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Among the things on the site which can be directly influenced by the site moderators (without any involvement of Stack Exchange staff), probably the community bulletin has the most visibility. The mods can, for example, add the tag to some post on meta and it will appear as "Featured on meta."1 (There is also possibility to add events - but I did not see them being used much on the Stack Exchange sites which I frequent.)

So, at least in theory, if the mods would consider some FAQ post from MathOverflow Meta important enough, they would be able to keep it here almost perpetually. (By adding the tag once in 30 days - after it expires.) Or they could rotate some FAQ posts to keep them on the community bulletin. (At least when they do not have something else which needs the attention of the users and has to be featured.)

This could be used for some FAQ posts directed mainly at the new users. But probably there is a lot of information in the FAQ posts that even regular users might have missed. (And an additional advantage would be that both the mods and the regular users would look at those FAQ posts a bit more - and perhaps correct some outdated information given there.)

Question: Would keeping some post(s) in the community bulletin - to increase their visibility - be useful?

It is worth mentioning that there were some suggestions and feature requests here on meta which were in a similar spirit. (But not specifically about the community bulletin.)


I will also add some counter-arguments to this suggestion - maybe some of them are more relevant, maybe less:

  • It's possible that many MO users do not mind seeing some lower level questions on the main site, as long as there aren't too many of them. (And such posts are also - to some minor extent - useful.)
  • To some extent, this is done with new users in mind. But there already is a modal window shown to the users before they ask their first question on MO. This might be considered entirely sufficient - if somebody ignores the information given here, they will probably not click on any link or banner displayed on the frontpage.
  • Another argument might be that this is unlikely to help wit the new users - at least if we're looking at stats from other sites where somewhat similar measures were implemented, they seem rather inconclusive: Should folks have to click through an interstitial page to ask questions on Server Fault?, How much did "advice for first-time askers" help?
  • This would require additional work from the moderators. (And, moreover, it is possible that the MO mods do not consider something like this useful - judging from the lack of response to the previous similar suggestions.)

Some related past discussions:

  • This suggestion was posted this year: Feature request: add short "about MathOverflow" section to the front page But it did not get any response from the mods. (And if we do not count voting, there wasn't any reaction from the MO community, either.) Moreover, I am not sure whether such a modification - where a single site differs substantially from the rest of the network - can be easily done.3 My post is slightly different in that it suggests an action which can be done by the MO mods. (No intervention of Stack Exchanges developers or CMs would be needed.)
  • This suggestion was posted in 2015: Why is "what is the difference between mathoverflow and math.stackexchange?" not prominently displayed? The post is somewhat similar to this one and to the one mentioned in the previous bullet point. It has one answer (from a user who is currently a moderator - although he wasn't in 2015.)

In the past, sometimes there used to be a thin strip at the top - however, that was available while running on the old version of the Stack Exchange software. Here are some examples I was able to find:

  • New page: How to ask a good MO question. Please provide feedback on this meta.MO thread.- in January 2010
  • Moderator Election! Vote here.- in June 2010
  • Not at the ICM? Follow it on MSP's twitter feed.- in August 2010

1 Moderators and CMs do use the tag - I see 35 past occurrences. But this wasn't specifically for FAQ posts, as I suggest here.

2Frequently Asked Questions: MathOverflow FAQ and other posts tagged faq certainly contain some useful information.

3Although I see that there are banners in the sidebar of Law, Medical Sciences, Christianity. So this seems to be technically possible. See also: Which elements of the frontpage can be customized per site?

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    $\begingroup$ A sidebar element as on Law, Medical Sciences, etc. seems to me to be an attractive option. $\endgroup$ Apr 20 at 9:51
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    $\begingroup$ @TheAmplitwist That would be in the spirit of this feature request: Feature request: add short "about MathOverflow" section to the front page. That post got no response from the MO moderators. $\endgroup$ Apr 20 at 10:00
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    $\begingroup$ From your list of counter-arguments, I gather that the main motivation of the suggestion is to reduce the number of low-level questions by new users on the site. But actually, I'm thinking that doing something like this would probably be more useful for more experienced users -- as a sort of "review" kind of thing. This could be interesting. I'm not sure precisely which FAQs you have in mind. $\endgroup$
    – Tim Campion Mod
    Apr 23 at 21:19
  • $\begingroup$ @TimCampion By FAQs I meant primarily the posts tagged faq. Many of them are collected here: What are the Frequently Asked Questions on meta? $\endgroup$ Apr 24 at 4:11
  • $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak Oh sure, I understood that much. But there are 20 questions tagged "faq" -- I suppose we could do each of them, one after another. If each one lasts 3 weeks that would take a little over a year. $\endgroup$
    – Tim Campion Mod
    Apr 24 at 4:25
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    $\begingroup$ Given that the Featured tag expires after 30 days, I think it is rather meant to be used for somewhat more ephemeral posts -- e.g. for announcements and such. $\endgroup$
    – Stefan Kohl Mod
    Apr 24 at 18:52
  • $\begingroup$ Here is a link to a similar suggestion on Mathematics Meta: Could Community Bulletin be used for reminders about correct tagging and other good practices? (which I posted some time ago - it includes a screenshot from a site where I saw something similar). $\endgroup$ Apr 25 at 5:06
  • $\begingroup$ @TimCampion As I have mentioned in chat, the choice of the posts to put up there would be up to the mods - certainly not all FAQ posts are equally important. Perhaps this can be seen as an alternative to using a sidebar. The advantage of the sidebar is that it is more prominent and one can put there more text. The advantage of the community bulletin is that it can be done by the mods (without any help from SE) and it is not static. (But it is definitely less prominent.) $\endgroup$ May 4 at 12:02

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