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Cover image for We'll be adding more design and moderation clarity to tags like #help, #discuss, etc. We're also introducing a new badge!
The DEV Team

We'll be adding more design and moderation clarity to tags like #help, #discuss, etc. We're also introducing a new badge!

ben profile image Ben Halpern ・4 min read

We are always making small tweaks to DEV in order to best serve the community, and I wanted to share some thoughts about what we have planned on the tags and discussion front.

Some tags have expected formats

We plan to become more active in communicating and enforcing the "purpose" of tags like #help, #discuss, #explainlikeimfive, #ama, etc. Some tags on the site have an expected format and we have not been great about moderating those features to date. It's a good idea to visit a tag's landing page (dev.to/t/nameoftag) to check the description & submission guidelines in the sidebar prior to publishing.

The #discuss tag is the big one. We want it to be reserved for "sparking discussions" in the form of asking the community a question and looking for feedback. Some folks append it to all sorts of posts, regardless of format. Ensuring tat some tags are reserved for certain content will remove confusion and lead to better discussions.

This applies to our other tags, as well. #help is used as way for the author to ask the community for help on something specific. #ama offers authors the ability to open up a public forum for folks to ask questions about their tech experience. #explainlikeimfive should be either structured as a question, asking for an explanation of a topic, or it could be an author's attempt to offer up a simplified explanation of a topic.

There are several other format-oriented tags like #news, #challenge and others. Expect us to roll out better guidelines and mod processes in the near future.

If you mis-tag something, you'll get a friendly notification letting you know that mods removed the tag. It's not a punishment and there are no hard feelings — we consider it a design and moderation issue rather than an expectation that everybody gets it right. If you abuse the platform egregiously, that's another story.

Big threads

Lately I've been asking more broad questions that lots of folks in the community can weigh in on:

I've noticed that these are well-loved, and that they're a useful way to unearth "unknown unknowns" in your development process. I think threads like this are great for that:

In order to encourage more folks from the community to spin up these sorts of threads, we're introducing a new profile badge:

We will give out one of these badges each week on Monday morning, beginning next Monday. It will be awarded to the user who posts the biggest thread in terms of total comments and total comment ❤ reactions in the thread. DEV core team members will be ineligible from winning, so you won't be competing with me. It will be a little community contest for bragging rights. Hopefully nobody takes too seriously. 😄

We still really love smaller, nuanced discussion threads, we don't want to only reward the big stuff. But community-wide discussions are truly an awesome type of thread we want to promote. In the future we'll look for ways to explicitly reward small quality discussion threads in similar ways, perhaps with a more qualitative selection process.

Like all badges, you can only receive it once.

Upcoming features

Because your DEV profile is sort of a public resumé, you may not want your profile feed to be crammed with #discuss threads instead of the more portfolio-worthy content that shows off your expertise.

In order to alleviate that issue, and to make profiles more awesome in general, we will be implementing this feature soon:

Feature Request: featured profile posts #1225

Is your feature request related to a problem? Please describe. I would love to be able to feature different posts on my profile page. I have a lot of discussion-based or re-occurring posts which are great from the community, but I would love for people to see my best writing work when they go to my profile instead of those posts. I think this is especially helpful for people trying to share their articles outside of the dev.to ecosystem (i.e. tweeting check out my blog or something along those lines). Also, it would be helpful for job seekers who want to put their best content first.

Describe the solution you'd like I think there are a number of solutions to this:

  • Something like "pinned repositories" on GitHub profiles (maybe these could use the cover_image too) -- I think this would be the best solution
  • A "sort by reactions" view on profiles that is link-able
  • One "pinned post" similar to a pinned tweet
  • The ability for the user to decide how posts are sorted on their profile page
  • A boolean on posts for whether they should appear on the person's profile or not

Pinning to profiles will make them more beautiful in general, and will offer certain authors much more freedom to post community threads without being worried about how it will look on their profile. This is not an anxiety everyone feels, but it is a big deal for some.

The pinning feature will be one improvement, but you can also expect some yak shaving which could lead to a few more related features in the profile area. That's how it goes sometimes.

On the tag side, we will be adding more visibility into "tag purpose" in the editor to help make it clear which tags are appropriate for which posts.

Final thoughts

All posts on DEV can spark discussion threads, but some posts should be featured as strictly about community discussion.

One question for you: Should we consider differentiating from #discuss and center some kind of discussions around #askDEV? That is a format commonly understood on other forums, and we make use of a similar format with #showDEV.

Let me know in the comments.

Anyway, happy coding!

Discussion

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coreyja profile image
Corey Alexander

DEV core team members will be ineligible from winning, so you won't be competing with me.

Is it bad that this is the first thing I thought of too? 🤣

Excited for the changes and having a bit more structure to some of this tags!

