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Four Cs of dev.to (What I like and what I suggest)

jjude profile image Joseph Jude ・Updated on ・3 min read

I have come to enjoy dev.to. As I mentioned in a Hackernews comment, dev.to has become one of the site, I visit daily.

While taking my morning walk, I thought about what I get out of Dev.to and what I would like to see in dev.to. Keep in mind that I don’t know the future roadmap of Dev.to and I’m not in any position to influence the future direction. This is an opinion of a happy and a regular reader.

Content: Dev.to is full of user generated content. Almost all of the content is useful in your day to day work, meaning they are all "how-to" articles. My Pocket reading list is full of articles from dev.to.

dev.to articles in pocket

Community: Because of high quality content, dev.to has built a valuable developer community around it. There are architects, product managers, and beginners. There are developers who use all programming languages. This diversity brings with it, its own depth. I love to interact with the community and learn from them. So far, I've not read a "RTFM" type of a condescending comment, which is prevalent in developer community.

Content and community around it are the two factors I have enjoyed with dev.to. I hope they keep these tight as they scale. It is a challenge, but I hope Ben and team are able to meet the challenge.

As I said in a previous para, I was thinking about how else the portal can be useful (not necessarily monetized, but useful). These are the two aspects that came to my mind.

Collaboration: As the community grows, why should it limit itself to passive consumption and few answers to question? Why can't the community collaborate for each other's benefit?

"Hey, I'm stuck in debugging this java code. Can anyone help?"
"I'm self-publishing a book on d3.js. Would anyone review if the content is technically correct?"
"Can we have a digital hackathon?"

And so on.

The collaborative work itself can happen outside dev.to. But it can enable searching for people. Taking the second question in the above list, dev.to can enable searching for people who have worked in d3.js and shown willingness to collaborate.

Commerce: Most developers are altruists (at-least the ones who come to dev.to. Today there is no money to be made there; why would they come there, otherwise?), but we have bills to pay. When we collaborate, we like to get paid. Again, the deals can happen outside of the portal; but the portal can have all the essential elements to support commerce.

Coming to think of it, there could be a marketplace within dev.to. Every market place wants a community built around it, because people buy from people they know and trust, aka community. If so, why can't dev.to go from community and to commerce? It can also partner with other marketplaces like Ionic marketplace and Evanto market.

Today dev.to is simple and there is certain attractiveness in simplicity. I hope these changes won't break that simplicity.

Originally posted in my blog.

Discussion

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Jess Lee (she/her)

Wow! Thank you for this thoughtful post. Your feedback is extremely valued and I'm excited by your ideas on collaboration. One thing we're working on is creating a way for writers to get feedback/help from the community on their posts before they're published. But I love the idea of creating a place for users to ask for help, would definitely be a natural extension of our "discuss" posts.

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Ben Halpern

Yes. I've been specifically thinking of a good tag could be #helpanewbie which could be a freeform place to ask any random questions you might be going for. As we've mentioned, we are not trying to be Stack Overflow. Stack Overflow itself does a great job of being Stack Overflow, but there is so much structure, protocol, no dupe rules, etc. I think a "free to ask whatever questions regardless of format, fit or dupiness" forum could be a great use of our structure.

What we have built are "primitives", which if applied properly and build on top of, can serve a lot of different use cases.

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Ben Halpern
  1. I'm so glad you appreciate the platform/community. We're working our butts off to keep up the good qualities you mentioned up and building on it so it stays that way.
  2. You have read our mind about a lot of the good things we could build to!

We're still pretty early on. We've only really been full steam on the project for a couple months since it was just me and Jess working on things in our spare time. Feedback like this is invaluable and extremely motivating.