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IMO... Here's the goals that a homebrewer needs out of a site:

  • General advice & questions (equipment, techniques..etc)
  • Asking advice on their specific brews... troubleshooting a specific problem
  • Sharing brew logs
  • Sharing recipes.

The stack exchange does a great job at the first two, but is not an ideal venue for the second two. I assume that we should bail ship and use forums, books, etc for brew logs & recipes. This is kind of a shame, as stack exchange has proven to do such a great job at answering questions, but not necessarily sharing more general information.

Jeff know's why it's bad to post this kind of information in a forum http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2011/10/the-gamification.html

But will homebrew.stackexchange.com solve what the homebrewer needs? If it leaves out a significant portion of the problem, is it worth it?

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    As a veteran homebrewer and frequenter of many other sites, I could take or leave brew logs. They don't provide much more than passing entertainment. – brewchez Dec 4 '11 at 14:25
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There are two different - but related - ways to address this...

1) Stack Exchange isn't supposed to be a "Swiss Army Knife" of Internet Tools

For the most part, the goal of these sites is to do one thing, and do it well: provide accessible answers to difficult questions. Anything that gets in the way of this - extended discussion, site management, social connections... is intentionally de-emphasized. That's why we're discussing this here, on the meta site, instead of in a post mixed in with questions on yeast, sanitation, and brewing equipment!

There's nothing inherently wrong with using multiple tools for multiple tasks. If you want to keep a public log, or share recipes, go ahead and do it - use whatever tools work best for you. If you keep a personal blog somewhere detailing your brewing (mis)adventures, you'll have an easy time finding the details when someone eventually asks a question here that relates to something you've done, or a recipe you've tried. If your answer here ends up being useful to other folks with the same question, this site has served its purpose: removing the need for folks to sift through blogs and forums to dig up the answers they need.

2) But Stack Exchange does have a few other tricks up its sleeve

Even though the main site itself is a fairly specialized tool, the need for discussion and sharing is hardly uncommon - in fact, they're so often needed that we do provide access to some common tools for tackling these jobs:

  • There's a "chat" system available for every site. I put "chat" in quotes for a reason; you can use it to chew the fat with your peers in real-time, just like many other chat systems out there... But the messages are all archived, and you can respond to folks who aren't actually sitting there with the chat room open - they'll be notified on the main site, or next time they drop by. So if you wanted to create a room of your own and make a daily post or two about what you've been up to, that'll be there whenever for anyone who cares to read it. And if you want to create a room and invite a few friends in to swap or discuss recipes, that'll work too. This is one of the more recent additions to Stack Exchange, and a lot of folks haven't really done much with it... But if you're interested, stop by and check it out.

  • This is even newer, but we do offer blog hosting. Not in the sense of "this is my personal journal where I share brewing tips and cat pictures" though: the idea here is to create a public face for your site, give it some personality, invite folks writing good answers or doing interesting stuff to talk about it at length beyond the constraints of the strict Q&A format on the main site. In a sense, this is the polar opposite of Chat, which sites behind the scenes and is often informal or even chaotic. Blogging can be a challenge, and not every person or every site is up for that - but if you're interested, or think other folks on the site might be, go ahead and give it a try...

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    Excellent answer. Thank you. I know another tool that is offered here is the ability to spin a question into wiki. Would that ever be appropriate for recipes or brew logs? – Adam Kalnas Nov 4 '11 at 12:02
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    That's really meant more for posts where you want multiple user to collaborate on an answer (although it has been used for similar things in the past). See: blog.stackoverflow.com/2011/08/the-future-of-community-wiki – Shog9 Nov 4 '11 at 14:59
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    Too bad no body uses the chat feature at homebrewing. Its about as well known to the lay user as some of the formatting tools for writing text is to the lay user. – brewchez Dec 4 '11 at 14:27
  • SE chat is well featured and a joy to use. We'd do well to revitalize the chat for Homebrewing – Preston Nov 3 '15 at 4:20

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