Firstly, the main problem is maintenance and quality. And Maintenance is hard. And by maintenance, I mean both of the poll question, and of the past selections. For the poll, we need a way for selected entries to be removed from the poll, so that other posts can have their chance. The way Photography does it is not directly workable for us - move the top entry elsewhere. They have just a photograph, after all. Where do we move an entire post? Creating new polls repeatedly is not workable, IMHO - what do we do with the other entries to a poll, and the votes they gathered? Users could re-post entries with new polls, but would people be willing to vote twice, thrice or more on the same post, if it were reposted? A single, ongoing poll is the best option.
Secondly, there are three ways the general Stack Exchange site layout lets us "pin" something to the main page:
- Featured meta posts
- Community events
- Chat events.
The first two require moderator action. I think the third can be done by room owners, but I have never tried those before.
I have a rough plan for how this could work:
As with Photography, a continuous poll question from which the top answer will be selected each week. The posts should be community wiki, so that most users can improve it. Again, down voting will be forbidden - only upvotes will be considered. The top answer will be linked for a week in the community bulletin (perhaps as an event, since the event link is only required to be on the Stack Exchange network, whereas featured posts are always questions).
Now, how do we eliminate this entry? We shouldn't lose knowledge, so just deleting it is out of the question.
My suggestion is Github. Stack Exchange's blog system is in limbo, so it doesn't seem to be a good target. We can create a Github organisation dedicated to our Stack Exchange, and use Github pages as a repository for past tips. Since Github pages are also git repositories, if someone wants to suggest a change, it can be done via a fork-and-pr. So, a given post is not totally lost. The syntax is highly similar, so only minimal touch-ups would be needed.
Unfortunately, an external link cannot directly be added to the community bulletin (not without SE intervention, at least). So, when the post is selected, the mod/whoever is in charge will make a Github page for it, add a link to this page in the post, for people wanting a permalink, and then a mod will make it an event lasting a week.
This creates some problems:
- The post passes out of your ownership, and out of the site itself. This is very troubling to me. Sure, many of you may have Github posts, and perhaps you could make the commit that adds the post, but I don't know how this issue can be handled gracefully.
- Any comments the post gathered will be lost. Comments are supposed to be transient, but they often contain useful information.
- Github pages doesn't offer any comment system of itself. We could use Disqus the way Stack Exchange blogs now do.
The problems with Github pages are mostly eliminated with Stack Exchange's own blog system:
- Site blog entries automatically get added to the bulletin.
- No touch-up will be needed - the syntax should be identical.
- The post would be under your authorship.
- And for those maintaining the poll, the workflow would be easier.
- As I said before, the blog system is in limbo. New blogs are not being created. They might be willing to do this, but I'm not sure how much willing for a beta site.
- Comments on the poll entry would be lost.
- No easy way for the community to update past entries (as far as I can tell, which is not much).
That last point may not seem that important, but I believe one of the greatest features of Stack Exchange is that a post's age doesn't work against it - a number of grand old answers across the network are still as useful after five years because we have been able to keep them updated.