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I feel like the quality of posts in Dev is deteriorating

xyn profile image Mydrax Updated on ・6 min read

Disclaimer: I'd like to not point at any posts or link examples of the kind of posts that I'm talking about. I don't want to blame/mock/be mean to any of the authors.

Edit: I'm in the process of writing a post that will gather all the ideas in your comments and then classify them so that we can discuss their pros and cons together. Thank you all so very much for your time and effort in coming up with all kinds of ideas :)

I've finally had enough! The quality of posts in dev is seriously deteriorating, my feed is almost always polluted with posts that have near-clickbait titles or copy-paste tutorials that I've either seen on other platforms by different authors or just a cobbled-together mess of the top searches on Google, and sometimes it's a 1 to 1 match too! The author has not changed a single word.

The worst part of this nightmare is that some of these posts lack research effort. Dev is growing at a rapid rate, which means obviously a lot of new and aspiring developers hear about it. Eventually, they'll visit the platform, read a few posts, and then become regular readers or may end up contributing by writing about their journey. This is one of the best things about this platform, the fact that it is completely open for any developer no matter what their experience level is, to express themselves and their journey.

What's so nightmarish about all of this? The fact that these new and fresh minds will read content that is either outdated or just inaccurate. They'll build their foundations on these incorrect fundamentals and eventually end up having to correct themselves down the line. If you've ever had a bad habit, you know how difficult it is to get rid of it. You could say that this is an over-exaggeration of a trivial situation, one that exists across a lot of platforms, but that's how all problems start. Platforms that start out from being great and just pure awesome eventually end up turning into parasitic manipulative poison-breeders.

Now you might think that nobody should use a single source to base their foundations like that, but quite often that's how it works. When someone sufficiently influential says that something is good, large numbers of people will also think that particular thing is good. In the case of dev, because credible authors write brilliant posts, it may be difficult for a sufficiently inexperienced developer to distinguish what is correct from what is wrong simply because they don't know enough to make that judgment call and the fact that bad posts are mingled in the good posts.

I'd say I'm an avid reader, and I comment on a lot of such posts in dev particularly, pleading the authors to put more effort into doing research and developing their content structure but often times it just never ends up reaching the author.

So the question is, how do we solve this? Do we mock/demean/be rude to authors that make posts like that? The answer is and always will be NO. This is what happens over at Stackoverflow quite frequently (not all the time, and by no means am I saying that STO shouldn't be used), new developers feel intimated to participate in such communities because existing participants of the community retaliate pretty harshly when said individual in their opinion does not demonstrate that they're "worthy".

Most importantly, it does not solve the problem. What is the problem? Quite often, I believe that a lot of authors actually do put effort into their posts but the final product may not be up-to-par because:

  • The author does not have enough experience either in the topic that they're attempting to discuss or writing a post to properly express themselves or the idea behind the post. As a result, may use similar content to patch the holes by reading the top Google results.
  • The author does not know how to structure and deliver the content properly, due to a lack of inspiration or research effort.
  • The author is reposting an old post, without making the necessary updates.
  • The author does not have sufficient English proficiency to properly deliver key points.

And so on. However posts that represent an organization can not be excused, at least the author can not be excused. The author is at that point representing the organization. Regardless, I believe that posts that display any of these symptoms can still be salvaged with a little more effort and experience. How do we do so?

  • Direct the author to credible sources of information like documentation or well-received and up-to-date posts. When you do, please make sure you navigate them in such a way that they can find the content in question.
  • If you believe that you have the required experience to explain certain things that the post has got wrong, do so but without trying to sound condescending or mean. We do not want to discourage authors. We want to make them better!
  • If you feel like the post in question is a repost and lacks up-to-date information, outline the inconsistencies so that any new developer knows what's changed.

Among them, however, are ones that can not be salvaged and clearly demonstrate a pure lack of effort. At that point, it is possible and clearly evident that the goal is not to contribute but to just spit out content. These posts may be but aren't limited to:

  • Posts that have straight-up plagiarized content. There are quite a lot of these and it's an absolutely horrible thing. You're just stealing someone else's work to look good.
  • Posts that clearly "tease" content and make the reader navigate to a different platform to read the rest. This is no better than Medium's paywall.
  • Posts that include nothing but a video link, with no or little explanation or summary of what the link is about.
  • Posts that include a whole bunch of links or lines of text without explanations. You could call them resource lists. Resource lists are great, but ONLY when whatever it is, is explained well.
  • Improperly structured help or "do this thing for me pls" requests. Posts like this are thankfully rare but I've seen them.

And so on, I believe that posts like this should either be hidden from readers or it should be possible to calibrate the feed settings in such a way that those who are fine which such posts can see them. Plagiarization is a pretty serious thing, so I'd rather see authors just straight out not be able to post for a while to learn from their mistakes.

In addition to this, I believe that after a while on dev, I've been seeing repetitive posts on certain topics. I don't see anything wrong with it but when I drop off work, just sit back and relax to read something it kind of annoys me because I'm almost done with my tea by the time I've found something that is interesting enough. I feel like it should be possible for readers to calibrate their feed in such a way that they can just opt-out of such content so I can opt-in to read such topics and help someone out when I feel like it.

I am aware that you could prioritize the tags you want to follow, but for example, I can't opt-out of seeing posts for the #100DaysOfCode tag (again, not trying to be mean, there are just times I wanna learn something new and I'm also not saying that you can't learn anything new from posts with that particular tag). Maybe a blacklist of tags would do well for a situation like this.

Finally, I'd like to end this rant by asking any potential commenters to this post to have civil discussions. Criticize the idea, not the person. Share any of your thoughts, experiences, and what you think could be done to change/solve the problem or if you don't see it as a problem!

Discussion

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vklvntn profile image
Anton

Open my feed

—> 10 secret JavaScript array methods you should know! (Map, reduce)
—> 7 best VS code extensions you should install (Eslint, prettier)
—> 25 ideas for personal projects (Todo app)
—> How to become developer in a month (You should code)

Close my feed.

Every goddamns day same and same articles. I used to think people just want to show in theirs CVs that they are "making tech articles" or something like this, so they just copy-paste same and same no-brain stuff. Thaks for bringing that up. This is really going under control.

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etienneburdet profile image
Etienne Burdet

I was about to make the same post as OP for the same reason. Seing Bootstrap in Top 5 CSS framework 2020 is a distressingly high point of non-information—like, Everest high.

Now how do we encourage people to write something different, more personal? Is just cultural, like make it known that these are lame posts? Do we need to change the game, like not showing the counter? Do we need curators?

The problem is, people like this stuff. Just look at the top post of the month and all time: thousands of likes for implement a glorified to-do list and not even 10% of for

… if that's what people read, then there isn't much to do.
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xyn profile image
Mydrax Author

I used to think people just want to show in theirs CVs that they are "making tech articles"

I can see how that can give incentive to a lot of people, and combine this with people that are in it purely for content marketing, you have double the noise. I'm sorry to hear that your experience has been frustrating. Have you tried calibrating your tag priority?

