For a while now (what, over a year?) the folks at Mathblogging.org have been choosing their weekly ‘picks’ of the blogs coming through their aggregator. The promise at the start of each post has amazed me:
We try to read every blog post that goes through Mathblogging.org. For the Weekly Picks, we collect posts from last week that give you an impression of what the mathematical blogosphere has to offer.
This, to me, seems an incomprehensibly difficult task. There’s so much out there and a massive selection of blogs are now indexed at the site. In light of this resource, our current attempt to revive the Carnival of Mathematics did leave me wondering whether we were barking up the wrong tree in ‘a Mathblogging.org world’.
Now the incredible level of effort that must be needed for this ever-increasing task has proven unsustainable. In a post entitled “The Weekly Picks are dead, long live the Weekly Picks“, Peter Krautzberger outlines a plan to cope with this:
The goal of the Weekly Picks has always been to show off the wealth of the mathematical blogosphere and to offer an accessible introduction to the various types of mathematical blogs out there…
For the next few weeks, we will focus the Weekly Picks on a different category each week. This will give us the room to present the full spectrum of the community.
This seems to be a reasonable plan to deal with this ever-growing task, and I’m delighted to hear the Mathblogging.org folks are human after all! However, there is a problem:
We realize this means we might be missing some great posts that just happen to appear on a week where we do not cover that category.
Aha, here is somewhere the Carnival can step in. If you feel a post you’ve written has been overlooked because Mathblogging.org wasn’t looking at your type of blog this week, you can submit it to the Carnival of Mathematics. (Of course, it’s then up to the current host to decide whether to include it.)
This approach has its problems too – much is missed, or determined by various biases or whether bloggers have heard of it or remember to submit. But while the Mathblogging.org ‘weekly picks’ represents a completist approach now focused on each category in turn, the Carnival attempts to catch the best posts across all with its anarchic, community-led method. Perhaps there is room in the world for both approaches, after all.