Looking For Feedback

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Recently, I've been writing a lot of content on Dev.to. Obviously I know how many people read each post, but it's not necessarily the best indicator of what content I should be making.

Instead, I want to know what type of content you guys will appreciate seeing the most in the future. My skillset is pretty general, so don't feel obliged to suggest topics that I've already covered, anything is fair game!

This should also be considered an open forum to give me feedback about my writing (style, content, etc) including constructive criticism (don't hold back).

I also want to just thank everyone for the support in the ~1.5 months I've been on Dev.to, this site has a really unique community.

TL;DR

What topics do you want to see more of?
What topics do you want to see less of?
How can my writing be improved?
How can I be improved?
Anything else?

twitter logo DISCUSS (23)
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Sorry for opening a sub discussion... but wouldn’t you say you’d be on your best, enjoying the most and being at the top of your creativity writing about what you want?
Sometimes it correlates with the audience and many times it doesn’t.. I’ve been bashed on reddit more than once for stating an opinion or writing about something uninteresting to many.. but I loved it, and felt I was expressing myself rather than other people’s desires.
IMHO the magic happens when the two merge, and your creativity meets what people wants and enjoy reading.

I enjoy reading you and please keep writing, no matter what!

 

Sorry for opening a sub discussion... but wouldn’t you say you’d be on your best, enjoying the most and being at the top of your creativity writing about what you want?

Don't apologize, these are the exact conversations I wanted to see! As for your question, obviously there is some stuff I write because I feel very passionately about it, but not every post can fall intro that category. There will always be a portion of my work that I just write because I enjoy it, don't worry about that.

Sometimes it correlates with the audience and many times it doesn’t.. I’ve been bashed on reddit more than once for stating an opinion or writing about something uninteresting to many.. but I loved it, and felt I was expressing myself rather than other people’s desires.

I agree, but it's a nuanced topic. It's almost always a bad idea to write something you don't care about, and instead write it based on the projected expectations of the audience. That doesn't mean you can't ask the "audience" and then factor that information into the decision about what you will write.

IMHO the magic happens when the two merge, and your creativity meets what people wants and enjoy reading.

Agree

I enjoy reading you and please keep writing, no matter what!

That's awesome to hear, thanks for taking the time to leave such a genuine and insightful response.

 

I accept that :)

So if we're making suggestions I'd very much like to read and hear about work culture. How other companies/teams experience and practice it.
A great example is Valve's classic "leaked" new employee booklet.

I wonder about other's ideas/concepts because I'm trying to create something like that on our own team. Something that would be publically known and standardized, so internal team members would be proud and outsiders would be jealous (kidding... kidding... they'd want to join us of course!)

 

The real answer: Write whatever makes you happy, forget about views and such, just make sure you get something out of it and don't focus on volume/consistency of posting and ignore my ranting below :)

My personal answer: Honestly _(and this isn't just you!) I am not a fan of the "noise" posts, like ones that are discussions that I would just to to sites like Twitter or Reddit (and avoid them there too), for example the _"What gets you out of bed" and similar. I come here to see new tech or new takes on things. This isn't a problem with you or your writing, but my expectation/desired outcomes of visiting. This could be solved by having better usage of tags perhaps, for example the above doesn't need to be in #webdev, but is there as that's the most popular tag I guess?

Again, I really don't want this to come across wrong! You do you and enjoy it, I can just filter my feed :)

 

This is an amazing piece of feedback. Seriously, this is the most critical and honest response I think I've ever received on my content. I really really appreciate it.

My personal answer: Honestly _(and this isn't just you!) I am not a fan of the "noise" posts, like ones that are discussions that I would just to to sites like Twitter or Reddit (and avoid them there too), for example the _"What gets you out of bed" and similar. I come here to see new tech or new takes on things. This isn't a problem with you or your writing, but my expectation/desired outcomes of visiting. This could be solved by having better usage of tags perhaps, for example the above doesn't need to be in #webdev, but is there as that's the most popular tag I guess?