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gkhan205 profile image
Ghazi Khan

I'm facing this same issue daily on my feeds as well. :p

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egilhuber profile image
erica

I've been thinking this lately as well. There are TONS of listicles and "How To Be A ROCKSTAR [emojis here]" articles that are pretty much link dumps, 99 Extensions You NEED, or the same 5-10 pieces of advice that we have all seen before (i.e. get enough sleep, ask questions, etc).

There's definitely been a downward trend in new and interesting high quality content and the discussions that come with it.

Glad to see that spam posts are more under control than last month, though.

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dvddpl profile image
Davide de Paolis

I've also noted that. and that prompted me to write this post where I basically make fun of it and add some - hopefully valuable content with a plot twist.
but yes. i also found that content is slowing degrading.

still loving this platform. and all the amazing contributors

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perpetual_education profile image
perpetual . education

That post is funny! What's going on in the comment section??? CSS breakage - or over-our head joke about huge social icons?

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bpedroza profile image
Bryan

I've noticed this a lot here on dev. The css is often cached when I get here. Do a hard refresh and things will straighten out.

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xyn profile image
Mydrax Author

I don't think the concept behind such posts are all that bad because they highlight a few interesting points, but the way they're tackled/the execution is terrible in most situations. Regardless, even if the post is properly done, after a while of seeing the same stuff again and again it can get very annoying so I agree.

Sadly, I haven't seen a decrease in spam posts, each month it just gets worse in my feed. I used to report at least 5 posts a week, but since there's no follow up I just stopped after a while.

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elasticrash profile image
Stefanos Kouroupis

The world is full of beginners and it will always be with the current rate of increase in Dev positions. It is understandable that people are doing everything about views.

Nowadays I feel that even business even promote such behaviour in a sense. Last week a colleague was told that his team should stop using c++ as it is really hard to recruit new Devs with sufficient c++ experience. I disagreed but I am already banned from using Rust in my team for the same reason (more understandable) and switch to Go if possible.

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perpetual_education profile image
perpetual . education

properly done

is a hard sell. You can't train an entire generation to have "class" in the way that you prefer. They aren't teaching that. They teach React... not "common sense"

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twynsicle profile image
Steven Lemon

Personally, I've given up posting on dev.to as it is extremely demoralizing constantly having articles I spend 30-40 hours on immediately drowned underneath a wave of low-quality posts.

I wonder if there is a feedback loop in progress where the authors willing to spend the time on their articles are leaving the platform, and all we're left with are the low-quality spam posts that have nowhere else to go.

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xyn profile image
Mydrax Author

That is also another alarming side-effect. If authors that actually put in effort don't get the feedback they hope for time after time they will just feel that the platform is not for them. Sadly, this is also a problem in many other blog platforms.

The goal for a lot of such authors is to use their follower count or other such metrics as a means of demonstrating credibility in professional environments.

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twynsicle profile image
Steven Lemon

Taking one of my posts from earlier this year as an example,
dev.to/twynsicle/3-problems-to-sto...

views on dev.to - 43
views on medium - 17200

Now, I know that I'm still improving my writing abilities and I'm not expecting to get heaps of views, but it's very difficult to get meaningful feedback when I can't even crack 50 views on a given platform.

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xyn profile image
Mydrax Author

I understand the frustration myself, the whole point of writing something is mostly to get some feedback and then grow on it. Really sorry to hear about that. It's surprising that your article performed better on Medium, thought the platform is dead when it comes to dev-related content? Older posts still do good though afaik.

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perpetual_education profile image
perpetual . education

Could be bots. I mean - the comments are really what matters. how-are-you-paying-it-forward-as-a...

2 thoughts...

from the whole community? There's not back and forth.. just "hey look at my thing... don't interact with me though...."

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perpetual_education profile image
perpetual . education

It would be interesting to have a feedback loop where people helped get articles up to A+

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allanmacgregor profile image
Allan MacGregor 🇨🇦

I have recently seen the same, very low engagement and discussion. Compared to other platforms like medium.com or hackernoon

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canro91 profile image
Cesar Aguirre

Thanks Mydrax for bring this up. I have found those problematic posts too, specially the one that cuts in the middle of the post and asks you to go somewhere else. A bit annoying. Maybe some sort of curation would be handy.

I would take your post as a personal invitation to write more valuable content. Happy coding!

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xyn profile image
Mydrax Author

That's the spirit, Cesar! :)

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v6 profile image
🦄N B🛡

It's difficult to make a way of intentional discriminating or ranking posts by quality, without also creating a side effect of un-intentional discrimination based on mere popularity or whether people happen to agree with the conclusion of a given sentiment in a circle...hug.

Many well intentioned efforts at making tools for quality control become, rather, control of mere agreement, and can devolve into "groupthink" and a "Mutual Admiration Society," a pompous, self-congratulatory discussion where little to no material progress is made, as in the well documented cases of social media and the continued decline of the Humanities in the public university system.

Lesswrong.org, overcomingbias.com, thinkspot, g0v, the Heterodox foundation, and OpenBazaar have done some research on ways to deal with this, but it's a pernicious problem.

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stereobooster profile image
stereobooster

There is kind of time-proven solution to create good quality feed - karma-system. But the problem with this system is that it tends to create quite unwelcoming communities. Examples: hacker news, stack overflow. I wonder if it's possible to create karma-system without hostile community

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perpetual_education profile image
perpetual . education

StackOverflow is misunderstood. It has clear rules. If you don't know them... it's a problem. "Why my code didn't work" - isn't' an answerable question.

That's completely different than an article of "value" or not...

That's their messaging problem / and not really the karma system.

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xyn profile image
Mydrax Author

Stackoverflow is misunderstood, yes but I'm saying this as someone that's used it for a pretty long time, some people just get all defensive or rude to people that are just trying to learn. The "elitist" mindset is very common in a lot of those communities.

For example, if someone has clearly violated the rules, you don't have to be rude, you can just ask them to take a look at the rules instead and adjust the post accordingly or flag it for review.

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perpetual_education profile image
perpetual . education

Yes. Some people are just jerks.

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v6 profile image
🦄N B🛡

karma-system

I was making a nod to Reddit when I mentioned the circle-hug. Karma systems make echo chambers where anyone who disagrees is presumed to be acting in bad faith.

Let us hope that dev.to does not follow too far down the path of reddit.com, in that regard, at least.

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xyn profile image
Mydrax Author

I get what you mean, but don't you think that granting the user the necessary configuration options to personalize their experience is fundamentally sound? I too think that attempting to discriminate or adding features that can introduce segregation will end up being the wrong path.

I think a combination of the community encouraging authors to become better with personalized feeds might make a difference, but as you say it's not feasible at a large scale to not have unintentional side-effects. Regardless, there is a big chunk of the problem that can be solved through moderation efforts I feel.

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v6 profile image
🦄N B🛡

can introduce segregation will end up being the wrong path.

I think this is sort of what I was getting at with the echo chamber effect so commonly attributed to karma or "winning internet points" types of systems.

Rather than rating an idea based on the quality of its presentation and effort, people simply decide whether they disagree or agree with it.

I think this inability to discriminate between someone who's playing the game well & by the rules and whether they're someone playing for your team is similar to the stuff I read sometimes from self-appointed moral crusaders, with gotcha games like, "Oh, you disagree with this anti-poverty idea, you must be a fat-cat capitalist." Or "I think ______ and anyone who disagrees with me is automatically a secret -ist or (-phobe) acting in bad faith!" or "You used the wrong word!" or "But of course the communists will never agree with this."

