If we wanted, we could have ourselves a blog. Several other sites have blogs that you can check out to see what they are like. You can learn more about SE blogs by reading an explanation of SE blogs and some guidelines.

From time to time some of the shortcomings of SEs Q&A structure get brought up and there is usually a large amount of frustration as a result of it. A blog can fill some of these shortcomings.

Here are some of the items that I could see being posted to the blog:

  • Show off a project that you have completed. Give some details of what you did.
  • Discuss a new tool or product that has been released that could greatly help the community. This would be like a review on the product.
  • Provide an editorial of sorts of design guidelines. This would be similar to this answer.
  • Discuss an odd bug that you worked through.

So what does everyone think? Would you contribute to a blog? Would you read the blog? What would we want on the blog?

We of course would need plenty of contributors and not be just "time to time". I would think we would could greatly benefit from a blog, but only if there is enough interest.

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Who do you think the posters should be? –  clabacchio Mar 28 '12 at 21:59
    
Anyone of quality who would want to post I suppose. That would be a point of discussion –  Kellenjb Mar 28 '12 at 23:06
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4 to 5 people and each person would just have to post once a month to keep up with a once a week blog. –  Kellenjb Mar 28 '12 at 23:08
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I don't see the point to a regular schedule. Let people post when they have something worthwhile to say. –  Olin Lathrop Mar 28 '12 at 23:52
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Perhaps anyone could submit an article (blog post). Then there would be a voting period. If enough people voted it up, then it would stay. Alternatively, it could require approval by moderators. –  Rocketmagnet Apr 2 '12 at 22:02
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I think a blog would be great. I agree with @Olin that it shouldn't have to be on a regular schedule. But it should probably have some minimum frequency to prevent it becoming stale. I like Olin's idea in his longer answer, but I think it's probably unlikely given SE architecture. That said, I would be happy (if I earned enough rep) to contribute an article, perhaps just a short post about how I was able to complete a project with the advice and answers I gained here. –  JYelton Dec 5 '12 at 7:36
    
Would we be allowed to introduce products of our own, if they would be of interest to the community? –  Rocketmagnet Dec 7 '12 at 13:47
    
@Rocketmagnet for the blog system you could one day decide you had something you wanted to post and submit it to the moderators and we would review and get it posted up for you. There would be no requirement to blog regularly. –  Kortuk Dec 7 '12 at 21:22

6 Answers 6

I really like the idea of blogging, a number of times i've had some cool ideas that i'd like to share with people but not really had a place to share them to reach a wide audience.

People should blog when they feel appropriate not be made to weekly as otherwise the blogs will become boring and people will run out of interesting topics to talk about.

For who can post, I think its a rep thing a minimum rep is a good system, its a privilege you have to earn by answering and asking questions.

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+1 re the rep. re weekly I think between the whole site surely we can get 1 interesting thing a week from somebody? –  Joe Stavitsky Mar 29 '12 at 19:28
    
Yeah, that is the idea is that in order for SE to support us in a blog, we need to have 1 post a week. As for the "permissions" I know other sites can allow submission by people who aren't on the blog team. So if something is good, it can still get posted and give credit to the person who wrote it. –  Kellenjb Mar 29 '12 at 19:45
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I don't see the point in requiring a certain posting frequency. Once the mechanism is in place it's handled automatically by machine, right? So what if nobody posts anything for a month, then you suddently get three posts in two days? How does that hurt anything? It's certainly no worse than not having the capability at all. –  Olin Lathrop Mar 29 '12 at 21:26
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@OlinLathrop true, but a dead blog is sad, we should at least care about putting some contents from time to time –  clabacchio Mar 29 '12 at 22:34
    
@clabacchio: The problem seems to coming from viewing this thing as a blog. Why does it need to be that? I don't think that's the most useful thing that could be added to this site anyway. –  Olin Lathrop Mar 29 '12 at 23:19
    
@OlinLathrop not necessarily as a blog; but, as a user, I lose interest for a page which is not updated for a long time. So my suggestion was just to keep some content up to date –  clabacchio Mar 30 '12 at 5:58
    
@clabacchio: I don't think of it as a page, but a collection of pages where people can post new ones on new topics as they see fit. These would show up in the activity list like questions do. If the SE blogs don't work that way, then I don't see any value in them. –  Olin Lathrop Mar 30 '12 at 12:31
    
@OlinLathrop: It's nothing more than a blog. I suggest you familiarize yourself with some of the existing community blogs: stackexchange.com/blogs. The format is very simple. –  Chris Laplante Mar 30 '12 at 21:26

I can commit to doing at least 5 to 10 articles for the blog. 1 or 2 articles a month. I have several topic ideas-- mostly along the lines of how to be a good EE.SE citizen, with a heavy dose of EE and how that impacts Q & A. Stuff like, "what makes a good question", etc.

