We are discontinuing Blog Overflow as a service on this network. Not only does this mean that no new blogs will be created, but it will also mean that all extant blogs are becoming functionally shut down.

The reasoning is three-fold in basic:

  1. The vast majority of blogs aren't really active. This is what led to the original decision three years ago to stop creating new blogs, and that lack of activity has only since increased - at the time this evaluation was started, only the SciFi blog was remotely active. Again, this has a lot more to do with us having created a platform and providing no proper support for people to use it.

  2. WordPress is meaty to sustain self-hosted, and there are only 3 things that were actively hosted on it: the company blog (long since moved off of that instance though), the moderator newsletter (we're looking at something that can be directly a part of the Stack Exchange system for this), and the site blogs make up the majority of it. Given the lack of activity as mentioned, it's since become infeasible for maintaining the WordPress instance for what isn't all that much activity.

  3. Blogs can work with us while being external to us. We tried an internal solution because of the idea of integration with our rep and userbase seemed useful, but we never pursued that beyond a nominal minimum and improving the system has never gotten to fit on our road map. Meanwhile, Worldbuilding built a blog of their own on Medium, which has been very productive. And so we've come to realize that this kind of approach, with us supporting the endeavor rather than hosting it, was going to put the hands of control to those who actually were working on the system.

As such, we have opted to discontinue blogs. That thus led the question of what to do with the extant blogs. We reached out to the communities of all the sites that had blogs, and asked them what they wanted to do. We came up with 3 general solutions.

The blog contains posts that wish to be retained, but no further contributions will be made. Instead of hosting these on a separate WordPress instance, these posts will instead be moved to a series of static pages directly on our network. There will be some modifications to things like the "About" pages, explaining that these are functionally archives as opposed to ongoing blogs. The process for setting these into static will be beginning shortly after this announcement is posted on Meta. The following sites partook in this option:

  • Arqade
  • Ask Different
  • Aviation
  • Bicycles
  • Christianity
  • Cross Validated
  • DBA
  • DIY
  • English Language & Usage
  • GIS
  • Islam
  • Mathematica
  • Mathematics
  • Photography
  • Seasoned Advice
  • Software Engineering
  • Super User
  • Theoretical Computer Science

The blog wishes to be continued, at which point we will coordinate with the community in the creation of an off-site blog. The community would create and run this blog, similar to Worldbuilding's Universe Factory. We in turn would provide the contents of the old articles from the original blog, and provide a means to redirect traffic to the old articles to instead correspond to the articles on the new community-run blogs. The following sites elected to go this route:

The blog is empty or the community does not wish to preserve the content, at which point the blog will be simply obliterated off the face of the Internet, or would be if such a thing were possible. These sites have opted for this path.

  • Physical Fitness
  • Web Applications

Blogs were an interesting experiment. The idea was one we wanted to work, but it was not one that we put in the effort we needed to make it work. Good has come out of this project though. We've had many nice articles written across many sites in this process, and we'll be happy to continue hosting these articles for readers in the future. I'd like to thank all of the users who had partaken in the blog process in one fashion or another. This isn't the end we were expecting six years ago when we started. And though this journey has officially come to a close, it was a journey that had a lot of good times during it – a journey worth travelling.

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    One thing that would be nice to have is the ability to add links to external services somewhere prominently(-ish) on the site. For example on the Vi site we have a Twitter account (which is not automatically managed through the SE Twitter bot), but the only way to know it's there is to dig up some meta post about it. That way people can host Twitter accounts, weblogs, GitHub accounts, or whatever else tickles that community's fancy. – Martin Tournoij Mar 1 '17 at 18:47
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    There's community promotion ads designed for that purpose (though I don't think Vi/Vim has those yet). With regards to blogs, Worldbuilding has a setup we encourage involving the usage of meta posts and the Community Bulletin for giving visibility to the blog. – Grace Note Mar 1 '17 at 19:03
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    I had no idea this feature even existed. – Useless Code Mar 1 '17 at 19:13
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    @Mindwin I "own" the account and am the only one with full access. The other two mods and two long-standing community members have access to it but can only post (or "tweet") with that account (you can give other accounts permission to post something on a "group" account). In principle I could go off my rocker and start posting ads or racist stuff or whatnot... There isn't really any way to prevent that with any external service I think... – Martin Tournoij Mar 1 '17 at 19:14
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    Thanks for being open and transparent about this process, as opposed to certain other internet companies I won't name. It's sad when something doesn't work and has to be shut down, but the way you handled this was as positive as could be. – Joe Mar 1 '17 at 19:26
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    Do this also applies to the https://stackoverflow.blog stuff? – Victor Stafusa Mar 1 '17 at 20:18
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    @VictorStafusa: Nope, that's the company blog (for company news, podcasts, the Code for a Living blog, etc) and it's untouched by this change. – hairboat Mar 1 '17 at 20:19
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    Eh? The Server Fault blog is not listed. What's going on here? – Michael Hampton Mar 1 '17 at 20:38
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    I have never once seen a blog link anywhere on StackExchange. If this was supposed to be a feature that you wanted people to know about, you missed. Big. – Cypher Mar 1 '17 at 22:38
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    @Cypher Maybe you've been on the wrong sites then (sites which never had a blog, or whose blog has been inactive for years). If you'd been active on Science Fiction & Fantasy for a while, you would have seen some blog posts. – Rand al'Thor Mar 1 '17 at 22:52
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    Here is a list of all MSE posts that have been featured and contain the word "blog", as well as the same list for MSO (in case any were missed in the old split). None of them are about Blog Overflow, which is telling. – Jason C Mar 1 '17 at 23:53
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    Blogs. The "bell-bottom pants" of the internet. – Fattie Mar 2 '17 at 1:43
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    I'd say this is as conclusive as it gets that we're out of the blog-hosting business, @Robotnik; we've discussed countless other options over the years, from profile-page blogs to team blogs to transforming the Q&A engine into a blog engine and running them like another meta site... But nothing ever got off the runway, and it's time to just face up to that. – Shog9 Mar 2 '17 at 5:35
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    lack of activity has only since increased - grammar wasn't just tortured here, it was hung, drawn and quartered. – brettdj Mar 2 '17 at 7:58
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    If anyone had actually known that these blogs existed, I would suspect that they would have been much more active, with a lot more readers... It would seem that SE needs a marketing department. – Lundin Mar 2 '17 at 8:37

