In a recent post on the official Stack Overflow blog, Laura raised a good point about promoting the various activities, chat events and whatnot by using community ads (BTW kudos to Laura for dedicating half of the post to us!). The SE team has historically opposed using system messages to do this, and Laura mentions using the community ads system instead.
Note: The proper method of promotion for these community-inspired initiatives is each site’s meta, or (if the site is graduated) by generating community ads. System messages are inappropriate for announcing a recurring event and should be reserved for truly important, rare occurrences like moderator elections or site maintenance.
Unfortunately, since we're still in beta, we don't have our own community ads. We only have the permanent banner that ask the users to help grow the site, with links to various social services that are probably very seldom clicked. Instead, we could use this space to promote the various activities and involve more of the users into the site governance.
The official statement follows:
O almighty Stack Exchange overlords, blessed be Your Names, deliver us from low view counts, closed questions and political discussions, and grant us our very own community ads, to nurture and grow with community love and attention. In return, we will mention Ye in our morning and/or evening prayers to
<deity/ies of choice>, and vaguely promise You a beverage should you find Yourselves in a location close to our current residences.
In other words -- give us them community ads. I see at least a few possibilities to use them:
- Announce answer-a-thon sessions
- Topic challenges
- Thematic weeks
- Go-to sites we love and use (especially community-driven, like WikiTravel).
- .. stuff we haven't thought about yet.
I realize this would be some extra work for the SE staff, but I think it would be worth it if we manage to engage more of our current infrequent users in the site, and increase their level of activity in both asking and answering questions.