Why do you think this community has died?

almost 4 years ago from , Design Producter

3/4 years ago this was a thriving community, what's changed?

I think a lot of people thought it was a DN specific issue, with downvoting or brigading or any other DN issue, but the new subreddit is similarly dead.

What happened? Have the vocal people with useful input left to use other sites? It feels that's all that's left on either DN or the new subreddit is the occasional link that's upvoted 10 times with zero actual input from users.

It sucks.


  • Duke CavinskiDuke Cavinski, almost 4 years ago

    I don't think enough designers are giving themselves permission to talk. I do see some discussion here and there, but it's more or less replies to "influencers" on Twitter, which is where people get their biggest dopamine hits or likely attention.

    As a result, the day-to-day non-Silicon Valley design community is pretty much a silent majority, completely emasculated by a couple of folks that work at unicorns that enforce a Stasi-like "Be Nice" Policy that stunts all productive discussion lest we might reveal the utter vapidity and market nihilism of the design we are required to mime.

    In other words, we plebes simply "don't know the constraints." Move along, comrade, nothing to see here.

    77 points
    • Ashraf AliAshraf Ali, almost 4 years ago

      Never wanted to smash the upvote button so much.

      8 points
    • Wesley HainesWesley Haines, almost 4 years ago

      I'm not sure you are using the term "emasculated" correctly here and is an oddly gendered way of saying you feel your voice isn't heard.

      Do you have thoughts on active steps you can take? Just curious more than anything else.

      4 points
      • Duke CavinskiDuke Cavinski, almost 4 years ago

        Hey Wesley, you're probably right, but you'd just have to trust me when I say I didn't imply the gendered definition of the word.

        To the point though, I'd be curious as to your own thoughts on the solution, because I have none. I cynically think it may be beyond repair because it would require massive political forces to break up the centralized power that controls and limits the way product designers are compelled to speak, interact and ultimately work.

        2 points
        • Wesley HainesWesley Haines, almost 4 years ago

          What is this "centralized power" you are referring to that has "controls and limits" on how designers communicate?

          1 point
          • Cristian MoiseiCristian Moisei, almost 4 years ago

            I actually got banned from DN a while ago for mentioning I got banned from a slack UX community for saying Helen Tran (that popular ‘designer’ who used to have a beautiful website with photos of her in a bikini and 0 design work) is an idiot.

            The mods later reversed the decision because it was a little far fetched to ban me for something I said on a different platform, but still they explained they felt my comments were a danger to the community and I need to cut it out.

            The conversation started with someone saying she is a great designer and my argument was that we should expect more of the people we consider top designers (another example is Tobias van Schneider who sells anything from beard oil and pretty colours to guides to New York and stories about how awesome he is, but again almost nothing about his work), and shouldn’t just take their word for it.

            I think however it’s not just moderators who try and enforce this culture of positivity or else, it’s a lot of other designers too, to the point where any negativity or criticism is seen as destructive.

            This site’s motto is a literal threat. And I would argue that being able to have balanced conversations about where our industry relatively new industry is headed is crucial if we’re going to continue to be able to help solve problems and make our users’ lives easier / more enjoyable. It’s also important to be able to discuss each other’s work and ideas critically - looking back I feel like I’ve improved both because of the positive and the negative feedback I received, because I’ve been able to do more of the good and less of the bad.

            So I don’t hang around here as much as I used to and I certainly don’t participate in most conversations.

            8 points
            • Dan G, almost 4 years ago

              It’s also important to be able to discuss each other’s work and ideas critically

              that popular ‘designer’ who used to have a beautiful website with photos of her in a bikini

              Pick one.

              There is also a huge difference between offering critique and being an asshole. You currently don't have the balance right.

              Ps. I'll probably get banned for this, but having read your comment I think you're a shitty person. Also your work is trash. I know my opinion won't affect you but I'd still rather say it than hold it in.

              1 point
              • Cristian MoiseiCristian Moisei, almost 4 years ago

                I think it’s important you have the freedom to say this. Why do you think my work is trash?

                I don’t see how my two ideas are contradicting. She shares none of her work, so it’s not an option to discuss it.

