I have received a DEV badge to honor consistency of writing, as I had published at least one post per week for eight weeks. Notifying me of the badge, DEV wants to encourage me to continue the streak and receive another badge for posting something (anything, actually) every week for another eight weeks. I could even write a bot who does that, and then I'll write another post featuring a codepen of my bot script.
After a thoughtful second, I decided to put the badge on my not-to-do-list.
While building habits can help people to achieve their goals, I think that rewarding quantity is a step in the wrong direction (unless it's about brushing your teeth every day). Our society is already based on routine, making people drive to their 9-to-5-jobs in their cars day by day, so it feels like a genius "life hack" to replace some of our old routines by other, slightly less toxic ones, and "earning" imaginary badges in our habit tracking apps or gratefulness journals.
Last, but not least, I could make less of an effort when researching and learning new features and make sure to release a new post every week no matter if I'm finished with what I set out to achieve. Just let the community correct my mistakes and fill in the blanks. DEV would reward the achieved consistency with another badge in eight weeks from now, despite the decreased quality of my content.
I can also split up my content in much smaller pieces to publish series, so instead of my conclusion, you'd get a cliff hanger quote to meditate about for another week.
Sometimes that makes sense, but often, it does not.
As INHU pointed out, "badges are pretty pointless". Which might seem funny to hear from someone who set their own goals accouncing a huge quantity of new post in 2022.
Quantity allows no conclusion about quality. A continuously growing pile of bullshit is still a pile of bullshit. No personal offense: some people release a lot of content while providing high quality at the same time, and @inhuofficial is probably on of those people.
@thormeier also seems to find it easy enough to deliver weekly content and use the writing process to push themselves beyond their comfort zone:
But while quality and quantity are unrelated in theory, often we have to decide to prioritize either one of them.
Gamification is a controversial approach to reward desired behavior, risking to boost unwanted side effects instead. StackOverflow has been trying to build a "meritocracy" focused on high-quality technological discussions, but they are still pretty far from reaching their goal in my opinion, often giving the impression of a gatekeeping community proud of their museum of outdated jQuery code snippets, but that doesn't mean it was wrong to try.
DEV, as a very open-minded and welcoming online community, has proved a source of information, inspiration, discussion, and entertainment. But, besides many articles being irrelevant to me personally (while still having value for other readers), DEV also attracts a lot of dubious content with spammy headlines like "22 node modules / react plugins EVERY developer MUST know in 2022" featuring copy-and-pasted half-knowledge, sometimes even giving risky advice contrary to established best-practice consensus.
@samuelfaure, who left Medium "after it became shit", elaborated on the problems that arise from popularity.
As DEV allows everyone to write to the best of their ability, which is a good thing, it is still a great benefit for the community to reward and promote outstanding quality content.
DEV already has topical hashtags and options to indicate the difficulty level, and they have a team that reads, awards and curates content. I can't thank them enough! Their helpfpul expertise and effort could never be achieved by an algorithm.
But there is one simple change that might make much of a difference:
Badges are nice, especially if someone wrote an article that got hand-picked into a best of the week or best topical write-up curation.
But why would we want to reward consistency? I like to create high quality content, include working demo code and make sure my claims are factually correct and proved by authoritative citations. That benefits my readers, and it benefits my own learning process at the same time. That takes time to do properly, and we should rather take our time and release one good article per month instead of feeling obliged to deliver something every week.
At least, that's my own opinion, also due to the fact that I see a growing number of articles on DEV that might have better been saved as a draft instead of being published in their current state.
Being tempted to release a half-baked post just to get on with a continuity streak, or release additional "inspirational" posts with calendar motto bullshit does not help to improve quality at all. DEV is neither StackOverflow nor Wikipedia, but it doesn't have to become the next LinkedIn or Medium either. There are already too many platforms promoting mediocre bulk content.
Let's take our time to finish well-written articles and don't let the hollow goal of a continuous streak divert us from prioritizing quality over quantity!