A few days ago, a thoughtful and mostly lovely conversation kicked up around Cristian Moisei's post: "Is it just me or did DN used to be more interesting?".
As a team, we're feeling grateful that the Designer News crowd cares for the community enough to have such a forward-thinking, solution-oriented discussion. Both feedback and ideas abounded, and we're considering it all fodder as we make decisions to improve your DN experience. To those that joined in and those that read along --- thank you.
If I may, I'll simplify the major point: the users that participated are not feeling that they're seeing a good enough ratio of high-quality posts and discussions. This is compared to what DN was like for them in early days. Lots of ideas about cause flew about, including open registration, no ability to downvote, the "hot-take economy of web publishing" (well-phrased, Steven Cairns), a narrow content focus on product design, and more.
A general theme too was a noticeable difference in how users are typically engaging with posts now, voting on title rather than on content, and commenting less. This is the part that feels tricky to me: are DN-ers engaging less because the quality of posts is low, or are they posting quality content less because DN-ers are engaging less? Or... none of the above? A classic chicken-or-egg-or-something-else-entirely conundrum.
If you're interested, I encourage you to read Cristian's post and the comments. I won't address every point but I will tell you how we're planning to improve your DN experience.
The great news is that we have some more firepower, having added new team members (including myself actually, hey, what's up) to help us make more change faster. We're wrapping some important infrastructure work, and are turning our attention toward improvements that you'll be able to more tangibly feel. These include: looking at badges, evaluating how voting works, and reducing spam by enhancing our community management capabilities.
Of course, we're continually on the hunt for great companies that'll support the site and community through sponsorships, listing jobs, or offering Designer Deals. It's kind of joyful for us to see you happily employed or discovering new products to love.
A final point: I echo Evan Kosowski's sentiment in the thread: "Be the change you wish to see in DN." While we're working on the product side of things, it's in your power to change the usage side of things. Write posts that encourage discussion, ask questions. Upvote stories that you've read, and you feel are important for other DN-ers to read too. Comment on those quality posts! See who's up for a discussion.
Margaret, Designer News Team