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    • CommentAuthorbasic
    • CommentTimeJan 29th 2010 edited

    The success of such an idea, I think, would be entirely in the details. Anyway, what's wrong with starting your own blog?

    Also, MO takes up too much time as it is!


    I don't think there's anything necessarily wrong with that. Working to get your blog recognized is a good way to filter content; it assures that the blogs that people end up hearing about have well-written content that other people are interested in.

    I have seen a few times that MO questions could work better as blog posts, but clearly not everyone has the time to maintain their own blog and I can see your point in this respect. What I would suggest instead, then, is that people try something like requesting a guest post on a well-known blog, and that bloggers in turn be generous with their guest posts.


    As one of the main writers on SBSeminar, I can tell you that the hard part of keeping a math blog going is the continual writing. It takes time to think of good topics for posts, and a lot of time beyond that to write them at a level that is accessible and interesting to a typical graduate student. If you can do that, finding an audience or setting up the website is not the problem.

    Between my own research and writing, an undergraduate research project I'm supervising, and MO, this is why I haven't been posting much. If someone else who had more time or energy were to start up a high quality, high frequency, math blog, I think it would take off very fast. If you are starting such a blog, once you have a half dozen posts up or so, e-mail me and I'll be glad to promote you on our blog.

    I don't see why associating this blog with MO would help with any of these problems.

    I fear that MO killed the math blogging community.
    • CommentAuthorCSiegel
    • CommentTimeJan 30th 2010
    Well, as for my blog, which was never remotely as popular as Tao or SBS, it's a combination of MO and the normal rigors of being a grad student...and it's in the "I'll do this when I have time" pile, but that pile gets big. I do have to agree with Harry, that MO has significantly dropped the output of math blogs, but I don't know if that's a BAD thing, necessarily, and we just need to wait a bit for a new equilibrium to be reached.
    • CommentAuthorAnweshi
    • CommentTimeJan 30th 2010

    I would never see myself writing a blog. All the incentive to provide insights and to be rigorous are upon me. However in MO I get answers to questions I want answer to.

    A blog is like a noticeboard. However in MO there is more interaction with a broader group of people and shier people can also come in.

    A blog is mostly about yourself. MO is collective.


    By the way, I don't consider SBS to be dead, just slowed down. Chris just put up a post on homotopy theory; I have a post on fine sheaves which is about 90% done and I have plans for several other posts.


    @basic, I'm no longer sure what your idea actually is. Would this blog merely be affiliated with MO or would it actually run on the StackExchange software? I don't think the SE software would really work for what you're thinking of, and either way the relationship to MO is tenuous at best. I'm not certain this is a discussion we should be having here.

    (For what it's worth, I have a large pile of unfinished posts, but the reason I haven't finished them has nothing to do with MO.)


    I believe the OP mostly wanted to make an observation that Stack Exchange platform could be also used for blogging.

    Such a blog would naturally have most interesting and commented-on posts on top. It would also have an immediate feedback for all the posts via votes, favorites and view count. The tagging capabilities would be also quite advanced compared to typical platforms.

    This seems to me to be an interesting idea to experiment with.

    • CommentAuthorAnweshi
    • CommentTimeFeb 1st 2010 edited

    One absolutely useful blog was that of Andreas Holmstrom. He is nowadays not posting at all. Initially the drop in activity appeared to be due to MO. However now given that he is not very active here either, other reasons must be there.

    The blog of Charles Siegel was useful and is mostly inactive now. Since Charles is here, he can probably enlighten us why ..

    Drop in activity at SBS is expected, since they are so involved with this site.

    Others like Lieven le bruyn, Emmanuel Kowalski, Terry Tao etc. keep blogging as usual. Nothing has happened to stop them.

    I myself benefitted a lot more from my one month in MO, compared to what I usually got per month by reading all the blogs. I even had much less enthusiasm to visit the blogs one by one. However a use of google reader/netvibes made the task easy and I am alerted whenever there is a new post in the blogs ..

    All in all, MO is much cooler. It is so cool, that I do not have words to describe it! I totally stopped hanging out at facebook, after discovering MO. Btw, there seems to be facebook group for MO... If enough people join it, perhaps I can too.


    @Qiaochu, you are right, one can start their own blog, but unless the blog is something like "what's new" or SBS, it hardly attracts lots of people's attention.

    Stupid as this may sound, SBS wasn't SBS when we started it. As a bunch of nobodies, we somehow ended up with one as the world's best known math blogs. I have no idea how to replicate that, but the SBS story should give hope to random people who want to start blogs.

    • CommentAuthorKevin Lin
    • CommentTimeFeb 1st 2010 edited

    best known math blogs

    Implying that there are yet unknown, yet secreter, yet bester math blogs out there... ;-)


    I don't believe the math blogosphere is anywhere close to filled up.

    Here is my recipe for internet success: (1) Think of a group of people who (a) spend a lot of time in front of computers and (b) procrastinate. Like graduate students, programmers, authors, or, well, mathematicians. (2) Provide regular amusing content for those people. (3) Page views!

    As always, the second step is the hard one! But there is no reason to think that it is harder now than it was when we founded the Secret Blogging Seminar.

    I don't believe the internet currently produces nearly as much mathematical amusement as the procrastinating mathematicians of the world can consume. Remember that most mathematicians are specialists: I'm unlikely to spend time reading a technical post about analysis, algebraic topology or set theory. And I suspect that I am broader than most. Suppose, for example, that you are a representation theorist. I don't think that the internet produces more than half an hour per day of representation theoretic procrastination. Same for complex analysis, same for algebraic statistics, same for almost any field I think of. Start a blog in any of those fields, and post entertaining, well researched content once or twice a week, and you'll be a success.

    • CommentAuthorCSiegel
    • CommentTimeFeb 2nd 2010
    @Anweshi: The reason that I've been silent recently is about 15% MO and about 85% "OH CRAP! I NEED A THESIS PROBLEM!"...once the latter is clear, I'll probably be posting in the vicinity of my problem.

    Reasons not to use SE:

    1. Why pay for something that you can get for free?
    2. Why use something specifically designed not to work for the purpose you want?

    In particular, blogs are intended for discussions and it's important to "own" your posts and comments. SE is a load of rubbish for discussions and anyone with high enough rep can edit your posts and answers.

    @David: It is extremely easy for anyone with sizable chunks of free time and a penchant for procrastination to blog quite copiously. I think finding *interesting* material is the hard part :).

    @basic: I've actually long wondered what something like your proposal would look like.

    @Akhil: I think the free time is the problem. You and I, as carefree non-graduate students, have a lot more of it than grad students and professors (which I imagine describe most of the active population of MO) do.


    I agree with Andrew that SE is probably not the right tool for the job, but you can always start one. It'll be in beta for at least a few more weeks, and then the 45 day free trail starts. So if you really think it would work, you can give it a shot for perhaps three months before you have to pay anything.

    If you're adventurous and poor, you can try running cnprog, an open source version of SE. As far as I know, the only sites running on cnprog are and See this meta.SE question about cnprog for various thoughts people have about it.

    • CommentAuthorAnweshi
    • CommentTimeFeb 20th 2010

    @OP, if the OP still reads meta: Why was the title removed and contents taken away, and the rest of your posts deleted? The discussion seemed a perfectly ok one.

    @Others: I note that the title was something like an idea of a mathoverblog, a collective mathematics blogging idea, similiar to mathoverflow for asking questions.

    I don't understand the point of this response.
    • CommentAuthorAnweshi
    • CommentTimeFeb 20th 2010

    @fpqc. Just felt curious. It was not meant to be accusative, or anything.

    But I do not see the point of your response.