The Future of the Carnival of Maths?

October 4th, 2009 | Categories: Carnival of Math, general math | Tags:

The Carnival of maths has been around for a while now, recently reaching it’s 58th edition, but its organisation has become erratic of late. The first carnival was put together by Alon Levy who organised it ever since, continuing even after he officially hung up his blogging hat. The mathematics blogging community owes Alon a big debt of gratitude so I hope you all don’t mind if I say “Thank You” to Alon on all our behalves.

Recently, however, it seems that Alon’s other life commitments have caught up with him since the main Carnival page has not been updated since Februrary and the Carnival submission form indicates that the carnival has closed.  I’ve also tried to email him a couple of times (before I hosted the 58th carnival for example) but as yet have received no response.  Alon – if you are reading this then I hope you are doing OK.

So, onto the question posed in this post’s title.  What should the future hold for the Carnival of Maths?  I have thought of a few possible options as follows

  • Let it end here.  The community has Math Teachers at Play and that may be enough carnival for us all.
  • Continue the carnival in it’s current form but co-ordinated by someone else.
  • Start a new carnival series with a title like ‘New Carnival of Maths’.
  • None of the above?  Your suggestions would be welcome.

Personally, I favour option 2 – to continue the carnival in its present from but to reduce posting frequency to once a month.  As for co-ordinator – I would be happy to do it if there were no objections (and host a co-ordinating page here) – but if it is felt that this is inappropriate then I would happily step aside and let someone else do it.

It’s your carnival so what do you think?  Comments welcomed.

  1. tom
    October 4th, 2009 at 14:26
    Reply | Quote | #1

    One day in my lifetime setting aside time for ‘social networking’ (academic blogging) will become added to the long list of professional responsibilities. Until that day, we (the audience) certainly do appreciate the time spent by each of you (the real contributors) to communicate the knowledge and promote the culture of research and recreational mathematics. Thank you.

    As for the Carnival – my only request is this: don’t let it die.

  2. October 4th, 2009 at 19:15
    Reply | Quote | #2

    I also prefer option #2. I like having the balance of the two math carnivals, with their different and yet overlapping audiences.

    I think it would be possible for a new coordinator to take over the carnival from Alon (thus keeping continuity with the old editions) by creating an account at the blog carnival website and then writing to customer support via this form:
    Send a message
    Are you volunteering?

    The blog carnival database hasn’t been updated since April, so it would take a bit of work to enter all the intervening editions. But once it’s all set up, the ongoing management is pretty easy, if you take advantage of the blog carnival site’s automatic forwarding and other features.

    If the frequency is reduced to once a month, I may do the same with the MTaP carnival. Since I’ve slowed down so much in my own blog writing, I find that the carnival reminders are taking over my home page, crowding out the “real” posts. Switching to a once-a-month format would slow those down a bit and give me some breathing room.

  3. October 4th, 2009 at 19:55
    Reply | Quote | #3

    I also think option (2) is best. And I certainly don’t object to having you coordinate it, thanks for volunteering!

  4. Mike Croucher
    October 4th, 2009 at 20:12
    Reply | Quote | #4

    @Denise – Yep I’m volunteering and have sent a message via the form you posted so thanks for that. I’ll let you know of the outcome. If there aren’t too many objections then I’ll just go ahead and do what you suggest. If I coordinate it then I’ll definitely reduce posting frequency to once a month.

    @Brent – thanks for the vote of support :)

  5. October 4th, 2009 at 20:25
    Reply | Quote | #5

    YOU volunteered, and we are accepting… I think that makes you the OIC (official in charge) now.. take it away.

  6. October 4th, 2009 at 21:19
    Reply | Quote | #6

    I really like #2 and thank you for volunteering, Mike. I often miss submitting to the Carnival because there is no way (that I can find) to subscribe to an email reminder for who is hosting and the deadline for submissions. If you take over, I think this is something that should be added.

    It only takes me a few minutes to find something to submit, but I always miss the deadline and get lost in the shuffle from blog to blog.

    Perhaps we could start the “rebirth of the Carnival” by suggesting topics that should be part of this carnival (to compliment Denise’s carnival) … for example, Teaching Math Online, Teaching Collegiate Math, etc.

  7. October 4th, 2009 at 22:06
    Reply | Quote | #7

    Option 2, and here’s another vote for be you to be coordinator.

    I know we’re still short on hosts so I can also do an upcoming one (59, 60, or 61, it doesn’t really matter).

    There’s still a need for the carnival, given the Math Teachers at Play stops at 12th grade.

  8. October 4th, 2009 at 22:32
    Reply | Quote | #8

    That sounds great, Mike. I hope it works out! Whenever you get set up, let me know, and we can organize our schedules to fit each other (1st and 15th of the month, or something like that). I have MTaP carnival hosts scheduled through October, but I’m free to make changes after that.

    One thing I have found helpful is to write a “How to Host a Carnival” letter and send it to each new host, along with the copy of their data entered at the blog carnival website so they can check that I’ve entered everything correctly. If you’d like, I can email you a copy of my letter, which you can tweak as you see fit.

  9. October 4th, 2009 at 23:43
    Reply | Quote | #9

    I think the Carnival of Mathematics project should continue. There have been few submissions lately, but my perception is that this is due to the fact that the submission page is no longer working. I hosted the CoM last month, and after posting the #56 installment, I got messages from fellow math bloggers saying they would have submitted posts had they known I was the one hosting it.

    I would also vote for reducing the frequency to once a month, or once every two months. I can write an original, quality post every 2 or 3 months only, for example. Reducing the posting frequency and increasing the quality would be the way to go, imho.

    I took the liberty of starting a CoM group:

    Mike, you have been invited to the mailing list already. People who want to join can request to join. If Alon shows signs of life again, I would be happy to transfer the ownership of the group to him.



  10. HP
    October 5th, 2009 at 07:08

    Math Carnival needs a co-coordinator, it would be great if you can step in to help.

  11. Ted Gault
    October 5th, 2009 at 08:51

    Delurking to say I agree with the appreciation to Alon Levy to have gotten the Carnival started, and a hearty endorsement of option 2.

    And major thanks that you have volunteered to coordinate! I hope no one disagrees.

    I do believe Alon is well, as I see his comments on Majikthise, a political news blog, occasionally.

    I am an amateur math student, and I appreciate math bloggers, most of whom I discovered through the Carnivals. I do hope they continue, and your coordination will help.

  12. Mike Croucher
    October 5th, 2009 at 10:10

    Thanks the great response everyone.

    So, it looks like I’m going to be coordinating the Carnival from now on since no one objects. The first thing that will happen is that it’s going monthly to give math bloggers more time to write something they want to submit. Monthly carnivals also mean that we need less hosting sites throughout the year and lowers the coordination burden.

    I have sent a message to the people who host the Carnival database asking them to re-open the Carnival of Maths and to transfer ownership to me. If this works OK then I will update the database to include all of the carnivals that have been posted since February and then start thinking about organising the next one.

    Thanks to Rod, we also have a google group now

    and I have created a twitter feed for the Carnival

    Would everyone mind holding fire please until I get a response from the Carnival database people?