Three weeks into the Stack Overflow strike

I still don't have time for deep commentary (just got back from Origins; post about games to come), but there have been some developments since the Stack Overflow moderation strike began on June 5:

Data dumps

From very early on, Stack Overflow Inc. has published a quarterly data dump of all of the content (with attributions etc) from all network sites. This was the explicit insurance in case Stack Overflow turned evil in the future, like Experts Exchange, the company that led to SO being created, did. That stuff all uses the Creative Commons license and is meant to remain available.

Someone noticed that the June dump had not been posted on schedule, and asked a question about it. One of the people who was part of the 10% layoff in April replied, saying that the dumps had been disabled at the end of March with an annotation that they were only to be restored at the direction of the "Senior Leadership Team" (this usually means C-level executives). That drew some attention.

The company spent several days ignoring, then brushing off, then making excuses for this unannounced change. Nothing they said was credible. The strikers added "restore the data dumps" to their list of demands. After almost a week, the June dump was posted. No public promises have been made about the future yet as far as I know (though, see "was away for several days" above).

Spam overflow

With about 1500 curators (including about a quarter of moderators network-wide) on strike, and more importantly with the volunteer-run anti-spam automation turned off, the junk's been piling up. Reportedly, employees are now spending time handling spam, cutting into their day jobs.

While we're told that discussions are happening between representatives from the moderators and the company, they don't seem to have made much progress. A moderator told me that the company committed to keeping the data dumps coming, but it sounded like it was specific employees making the commitment, so the promise might not outlast their employment.

Rules for thee but not for me

In addition to violating the moderator agreement in a few ways (leading to the strike), the gen-AI-hype-chasing company recently announced that they are going to launch a site for "prompt design" (I am not making this up), but they're not going to use their existing process for creating communities because it doesn't work well, so instead they're looking for people to be part of a behind-closed-doors steering committee or some such, with the goal of launching the site by July 26.

The CEO is giving a talk about gen-AI hype at some conference on July 27.

Meanwhile, people who are trying to launch communities using the current process would like a word.

Meanwhile, over at Codidact...

Stack Overflow Inc. has given us a gift. We have lots of new participants and new activity, and some active efforts to build new communities here. Nice! We've gotten some questions about differences and was starting to think that we need an "immigration guide" and then someone reminded me of this early post asking about differences -- with a new answer from one of our new users. Nice.

It sounds like we might also attract some contributors on GitHub, which would be great. We have many things we want to do and not very many people.