I have just written a long meta post that I'm told doesn't really belong here. I agree, but think something like it belongs somewhere if we are to really service educators.
What doesn't work.
Neither a Question/Answer format nor a Chat format works for such writing. If I pose it as a question and then answer it, it seems self serving. It is also longer than most would be looking for in a question.
Chat doesn't work, even in a separate room, since commentators will interrupt the thread as it is being written and a reader later will need to evaluate all of the inline commentary along with the author's key ideas. The classroom is no good, of course, since we often have multiple simultaneous threads going on.
Separate chats also disappear automatically after a while, though this might be changed, I suppose.
What I propose.
I propose two things. I will discuss them separately. First is a Blog platform similar to our Meta where a user can post something long and (hopefully) unified, that will be maintained. Second is, for each Blog post a separate, dedicated chat room for that post.
A proposal for the Blog
I would think that users over a certain rep, neither too small, nor prohibitive, ought to be able to open a new Post in the Blog. It would be known as a "Post", not a question. There would be, in this idea, no "Answer" post possible, however, the ordinary comments could be left as they can be left for questions and answers elsewhere. Only the OP of a post will have edit capabilities (other than mods... for maintenance). But it wouldn't be like a community post as the intent is to capture the thoughts of an individual.
I'll just pick a number, 500, for the min rep to post. Just a guess. Just a minor suggestion.
Other users, who are allowed to post, will, of course, be able to give their own personal views that may be contrary to a given post. But lacking "answers" inline, it is less likely, I think to result in edit-wars.
I would also suggest that the Blog not affect rep. An interesting idea, however, is that a member would need to "pay" some rep for a ticket to post. Not too much, but enough so you think about it.
A proposal for the associated chat
This proposal suggests that each such blog post have automatically opened a chat room dedicated to that post. Some rep is needed to comment in these chats. I'd suggest enough rep that a user has made some commitment to the site. I'd think actual membership should be required as well as, say 25 in-site rep. This is to prevent, or slow, off-hand comments by people who have given little thought to the teaching process.
The chat room would be free form and an author could have BS called there if needed, but such comments would leave the original post intact for the future. If a chat dies out, then the room might be eliminated in the usual way, but leaving the original in place.
Such a process would allow for long-form writing, perhaps somewhat philosophical. My reason for suggesting it, and for the long piece I already wrote, is that some teachers, especially younger ones, may have seen only a limited subset of what it is possible to do in teaching and might be inspired to try different things, if they only knew about them.
Without something like this, there are things that should be said, that are important to say, and that deserve a hearing, but will have no home here. I think that would be a loss.
It seems that SE won't want to resuscitate blogs, so if we want to do it, we need to do it ourselves. I think the following are barriers. Please correct me or add additional if you like.
- Domain name: Someone needs to own it and pay for it. That someone needs to be around for the foreseeable future.
- Hosting: Someone needs to own it and pay for it. That someone needs to be around for the foreseeable future.
- Selecting a platform: Probably not a big issue unless the following interfere.
- Specific design of the site: ditto.
- Integrating it with CSEducators: If membership and rep is a requirement to post then we need to authenticate users here. There is an api: OAuth.
- Setting membership rules, etc to be compatible: Negotiable.
Desirable features of a Blog
- Editing similar to this site. Markdown, MathJax, etc so that users can use their skills in both without change.
- Permalinks. Each Post should have a listed permalink to make external references easy and permanent.
- Search. Normal search for text and also search by author.
- Archive. Posts should be archived by date. There should be an easy way to bring back a range of posts by date and date-range. Some blogs just have a list of archive "issues" at the side. Other things are possible.
- Tags/Categories. Posts should be able to be tagged with multiple tags. These could be taken from the main site, separate for blog-space, or merely textual markers not collected. It should be possible to bring up all posts for a given tag as is done on the main site.
- Images. If not too expensive, it would be a nice feature if images could be uploaded and saved. Otherwise they depend on external links, which could expire.