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Seeing the current disruption on MSO, I took my post here. As it is not about SO, but more about SE, albeit the background of the MSO discussion certainly plays a role.


Recently SE (the company) decided to quit participating on MSO for the largest part and announced that their communication will be mostly through the blog. I won't go into the debate about that here, as plenty has been said already.

Yesterday I noticed the most recent blog, and to me it read more like an advertorial than a blog from SE. Which was highlighted by the first sentence: "Felipe Hoffa is a Developer Advocate for Google Cloud. In this post he works with BigQuery – Google’s serverless data warehouse ..."

So this made me wonder: Did the SE blog become a place for advertisement?

It is obvious SE is focusing more towards making revenue, with the recent redesign of the SO front-page and the buggy implementation of the Products menu. And whilst I'm not really against that it would be nice to see some disclaimer on things that are sponsored. Or if they aren't:

  • Make it clear they are not sponsored
  • Write them to be less like an advertorial
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    It's ... a blog. They disclose affiliation up front, and it's a topic which may be of interest to some well within the scope of Stack Overflow. I don't see that post as anything out of the ordinary for the blog. Maybe if you got to the blog for the first time since the announcement you refer to it's surprising to see? But this is kinda "nothing to see here" to me. – Bart Jul 26 at 8:14
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    @Bart It is definetly not my first visit to the blog. The usual articles there are are maybe classified into 3 categories. (Backgrounds to) updates on the network, advertisement for SO for teams, interviews with someone interesting about something interesting. The particular example I mentioned in my Q is neither of those IMO, and to me reads more like an advertorial for BigQuery then anything else. – Luuklag Jul 26 at 8:24
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(Cause I've got a diamond here - I'd probably be best mentioning I'm a moderator, and none of this should be taken to be official at all)

Well, not quite in the way that you think it is, and certainly not the one in question. As long time user of the network, I've seen the role of the blog change a few times. Both Jeff and Joel were bloggers and Jeff tended to use it primarily as a way to announce stuff. I kinda miss that.

It kinda drifted over to being something I strongly did not approve of, and frankly it's something that will take time to fix. So, the blogs have been ads for a while. Just not posts like these.

While some blogs are ads (like those talking about Teams Success Stories) - many posts are basically filler. They feel like they're meant to create content easily, and hopefully will keep developers (and that's the intended audience still) interested until, well, more network relevant content can be produced. Thankfully there's less of these.

SE has a problem. Blogging is hard. I've had someone on staff talk about how you'd need to have regular content - and getting guest writers is one way to do it.

I suspect the folks who run the blog consider this to be something folks would find interesting. A quick look at his twitter suggests he's something like a CM - and well having SE data in big query is a little known SE side project, and might be useful as an alternative to SEDE in finding stuff out about the network as a whole. It's... actually somewhat relevant.

It's a tool that folks don't know about (It's been around since 2016) and considering how folks occasionally bring SEDE to its knees, it can be useful. It isn't an ad for Google as much as it's an ad for another tool for the SE power user.

I'd love to see old school blog posts - like the ones we used to have in the old days but, well, there's a certain investment to be made there. Messaging aside... amusingly moving announcements to the blog is a reversion to how things used to be.

Practically - you'd need to find someone seriously in touch with the community, with sufficient time during work to churn out a blog post every couple of weeks, and have actual writing talent to do that sort of thing... and well, have actual stuff to talk about.

SE is pretty mature software so there's going to be less fundamental changes than there were (and they're less interesting until they are done... even if we're the sort of people who watch database upgrades live).

  • I think, SE could ask community to help with blogging. – Suvitruf Jul 26 at 19:19
  • Eh. Like the community blogs? Ours was a surprising amount of work to run – Journeyman Geek Jul 27 at 9:47

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