It's possible for a Stack Exchange site to get it's own blog provided we follow some steps to prove a couple things:

  1. We want it
  2. We can make it happen

I know some of our most active members like the idea of a site blog so I thought I'd get the ball rolling. Beta is not too soon to blog, but we do need an active community to keep the blog going. So you know, the community will take part in posting and vetting the articles, and we'll try and nail down the following before we actually get it:

  1. The Scope
  2. Who will contribute (tentative, we're not locked in to only certain people contributing)
  3. The schedule

As a starting point an interesting idea is the Question of the Week (QotW) concept on Security. Regular postings like that help keep a blog active with quality content.

Remember the Blog can be more than a "greatest hits" of our questions/answers. We can also use it to share interesting opinions, findings or whatever as long as it's related to the topic (or our community).

Is a blog something we want? The next step would be to define what we want the blog to be about, first I want to know if the support is there. Please vote to indicate your approval and if you have any good suggestions, make them in an answer for when we start the next steps. We'll also need to know who's willing to write and what we want to write about.


As a note I kicked off the blog process over on User Experience so I won't be able to manage the process over here like I try on UX. We'll need community members to manage the blog workflow so if you're an active member, throw your hat in the ring and offer to help out. It helps if we have more than one person acting as a caretaker for the blog anyway.

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Do we know how many non-graduated sites have blogs? –  jcmeloni Sep 20 '12 at 16:40
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@jcmeloni looks like 3, not sure how many of the existing blogs started in Beta though –  Rarity Sep 20 '12 at 16:45
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7 Answers 7

Schedule

A weekly schedule would be awesome, but I don't think it's feasible. We were aiming at a weekly schedule for the Programmers blog as well, but we soon realized that publishing once a fortnight was far more attainable. We really don't have to decide the schedule now and I'm proposing we do exactly what we did with the Programmers blog and decide the schedule after our first articles are already written and we've seen how much we can cope with in practice.

We'll have to have a few articles ready (written and proofread) before we launch anyway, to convince both Stack Exchange and ourselves that we can maintain a blog, so I think the smart thing to do here is to decide the schedule after we've seen how much time it take us to write at least four articles. If I remember correctly we had four articles ready before launching the Programmers blog, so that, in broad terms, also answers the question of how many articles SE expects us to have before they feel confident launching our blog. Five articles, as jmort253 suggests would be even better.

Blog maintenance

Three things:

  • A blog chatroom,
  • Blog Overlords, and
  • Trello.

On Programmers we have a chat room dedicated to the blog, and when we're ready to launch The Workplace blog I think we should consider creating a dedicated chat room here as well. Any blog discussion that's not concrete enough to be posted on Meta should be held in chat, and a dedicated chat room is also very helpful for collaborations. Feel free to ping me in that chat room, if you want more details on the Programmers blog.

Next, the Blog Overlords. On Programmers, initially, there was a general feeling that the moderators would take care of the cruft on the blog, similarly to how we do in the main site. Or, at least, I had that feeling (I wasn't a moderator back when the first talks about our blog started). I don't know if the Workplace moderators are interested in contributing to the blog, but I think it would be better if the Blog Overlords were regular users.

We started out with one caretaker on the Programmers blog, and he kinda disappeared on us after a while, putting the whole project on hold (hey, real life happens - sometimes), so there really ought to be at least two caretakers. Our current Overlords, World Engineer and Dynamic, are responsible for:

  • Setting up access to both Wordpress and Trello for new contributors,
  • Guiding new contributors through our blog processes,
  • Maintaining the blog chat room (they are both room owners),
  • Always being on the lookout for spam comments, and
  • Having final say in all things relating to the blog.

And of course, as every other blog contributor, they write and proofread articles. Both our Overlords volunteered for the role, and I'm quite sure me threatening to suspend them forever didn't really affect their decision to take point.

Finally, we've been heavily relying on Trello, to keep track of post ideas and publishing. Our board is private (and perhaps it shouldn't be), if you are interested in taking a sneak peak, ping me in the Programmers blog chat room and I'll give you access to it. All I need is an email and if you already have a Programmers account and want me to send the invite to your account's email, all you need to do is say so. If you don't want to use your Programmers email or don't have a Programmers account, just post your email and I'll delete the message right after I send you an invite.