                3 points
              • Joey Prijs, almost 4 years ago

                What are you talking about? Those aren't contradicting ideas.. Cristian took the time to explains his viewpoints (and I fully agree with him, even on the specific cases of Helen and Tobias), would be cool if you did the same.. Because right now, you're the reason this community is dying (by not engaging).

                2 points
                • Dan G, almost 4 years ago

                  If you want to critique the work you should critique the work. That's a different thing than bringing up what someone is wearing a photo on their website.

                  Also the quotation marks around 'designer' are incredibly offensive.

                  If I'm the reason the community is dying then so be it. I didn't realise the cult of Schiff was so strong around these parts. It's upsetting that he gets held up as this tragic figure and someone who's trying to stand up for the community, while he's also tweeting racist, mens rights shit at every turn.

                  0 points
                  • Cristian MoiseiCristian Moisei, almost 4 years ago

                    What I was trying to say is that there was no work to critique - 0. Now she has a few shots on dribbble but at the time her website was exclusively beautiful photos of her and no design work.

                    Please though, practice what you preach and tell me why you think my work is trash. It’s all here: http://meet-cristian.com

                    Then imagine about how you would be able to evaluate it if all you saw on my website were ads for my beard oil, blog articles and shots of my face looking cool. Then imagine other designers looked up to me and thought I’m great and they just don’t understand the reasons why yet. Would you not call me out for it?

                    But I’m not doing any of that, my work is public (except for this one project I can’t share with everyone).

                    3 points
                  • Nick MNick M, almost 4 years ago

                    I think there's a lot going on in this conversation, and I think you both have extremely valid points to make.

                    One of the first things I'd point out is that Greg is right that calling someone an 'idiot' without qualifying why you believe they are an idiot should be considered out of bounds. Just because you disagree with someone doesn't make them an idiot. Show your work.

                    However, I agree wholeheartedly with the incredulity Cristian applies to "visible" designers like Helen Tran and Tobias van Schneider. If you want to be considered a leader, put up or shut up. Again, show your work. Neither one of them do that, and that is a wholly valid critique. My personal, singular, interaction with HT was one where she came off supremely rude to me - ironically, she was defending an Eli Schiff screed about critique of design styles. I don't think she's an idiot because we disagreed on something. I just think she's rude.

                    I'd venture to say that one of the main reasons why this community and others like it are dying is because nearly everyone in them deals in absolutes. I recently engaged a self-billed "Senior Design Leader" on the topic of process and outlined what my team is doing successfully to plan for short and long-term projects. He replied with a snide comment because - I assume - he didn't agree. When I replied with more detail and clarity about what we were doing, why it worked, and what KPIs we used to measure, he went silent. Not an apology to be found. God forbid people in our community express the tiniest amount of humility.

                    I wholeheartedly believe that people like Eli S***f and his constant bad faith acting over the course of time are what helped cause this sort of behavior. He went from a fractionally correct position adjacent to the idea that critique is vital to the community, to one that trolls, insinuates, and inflames the community from a position of bad faith assumption that he still uses as cover and leverages to camouflage his current alt-right troll lord position, and unfortunately most everyone bought into it. What's funny is that we all should know better. Anyone who is an adult knows that the world is not a stark, black and white affair.

                    As for more specifics about why this specific community died? Spam. Apathy. Lack of quality content. Trolls.

                    4 points
                  • Mattan IngramMattan Ingram, almost 4 years ago

                    Schiff is not a tragic figure by any means. I completely and utterly disagree with his politics and only occasionally agree with his design critiques, but does that mean he should be ignored and blocked? If that same logic was applied to critics in other creative industries a lot of famous and widely loved criticism (oft loved for their acerbic takes) would disappear.

                    It's sad you associate any kind of criticism that isn't completely wrapped in niceties to be of the "cult of Schiff". Can't there be some nuance and space in between such extremes?

                    1 point
                • Cristian MoiseiCristian Moisei, almost 4 years ago


                  2 points
        • Adam Fisher-CoxAdam Fisher-Cox, almost 4 years ago

          What are you talking about? Who is stopping us? I think it may be valid to say no one feels like talking because the focus is all on those "unicorns" but this conspiracy theory talk like we're being silenced is laughable.

