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We've had quite a bit of discussion about getting the Programmers Stack Exchange blog up and running. There has been a discussion of topic/theme, and there has even been a call for volunteers - to which there was (in my opinion) a fantastic first response.

Several months have gone by since the last forward progress - and I feel that its time to get the ball rolling again and see this thing happen. We will never get that flywheel spinning until we have actual work being done.

I believe its time to go forward and start publishing content.

  • We've had ample discussion on the direction, tone, and topic of the blog.
  • There are a significant number of volunteers for both writing and proofreading/editing.

Here's what I believe are the next steps forward.

  1. Let's go to the powers that be and get the actual blog system up and running. This will let us start writing and a team of editors can start proofreading and getting content into the "publication pipeline".
  2. Decide on a small team of editors who will proofread and approve content for publication.

Thoughts? Comments? Objections?

  • I can't promise to contribute on a regular basis, but I'll do what I can. – ChrisF Jan 31 '12 at 20:54
  • The Community Blog chat (chat.stackexchange.com/transcript/115) appears to have been inactive for a while but was helpful to Sec SE when we started our blog (security.blogoverflow.com/tag/qotw) - paging @RebeccaChernoff!! – Rory Alsop Jan 31 '12 at 21:01
  • Yes! Yes! Yes! A thousand times yes! – yannis Jan 31 '12 at 21:04
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    We've paged the SE community team again about this: hopefully they can chime in soon. – user8 Jan 31 '12 at 21:05
  • Absolutely yes. I can't +1 this enough. – Thomas Owens Jan 31 '12 at 21:06
  • Wow - that was fast. There's already a Blog link up on the meta toolbar. – Jarrod Nettles Jan 31 '12 at 21:43
  • @JarrodNettles Unfortunately, that's not our blog: that's the Stack Exchange network blog :P – user8 Jan 31 '12 at 22:14
  • @MarkTrapp Yeaaaah, just saw that. – Jarrod Nettles Jan 31 '12 at 22:16
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    Lets suggest a topic and get going. A lot of programmers on this site have their own blogs and its just a case of starting things (also, blogs aren't quite frequent in other sites). Its always better that a topic is suggested so we could move forward focusing on it rather than board-room discussions (It seems that all of us aspire to be Project Managers else we would published a blog by now) – Ubermensch Feb 1 '12 at 4:05
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    this comment looks worth blog post. Plain adding "for programmers" doesn't save an off-topic question – gnat Feb 1 '12 at 4:33
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Okay, I just spoke with Rebecca Chernoff about the blog, and I have a game plan.

Step 1: we need a point person

This person will be in charge of coordinating the blog's direction: getting drafts in order, setting up the schedule, making sure everything is running smoothly, and communicating directly with the moderators and SE about any issues with the blog. This will likely be a good amount of work, so consider whether or not you'll be around regularly to help make sure the blog doesn't die a horrible death.

Step 2: we need to coordinate the launch of the blog

We should have at least five solid ideas that'll make the first five blog posts for the blog. The blog point person will need to coordinate with everyone who wants to contribute and come up with a schedule for when blog posts go out: I've created a chat room for those activities.

It's likely going to be a good thing to have a scheduled meeting with the first round of contributors to figure out who's covering what: whoever is the point person should coordinate that meeting.

Step 3: we launch(-ish)!

Once the blog point person is in place and all the initial logistics have been worked out, I'll work with Rebecca to get the blog actually up and running, and set up the users.

So yeah, first things first: decide amongst yourselves who wants to be the dude or dudette who'll run the show. Jarrod Nettles has graciously stepped up to be the blog whipping boy overlord!

  • Would run this quarter. No hassles until I am hit by the bus and I love researching – Ubermensch Feb 1 '12 at 6:02
  • Thanks for getting feedback on this so quickly Mark. This, along with @YannisRizos post, are an excellent plan for moving forward. – Jarrod Nettles Feb 1 '12 at 6:07
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A few thoughts:

  • The volunteers should reaffirm their commitment.

    It's been 5 months since the post calling for contributors, and things might have changed. For example, Anna is now a Community Manager and I don't know if she still wishes to contribute. Everyone could do a small edit on their answers, saying "I'm still in!".

  • Editorial team

    Assuming all volunteers reaffirm their commitment, we have a ready team + Jarrod, no need to waste any more time discussing that. Let's see how the first couple of months go, and we can discuss a new team if need be.