Basically, the karma system only works if high quality consensus building ideas are the most likely to be selected for, rather than ideas with which people agree. And quality control mechanisms that rely on simple up or down votes or "I didn't like this" reports end up getting gamed to suppress ideas with which the user of that QC tool disagrees.

What little I've studied of Ricardian Contracts, Markov Chains, Sybil Attacks, and all the other obtusely named concepts in the game theory of adversarial systems design doesn't suggest to me that this is a problem that can be resolved without resorting to PEBKAC hypotheses.

But some of those hypotheses have been developed, and there's hope. New research has uncovered that morality, as used today, has little to do with higher order cognitive processes. It may not sound like good news, but a biological proclivity that is known is a lot easier to deal with than a cultural issue whose cause is unknown.

Initial Groundbreaking Paper: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2...

Further Work: jordanbpeterson.com/docs/230/2014/...

I don't know what g0v are doing, but it looks like it's working:

brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chao...

And some of the intergenerational conflict and external pressure Taiwan has dwarfs the issues that loom large in the mind of US Citizens.

The University was, once upon a time, a way to winnow out high quality ideas rather than those that are merely vogue or popular.

But, with the research above, there may be a way, a narrow path, for Social Media to suck less at this too.

Companies that don't take this new research seriously will be left behind by their competitors who can actually make Social Media less anti-social.

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perpetual_education profile image
perpetual . education

If there was a way to really highlight some fantastic articles - that could serve as an example. Maybe in each 'tag', there's a way to identify highly valuable articles - without being rude. But "hearts" aren't going to do it - because no one will see 99% of things (is what it seems like)

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mykezero profile image
Mykezero

As I was writing a response to this post, I discovered the week, month, and infinity buttons on the top of the homepage. I'm going to start making more use of those features since the way I use DEV is to get a heartbeat on new trends, new ideas, new technologies, and new frameworks. If a new framework receives high praise on this site for a sustained amount of time, I think about learning / adopting it.

Before finding those features, I was running into problems where I couldn't feel that heartbeat just from visiting the homepage and had a hard time find the posts that really resonate well with the community. In the past, all it took was one visit to the homepage to find great articles, but the feed does seem to contain a bit more clutter these days.

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xyn profile image
Mydrax Author

Why do you think that you didn't use dev for anything other than catching on to new trends? Also, I recommend daily.dev for catching on new trends, it's a pretty cool browser extension that aggregates all kinds of cool new trends. I get to learn something new every day :)

Edit: tbh I think that some really cool features of dev are just hidden/not presented properly and hence aren't used often, like the feed configuration feature. A few of my friends didn't know about it until I showed them how to do it.

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mykezero profile image
Mykezero

Browsing DEV the first 5-10 minutes was a weekday ritual where I take a look at the cool things people were doing. If something really caught my idea, I would dig a bit deeper into it. To be honest, I never really thought of the different ways I could use DEV. Thanks for recommending daily.dev; I'll check it out! ^^

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webbureaucrat profile image
webbureaucrat

If I may make a meta-recommendation: I think you should break this blog post out into a series of separate discussions. I say this because you've brought up a number of good points that merit in-depth discussions. A few of my own thoughts:

  • I wholeheartedly support the idea of blacklisting a tag.

  • I haven't noticed the plagiarized content. My initial thought is that we need a better reporting system to account for this kind of thing.

  • I do find video-posts annoying. It would be cool if videos were required to have some kind of "video" tag so that I know before I waste my time trying to read it.

  • On teasing content and redirecting--Honestly, while I don't engage in this practice myself, I think it's fair game. Maybe I'd rather read it on Dev.to, but if I see an article worth clicking on, it's probably also worth a second click. I'd rather have to click through than see quality blogs decide not to post to our Dev.to feeds anymore. A good compromise solution would be to allow users to create external-link-only posts that have visual indicators to leave the site, similar to Reddit.

  • I actually do like resource lists, even ones that don't have a lot of text to accompany them. If it's a category I happen to already be pretty familiar with, having a clutter-free list of links makes it easier to skim for the resources I'm not yet familiar with. This is especially helpful for very crowded categories like, "Linux distros" or "javascript frameworks." My point here is definitely not that context-free resource lists are better than ones with explanations, only that they have their place for some users in some situations.

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xyn profile image
Mydrax Author

Thank you for your comment and your recommendations, after reading the other comments I feel like there is a grave necessity to identify the roots of the problems. I might just do series like you mentioned, where I can explain my findings to fellow authors.

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moopet profile image
Ben Sinclair

I posted my first (mostly) video-only article today, and I didn't use any particular way of indicating that, but I hope it was reasonably apparent from the heading.

I agree that in general I close posts immediately if I find they're just an embedded video or a link off to somewhere else.

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xyn profile image
Mydrax Author

I don't think that video-based articles are a bad thing, just that most of the time it lacks context. I took a look at your post, and for example, it would make me actually want to watch the video if you described what the accessibility awards are. The clue is mostly in the name, and I'm not talking about anything shallow like that, maybe how someone could participate or why you think it's cool.

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perpetual_education profile image
perpetual . education

if I see an article worth clicking on, it's probably also worth a second click

👍👍

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kallmanation profile image
Nathan Kallman

Posts that clearly "tease" content and make the reader navigate to a different platform to read the rest. This is no better than Medium's paywall.
Posts that include nothing but a video link, with no or little explanation or summary of what the link is about.

These are definitely the worst! I hate "articles" that give nothing but a link somewhere else; that's not an article.

I'm less worried about the feed... Would it be nice if it was a row of well researched, executed, and thought provoking pieces? Yep. But to allow the things that are more important to me (being newcomer friendly, allowing all voices an equal platform, etc.) I understand that necessarily means the feed will be mostly low-quality/uninteresting posts.

I accept this; enjoy finding the few gems in the general crush (and make sure to follow those authors to get a better feed of winning posts).


Maybe a blacklist of tags would do well for a situation like this.

You can "follow" a tag but give it a negative weight; and the tag should appear less in your feed.

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xyn profile image
Mydrax Author

Would it be nice if it was a row of well researched, executed, and thought provoking pieces? Yep. But to allow the things that are more important to me (being newcomer friendly, allowing all voices an equal platform, etc.

I feel like you're just describing the feed, but in a different layout orientation and higher quality, but yeah that's kind of the idea of what I'm trying to say. Allow readers to calibrate their feed accordingly so they can opt-in/out of things as they want to. To do that posts have to be classified properly, not by the author but by an unbiased party.

Totally agree on following people! There are so many cool authors out there that I absolutely love!

Re: negative weight. I didn't know about this. Afaik it's not even mentioned on that page. I'll definitely try it out! Thanks :)

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perpetual_education profile image
perpetual . education

Not totally convinced on the 'tease' problem. Sometimes - for sure... but if you wrote a post --- and it said,

hey - yall.... I wrote up this article for the D3 conference and there's a video of this other cool thing, and I'd love your feedback if you have D3 experience....

That would have lots of value for us... because we can't subscribe to every blog - and this can act like an index.