Scope

I like the Question of the Week concept, but The Workplace is still in beta and we don't get that many questions per day to support a steady flow of QotW articles. It could work, but I see QotW more as a backup plan.

A great source of inspiration for blog articles is to think... non constructively ;) Most of the questions that we'd close as "not constructive" on the main site, would probably make great blog posts, and if you are interested in contributing, you should look at our highest voted closed questions for ideas.

Contributors

We need more than two. Beth and HGLEM can certainly cope, but we really need more than two people for the blog to be viable in the long run, at least four or five. Unfortunately I simply don't have the time to contribute to the blog, but I'm certainly hoping a couple more Workplace regulars step up, a Workplace blog would be awesome!

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Yannis, this is awesome! Thank you! And thanks for vocalizing what I was thinking but didn't know how to say exactly. I don't plan to manage the blog, and I'm hoping Beth and HLGEM will volunteer as Blog Overlords. ;) I'm not yet sure if I'd be a contributor as I have my hands full as it is. ;) –  jmort253 Dec 18 '12 at 4:14
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I love the idea about writing on some of the closed questions. –  HLGEM Dec 18 '12 at 15:46
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This all makes a lot of sense - especially the idea of write first, set schedule later. Also, I like the idea of having more than 2 authors - the risk of decreasing the writing team by 50% if one author gets too busy is too high for sustainability. I'm willing to try being a Blog Overlord, but I'll also admit that I'm on in spurts - it's unlikely I'll be on every day or surfing constantly, so if the job requires more vigilance, we should get more backup. –  bethlakshmi Dec 18 '12 at 18:23
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@bethlakshmi You won't have to check the blog every day, my guesstimate would be about once or twice a week. Managing the blog can be a bit time consuming early on, when you'd have to setup access for early contributors, but once the initial enthusiasm dies down and you get a hang of Trello and Wordpress, it's a breeze. –  Yannis Dec 18 '12 at 18:31
    
Oooh - hadn't thought of the closed questions option. We stall sometimes (so our Question of the week is sometimes Question of the Fortnight, or occasionally it has been Question of the Month) so extra material is good. –  Rory Alsop Dec 20 '12 at 16:02
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Sure, I'll chime in -

Yes, I'd love us to have a blog. I think we are starting to develop a vibe of what works and what doesn't that may be better addressed by a blog - the way Jeff did on Stack Overflow, than by a FAQ. Particularly because if we put all the stuff that comes up into FAQ form, we will have a long, possibly chatty FAQ.

And I'm willing to volunteer at a caretaker, although I'd really like a co-caretaker, as my time can get frenzied, and I don't want to drop the ball.

1.The Scope

While I like QotW on the Security SE, I think it may be premature for us. But I used to really like Jeff Atwood's periodic commentary on trends and the why's and wherefors of what works and what doesn't. I'd vote for that, but maybe with a backup plan of something else to talk about when there is no pressing issue - maybe interesting features of the population - ie, the population of questions, answers or currently active contributors?

2.Who will contribute (tentative, we're not locked in to only certain people contributing)

I'm willing to, but I like the idea of it being a pretty wide community. Both so that it doesn't get dropped when the one writer is busy and so that it has a community "voice".

EDIT - per discussion below - I'm up for any combination of writers that keeps up the good material but with a certain quality level. If there's an editor/approver capability, then sky's the limit.

3.The schedule

Weekly. That's my pick. Frequent enough to be interesting, not so frequent we are clawing for topics.

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Multiple caretakers is fairly simple; all you really need is admin access, a degree of responsibility to SE employees who work with blogs (Grace Note) and trello admin access if/when we make a trello board for it –  Rarity Sep 20 '12 at 16:46
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And two volunteers of course. ;) –  bethlakshmi Sep 20 '12 at 17:02
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For reference on UX we've gone with zero rep requirement; if you can write and you know what you're talking about you have a shot –  Rarity Sep 20 '12 at 20:58
    
Agreed. I'd suggest eliminating the rep requirement. Will there be an editorial process to make sure no bad posts slip through the cracks? –  jmort253 Sep 21 '12 at 1:01
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@jmort253 Admins have to okay posts I think...it all goes through Trello first anyway. You can peek at UX.SE's blog to see how we've been doing it (lacking particularly formal processes) trello.com/board/ux-se-blog/4fc126cae25266c30814fc24 –  Rarity Sep 21 '12 at 4:37
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Yeah - if there's an editorial/approval process, I'm OK with being totally open ended. –  bethlakshmi Sep 21 '12 at 13:48
    
