preferred approach, and I am always open to making adjustments.

posted by travelingthyme (staff) at 3:48 PM on December 29, 2021 [14 favorites]

Hey, loup (noting here under the auspices that it fits into Marketing/Growth): FYI there are folks discussing the desire for a themed month/double post jubilee/post-from-your-bookmarks/something encouraging from the mods to prompt members to make posts at the end of this MeTa. Perhaps you could bring this to the team?

I've also seen in past updates comments asking about the sidebar, which seems to have slowed considerably. I've tried to do more flagging as fantastic to highlight Good Things, but to no apparent avail--are there other ways members can support getting the sidebar active again?
posted by youarenothere at 8:50 AM on December 31, 2021 [3 favorites]

Thank you! Yes, I'm bringing this to the team this week.

Also, we'll resume the regular bi-weekly schedule of the site updates next week and keep updating you in the developments of these projects.

Happy 2022 to everyone!
posted by loup (staff) at 12:05 PM on January 3, 2022

Hello, don't know if loup is still monitoring here, but there hasn't been a new site update since December 22nd, and loup hasn't commented on anything visibly on the site since January 6.

The new free threads popping up each week in the Blue have me concerned that the site updates are being pushed away in 2022. Can loup or another mod please clarify?
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 9:51 AM on January 18, 2022 [2 favorites]

This is a gentle nudge for this thread please.
posted by iamkimiam at 8:41 AM on January 20, 2022 [1 favorite]

I'm honestly not trying to be an asshole when I keep checking in on these MetaTalk threads, but mods seem to really miss the point when the people participating have repeatedly said that they would like a regularly occurring space to discuss site development and leave comments. Consistency is all I'm asking for with this!

Almost certainly loup is just busy with other behind-the-scenes site stuff and hasn't started a new Update thread yet, but really... this shit ain't hard. December 22nd was the last thread. A new one should have opened on January 5th -- even if it explicitly said "sorry folks there's nothing new to report and anyway we're all bedraggled from New Year's celebrations." And then do another one on January 19th! Just be upfront about "Hello we're opening new Update threads pro forma every two weeks because we promised we would! Nothing new to report!"

Instead we all have to sit around wondering if the Updates are another abandoned project, dependent on the availability of one part-time mod who, just to quantify, hasn't posted anything publicly on this site in 14 days.
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 11:43 AM on January 20, 2022 [1 favorite]

No, I agree. Regular communication has been the #1 ask for months, and promises keep being made on that front but not prioritized.

I don't think this model of having a single mod responsible for handling site-user communications is working. And I don't think that communication is something to prioritize at the "when we have time" or "when we get around to it" level.
posted by trig at 11:57 AM on January 20, 2022 [2 favorites]

Mod note: Hi Everyone! Sorry about that, I know we were supposed to have a new site update last week but the start of the year has been complex, to say the least (big transitions with my other job, new apartment, among other things). I started drafting the site update last Tuesday and realized I'm still missing some extra details that I want to report on so I'll post it next Wednesday to stick to the day. Thank you for your patience.
posted by loup (staff) at 12:02 PM on January 20, 2022

Thanks, loup.

At the same time, for the nth time -- please, please stop letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. It is missing the point, which is that people want to know that communication is something we can count on. Without having to wait or hope or prod.

(...and then feel bad about prodding, and feel the need to apologize for commenting in a critical manner, and so on, endlessly)
posted by trig at 12:08 PM on January 20, 2022 [6 favorites]

loup: Respectfully, you are approaching this wrong. Please just open up a new thread every two weeks, whether there's "extra details" or not, and if something happens in between you leave a comment in the most recent thread. Consistency is important when you're trying to build trust.
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 12:18 PM on January 20, 2022 [2 favorites]

And oh god I'm harping on this like I said I wouldn't but loup: all I had to do was scroll up a few comments and see you say "Also, we'll resume the regular bi-weekly schedule of the site updates next week and keep updating you in the developments of these projects."

Bi-weekly. Just... stick with it. Do what you said you would. Update thread every two weeks even if the "developments" happen in-between.
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 12:27 PM on January 20, 2022

Been popping into Meta every day or two to see if there would ever be a new thread. Disappointed every time, but didn’t want to be the one to bring it up. Put up a thread that says we couldn’t pull together updates because of the holidays. Have someone else put up a thread that says loup can’t do it so the next thread is gonna be on DATE. Literally any option is better than just blowing it off with no comment. (And I don’t think this is loup’s fault because it is something that the site promised to do, loup was just the one assigned to do it.)
posted by snofoam at 5:13 PM on January 21, 2022 [1 favorite]

To be honest, it seems problematic that it's apparently a lot of work to put together updates at the level of detail in these posts -- which is extremely scant, which is mostly all right. But shouldn't some or all of the mods be up to date on going on, as a general thing? Does the staff not keep any kind of central record of what's going on with the various initiatives that have been started? Do staff meetings not involve some kind of "hey, let's everyone update on what progress has been made on the things we're assigned to"? Even if there's no project management software or what have you to keep track of things, putting together these posts should be a quick matter of summarizing information that people are already keeping track of.

If instead the workflow is that loup is responsible for chasing after everyone individually for status updates, then it seems even worse for updates to be so infrequent. It would mean that no one is actually aware of what's going on most of the time and that there's no regular oversight or accountability. That seems like a really rickety management model that wouldn't lend itself to any kind of organized progress.
posted by trig at 6:05 PM on January 21, 2022 [5 favorites]

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