People not knowing about site blogs has lead to a long standing joke over at Sci-fi & Fantasy:SE.

"We have a blog?"

What if I told you there was a SFF blog?

We're happy to be one of the few carrying on.

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    But... "Do not try and write the blog. That's impossible. Instead only try to realize the truth." :p – Jon Clements Mar 2 '17 at 8:59
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    True fact: the Sci-fi & Fantasy blog was originally created by time traveling robots. – Beofett Mar 2 '17 at 13:47
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    Click the 'Read' button. – user291305 Mar 2 '17 at 14:51
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    There is no blog. – CPerkins Mar 2 '17 at 14:52
  • I do read the SF&F SE, but still had never heard of blogs nor this long standing joke... – RemcoGerlich Mar 3 '17 at 15:14
  • @RemcoGerlich it's mostly a chat thing, or part of the quarterly meta post about our best questions. – Pureferret Mar 3 '17 at 15:16
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    The blog is a lie. ... Wait, I think I'm doing this wrong. – 0b10011 Mar 3 '17 at 15:36
  • I've never heard there were blogs on Stack Exchange, either. – Violet Giraffe Mar 4 '17 at 8:33
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    This answer has inspired a question. – jpmc26 Mar 6 '17 at 18:01
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    @jpmc26 I commented on the question, but clearly it was too chatty/not constructive! – Pureferret Mar 6 '17 at 18:22
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    Nice gold badge, Ferret. blog.ferretcard.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Gold-Ferret.png – Rand al'Thor Mar 16 '17 at 1:29

Maybe it is just me, but I think this is the general feeling of a lot of users within the network: I don't care. This is by no way an attempt to be rude, I just think that the blog don't add a lot of value on quite some sites. Therefore I am happy that SO makes their hands free to do stuff that has a higher impact on more users. And of course I am sad for those who were interested, but judging the good effort of sites with external blogs already, they will be fine eventually.

Some questions:

  • If a site wants to have their own blog now, what is the procedure? Do they have to inform the moderators? Community managers?
  • Can those blogs use Stack Overflow logos? Are they in any way affiliated with SO? The moderation team on that site?
  • If there is an 'official' blog for a site, how do they draw attention to it? What makes that blog different from when I start a blog and write about my favorite SE site?
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    Surely the only way now is for the individual meta sites to come to some sort of community consensus about where/who/how. – DavidG Mar 2 '17 at 11:10
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    [1] If they didn't already have a blog with us, they don't need our permission to start one, nor would we have any extant articles to hook up. But it's something that should be discussed on the site's Meta in order to coordinate it for a group effort. [2] Blogs are no longer considered directly affiliated with SO. Moderator presence is only by proxy that mods wanted to join in contributing/management. I believe it's a "No" to logos - both Worldbuilding and SciFi have shared designs but the distinct lack of the logo and the absence of "Stack Exchange" in the name are I believe intended. – Grace Note Mar 2 '17 at 11:55
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    [3] A blog that's actually run by the community is one you can arrange and coordinate on the meta, and by extension get articles featured as part of the Community Bulletin. A personal blog run by an individual is more likely to be material for just a Community Promotion Ad. There's also the potential to include some more linkage for community-acknowledged community-run blogs, but that's still under discussion for exacts. – Grace Note Mar 2 '17 at 11:58
  • Thanks Grace. What should be the rule if a blog can be attached as community bulletin then if mods have no direct influence on them? Who says it can or cannot be a community bulletin? – Patrick Hofman Mar 2 '17 at 11:58
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    Without moderator intervention, any updates on the blog would only show up if there's enough attention on it from Meta, and it'd still just be mixed in with the rest of what's on Meta. It's up to the mods to actually schedule events, as done on Worldbuilding, which give it a prominent presence in the Community Bulletin. – Grace Note Mar 2 '17 at 12:01
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    That feels like there needs to be good communication between the site moderators and the blog owners. Hope that all goes well. – Patrick Hofman Mar 2 '17 at 12:02
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    @PatrickHofman on Worldbuilding, the blog editorial team includes some moderators. If that weren't true, there'd need to be some mod scrutiny before most mods (I think) would be comfortable creating those events. But a community that wants to create a blog is going to use meta to organize the effort, and meta is nice and public, so questions of oversight can be addressed as part of that. – Monica Cellio Mar 2 '17 at 16:38

