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Stack Exchange Inc. has fired Shog9 and Robert Cartaino, who were both employed as liaisons between the company and the various Stack Exchange communities. For details, see this post on Meta Stack Exchange.

We don't know why Stack Exchange Inc. took this decision, and many people in the community are very unhappy about it. As moderators, we have had exclusively good experiences interacting with them.

Before Earth Science Stack Exchange was launched, it existed for around 2 years as a proposal on Area 51. Robert Cartainos work has been instrumental in shaping Area 51, so in a way, he was there at the very beginning. Although the procedure at Area 51 may seem automatic, it was his job to actually make the case to launch a site once it met the formal requirements. See his activity on Area 51. Thank you Robert Cartaino!

Less than two weeks ago, the most recent post on this meta, was an overview Shog9 had put together for us, on moderation in 2019. Considering there are 174 sites to keep track of, his dedication is impressive. Thank you Shog9!

From the very start until the very recent, Robert Cartaino and Shog9 have helped guide this community to bring it where it is now. It is a great loss to continue without them.

Whatever happens with Stack Exchange, our community will continue to exist. Thoughts, reflections, or proposals are all welcome. Ultimately, it is the community that defines who we are and what we are, and it is up to us to decide what we want to do.

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    $\begingroup$ up vote is for your excellent moderation and for taking the time to post this, obviously not for the events described $\endgroup$ – uhoh Jan 14 at 22:48
  • $\begingroup$ It is a pitty how the company is taking distance with the community. They are trying to make cash, but we, the users, we create this. $\endgroup$ – user18590 Jan 15 at 14:45
  • $\begingroup$ @Universal_learner I don't think they're making much money of Earth Science SE. Which is at the same time a risk: they could decide to continue only with the biggest, profitable sites. We don't know what to expect anymore. $\endgroup$ – gerrit Jan 15 at 15:00
  • $\begingroup$ Robert was instrumental in nudges and guidance in the early days of this site, from private beta onwards. It's difficult to know what this move might mean... $\endgroup$ – Semidiurnal Simon Jan 15 at 16:05
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    $\begingroup$ Relevant Twitter thread from Shog9: twitter.com/shog9/status/1217542885605662720 $\endgroup$ – Semidiurnal Simon Jan 16 at 9:58
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Whatever happens with Stack Exchange, our community will continue to exist. Thoughts, reflections, or proposals are all welcome. Ultimately, it is the community that defines who we are and what we are, and it is up to us to decide what we want to do.

I know it is way to early for this, but if at some point things really go bad with the Stack Overflow company, it doesn't seem that hard to part ways.

The site content is under a creative commons licence, which means it can be copied somewhere else as long as attribution is done properly.

The site engine is unfortunately not open source, but there are many open source clones available.

So, all it would take is a server and a person willing to look after the technical side of things. I'm pretty sure some universities would be glad to provide the first, as it would increase their visibility for the cost of a few hundred dollars per year. They already host many services like university press, data repositories, etc.

When I think about it, depending on an academic partner would be much better than depending on a private, for-profit company. One of SO sources of revenue is advertising. What if tomorrow a big oil company wants to put an ad on Earth Science, to do some greenwashing, among all the questions about global warming?

My only concern would be the lack of visibility towards the general public. The power of the Stack Exchange network is... well, the network, with its thousands and thousands of users, and a top-notch SEO. If we were to build an alternative, geoscience experts would have no trouble finding it, but what about those seeking knowledge? We would have many answers, but no questions...

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