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Amongst the moderators we've recently been discussing starting a blog for MathOverflow. The immediate goal is to have a good place to describe the current 'institutional setup' of MathOverflow (e.g. that we have a legal entity representing MathOverflow, that we have a grant from Sloan, that we're applying for non-profit status so that is possible in future to handle grants or donations properly, that we need to reimburse Anton for some things, etc, etc). We'd like to explain all of this in part for the same of transparency and public review, and equally importantly for the sake of recording institutional knowledge that otherwise might vanish as moderators move on.

We don't think meta is a suitable forum for this --- partly because it's terrible for discussions, and partly because many of these topics involve MathOverflow's identity separately from Stack Exchange.

I'm interested in input on two questions ---

Would people be interested in widening the scope of such a blog to also include posts by users about questions that have come up on MathOverflow?

A number of other SE sites have active (and I think often quite good) blogs. I imagine here that posts would not be about a single question or answer, but perhaps collect together and summarize discussion of a broader topic. If this is a reasonable plan, we might want to look for examples of blog posts elsewhere that would have been reasonable candidates for posting on a MathOverflow blog, just to be sure that such a blog is viable.

Obviously such a blog would need to be closely moderated, but it might still be nice to provide a forum for selected MathOverflow users to write discursive posts, without having to start their own blog.

(Even if the answer to this first question is 'no', we still want a blog to handle the institutional issues.)

Where should such a blog be hosted?

The options are essentially

  1. Set it up at MathOverflow.blogoverflow.com, alongside all the other SE blogs.
  2. Create our own, e.g, on WordPress.com or someone's private hosting.

I think hosting alongside the other SE blogs is a great idea -- it's simple, they look nice, and someone does the hard work. On the other hand, especially as part of the point of this blog is to discuss issue about MathOverflow's identity separate from SE, it might be worth 'asserting independence' by hosting the blog ourselves. Another problem is that by default the blogs at blogoverflow have a footer stating "Stack Exchange © 2014 Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS). CC-Wiki". Probably this could be modified.

