Recently, I published a blog post about a library that I’ve been working on. I’ve put a lot of effort into this project, so I tried to promote it.
I used the usual tools for the job: Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, HackerNews, and Echojs.
We are upvoting projects like 9gag memes
As I followed the status of my article, every few hours (or less) new article would show up.
But, this were not pictures of puppies. We are talking about hours, days or even months worth of content. And yet, people are upvoting and downvoting every submission like it’s a meme posted on 9gag.
The harsh truth is that if a project doesn’t go viral, chances are, it will not succeed.
On the other hand, if a project does go viral, but prematurely, it could also hurt its chances.
Currently, even if a submitted article recieves some feedback, most of it will probably be negative.
When someone starts to insult me, mock my hard work, when they criticize me in a way that is extremely negative, it gets to me. The consequences are horrible.
Don’t get me wrong, complaining about something can be amusing. But don’t mistake a good joke for an insult.
Imagine how many condescending comments does an unknown developer receive? How many projects did we already lost because somebody’s primary goal was just to look smart?
How is science promoting good articles
An unknown scientist with an username _alberE, just posted an article in HecklerNews:
Time and space and gravitation have no separate existence from matter
Few hours later the article is buried in the second page, showing 2 comments:
- smart_alec: “If time and space were connected, we would know it by now. I suggest you read the latest edition of How Our Lord is Moving Time”
- _alblerE: “Can you be more specific where did I made a mistake?”
Luckily, for publishing his article young Albert didn’t have to waste his time like this. Not at the very beginning, at least. He, as any other scientist, promoted his work using a model of Academic Publishing.
Publishing a scientific article is not easy, but the idea of it is simple. After an article is submitted, it must first be reviewed by another scientist. If accepted it’s published in scientific journal. If rejected, the author still recieves a valuble feedback.
This doesn’t mean a published article would not recieve condescending or unhelpful comments. It also doesn’t mean it would guarantee its success.
It’s not a perfect model. But it’s better than having no system of publishing whatsoever.
Since first programmers were actually scientists, it’s no surprise our community had adopted the idea of conferences. Why don’t we then use another channel science is using for exchanging ideas?
Benefits of an early review
My guess is, most of the developers creating their projects are not sure weather the project they are working on is good enough to be shared or advertised.
But, what if a developer could submit their work and recieve a review for his/her project? For example, a developer could use a platform where he/she can choose a reviewer (just like you would choose a freelance developer on services like upwork).
If rejected, he/she could find out that the project they are working on doesn’t provide enough value or it’s just not ready yet. Maybe a reviewer would point to some related projects solving the same problem.
A project author can then either give up on their idea or try to improve it. Or maybe, pick another reviewer this kind of platform is offering.
This is valuable feedback. Especially if it’s given in a “non-hateful” way. Since for a review there is work to be done, I would personally pay for it.
Would you subscribe to a newsletter where submitted articles are reviewed by people like John Resig, Paul Irish, Mikeal Rogers, Jafar Husain, Addy Osmani, Axel Rauschmayer, Nicholas C. Zakas, Eric Elliott, Dan Abramov?
I know that I would.
There are still questions on how exactly should this system work and how should it be financed (using a submission fee, advertising or something else).
I’m not offering a clear solution. This is a proposal that needs to be worked on.
The idea of this blog post is to see if there is enough interest for it to exist.
So, if you would support this kind of model you can start by, ironically, recommending and upvoting this article. :)