18

Firstly - yes we have a blog - with 91 posts over the last 5 years (although the last 8 months has been a bit of a desert, for various reasons - one being the removal of support for blogs.)

Now, Stack Exchange is going to be discontinuing the BlogOverflow.com website for community blogs entirely.

We are going to be given the option of creating an offsite blog which will be maintained solely by us (this has been done on WorldBuilding.SE).

This prompted the question of whether we even want to continue to have a blog? The blog has been incredibly popular for periods of time, and even now our top post has had 67,000 views in the last year.

If we move to a third party blog site, SE will probably provide us with the core data from the existing blog, and the graphic design, but we might need to convert a number of the current entries to new formatting for a different site (the existing one is WordPress)

So what do you think - keep it going and try to grow it back up on a platform we manage ourselves?

  • Based on new answers to this I believe that we need a second question asking what we will consider on topic in the blog. There is a lot of concern about contributing content, which is sensible since InfoSec is a huge area. Will on-topic be defined in exactly the same way as for the question on the site? – grochmal Oct 22 '16 at 22:37
  • I think it's worth asking this as a separate question... We do have a solid answer already, as our blog has always been wider than the site as blogs can have more discussion – Rory Alsop Oct 22 '16 at 22:41
23

I would say keep it, but stay away from Wordpress (unless you want to use the blog as a live demonstration of the dangers of automated vulnerability scanners). I'd say a static site (published on Github Pages) would be a great idea, as it's quite easy to set up, requires no maintenance/updates, and it's easy for everyone to contribute and improve other's posts.

About the lack of HTTPS on Github pages, we could keep the site's contents on GitHub but host using our own server which would allow us to use HTTPS. I can provide one free of charge if necessary.

  • 3
    André - you know the existing one is on Wordpress, right? :-) – Rory Alsop Oct 20 '16 at 17:18
  • 7
    @RoryAlsop I do know, that doesn't mean we can't change it and make it better and more secure. Also the current one was managed by SE so if it gets compromised it wasn't really our problem, but now the maintenance would be on one of us and I'd rather not see someone waste their valuable time on securing a piece of hopelessly broken software. – André Borie Oct 20 '16 at 17:29
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    I do agree, which is why I added the smiley – Rory Alsop Oct 20 '16 at 17:52
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    As to what to use instead of Wordpress I guess it should be another question. Yet, my only concern about using something else is markdown support. I believe that we all agree that all sec.SE community users can write markdown effortlessly because of SE but that would not be the case with other types of markup. Therefore github pages do have my vote. – grochmal Oct 20 '16 at 20:31
  • @grochmal I'll use my vote for ghost. It's small, lightweight, powerful and it supports markdown. – Ave Oct 22 '16 at 12:41
  • @ardaozkal the issue with Ghost is that 1) you still need to maintain a server, and 2) it's quite hard to collaborate, especially compared to Github Pages where you can use standard git & pull requests to make changes. – André Borie Oct 22 '16 at 12:52
  • Jekyll has an import plugin that supports WordPress: import.jekyllrb.com/docs/wordpress – mschwaig Oct 23 '16 at 17:53
  • One slightly annoying thing about GH Pages is that if you use a custom domain, you can't use HTTPS (at least directly - you can use a service like Cloudflare to handle TLS termination at their servers, but that's a) not great and b) introduces Cloudflare into the equation, which is its own debate). Granted, for a simple static blog there's not much of a security benefit from HTTPS, but it still seems silly if a community of security professionals went with a non-HTTPS site (like meta.security.stackexchange.com, cough). – Xiong Chiamiov Oct 25 '16 at 22:49
  • @XiongChiamiov the TLS issue can be solved by hosting with our own server, while still keeping the content on Github for easy collaboration (and redundancy - what if the server goes down and the owner can't be contacted in a timely manner?). – André Borie Nov 6 '16 at 4:18
12

Do we want to continue with our blog?

My vote is no. The last post was 8 months ago, and the few blogs I follow are already well-established in the infosec community. I don't really look at Security.SE as a place to get cutting edge information. The community was inundated with dirty cow questions. Something like that would have been useful IMNSHO in a blog post. However, this community has a wiki that can be added to as well, and for the use cases that I see of a wiki and a blog in Security.SE, it seems to be duplicate effort.

However, if there is a renewed effort to write content, I'll support it. My primary question will be "what will be in a blog?" Will it be an aggregate of user blogs? Cool. I have one place to go if I'm looking for content. But I don't see the blog here as a source for fresh information. Security.SE is a place for me to help others with security questions.

Standard disclaimer:

YMMV IMO. This is my opinion for my views.

  • 2
    Those who are downvoting, please comment why. – h4ckNinja Oct 23 '16 at 1:48
  • 3
    Votes on meta signify agreement/disagreement – Rory Alsop Nov 15 '16 at 23:12
7

I would be a fan of keeping it. It would be nice to move it to another WordPress based host (WordPress.com, specifically) to minimize the effort required for a transition.

I would be willing to volunteer to help if that is needed.

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    And of course, let's make sure to never patch the WP instance. – Simon Oct 19 '16 at 19:46
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    @Simon Modern WordPress allows for automatic updates. – Xander Oct 19 '16 at 19:56
  • I think growing it on a platform we manage ourselves is a great idea. It might take a little bit of legwork, but I spend a preposterous amount of time on this Stack as it is; sharing that time with a similar project sounds refreshing to me. I also offer myself as a volunteer if needed. – INV3NT3D Oct 19 '16 at 20:01
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    @Xander That's no fun! – Simon Oct 19 '16 at 21:02
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    W...word... P....press? No... please, please don't. :'( – Mark Buffalo Oct 24 '16 at 8:25
6

No, stop blogging.