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    $\begingroup$ Looking forward to the blog! I will repeat my suggestion to create a webpage for the entity MathOverflow that initially could essentially be just the blog and a link to "here" (I mean the main page). However, I would imagine that as things develop this extraflexibility could be useful. $\endgroup$ – user9072 Mar 10 '14 at 23:05
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    $\begingroup$ @quid, this is a nice idea. I wonder if mathoverflow.org is actually used at all (it currently redirects to mathoverflow.net). That would be a natural place for the blog and/or the MathOverflow 'home'-page. $\endgroup$ – Scott Morrison Mar 10 '14 at 23:07
  • $\begingroup$ re mathoverflow.org, the same idea crossed my mind and I just checked it is a redirect to .net [Sorry you wrote that anyway; I was in the process of editing my comment to include this refreshed, and was a bit to quick.] $\endgroup$ – user9072 Mar 10 '14 at 23:08
  • $\begingroup$ @quid: I just checked -- there are various free mathoverflow domains -- e.g. mathoverflow.info, mathoverflow.eu, mathoverflow.de, mathoverflow.co, ... . $\endgroup$ – Stefan Kohl Mar 10 '14 at 23:48
  • $\begingroup$ How about having two separate blogs? an independent once for MathOverflow organization and SE one for MO content? $\endgroup$ – Kaveh Mar 11 '14 at 1:08
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    $\begingroup$ what about mathoverflow.net/blog or blog.mathoverflow.net? $\endgroup$ – Deane Yang Mar 11 '14 at 2:57
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    $\begingroup$ I'd strongly suggest using Blog Overflow, because that's monitored and administrated by our site reliability engineering team. It seems odd to not get their help for free, and I wouldn't face resistance requesting a blog for MO. $\endgroup$ – Tim Post Mar 11 '14 at 9:30
  • $\begingroup$ On a second note, the one obstacle to this would be for me to clearly demonstrate that we wouldn't be launching a blog that would die off shortly after the novelty wore off - so if you support this idea make some noise about it here by voting for the post, commenting, etc. I need a page full of enthusiasm that isn't likely to dwindle to get this done. $\endgroup$ – Tim Post Mar 11 '14 at 9:32
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    $\begingroup$ @TimPost: Could you clarify the copyright issue with Blog Overflow? Also whether SE is fine with the idea to use Blog Overflow as the main site for the MathOverflow nonprofit. $\endgroup$ – François G. Dorais Mar 11 '14 at 10:55
  • $\begingroup$ @FrançoisG.Dorais Blog Overflow I believe is Wordpress multi-user, I'm going to check with Grace Note to get some more details. I think each tenant can set things up like any other blog, but I have to get some details (includes the footer thing too). $\endgroup$ – Tim Post Mar 12 '14 at 5:14
  • $\begingroup$ @TimPost, any word back on this? $\endgroup$ – Scott Morrison Mar 21 '14 at 13:15
  • $\begingroup$ it would be great if ongoing blog content could be introduced/discussed/managed also in MathOverflow Chat & the active bloggers could be liberal about including diverse stuff compiled/excerpted from there (have been posting various leads there over weeks). also a somewhat similar case/study cautionary tale is the tcs.se blog which had some initial enthusiasm & great content then disbanded due to lack of support/interest (a pattern also with se beta sites) $\endgroup$ – vzn Apr 2 '14 at 15:28
  • $\begingroup$ fyi Mathematics is starting blog also & see this post re se blogs admin/policy/mgt by community organizer grace note $\endgroup$ – vzn May 11 '14 at 14:37
  • $\begingroup$ I just found out this was started to some extent. Possibly it could make sense to publicize this a bit. (BTW, Anton's name is incorrectly spelled Gerashenko (missing "c") in the about there.) $\endgroup$ – user9072 Aug 1 '15 at 15:05
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    $\begingroup$ @quid, thanks for the spelling correction. Progress on blog-worthy activities happens incredibly slowly... We're working in it. $\endgroup$ – Scott Morrison Aug 2 '15 at 23:07
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Yes, a blog allowing moderated posts by members of the community, on mathematical topics that have been discussed on MathOverflow, would be great.

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    $\begingroup$ What does a "+1" here mean -- is it "yes, if I find time, it would be nice to look once in a while whether someone posts something interesting there" or rather "yes, I will certainly be a regular active contributor"? -- I think if the purpose of this poll is to figure out whether there is sufficient interest in such blog, this makes a notable difference -- doesn't it? $\endgroup$ – Stefan Kohl Mar 11 '14 at 22:03
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After talking with Grace Note (who looks after Blog Overflow) I believe we can support this, however, individual blogs can't really make theme customizations, since it's a central theme shared by all of the blogs.

The next logical step here is for the mods to contact us, and we'll go from there. But yes, I believe we can host / support this for Math Overflow & The Math Overflow foundation, and we'd be more than delighted to do so.

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    $\begingroup$ Is it possible to change the copyright notice at the bottom of each page? The current wording "Stack Exchange © 2014 Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS)" suggests that authors relinquish their copyrights to SE, which isn't the usual SE policy. $\endgroup$ – François G. Dorais Mar 21 '14 at 14:40
  • $\begingroup$ I'll get that looked at. $\endgroup$ – Grace Note Mar 21 '14 at 15:39
  • $\begingroup$ Shouldn't the blogs simply get the same notice as the main sites, all creative Commons? $\endgroup$ – Mad Scientist Mar 21 '14 at 19:06
  • $\begingroup$ Theme customizations aren't so important to us, I think. $\endgroup$ – Scott Morrison Mar 21 '14 at 23:31
  • $\begingroup$ Well, customizing the footer text is technically a theme customization (at least I think it is), just due to the file you have to edit in order to change it. I know you're not so worried about aesthetics and colors and such. $\endgroup$ – Tim Post Mar 22 '14 at 4:59
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    $\begingroup$ @FrançoisG.Dorais - I'll be in touch early this week to get some details and see what we can get in place for you. It's a really nice idea. $\endgroup$ – Tim Post Mar 22 '14 at 5:02
  • $\begingroup$ @TimPost, ping. :-) $\endgroup$ – Scott Morrison Mar 31 '14 at 3:09
  • $\begingroup$ @ScottMorrison Grace is checking into it, hope to have an update of sorts this week. $\endgroup$ – Tim Post Mar 31 '14 at 6:39
  • $\begingroup$ @TimPost, pong. :-) $\endgroup$ – Scott Morrison Apr 20 '14 at 22:36
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As Kaveh suggests in the comments, it makes sense to have an independent blog (e.g. mathoverflow.org) for institutional issues and an SE blog for "wider scope" material (if there is demand for the latter).