Spam is spam... but "links" are THE INTERNET

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mellen profile image
Matt Ellen

Thanks for the negative weight tip!

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adrianbdesigns profile image
Adrian Bece

First of all, thank you for writing this post. I wanted to write something similar, but I was thinking that it was only me and that my content is not as good as it was before.

I completely agree. From August 2019 up until somewhere around March or April 2020, I've enjoyed both reading the articles on DEV and writing them. My posts did well, mostly and I knew that if I put time (about a dozen hours) and effort, they'll do well on the site. I was even one of the top 500 authors of 2019.

But for the past 3-4 months, I've noticed the shift happening. I've lost motivation to put any significant effort and time into writing as I did before. The articles that I've put more effort and time into wouldn't perform well anymore. They would get buried under the piles of posts you've mentioned in your own post. The success of my posts was totally random if I had the luck not to get buried too fast.

The same can be said for reading the posts. I've completely stopped reading DEV due to the low quality, low effort articles. I've shifted my focus onto more curated websites where I know I'll get high-quality content that is fact-checked. I still check it every now and then, but I close it after a few seconds of scrolling.

I love DEV, the community, and how it affected my career. It was a real game-changer. I hope to see a significant change for the better in terms of content quality and quantity.

Thank you once again for writing this. I feel like someone needed to stand up and say it.

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darkwiiplayer profile image
DarkWiiPlayer

My impression since joining dev less than a year ago has always been that most of its articles are basically "fast food". There's the occasional in-depth article that is well-written and well-researched or where the author is actually very knowledgeable on some very niche topic. However, the vast majority, seems to be rather low-quality.

I find it specially amusing how many "tutorials" I usually find that are just the most basic of things and more often than not, about technologies that are widely used and already have hundreds of tutorials explaining the exact same thing.

Most of these articles just add no value to the internet. Kinda feels on the same level as reddit content, if I'm being honest.

This is in contrast to hackernews, which I also visit almost daily.

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moopet profile image
Ben Sinclair

I think a lot of new programmers like making basic tutorials because they have to start somewhere, and why not. Being able to explain something to others is a good skill to have, and it's kind of like rubber-ducking anyway.

Yes, to those of us who've seen it before it's noise, but it's a little like the "welcome threads". People pop up and say "hello world" like it's never been thought of before but we should still encourage them rather than dismiss them.

Not everyone's in it for the clicks and likes. Being able to look at something and say, "I wrote that, that's MY voice and MY style" is really valuable, especially early on.

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xyn profile image
Mydrax Author

Ben's right on the money on that. At all times, we shouldn't discourage new developers or shun them for making that kind of content. With DEV growing, I feel like the platform is starting to feel heavier towards beginners, and the people that just don't want to read such content feel frustrated. Then they try to make content for people like them, and when those posts don't receive feedback, they leave the platform or just slowly stop reading/contributing.

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darkwiiplayer profile image
DarkWiiPlayer

I'd honestly find it much easier to go about it like that if the posts had more of an "look what I learned today" sort of feel, which many do, and those ones I find much less noisy.

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scrabill profile image
Shannon Crabill

You make some very good points here. I especially want to point out that while you're frustrated with the content you are seeing, you agree that berating users/bashing does not fix the problem (and really, it's rude and not cool). I also frustrated with a lot of the same/similar, click-bait content I see, but it also seems to do well, so I kind of get it.

I do want to add if something is clearly plagiarized, a "click here to see the rest of the content on my blog" type post, etc, these are against the terms and those posts can be flagged, reported, downvoted, etc. If you feel comfortable doing so, you can also leave a comment asking the author to elaborate, etc.

I too want to see the content on DEV get better, but I'm at a loss on how to do it myself. It does get frustrating when the posts I put a lot of time, effort, research, and editing into get buried under yet another listicale.

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fischgeek profile image
fischgeek

I've also noticed quite a bit people using this platform to promote their own blogs and simply just cross-post. I get why they do it, but I don't think Dev should be a landing platform but rather a genuine content and technical resource.

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stereobooster profile image
stereobooster

IMO: cross-posting is ok as long it is interesting content. The problem is that it is not interesting

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perpetual_education profile image
perpetual . education

In this case, what is the draw? Why would someone choose to put 10 hours into crafting a piece to put here vs. substack, or a personal website, or whatever else? (curious)

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stereobooster profile image
stereobooster

To reach people. You post on your site and cross-post here with canonical link to you site. You will get all SEO-points and the discussion on the platform you cross-posted to.

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perpetual_education profile image
perpetual . education

Yes. In theory - if anyone ever saw your post here, but that seems relatively unlikely. There are plenty of nearly web-celebrities around here with great content and no views.

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davidedelpapa profile image
Davide Del Papa

I think this issue is inevitable as this platform grows up. At the beginning I was attracted to dev because even though much smaller than "other" platforms, it was full of good and well thought of articles. I started to use it as I was learning, and I still use it for inspiration. For this reason I started to contribute back, as a way to show love to a platform that made me grow.

However, here the fact is that as the platform is growing, there is a sort of "noise" that starts to grow as well, together with the good articles. But I am sure this is connected with the growing popularity. For example there's much difference between articles for Javascript than articles for more niche languages (thinking of Rust for example, but even Python is not as in a bad shape as the JS threads).

There are several paths I would suggest:

  1. Let the noise grow unchecked, and let user come to distinguish naturally the quality of the articles they want to read. This is happening to other platforms as well: after a while the user come to recognize quality at a glance.

  2. Set a filter in place. "Others" are doing it with a paywall, however, I checked the quality of payed articles: they are not better than "3 things you didn't know..."
    Another way of filtering, besides downvoting items which is a problematic practice. What about having a "peer review" system? Nothing fancy, but maybe having some "reputation" points that let you "make a review" or make an article "recommended" (even "recommend for X audience" where X is the experience from beginners to pro).

  3. Another solution would be to divide more the articles threads. Right now the division is made on the basis of tags. There could really be channels of topics. The benefit would be that even if the noise is left unchecked, chunking the big threads in small parts let's the quality shine through: the "bad" articles gets spotted, and maybe isolated and avoided. This way the "feel" and "freshness" of smaller community is preserved. Also this way there could be difference between total beginners, beginners, experienced, experts... I mean, maybe if you are more experienced, reading "yet another articles on the 5 things to avoid..." makes your eyes roll, but maybe for a total beginner this is the right approach, and it can be really helpful for them.

  4. I think the general quality may be improved a lot by just enforcing one and only one strict rule: make it possible to signal (but of course the final aim is the removal) all those articles whose content is not in the platform itself but elsewhere (i.e. the articles that have an introduction and then a link to another site).

These are my two cents...

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moopet profile image
Ben Sinclair

Peer-review sounds like a great solution, but it too-often ends up as a way to play favourites.

Say Joe B. gets a good reputation for a couple of posts, then starts losing interest and churning out weak articles. Everyone recognises them from their early days and gives them a pass. Soon they're the most followed user on the site and newcomers see their articles first, giving them votes and reinforcing the problem.

It's very difficult to manage this in any community.

