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@Martin - Thanks for the nudge.
Guys: I am so sorry you feel that DN has devolved. My/our version of events would be that we acquired it, rebuilt it from the ground up, redesigned it, made a ton of feature improvements, but then got a little sidetracked with the Dribbble acquisition and haven't had a chance to do more with DN.
I would really like to see what we can do to improve DN and am all ears if any of you have any ideas, want to push some initiatives, etc. Also open to having community members help build/improve the site (paid of course) and adding more mods.
Please feel free to reply here, tweet at me (@awilkinson) or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Sorry you guys feel we blew it. That sucks.
Thanks for taking the time to address the concerns within the community. I have a few thoughts I'd like to share—of which, others will hopefully reply and iterate. Here we go...
The lack of downvoting, as others have mentioned, doesn't provide any means of letting the community self-regulate. With the current up-vote only system, the only way to get low-value posts off the front page is to wait until they decay out. This—I would assume—creates a negative feedback loop with users who want good content: they come, there's nothing good, they can't easily help get rid of the bad content, they leave feeling hopeless. This breaks the habit of coming back over time and erodes the "quality users" that the community originally built around. It's a downward spiral.
Solution — Add a downvote button and sort the front page based on volume of postive upvotes with a slight decay over time function. Posts with a "-X" voting are automatically deleted or archived. There's a lot of opinions in design, so let's say something around -25, with nothing below -5 being on the homepage.
In an effort to cut down on bots/spam while keeping the community open, the posting rights should be more strict. Currently, you only need to have an account active for ~1 weeks time before you're allowed to post (if I'm remembering correctly).
Solution — Prevent users with <50 karma make new topics/posts. To earn karma, users can comment on thread and have their comments upvoted there to reach the threshold. I would hope this stimulates quality engagement as well.
This may be more of a fault of the community, but I'd be willing to argue a very small fraction of the community is actively digging through the "New" page and upvoting content so that it will reach the homepage. God bless those people, but this siloing of discovery can't be good for content curation. It's also probably why it only takes ~5 upvotes to get near the top of the homepage. Simply not enough people are digging through the new stuff!
Solution — To be honest, I'm really not sure how to solve this. Perhaps make the "Popular/New" difference more prominent and forward? Half the time, you barely even notice those tabs. Hoping others will have more feedback here.
That in mind, there's some other things that I'm just kind of confused about:
DN Podcast – It hasn't been added to in over a year. Could it be spun up again? Could it be archived in a less prominent place on the site if not?
Color Awards – This is a super fun and enganging element of DN that I fell in love with. Unfortunately, the prospect isn't huge. For new users (who won't get the beta colors, etc.), you pretty much can only earn these colors via karma benchmarks. Then—when you do—they are pretty much just greys. Maybe more colors/means of earning them?
Post Badges – These are helpful, but I think they could be more specific or have a broader variety? Looking at the homepage right now, it's more or less a sea of "SHOW DN"; what's the point if there's not really any differentiation?
Ok—so that's a lot to unpack, but those are the three biggest issue I see personally. I'm sure others have more ideas on how to polish these solutions, too, so hopefully we can get this community back on track together! :) Thanks again for listening!
I think your suggestions are really good, will love to see them implemented. I did think DN was a good platform at first but over time it became very hard to see good content here ,I personally found a good facebook group that does what DN did a while back. Frankly i think it's a shame. DN should be more community focused, with good content.
Some really good ideas there Arix. I have a thought about Post Badges too. I think they should work more like filters. I too get frustrated by the number of SHOW DN posts on the homepage. I do occasionally look at them, but only when they have a significant number of upvotes or comments.
If I could turn off certain badges that I'm not interested in, that would certainly go a long way to seeing just the content I care about.
These are good and necessary improvements that need to have already been implemented before activity tanked. Say you get these improvements — most of them are around restricting content... but part of the reason for poor front page content isn't JUST that you can't downvote it off (though I agree this is a legitimate problem) but also the lack of high-quality content to take its place. SOMETHING has to be on the front page, and with so few engaged designers with something valuable to share, that means the spammers and content marketers have an easy job of it.
What I'm getting at is, these ideas are good but will they revitalize the community? Something has to be done to bring back the people who have given up on this place.
I also am not a fan of the "be nice or else" moderation — though I understand why some may disagree. The conflict and controversy creates activity and discussion. It isn't a surprise to me that enforcing a "be nice" atmosphere leads to low activity... particularly in a community that so loathes the Dribbble style of vacuous compliment comments. We should of course have some standards for behavior as any community should, but we should also aim to be tolerant of critical or dissenting attitudes and discussion — even if the spirit of those discussions may become sometimes mean.
Downvotes. For years, I've been repeating myself to have downvotes and I always get flamed even accused to being a 'redditor' lol.
That's why we need downvotes. If ppl doesn't like something, they shouldn't be forced to take their 'happy pills'.
In my opinion, it's not a technology problem, as there's no need to create new features to fix it. The kind of content is what needs to change.
When Kelly and Allan were around taking care of that, I feel like they worried more about the quality of the content, not only by applying moderation but also by leading the community with efforts to have better content (AMAs, giveaways, etc). Feel to me like they really cared about the content in here. And so the community cared.
Don't get me wrong, most of the improvements that Arix suggested are great and probably could help the site, but the real change that I'd like to see in here is for you and those 30 people that you mentioned to contribute in here as if you really care about the quality and outcome of your baby. I know you adopted it, but it's still your baby.
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