          1 point
          • Mattan IngramMattan Ingram, almost 4 years ago

            When you try to critique something that is popular and you get quote tweeted by a widely followed designer (of course taking your Tweet out of context) getting all their popular design followers to pile on what an awful person you are, it can be a very demoralizing experience. Particularly when as they do this rather mean thing they are saying it in the context of how designers shouldn't be mean.

            I'm not even talking specifically about myself, but I see this happen and not just to Eli Schiff or people who aren't as good at wrapping their critiques in niceties.

            It's not a conspiracy, it's just regular human social dynamics exaggerated by social media. People who accuse others of gatekeeping while doing the exact same thing themselves. People who wax philosophical about being open to different diverse viewpoints and perspectives and then shutdown anyone who doesn't subscribe to the strict ethics/morals/hatreds of the in-crowd.

            And I say this as a bleeding-heart liberal who prefers to be nice to people but misses real design and process and tool critiques.

            8 points
          • Duke CavinskiDuke Cavinski, almost 4 years ago

            Sure Adam, but like my first sentence says: we are stopping ourselves. It doesn't have to be this way but I think it is for a lot of folks who are afraid to be critical of our colleagues and ourselves.

            The products we make can and do cause a lot of harm and we shouldn't be shy about it when it happens in fear that we might hurt a human or get shunned. We've forfeited a lot of critical thought to a small minority who espouse a lot of values through pretty speeches about humility and creativity but rarely execute on any of them.

            2 points
            • Wesley HainesWesley Haines, almost 4 years ago

              Maybe this thread is the reason why so many of these "unicorn" designers avoid DN now. Maybe that's why this community is lacking these days. I'm just let down by by these attitudes more than anything.

              0 points
              • Duke CavinskiDuke Cavinski, almost 4 years ago

                Just an opinion. I'm not writing a manifesto or anything. These attitudes are systematic and self-inflicted. Do I have any reason to trust anything a designer at Facebook says? I don't think so, nor did I elect them to represent me or my values. So many have. I am disappointed by that aspect of our community. I'd honestly rather talk about anything else, but it was asked.

                3 points
              • Mattan IngramMattan Ingram, almost 4 years ago

                The fact that they avoid it and are "unicorn" designers (wtf is this label?) does not mean they made the right choice in doing so or that their judgment of the community is somehow valid. Lots of people think Reddit is a cesspool because of what they read about it in the media and because of a few shitty popular communities. That would be like me judging the internet in entirety based on a handful of memes.

                Yes there have been toxic comments and conversation here, and more often than not they are shot down by a lot more comments telling them how toxic they are being. This is true of pretty much every design community on the web, with visibility varying based on whether moderators delete the toxic comments or leave them up.

                We do not need famous designers to participate to have a good community, I would rather discuss design with people who are less easily set off anyway. I get way better critiques from designers (and non-designers) who are willing to be a little bit harsh than the critiques I get from people who are so afraid to offend.

                1 point
    • Scott ThomasScott Thomas, almost 4 years ago

      Within the first week of the Reddit channel, I saw 5 discussion threads pop up regarding Brand Guidelines, Transiting to a UX Manager, Stressing over PMs Nitpick, and asking Why You Became a Designer.

      It was beyond refreshing.

      3 points
    • Rhys MerrittRhys Merritt, almost 4 years ago

      a couple of folks that work at unicorns that enforce a Stasi-like "Be Nice" Policy that stunts all productive discussion

      This resonated very hard. I don't participate in many discussions now because so many communities / individuals seem more interested in constantly flattering and congratulating each other. It feels like criticism is being mistaken for negativity.

      12 points
      • Cameron GettyCameron Getty, almost 4 years ago

        Maybe this is a bad example, but when Slack dropped their new logo/icon, it was really tiring seeing people force positivity towards it (mostly on twitter).

        5 points
      • A Paul, almost 4 years ago

        Self-congratulation is a key aspect of designers who only hang around designers. I've often said the only thing designers love more than themselves are other designers.

