We're still there in some ways.
We still have a long way to go, but it's funny how no amount of progress can convince some people that your thing is useful. Skepticism is basically a law of the universe. 😄
But we've always just embraced skepticism as a very healthy reaction. People should be skeptical about new things to a pretty decent extent. It takes a long time for things to really get to the point of delivering value and a lot of people give up and shut a project down before they get to that point.
We also have the issue where some folks probably remember old, crappier versions of our platform as what the platform is all about. It's almost better if they forget they ever created an account.
There's a lot I can say on the phenomenon you're describing, but I believe my personal anecdote regarding dev.to may be more relevant:
I'm only one person and am far outside the standard deviation on several attributes. However, I believe my general experience will be repeated by people like me, and you will continue to see your community grow.
No one likes change and people fear what they don't know. Over time, however, a new solution can tip (in reference to the thesis of "The Tipping Point"), and people wonder how they ever did anything else. My theory is that staying the course will yield the best outcome for dev.to, as time is on your side.
Very self-aware! I think a lot of people go through a similar journey, but I think with less general intentionality. I think there's a lot of repeat exposure learning with our platform.
Knowing that so much of our community's content is distributed broadly to the greater web, we can trust that you'll probably stumble on the platform a few times before it starts to click, and we're okay with that. We could probably speed up the conversion cycle by being more in your face with our messaging to sign up, or by restricting content in some way, but that would be incredibly counter to what we're about.
So we've sort of settled on just going with the flow, creating gentle nudges to get more involved without interfering with the main purpose of just letting people read useful content. And then we allow the chaos of "word of mouth" do do its part. Someone might share a post in their team's Slack and someone else might say "oh what's this dev.to thing all about anyway" and there is some possible aha moments there—but we try not to over-manufacture this kind of behavior. If we stick to delivering value, we grow.
We're a place where coders share, stay up-to-date and grow their careers.
We strive for transparency and don't collect excess data.