Some time ago, there was some interest in getting a blog rolling for Programmers.SE as part of the Blog Overflow project. In the interest of taking the next step, I'd like to discuss what the blog would be about.

What guidance can we offer to prospective bloggers about the theme of the Programmers.SE blog? What would a really great post look like? How do we prevent it from being just another blog about programming (or programmers)?

More importantly, how does a Programmers.SE blog make the Internet a better place?

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well, you could start with the top 10 closed questions by votes, those are all perfectly valid blog topics, are they not? :) programmers.stackexchange.com/search?q=closed%3A1+votes%3A100 –  Jeff Atwood Aug 12 '11 at 4:12
    
@Jeff Atwood - Those seem okay, but I bet we can do better! I'm thinking of value-add blogging: tips, tricks, and stories from the front lines. Humor is a plus. –  Scant Roger Aug 12 '11 at 5:39
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@Jeff: So extremely popular, but off-topic, closed questions are the new black? Maybe we can use this technique to get some of those abominations off of Stack Overflow. –  Robert Harvey Aug 12 '11 at 5:40
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@Robert Harvey - You nailed it! (and caused me to shoot energy drink out of my nose) ;) –  Scant Roger Aug 12 '11 at 5:46
    
I think our best bet here is to go with what @JeffAtwood said. It's a great idea and it gets rid of all of these "Is there a different site where my question won't get closed" meta questions. –  Dynamic Jan 23 '12 at 11:04
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3 Answers 3

This is modeled after the P.SE FAQ, modified for blog posts. I think it applies in giving a "guidance of theme", as Mark Trapp put it in our discussion. I have written this with the "tone" of being an existing standard for blog posts.

What kind of blog posts will we make?

The Programmers - Stack Exchange blog is for expert programmers to post articles that are not necessarily suited for the standard P.SE "question and answer" format but are in the same spirit and theme of the P.SE site. This includes topics such as:

  • Software engineering
  • Developer testing
  • Algorithm and data structure concepts
  • Design patterns
  • Architecture
  • Development methodologies
  • Quality assurance
  • Software licensing
  • Freelancing and business concerns

Purpose

The purpose of the blog is to provide a platform for users who are experts in particular areas of programming to share and expound on a topic without being constrained to the traditional Q&A format. This will provide a body of collective work that is provided by peer-reviewed members of the Programmers - Stack Exchange network with cross-over from the Stack Overflow site as well.

Blog posts should meet the following criteria:

  • Relevant to present-day programming concepts.
  • Highly professional and representative.
  • Have a constructive, fair, and impartial tone.
  • Opinions are the result of real-world experience.
  • Anything presented as fact should be backed up with credible references or research presentable within the post.
  • Applicable to all programmers, fitting within the the bounds of subjects that are considered "on topic" to the general P.SE site.
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That's why you use the blog to highlight great content from Programmers. Given that the community voted on them should give some trust into the correctness and quality, so if you elaborate on it: tada you have a blog post. Also a lot of questions just beg to get one comprehensive answer built up from all the separate answers. Mesh them together and you have a blog post. If you can't write a good answer, you can write a good blog post. –  Ivo Flipse Aug 12 '11 at 15:05
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I'm nervous about the "On topic for P.SE" label. Off topic is slapped on anything popular and there's a lot of people with a vary narrow view of On Topic. One can even see Project Management as not programmers specific, therefore off topic, since PM issues exist in the Construction industry. If these are going to be any sort of official requirements, just saying "Applicable to Programmers" is enough –  TheLQ Aug 13 '11 at 18:33
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@TheLQ Project management can be specific to programmers. Running a software project (in terms of scheduling, budgeting, methodologies, staffing, and so on) is very different than running a multi-disciplinary project or a project from another engineering discipline. Countless books have been written about managing software projects. If the post is applied to software project management, then it's programmers specific. If it's a concept that applies to managing other projects, then it's off-topic and belongs to PM.SE (or, if they had a blog, their blog). –  Thomas Owens Aug 15 '11 at 12:14
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More importantly, how does a Programmers.SE blog make the Internet a better place?

By making Programmers.SE a better place.

I'd love it if we could use the blog to provide definitive and comprehensive blog posts on several aspects of the site. Examples of such posts would be:

Recycling existing information should not be the blog's primary focus, but the tutorial like posts could help bring order to the chaos of fragmented information.


Another possibly interesting blog topic would be open source projects users are actively involved with.