        1 point
    • Atikh Bana, almost 4 years ago

      omg love this

      1 point
    • Thomas Michael SemmlerThomas Michael Semmler, almost 4 years ago

      well put. Though I personally never hold back and always give my opinion. I am mainly part of this community to express my dissent for the theatre-like behaviour that people working in design have - which I see in almost every aspect of our industry.

      2 points
    • Zsolt Kacso, almost 4 years ago

      Agree. I think it's the same as culture in general. Loud minority are deciding what is acceptable to say, so the rest of us just can't be bothered to play by those rules.

      I'm not saying someone is explicitly stopping anyone, but it is noticeable on Reddit, Hackernews and twitter as well that people just can't be bothered to deal with the nonsense anymore. Just go to any thread on reddit and sort by controversial, you'll see mostly normal people trying to figure out "What the hell is wrong with my opinion?"

      Once we've gone down this path there is no easy way out - only one I can think of is free speech platforms, where you can say literally anything - as long as it's not illegal.

      IMO this is the result of a cultural shift trying to nerf the world into a no-feelings-hurt utopia, which is nice as an idea, but has absolutely no basis in reality.

      3 points
    • Matthew BlodeMatthew Blode, almost 4 years ago

      Nice work!

      1 point
  • John LeschinskiJohn Leschinski, almost 4 years ago

    Too many thread about how the community is dead.

    22 points
    • Andrew C, almost 4 years ago

      Yeah exactly. Instead of another post about how dead DN is find something interesting to share. It just needs fresh content. Really not that complex of a problem.

      3 points
  • Joe Baker, almost 4 years ago

    We need a dark mode. That would fix everything.

    14 points
  • Mike AbbotMike Abbot, almost 4 years ago

    The quality of content is not that great anymore, news is old and there is way too much self-promoting content.

    14 points
  • Bevan StephensBevan Stephens, almost 4 years ago

    Content marketing has become a way of life for most companies and individuals and has eclipsed the people who write articles to genuinely share an interesting point.

    The way we work has been commoditised to the point that there are fewer interesting things to talk about. The conversations have moved on from how we work to why we work, but I think those conversations are being had elsewhere.

    Also, was it really that much better 4/5 years ago, I can't really remember it being particularly different.

    10 points
  • Mike Wilson, almost 4 years ago

    I've been here for years now and it seems the low point was when downvoting was introduced.

    Since then things have rebounded a bit, and seem to be slowly getting back to normal.

    It's never been a super active community, which I used to be annoyed by but am starting to find refreshing. If you want to see the community get better, start posting interesting links and quality comments. Be the change you want to see in the world.

    3 points
  • Jared KrauseJared Krause, almost 4 years ago

    Most independent forum communities are dying.

    The rise of mobile is a huge cause. I only check DN on my laptop and I'm only on my laptop if I'm working.

    Other mediums have have taken the place of "where I get my news" + "where I have a conversation". I check Reddit, Twitter, etc. much more than I ever check DN. It makes sense.

    Responding to a post or tweet that's over a couple days old feels "late" now. Lengthy conversation just takes more time and commitment. Short zingers and memes are entertaining and effortless.

    Reddit is hard to have an actual conversation. Twitter is all over the place. Slack/Discord communities are hard to keep up with. Not sure what the next evolution of online conversation is.

    3 points
  • ChrisArchitec t, almost 4 years ago

    For the most part I always use DN as a source for new/fresh links. What is the latest website out there, newest studio launch, interesting site design, logo / identity launch etc, the fresh content. I follow the DN twitter bot to catch things as they are posted. It's for news related to design. Why does that mean we have to discuss it endlessly? It doesn't.

    Maybe yesterday wasn't the best example but here's an all new typography.com from a major type house https://www.designernews.co/stories/102516-meet-the-allnew-typographycom some comments etc and definitely worthy of eyeballs to see what a major firm is doing.

    Then this brand new refreshed design site from designers at Dropbox (disclaimer, I shared it) https://www.designernews.co/stories/102523-resources-for-the-design-community-from-the-dropbox-design-team Interesting site design and all articles/resources/thoughtpieces for this very community. Worthy of a look? And even maybe an upvote? The design team at dropbox would probably think so.

