Initially, the warning about the discontinuation of the blog happened directly (and, in our case, in chat). That's what led to this question:
Do we want to continue having a community blog?
Afterwards, there was a flurry of discussions on meta and in chat regarding choosing a platform, a name, a domain, etc. These decisions involved community input as best we could, but in the end the executive decisions came down to myself, Jack B. Nimble and KutuluMike.
What should we call our blog?
Look and feel of the new blog
Why us three?
Jack B. Nimble is our Chief Editor, so-to-speak. He's essentially been running the blog for years, having been our most active contributor, editor, organizer, etc. The blog has been running because of him, and it's essentially his baby. KutuluMike is another one of our active blog contributors, pretending not to spoil movies and TV shows.
So, what's my role? A reader, a friend, and a patron. Jack and Mike were both willing and able to fund the blog themselves, but I didn't find it fair that they were both already contributing creatively, and so I offered to step in and cover the costs.
I just want to point out that, because this is now a private endeavor, there's technically nothing stopping anyone else from creating a blog for the community. In this case, since Jack was the one doing the majority of the work, the most important thing seemed to be enabling him to be able to continue.
1. What's the guarantee that it can stay up forever? Is there a mechanism for ownership transfer?
There's no guarantee, any more than we evidently had a guarantee that StackExchange would offer and continue to host blogs. What I can say is that it's not a high financial cost. The annual domain name renewal is less than my weekly action figure budget, and I already renew my web hosting in 1-3 year blocks, so the blog resource usage represented no additional cost to hosting for me. I find it handy as a developer to always have access to my own web server, even if I go years without using it.
2. What's the guarantee that its quality will remain good (ads can appear, blog performance can go down, design can change)?
I can't guarantee anything about the quality of Jack's writing (or the movies he watches), but I will say that I effectively give him full creative control over running the blog. He decides which posts get published and when they get published, still. Basically, Jack still runs the blog, and I do what I can to make sure website runs smoothly, and Mike helps out a bit on fronts (helping with copy editing, some website maintenance such as CSS and PHP tweaks, etc.).
I can adamantly say that I won't be serving any ads, because I hate them. I run uBlock Origin for ad blocking on pretty much every site, and I wouldn't fill up a site on a domain I own with content I'd end up blocking. The only "ads" you'll see on the blog are along these lines:
Which are links to blogs of other stacks or community members.
As far as performance issues, there could be trouble there. My current host is not know for speed, so initial page loading is reportedly slow. Unfortunately, on the shared hosting plan I'm currently on, there's not much to be done, and I've cached and optimized the WordPress site about as far as it can go. I can tell you, though, that I am seriously shopping around for a new host, but my current service is valid through February of next year. When it expires, I plan on moving to a provider that let's me get my page load rating higher than a B.
The design might change in the future, who knows? We took a vote here, initially, and people wanted to keep the original design for the most part. I did some work and adapted a modern, mobile-compatible theme to have the same general appearance and made a few minor tweaks to some colors and typography. But in general: if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
3. What's the guarantee that it won't play with user's posts?
I'm not quite sure what you're asking here, but let me just quote you from our Contribute page, because I think it's what you're asking about:
All post written before October 6th, 2016 were written on StackExchange's now-defunct BlogOverflow under the Attribution, Share-alike Creative Commons license. After that point, the new team took over and moved the blog to the new domain and contribution licensing is a little different. For posts published on or after October 6th, 2016 authors retain full rights to their works, but give us permission to post and host them, share and link to them on other websites (including websites such as reddit, StackExchange, Twitter, etc.), fix formatting and copy errors, etc. Basically, you give us permission to use your work to do everything we need to do to actually show it to people, and that's it.
So, basically, the posts that were published already, before the transition, have the same license on them as StackExchange posts, which is why we can even host them. Anything new, though, and we're letting authors retain full license and ownership of their content, so they can re-use it on their personal blog, try to sell it, make us take it down (if it ever came to that), etc. As an artist, I'm very much pro-creator rights.
For transparency, some of the things we've done to author's posts so far are:
- Fix typos
- Adjust font styles
- Add pullquotes and other visual elements
Adjust or add images (with author's consent, we don't just associate whatever pictures we feel like)
Individual authors have taken it upon themselves to advertise their own posts on places like Reddit.
4. How can I trust this off-site blog? How to login to it? Certainly, I can't give it my Stack Exchange password.
This is a great question. Privacy and trust is a major concern, and something I respect. Many of our users go to great lengths to protect their privacy, and I wouldn't want to get in the way of that. While I can see IP addresses, I don't and won't do anything with them. I can't really give any more of a promise than that, because it's the simple truth.
As far as accounts go:
- This is completely separate from SE. You'll have a different different password of your choosing. I highly encourage using a completely different password.
- We're using HTTPS plus modern WordPress security plug ins and best practices.
- You don't need an account to read the blog. However, because of the nature of the Internet, all visitor's IP addresses will be visible to me. I don't really look at them, but my security plug-ins do. When the blog was on StackExchange, IP address had an extra layer of separation so that only moderators see them. If it helps, I'm currently a moderator pro tempore on the Arts & Crafts beta, so I have been entrusted on part of the StackExchange network with access to user data.
- You can reclaim your existing account by emailing me at sffadmin[at]thesffblog.com with your account name and pinging me in the Blog Chat. I need you to do both, so I know that random Internet user isn't trying to claim your old account. If you're concerned about privacy, this doesn't have to be your personal email, you can use a temporary email service. WordPress just doesn't allow a new password to be generated without an email being associated with the account, and no user emails were part of the transfer from SE to TheSFFBlog.
- You can create a new account, but if you had one on the old blog it can't have the same username (but the Display Name can be the same). Feel free to use a made up "real name" if you'd like. If you do this, and had previous contributions, we can associate your old posts with your new account, you just have to let one of the team know that you created a new account.
- If you really want to write for the blog, but don't want to have an account at all, we can work with that, too. Let us know the contact method that's most comfortable for you and we'll figure it out.