Hi Beth, wanted to bring my post and Yannis's post to your attention. What do you think? –  jmort253 Dec 18 '12 at 4:17
    
Hey @Rarity, do blog overlords mean the same thing as admins? –  jmort253 Dec 19 '12 at 2:38
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@jmort253 more accurately they should be people who organize stuff; find out who's willing to contribute, inquire about schedules, vet new ideas. But they should probably have admin access on Trello and Wordpress to further that end –  Rarity Dec 19 '12 at 14:25
    
I love writing blogs and technical stuff. I would love to write content or even some matter for the articles. I'll be waiting for hearing, if we'll be supposed to work in a team or we've to work individually when writing blogs. –  Sahil Mahajan Mj Jan 14 '13 at 13:42
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I wouldn't mind writing some blog entries either, there are some topics I would like to write about that haven't come up as questions. Since this isn't really time-limited (like say a political blog entry would be), I would suggest that we come up with 4 or 5 topics and have the blog entries written before we announce the blog. That way we know we have something to publish each week for a few weeks to get the blog rolling.

In some ways the blog format is almost better for Workplace than the question format.

Some subjects I would like to write about or see someone else write about:

  • How to impress your employer with your performance
  • How to behave in a new job
  • How to leave a job
  • Grief in the workplace (I've been blogging a good bit about grief at another site)
  • What to do when your employee comes to you with a major personal problem that will affect work (death in the family, serious illness, etc) (I've been surprised we haven't seen more questions in this area. So few people seem to handle it well.)
  • Making the adjustment from school to work
  • Office politics
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I think this is a really outstanding idea. It's sort of like a private beta for the blog. If there's a backlog of articles already written, then during those slow periods where people have to be away or have writers block, the weekly publishing can still happen. –  jmort253 Oct 22 '12 at 0:12
    
Hi HLGEM, I wanted to bring my post and Yannis's post to your attention. What do you think? –  jmort253 Dec 18 '12 at 4:19
    
Hi @jmort253, I have been really interested in writing about Making Adjustment from school(rather Grad College) to Work. Now, should I write an Article on it in my own Blog and share it here or should I post it on trello. –  Sahil Mahajan Mj Jan 15 '13 at 5:56
    
@SahilMahajanMj - Our goal is to have 5 articles pre-written by February 1st so we can show Stack Exchange we have enough content, and interest from the community, to get started. The current writers are just using a Google Doc, which could be linked in Trello for now. I added you to the Workplace Trello board, so you should be able to create a "card" representing the "adjustment" subject. When you begin writing, please move it to the "being written" category so we communicate with others. Thank you for volunteering! :) –  jmort253 Jan 15 '13 at 7:09
    
@SahilMahajanMj - Also, don't forget to drop by the Workplace Blog Chat Room to introduce yourself or bounce around more ideas. :) –  jmort253 Jan 15 '13 at 7:11
    
Thanx @jmort253: I would start writing an article from now on. and I'll surely introduce myself in the chat room as soon as I'll reach home (Chat is strictly banned in our office). –  Sahil Mahajan Mj Jan 15 '13 at 7:46
    
@HGLEM i like the idea of this though i think if done properly that each of the ideas you had for a post could actually be split into a long running topic, things change, new things are thought of ect, and an idea of a long running topic of office politics or any of the others, with a new post released along those lines when needed would be a good idea! –  RWY Mar 5 '13 at 14:11
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What we have so far:

Here's what we know so far, thanks to Beth and HLGEM's responses, and Rarity outlining the requirements to implement a blog:

Scope:

  • See Beth and HLGEM's answers

Contributors:

  • 2 authors

Schedule:

  • Weekly

Pre-written articles:

  • 1 out of 5 as of January 28th, 2013

What's missing?

How many contributors do we need to get started?:

What I see missing here is the number of contributors. Both Beth and HLGEM are our top users, both with an impressive 10k+ reputation on a site that's still in beta. As a result, I'm confident these two people can meet the demands of a weekly schedule, but I also believe it would be more sustainable if we had more people to commit to contributing as authors, and to indicate how frequently that person would be willing to author (or co-author) a post.