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Blogs are AWESOME! But I'm also kinda biased...

As a blogger for Super User here are a few suggestions for ya:

  1. If you go ahead with this (which I really hope you do) then I suggest you start things off slow. There have been plenty of times that we've gotten an influx of writers that write a lot, and then everyone gets burnt out and the blog dies for a few months.

  2. Start small and from the site. The main purpose of the blog is augment your main site. So invest in EE.SE! Try doing Questions of the Week to highlight super awesome Questions or Answers from the site. Expound on those questions or answers, or tie them together with other posts.

  3. Stay organized. Have a structured organization. We have a primary blogger/editor. He's responsible for the blog overall. From there we have editors, and contributors. Editors are able to publish content and edits other posts. Contributors just create content. We also use Trello for keeping track of what posts are being worked on, and ready to go

  4. Papers would be really cool to see, but I don't see that happening very often. Try keeping the content on the shorter side of things. Really long articles are hard to read and loses some of your audience.

  5. Remember to have fun! I love blogging for SU and it's been a great reward (including freebies :P)

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I looked over (didn't read every word, too long) the links you posted. I think something like what these blogs seem to be trying to address makes sense, and is currently a hole in our Q+A format. I see two needs that are poorly served by the Q+A format:

  1. Discussion. Some discussion can follow a question, but that is very narrow and structured. It would be useful to kick around and discuss topics relevant to the site, more like a real forum. Not all useful communication starts with a question. And no, the chat on this site isn't it. The little I've seen of it looks to be more random totally unstructured kaffe klatsch stream of conciousness verbal diarhea. That's too loose, unfocused, and not catagorized into conversations about a relevant topic.

  2. Papers. There is no place here for someone to write up a new idea, research they did, or even just a project. They could even be opinions on common topics with some work put into justifying the arguments with examples, measurements, etc.

Perhaps the SE "blogs" (I don't like that word, too many negative connotations) do these things, perhaps not. It's not easy to tell. So instead of saying whether I want the SE blogs, I'll describe what I would like to see:

  1. Any user with some minimum rep (mostly to prevent spammers from creating a account and then flooding us with annoying messages) can ask a question (as is now), start a discussion (like starting a thread in a real forum), or post a paper. I could see the point to some of these requiring higher rep earned from Q+A to force a certain familiarity with the site and how things are done here before being allowed to do things that might be more disruptive if done poorly. I'm thinking a few 100 rep, with posting papers possibly higher than starting discussions. The point is not to be exclusionary, but making sure someone has a chance to understand the culture before posting. We want real "members" to do this, not casual drive-by posters.

  2. New activity in all three of these catagories show up on the front page just like activities in questions and their answers does now. I see these three sections as being equals. I know the owners of this site are stuck on this Q+A format for some reason. Q+A is OK, but if I had to pick one I'd rather have discussions in threads, just like all the other real forums out there.

    If activity isn't shown like it is for Q+A now, then it might as well not exist. People aren't going to go digging for it. There is a huge difference between something showing up in a list saying it got modified 27 minutes ago versus a little button to click on that says "blog". I think there is one of those in the top right somewhere. I may have clicked on it a few times, but most of the time I tune it out like the other noise and trim on the page.

    Perhaps users can check what sections they want to get notified about, with the default being all. If someone really doesn't want to see discussions, they can uncheck the "show me discussion activity" box, for example.

  3. Anyone should be able to respond or comment in any of the three sections. In the Q+A section, this would be answers as they are now. For discussions this is obvious, as these responses are what a discussion (thread) is about. For papers, I think it's important that the community can comment, challenge, agree, disagree, add more information, etc.

  4. Rep is earned in all sections as it is in Q+A now. You get rep for people upvoting that you started a good discussion, or contributed a good post to one. The same goes for a paper, where the votes on the paper are part of the peer review process. The point is to recognize various ways people can make useful contributions to the community and the stored knowledge base.

    The rep earned for each can be different. I know you earn 10 rep for a answer upvote now. I think it's 5(?) for a question upvote. Given that scale, a upvote for a good discussion topic might be 5, a good discussion post 5 (not as valuable as a good answer to a question), a good paper 20, and a good comment on a paper 5-10. Those are just rough ideas to illustrate the point. Exact value are for someone else to hash out.

  5. Searches search all three catagories. Even if someone just wants to ask a question as they do now, it could already be answered, in fact discussed in depth, in one of the other sections.

