I understand the decision not to support blogs; it's a lot of effort for not much gain for SE. A smaller task, I hope achievable, would be to provide some integration of off-site blogs on SE sites that have them.
As a moderator on a newer site I tried to get an SE blog (that is, I explicitly asked for an exception to the rule against new blogs), and we were advised to instead take it off-site. We did and our blog has been reasonably successful, though contributions do ebb and flow.
Not being connected to SE doesn't seem to be impeding people's ability to contribute once they decide they want to. Everybody who wants to contribute and has made that fact at all known has been able to do so. We recently added a how to contribute page on the blog, with a permalink at the top of every page. The blog also has a permalink back to SE, and we are using, with permission, site art to create a visual connection.
I suspect, but can't prove, that better integration would help with discovery, helping site users find the blog in the first place. Here's what we currently do to mitigate against the lack of SE integration:
We update that meta post with each new blog post, bumping the meta question. Of course, many users never venture onto meta, which is why...
We use community events (linked to that meta post) and chat feeds to publicize new entries.
We have two community ads, one to advertise the blog itself and one to recruit contributors.
We never had an SE-hosted blog, so we can't compare activity on-site and off-site. The only active SE blog that's moving off-site is SF&F's, so maybe in time we'll be able to compare their activity before and after the move to get some data.
Blogs are valuable to my community in being able to host content that would never, ever fit a Q&A format but is highly related to our topic and of interest to our users. I hope that someday, even if SE never hosts blogs again, there will be some option where a properly-vetted off-site blog could get a little integration:
- A "blog" link in the supercollider or topbar.
- A URL redirect for blog.$site.stackexchange.com.
That reduces the entry barrier to needing to create an account on the blog site in order to participate, which -- with the right blog provider -- means signing in with an OpenID credential, perhaps the same one you use with SE. That doesn't seem too bad to me.
So, bottom line, instead of trying to bring SE blogs back, we should look at ways to enable some level of integration -- with accountability, of course.
I made a proposal for criteria that a blog should have to meet in order to get SE integration support on another question.