cover image by By Rhododendrites - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,
After reading Samuel's piece on some concerns about the DEV content streams (and the great discussion in the comments) I found myself writing something so long I decided to post it as its own article.
Betteridge's law of headlines is an adage that states: "Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no." And this article is no exception.
tl;dr DEV is a human-operated editorial site and as such isn't locked in to any content strategy. No site will be perfect for everyone but DEV has a ton to offer to most developers
Working as a dev advocate, this site is one of the places I go to work: promoting interesting tutorials and ideas that will appeal to people. As such its vagaries are quite fascinating to me: that beginner content is dominant isn't that surprising considering that the tech industry is trying to double in size in the next five years, but other stuff is more surprising like the heavy weighting on recent posts. Anything from last month feels invisible. It's almost a hybrid of Twitter and Medium, with content going stale quite fest. That contributes to a sort of 'treadmill' feel where a 'beginner's guide to GitHub' gets to the top of the charts almost every week.
I find that Dev encourages a blend of content. Everything from short punchy discussion questions, to longer tutorials, to beginner's tips. No one content type is dominant and that feels about right.
Human effort plays a huge part in the general vibes of Dev, and it's helped enormously: you'll note that 'a beginner's guide to Git' is no longer the #1 article in the digest... every week.
I think most people don't realize how big a role people play in the DEV experience. The 'top articles' are selected from high-performing pieces but are not simply the 'most clicked.' And did you know that tags are heavily moderated by volunteer humans? It's true!
And humans do a lot more than deleting odd, content-farming articles and outright spam: they also delete comments and articles that are mean-spirited and disingenuous. There will never be a Prager U of Dev.to, and that's by design!
Most of us want more information on the tech sector. Everything from step-by-step tutorials to extremely meta articles like this one. As such DEV is riding a rising tide. What exactly the future looks like isn't perfectly clear. I'll be interested to see if the two biggest 'market shares' on the site (beginners and JS) come to dominate, split off, or lose ground to new subjects.
What is clear is that there is place for the interesting hybrid that is DEV and the Forem platform: a community site that isn't purely algorithmic. A frenetic content pace that still makes room for a few timeless pieces. And above all, a page where you can read about tech while remaining blissfully unaware of what Elon Musk is up to.