“We are here, and this is now.” Constable Visit, a strict believer in the Omnian religion, occasionally quoted that from their holy book. Vimes understood it to mean, in less exalted copper speak, that you have to do the job that is in front of you.
Terry Pratchett, Night Watch
Them as can do has to do for them as can't. And someone has to speak up for them as has no voices.
Terry Pratchett, The Wee Free Men
I have a terrible habit that gets me into trouble, and that's sitting down and just typing things out. On Stack Exchange, that usually ends up in the question box or the chat rooms, and sometimes the answer field. I almost never bother to proofread; I just type as I think of the words and then I see what comes out.
When the concept of a strike is being tossed around, and there are several different issues on the table, it's helpful to clarify what exactly the issue is and what the messaging around this is going to be like. With that in mind, I sat down for ten minutes and typed out a short summary of the issues that were simmering in the Teachers' Lounge and tossed it in a GitHub Gist. I figured it would help folks figure out what to organize around and make sure everyone was on the same page.
Around that time, strike discussions moved to an unofficial Stack Exchange Discord, where I happen to have been a moderator on the server since 2019. Not everything could be discussed there, since some things were mod-only, but the strike organization channels were dug out of retirement and the gears started to turn.
A little while later, we got an update in mod spaces that the second shoe had been delayed but that the other primary reason for striking (the AI policy) was still in force. I then performed a quick edit of my writeup, to remove the references to the second shoe, and tossed it in the Discord channel, half-expecting someone to take it and run with it, to turn it into something usable.
But then, someone made some suggestions, and someone pointed out a wording change, and this should be restructured, and.... I found myself writing, editing, gathering feedback, and then continuing to revise what would be become the open strike letter. Someone offered to host it, we dug up and polished the open letter software from 2019, and voila we had a live letter.
But of course, you can't have a strike without an introductory post on Meta.SE explaining what's going on, with more context than we want to put in the letter... and I found myself typing that out as well, with other people contributing sections and suggestions.
So then, when Stack Exchange, Inc. requested that the community select three moderator representatives for negotiations, I held off. I wanted to see who else would step up, and there were a bunch of good candidates. I was also funneling messages from SE to the community through Discord, so I didn't plan on stepping up to be even more involved.
Enough people asked me if I was going to throw my hat in the ring, though, that at almost the last minute I decided to just go for it and see how the votes came out. I was very familiar with the strike issues, as well as already in contact with the company, so I figured what the heck.
The rest is history; I was voted into the position with two others, we sat at the negotiation table, and didn't walk out until we had a satisfactory resolution in hand. It was a few weeks of very late nights, lots of typing and arguing, and lots of discussions about Stack Exchange.
Despite being disappointed that this had to happen in the first place, I'm happy that we were able to reach an agreement on so many different issues, including long-standing friction points, and a thank you is wholeheartedly deserved to the other representatives - from both sides of the table. Several people involved are/were dealing with situations in meatspace, including Philippe, and those people continued to engage in negotiations and work for the good of the community.
It was overall quite the experience, and I'm very glad that it's now over.