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davidedelpapa profile image
Davide Del Papa

I meant it at a per-article basis. Like having "curated lists".
Right now we have the "7 articles of the week", but it is a separated article linking these good articles.if there were a built-in way of labelling articles as "peer reviewed" a beginner would likely find first these good ones, then explore th rest(that don't mean they are bad articles, just that they are less fit for an introduction to the matter). And like this there could be other. It's a way to push people to write good content, so they can end up in the "featured" or "reviewed".
This of course imply extra management effort,bad you were pointing out: it's difficult in any community

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gwsounddsg profile image
GW

I've very new to dev.to, I just joined a few days ago. I personally haven't seen the posts you're referring to, but that doesn't mean they aren't there.

Maybe there needs to be an upvote system of some kind? One nice thing about stackoverflow is you can up or down vote, but ultimately you only see the total? Not sure if this is the right way to go, only a thought.

Just a noob's opinion.

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xyn profile image
Mydrax Author

I think apps nowadays tend to be fully positive because when a user is given the ability to downvote something, they'd do it for no reason/just because they can do it, and that introduces toxicity.

Stackoverflow reduces this to a bare minimum, by forcing you to earn some rep first but for example, Reddit has become pretty toxic because of this, all you have to do on Reddit is say something someone doesn't like, and then the rest will follow with the downvotes despite the fact that the statement being made is correct or valid at times. I work on a couple of apps that use likes and what not at work, we don't have downvotes either and my PM was the one to explain it to me.

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stereobooster profile image
stereobooster

Stackoverflow reduces this to a bare minimum, by forcing you to earn some rep first but for example

Yeah - karma system. You need to write something good first (earn karma), before you can spoil somebody else karma.

But I guess it is against of dev.to philosophy - which meant to be beginners friendly. A lot of beginners posts could be down-voted not for toxic reasons, but for low-quality (because beginners lack experience)

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gwsounddsg profile image
GW

That's a good point, I hadn't thought about Reddit.

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thefern profile image
Fernando B 🚀

Haha you must have read the post about the cheating wife. Lately tons of posts with just the title. @ben empty posts should probably not be allowed.

I think perhaps new users less than 3 months should not be allowed to post until the post is moderated. Moderated posts would also bring spam down for newly created accounts.

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stereobooster profile image
stereobooster

I wanted to write similar post.

I think there are still interesting posts on dev, but for some reasons they don't show up on mine timeline.

Authors how have been producing quality content, to which I subscribed, mostly stopped posting (I guess pandemic is also part of the problem).

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perpetual_education profile image
perpetual . education

We get to dev - and see a post that looks really interesting ... and then - might sign in or who knows... and then the posts filter are changed !!!! and we can basically NEVER find that post again. That's not a fun interaction.

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rapasoft profile image
Pavol Rajzak

I still do love this platform and it is my #1 place to publish my articles. I joined this site in 2016 (!) and since that I have too seen this trend. I used to find very inspirational articles here, but now I hardly open the site ever :(.

I think it's the problem of quantity vs. quality - there're still tons of good articles here, but there are way to many with low quality as well. It might've got better with moderation options, but as you mention, I would really welcome more personalized feed, so that I don't have to scroll for several minutes to find interesting read.

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metamoni profile image
Monica Mateiu

I used to be a marketing writer (social media, copywriting, blog posts, etc) before I became a software engineer two years ago. The issues you’ve mentioned are the reason why I grew to hate marketing and blogging and didn’t want to do any of it anymore.

I’ve only started using Dev recently, but I could tell there was going to be a lot of nonsense on here right away. There is a lot of well-researched, great content too, but it’s tricky to find it. It would be helpful if, for example, plagiarism or downright wrong technical advice could be reported, or if there was a way to downvote articles, but I think the idea behind Dev is, as you mentioned, that everyone should be able to contribute.

Hopefully people know how to filter out the bullshit and take what’s good from it. And, of course, if you spot anything dodgy about an article I think the right thing to do is to speak up in the comments and let others know.

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xyn profile image
Mydrax Author

That's a very interesting background you've got there! In your opinion, do you think that if for example, you had the opportunity to filter out list-based/resource articles from your feed, that you would have an easier time finding the posts that you like?

Also, have you tried calibrating your tags priority? @kallmanation mentioned that if you add a negative weight to the tags that you dislike you will see posts with that tag lesser.

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metamoni profile image
Monica Mateiu

I’m not sure what would make it easier to find the posts I like, but the most important thing for me is that they’re accurate, original, and non-repetitive. I suppose there’s not much you can do about the last two, but some sort of peer review/approval could help at least verify that they’re accurate.

Haven’t tried calibrating tags, but I’ll give that a shot. Thanks for the tip!

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dfockler profile image
Dan Fockler

I've seen a few posts describing the same problems you're bringing up.

dev.to/codemouse92/social-lifespan...
dev.to/moopet/how-should-we-handle...

I think without moderators or the Follow/Follower relationship you're going to run into a lot of junk. Tags just don't really cut it in that regard. I kind of wish it was like Stack Overflow where you gain reputation points which eventually allows you the ability to post, edit, comment, etc. You could even go so far as to limit the amount of posts people are allowed per week or something. There's a lot of options but keeping things open to all levels and interests is always going to be a difficult challenge.

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sfiquet profile image
Sylvie Fiquet

One of the problems is that all posts are created equal. You can spend hours writing a well-researched post or five minutes asking a question, they are treated the same in the feed. It makes it harder to scan.

We could solve this by adding a category to posts. Then we can treat them differently according to type. In particular we could filter by category. You don't like tutorials? Filter them out. You just want to relax and have a light read? See only the magazine-style and community posts. You want to focus on in-depth articles? Only see those.

At the very least I think we have three potential categories: technical posts (in depth article, tutorial, learning diary...), community posts (typically the ones in the side bar), magazine-style posts (listicles, advice...). Maybe there are others. Maybe some should be split into more categories, e.g. for the different types of technical posts.

Categories would differ from tags in that:

  • A post should have exactly one category.
  • It should be selected at the time of writing, just like you need to write a title.
  • Readers should be able to ask moderators for a change of type if they feel the one used is wrong.

To avoid people trying to game the system by selecting the wrong category, categories shouldn't impact the feed algorithm.

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justaashir profile image
Aashir Aamir Khan

Glad you wrote this, I joined the community in Sep 2019 and it was really great back then.
I wanted to overcome my fear of blogging because of my weak English, so I wrote and people gave me amazing feedback and I got almost 16,000+ followers (they're bots for sure, or inactive users) on DEV and more than 150,000+ views.

I wrote posts about topics, that I love to talk about. They're more like communication, not link dumps. But I don't get enough traction and motivation, then I tried link dumps (Best Javascript Resources, Web Development Projects, Top 3 Tricks e.t.c)

They're the most popular with each having more than 200+ likes. One is the most popular with 40,000+ views and 1000+ likes.

But I don't write them anymore, they're the easiest way to get on top of DEV but I just don't like them myself. I wrote these to try the algorithm, it works.

I've not written as many posts lately, and not planning to write any. But I read DEV posts, and they're mostly trash now. The only thing good remaining is "Search.. Bar"

Go search for "side project", there are so many gems there from 2018-2019. So it's better archived.

You can also check my feed, and see how I went through good postings, to no postings.