We should define how many people, or perhaps contributions per quarter, are necessary in order to be successful with a blog. For instance, if we lose a contributor, will we still have enough content to meet the schedule and keep up with adding new content? With just 2 people, this assumes each person contributes 2 articles per month, or 8 per quarter.

How many prewritten articles do we need to jumpstart the blog:

I like HLGEM's idea of having some articles already written. But how many? With a weekly schedule, if we have 5 articles in the queue, then we could go 5 weeks without having a new article written. This is like having a blog savings account for the times when time is taken up by other events.

How many articles should we shoot for?

  • We are aiming for at least 5 to get us started. As of January 28th, @Bethlakshmi has one article written so far. Nice work! :)

What is our timeline to implement a blog?

Perhaps the most important consideration is to come up with a timeline. When should we have all of the necessary contributors ready? When should the prewritten articles be ready? When is the date that we should be ready to approach Stack Exchange and say:

"We want a blog! We have X people willing to contribute, and those people have already written Y articles. We're ready to publish as soon as the blog is ready."

With the holidays coming, and things shutting down temporarily, I was thinking that sometime after the New Year would be a better target date, but it's up to you. To be clear, if we don't meet the decided critical mass of X articles and Y contributors by Z date, then perhaps that means we put the blog idea on hold until there's more support? What do you think?

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I think 5 is a good backlog to start with, I'll even commit to wrting 2 of them. And yes I would like to see more than two contributors. I thnk we shouls shoot for the end of January. I'm off the week between Christmas and New years which is actually a good time to write up some bolg entries. –  HLGEM Dec 18 '12 at 15:42
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I can definitely commit to writing 2-3 articles for the backlog. I admit I'm a tad worried about sustaining 2 articles a month - I feel sure I could do 1 a month, 2 may be doable, but I'd prefer to make sure I scale small. –  bethlakshmi Dec 18 '12 at 18:14
    
@bethlakshmi - Maybe we should start with once per month in terms of the schedule? It's predictable, and just frequent enough to be regular, but not so infrequent to where we burn anyone out. –  jmort253 Dec 19 '12 at 2:35
    
@HLGEM - If you, or beth, know of anyone who would be interested in contributing as well, that would be awesome. I'll put something in my user profile to help promote this idea. Also, if Feb 1st is a reasonable goal date to approach SE with the 5 articles and X number of contributors, and no one objects, then I'll update this post with that info. Do you think 4 people is a good number for contributors? –  jmort253 Dec 19 '12 at 2:43
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In the meantime, let's shoot for the 5 articles by Feb 1st. Thank you for volunteering! This is an awesome goal! We can work out the other details later now that we have a rough idea in mind. :) –  jmort253 Dec 19 '12 at 3:13
    
Should we set up a Trello room or find some other place to figure out topics for the article stock pile? I love the idea of non-constructive questions, but might also want to try my hand at a meta-answer to trends I see in questions or other related topics. –  bethlakshmi Dec 19 '12 at 15:46
    
Hi @bethlakshmi, can you use a CW meta post for managing some ideas to start? Making a public Meta CW could actually be a cool way to promote the fact that you're doing this. ;) I was also thinking a Google doc would be fine for the actual writing, for the first 5 articles. It's really up to you and whatever you're comfortable with. In the meantime, let me see what SE can do in terms of getting some things setup now. –  jmort253 Dec 20 '12 at 7:13
    
Workplace SE Blog Chat Room. If you create a meta post for ideas, just flag it and one of us can convert it to CW. Or you can wait and see if we get Trello. Do whatever you feel will help keep your momentum going strong! And let me know if there is anything that I can do to help! :) –  jmort253 Dec 20 '12 at 8:03
    
I am willing to help with this. Primarily editing posts at this point as my availability is going to be super inconsistent for the next few months (so committing to writing is... difficult right now). Plus, I enjoy proof reading things a fair bit (no idea why but I do) and this might be a good way I can help contribute –  enderland Jan 7 '13 at 23:10
    
@jmort253 : I love writing blogs and technical stuff. I would love to write content or even some matter for the articles. I'll be waiting for hearing, if we'll be supposed to work in a team or we've to work individually when writing blogs. –  Sahil Mahajan Mj Jan 14 '13 at 13:43
    