You've been on a streak this weekend with some good #discuss posts!

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern Author

You've been on a streak this weekend with some good #discuss posts!

It's been a lot of fun too!! Sometimes I get so caught up in developing dev.to, I go too long without taking part. I'm going to start doing at least one #discuss post per day.

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coreyja profile image
Corey Alexander

I need to get more involved with the discuss posts!

You post at least one a day, and I'll try to leave at least one comment a day in a discuss post! 😉

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fikash profile image
Raffi Nakashian

I don't know what it is about badges, but...

I just friggin love badges. Please make more badges

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern Author

We have some more fun ones on the way!

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waylonwalker profile image
Waylon Walker

The artwork they have is spectacular, and motivating. It's so good that you really want to see it in your profile.

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victoria profile image
Victoria Drake

Hey Ben! Thank you as always for your hard work. I think you and the team are on a great track lately and I'm glad to see the trajectory.

+1 for the #askDEV idea.

Maybe DEV can implement a little helper box, similar to what I think GitHub used to do with markdown. I can't find the box I'm thinking of so here's a sketch.

Helper tag box

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waylonwalker profile image
Waylon Walker

Love that idea

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itsjzt profile image
Saurabh Sharma

I had 2 posts which both have more than 300 comments but they were posted 4 months so will I get that batch?

dev.to/itsjzt/can-i-see-your-deskt...

dev.to/itsjzt/can-i-see-your-termi...

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern Author

You're going to have to make some new posts, sorry!

But it looks like you have an eye for this sort of thing, I know you have it in you 😄

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itsjzt profile image
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waylonwalker profile image
Waylon Walker

Is there a way to backdate other badges such as the hacktoberfest ones?

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itsasine profile image
ItsASine (Kayla)

Hopefully nobody takes too seriously.

Pfft, gotta catch all the badges. Time to game the system *cracks knuckles*

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ben profile image
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cubiclebuddha profile image
Cubicle Buddha

I must admit that I have used both the #discuss tag and the #help tag on articles that I legitimately wanted people’s input on. However, it was also a traditional article in that it had a lot of content and I spent a lot of time researching the topic. So does that still fall within fair use of the #discuss tag?

In other words, do #discuss articles have to be title only (or extremely short)?

I only ask because:

  • if we want to make #discuss articles title only, then that’s an easy thing that can be enforced via the code. Or it could be enforced via a character limit?
  • also, I’m asking this question because if I misused the tags, I’m super duper sorry! 😢

(As always thank you @bhalpern and the team for this incredible community.)

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waylonwalker profile image
Waylon Walker

I am guilty as well. I had one removed today. I completely intended to spark discussion, but didn't really have a good call to action. Good on the moderators to catch it for me.

I kinda like the title only discuss threads as it removes the authors bias. Though I find it hard to post a title only

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Ryan Smith

My main gripe is when a post shows up in #explainlikeimfive and it is phrased as a question (that I might have insight on) but then it isn't a question. I think these improvements will help with that.

I'm also wondering if the four tags per post are one too many. I'm sure there are posts that legitimately could be under four tags, but most times the fourth tag is just filler. A lot of times that filler tag ends up being a catch-all tag of #discuss, #explainlikeimfive, or #beginners to get more eyeballs on it, but does not always follow the spirit of that tag. Again, the improvements mentioned will help, but my thought is limiting posts to three tags. Three seems like enough to get it to those followers that are interested but limit the filler and clutter in the more general tags.

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waylonwalker profile image
Waylon Walker

I just queued up a bunch of #discuss threads :), every Wednesday. I am newly in a "tech lead" role. I am using it to hopefully learn about others that I don't get to talk to every day and how to be a better lead.

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waylonwalker profile image
Waylon Walker

I did get called out by having #disuss on a thread. I think I had intended to spark discussion with the thread, but did not explicitly have a good call to action so it was a completely legitimate move by the moderator.

For a #discuss thread should the title read as a question, or should it end it with a call to action? Is there any specific detail like that?

I find that many of them do not actually have much content in the post, I kinda like that format as it doesn't introduce the authors bias to the discussion. Is that a recommendation?

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missamarakay profile image
Amara Graham

Why is that "Big Thread" badge absolutely cracking me up? 🤣

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bhupesh profile image
Bhupesh Varshney 👾

Will Smith : ah ! That's hot

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syntaxseed profile image
SyntaxSeed (Sherri W)

I haven't figured out how to view my badges either on my profile or dashboard. (Mobile site)

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andypiper profile image
Andy Piper

One thing to think about may be a trust system (possibly like Stack, but perhaps with a DEV spin) to enable other folks to assist y’all with moderation on these tags in the future?