21

As discussed previously on this post and this one, the current SE hosted blog service on WordPress is going away - with an ideal timeline of 1 Jan 2017.

It shouldn't be immensely complex, but there are a couple of things we need to complete:

  1. host it and get a URL. If we do it on WordPress, exporting from the old one and importing to the new will be simple, as a requirement is that URL post slugs remain the same, however we have had some discussion on host platform. If anyone knows how to migrate from WP to Ghost, Git or whatever while keeping URL slugs, then we can do that, otherwise let's move to WordPress.com as per @Xander's answer.
  2. inform SE so they can add the redirect link

So this should be really easy to do quickly if we go with a WP setup, or if anyone can help with an alternative and make it happen quickly (@andré-borie ?) then we could use another platform.

  • 2
    There is a Ghost migration plugin for Wordpress. The SE team could either install that or just put the database dump for download and we'll figure it out (with password hashes removed, if any). – André Borie Dec 19 '16 at 20:33
  • We can definitely get the entire installation by using Export - which gives all posts, pages, comments, custom fields, navigation menus and custom posts, so that might work – Rory Alsop Dec 19 '16 at 20:34
  • I am not sure that Ghost supports comments though. We could use Disqus for that but were those comments really useful? If most of them were just "great post, keep it up!" I think we could do without them. – André Borie Dec 19 '16 at 20:37
  • Heh, I can exactly the same about github pages, the biggest downside are comments through Diqus. There is exitwp, which (conveniently named) allows you to change WP into github pages. There is a decent tutorial about it and people happy with the results. Being a python person that'd be my take. Moreover, even for Ghost it shouldn't be much different. – grochmal Dec 19 '16 at 22:50
  • Put me in whenever you need me coach. I don't have a lot of experience migrating WP to other platforms, but I've got tons of heart. That's worth something, right? – INV3NT3D Dec 20 '16 at 20:15
  • Actually, how about we use Medium? It would remove the need for hosting and maintenance, and is still user-friendly enough for everyone to contribute. – André Borie Dec 24 '16 at 17:52
  • @AndréBorie The Worldbuilding blog (which I help support) uses Medium; we've found it to be a good platform. There's an option to import from Wordpress, and there's a setting to let you use your own domain name (DNS access and some technical skill required). – ArtOfCode Dec 25 '16 at 0:31
  • @ArtOfCode yeah this is what gave me the idea, as I was concerned with who's going to host and maintain the Ghost blog (I currently have time & infrastructure that I could provide for free but my priorities may change so it's better not to rely on a single person to "own" the blog). – André Borie Dec 25 '16 at 1:42
9

I have the impression that we are planning too much and doing too little practical work over the blog revamp. We are still discussing ideas whilst no practical, viable, blog infrastructure is coming out of it. I'll first enumerate what I believe as being the issues we are facing:

  1. Resistance to a wordpress solution, this is given the fact that wordpress has a horrible record of security problems.
  2. Variety of possible engines to use: jekyll, ghost, or wordpress itself. Possibly others (if it was me to do admin I'd love Django :) )
  3. Hosting. One thing is to choose an engine, another is to be able to host the resulting blog. Hosting cost money after all. A wordpress.com (the hosting service, not the engine) or a github pages jekyll would be a solution to that but again we are discussing both the engine and hosting at the same time.

My take on figuring both things at the same time is to make a wordpress export from the current blog, place it in some file locker and add to this meta question. Then, anyone of the people willing to help in the creation of the blog, can simply build a prototype. We would be able to make the prototype in whichever way we want: hosting service, github pages, even write a blog app from scratch (although I would not recommend the later).

If we have several prototypes to choose from it will provide with a better discussion than the uncertainty that we have now. Even if some part of a prototype would not be perfect we would still have a blog, and be able to improve it if needed. Note that several prototypes will fail, that's a good thing, since we will be eliminating risk from bad decisions from the start.

  • I've no real axe to grind here but I can comment about WordPress security. It is true that WP has a large attack surface and is so popular that it is inevitable that it gets its fair share of attacks. However, it also has correspondingly good security tools. I've been using Wordfence for quite a while now after having it recommended by the security consultants for a government hosting service. – Julian Knight Jan 1 '17 at 14:24
  • @JulianKnight - Heh, I never ever used Wordpress, I just have the bad impression based on other's opinion about it. I never did much PHP to be fair. But, for example, I believe that Drupal is as bad. On the other hand I believe that much more depends on the experience of the admin(s) that will be running it. That's why I'm thinking of making prototypes, so everyone would be able to choose an environment they are familiar with. And then argue why that environment is good. – grochmal Jan 1 '17 at 21:41
  • As I say, I'm not bias either way but if you do use Wordpress, make sure it is well configured and has something like Wordfence installed - as I'm sure you would ;-) – Julian Knight Jan 1 '17 at 22:18
  • @JulianKnight something like GitHub Pages (more or less jekyll based) would be better. No real maintenance; the GH team does it. Just drop static files in a repository and configure GH Pages. It's 100% free: a subdomain is included, but I believe you can add your own domain for no extra cost (as long as you buy it from a registrar yourself). – Anonymous Penguin Jan 2 '17 at 21:26
  • @AnonymousPenguin, that's great if you don't want any advanced features or integration. Other systems offer more if needed. As I said, I have no view here as to what is best for the SE blog, only about what is best if using WP. I am interested in what the outcome is. – Julian Knight Jan 2 '17 at 21:29
  • @JulianKnight if you don't want any advanced features or integration exactly my point. :) I don't feel like we need anything special here: the simpler the better in terms of security/cost/upkeep. only about what is best if using WP I agree. WP is a great product, it just requires someone who knows what they're doing who can put in the time. Since it doesn't seem like there's a ton of volunteers here to keep the blog running (at least no one has stepped up yet), WP doesn't sound like the best choice here. (It doesn't sound like you're arguing this point, though.) – Anonymous Penguin Jan 2 '17 at 21:37
  • @JulianKnight the simple fact that you have to install a third-party plugin to secure WP suggests something is horribly wrong. Also look at how the code goes against pretty much every best practice there is. – André Borie Jan 2 '17 at 23:56
  • What about Medium? It's got everything GH pages can do but with an easier learning curve, a web editor (no need to use or know Git) as well as comments. – André Borie Jan 2 '17 at 23:57
  • @AndréBorie, not really the place to enter into the +/- of different CMS platforms. WP is the opposite end of the spectrum from GH in regards to content management. If you need/want dynamic content, GH won't do you so much good, WP plugins change the platform from OK to good & having a specialist organisation focus security is a great help. But if you don't need the capabilities of WP, etc. - don't use it, but don't diss it because it doesn't meet your needs. – Julian Knight Jan 3 '17 at 15:42
-1

It might be a blasphemy to suggest that but...

Couldn't we just create a "blog" tag and then write our blog posts as questions on this site?

It has many advantages like :

  • no need to maintain a blog site
  • easier to participate since it's part of SE
  • users can gain reputation for their blog posts
  • all the moderation tools are already in place since it would be part of SE
  • No - that is pretty much explicitly out of scope. One of the key selling points of SE is its very specific focus on questions and answers. Not discussion. Not blogging. – Rory Alsop Jan 20 '17 at 22:29
  • @RoryAlsop I knew I couldn't be the only one thinking that. The software engineering site is considering the idea meta.softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/8386/…. – Gudradain Jan 24 '17 at 22:01

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