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Feed Customization

nestedsoftware profile image Nested Software ・2 min read

I recently read this article by @mortoray :

It made me think about a tweak I wouldn't mind seeing for the main feed of articles here on dev.to. I think there is one big cleaving point for articles, namely whether they are technical or non-technical. Currently my feeling is that the main feed tends to give a bit of an advantage to non-technical articles, articles about career, personal growth, culture, things like that. I don't have a problem with such articles in general, I've even written a few of my own, but for me personally, I'd prefer to see more technical articles.

My suggestion is to create a "dial" in the profile settings, which can be tuned from non-technical to technical. This dial, in addition to the one indicating one's level of expertise, would then be used to change the balance of articles that a given user experiences in their feed. The default setting would represent the current balance of articles before any personalized settings are applied.

I think it might also be good to have a somewhat unobtrusive toggle in the main feed. Toggling this on would turn on the personalized settings. Toggling it off would revert the feed to the default. That way users could easily see the difference with a single action.

As dev.to grows, every user will have their own ideas of what kind of content they want to see. No one is inherently wrong or right, it really comes down to a matter of personal preference. I think that giving the power to users to tailor their experience is the right answer!

Posted on Mar 14 '19 by:

nestedsoftware profile

Nested Software

@nestedsoftware

Simple things should be simple, complex things should be possible -- Alan Kay

Discussion

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These are good thoughts. I think we’re getting closer and are headed in this direction.

Definitely feel you on technical/non-technical dial as probably a good one.

 

What would determine whether an article is technical or not?

You can follow tags. Is following only technical flags not doing what you want?

 

I only follow a small number of tags, but the articles in my feed seem to be only modestly influenced by these settings.

Actually, I don’t care as much about these particular tags as I do about the distinction between technical and nontechnical.

If someone writes a technical article about something I've never heard of, there's a decent chance I'd be interested in it, so I don't really want the tags I follow to be too powerful.

If I were doing it, I'd consider some kind of filter, probably based on machine learning. I think that the difference between technical and non-technical articles is sufficiently clear that an algorithm should be quite capable of making the determination. It doesn't have to be perfect, just good enough to shift the balance in the way the user wants.