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xyn profile image
Mydrax Author

I'm sorry to hear that. You are right about the fact that list/resource-based articles have higher traction than posts that explore topics in more depth. I feel that particular type of content attracts a type of audience and that the platform is slowly tending to get heavier towards that audience. That means authors like you will feel frustrated when you don't get the feedback you expected. I'm currently writing a new post to address all of this, and I will make sure your voice is heard!

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moopet profile image
Ben Sinclair

I wonder how much of this is down to those people being new and thinking that their post hasn't been seen before?

Perhaps we could encourage people to post, but also encourage them to check whether it's novel enough. Something like making posting two-stages, the first where you enter a title and tags, and the second where you enter the post content OR are presented with a list of similar existing posts and given the option of "boosting" or "promoting" them somehow.

If there was a "related articles" panel under every post and someone posted "10 git commands you need to know!" (not picking on anyone here) and the related articles were five more posts with the exact same title, what would that do to how the site is perceived?

If visitors search and find 100 matches, how will they choose which one to read? DEV uses a scoring system for search results but the danger is that it becomes a cult of personality where a few people get views for some reason and the rest of their posts get more attention regardless of the quality. That's something that's happened on plenty of other websites.

This is like the death of the author; the ideal would be for each post to be weighed on its own merit. I'm just not sure it's a problem with a solution.

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190245 profile image
Dave

Firstly, noting your job, thanks for taking the time to actively engage.

Perhaps we could encourage people to post, but also encourage them to check whether it's novel enough.

I theorise that it'd be fairly simple for a "plagiarism check" to be added as the user clicks "Post" - scan articles already on Dev, how similar is this to something someone else has posted - then ask the "are you sure you want to post this?"

But maybe that might dissuade some newer users from posting, when they should be allowed to express their opinion on any given topic.

DEV uses a scoring system for search results but the danger is that it becomes a cult of personality where a few people get views for some reason and the rest of their posts get more attention regardless of the quality.

Maybe a way forwards on that would be to give users more control over the the content they see. I'm sure the scoring system has multiple parameters, so maybe it would be beneficial to leverage that, for example, allowing me to define my "acceptable level" for each metric (or some subset thereof) that builds the overall score, things below that level I don't see, regardless of the overall score (which presumably, dictates vertical ranking).

Lastly, noting my job, I don't currently believe the PV of this issue is high enough to warrant actively working on it, but suggest it be monitored for changes in P nonetheless (and it's apparent that it is being monitored). ;)

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sirseanofloxley profile image
Sean Allin Newell

An ML based quality rating attribute during drafting perhaps? The plagiarism is particularly weird tbh. If the canonical link isn't specified, it should be flagged/marked so a mod can review it, that's definitely something that's up to Dev as a community to have as a policy tho.

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xyn profile image
Mydrax Author

Dev kinda attempts to achieve the final goal of providing a quality rating by allowing the author to set a value between 1 to 10 (new to senior experienced devs) when making the post (you have to click on manage) so that the appropriate readers get targetted but idk how as a reader I can set this value. Regardless, giving the author this privilege kinda defeats the point from a reader's perspective.

I'd say a quality rating like that not just based on the draft but based on stuff like how many posts the author has written, how well they're received etc. can go a long way. But if it's publicly visible it might cause segregation, or new authors might not get the ability to grow. It can be private, and the readers can silently subscribe to a particular range too but the problem might still stand.

Dev afaik doesn't have a report abuse option for plagiarized content, and the code of conduct doesn't mention anything either.

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jessesbyers profile image
Jesse Smith Byers

I have a couple thoughts to add to this discussion:

  1. Increase education for users on how to browse and how to post

    • I just stumbled upon some tips for how to adjust the weighting of the tags I follow and the experience level of the posts in my feed. These settings make a huge difference in what shows up in the feed! Making this info more prominent on the homepage could be helpful.
    • Similarly, frequent reminders / more prominent messaging about how to rate the experience levels of the posts we write, and proper use of tags could also be helpful.
  2. Write more of the kind of posts you'd like to see

    • Some writers are here to write more for ourselves - for logging and solidifying our own learning - than for an outside audience (this is certainly true for me). Some of us are here more to consume content than to produce it. And this ratio changes over time. But I think it is always helpful to have the "be the change..." mentality, and just write the type of posts that you feel are lacking. At the very least, it gives someone else a high-quality read. Best-case scenario, it serves as an example and inspires more people to up their quality.
  3. Focus on the long game, not the moment

    • I really like the suggestions of others on using the Week/Month/Infinity tabs to find higher-quality content, as well as using the search bar - this is where I've found the most valuable content for my own learning. It doesn't have to be about the feed.
    • But this is true on the writer side as well. A post might not get a lot of views right away, but may get a lot of views over time. For example, I posted a few articles last spring that got zero traction, and all of a sudden they seem to be getting views on a regular basis. Trust that if you create something high-quality, people will find and share it...but maybe not right away.
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loouislow profile image
Loouis Low

The most irritating me was a post has a spectacular topic, when I decided to read the post, it only have few lines written and a click here to... button to directing me somewhere. Why not write a proper post in DEV instead.

Some copy-and-paste post from somewhere has not even bothered to the markdown. Especially the code blocks.

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vaibhavkhulbe profile image
Vaibhav Khulbe

Honestly, the DEV staff should read each word of this article and take some serious actions if they want to grow for the better.

These low-quality posts will not survive for a long time for a platform like DEV which started with a positive goal of making a good community of developers who share their thoughts, ideas, and learnings through the articles here.

I request ANYONE READING THIS TO SHARE THIS PIECE TO THE DEV TEAM MEMBERS 🙏

Share this post link, tweet them, and let them know they need to fix this issue for the better.

THE QUALITY CAN IMPROVE IF WE MAKE SOME EFFORTS ON OUR SIDE.

And a BIG THANKS TO YOU Mydrax for coming up and writing this.

EDIT: The DEV team have something to share regarding this issue:

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axelledrouge profile image
AxelleDRouge

Indeed, I have noticed the same trend too.
It's a shame, I have learned a lot on this platform. Now my reference to search for articles to read are the notifications of users I follow and I skip the feed to go directly to week or month. I thought that it was because I was not interested in beginners posts anymore, and it was most of the content.
I would agree with the idea of blacklisting or maybe filtering a tag. I prefer to read detailed and well written articles, and I keep the references list in my reading list, which is more like a library now to go back to when need.
But it could be difficult to change without risking losing the beginners. Logically, if by example, the post are "lifted" by readers, the one written by users already with a lot of followers and well-known will be more valued than new writers. Like on YouTube, a new writer would have a harder time becoming seen, and would need to be helped by a writer already with more followers.
We have a tag for beginners, but not necessarly (or I have not seen it) for higher levels. The tags by themes are many with the concept of giving weight to some of them, but the beginner webdev are overwhelming nonetheless. And I find the pages for tags less interesting, even if I go regularly to the gamedev one. Maybe it could be managed like the search system on fanfiction.net or archiveofourown.org ? with a ton of search possibilities (by likes, by dates, by theme, by user, by genre, or exclude a tag,....)

