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Discussion on: I feel like the quality of posts in Dev is deteriorating

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davidedelpapa profile image
Davide Del Papa

I think this issue is inevitable as this platform grows up. At the beginning I was attracted to dev because even though much smaller than "other" platforms, it was full of good and well thought of articles. I started to use it as I was learning, and I still use it for inspiration. For this reason I started to contribute back, as a way to show love to a platform that made me grow.

However, here the fact is that as the platform is growing, there is a sort of "noise" that starts to grow as well, together with the good articles. But I am sure this is connected with the growing popularity. For example there's much difference between articles for Javascript than articles for more niche languages (thinking of Rust for example, but even Python is not as in a bad shape as the JS threads).

There are several paths I would suggest:

  1. Let the noise grow unchecked, and let user come to distinguish naturally the quality of the articles they want to read. This is happening to other platforms as well: after a while the user come to recognize quality at a glance.

  2. Set a filter in place. "Others" are doing it with a paywall, however, I checked the quality of payed articles: they are not better than "3 things you didn't know..."
    Another way of filtering, besides downvoting items which is a problematic practice. What about having a "peer review" system? Nothing fancy, but maybe having some "reputation" points that let you "make a review" or make an article "recommended" (even "recommend for X audience" where X is the experience from beginners to pro).

  3. Another solution would be to divide more the articles threads. Right now the division is made on the basis of tags. There could really be channels of topics. The benefit would be that even if the noise is left unchecked, chunking the big threads in small parts let's the quality shine through: the "bad" articles gets spotted, and maybe isolated and avoided. This way the "feel" and "freshness" of smaller community is preserved. Also this way there could be difference between total beginners, beginners, experienced, experts... I mean, maybe if you are more experienced, reading "yet another articles on the 5 things to avoid..." makes your eyes roll, but maybe for a total beginner this is the right approach, and it can be really helpful for them.

  4. I think the general quality may be improved a lot by just enforcing one and only one strict rule: make it possible to signal (but of course the final aim is the removal) all those articles whose content is not in the platform itself but elsewhere (i.e. the articles that have an introduction and then a link to another site).

These are my two cents...

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moopet profile image
Ben Sinclair

Peer-review sounds like a great solution, but it too-often ends up as a way to play favourites.

Say Joe B. gets a good reputation for a couple of posts, then starts losing interest and churning out weak articles. Everyone recognises them from their early days and gives them a pass. Soon they're the most followed user on the site and newcomers see their articles first, giving them votes and reinforcing the problem.

It's very difficult to manage this in any community.

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davidedelpapa profile image
Davide Del Papa

I meant it at a per-article basis. Like having "curated lists".
Right now we have the "7 articles of the week", but it is a separated article linking these good articles.if there were a built-in way of labelling articles as "peer reviewed" a beginner would likely find first these good ones, then explore th rest(that don't mean they are bad articles, just that they are less fit for an introduction to the matter). And like this there could be other. It's a way to push people to write good content, so they can end up in the "featured" or "reviewed".
This of course imply extra management effort,bad you were pointing out: it's difficult in any community