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A lot of Stack Exchange sites are interested in having their own blog. I thought that instead of letting the individual sites work out how they are going to do this, perhaps we should have an "Area 51 for blogs", where sites can request their own blog, gather support, discuss what the blog will be talking about, and once they have enough people who are interested, the blog would be created.

Thoughts or suggestions?

UPDATE: there is now a blog post explaining how sites can add their own blog.

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Area 51 is for Q&A proposals; a blog is different from a Q&A site. –  kiamlaluno May 16 '11 at 1:19
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@kiamlaluno: I think he's asking for a site where SE's can ask for their own blogs. (eg, the SU blog) –  SLaks May 16 '11 at 2:51
    
@SLaks I got it; the comparison with Area 51 confused me. –  kiamlaluno May 16 '11 at 3:00
    
See this blog post: blog.stackoverflow.com/2011/06/blog-overflow –  Christofian Jun 29 '11 at 13:47

5 Answers 5

up vote 20 down vote accepted

We are happy to provide resources for communities that want to supplement their site with a blog and show active interest from community members that are willing to contribute.

I disagree with your suggestion that there be a separate place that communities discuss this. These discussions need to take place on a site's child meta, perhaps with supplemental discussion on chat. Make no mistake, blogs take a considerable amount of effort to keep up. These blogs cannot be the output from just one person.

Here are some guidelines that I would expect to see from a community wanting a blog:

  1. Raise the idea on the child meta. A community blog needs the involvement of community members.
  2. Define the scope and purpose of the blog. Is the blog about the site? Is it about the site's topic? Is it about the industry around the topic? Keep in mind the audience of your community and their interests. Another generic blog about <x> may not be all that interesting.
  3. Recruit contributors. Who will write entries for the blog? Starting a blog is a bit like going through the buffet line. Be realistic - don't let your eyes be bigger than your stomach. Think seriously about if and how often you will be able to contribute a blog post, including research/prep time.
  4. Plan a schedule. Given the results of steps #2 and #3, think about a rough idea of a schedule for the blog. Will there be one post a week, posted Mondays? Will there be <x> posts on Tuesdays and <y> posts on Fridays? You don't need to be pushing out posts daily, but I would say at least one post a week.

Assuming the steps above go well, we can provide you with an initial setup for a beta blog. With the help of Thomas McDonald, we have Blog Overflow to use as a beta blog network. The blog will start out at <site>.blogoverflow.com. (We'll be setting up an aggregator at the network index, but since we only have 1 blog right now, we haven't gotten there yet.) We'll consider your blog to be in a beta stage initially. Running a blog isn't a one-time effort. We want to see continued contributions and interest in the blog as time proceeds. We want to see that you're promoting the blog, making use of the community promotion ads if they are enabled on your site. We want to see that people from the community are interested in and reading the blog.

Again assuming the above goes well, we can graduate your blog. At this point, we'll move the blog over to our graduated blog network. This will come with a domain change to blog.<site>.stackexchange.com. We'll also change the blog link in the footer on your site to point to your own blog instead of Stack Exchange's blog.

As Ivo mentioned, there is a chat room set up dedicated to discussing and brainstorming for the community blogs. At any point throughout this process, feel free to pop in and join us.

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Why would *.blogoverflow.com still be used as a "staging area"? Beta Area 51 sites also start at their definitive address, not *.beta.stackexchange.com. If it doesn't work out, no problem, just remove the blog after a while. But the address change will only complicate things. –  Jan Fabry May 23 '11 at 12:46
    
There's an interesting post meta.gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/1967/… over at meta.gaming.se that anyone interested in starting one up should read. –  Tony Meyer Jun 2 '11 at 5:28

There's actually even a chatroom for it: Stack Exchange Community Blogs

There's a staging ground, similar to Area51, called Blogoverflow.com, where sites can prove they're worthy of maintaining a blog. The idea is that the users of a site self-organize the blog, prove they can get post decent blog-posts with some regularity. Once it becomes self-sufficient, it gets promoted to being the official blog of the site.

Note that while Blogoverflow used to be hosted by Thomas McDonald from Wordpress.SE, it got transferred to Stack Exchange last week. With that the Gaming blog even got their own Jin-style theme:

enter image description here

I'm not 100% sure how other sites will be able to launch their own version, though I'd suggest asking Rebecca in the chatroom and I'm sure things will be arranged. Given that the themes are based on the official site design (don't ask how this would work for beta sites), it 'should' be fairly easy for Jin to stick the site's design on your blog as well.

Super User was a bit special, since its a Trilogy site and the blog is part of our Community Promotion, so we got 'blessed' fairly early on.

Note that the blogs are a community effort, so you have to make it work. This takes some organizational work and you need to convince fellow users to help you write blog posts. Luckily, each site in itself is a gold mine of info to write about, you just need to put in that extra bit of effort to make everything into a coherent story. On the Gaming and SU blogs we use Google Docs to bundle all our ideas and try and divide tasks between editors and it works fairly well.

If you need any help, you can always ask the users who are already helping out on the other blogs!

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It makes more sense for sites to simply post to Meta SO and ask for a blog, after the site discusses it on their own meta. This site already has all the functionality such a request would need.

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Sounds like a great idea - after a few minutes chat we already have enough volunteers, but will get some more topic input before coming back.

We did have one interesting query - as a few of us maintain our own and corporate blogs there could be an information copying issue. Some of us may want to replicate or reuse material from posts on our own sites.

What is the SE take on this?

The risk if SE is too restrictive is that individuals will not want to take the risk and we may lose out on a potential attraction.

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User contributions to the blog have the same license as user contributions on the site. Re-posting is a bit content-farm-ish though. Related: nealmcb's answer –  Rebecca Chernoff Jun 11 '11 at 3:25
    
@Rebecca - so, while not recommended, it is allowed to post on my own (or corporate) blog, and right away repost to blogoverflow? –  AviD Jun 11 '11 at 18:52

(Clarified): Another question, based on Rory's question about publishing posts in multiple places. Would the blogged content on SE be licensed Creative Commons Share&Share Alike, as are questions and answers? If we include Q&A content in the blog post that would seem to be mandatory, at least for that post.

Rory asks about copying info from & to personal or corporate blogs. As I recall, there are SEO reasons, to say nothing of user confusion, for not publishing the same post in multiple places. But it would be fine to refer to one blog post from another, and I think mashups that differ in focus, audience, etc make sense, in all directions. But see the licensing issue above....

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I don't even think there has to be a discussion, all content on the SU and Gaming blog are CC just like the site. Blogoverflow is part of the network, its just a staging ground. Repurposing blog posts would require proper attribution, I'm not sure what effect this will have on the copyright status of the original post though. –  Ivo Flipse Jun 10 '11 at 20:35
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Correct, user contributions to the blog have the same license as user contributions on the site. –  Rebecca Chernoff Jun 11 '11 at 3:20

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