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Michael Tharrington for The DEV Team

Posted on • Updated on

Lesser Known Features of DEV — Ignoring a Tag via Negative Follow Weights

EDIT: Speaking with an engineer here, they let me know that currently “When you negatively follow a tag, we presently discard that tag when considering how to apply the weight for tags you follow.” More on all this to come in future posts!

It's quite common for folks on DEV to ask how they can ignore or see less of a certain tag. Well, I'm happy to say that there is a solution available that can help you!

To ignore a tag you must:

  1. Follow the tag! (Yes, I realize this is a bit unintuitive.)
  2. Navigate to you Dashboard and click Following Tags.
  3. Find the tag you want to see less of and adjust the follow weight of the tag so that it's in the negative.
  4. Click the button "Update Weights".
  5. Look for the tag and see the "Anti-follow" signifier that sits beside the tags name.

For example, here's a picture of what it looks like when I'm anti-following #codeequality:

anti-following code equality by adjusting the follow weight to negative 100

If you'd like to see me walk through these steps via video, then watch this embedded Loom:

If you have any feedback or questions, don't hesitate to comment below!

Discussion (20)

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miguelmj profile image
MiguelMJ

I'm not sure If It si me who is doing something wrong, but It doesnt work for me. For months I've had JavaScript and react with -999 weight and I still have posts about react in muy feed... It light be something I didn't get 😅

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jeremyf profile image
Jeremy Friesen

Hey, I'm one of those members meeting. A quck question, are you ever seeing posts that only have JavaScript tags.

The fact that there are four possible tags means we may be eliminating a tag from being considered, but other tags are still considered.

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miguelmj profile image
MiguelMJ

I think that might be the reason. It's true that I don't see those tags alone.

In this very moment, for example, I've browsed my feed looking for examples and I've found in the first posts one about React. However, the post also had open-source and webdev tags. Those tags don't have a weight in my configuration, I'm not following nor anti-following them... but maybe they bring the post again to considered posts.

Thanks for your feedback, Michael and Jeremy! I hope the meeting bring some good new ideas ^^

PD: I have a quick idea in a similar line: Some mechanism to mark a post as "bad tagged" could help to bring the attention of tag mods (specially in popular tags that now are used only to improve the position of your content)

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michaeltharrington profile image
Michael Tharrington Author

PD: I have a quick idea in a similar line: Some mechanism to mark a post as "bad tagged" could help to bring the attention of tag mods (specially in popular tags that now are used only to improve the position of your content)

This is a pretty cool idea and definitely worth considering! Thanks for bringing this up. Any chance you'd like to start up a GitHub discussion on this in our repo? Alternatively, I could start the discussion and reference your statement here. 😀

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miguelmj profile image
MiguelMJ

On it! Thanks for the suggestion ;)

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lukewestby profile image
Luke Westby

I’ll add to this experience report that I have #blockchain and #web3 anti-followed but I still see plenty of posts with either or both of those tags.

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michaeltharrington profile image
Michael Tharrington Author

Good to know! Appreciate that feedback, Luke. 👍

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michaeltharrington profile image
Michael Tharrington Author

Hmmmm... it sounds like you're doing things right, but it is strange that these posts would still be showing up in your feed.

Now, this can be a bit trickier to solve for than it seems!

For instance, if you're following one tag, but anti-following another, I'm not entirely sure whether or not we'd show you a post that has both of these tags. 🤔

I do know that some members of our team (including myself) plan to meet next week and discuss feed mechanics, so I will most definitely bring this up and see if I can get a firm answer here.

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natescode profile image
Nathan Hedglin

But there is only JavaScript 😂

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michaeltharrington profile image
Michael Tharrington Author

Hahaha, well we do have posts other than JS out there too, 🤣 but I wouldn't blame ya for thinking otherwise. After all, #javascript does have the most posts under its belt (92,291 according to dev.to/tags).

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j_mplourde profile image
Jean-Michel Plourde

web3 and crypto will now have a negative infinite weight on my account. Thanks for the tip!!

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michaeltharrington profile image
Michael Tharrington Author • Edited on

Happy to help out! 🙌

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lionelrowe profile image
lionel-rowe • Edited on

For anyone else curious, entering -Infinity or -1e1000 for web3 and crypto doesn't work 😢

You need to set web3 and crypto to the minimum finite floating-point value, -179769313486231570000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000

Edit: After entering -179769313486231570000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 for web3, why am I still seeing that ugly-ass metapunks ad on my homepage?

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j_mplourde profile image
Jean-Michel Plourde

You need to disable the hero banner, but it means that you will miss all the others that aren't crypto related 99% of the time. It's just forem putting out an ad for another space.

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jmau111 profile image
jmau111

Interesting usage.

Although, tags are text inputs in the end, so it could be a bit tedious to set. For example, you might exclude "#javascript" (not suggesting you should) and still get "#js" 😈.

I guess it works best with top tags listed here

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michaeltharrington profile image
Michael Tharrington Author • Edited on

This is very true!

However, us admin also have a cool feature available called tag aliasing. The way this works, is it allows us to connect two tags together, so if we alias "#js" to "#javascript" then posting under #js actually moves the post under #javascript. Another cool effect this has is that trying to navigate to the landing page of dev.to/t/js will actually bring you to dev.to/t/javascript.

All this to say, I believe that if you anti-follow #js you are also anti-following #javascript. I'll make sure a dev on the team double checks this logic though for us! To be clear, I'm not a developer, but a community manager. 🙂

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jeremyf profile image
Jeremy Friesen

I'm the engineer referenced by @michaeltharrington and am just here to wave, listen, and maybe respond if asked.

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michaeltharrington profile image
Michael Tharrington Author

Thank ya so much, Jeremy! 🙌

michaeltharrington profile image
Michael Tharrington Author

how about gogoaway?