17

The previous host was notoriously slow, leading to a lot of complaints shortly after it was launched. I've selected a new web hosting provider that is supposedly faster, living up to my promise that I'd switch hosts when my subscription expired. At the very least, they've so far been a nicer service for me to work with.

Migration of the site is pending, so over the next couple of days you may or may not notice some quirks.

While that's going on, I was also wondering if anyone had any feedback regarding the blog? We're always looking for more contributors, and ways to make it more about stuff of interest to our community (not necessarily just movie and TV reviews).

  • 5
    Yes, more book reviews! :-) Also, I wonder if there's any way we can advertise it more aggressively? I feel like there are fewer active contributors nowadays, but surely lots of people who'd be willing to write for the blog if nudged a bit more. – Rand al'Thor Feb 4 '18 at 0:49
  • 8
    I have a question. We have a blog? – Valorum Feb 4 '18 at 2:22
  • @Randal'Thor I'm not sure how much leeway we have in that before we get considered spam or burn goodwill between the blog and SE powers that be. We'd love more writers, but not sure how to get them. – user31178 Feb 5 '18 at 3:01
7

Yes, I have a specific recommendation: Have a standardized idea-submission system. The closest I could find was the Trello board, but:

  1. It appears to be mostly dead, having been last touched in December, and the last event before that was from 2015. Blog posts are dropping at a much more frequent pace than that.*
  2. The way I found it was to search for this question, whose title is not "How do I submit an idea for a blog post?", and then scroll all the way down to this answer at the bottom.
  3. Creating accounts with off-site services other than the blog itself is an additional barrier to adoption.

It'd be nice if this could be done on Meta through regular Q&A, but that sounds far too straightforward to actually be feasible. Maybe y'all already do this informally in Chat, but I don't chat much so I wouldn't know. I'm sure there are other people who also don't use Chat, and in any event it seems like it would be difficult to keep track of ideas over longer periods of time that way.

* There is obviously nothing wrong with writing about what you want to write about instead of what other people want you to write about. The blog is free, after all. But when Trello repeatedly goes completely inactive for more than two years at a time, it starts looking very much like a graveyard.

  • 1
    Though, chat still seems like the most barrier-less way to engage this in an unconstrained manner. There used to be a dedicated blog organization chatroom. If even using the builtin SE chat system is a participation barrier, there's not that much that can be done really. – TARS Feb 5 '18 at 1:27
  • 1
    @TARS: I'd actually be fine with a dedicated chat room, but there still needs to be a canonical Q&A pointing to it. – Kevin Feb 5 '18 at 1:35
  • What do you mean with services other than the blog itself? You can already register with the blog itself, or sign in using social media. Or do you mean not an SE account? Because SE ended all support for community blogs. Let me know, because ideally the registration should be very easy. – user31178 Feb 5 '18 at 2:55
  • Where would you put them canonical Q&A? On the blog, or do you mean a meta post? – user31178 Feb 5 '18 at 2:57
  • 2
    Also... Wow, never knew that Trello board existed. We definitely haven't been using that. There's a submission form on the website, but I think I could make some changes to make that more accessible. I'll look into these comments once the migration has completed. – user31178 Feb 5 '18 at 2:59
  • 2
    @CreationEdge: Re "services other than the blog": I mean if I have to create a blog account and then a Trello account and then a something-else account... it gets very tiresome. Re "canonical Q&A": On Meta, where people can find it. – Kevin Feb 5 '18 at 4:34
  • 1
    Ah. Trello isn't something we use. I don't even know who admins it. Consider it defunct. – user31178 Feb 5 '18 at 18:05
  • 1
    I have updated the contribution page with new information. Unfortunately, there's not an easy way for me to administer a submission/error reporting system within a WordPress environment, so it necessitated using a 3rd party system. – user31178 Feb 7 '18 at 18:29
  • We haven't used that Trello board since Tony Meyer was in charge of the blog (2011-2012). Due to low volume of posts, there have only been a few times that we have had scheduling conflicts. In terms of an idea board, we can create a meta post where people can go to post and discuss ideas for articles, we have done this before, and again, but folks don't often follow through. – Jack B Nimble Feb 13 '18 at 16:17
6

Ideas for promoting the blog

My subjective feeling is that blog activity has declined since it moved away from BlogOverflow. That could be just a natural part of the ebb and flow of the community (e.g. fewer people use chat since the Death of Mos, and chat was an easy place to find out about the blog's existence in casual conversation, as well as to be encouraged to write for it). How can we promote it more aggressively to combat this decline?

  • Another Community Promotion Ad? I noticed that Worldbuilding has two blog-related CPAs: one for their blog itself, and one inviting people to write for the blog. We could do something similar: as well as our existing ad for the blog itself, someone (you?) could create one which specifically invites people to contribute to the blog, e.g. with a link to this meta post (or a new one if you decide that one's too old/outdated).

  • More presence in chat? The blog chatroom has long frozen for inactivity. Jack still posts links in the Restaurant when new blog posts go up, but maybe there's a way to increase community participation via chat somehow? Scheduled events maybe? (I'm stabbing in the dark here; let me know if you can turn my ramblings into any sensible ideas.)

  • ...?

  • 2
    If there's enough chat happening to have a Discord room, why not move it back onto an SE chat, to reduce the barrier to entry? – MissMonicaE Feb 8 '18 at 14:51
  • @MissMonicaE I agree. (Disclaimer: I'm personally unable to access the Discord room. I have an unused Discord account from years ago, which I don't know how to access, and when I tried to follow the link from the blog, it automatically created me a new account, which I now can't register because my email address is already registered. I'm stuck in limbo! </rant>) – Rand al'Thor Feb 9 '18 at 0:35
  • 1
    @MissMonicaE Well there's not that much happening right now regarding the Blog, but my decision for a platform is based on my ability to manage the chat, read it, moderate it, and allow other primary contributors to do the same. We also have a high percentage of readers coming from other places we publish the blog to. – user31178 Feb 9 '18 at 16:21
  • @MissMonicaE - Perhaps because a large proportion of our prolific chatters don't use SE chat for various reasons. – Valorum Feb 10 '18 at 19:56
3

My suggestion would be to have better proofreading. I can't recall a single blog entry that had no spelling or format errors. I still enjoy reading it, and I'm not asking for perfection, but an improvement would be greatly appreciated.

  • 2
    Professional copy editing is expensive and proofreading one's own writing is an exercise in futility. Personally, I'd be willing to volunteer from time to time, but I'm not sure where to sign up. – Kevin Feb 5 '18 at 18:55
  • 1
    I'd volunteer too. Maybe if the blog had a review queue like the site does, we could all pitch in when we had the time. – DCOPTimDowd Feb 5 '18 at 19:12
  • 3
    Format errors (not spelling errors), at least for older posts, could be a result of the migration of content between blog platforms. Some markup syntax that worked on the old blog doesn't work on the new one. – Rand al'Thor Feb 6 '18 at 0:48
  • Right now, proofreading basically works like this. If someone else writes an article, I proofread it. If I write the article, I try to do so in advance and then let it sit for at least a couple days, then come back to it and reread it looking for errors before submitting. Of course, errors can still make it through. After that I publish my article and then immediately post it to the main chat room and off-site channels, and hope any glaring issues are immediately called to my attention. Usually the day of, someone catches a couple of errors and I correct them as soon as I am able to. – Jack B Nimble Feb 13 '18 at 16:04
  • Use Grammarly to do basic checks for you. – amflare Feb 14 '18 at 15:40

You must log in to answer this question.