Unfortunately, that dream doesn't seem to be working out. Perhaps it'll develop in time, as the Philosophers' Carnival did, but at present the CoC just hasn't gotten enough publicity. A couple of other bloggers have expressed their support, which has been great, but we'll never get off the ground until more people do the same. Granted, it takes a fair bit of time and effort to write a post to contribute, and people are often busy with other things. But I expected more bloggers to at least express support for the carnival, raising its profile by giving it a brief mention on their site. (Note to readers: you can always start now, if the fancy takes you!)
Anyway, I've been wondering whether some changes may be required. At least while the carnival has low visibility, just having each edition sit there as a bunch of links isn't going to achieve much. Perhaps the carnival could be organized to more actively encourage discussion between participants -- get them commenting on each other's posts, etc.
Any suggestions for how to achieve this? I've received a few helpful ones already:
1) Keep each edition of the carnival to a small, manageable size. (That way, hosts can provide a detailed introduction of each entry, and readers won't feel swamped.)
2) Stick to themed editions, to provide a common focus. [An extreme variation on this suggestion might be to solicit submissions in response to a particular article -- but that might be getting too narrow.]
3) A more ambitious suggestion was to "make the carnival sort of like a symposium":
The authors of the posts that are accepted could be required to read and respond to the other posts—few in number—that were also accepted. (Also, if all this could be kept at the main carnival page, or centralized somehow, I think that would help. Less clicking around.) This would, I think, help start the dialogue. Maybe, too, the original authors could then be given a chance to respond to all the required critiques (this could all be done before the carnival was first posted) then I'm sure that would help jumpstart discussion.
4) An older idea was to have a "progress" section summarizing the resulting discussion from last month's carnival. But that's a non-starter until we get some more discussion developed in the first place!
Any other ideas to improve the Carnival? Having small, themed editions sounds pretty sensible to me. I'm not sure whether something like #3 could be made to work. What do you think?
Then again, this all might be moot if we can't find any more hosts. If you'd like to host the next edition, do send me an email. Otherwise, I guess there's always the default option -- (0) Give up on the whole idea as a lost cause -- but I think it's a bit early for that yet!