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Andy Piper
Andy Piper

Posted on • Updated on

Some housekeeping (why I help as a mod)

This might be surprising, but one of the things I'm passionate about helping with around community spaces, is some of the chores...

Cleaning up a mess

Photo by No Revisions on Unsplash


What do I mean by "chores"? Well, just like around your home, there are some small things that easily get forgotten, or that you would rather not do or think about! We all have busy lives, and it is inevitable that when a lot of folks come together in community spaces, some of those things get forgotten in all the bustle. You're more keen and excited to share what you just learned, than to check on every little detail - I get that, I'm just the same!

Back when I started helping with Open Source projects in the mid/late 1990s, I often helped prune the bug lists, identify duplicate issues, proofread documentation, and to coordinate release processes - at the time, my coding knowledge was more limited, but those kinds of project tasks were things I could help with, to make everything a little more smooth. Fun fact, I helped with several releases of the Anjuta GNOME IDE, and with some of the Unreal Tournament Linux port tasks, back when SourceForge was popular...

Fast forward to the present! I've volunteered to help here on DEV as a tag moderator for a few of the topics I'm most interested in. What does that mean? Well, more-or-less, it means helping to keep things friendly, and on-topic.

A few weeks ago, I was writing a post about classic programming books, about coding in BASIC in the 1980s. We have a topic / tag for BASIC here on DEV, but there was nothing to explain what it was about, and if you've never heard of the BASIC programming languages, then you might easily add the tag to a post about something simple.


Beginners' All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code (BASIC) - a family of general purpose programming languages

Forem (the software the DEV runs on) has a way for moderators to add metadata to the tag page, to provide more information and context, and to set some posting rules - if they are set, you can see the tag descriptions when you add them to a post. When you're adding tags in the DEV editor, you'll also see information about tagging in the side panel, under "Tagging Guidelines". I've gone ahead and added some information, as well as a link to the Wikipedia article about BASIC and its variants. I've volunteered to moderate several tags; I haven't done this for all of them yet, but I'll be working on that over time. Moderators also get the opportunity to remove or suggest tags for posts, to keep them on-topic and visible to the right searches and sub-communities here on DEV.


Official tag for MQTT, the lightweight messaging protocol for the Internet of Things.


aka "DevRel": an umbrella of roles and activities, including Developer Advocacy and Evangelism, Developer Experience ("DevX") and Enablement, Technical Writing, Developer Marketing, and Community Management. Share your experiences, and add discussions and questions about this area of technical careers!


This tag is for posts about Twitter, particularly the Twitter API and developer platform.

Oh, and in case you didn't know this - GitHub has topics too. You can add topics to your repositories to help people to discover them. On GitHub, the Explore pages for different topics are community-curated - I contributed the information for the #mqtt topic, for example. The idea is not for projects and technologies to add a load of promotional material, but - very much like Wikipedia - to add useful knowledge that improves the experience for everyone.

add useful knowledge that improves the experience for everyone

... mmm... as I typed that, I realised: that's kind of the reason I enjoy being here, part of the community, on DEV. That's exactly what I meant about being passionate about metadata, about the small things, about helping with the chores... it just makes the site and the community nicer, and easier to navigate.

I'm looking forward to reading YOUR next post or story about what you've been learning!

Discussion (1)

michaeltharrington profile image
Michael Tharrington • Edited on

add useful knowledge that improves the experience for everyone

Andy, I can absolutely confirm that you are living this statement. Thank you for being so dang helpful, so dang often.

We really rely on folks like you to help us keep DEV well organized, spam free, and friendly as can be. And the GitHub discussions that you've been starting around new features have been on point. Not only are you helping us as a mod, but you are helping all mods (and thus the larger community) by requesting features that will improve the experience for everyone involved.

Just wanted to say major thanks for everything you do! We greatly appreciate it. 🙏 😀