With creating tags, synonyms,any aspects of our site that require community census, how do we determine when we have community census (and how do we determine that community census to determine that community census :p)

How do we know the community has reached a consensus on a decision?

How many votes makes a consensus?

Note this may change as we grow

  • 1
    Realize we are still in private beta... our userbase is going to grow hopefully subsantially and the community we have now will hopefully not even be the majority in a few months.
    – user9
    Commented Oct 15, 2013 at 20:27
  • @cha Note this may change as we grow agree
    – user87
    Commented Oct 16, 2013 at 0:15

1 Answer 1


Identifying a clear definition for what constitutes a consensus is pretty difficult. Age of the question, competing answers, and large numbers of downvotes can all confuse the issue.

I think its a bit easier to identify when there isn't a clear consensus.

If a meta discussion has no answer with a high (5 or more) positive score, or two contradictory answers that have high (5 or more) positive scores within 5 points of each other, then we should consider it to be an issue for which there is no clear consensus.

The converse doesn't necessarily apply to identifying a consensus, though. For example, if a question is asked, and within one day, a single answer garners a high positive score, I'd hesitate to consider that consensus simply because there hasn't been enough time to see if an opposing view has any support.

Meta doesn't always get the visibility it needs to really establish a consensus. Sometimes people who participate heavily on the site may not pay enough attention to what goes on in meta. A highly upvoted meta answer could indicate that something is clearly allowed, yet members of the community may continue to vote to close. In these cases, those with the privilege of voting to reopen should do so, and also leave a comment pointing users to the appropriate meta discussion. Doing so may result in competing answers, or downvotes on the existing answer, but it will provide a clearer understanding of overall community sentiment.

  • Good answer.. you've been moderating a while.. how did you determine consensus on parenting for decisions like tag names or tag synonyms? Or rather than what you did there, how would you determine a simple eg tag synonym request
    – user87
    Commented Oct 14, 2013 at 12:44
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    Parenting is probably a bad example, since we get generally poor participation in our meta. My experiences with scifi's meta are probably what we should be striving for :) To answer your question, tag-related issues are generally pretty easy. I have yet to see a strong split over tag names or synonyms. Typically you can see a fairly clear consensus over the course of a week, and the ones who are most interested in how tags should be used are also the ones most likely to be active on meta.
    – Beofett
    Commented Oct 14, 2013 at 12:47

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