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Changelog: Suggested follows on onboarding!

ben profile image Ben Halpern Updated on ・2 min read

Last week we rolled out an onboarding feature for new users where dev.to suggests folks they may want to follow based on the tags they have selected. We have since been contacted over confusion of people suddenly being followed by "a bunch of brand new accounts".

I can assure you that this is a feature and not a bug. Those new accounts are genuinely new signups. Many have not yet filled out their profiles so it's hard to discern their human qualities. And there are some occasional spam accounts mixed in, but that is happening at a verifiably low rate. All in all this feature means more users following more established contributors. Great for everyone!

Top contributors in popular tags will now get a more consistent flow of new followers if they keep up the great articles. This should help people follow along with the evolving thoughts people are sharing on the subjects they care about. The algorithm favors recentness, so don't feel like you've missed the boat if you haven't written much yet.

We have tried to spread the love so it's not totally top-heavy, so you may get some new followers even if you are not a top contributor.

This feature was built by myself and Andy. He did a wonderful job of making it all come together. Andy is a critical part of all of our success and he killed it on this feature. The confusing roll out here was my fault in the process.

I hope this clarifies things. Feature, not bug! Feature, not bug! Feature, not bug! Since the launching this feature we have had to make some tweaks to the emails we send to make sure folks aren't hammered with emails. So any initial overflow of emails was sort of a bug. But you're welcome to configure your email settings here. So any initial overflow of emails was sort of a bug. I have personally turned off new follower emails. You may want to do the same.

Edit: Speaking of emails, this feature is somewhat related to this feature we also pushed this week after this post.

I think these features are both pretty great for readers and also help the reach of publishers. Keep up the great work community!

Happy coding ❤️

Discussion (24)

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nektro profile image
Meghan (she/her)

volkswagen bug with a "feature" license plate

I was surprised when it first started happening but it's a great idea to get new people involved!

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern Author

Most continued contributors should expect thousands of followers eventually—a good base to bank on speaking to whenever you'd like. This will be a mechanic from which to base future product/community decisions.

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ardennl profile image
Arden de Raaij

Aan I was wondering what was happening! I distrust the internet in general so I assumed it was spam 😂. But this is a good reason to keep my post count up! I've got so many followers, I feel like I can start a religion 🙏

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belhassen07 profile image
Belhassen Chelbi

new followers, how u doin'
how u doin'

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mtbsickrider profile image
Enrique Jose Padilla

"We have tried to spread the love so it's not totally top-heavy, so you may get some new followers even if you are not a top contributor."

Is this randomized? Curious how would you implement this.

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern Author

A bit of randomness, but also just a few adjustments to flatten out the curve to avoid a pure power law distribution. For example, if "scores" are divided like [1500, 800, 300, 20, 15, 13] we divide the love something like [6,5,4,3,2,1], where the person with "13" gets 1/6th the attention as opposed to 1/115th.

The implementation doesn't reflect this exactly but that's the idea.

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mtbsickrider profile image
Enrique Jose Padilla

Is this for new joiners only?

How can i find the top posters for my most interested subject?
Most Interested subject could also be calculated by my user patterns :)

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern Author

This is currently only for new users, but we'll be making this info more discoverable throughout other parts of the site as well. We're hesitant to put out straight leaderboards unless we did it tastefully. We wouldn't want to make it too much of a competition. So that's why we take our time with these sorts of things.

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einenlum profile image
Yann Rabiller

"So any initial overflow of emails was sort of a bug. But you're welcome to configure your email settings here. So any initial overflow of emails was sort of a bug."

Is the last repeated sentence a feature or a bug? :)

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maxart2501 profile image
Massimo Artizzu

Ooooh so that's why! 😮

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern Author

Followgate 2018 😵

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maxart2501 profile image
Massimo Artizzu

Haha I don't mind!
It actually reminds me that I have to write some more!

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ztickm profile image
Salim MAHBOUBI

Oh that's why!
I feel flattered that your algorithm selected me for whatever tags it thinks I am a good contributor to.

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern Author

The algorithm is all-powerful.

HAIL TO THE ALGORITHM

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mrahmadawais profile image
Ahmad Awais ⚡️

I was wondering the same thing. Nice feature by the way. Platform is growing. 👍

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philnash profile image
Phil Nash

I was wondering about this! I’d assumed a sign up suggestion and I’m touched to be among the suggested. More content for all these new follows coming soon!

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jvarness profile image
Jake Varness

Thanks for letting us know Andy and Ben! It's good to know that I'm not getting a bunch of spam accounts following me lol.

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t4rzsan profile image
Jakob Christensen

Feature, not bug. Got it :)

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dangolant profile image
Daniel Golant

Off topic: is the #changelog tag something only the dev.to team can post to? Is it the ~ * ~ o f f i c i a l ~ * ~ tag to follow for site updates?

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern Author

Yes and no. We have a concept of tags that require approval, of which it is one. But right now that concept has some loopholes.

But yeah, that is the tag to follow. We typically post to #meta at the same time. At the moment I'd say changelog is a subset of meta but you have the right idea.

TODO: Make more things like this official and less gray area.

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washingtonsteven profile image
Steven Washington

But...is it a bug, or a feature? I'm not clear on that. 😉

/s

Cool idea! And I (and I'm sure many others) appreciate the "spreading the love" thing.

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yechielk profile image
Yechiel Kalmenson

Phew, was wondering where that came from.

Guess I gotta get back to writing now. I don't want to disappoint all my new followers...

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michael profile image
Michael Lee 🍕

Was thinking folks were accidentally following me thinking I was some other Michael they knew. Really great new features rolling out from ya'll! Love these changelogs :)

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delta456 profile image
Swastik Baranwal

That explains it!