Many meta posts put forth proposals that get discussed and then abandoned. as reviewed in this question. The StackExchange process assumes that there is a sufficiently large community to drive crowd-based decision making. Until we can reach that level of activity, we need a way to push proposals forward for the good of the site.

CogSci, for the time being, requires an explicit decision process that moderators and active Meta users alike will agree to, regardless of how many that may be. Any decisions made according to this process, including future changes to the decision process itself, MUST be followed and enforced in good faith by the active Meta community--and, failing that, by the moderators, for the good of the site.

On 23/06/2016 and with the support of the moderators, the decision process with the most votes becomes the official CogSci community decision process, and can only be changed again after 23/12/2016. All votes must be public, unambiguous and made via comment. All comments on answers to this question must be votes.

  • 1
    In your proposal you still leave out the very important step where we 'the moderators' would agree to any of this (as I also pointed out in chat last week). Not that we have all that much power, but from a political point of view, of course I would never agree a priori to push through any suggested 'sped up' proposal without agreeing to the terms of that voting procedure first.
    – Steven Jeuris Mod
    Jun 8, 2016 at 10:08
  • For example, in your format somebody could suggest, today we will decide on a new site name, either 'bunnies', 'puppies', or 'chicks'; the moderators need to pick one by the end of the evening. That is even disregarding the fact that we can not change the site name, and the main reason this previous proposal was shot down was by the community team, since we did not have a big enough community to convince them to push through a change which goes against their guidelines!
    – Steven Jeuris Mod
    Jun 8, 2016 at 10:10
  • @StevenJeuris the moderators can also choose to reject the decision for a specifically defined reason within a defined timeline such as going against guidelines. Are the other aspects of this process that you find unclear?
    – Seanny123
    Jun 8, 2016 at 13:23
  • Then how is that different from what we have now?
    – Steven Jeuris Mod
    Jun 8, 2016 at 13:31
  • @StevenJeuris speed of iteration. Posts can be brought up, decided upon and rephrased to be better quickly and efficiently, instead of staying in limbo while the involved parties gradually lose interest. As Christian said in chat: "The community can't make decisions until you decide on a framework that's acceptable to you (the moderators), the only people who can consistently implement the decisions."
    – Seanny123
    Jun 8, 2016 at 13:39
  • I already explained extensively in chat why the statement "the only people who can consistently implement the decisions" is a fallacy. For the majority of decisions any member of the community has exactly as much power as the moderators to 'implement' decisions.
    – Steven Jeuris Mod
    Jun 8, 2016 at 13:46
  • If indeed »many meta posts put forth proposals that get discussed and then abandoned« then it is to be expected that this post does not constitute a decent basis to support the proposal it puts forward.
    – huh
    Jun 8, 2016 at 19:04
  • @huh I'm not sure I follow. A "decent basis" for what exactly?
    – Seanny123
    Jun 8, 2016 at 19:38

3 Answers 3


I disagree with this strict (and yet still ambiguous) decision making format. Although I do fully agree that "posts put forth proposals that get discussed and then abandoned", I believe the main reason for this is there never was a big enough community active simultaneously at one particular point in time. With the few votes that were visible and amassed over time (including changing conditions and proposals) it was hard to judge to which extent they expressed consensus or not. We do have a broad userbase, and many of those users have participated vigorously in the past.

Pushing through decisions now is like treating the symptoms of a small community, by potentially making it even smaller. We should not drown out the voice of many people that have participated in the past and might want to participate again if only their voice would be heard.

Rather than treating the symptoms which arise due to the lack of a small meta community. We need to bring that community back together, which is the concrete proposal I made last week, to only then decide on the key problems which have been lingering over the years.

This will make it much more likely for this new vision for the site to be pushed through by the community. Stack Exchange succeeds by starting from a decently sized community with similar interests. Making decisions now with just a handful of people on what this site should be goes directly against that.

That said: although likely no overly strict decision making process needs to be put in place in case we manage to assemble a bunch of old and new users alike to decide on these open issues (this has not been attempted before), I am very open to discussing a more formal decision making process for when we do finally assemble.

  • Define "decently sized".
    – Seanny123
    Jun 8, 2016 at 13:20
  • @Seanny123 Area51 requires 200 people to commit to a proposal. Obviously we can not reach this number, and neither do we have to, as this does not reflect the number of necessary people active on Meta. However, I believe we can easily double the amount of people present in the decision making process if we summon them to discuss a precise outlined agenda, and associated suggestions.
    – Steven Jeuris Mod
    Jun 8, 2016 at 13:29
  • I meant, what is the precise number of you require to see involved to consider an assembled community. You have defined a range, which is more than we have now and less than 200, but I want a specific number.
    – Seanny123
    Jun 8, 2016 at 13:41
  • @Seanny123 If there is lack of interest from the community we summon, I would be just as fine by deciding on this between the currently active members. That however, should be a last resort. In other words, as big of a community as we can attract, and then we run with what we have.
    – Steven Jeuris Mod
    Jun 8, 2016 at 13:48

Previously, due to the anonymity of voting, vagueness of proposals and undefined timelines, moderators have been hesitant to take action. To make it clear to the moderators who is trying to push the "proposal" forward and make it easier for them to make decisions, I propose the following "proposal" format.

Given that a user puts forth a proposal with:

  • An EXACT discussion/consideration timeline in WEEKS for voting
  • An EXACT decision timeframe in DAYS for the moderators to decide
  • A FEW (no more than 3) clear choices

For the following topics:

  • New close vote reason
  • Changing the site name
  • New definition of scope
  • The community has grown enough and we have to stop using this format

After the discussion/consideration timeline defined by the user and within the decision timeframe:

  • The moderators must make a decision whether or not to implement the decision, based off ballots (answers to the proposal with vote as signature in bold). BUT THEY MUST MAKE AND ENFORCE A DECISION.

As an example of how this should work, I have created this proposal.

Other proposals and questions on Meta will remain acceptable, however questions in this format MUST be decided upon my moderators within the given timeline.

REMEMBER: A comment on this answer is seen as support for this proposal

  • I, Seanny123, support this answer to the proposal.
    – Seanny123
    Jun 7, 2016 at 21:10
  • 1
    I support this answer to the proposal
    – mayaPapaya
    Jun 8, 2016 at 0:17
  • I support this proposal Jun 8, 2016 at 6:07
  • I also support this proposal.
    – Krysta
    Jul 5, 2016 at 13:01

I reject all attempts to streamline the decision process and CogSci.SE should continue to flounder in ambiguity.

REMEMBER: A comment on this answer is seen as support for this proposal

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