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Some SE sites have SE-hosted blogs, and new posts on those blogs are automatically (via RSS) promoted on the front page like this:

SFF promotions block

When Worldbuilding requested an SE blog we were advised to roll our own, which we did. (I understand that others have received this advice since then, too.) But, because it's not an SE blog, we have no easy, automated way to promote new posts on the front page like SF&F. Further, SE-hosted blogs are going away soon, so other sites that want -- or already have -- blogs will be in the same boat. (That's why this question is on Meta.SE rather than our own meta.)

What we're doing right now is to manually update a meta post when a new blog post is published, and then manually creating a community event to link to that meta post, which gets us this:

Worldbuilding promotions block

(We've just started this.) That's...ok, but every modern blogging platform has an RSS feed just sitting there to be used, and using an event to point to a meta post to point to a blog post is a little kludgy.

But I recognize that SE doesn't want to endorse any random thing on the Internet, and by putting a link in an official-looking section of an SE site, they run the risk of looking bad if something inappropriate shows up in a site's blog. Who knows who has editorial control? Where's the audit trail? When a CM notices something bad at 3AM on a Saturday night, what's the remedy? This is one of the main reasons that Allow non-SE URLs in Community Events was declined.

How can we allow sites' quasi-official blogs to have this kind of promotion while protecting SE's interests?

Followup proposal to put all the governance in public and protect both SE's and the community's interests. This addresses a question about putting a "blog" link in the supercollider, but the same considerations apply for publishing posts in the community bulletin.

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There are probably a bunch of little problems to be solved here - heck, RSS has always been something of a mess of a spec, so even "it should be easy technically" is a bit of optimism there. But in my mind, the one big problem to be solved here is...

Find a way to put all of the governance in public.

And I don't mean in a chatroom, or off-site somewhere, or tucked away in emails sent to employees; I mean front and center on the site itself, visibly cross-linked with anything that someone might see upon clicking through the bulletin.

  • If I'm a member of twistystraws.stackexchange.com and I see something on the bulletin board, I should expect that when I follow that link I won't be leaving my membership at the door; there should be a clear and obvious way for me to engage in whatever I happen to be looking at, a clear and obvious way for me to critique, contribute, praise or complain. And when I do any of that, it should be visible to other members of the community who've followed the same path.

  • By the same token, if I'm new to the site and end up following that link... I shouldn't end up in some dark back-alley full of scary-looking people and no way back to where I started. Even meta sites have consistent navigation and privileges.

This isn't about giving employees like myself power over the blog; we could always just turn off the feed if we don't like it for some reason... That's not how we do things around here: these sites are community-moderated, and anything that gets attached "officially" to the sites themselves have to be run the same way. This was always a weakness of the WordPress-based blogging system, IMHO: because the privilege systems weren't integrated, it relied too heavily on a small group of blessed admins to make it work. Some sites figured out how to do this properly, open and in full view... Most did not, and withered as a result.

Let's not make the same mistakes twice.

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