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Nikhil
Nikhil

Posted on

Is it possible to have Editor's picks in Dev.to?

This will be my first meta question. So I hope I can get some discussion going on.

So I would consider myself a beginner with respect to programming. I do understand the dynamics of a growing community like Dev.to. Been part of many communities with respect to Linux and OSS communities over the years. So I think I understand it partially at least. But in the last one year I have increased my presence here. So I was wondering if it possible to have editor's picks.

Why?

  • The quality vs quantity issue keeps coming up in dev.to. As a beginner I hope to reach the levels of experienced devs who write here. So getting familiar with the topics is a good idea for advanced topics.
  • Beginners and intermediate programmers could know what the advanced topics are to begin with. Learning the unknown unknowns before known unknowns. Currently I don't know what advanced topics should I focus or keep a tab on for the future. Editor's picks could help.
  • To appeal to programmers with experience so that their advanced topics will be heard. I know that courses and materials on advanced topics are hard to find on tech industry in general. This could be a good solution which Dev.to can do.
  • As a community grows it is harder to get noticed even when your material is amazing. Posts written by beginners/intermediate/experienced folks could be ignored. Editor's picks could make unique good posts from all levels more visible. So that they are NOT lost in the crowd.
  • For posts on quantity vs quality issues, I have seen mods and dev.to folks acknowledging the problem. Partly at least. As per past discussions on similar topics - Link1, Link2.
  • No more spam and promo posts could be a good byproduct that can come out of this.

We already have weekly top posts

Top posts are based on traffic for the most part as I know it. Please do correct me if I am wrong. Removing the traffic metric completely is important. As the community grows, the share of beginner programmers (like me) will increase. This means the intermediate/experienced programmers are a minority. Or NOT the majority at least. So traffic kind of end up being irrelevant. Quality > quantity.

Google play store is a good example of editor's picks. Irrespective of how much algorithm does, I still look at editor's picks and find some gems. Maybe we can replicate it here?

Backstage

I do understand this could mean heavy work on the dev.to team. Maybe over a period more intermediate/experienced devs can lend a hand? I am not sure how beginners can help with intermediate/advanced topics. This part is the most unclear part to me.

I do think this is better than missing good writers and dev.to members to other platforms. I don't know how hard it is. I guess I haven't thanked Dev.to folks until now. So thanks Dev.to team for the cool work and community. And if it not clear yet, this is not an angry post. :)

Discussion (2)

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moopet profile image
Ben Sinclair

Top posts are based on a bunch of different weights. Last time I looked (a long time ago...) they are based on a handful of signals like, whether the user has posted before, whether any tags are subscribed, etc. It's not a simple case of "more views" or "more likes" driving things to the top.

On the other hand, some people already curate "best xxxx-topic posts of the week" meta-posts, which puts the whole thing into our hands as a community.

If you do that, be careful not to make your curated list reflect the top traffic items otherwise it's adding noise!

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unsungnovelty profile image
Nikhil Author • Edited on

Hey thanks for taking the time to reply.

Last time I looked (a long time ago...) they are based on a handful of signals like, whether the user has posted before, whether any tags are subscribed, etc.

I am not sure if this is the way the top posts are selected now. But if it is, I don't think none of it matters. If I join Dev.to today, make a mind blowing post and never do anything else, the quality of the content should make the cut. Not engagement or traffic or whether they have subscribed to any other tags etc. Which is why I am saying there is a need for Editor's picks. Those traffic/engagement should be employed for algorithmic sections like top/relevant. Not editor's pick. Editor's picks should be completely non-algorithmic. What do you think?

Every Tuesday we round up the previous week's top posts based on traffic, engagement, and a hint of editorial curation.

This is from the dev team posting one of those top 7 posts. Editorial curation should be the only thing necessary if we are to discuss "Editorial picks" feature. Engagement and traffic doesn't always align with what a good post should be. Not to mention, currently dev writers seek validation happening through engagement and traffic. The validation should also be from fellow devs and editors who are experienced. Not just traffic or engagement.

Think of editor's picks as a feature to solve the edge cases from algorithmic sections too. NOT as a complete replacement or just as a new section.

Also, you don't have to ditch one method. It doesn't have to be this OR that. We can have both and people who crave engagement and traffic work towards that. And people who want to work and get noticed by more nerdier folks can work towards getting featured in Editor's picks.

To be clear, I am not saying one is better than the other. I am saying it's just preference. And I would ideally like to work towards both. Cos why not? :)