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perpetual_education profile image
perpetual . education

The fact that these new and fresh minds will read content that is either outdated or just inaccurate. They'll build their foundations on these incorrect fundamentals and eventually end up having to correct themselves down the line

This seemed like the biggest problem - but lately, it seems like the "Hi, here's the best standards practices for HTML (I just learned about HTML this morning)" Type posts are the opposite.

it just never ends up reaching the author.

Or... they stalk you on instagram and fight you because they are offended that you pointed out that their 'best practice' was a pile of code-smell...

You could call them resource lists

"37 best text editors in 2019"

Plagiarization is a pretty serious thing, so I'd rather see authors just straight out not be able to post for a while

Yes, please. Rewriting the docs as a "guide" is a thing we see a lot

opt-out

A polite and secret 'opt-out' might be a win. Or a "not for me" note for the filter. Is there a feed option to only see people you follow? That could be the opposite approach.

We'll admit to a few of these gaffs - just to show that we're more interested in the conversation than the blame: Here's an example where we put a blurb up about an article we wrote somewhere else: enough-to-be-dangerous-is-dangerous - but ALSO - here's an article - [baby-talk-for-computers-it-s-all-key-value-pairs](dev.to/perpetual_edu/baby-talk-for... that we wrote here - that basically, no one will see because of the sheer volume of posts and the random feeds the blur the trail / so, we'll just end up moving it somewhere else eventually.

It feels like this is more of a free-for-all RSS feed than a publishing platform. When ads are the goal - then 'more' is all that matters as far as content... at some stages. New people... more content... but - it does feel like more work to find things that we value / and that we can devote time to than it needs to be.

It's rough. It is worth the investment? Is it only a place for brand new "tech" industry people to practice writing?

discussions don't seem to happen

and - sometimes - for example / we just don't care about Rust right now. It doesn't mean we don't like Rust... but - it's just of no practical interest to us right now... so - really / we would love a little "my topics" that worked out for us.

But - at least you don't just get banned for posting a link like on most Reddit subs.

When is it spam? (speaking of... we have a post in draft! that we need to finish....)

Because the internet is made of links - and even Google is not sure how to deal with the lack of things linking to each other. The internet is killing itself.

Everything is a work in progress!

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habereder profile image
Raphael Habereder

To be honest, my feed is complete and utter garbage as of late. There were so many spam-posts that I even stopped reporting them. Spam in the form of "here are our greatest products for your child!", so REAL spam-posts.
I'm not even attempting to go into the "Clickbaity" ones.
People seem to fall for it, so it's clearly working.

The huge problem I have, is the target audience. DEV seems to be mostly "web-centric" stuff. The latest JavaScript frameworks, CSS stuff, that sort of content.

I am more the DevOps kinda guy, so automation, CI/CD and Container/Cloud are what really interests me. These tags are completely silent most of the time. Or it's the 100th time people explain how Docker and Kubernetes work.

Just look at this:

#cloud 1680 posts published 
#devops 7779 posts published 
#webdev 32873 posts published 
#javascript 45937 posts published 
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

So I am not even shocked as to why my Posts are stuck at a few hundred views.
Maybe it's the spam, maybe I just suck at writing, or I chose the wrong platform.
That's okay really, but it kind of kills your drive to really do anything about it. It doesn't matter how good your content is, if your platform is chosen poorly. There seems to be no demand for it on here.

That is the real problem I personally have, but I am stubborn, so screw statistics! I'll just keep going on DEV and maybe help one or two people with my posts :)

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mike239x profile image
Mike Lezhnin

Wow there are many comments here. Thanks for the upcoming post summarizing those, that would be very helpful.
About topics and bad posts - I personally think being subscribed to a few people and reading only them is much better than scrolling through the feed page. This way I can clearly control both the quality and amount of content I consume.
About DEV in general - I myself joined the platform just because it's the only place on the internet made for blogging with proper markdown support. To be honest, I don't expect it to be better than facebook or twitter.

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iamscottcab profile image
Scott

Funny I've recently come here because getting good content seen (and you not can think my content is good, that's OK) is pretty hard. I think a lot of good writers either do it on their own sites or might want to be behind a paywall to get something back for their efforts.

The problem with a place where lots of people aggregate content is that you're going to get a lot of low quality posts. Most sites I try to order by likes or something similar if possible. Perhaps Dev just needs to do more to bubble the good stuff to the top?

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mathewthe2 profile image
Mathew Chan

New here. Came here from Qiita (Japanese site) and DEV content looks a lot better to me than Qiita. Over there 90% posts are "how to run hello world in [insert fancy framework]". I think we could introduce some curator feature like Steam where you could follow curators and see the posts they reacted.

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klvenky profile image
venkatesh k

Thanks for writing this @mydrax. I even started feeling the same for the past month or so. I will list the issues I face a lot below:

  • I don't follow python, but follow web dev. I see posts like "Create a web service in 5 mins with flask"
  • My Awesome VSCode setup ranges from 10-50 extensions

Probably, what we could do was curate the beginner tagged resources so that the content which is already there in a better way can be shown as alternative, I know this can be little demotivating for new people who come to show their skills, but it would be good for community to have something that is consistent.

Also, I would like something like show what's in web-dev & not in python. So that I can curate lists which would be more useful for me.

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dezfowler profile image
Derek Fowler

I wrote a post last year about this...

dev.to/dezfowler/should-developer-...

The situation has only gotten worse since then and, whilst I don't particularly mind the "10 things..." format, I agree that there needs to be a better way of differentiating fact from opinion.

Some other suggestions I made were things like version specific tags which could intelligently add a warning at the top of a post "This post is about an older version of X and may not be up to date". Also, I think a big thing missing on DEV is a way for other users to suggest edits for posts or be able to flag posts for moderation if their content is problematic in some way e.g. code samples contains SQL injection vulnerabilities. Stack Overflow has something like that and it definitely bring with it its own problems so really requires some thought about the implementation.

This stuff is always going to be hard but I definitely think things need to change because I've also noticed a big change in the comments sections on DEV. Where previously they were usually positive you can feel the community becoming more and more frustrated with the situation - would be interesting to do some sentiment analysis on the comments over time, I think.

Really want to avoid DEV becoming just another of those unfriendly communities it was set up to not be.

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clawfire profile image
Thibault Milan

I'm using a service lately giving me a digest of the top post, every day, on dev by email (alongside many other information from other sources) and I share your feeling 100%. And must confess I lost all interests into DEV because of this :(

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lukeocodes profile image
Luke Oliff

Interesting take.

We love DEV but we're constantly drowned out by clickbait "this is why bootstrap is still relevant" and "10 ways to write a function". Our content generally performs well, but there is a downward trend.

I wrote a post on fetching a twitch status in a tiny lambda function and it's had less than 40 views in a week...

I've just been given the ability to classify low quality posts on DEV, as a moderator, and I'm trying to be objective.

Things I consider low quality:

  • posts linking to the rest of the article on their own blog
  • posts acting as a pricing page for courses...
  • posts with 1 paragraph and a 40 line code block - explain the code!
  • posts that just sell stuff
  • posts full of affiliate links
  • outdated content rehashed for 2020 but without really updating the content (2016 conclusions in 2020)
  • inaccurate posts
  • pure clickbait with no insightful information

In 10 reviews since I woke up to this new found POWERRR, 1 had been marked as high quality, 1 flagged to admins, 8 low quality. Low quality posts will be less likely to appear on news feeds.

