Group Writing Project or Blog Carnival Debate: What’s the Difference?

When it comes to group writing projects and blog carnivals, is there a clear difference or not?
Group Writing Project vs. Blog Carnival: Dictionary

Blog carnivals

Wikipedia’s defining characteristics of a blog carnival are:

  • a type of blog event
  • dedicated to a particular topic
  • published on a regular schedule
  • each edition…contains links to other blog articles on the particular topic
  • many carnivals have a principal organizer, who lines up guest bloggers to host each edition

Group writing projects

I was contacted by a blogger about promoting her group writing project. Her announcement post spoke about a blog carnival, so I advised her to head on over to instead.

When Jacob Cass contacted me about his Second Design Group Writing Project, it sounded like the beginning of a new graphic design blog carnival. He responded that one important distinguishing feature was that he was offering a prize.

I would define a group writing project this way:

  • a type of blog event
  • dedicated to a particular topic
  • usually a one-time event
  • each edition…contains links to other blog articles on the particular topic
  • may have prizes

For me, the main difference is that blog carnivals recur on a regular schedule, just like real-world carnivals that come to town the same time every year.

What do you think?

9 thoughts on “Group Writing Project or Blog Carnival Debate: What’s the Difference?”

  1. I’ve always wondered that myself. I host the “What I Learned From…” writing project which recurs like clockwork every month. But there’s no prizes, since we are a blog with that certain ze ne se quois (which is French for blog with no budget).

    From your definition, I’m running a carnival. But what if you’re afraid of clowns?

  2. Robert- although it’s not clear from my definition, I don’t think you’re running a carnival. Every group writing project of yours has a different theme while carnivals have recurring themes. ‘What I learned from…’ is way too general to be called a theme IMHO.

    Jacob- that’s too bad but I’m not too surprised in hindsight. Your 1st project was an amazing accomplishment, and I suppose your participants weren’t ready to go again so quick. I’d recommend trying to replicate your own success next time 🙂

  3. Thanks for sharing this. I’ve always been confused about which is which. So the difference lies really in how many times it’s run?

  4. Yes Em, that is a major difference but it’s not just the recurring, it’s the recurring *theme*.

    I like blog carnivals but I have to admit, repeating the same topic over and over gets boring and ultimately people don’t take it seriously, they just send along any old article to grab a free link that barely anyone will click on anyway.

    Also, blog carnivals rarely have prizes.

  5. thanks, jacob, for talk about this topic!

    one difference, in my mind, is that a good group writing project is just that: a group writes together on a certain topic.

    re blog carnivals: well, there’s blog carnivals and there’s blog carnivals. i’m not terribly enamoured with the ones that just grab the code from blog carnival and post it. there are others, though, that put a lot of work into it. often, the carnival against sexual violence is of that sort. not surprisingly, those carnivals also provide long-lasting visitor links (as opposed to just technorati juice). i run three carnivals among those lines: the carnival of eating disorders, the buddhist carnival, and then a carnival that showcases canadian bloggers, canada 9-5. in those carnivals, i also often include blogs that weren’t submitted, simply because they add to the content.

  6. Isabella, like you say – there are carnivals and there are carnivals.

    The ones that continue to generate participation do so for two reasons in my opinion:

    1)Their topics are so wide open that almost anyone can find a way to submit a link

    2)The carnival hosts promote and otherwise go out of their way to create a success, like you did with the Progressive Dinner Carnival that I participated in or like when you add in links as you describe above.

    Exceptional carnival hosts aside, the average group writing project is more exciting than the average blog carnival, which will just be coming back around soon anyway so why hustle to get your entry in now?

  7. Pingback: The Second Soup to Nuts Progressive Dinner Blog Carnival } Group Writing Projects

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