  6. Editing by others is limited in some cases. I think community editing works well enough for the Q+A section we have now. I don't know if it would be relevant to discussions, but I also don't see much downside to that. Papers should only be editable by the original author, who is also the "owner". The comments can suggest edits, but it's up to the author to make them. Think of this as a research paper you could even link to from your resume. A paper is a piece of intellectual work by a particular author, and that author must stand behind it, good or bad. If A paper gets a lot of downvotes or negative comments, I suppose the author should have the right to delete it. There is no point rubbing someone's face in a mistake, and no value lost by deleting something wrong or bad.

  7. Responses in the Q+A and papers section would be sorted by votes as they are in Q+A now. However, responses in the discussion section would be sorted chronologically.

Edit: Added point 7.

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The entire StackExchange blogging system would need to be overhauled to support this, so I suggest you post it on the StackOverflow Meta (which serves as the general Meta for all StackExchange sites). –  Chris Laplante Mar 29 '12 at 0:10
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The discussion aspects that you are talking about really won't fit into the stackexchange blogs. Chat really is best for it. You can create discussion rooms for various topics. The generally chat room doesn't have much long term value other then being able to create some connections with other people. However, I do think you have some great recommendations for the site. Potentially they can do some work on chat to turn it into the discussion that you are looking for. The papers section is really more where the blog is designed to fill. –  Kellenjb Mar 29 '12 at 12:57
    
@Kellenjb: Not only does chat not seem to work right a lot, it makes you log in again and go thru one of those horrible captchas, but people don't see it unless they jump thru some hoops to look for it. It's not treated as a equal section of the site along with Q+A. In this case I don't think it should because chat just seems to be a kaffe klatsch, but maybe that's because how it works. It also feels wrong to create a "room" just for a discussion thread. –  Olin Lathrop Mar 29 '12 at 15:47
    
I agree with the fact that the chat is more about general talking, but I never have to go through captchas... –  clabacchio Mar 29 '12 at 17:25
    
@OlinLathrop: I'm going to have to disagree with some of the things you have suggested here. I do not like the idea of making the blogs about points and reputation. Gamification of the blog section will encourage people to post things just so that they look smart; this site should not be all about that. Also, I think duplicating Q&A functionality just for blogs is overkill. Why not just comments? Finally, SE will probably never have a discussion section/forum (meta.stackexchange.com/questions/92107/is-stackoverflow-a-forum). –  Chris Laplante Mar 29 '12 at 20:19
    
@Simple: Blogs or whatever you call it aren't about points and reputation. But, you can't expect the people you want writing this stuff to spend the considerable time it takes to write something good without getting something in return. That's how the world works. Nobody truly does anything for free. Besides, how is writing good content that others appreciate and upvote "gamification"? Isn't that what you want people to do? –  Olin Lathrop Mar 29 '12 at 21:23
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What they get in return, as you've said many times before on this site, is credit and looking like the "smart guy in the room". I understand that. What I don't understand is your point #4. Another reputation system seems pointless. –  Chris Laplante Mar 29 '12 at 21:34
    
@Simple: It's not another reputation system, it's the same one with more things you can earn reputation on since there are more things you can do. I think the numerical reputation on this site does lead somewhat to intellectual reputation, so it does have value. Again, people aren't going to do the things you want for free. You have to give them something in return else there is no point to bother. –  Olin Lathrop Mar 29 '12 at 23:22
    
And yet there are over a dozen StackExchange community blogs (stackexchange.com/blogs) that generate content. So, yes: there are people who do things for free because they enjoy their community. (I'm not questioning your motives; just pointing out that not everyone shares yours.) To me, however, it seems that you are shooting for a blogging system that rewards the authors more than the readers. On the other hand, if others share your feelings, then you should probably move your suggestions to the StackOverflow meta since the changes will require an overhaul of the SE blog platform. –  Chris Laplante Mar 29 '12 at 23:34
    
@Simple: I want something that properly rewards authors so they will provide good content, which is then of benefit to the readers. A reward for readers makes no sense, other than providing good content they want to read. –  Olin Lathrop Mar 30 '12 at 12:34

I would love to have and post to a blog. I don't have time atm to go through the whole discussion, but how will we decide who can post? Will we just set a minimum rep?

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I like the idea. There are a lot of really smart people on this site, and I think that a more casual environment where they can discuss their latest projects and findings would be beneficial to everyone.

It might also be a good place to post solutions to questions that have been marked "off-topic" (though I can't think of any off the top of my head).

Finally, it could give us a chance to get to know some of the more active users.

I don't think that I can provide any constructive posts, though.

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