Today I came across the Ask Different Blog, something I had no idea even existed.

Noting that the last entry is dated 6 October 2015, I started to wonder whether it had quietly died at some point, so I searched around Meta and found these three posts:

I didn't seem to find anything that related to us no longer having a blog.

Obviously I don't know the history of the blog, (heck, I still feel like a newbie around here), but I've taken the time today to have a good look around and it seems to me to have once been a valuable resource.

In fact, the site even used it to run competitions (with real prizes) and at some point even had Ask Different gift swags (shirts, stickers, etc). And, for a while we even had a series of Ask Different podcasts being produced.

Now, I am not saying we should go back to running competitions and offering prizes, or producing podcasts (I know these things require time and money), but my point is that presumably at some point the blog was quite active and successful (it even had a dedicated Ask Different Blog chat). And it may have even been a good promotional/marketing tool for Ask Different as a whole (e.g. this Ask Different screencast on Vimeo seems to have been a Vimeo staff pick at one time).

My questions are:

  1. Do we actually still have a blog?
  2. If no, (i) when did it stop; and (ii) why did it stop (i.e. low readership, not enough contributors, etc)?
  3. If yes, (i) how do we get involved; and (ii) how can we promote it?

In summary, it seems to me that getting the blog going again may be possible as we've got more users joining the site daily and some of these have been very active in the period since the last blog post.

I for one would be more than happy to get involved.

[UPDATE 1]

Since posting the question I've found and discovered some history to all this.

This blog...

...was originally a part of Blog Overflow, a network of blogs linked to Stack Exchange sites. Blog Overflow has since been discontinued, but the written articles will remain here for future readers.

For full details you can read We will no longer be hosting Blog Overflow.

In summary, the three main reasons were:

  • The vast majority of blogs weren't really active
  • WordPress is a meaty beast to sustain as a self-hosted service and not worth the effort for something that resulted in little activity
  • Blogs can work with us while being external to us.

In light of this, I guess if the demand was there, we could create a blog offsite. So, my question could become a discussion on whether doing so was something this community wanted to do?

[Update 2]

Added three polling answers. Please vote for whichever answer represents your view.

No need for any down votes - just up vote one of the polls only.

  • If we do go for a blog, I'm definitely up for hosting/etc a new WordPress blog — I could create a WP theme, either which represents the site design in aspects or is something new, and I have experience with the SE API and could integrate the SE login API for SSO. I might be wrong, but I don't think this site is active enough for this kind of thing right now? However, an idea I had a while ago was around how many people on this site have blogs of their own: perhaps it might be worth adding the RSS feeds to the Ask Different Chat, which might spur conversation about those topics? – grg May 24 '17 at 12:57
  • This sounds good to me. :) I keep checking the stats on the main Stack Exchange communities page for an idea on how active we are, but there's not a lot there. And sometimes these stats can be interpreted multiple ways. We get 203k visitors daily, but only 39 questions daily. Some would be quick to jump to the conclusion that's a bad result, but it could also be a good indicator that most people are already finding answers to their Qs and don't need to ask a new one. :) – Monomeeth May 24 '17 at 23:38
  • Obviously I can't vote on my own answers, but I'm happy to also get involved. Hmm, it didn't occur to me until just now that the Yes let's have a blog and I can contribute answer doesn't indicate who can help, so if we go ahead we'd need a separate Q to actually call for those who can help. In the meantime I may edit the Answer to ask people to add a comment they're voting to say they can contribute. – Monomeeth May 24 '17 at 23:41
  • @grgarside Re your earlier comment: However, an idea I had a while ago was around how many people on this site have blogs of their own: perhaps it might be worth adding the RSS feeds to the Ask Different Chat, which might spur conversation about those topics? - I was just wondering how you see this working? Also, do you happen to know any other examples of RSS feeds going to a SE chat? – Monomeeth Jun 18 '17 at 11:27

Poll -- No, we should not have a blog for the site

No, we should not have a blog.

We do not have a blog.

It stopped in March: We will no longer be hosting Blog Overflow

The reasoning is three-fold in basic:

  1. The vast majority of blogs aren't really active.
  2. WordPress is meaty to sustain self-hosted.
  3. Blogs can continue externally - they allowed each site to export data if requested.

For us specifically, the Ask Different Blog was very not active. We spent more time moderating spam comments than creating content, we didn't export the data since it exists statically hosted for scraping if someone wants to start up an external blog for the site.

  • Haha, yes, I just discovered all this and updated my question. I guess I could add a couple of polling answers: one for Yes, lets create one externally and one for No, let's not - just to see what people think. – Monomeeth May 24 '17 at 2:28

Poll -- Yes, we should have an external blog for the site, but I can't contribute

Yes, we should have a blog but I can't contribute.

Poll -- Yes, we should have an external blog for the site, and I can contribute

Yes, we should have a blog and I would be happy to contribute.

Note: If you're upvoting this, please add a comment so we can get in touch later if we explore this further.

  • Obviously I can't upvote my own answer, but I can get involved if we do proceed further. :) – Monomeeth May 24 '17 at 23:44
  • This sounds interesting/fun! I'm in. – NoahL May 25 '17 at 2:37
  • Sure, why not :) – owlswipe May 27 '17 at 20:22

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