We're definitely going to consider tweaks to the guidelines, but substantive stories on e.g. diversity are already not off topic. Some do get flagged, but we've often turned off the flags or reduced them (which is standard practice on HN for a whole range of stories) and many have appeared on the front page.
Same way you build a reputation for anything.
PS: How do you feel about adding a "rationale" text box to the flagging process + some eventual feedback on whether moderation agrees with the flag/rationale? I basically never flag comments because I'm not sure I'm the same page with y'all.
Add a date and time, down to the second. The more exact the end time the more people will believe it really is temporary.
That way if people want to do politics, fine, but if we restrict it to a specific day or days so those of us that are sick of politics can just focus on getting things done. And then post about what we did on the day after.
Maybe politics day on, no politics day off in a series.
Edit: I'm afraid that sounded dismissive—sorry! I was writing in haste and genuinely appreciate your suggestion.
Perhaps the lesson is simply: don't experiment with community standards.
It might be useful to tie changes in community standards to something concrete and trackable. Taking the detox week as an example, there would be a way to flag something and specify "detox week" as a reason.
That being said, can you give an example of changes in community standards on this site which effects cannot be tracked in software?
EDIT: Clarified scope of "changes in community standards" to this site.
Story quality, thread quality, community satisfaction...
The 'Net needs more models tested, but also far more nuance than most sites seem to show.
In terms of hot-button-topic stories getting buried, it's not just flagging - the flame war detection logic also plays a role. On diversity stories, for example, once they reach the front page we often see a large number of strongly worded (but clearly legitimate) anti-diversity posts. When people reply, heavy discussion ensues; and in any case, there's often a lot of piling on in agreement. Pretty soon the post is back to page 3 or 4. Of course there's the option of not replying, but leaving the anti-diversity viewpoint unchallenged strongly reinforces the stereotype of HN as a place that's hostile to diversity. So right now there isn't any good answer.
Of course that leaves the harder problem that some of those threads are flamewars rather than civil conversations, as the guidelines call for. But fortunately that's not always true.
Thanks again for sharing your learnings. Unsurprisingly I have some thoughts of my own, but first I'm curious about what others have learned ...
But why do you think it's uncharitable? People who say they "prefer meritocracy" are in fact taking an anti-diversity position. Maybe they don't understand it's anti-diversity, in which case pointing it out may encourage them to think more about it and understand why. Or maybe they don't care, in which case they certainly wouldn't take it as a moral judgement.
I don't think it's uncharitable for people whose explicit, self-proclaimed position is that diversity makes things worse than homogeneity.
I'll be the first to admit that I can be a little snarky at times, particularly about things I'm passionate about, but I think most people could say that about themselves.
Out of curiosity, how did you all reach this conclusion?