On the Stack Overflow blog, there are 3 authors that fairly regularly post: Joel, Jeff, and Robert, and a few more that post infrequently.

It would be nice to see who has written a post without scrolling to the bottom of the post. (Or incorrectly assuming, and finding out you were wrong)

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    I just had that problem, I thought that "sorry we rollbacked the domain" post was from Jeff until I finished reading it (should've guessed though, Jeff saying he's sorry... ha!). – juan Oct 5 '10 at 14:07
  • @Juan, exactly. Also, I agree with your blog comment. – jjnguy Oct 5 '10 at 14:08
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    Too bad there are no upvotes there... – juan Oct 5 '10 at 14:08
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  • You forgot Rule #6, @Juan: mikeweatherly.com/2009/07/… – George Stocker Oct 5 '10 at 15:09
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    @Toronto, that is not the reason for my request. I enjoy having a frame of reference when reading a post. – jjnguy Oct 5 '10 at 16:06
  • added a bounty because i find this super-annoying. – Kip Nov 3 '10 at 15:02
  • @Kip, did you just read the post about the Ubuntu developer summit thinking it was Jeff, but then it ended up being Robert? Because I just did. – jjnguy Nov 3 '10 at 15:14
  • @jjnguy: for me, I usually hit the word "I" and my brain throws an undeclared variable parsing exception – Kip Nov 3 '10 at 16:55
  • @Kip, instead of throwing an exception, my brain just fills in the default value 'Jeff Atwood'. – jjnguy Nov 3 '10 at 16:59

No, I don't think this is necessary.

The byline is not nearly as important as the title and content of the blog post.

If you need the byline, it is in the RSS feed metadata and in the post at the bottom, in bold.

Edit: Joel and Robert felt differently than I did on this, so I defer to the majority.

  • If the byline is really not necessary, you should remove it and write using either the third person or the editorial "we". If the posts don't make sense when written either of those ways, then the author does matter and needs to be apparent to the user. – Kip Dec 16 '10 at 21:33
  • @kip that's ridiculous. I said "not as important", I didn't say "completely unimportant". Notice how on THE VERY COMMENT YOU POSTED your name comes last. Gee, I wonder why that is.. ? – Jeff Atwood Dec 17 '10 at 2:30
  • i misread "i don't think this is necessary" to mean the byline itself. in any case, there are differences between a blog and a comment. first- comment author isn't as relevant until you at-reply since it could be any of thousands of people you don't know; on the blog it is one of a handful of authors with distinct interests, responsibilities, and personalities. second- when it does matter, comments are short enough that you can almost always see the author when reading. and third- comments are generally discussing a very specific topic; the blog posts about lots of SO-related topics – Kip Dec 17 '10 at 14:53
  • Thanks. I appreciate the second look at it. I know that you don't think the author is super important, and I think it would be ok (or better) to make the author's name font smaller. – jjnguy Dec 24 '10 at 6:22

The benefit of having the author's name at the bottom is to get you to read the article without reading it with a presupposed bias because of your feelings about the author.

That is, the blog post should work just as well as if there wasn't an author name attached to it at all: the important thing is the content of the message, not who wrote it.

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    Yeah, that's why the author's name is always printed on the last page of a book rather than on its cover. After all, why should it ever matter whether what you are going to read was written by William Shakespeare, Mark Twain or Martha Stewart‽ – ЯegDwight Oct 10 '10 at 17:37
  • @RegDwight: Writing for a company blog is not the same as writing the Great American Novel. The take-away from a post on the Stack Overflow blog is the content of the blog post is the position of SOIS. It doesn't matter if its Robert Cartaino, Joel Spolsky, or Jeff Atwood: the company position doesn't change based on which employee said it. – user149432 Nov 4 '10 at 7:13
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    I'm fairly certain that William Shakespeare never wrote anything that could be considered a "Great American Novel"... Nor Martha Stewart, for that matter! :-P – gWaldo Nov 9 '10 at 13:23

I was about to post about this, even made a nice screenshot, then come to find out this has already been requested! Anyway, here's the screenshot I prepared:

alt text

  • Exactly. I had this exact same experience again today. – jjnguy Nov 3 '10 at 15:15

A work around for this is to read the blog using Google Reader, that's what I do, and the author is displayed on the top.

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I agree that changing it natively would benefit those that don't use this tool, but it's a decent workaround until it happens (or forever if it doesn't)


You might consider FeedDemon. It displays the author's name at the top of the post.

Edit: Nevermind. They just released a new version and they no longer display the author's name at the top, next to the title of the article. However, it is quite obvious in the article preview.

alt text

  • Google Reader does show the author at the top, but I don't read the posts in Google Reader myself – Kip Nov 3 '10 at 14:57

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