Our list of forums gets used in comments quite frequently, including by yours truly --- however, while I like describing it as "our curated list of forums", many of the answers there haven't been updated in ages. This means that statements pertaining to various features like activity, moderation culture and so on may be outdated. Upvotes implicitly recommending online communities can likewise also be based on old information and might not accurately reflect our community's current assessment of those communities.
Since the old forum list is starting to show its age, I think we should "reboot" it --- deprecate it, and start a new one from a clean slate. Information that is known by an active user to be still valid from the old forum list can of course be salvaged to the new one. Not having old votes as historical baggage and the requirement to actually revisit any statements made about the forums would make me feel more honest about referring to the list as a "curated" one.
nitsua60 asked in the comments about the alternative of simply curating our current forum list:
Not knowing quite where you're coming from makes me wonder about the utility of this approach as opposed to, say, featuring the post and asking people to take the summer to make a concerted community push to update, comment, evaluate, reconsider votes, &c.
I think there are several advantages to deprecating and replacing the forum post over repairing it:
- People seldom revisit their votes when an answer (or the subject of the answer) changes. Votes are therefore not a reliable assessment of the quality of the answers (or the forums they concern). Essentially the votes say nothing apart from "someone thinks this answer was good at some point of time", which is still worth something for a post that has existed for a week and whose subject matter is unlikely to have undergone a drastic change, much less so for posts that have existed for years. Starting voting from scratch in a new post would handle this automatically without the need of extra effort from the community.
- The community effort to revisit voting and content is hard to enforce and requires extra oversight and bookkeeping to ensure all answers are indeed reviewed. By my suggestion, no particular oversight is needed. New and salvaged answers both go through the normal quality checks, without having to assign someone the ungrateful task of vetting existing posts and trying to contact people who could verify their content. Content no one can verify will be pruned emergently, exactly as it should be.
- Periodic new questions is how we handle our own site's "How is the community doing?" reviews and community ad choices. It has worked well for both cases. Those posts concern a similar subject matter and have similar difficulties to the forum list --- they have to stay in flux because the communities concerned are always in flux. A permanent Q&A with enforced curation wouldn't add anything there either, except difficulty.
There is only one non-trivial disadvantage I can think of:
- Some people'll have to update their pre-made comments.
Furthermore, old comments pointing people to the forum list post will of course point to the deprecated post, but we can perhaps add a signpost link to the most up to date forum thread as needed and close it as a duplicate of the new post.
Summa summarum, I believe trying to keep the current forum list up to date and reliable requires lots of effort and still produces a worse outcome than just periodically starting over from scratch. Let's deprecate it and start anew.