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The DEV Team

New Experimental Feature: "Target Experience Level" for Posts

ben profile image Ben Halpern ・2 min read

We now have an attribute on posts which accepts a rating of 1-10 for determining the target audience in terms of how beginner-friendly or advanced a post is.

The goal is to help folks discover helpful content depending on where they fit on that spectrum. The #beginners etc. will still be useful, but this adds one more factor under the hood.

With that in mind, we you may now declare where you feel you stand "experience level" in the misc section of your settings. This is private info meant only to improve your experience on the site.

👉 dev.to/settings/misc

In terms of labeling posts with the appropriate experience level, we're relying on wisdom of the crowds. Users with mod privileges will now be able to rate posts when they append /mod to URLs of posts. There is also now a global dev.to/mod endpoint to be able to do this in bulk. We will add more helpful functionality to this post over time.

All in all this is meant as a gentle indicator to help people see more relevant posts. It's not designed to completely silo content based on its target experience level. The interface for this is also fairly low level. It may make sense in the future to allow people to pick more descriptive words, or possibly rank on 1-5 instead of 1-10.

As an example of where this may come in handy, here is a wonderful post which begins by answering the question "What is Machine Learning?". It's a great read for all, but definitely leans on the beginner end of the spectrum.

Otherwise, this post assumes some more advanced knowledge on the topic and software development in general.

Folks who are more likely to benefit from and enjoy the first post will be slightly more likely to come across it and the folks who will benefit from the second post will be more likely to see the second.

We will have some more instruction available, but mods can get started labeling posts by experience level if they wish to. This functionality will be available for authors of the posts as well in the future, but we'll wait until the interface for the whole feature is a bit more user-friendly.

Discussion

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detunized profile image
Dmitry Yakimenko

Cool! I was looking for a way to prioritize more advanced content, like putting a zero or a negative weight on the beginner tag, but I still get plenty of entry level stuff in my feed. I think it's also due to beginner tagged articles getting more attention, unicorns and hearts so they bubble to the top. And though it's a different problem, but DEV still has a way to go in attracting more technically advanced content creators. Hopefully this feature will help with this. I got a feeling from a couple of Reddit comments, that what is getting in the way of people reading and blogging on DEV is the lack of advanced topics and bigger focus on beginner webdev stuff.

Great work, DEV. Keep it up 👍

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern Author

Yep, interestingly I think there has never been a lack of advanced stuff per se, but it has a tendency to be overshadowed by beginner stuff due to popularity of that content.

Some other sites have the reverse problem where nothing is beginner friendly.

There will still be a lot of tuning to this but it should go a long way to making things super awesome.

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Tyler V. (he/him)

I found this setting when I was updating my editor to v2 as per Ali's post and thought "Wow, how did I not know this was a setting?" about this.

Glad I wasn't just missing it for the past few months.

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern Author

Yep, the features went up a few minutes apart.

PS, this field on the user actually has been there for a couple years. We briefly had it during an onboarding step but never made use of it. So ~10k users already have it filled out but it’s probably a bit out of date for them.

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Nick Taylor (he/him)

A great way to progress your learning in your career.

Power up!

Altered Beast

Mario Flower Power

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Ben Halpern Author

Yes, definitely! We'll probably want to have a good way to periodically ask people if they still feel like they're at a certain level and suggest they might want to bump up a point.

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Meghan (she/her)

Wow, this is awesome! I was just recently if this is something that could be added, since at least in my feed it seemed there had been an overflow of more beginner oriented articles. Just as you said, there's nothing wrong with those articles, they're awesome in fact. But I felt like I was getting less and less out of them.

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Meghan (she/her)

Could there potentially be a way to indicate that an article is experience agnostic, or would a 5 be the best rating in that situation?

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern Author

I think 5 is best for that for now. I think this is mostly designed so 2s don’t have to see too much 9 content that doesn’t necessarily apply to them.

But experience agnostic would definitely fit some posts and we could explore ways of adding that in.

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Avalander

Wouldn't it make more sense to just leave the post without rating if it is experience agnostic?

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Mihail Malo

Seems like it should take a range and not a single value?

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Amara Graham

Love this for tutorial/how-to type things! I always try to add an experience level and a time commitment so folks know exactly what they are getting into.

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Eric Donovan

This is great, about a week ago I started putting [Difficulty:X/5] at the top of all my android tutorial posts!

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Albert Cloete

I think this is a great idea. It would be useful to be able to search different experience levels on different categories. E.g. someone could a web dev level 8 but machine learning level 1.

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Christian Vasquez

This is awesome!

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Ben Sinclair

It will be used as one of many indicators. No one rating will have an overly dramatic affect.

I like this already :)