There's one major drawback to a "feed-oriented" platform like DEV: posts have an incredibly short social lifespan. That is, posts drop out of the awareness of the majority of users after only a few hours — maybe a day or two if it goes viral — and then fades into relative obscurity unless manually promoted.
Understand, the thing I don't want is the Dupe Hammer Of Dread™ that we all loathe on StackOverflow to ever become a thing here on DEV. "Duplicate" is such a weird term anyway; there may be a hundred articles about Angular vs. React, but each one is going to provide a different take. "Canonical content" is the enemy of diversity.
However, when you have a hundred articles explaining the difference between
is in Python, you have to question how much of that is a genuinely unique take, and how much is posted because the author is led to believe it hasn't been covered before.
Discussions seem to be particularly vulnerable to duplication: yet another conversation about music while coding or your favorite VS Code extension. Yet this duplication is presently justified on one point: there aren't likely to be new answers to old
This isn't so much a social problem as a UX problem. As I've established, there's plenty of "duplicate" content that is perfectly justified as a high-value contribution to the community. I am only concerned that some "duplicate" content exists purely because prior identical posts weren't discoverable!
That is, an author should post because she or he wants to post an article or discussion, not purely because they can't find what they're looking for, or because the platform led them to passively assume they were the first to think about writing on the topic of
Similarly, we shouldn't need nineteen practically identical "what music are you listening to while coding" discussions, because everyone should be able to find the one that was originally there!
In other words, the platform should encourage so-called duplicate content to actually contribute value, and not merely echo what's been said a hundred times. A new take, an article written to reinforce the author's learning, new or additional data, a rebuttal to a prior post, an explicitly renewed discussion (what's your favorite extension in 2020?)...all of these contribute value.
Interestingly, I think the author is usually the best judge of whether their post contributes value, at least assuming said author is aware of similar content on the platform. To accomplish this, we need to fix discoverability.
One feature we could borrow from StackOverflow's playbook might be to list "similar posts" on the compose page. This could update periodically based primarily on the frontmatter, and secondarily on the words in the article. This gives the author the information they need to decide if their post really contributes value, with the positive side-effect of directing them to posts and authors that may interest them.
Another useful feature might be to allow "bumping" posts. If an author realizes "Oh, I don't need to post another 'What music are you listening to' discussion", she should still be able to renew the conversation by going to the post she likes and bumping it; pushing it to the top of the feed, just as if she had posted new content. Then, that post would get attention from new users who may never have seen it before.
This would also give users the ability to give posts they like another shot at getting noticed. There are some real gems buried on DEV that I would deeply love to push into the spotlight, even for a few minutes. At the moment, though, I'm forced to use more "informal" means, such as linking to the content in a comment or a Twitter post. There's nothing wrong with that, of course, but my reach is limited to only those who follow me or happen to see my comment.
It would be necessary to prevent abuse of this feature, of course, so there should be a limit on how many "bumps" a user can perform in a given period of time, and perhaps how many times a user may bump any one post. It may also be necessary to make bumping your own content more "expensive" than bumping someone else's.
This would also have no effect on "Latest".
(Mod Note: Moderator downvotes should disqualify a post from bumping.)
EDIT: It would also be excellent if Bumping a post shares it to your followers, in the same way your own posts are. This would allow popular authors with thousands of followers to easily "boost" more obscure authors and posts, something which is difficult at present.
That's the problem and some solutions as I see it. What are your thoughts?