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The DEV Team

Changelog: Adjust the weights of tags you follow

ben profile image Ben Halpern ・2 min read

New feature!

You can now adjust tags you follow to make certain topics more likely to show up in your feed.

You can adjust your tags at /dashboard/following.

Here is an example of mine right now:

I decided to follow meta the strongest, while also keeping up more closely with ruby and rails. smarthome and management also seemed like tags I don't want to miss content from.

How this affects the feed may vary as the global algorithm is modified over time, but it should help folks get the experience they're looking for out of the platform.

As we evolve the purpose and features of tags over time, this should be a central point in how folks organize themselves on platform. If you want to stay up to date more with a certain topic for a period of time, crank up its weight.

At the moment you can crank down tags you want to see less of, but the full desired behavior is not yet implemented. The signal that you follow a tag might act as both a positive and negative signal. It should generally help you see less of something, but the full behavior will be ironed out soon.

Many users probably won't bother touching these nobs, which is fine. We don't want to create an overly complicated experience.

Simple things should be simple, complex things should be possible
— Alan Kay

I think this change helps make the complex things possible while keeping the same basic default simple.

What's possible

This change should make certain kinds of behavior possible, like publishing to more "niche" tags. Currently if you want to have your JavaScript post seen, you should really publish to the javascript tag. This change should help facilitate the idea of publishing to tags like advancedjs or functionaljs etc. Smaller communities can pop up around certain tags and ensure they are collectively more likely to see the action on that tag. You may not want to publish to some of the more "mainstream" tags.

How this manifests over time will remain to be seen, but I hope we can add some features to support this kind of behavior.

Happy coding ❤️

Posted on by:

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Ben Halpern

@ben

A Canadian software developer who thinks he’s funny. He/Him.

The DEV Team

The team behind this very platform. 😄

Discussion

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What an awesome feature!

I have not seen this anywhere else. In reddit, for instance, I often visit specific subreddits to make sure I didn't miss anything because my front page is overflowed with posts from the more popular communities.

This will certainly make it easier to have a granular control over that behavior. Great ideas!

 

Ability to edit and save all please? :)

 
 

@ben I've been thinking about this and think that maybe some clarification on the settings page would help.

Other systems sometimes use "weight" to determine positioning in a kind of floating metaphor - heavier weighted items sink to the bottom, meaning that they'd be farther from the top of your feed. Perhaps a line paraphrasing "set higher numbers for topics of greater relevance" or a name of "relevance" or "bias" instead of "weight" might be clearer?

 

I just registered a few days ago and was already hoping for a feature like this. And here it is!

 

Great feature! I wish I could adjust the weights of people I follow on social media. Uggg... people.

 

Well this same weighting feature should be pretty easy to implement on people for dev.to at least, because it's actually stored on the Follow model, which is shared between tags and people.

People seemed a bit too complicated for the first iteration but the groundwork is there for this feature. 😄

 

Love this! I literally just unfollowed #javascript in the last couple of days because my real focus is python and js was flooding my feed. Thanks for this!

 

Wait this is so creative! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a system like this. Did y’all draw inspiration from anywhere in particular?

 

Is there a reason it's not an AJAX call and has to rerender the content?

(I wrote this on mobile, I hope it didn't come across as passive aggressive)

 

Nothing other than wanting to make this live and usable sooner. Started with the most basic implementation and we'll add additional usability after gathering some feedback.

When we make the second pass to improve "negative" score follows, we can look into UI improvements. PRs are also welcome here, of course. No opinionated reason for not using AJAX for the time being.

 

"Do not let perfect be the enemy of done" Love it @ben ! The Dev.to team rocks!

 

Cool, I'll have a look tomorrow 🙂

 

Nice! Add "Feed" options to only see posts from following tags/people?

 

Yeah stuff like that may be possible in the future

 

Sweet! Great job @ben & team. Always churning out useful features

 

Heck yeah, glad you like it!

 

This is great, @thepracticaldev ! Now I’ll never miss an introduction!