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2:01 AM
Q: New blog post: Prehistory of Great Lakes Earth

Monica CellioWelcome to the newest post on Universe Factory, the blog of the Worldbuilding community: Prehistory of Great Lakes Earth by John Dailey In The Beginning… Right from the start, Great Lakes Earth proved itself to be different from our own. Our Earth first came into existence 4,543,000,0...

^^^ I brute-forced that master list. If you notice any broken links or typos or something, please fix or comment. Thanks.
Also, I am so not messing with em-dashes. Feel free.
2:42 AM
Q: How can we improve blog promotion?

Monica CellioSome SE sites have SE-hosted blogs, and new posts on those blogs are automatically (via RSS) promoted on the front page like this: When Worldbuilding requested an SE blog we were advised to roll our own, which we did. (I understand that others have received this advice since then, too.) But,...

@Shog9 @AdamLear I started to write a feature request but ended up writing a discussion question, which I hope will lead to a FR. This way we discover other constraints and issues and collect ideas.
3:08 AM
@MonicaCellio answered.
in proper discussiony style
@Shog9 thanks.
On being able to engage with what you find at the other end (publicly of course), a question: the SE-hosted blogs were never (I'm told) integrated with SE accounts; a comment you leave on a blog isn't connected to your SE user, etc. And you usually need to log in in some way to leave a comment (though these days that's "use an OpenID credential", usually). Does being able to comment on blog posts like that meet the bar for being able to engage?
SciFi's blog is definitely one of the more active ones, and they have instructions on how to contribute on every single page - that's telling. — Shog9 ♦ 5 mins ago
^^^ That's a good idea -- they have a page on their blog with info about how to contribute, like our meta post but on the blog itself and linked from every post. We should do that (never thought of it).
3:43 AM
@MonicaCellio there is limited integration: you can sign in with your SE credentials, and it "knows" who you are from the site. But that's about it; you don't bring any privileges over.
And that's the biggest problem: I could be the top user on the site, putting in hours every day to keep it running, and... I visit the blog, and I'm nobody. Someone I've never interacted with posts crap on there, and it's right next to all of my posts and I can't do jack about it.
@Shog9 oh, that's more integration than I understood from a conversation I had with, I think, Abby. With Medium we have no way to connect to an SE account, though if you use the same OpenID credential that you use with SE we'll see the same name and gravatar. With both the current SE blogs and Medium, there's no special status but can be a commonality of identity.
@Shog9 well, you can comment. And if you're the top user on the site, you probably got that way by knowing stuff and knowing how to present it persuasively. Plus, you can fill out your "about" blurb to say whatever you like.
@MonicaCellio knowing that isn't a given though
It can be hard enough to convince folks to make persuasive arguments on meta
To even speak up
Too many folks see a problem and - if a solution isn't immediately apparent - leave.
I've been using these sites for... > 8 years now. And not a day goes by that something doesn't bug me, one thing or another that I don't have the ability to change.
A lot of folks are not so patient.
And putting them in a situation where the mechanism for feedback is hidden... Compounds that problem.
4:00 AM
I've been here for about 5.5 years and, yeah, there's stuff that bugs me that I can't fix too. And I see users leave, some because they didn't get a lot of rep and some because they couldn't crack the "secret code" of how to participate well and some because they misunderstood and... all sorts of things. I want to minimize barriers, knowing that minimize != eliminate.
So on most blogs there's a "post comment" link of some sort, and on blogs (unlike SE) there's no rep threshold to satisfy, but people still have to be willing to write words into that textbox.
SE, with its per-site metas, main meta, comments that you have to earn the right to post, answer boxes that anybody can post into but then get feedback that they're doing it wrong... that's intimidating too, and I'm glad we continue to look at ways to make it easier to come in.
My first concern for the blogs isn't drive-by readers though. That's a nice goal, but first and foremost they should do no harm; second they should serve the existing community and then - as the cherry on top - if they're an asset to new members, wonderful.
This is where I don't want to see folks feeling disenfranchised. I like how SFF is set up: as convoluted as the WP setup is, they still invite folks in.
If I'm new to the blog but old to the site, I'm not suddenly cast as an outsider who needs to crack another code.
Yeah, now that you've pointed out that page on their site, I'm looking at how to do something similar on our blog. We have a meta post but it's SE-focused (as you'd expect); I'm going to rewrite that to be more Medium-focused and link it to our "about" page for starters.
Site insiders already get linked to our meta post -- anybody who expresses any curiosity about getting involved in the blog gets pointed there, and gets plenty of help in here. But we need something on the blog side, too.
Yeah - keep in mind, the site will grow... The folks who are the core today will be different from those who drive it tomorrow.
Sorry, it's after midnight here -- got to drop off for now. I'll be back. :-)
11 hours later…
3:12 PM
I found out how to add tabs (which are tied to tags) to the blog front page. For now I've populated it with: science, fiction, RPGs, community. We use the worldbuilding tag pretty heavily but apply it broadly; maybe it shouldn't be on the fiction but only on the process-y posts. Any editor who agrees should feel free to clean up our worldbuilding tag some and then it would make more sense to add it.
What caused me to do this at all was looking for a place to hang something like SFF's "want to contribute?" page. The "about" page isn't as discoverable as it should be and also isn't very featureful, formatting-wise. So I'm thinking we create an actual post, create a tag with the semantics of "from the editors", tag it that way, and create a tab for it on the front page. (What we call that tab doesn't need to match the actual tag name, as you'll see with my RPG tab.)
Howdy. (I have to go to a meeting now, but didn't want to completely ignore you on my way out. :-) )
4:06 PM
I wanted to ignore you...wait.
1 hour later…
5:24 PM
@James Looks like you waited to ignore her.
4 hours later…
9:19 PM
@MonicaCellio I like this idea
the Worldbuilding Meta tag on Medium might be suitable for content like that
@ArtOfCode we (by which I mean "I would like to delegate this to somebody else") should see how the worldbuilding tag is used elsewhere on Medium. If it's mainly about process and suchlike, we can make our use of it match that. Remember, tags are global on Medium, and to the extent we fit in with common usage we might find casual readers.
9:52 PM
Ok, blog people in general: there are a couple things it would be helpful if people could do:
1. Review the "worldbuilding" tag on Medium and our use of it; do they align? Are we using the tag too liberally, like for fiction?
2. What 4-5 tags that we use provide the best "slices" of our blog for casual visitors? In particular, I feel like our science tagging is all over the place. We don't have room to include tabs for science and astronomy and biology and (10 other things); what do we mostly use, and should anything be retagged?
3. Unless somebody else volunteers, I will try to write a first draft of a "welcome/please contribute" message to be pinned to the front page, along the lines of what SFF does. Goal is to show people how to engage with the blog on Medium and to connect them to our SE site.
10:30 PM
@MonicaCellio sounds very good... but way too late for me to think this thoroughly...

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