There is not enough content. In 2016 only one post was added. Same for 2015. I see this as an indication that there are not enough authors or the authors do not have enough time or motivation to write for the blog.

Many people already have their own blog where they can write posts on, so a sec.se blog does not really create a new platform for sharing content.

Finally, it takes work to maintain a blog. You have to write content, update your Wordpress, configure your hosting, track down and fix bugs and performance issues, and review comments. It is easy to answer "yes" here on this question, but it is a lot harder to write a blog post every month.

  • It depends on how many people are willing to put effort into the upkeep, and how many people are trusted to do those things. I agree that, clearly, there has been a lull in the past couple years, but I think that same fact makes a great case for a fresh start. If enough people are willing, there's no harm in giving it a go, IMHO. – INV3NT3D Oct 20 '16 at 12:41
  • Sjoerd, actually this does give a (not new, as we already have it) platform that has a wide audience, and can deliver useful information. I'm certainly not going to follow personal blogs, but I will follow a community blog. – Rory Alsop Oct 20 '16 at 17:19
6

Before you decide to keep it or not, figure out if/how the blog could be promoted. I have been around for quite a while, but had no idea the blog existed, or that StackExchange even had blogs at all.

If we can't come up with a workable, low-maintenance strategy that will drive people to read it, I see little point in trying to keep the blog alive.

  • Even now we get good reader numbers, but when we were posting regularly the numbers were far higher. Back then we promoted every post in the sidebar, and I would expect to do the same. Maintenance is easy. We just need enough people committed to delivering, rather than just 3 or 4 of us. – Rory Alsop Oct 24 '16 at 21:58
  • Agreed - this meta thread was the first time I heard about the blog. – Anders Oct 25 '16 at 8:51
4

TL;DR We should definitely keep it, I'm 100% with Xander. I should probably start writing one or two blog posts anyway, to finally get the hang of writing posts.


The community blog accepts stories that are published on personal blogs of our users. This is not to say that we make a personal blog promotion and marketing suite out of the sec.SE community blog. There are rules:

Any member of the community can contribute. If you have a suggestion for a post here, comment on meta. Regular contributors are given an account on the blog, where they can submit posts to be reviewed. We have also selected Editors who can review and publish posts.

But this should be a win-win situation with the personal blog. Since our users can promote the content in whichever way they want (i.e. linking to their personal blog or to the community blog).

The only thing we need to do is to make the blog more known around our users. For example, I did not know it exists until an hour ago.


Disclaimer: I have never ever written a single blog post (at least not one that I completed an published)

  • We have pretty much always done this - many of the contributors have posted to the sec.se blog and their own. – Rory Alsop Oct 19 '16 at 22:00
  • @RoryAlsop - Ooops, there we see again how I am clueless about the blog (or blogging in general). I have revamped the answer into an extra info post, instead of a proposal. We need to make the blog more known, and make the point that we can submit stories from personal blogs more known too! (I just left the answer here because some poor soul, like me, may come here and not know about accepting content from personal blogs) – grochmal Oct 19 '16 at 22:41
  • No worries. It was very popular, then we had a slump (but it still gets a lot of visits) – Rory Alsop Oct 19 '16 at 22:50
1

I think the most great ways will be to maintain Jekyll based blog with information containing to that relative of information security domain:

  1. could be latest gigs in pentest scectrum
  2. could be career related information related to information security
  3. could be latest hacks, how were they conducted
  4. an interview section (this might resolve the promotion dilemma)

This could be limited down to what are the scopes on a blog particularly related to a specific domain should be. It should eradicate most which aren't required like 'how-to's' etc.. & probably stick to the ones which are more generic in the scene.

0

Don't continue with the blog unless more thoughts is put into it. Honestly 91 posts over the last 5 years is not alot.

Top post with 67,000 views in the last year. How long does it take for 67,000 views and how many other views for other posts.

I think effort can be redirected here for more initiatives or other ideas.

  1. Finding out how to address the stigma some other folks has with stack exchange? Down voting unnecessarily by users, complaints about higher rep users abusing power? Well these are some things I came across posted on the web. You can do a search for it.

  2. Again like others has mentioned, Will be good if we can brainstorm how we promote the blog better and market it more. I too have not heard of the blog until recently.

  3. Blogs if there are dated content with no frequent no one will want to visit it unless it appears on a search engine. Perhaps if regular blogs contributor can be pulled from newer users as well?

  4. Some posts from previous blogs are dated article on technologies during that time. Some cleanup effort is needed to be done to decide which post should be ported over.

  • Not sure what effort can be redirected, exactly, but if you have ideas I would love to hear them. The core who posted for the first few years seem to be in favour of continuing/rebooting, and the 86 posts we had in the first 3 years seems about the right number. – Rory Alsop Nov 15 '16 at 23:14
  • I don't know why is there a need for someone to downvote my answers. Anyway i feel no matter how committed one is to contributing to a blog. Eventually one will run out of steam. Things happen in life, maybe from personal life or work. Rebooting / Continuing is ok as well and probably more thoughts is needed as mentioned in updated answers. – Lester T. Nov 16 '16 at 1:53
  • Lester - on meta, downvotes indicate disagreement. – Rory Alsop Dec 19 '16 at 20:21

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