Rough outline:

  1. Author must be heavily involved (an ohloh page would be nice)
  2. Strictly for non commercial projects (we don't want to go there)
  3. Author should be from the wider Stack Exchange community.

The third point could be expanded in that we should welcome posts that are on topic for our blog from people active on other sites, regardless if (s)he is particularly active on Programmers.

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+1 for open source Does SOpedians mean Stack Overflow people –  Ubermensch Jan 14 '12 at 9:21
    
@Ubermensch Yeap. I'll update that to SEpedians, to include all Stack Exchange users, the implied point being that if someone from the wider community has an interesting and on topic (for the blog) post, we should welcome that, regardless if (s)he is really active on Programmers. –  Yannis Rizos Jan 14 '12 at 9:28
    
Right. Knowledge has no boundaries –  Ubermensch Jan 14 '12 at 13:17
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How do we prevent it from being just another blog about programming (or programmers)?

Most of the blogs (on any subject) turn out be either tutorials or personal experiences and most often they are maintained by a single person or a group of few persons and most of them are just a huge rant of text. So for the programmers blog to reverse this trend and to be a blog by programmers (not entirely a blog for or to programmers), it could be grown upon the following snippets of thought

The Big Picture

An introduction to important topics explained both from a theoretical view and the industry view such as explaining AI and how it is used in a house-hold robot.

Same problem, different solutions

Different approaches to solve the same problem using different methodologies such as how could a problem be solved in the OOP way and the functional way.

Different problems, same solution

How different problems could be solved by a single solution. Design patters and their usage could be explained here.

A programmer meets an alien

Drawn from personal experiences, this section can give some interesting insight into how a programmer could/should approach an another programmer, the boss, the chief architect, the marketing manager, the newcomer and so on.

Things made simple

A simplistic metaphorical explanation of what happens behind the scenes from a user perspective

Programming - A way of life

This could deal with project management, software cost estimation, stress reduction, productivity tips and a lot of psychology and programming

Programming for other disciplines

Focusing on programming, for people from other disciplines (experts and newbies alike).

Real-world projects

A description of how real-world software projects are developed, implemented and maintained

The following are also worth thinking

  • Tips and tricks
  • Cheat sheets
  • It worked in production but not in deployment cases
  • Most common programming errors
  • Impress your boss cases
  • Standard conventions and practices
  • Technical books
  • Multi-paradigm programming

I believe that most of the above might already be thought over so the following could also be thought of thought they aren't totally related to programming(a few of these things may be controversial and this may seem to be a big rant from a freak)

Programming Humans by the Digital Divide

In this Age of Information, information is just being rammed into the minds of people as authentic facts fueled by the digital divide. Instant access to information includes access to wrong information also and a lot of people are using this technology to spread more falsities than ever before. So the underprivileged are likely to accept them as facts since there is huge information that isn't veritable by the common people. So how could facts can be distorted to make people believe in something. Can computers and programming turn out to be evil? (This is partly inspired by Orwell)

The State and the Computer

How could the State use the computer to better the lives of its people. How could computing be used in the context of Governments to enhance security and prosperity?. How could the data be used in a meaningful context? What and how could be the rules in creating software for the State? (By State I also include groups and communities)

Programming and Research

More insight into how programming is used in research and sciences. How huge data is dealt with? Can innovation be made faster and more questions?

More importantly, how does a Programmers.SE blog make the Internet a better place?

  • Best practices that could be adopted by a new-comer (IMHO, there is a lot of bad code around since most of the early programmers are self-taught and followed their own principle). This could be done by guiding new-comers with a full-fledged real-world project (Need to discuss more)
  • Making programming fun and easier for all so that it is as ubiquitous as a spreadsheet

So if some of us could agree upon a few of the above ideas, we can work towards building a programmers blog.

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I don't know if you noticed (of course you did, I spammed it everywhere), but there's another meta post where you can volunteer writing and proofreading for the blog. Judging from this answer, I think you should... –  Yannis Rizos Jan 14 '12 at 9:32
    
Instead of turning this post into a chat rant, I would simply suggest that we could have a chat before working out things. Unless a few of us agree upon a basic outline, it would just be another text to be indexed by search engines. To be honest, the programmers chat is awfully lonely. Technically, it looks like an Actor Model. –  Ubermensch Jan 14 '12 at 13:20
    
I'm not sure I understood the above comment... Anyways, I'm in chat now :) –  Yannis Rizos Jan 14 '12 at 13:21
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