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Moderating tags on Dev

Hello There

I have recently seen quite a few posts being published here on Dev that are asking for more moderation of posts and/or better moderation within certain tags on Dev. As one of many tag moderators that helps out here at Dev I felt like maybe I should write something to let everyone know how tag moderation happens here on Dev and what we as tag moderators actually do.

What is tag moderation?

Well, tags on Dev are all of the #'s included on a post within the header of each respective post, like #discuss is included on this article at the top under the title area. There have been and continue to be efforts made to find moderators for every tag that is on Dev, although some are still without. Essentially, tag moderation is a way to control the feeds by ensuring that articles are using the correct tags for the feeds that they are posting in.

What do Tag mods do?

"Tag mods work with each other and DEV staff to ensure that content on the site is tagged appropriately, while also politely educating DEV users on how to follow tag guidelines." This is directly from the Tag Moderation Guide that can be found here on Dev Tag Moderation Guide.

What does the process look like for tag moderators? Well, each tag mod is different in how they handle moderation for each of the tags that they have volunteered to moderate. My process is fairly simple.

  • Go to the mod center
  • Choose one the tags that I am a moderator for
  • Read through the articles including that respective tag
  • Read over the tag submission guidelines that are included for each tag.

Submission Guidelines Example

Finally after reading through the guidelines I will go back to the post and re-read through the article to determine if it really fits the guidelines to use the included tag, or, if it would be a better fit a different tag. I will then either remove the misused tag or add a proposed tag that fits better for that post.

Why does my feed contain articles that don't belong?

Well, tag moderators are volunteers that have been vetted to help out the Dev Team. We aren't on the staff, nor do we recieve anything super awesome for doing it. We work our normal jobs, enjoy retirement or just do whatever. Moderating tags on Dev is an extra little duty we volunteered for. So with that, it means that someone isn't glued to the tag moderation 24/7 so it takes a little bit. We wish that we could be super human and moderate the feeds as quick as the Flash, but it's not really practical. We do our best, and continue to meet up weekly to come up with better approaches to accomplishing our task of making Dev better. You can control your feed as a user by controlling how much of each tag shows up in your home feed, all you need to do is adjust the weights inside the followed tags section of your dashboard.

Tag Dashboard

Common question, "Can I put negative weights to a tag?" Yes you can. It will help decrease the likelihood of that tag showing up in your feed. It isn't perfect, but it helps tremendously.

What is the biggest issue with tag moderation?

Honestly, in my experience the largest issue faced by tag moderators is the misuse of tags on published articles. As authors, including tags that don't fit your post clogs up other users feeds with articles that have nothing to do with that particular tag. As authors, reading the submission guidelines is a huge help to ensuring that you include only the tags that your post fits into. This goes a long way in ensuring Dev feeds only contain articles that actually belong there.

But I want my post on the main feed!!!

Believe me, we all want our post to show up on the main feed right at the top. Write a thorough article on a topic that garners enough attention and it will. However, using tags that influence the main feed just to get there without fitting the guidelines will almost always end with your post having that tag removed if the post doesn't warrant using that tag. Habitual mis-use of a tag will usually result in a moderator flagging your account to the admin team to investigate.

As moderators and trusted users, we also have the ability to set your article as either high quality (meaning it is amazing material that needs to be seen) or low quality (meaning that the quality of the content is not that great and doesn't need to be shown very often), this influences the main feed and how often your article shows up in feeds.

What should I do as an author?

All authors can be of the most help by reading through the tag submission guidelines. Most authors write articles in a a few set tags that fit their niche. This makes it even easier, you just read through and make sure you understand the submission guidelines for those tags that you use regularly. If you are really feeling love for your particular niche or tag, reach out to the Dev Team and inquire about becoming a tag moderator for that tag and join the team helping to keep the feeds cleaned up.


We try our best, in our own time to clean up the feeds as best as we can. Ideas that help that are always welcomed and are talked about weekly to see if they could be truly beneficial. I completely understand the feeling of reading through an article in a particular feed and wondering why it is there and why there are so many spam posts and wondering why nothing is being done. Trust me, we are working on it as quick as we can, but we aren't perfect and we have outside commitments that limit our time moderating the tags.

You used #discuss so where is the discussion?

Well, shout in the comments and share your ideas on what can be done better, if you want to moderate a particular tag, or on the slight chance; show the tag moderators some love by letting us know that our work is appreciated. I know I appreciate the work done by the moderators and the Dev Team continuously trying to make Dev and Forem overall a more inclusive and organized space for people to share their writing.

Top comments (5)

andypiper profile image
Andy Piper • Edited

Great post, Jeff! Thanks for all the work you do to help around DEV, too - as a fellow moderator, this is a really nice summary of how things work, and the expectations we all have around how tags / topics are used.

I look after around 15 different tags, and do my best to keep conversations and posts on-topic, and it helps when a topic has clear posting guidelines (good reminder to self, I need to improve or create these for some of the topics I curate). It’s a side task though, much as I love the DEV community I don’t spend all my time here, so we can all do more to educate each other how best to share our content.

Also, I know we’re always open to having more volunteer help, so we’d be happy to have folks offer to get involved!

yuridevat profile image
Julia πŸ‘©πŸ»β€πŸ’» GDE

Nice article, Jeff! Yep, tags can be confusing for both, the readers and the writers. I am glad that the dev community works hard on the moderation in order to make the reading experience as good as it can be. Thanks for that!

michaeltharrington profile image
Michael Tharrington • Edited

Wow! Thanks so much for writing this up, Jeff. You've done such an awesome job of breaking down tag modding here. πŸ™Œ

And you're exactly right that it's a volunteer effort from our community members β€” y'all really aren't asking for anything in return but are just eager to help because ya wanna make the community a well-organized, spam-free-as-can-be, friendly place. As the Community Manager here, I see all the awesomeness you and many other volunteer mods bring to DEV and I feel incredibly grateful for all the help!

While it's said in the tag mod guide and referenced in your article above, I just wanna underline the fact that all tag moderators are trusted users too, meaning that they have the ability to more efficiently report spam and Code of Conduct violating materials β€” and they do. πŸ˜€ It's extremely helpful! Tags mods and trusted users are so important for keeping this community kind, inclusive, well organized, helpful, and de-spammed... all the things a healthy community should be.

If any onlookers wanna help us out as a tag moderator and/or trusted user, please don't hesitate to hit us up via email ( and let us know how you'd like to help. (If you wanna be a tag mod, please let us know which tags interest you the most!)

Thanks again for writing this Jeff! Lotsa love to you and all the other mods in the community! πŸ’š

polterguy profile image
Thomas Hansen

I had no idea it was voluntary. Najs work 😊

j3ffjessie profile image

Yep, and selected as well in a way. Volunteers are checked to ensure that they contribute to the community and know the material they are moderating. That way the tags are handled by people familiar with the topic to make better determination is something is high quality or shouldn’t be there. It’s a whole operation but we always welcome more people.