    As long as the latest content keeps getting shared, conversation-generating or not, I will keep checking this. If some things develop more conversation, controversy, tip people off to projects members are working on (sharing work is fine too of a certain freshness etc), then that's all good too

    3 points
  • Yannic NachnameYannic Nachname, almost 4 years ago

    I came to the front page on a daily basis. Now most of the content is 1-7 days old. Thats why I visit once a week at most.

    3 points
  • Shane McCleeryShane McCleery, almost 4 years ago

    Garbage posts and an overly unapologetic and negative community that can't ever seem to think anything is good enough for them. Always something to complain about.

    2 points
  • Tyson KingsburyTyson Kingsbury, almost 4 years ago

    I dunno. honestly, I come here for info on new design software, new products, latest figma info, new and interesting web-apps etc, It was a little bit slow for a while there...but I still came by every day....

    and the last little bit, it seems like it's kinda bouncing back...

    as for emasculation, and stasi-like 'be nice policy'.... um...WTF?

    I don't personally think 'being nice' 'stunts' anything meaningful... what it DOES do, usually, is keep things civil. Which i think is more important than ever. Even with our names here being out in the open, there's a sort of anonymity thing... the notion 'well...I'll never see this person face to face, that can get folks to be a bit sharper and crueler. I think the idea is 'keep it civil.' You can engage in polite discussion. You can say 'I'm not really a fan of this or that', and state your reasons without being rude. You can basically say what's on your mind, so long as you remember that there are actual thinking and feeling human beings on the other side of the equation.

    At the end of the day, no one is coming here to read hissy-fits, or personal attacks etc...

    2 points
  • Daniel GoldenDaniel Golden, over 3 years ago


    1 point
  • Zsolt Kacso, almost 4 years ago

    You need two opposing views to get something interesting out of any discussion - balance. One side is being indirectly told "that's unacceptable" so what's left is the same surface level niceties going on with no one left to challenge them.

    1 point
  • Jeroen SmithJeroen Smith, almost 4 years ago

    I still like it. I'm new though

    0 points
  • Mike BarkerMike Barker, almost 4 years ago

    So... is there a community out there?

    Or to be more specific, can anyone think of an anonymous designer forum/site/community (not Slack)?

    0 points
  • Joseph BarrientosJoseph Barrientos, almost 4 years ago

    a lot of reasons as everyone else has already stated but one of my personal things I see is people posting links or designs but not adding any form of context or follow up comment to it. Basically just a link, which doesn't really open the room to conversation nor do you tell me why I should look at your link.

    Post your work, tell me what was difficult, what you want advice on, anything, just actually say something. I'm tired of the circle jerking of dribbble and the wastelands of DN.

    0 points
  • joe andersonjoe anderson, almost 4 years ago

    It's the culture. There's a lot of mean spirited comments that are praised and upvoted, as well as low value content / memes. There are thriving design communities that are private and invite only like Designers Guild where a lot of that stuff is just not tolerated. This informs the culture and sets the tone for how others feel they can interact which results in a much more supportive community.

    There are a lot of ideas here but I think it's ultimately going to take a serious community manager and effort to build a thriving community. For example, community managers behind the scenes need to ask their connections to post and discuss and comment to set the tone of what is "quality" for months. Also harder moderation would help fix the culture. For example, someone in this thread straight up called someone's work trash, how is that acceptable in any community let alone speaking to another human being in real life?

    0 points
  • Bart S, almost 4 years ago

    If there's other sites I'd love to know about them. It's definitely not a DN-specific issue even though the downvotes, absurd self promotion and spam has contributed to it. I can't really name a single place where I'd go to get my design news and have conversations regarding design related topics. There's a few subreddits here and there but nothing as active as for example developers are.There's webdev/frontend subreddits with 300k+ members.. Hackernews is active as hell as wel.

    I sorta have the feeling that I'm missing out by not being on Spectrum, not being in any Slack chats or by deleting my Twitter 5 years ago.

    0 points