This might be a little off-topic, but I'd like to throw it out there. These blogs apparently weren't overly successful, but the fact that some communities felt the need to create one seems to imply there's some functionality that is lacking in the Stack Exchange network. Maybe that's not blogs, but maybe there is something you guys should focus on adding.

I'd be highly interested in knowing what these blogs were actually being used for, and what functionality they provided that couldn't be accomplished through a better supported Stack Exchange channel.

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    On Worldbuilding, we use the blog for: (a) topics that would be too broad or opinion-based as questions; (b) products of worldbuilding (i.e. fiction), some of which was helped by Q&A; (c) stuff about the community, like interviews with prominent members; (d) "site highlights", e.g. a roundup of interesting questions over some time period or on some theme; (e) tutorials/how-tos; (f) reviews (occasionally). For more, see our contributors' page. – Monica Cellio Mar 3 '17 at 16:17
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    Meanwhile, the Sci Fi & Fantasy blog is mostly reviews, with a smattering of other topics here and there. – Kevin Mar 3 '17 at 19:04

What a shame. I never heard of this feature before, and the blogs actually look really nice! It took me forever to find a link to one of the blog posts though. Apparently there's a "blog" link at the bottom of every page for the current community's blog???? Why not put it at the top somewhere where people would actually realize it existed?

For anyone else who has never heard of this feature, you can find it via the link circled in this screenshot (at the bottom of every page):

enter image description here

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    It was also here: i.stack.imgur.com/00iDv.jpg – Pureferret Mar 6 '17 at 17:51
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    @Pureferret Crazy, how did I miss that one? It's like when you learn a new word or number and start seeing it everywhere, haha. – Dan Mar 6 '17 at 19:31

Another option not to be overlooked for those wishing to blog is the existing Q/A format.

Eg. One of my "share your knowledge" Questions

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    As long as the "blog" entry is on-topic and not POB, which are things a true blog can do that a self-answered question cannot. Like we are used to saying when closing some questions: great question, great conversation - just not for Stack Exchange. – user255171 Mar 3 '17 at 2:34

Is it possible to embed stack exchange posts into other blogs like Wordpress, Medium, etc.? I think that's really the only thing that's needed; a nice way to cross-link between the two and highlight particular questions/answers.

This is bad decision. Why not just promote the blog feature? Why not simply better integrate the feature with the main sites? There's no activity on blogs because people don't know about blogs, not because people aren't interested. A tiny link at the bottom couldn't do much.

I am a very old high rep user (with hidden communities) and I don't know how to post a blog yet. I know that it exists and I have read them several times and I once wanted to even post, but it seemed pain in the ass because it wasn't easy to do. I even had to ask another user for that. Not to mention, login across the service wasn't working seamlessly.

How it could have worked:

  • Just like big "Ask Question" link, if there was a "Create Blog Post" link on top (maybe little smaller) or on profiles or besides small chat link, then it could have worked.

  • If blog posts of a user could be displayed on profile page of that user, it was definitely going to work because in a way, we could decorate our profiles using blog posts and we could easily read posts by other users.

  • If blog posts could appear in homepage question stream, it could definitely work (maybe, only hot blog posts).

Yes, the feature I am suggesting can attract low quality blog posts, but it can be easily controlled. A high rep requirement for blog posts and peer review can do the magic.

It's still not late guys...

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    The Most Dangerous Word In Software Development – user315433 Mar 6 '17 at 22:22
  • By the way, new blog sites were halted more than two years ago because things weren't working out. At any time in there, in principle, things could have gotten better, but it didn't happen, and at this point it's extremely clear that either SE the company or SE the community of users is not going to be able to make blogs work. – Nathan Tuggy Mar 7 '17 at 8:21
  • I think they answered this very clear in the original message. No need to re- invent the wheel. A good product manager is not afraid to kill features. – Ian Segers Mar 7 '17 at 13:21
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    @Gerry What a comedic article. Reading wayyyy too deep into a word that's commonly abused as filler, similar to "like". It's more of a grammatical nuisance than an intrinsically evil-inducing software development term. With blog posts like that cluttering the internet, it's no wonder the guys at StackExchange don't see the value of maintaining a blogging system. :P – Dan May 1 '17 at 19:16

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