I completely agree with everything you've written here. Obviously, I have a different perspective on a few of the items. "Noise" posts are a mixed bag for example, some of them (such as get out of bed) were merely as you described "filler content" (as described in this post dev.to/taillogs/how-i-started-exis...) because I wanted to post something every day as a personal goal. It was also my 3-4th post ever, and I think if I had written it today, it wouldn't be recognizable as "filler" (because of how I've improved as a writer over the last month).

Unfortunately, I do see another type of value in the "filler posts". One of the most powerful mechanisms to create success is persistency. I started blogging only a month ago, so this is easy to discuss. I strongly believe that if my posts had been 10x higher quality, but 1/10 the volume (so 2-3 posts last month), we would not be having this conversation.

I try to quantify what set of metrics will allow me to write the most "visible" post with the time I have available. You may wonder, "why strive for visibility and not something more honorable like quality?". The simple answer is that I really believe I have a unique and substantial viewpoint on the world. As a repercussion of that belief, I want as many people to hear what I have to say as possible. If I had started with the quality over visibility route, I might have written some great articles, but you and nearly no one else would have read them. Obviously this is not the guaranteed outcome, but it's definitely probable.

Society has become centered around instant gratification, meme-driven sensationalism. High quality content can succeed in this new society, but almost never will, unless the brand associated with the content is well known. My choices are based on this fundamental observation, and my long term plan is to exclusively produce high quality content, once I have the audience.

For a direct example, I looked over some of your past posts. You wrote some posts such as dev.to/wabbbit/using-time-tracking..., which is a very nice post. If I had posted that exact same content it would be front page on Dev.to instead of sitting at 7 reactions. That is the power of visibility.

What I've considered recently is separating my content (on one account) into different "tracks" using the organization feature available on Dev.to. I would use it similar to how youtubers divide content across multiple channels to not mix up different audiences. This is related to the tags remark you made, I'll definitely try to be better about that too, but I honestly just copy-paste my tags a lot of the time and forget to change them.

 

Thanks for the response! I was hoping it came off right and not just a rant about your content :)

I _totally _get why though, my rant aside. Blogging is something I want to get into more, and I have a lot of ideas but still really new to all this! I want to tell myself that I won't do the filler posts, but I think the strategy you are using is sadly the only real way to build up momentum based on how people consume blog content these days. (Which is also why I moved from dev.to from a personal host as it wasn't getting any traction).

As for the tags thing, I think we are all a little guilty of this either on dev.to or twitter ;)

I’m worse on twitter, hashtags are too easy to abuse.

 

The best advice I’ve ever heard in this regard was to write for you. Write what you’d want to read. This keeps you enjoying the process and the people that connect with you are like you. This makes it easier to connect with your readers and be authentic.

A similar story I once heard was about an Author, I forget who, had a huge success And was going to write her next book. It was a huge success and was under a lot of personal pressure to do it again. She wrote many drafts and hated them. In frustration she thought about how she wrote that first book. She wrote it for herself and 10 of her closest friends. I forget what book followed, but it was another success.

 

The best advice I’ve ever heard in this regard was to write for you. Write what you’d want to read. This keeps you enjoying the process and the people that connect with you are like you. This makes it easier to connect with your readers and be authentic.

It's a tough one, a lot of the stuff I want to write doesn't do well here at all (for example the machine learning post that took me weeks and has ~1k views). Completely agree about being authentic.

A similar story I once heard was about an Author, I forget who, had a huge success And was going to write her next book. It was a huge success and was under a lot of personal pressure to do it again. She wrote many drafts and hated them. In frustration she thought about how she wrote that first book. She wrote it for herself and 10 of her closest friends. I forget what book followed, but it was another success.