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    $\begingroup$ It's also more work to setup and maintain. One of the big advantages of using the SE blog is that it will automatically produce links in the box in the right column on MathOverflow. I like the idea that posts about institutional issues don't just vanish, and those links would be a good start. $\endgroup$ – Scott Morrison Mar 11 '14 at 2:29
  • $\begingroup$ Anything stopping you doing both? $\endgroup$ – TRiG Mar 20 '14 at 20:00
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The SE blog has an RSS feed.

Another WordPress site can automatically import RSS feeds and make them blog posts.

So,

  1. Create a MathOverflow Stack Exchange blog.
  2. Set up a separate blog which automatically pulls posts from there.

(I don’t know exactly how to do this, but WordPress Stack Exchange will have the answers. I do know it’s possible.)

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No, a wider scoped blog would not be a good idea.

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...include posts by users about questions that have come up on MathOverflow?

Yes (and in a sense partially No). I feel that all MO questions which are not strictly mathematical problems should be relegated to this new blog, they should never appear on MO proper anymore. This would include questions or simply posts about history, general mathematical questions, education, etc.

Myself, for a long time, I was thinking about the problem of writing a (or rather THE) 21 century mathematical encyclopedia. I mean the concept (there would be a lot of actual authors of the articles for such an encyclopedia). I thought about the printed encyclopedia from the past (general, mathematical, series of encyclopedic volumes, ...) and about the Internet encyclopedias (in particular en.wikipedia). One may improve on all of them. I have the idea of the concept of such encyclopedia, and certainly a number of people would like to discuss their own ideas or any ideas around. E.g. the mathematical encyclopedia proper would have only a minimum of historical information, and there would be a separate historical mathematical encyclopedia (or else the things would tend to be somewhat messy). Etc.

I wouldn't dare to ask on MO but perhaps an MO blog would be the right place.

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    $\begingroup$ I doubt this can ever work with a blog. But there is an SE site for math education now matheducators.stackexchange.com and there is a somewhat progressed proposal for one on History of Science and Mathematics area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/65204/… $\endgroup$ – user9072 Mar 26 '14 at 20:08
  • $\begingroup$ In the meantime the educational and similar general questions are among the most popular on MO by far. $\endgroup$ – Włodzimierz Holsztyński Mar 26 '14 at 23:57
  • $\begingroup$ I don't like the idea of anything being 'relegated' to the blog. $\endgroup$ – Scott Morrison Mar 27 '14 at 0:36
  • $\begingroup$ @quid, these days a blog may mean most everything. $\endgroup$ – Włodzimierz Holsztyński Mar 27 '14 at 3:18
  • $\begingroup$ Homeworks are relegated to educational and similar sites. I still like your, @Scott, sentiment. Here is a better phrase: Let MO blog be a haven for general mathematical questions. $\endgroup$ – Włodzimierz Holsztyński Mar 27 '14 at 4:09
  • $\begingroup$ "A blog" might mean most everything, still as far as I understood this question supposes a somewhat traditional meaning. What is a "general mathematical question"? (To avoid any confusion, homework is certainly not the point of the site I mentioned; it is not for mathematics question that are educational but for question about teaching mathematics, like course design and so on.) $\endgroup$ – user9072 Mar 27 '14 at 8:00
  • $\begingroup$ Would a traditional or a modern blog be better? $\endgroup$ – Włodzimierz Holsztyński Mar 27 '14 at 12:36

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