Hi @SahilMahajanMj, that's great to hear. Check out the Workplace Blog Trello board and see if there are any suggested topics you're interested in. You may also want to drop into the Workplace Blog Chat Room and introduce yourself. If there are no ideas submitted that you'd be interested in, check the scope here and here and ... –  jmort253 Jan 14 '13 at 14:49
    
here. This is all still very new to us and I don't believe we have a solid plan yet, so just check in w/us in the blog room and let us know what ideas you've come up with. Hope this helps + thank you for volunteering! :) –  jmort253 Jan 14 '13 at 14:51
    
I would be willing to join in on this, im on WP daily and whilst i may not have rep to rival that of HGLEM and Beth i do have a lot of free time on my hands, i would be willing to commit –  RWY Mar 5 '13 at 14:14
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Saw some topics today that would probably be candidates for the blog (I'm about halfway through drafting my first blog post hopefully will put it up on Trello this weekend) if anyone would be interested in writing them.

Successful Resume writing
Things to avoid in resume writing
Why Facebook is a terrible source for information on potential hires

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Hi HLGEM! That's great to hear. :) I went ahead and added the 3 ideas you mentioned to the Trello Board. Would you mind dragging any that you're working on to the "Being Written" column? –  jmort253 Jan 4 '13 at 4:33
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I really want to see this happen now that we were featured on the SE podcast:

And now, this week’s Featured Site: The Workplace. It’s still in beta, and we don’t usually talk about betas in our featured site segment, but this site is especially interesting because its answers are much less factual than most other sites… and yet it’s still successful.

I have added a draft of a blog post explaining the difference between a Good Subjective question and a Great Question. I would appreciate anyone willing to review/edit it.

I would also like to hear about how the Workplace has helped Rhys' Career Development, and I think that several users could share some great information on the three biggest mistakes they've made in their career. I would also love to see one of our more experienced Workplace Experts write on Advice to New Hires.

I am more than happy to contribute multiple articles, or to edit any articles that need reviewing -- this would definitely be a positive thing to have with the increased exposure, and allow us to tackle some topics that may be useful to a broader audience but not great for individual questions.

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The podcast was awesome! The Workplace is something new and different from the original SE model, and it's working! With that said, I like the Rhys's Career Development post idea. Real stories about real people who are part of our community are interesting because they're about people we know, and it demonstrates exactly the type of value this site provides. –  jmort253 Oct 31 '13 at 6:14
    
@jmort, now all we need to do is convince Rhys to write it! –  jmac Oct 31 '13 at 6:57
    
Sure I guess I can give it a go! –  RWY Oct 31 '13 at 9:05
    
@RhysW / jmac - If RhysW doesn't have time to write it, someone could do an interview style blog post. Of course, I think a first person account would be way more powerful. –  jmort253 Oct 31 '13 at 20:43
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A few days back, I was reading a blog Entry on How important is knowing how to program for TCS? in the CS Theory Community Blog. This blog entry was actually a summarization of one of popular question of the community. I really liked the concept of summarizing the highlighting points of a good question. I just thought that its all about Community, who wrote and publish the blog entries, and community members can not play any role in any of the blog articles. but as Rarity and jmort253 highlighted the role of community members in blog writing, I really found it an interesting concept.

Scope

As HLGEM and bethlakshmi have already suggested quite good blog entries. Though I have myself started working on Making the adjustment from school to work as suggested by HLGEM.

Also, I read some good guidelines about What to Write in the Stack Exchange Blog. Some of proposels, I found somewhat appreciable are,

  • Interview top users. Just who is that user who is shooting up the reputation leagues?

  • Highlight top content. What great question was posted on the site recently? Recognize it! Don’t just copy the question and its answers to the blog, blog about the question and its answers. A fine line there, eh? Delve deeper into the question or an answer. Add more context. Compare or analyze answers against each other. There is a lot to work with here.

Contributors:

Though, I dont have much knowledge about Blog caretakers management for other Blogs. But I'd like to suggest that bloggers should work in a Team.

Team might be constitued out of Content Writers, proofreaders and if possible Quality Enhancers. The team should be lead of by an Admin, who should have full command over the blog and others team mates.

Schedule

That's the main thing that should be taken care of. The schedule of blog entries will entirely depend on the Contributers and thier availability. However, we could start with 2 entries a month and once we get good command over the community blog, we could increase the number of blogs posts in a month. Though, not to burdernize it, an entry a week will be sufficient.

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