That's a nice anecdote, but I'm not sure it's the "norm". Most of the time you're really only able to write what you "want" once you have the notoriety. There will always be exceptions, but that's the general rule I've observed.

I was really glad to see a comment from you pop up in this post, thanks for taking the time to give me feedback.

 

I think that's fair.

After reading your response I think my response can be shifted to it doesn't matter what you writing about as long it's your voice and you're not writing to appease the masses. So Authenticity.

Can I ask you a couple of questions about this?

  • What are your criteria for a "successful" post (Views, comments, engagement, something else)?
  • Why do you write? What is the greater purpose of creating content?
 

This is my take. Write whatever you enjoy, forget about hearts and unicorns lol.

Good content will speak for itself. Just look at how many views this article got compared to your previous book review article.

Imo dev.to is not like Twitter where you cater to your followers. Here you write, enjoy, and your followers enjoy it with you.

 

This is my take. Write whatever you enjoy, forget about hearts and unicorns lol.

I try to do this as much as is practical!

Good content will speak for itself. Just look at how many views this article got compared to your previous

book review article.

There are a lot of reasons this got less reviews. I didn't post this on Twitter or Reddit (Reddit brought nearly 28k of my 36k views on the book post). Also I don't think good content speaks for itself, unfortunately.

Imo dev.to is not like Twitter where you cater to your followers. Here you write, enjoy, and your followers enjoy it with you.

Agreed, it's much less toxic in that way.

Thanks for taking the time to give me feedback. I often see you participate in my posts and discussions and I always appreciate your words. Look forward to talking to you again in the future.

 

In regards to content speaking for itself you might be right. It depends when you release it (day/time), share it, dev.to algorithm pushing it to top, trendiest topics, how many followers like/retweet, etc. Probably way too many variables.

I've read some bad ass articles here with zero comments, I'm just like what?

And you are very welcome. I have found this community very welcoming as opposed to others, so I try to engage as much as possible.

Part of the reason why I write is when I am learning something new, I think of it as a diary for me later on. Maybe I'll get zero hearts but it will be there for me later on lol.

 

Do not write what people want you to write about. Write about the things you are passionate about, share what you want to share.

By constantly writing your writing will evolve. Read other articles, see what you like about them, how they are build up. Reflect on your own writings, read them and correct them.

Learn from your mistakes and get better. Hard work pays off.

 

You should know from working with customers that people never know what they want :P Share knowledge. That error code that Google couldn't help you out with? Share it and how you got around it without having Google work its magic! Upcoming industry trend you think most people aren't aware of? Tell us why we should care!

Just keep doing what you're doing man. I have really enjoyed your writing and whatever you choose to write about, I am sure it will be worth my time. I agree with the others about less fluffy content. If I could see it on a motivational poster, I am not going to read it. It bothers me when people are practically worshiping a technology and cannot bring themselves to see any flaws with it. I haven't seen that from you, but I like reading balanced overviews of a technology that point out why it sucks even if it seems pretty cool.

 

I liked your post "how I started existing on the internet":

  • You were honest about your fears.
  • You gave real numbers and screenshots showing your process.
  • You gave some good conclusions at the end, and actionable takeaways.

I agree that writing good content with no visibility is a waste, and I'm thinking on how to increase my own visibility. Reading about other people's progress in this gives me motivation too, so I'd like to read more from you about this.

 

I’d like to see more posts about blogging. As someone who’s relatively new to it, I have a hard time know what to write about, who to target it for, and things along those lines.

 

Great suggestion, I have a few topics like that already in the queue!

 
 

Hi Ryland, how are you?
Please write how you were “bad” before and how you are good now.

Thanks.

 

Hey Ryan!

I'd like to know more about your game engine

 

I can definitely produce some content about my engine, great feedback!

 
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Ryland G profile image
Product guy at Binaris, previously lead architect and low-level systems programmer for scale out SaaS offering. Game engine developer, ML engineering expert. DMs open on Twitter.