I feel like more moderation is the answer, and in glad I get to help with that now

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jimmont profile image
Jim Montgomery

DEV.to is an inclusive application with little barrier to entry. Inclusiveness always brings a wider range of content. Every platform has imperfections, look at Quora, Stackexchange/Stackoverflow and the Internet on the whole. Academia and journalism each has quite a lot of gatekeeping and criteria around publication. Identifying these obvious problems, especially without some substantive contribution or citation, in my opinion simply contributes to the problem.

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artydev profile image
artydev

Dear Mydrax,

Give a chance to anyone.

If you want well formatted articles or tutorials, there are tons of awesome books, made by awesome developpers
Not everyone is good at publishing, neither me, but if you don't try you will never progress.

Regards

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greenroommate profile image
Haris Secic

I get your point. I also love it that it's happening. A lot of people have posts I disagree with and I still jump in some of those discussions. Why? Well even tho it might be pointless in someones mind I like to push people until they either see their mistake or until I learn something from them. If I see the it going the wrong way I just give up (except in recent case about 5% taxation for remote work where I probably should've just let it go but I had to take a break from actual work and "enjoy" non-it discussion).

Best thing, unlike stackoverflow you can't down-vote someone until they loose the right to write, post questions, whatever. And I realllly love it. And I really respect them "forcing others" to give spaces to juniors or anyone who might copy paste or put in yet another JS post to self promote or simply just because they can and want to do such things.

I know I do get bored seeing "this vs that" or "this is dead" (like recent REST hate posts in favour of GraphQL) but in such cases you as a senior (so anyone that has more experience than the post writer whatever that may be) are responsible to put in 1 single comment if others have not done it before and tell the less experienced ones "you're quite wrong because of these reasons". If that person starts going in recursion about x and y not actually reading previous stuff then you have the option to simply scroll and ignore.

Again, I do get it, you want more quality overall and it's getting clogged, but still much better than SO toxic community. And at least these guys don't use too much data to "provide best service possible so they have to know your grandmothers address" - or so :D

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Tim Carey

I am a new dev and new to this community but I have already seen most of the problems you mention in this article. I have seen enough content from multiple different resources where I can spot the phony, plagiarized and outdated content from the quality stuff. The key is not sticking to one resource but sifting through as much information from multiple resources and come to your own conclusions. Adding quality control can devolve the community very quickly if done improperly. Even if done properly it would probably still devolve into a wasteland of toxicity and gatekeeping.

Being a content creator or an educator is something that not all people are good at. More people need to come to this realization, swallow their pride, shut the hell up, and get out of the way of the people that are good at educating and making content. More people need to hold themselves accountable. Before making a post they need to ask themselves....am I just doing this for content sake, or is this actually giving something valuable to the community? If more people held themselves accountable the community could still flourish without the need for toxic quality control measures.

People holding themselves accountable? HAH, isn't that a pipe dream.

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Raffaele Pizzari

I don't know if someone could be able to create kind of "quality index" of technical articles on Dev. Maybe it's possible, but it's a complex task.

I think everyone can describe the bubble in which she/he develops the personal perception.
Nowadays I think it's very important to put a lot of effort on the content-curation: find and analyse good sources (authors/groups/websites), filter and organise them in a feed reader, maintain and update the list often, etc., etc.
This is the key.

Beside this, IMHO Dev is a fancy free-blogging platform which is mostly targeting social-media heavy users and developers looking for likes/network/audience.
Even if the background noise is very, very high it offers some high quality content too.

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Tobias Nickel

About the quality I would not complain, but on ads.
how to to this and that, with our service.

Rest API with Harper DB service,
node.js restAPI on azure
build an API with cloud function
deploy your rest API on our service
how to develop a Blockchain walled (get on our platform)

these tech companies, clearly want to get junior developers to use the products who will never know how easy it can be without.

That shows, these tech co

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Periklis Gkolias

Sadly the pandemic forced people to fill in the empty gaps of their time. There was a trend, especially during spring 2020, that if you didn't learn too much or got couple of certifications the pandemic downtime was wasted. That's how I believe this started.

Solution? I would say let's start with an algorithm that values quality content, authors with a record and articles that are not the definition of commodity.

Seriously, I don't visit sites like dev.to to read tips on how to start with angular or reading "you should do it too" in every second article.

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Dave

This is just my musings on the topic, and I'm not employed by Dev, but they are free to "steal" anything they choose (including nothing) from the below:

I too have seen the problem, and I'll throw the "other language" posts (i.e., non English) into the mix. I speak/read a few languages easily, and can happily skip over the ones that are written in languages I don't understand - though it'd be nice to have a toggle in my profile for "I want to see articles in English, German, Spanish, Italian... etc."

I think that Dev would seriously benefit from a similar (though not too similar) moderation system as StackOverflow. Give technical users the ability to review other peoples posts - hell, let me edit someone else's post with the strict rule of "I only ever improve the content, original authors can veto changes and if they do, I lose the ability to edit posts" - and count me in for making the world a better place.

Obviously that comes with a myriad of headaches for the Community Managers over at Dev, but with enough of us regular users with the same outlook on life, we should - at least in theory - make the life of a Community Manager easier.

Maybe some kind of voting system to flag for review, say, some number of users have to flag this post before the review ability opens. Only users that have volunteered to act as reviewers for certain tags can review, and an enough veto's against your edits remove your ability to review/edit.

But equally, maybe my head is in the clouds and that's not an appropriate way to proceed - again, Dev don't pay my bills, their choice in how they protect the value of the platform.

Oh, also, let more educated users "score" posts, and give everyone the ability to choose to only see things "above a certain average score" so that people that don't want to edit things, simply don't see "lower quality" posts.

Caveat there, the minimum score threshold should obviously not be taken into account if only 1 person has scored a post, and probably, if some insufficient number of people have given a score, everyone should be able to see it anyway (so all see new posts).

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Syed Faraaz Ahmad

I feel so too. I'd also like to point out that this is now the 3rd platform I've seen it in.

I've been a pretty early user of Quora and the quality of questions early on was very good. It seemed like everyone was curious about interesting things and a lot of useful knowledge was being shared. Everything was good. Then it got popular and more and more users started signing up, and the quality got worse. Quora's founder recognised this problem and at the time stated that this is the side effect of increasing traffic and is a very common problem. Now I don't know what they did to get around this issue, since I had already quit it.

I saw this with DevRant too and I quit it.

Now I'm seeing it in Dev. One solution I propose is take ideas from Wikipedia and require a user to give references in the posts so they are forced to do research and keep up the quality.

I really like Dev and don't want it to go "stale"

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Sankalpa

It's time we introduce the downvote button.

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Paul Isaris

I totally agree with your post. Enough with all the "X rules for Y" and "The BIG secret for doing X", and "The ONE thing to do for Y".

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Christopher Wray

I think if we had a way to downvote those kinds of posts that would be really good.

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Adrian Matei

Dev.to's greatest advantage - "openness to post without peer review" might lead to its dismissal... :(