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 ❤️