  • Schedule

    The guidelines propose a post per week, minimum. Let's ignore that and target a post per fortnight. Some of the other blogs have a faster pace, some slower. Let's start with a reasonably low goal and if there's interest pick up the pace later on. I think it would be sensible to post on Mondays, so editors can check posts during the weekend.

  • Would support both writing blogs and checking authenticity (would definitely support for the next 3 months) – Ubermensch Feb 1 '12 at 5:52
  • I reaffirm my Commitment! Let get rolling! – Morons Feb 1 '12 at 18:39
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As a blogger on the DIY site, let me suggest that you build a queue of entries before launch and get your writing schedule down. http://diy.blogoverflow.com exploded out of the gate and is in a post-holiday lull right now - two users have written all but one of the last two month's worth of posts and it's been difficult to scrape a weekly entry together when people get busy. If you think you need six regular writers, I would suggest enlisting a number closer to 10 :)

I'm looking forward to reading the blog, and if you have any issues with organizing, I'd suggest checking in at the other SE blog contributor chats, there's usually some good advice to be found. Along with the StackExchange Community chat, I've found good tips in gaming, scifi, and super user.

This DIY meta question describes a bit about how we use email, wordpress, chat, and trello to organize.

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    I was managing editor of a group blog for a year, and cannot agree more with the idea of having stuff in the queue. – jcmeloni Feb 1 '12 at 17:51
  • Thanks - there's some good advice in here. – Jarrod Nettles Feb 1 '12 at 19:15
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I honestly believe a timeline and a structured procedure would do the difference and get things moving. Its a case of belling the cat. Lets agree upon a few guidelines, a topic and we can start working. If there's a chat room, we could just have few exchanges and could start publishing. Clarity of thought and a few Zen-style rules would give the thrust.

Agree with Mark Trapp's suggestion of providing a definite structure to work upon

  • We already had a discussion on topics. And we really don't need any more discussion, other than deciding a team of editors. – yannis Feb 1 '12 at 4:39
  • @YannisRizos Of course but the conclusion isn't definite. Yet we can just zero in on a topic and start moving. Could we have a chat around 4 hours from now to get on with a topic and a list of people so that we could have a definite structure – Ubermensch Feb 1 '12 at 5:10
  • I think a timeline would be great, once we have something going. Its like getting a software project off the ground - we can spend forever debating how we're going to do it, but I feel we've got a keyboard ready project here. – Jarrod Nettles Feb 1 '12 at 5:10
  • @JarrodNettles So the same belling the cat problem. Who's going to come up with the timeline? May I propose a timeline (would take me a day to it)? – Ubermensch Feb 1 '12 at 5:13
  • @Ubermensch Chat doesn't really work, it's not up to you and me to decide anything, there is no sensible way to build community consensus in chat. There is a list of people, and a list of topics, what else do we need? – yannis Feb 1 '12 at 5:14
  • @YannisRizos So let's get started. Lets choose a particular topic to move on. A particular topic would just get us started and moving towards in a direction. And yes, chats don't work when we want to get going (the practical phase) – Ubermensch Feb 1 '12 at 5:16
  • @Ubermensch What do you mean? We have a list of topics, you can start writing right now if you wish :) But we are still waiting for official confirmation that we will get the blog. – yannis Feb 1 '12 at 5:18
  • @Ubermensch BTW why haven't you added yourself to the list of volunteers? – yannis Feb 1 '12 at 5:30
  • @YannisRizos May you provide you a link. I would add it straight away (I think you have already provided me the link) though I blatantly believe this to be a sign of tokenism. So what's the expansion for BTW – Ubermensch Feb 1 '12 at 5:45
  • @Ubermensch The link is on the question. Tokenism? We are discussing a community blog that will be run by volunteers, and you think that adding yourself into a list of volunteers is discrimination? Against whom? If the community doesn't want you to contribute to the blog, your answer to the question will be downvoted, where's the tokenism? - btw = by the way. – yannis Feb 1 '12 at 5:53
  • @YannisRizos It might have been harsh from me to use the word tokenism (I definitely don't used it for my post being down-voted). We have got a list of volunteers and a list of topics and still we aren't moving. Think this in the context of a business organization or a military hierarchy and I realize we aren't using our resources. We can always have a list of volunteers but need to get moving(the famous demand-supply relationship). – Ubermensch Feb 1 '12 at 5:59
  • @YannisRizos I used the work tokenism since we have got resources but haven't utilized it which is close in meaning to the actual meaning for the word "The practice of making only a perfunctory or symbolic effort to do a particular thing". Sometimes provocation may get things started (but only sometimes). Thanks for replying back. – Ubermensch Feb 1 '12 at 6:01

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