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Stack Exchange provides a feature for community blogs.

Every now and again it is suggested that Skeptics.SE start one up.

Upon thinking about it, my personal position is that I will support that and help out where I can, on the proviso that there is deep community support for such an idea - including contributions. I really do not think that I am lacking a voice on the Skeptics.SE site, nor that I need another platform to share my views, so I am not interested in providing content just to keeping a blog afloat for the sake of it.

But, if there is enthusiasm, and commitment to contribute, from the user-base, I will happily do my bit to make other people's voices heard.

The StackExchange advice, in summary, and out-of-order, is to:

Raise the idea on the child meta.

This! Done.

Recruit contributors.

This is what I am looking for here. Who is willing to write at least 3 articles for the blog? Post an answer - optionally, even suggest some broad ideas for articles so we can see if this is going to be interesting.

(I would imagine we wouldn't start the blog until we had a backlog of 20 or so articles submitted and ready to go out on a regular schedule, so it doesn't peter out after two posts.)

Define the scope and purpose of the blog.

I have some ideas. e.g. I would like to see it complement the existing site, so I would be welcoming of rationally argued but ultimately opinionated pieces and discussion of skepticism. I wonder if the articles should be peer-reviewed (i.e. not just copy-edited, but reviewed for rational argument) or should it be more hands-off?

However, these issues are probably best left to another meta-question, and probably best considered after a few ideas have been posted to pique our interests.

In response to @Rob's comment: I don't have any firm ideas of what the articles might look like, and I agree with @Sklivvz that there is plenty of latitude for different styles and topics by author.

Just brainstorming to give an idea of the breadth of possibilities, and in no way meant to be restrictive or authoritative, topics might include:

  • Snippets from the stats: according to the data dumps, which are the most controversial articles? What question was answered fastest? Slowest?
  • Related to above: Recognition of the unsung heroes: who (excluding mods) is doing most of the editing, voting, etc.?
  • We may be a bit young for stories from the history of Skeptics.SE
  • Responses to criticism of the skeptics groups
  • Criticisms of the skeptics groups!
  • Books and podcast reviews
  • Literature reviews
  • Anecdotes about how Skeptics.SE has helped in real life (or not!)
  • Profiles of famous/should-be-famous skeptics
  • Interviews with users/Stack Exchange staff/our critics/anyone who will talk.
  • Point/Counter-Point: That PLoS One is more damaging than whale.to
  • Fallacy of the Month
  • Co-ordinating our nefarious plans to infiltrate StackExchange Inc. from the inside.

Plan a schedule.

I've no opinion, and happy to leave to another question.

TL;DR: If you want a Skeptics.SE blog, upvote this. If you are willing to contribute to a blog, answer this. If you don't care, do nothing, and I will take no further action.


Conclusion

After a week, three volunteers (thank you!) and six readers? While these are probably underestimates, I can't see there being enough demand to warrant the effort at this stage. The community is still growing; it is worth revisiting in the future.

  • How often would you be looking for blog posts from the contributors once things are up and running? Every week, Bimonthly, Monthly? – Wertilq May 21 '13 at 13:02
  • @Wertliq: That's a big "depends". If there were 6 contributors, and a (bare minimum) weekly schedule, that's about one every 6 weeks. I'm guessing that there would be a flurry of effort upfront - e.g. contributing 2 or 3 time-insensitive articles before the blog started, to give us a buffer and time for other contributors to decide they were willing to join the fun. – Oddthinking May 21 '13 at 13:37
  • What type of articles are you actually looking for the blog though? Maybe a link to an example? – rjzii May 22 '13 at 19:16
  • I think that's completely open, and the blog could have different styles of posts for different authors. – Sklivvz May 22 '13 at 22:26
  • @RobZ: Added some examples – Oddthinking May 23 '13 at 4:01
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I'm actually somewhat interested but I also tend to write slowly. That said though, I've written some book reviews before in the past and if we were to organize some sort of Point-Counterpoint I might be interested depending upon the topic.

Personally I'd avoid mentioning any communities (i.e. "Responses to criticism of the skeptics groups") as that makes it really easy to get political about things and take sides, inevitably in those situations it doesn't accomplish anything other than stirring up passions.

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Sounds like a good idea and I would be happy to support. I think a good dose of skeptical opinion (as opposed to answers) would encourage people to read it.

It might also be worth considering bringing in the occasional external comment on issues relevant to skeptics or even reproducing (with permission) interesting blog posts from others (here is a recent example that might interest skeptics: http://occamstypewriter.org/scurry/2013/05/09/science-better-messy-than-messed-up/ )

It will only work if there is a good enough flow on content to keep readers engaged so we are likely to need multiple contributors and, possibly, sources.

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I would be interested in a Skeptics blog, and would like to contribute. I have many other things going on though, and once things are on and running, I would like to blog roughly once per month. Pretty much no matter what happens I will have time to get out a proper blog post once per month.

I have done some blogging for projects I have been on before. http://focus.gscept.com/gp2012-1/ (I wasn't only one blogging there, but mainly the person that did) http://focus.gscept.com/2013ip13/ (solo-project, I did all the blogging)

Both those projects I had to blog at least once every week though, and my posts varied very much in quality. I would prefer a slower pace, so I at all times have the energy and time to make quality posts.

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