Proposal: Easy ways to fix DN

almost 4 years ago from , I do the UX

Why should we fix DN in the first place?

DN is an important staple of the design community. This site feeds into several other sites such as usepanda.com, Muzli, and thenews.im. While attempts to start new subreddits or Slack communities are nice, they don’t solve the core problem.

What’s wrong with DN?

There have been several threads about this in the past, but in summary: spam content, voting rings, and click bait.

What should I do about it?

I ran a little experiment over the past few weeks and have this proposal:

1. Actually start upvoting things

During the month of December, anything I upvoted immediately went to the front page for at least a few hours. That means there aren’t a lot of upvotes going around, even though I know thousands of people are viewing the DN front page every day. If everyone tosses in a few upvotes for real, genuine content, we all benefit.

2. Post something every now and then

The more genuine content that’s posted, the fewer click bait links will reach the front page. A Dribbble shot with four votes should never stay in first slot on the front page for more than a few minutes.

3. Comment on why you are/aren’t upvoting

Help educate the community by explaining why you do or don’t like a story. Help others see what type of content they should post by sharing a real perspective, even if it’s something like, “Sorry, not going to upvote this because I don’t see how it benefits the community.”


All I really want is a place where I can read good content, continue learning, and post things I’m interested in. Seems like there are easy ways to fix that. Thanks for reading this far.


  • Amazing RandoAmazing Rando, almost 4 years ago

    I upvoted this because I respect the call to action for the benefit of the DN community.

    32 points
    • Taylor Palmer, almost 4 years ago

      That’s the spirit.

      6 points
      • Tyson KingsburyTyson Kingsbury, almost 4 years ago

        ditto. Did the same thing :)

        I've seen more than a few disparraging threads, 'this place sucks' rants etc... I don't have a lot of time or patience for negativity and bashing culture, so posts like these that are proactive and positive definitely get my attention.

        I really like this community. Much in the same way I was (and still am) a long-time user/poster over on QBN/Newstoday... and while that place has definitely dropped off in design significance over the decades (been on there close to 20 years i think..it's more about keeping in touch with a few old-timers like myself) DesignerNews actually gives me all the 'real' design info and updates and posts i'm looking for on a daily basis...

        while there are problems with this place, the upside definitely out-weighs any negatives i think... it's a decent design forum, and i've found PLENTY of useful links and ideas and that makes this place valuable to me.

        I'll take your points to heart, and try and upvote more often, and I'll try and post the odd thing too :)

        2 points
        • Dan GDan G, almost 4 years ago

          I don't have a lot of time or patience for negativity and bashing culture

          It's okay to say things are in a bad state without having to jump through hoops to phrase it in a positive way

          1 point
          • Tyson KingsburyTyson Kingsbury, almost 4 years ago

            i suppose it might be. but it's all to easy to forget that you're talking to other actual people with feelings. some folks can be pretty awful online, simply because they know there's no repercussions. I wouldn't call it 'jumping through hoops'. just be decent :)

            1 point
            • Dan GDan G, almost 4 years ago

              IMO this comes across as condescending and passive aggressive. You're not wrong, but it's the way it's coming across (to me).

              0 points
              • Tyson KingsburyTyson Kingsbury, almost 4 years ago

                lol, understandable! unfortunately that's one of the big troubles of communicating online... it's hard or difficult to express the proper tone or intent etc...

                totally wasn't trying to be condescening or snotty or whatever...

                my point mainly was I've seen plenty of negativity on other boards.... also seen aggressive behaviour and name-calling etc... along with the usual amounts of 'this sucks, or that sucks....

                one of the things i've generally liked about DesignerNews is that it's been more or less positive.... I can often find decent design links here...especially about figma, which I love...

                anyhow, hope that clears things up... :)

                1 point
  • Catalin CimpanuCatalin Cimpanu, almost 4 years ago

    Yes, please, start upvoting things!

    I'm banning as many spammy and self-promo accounts as I can, but that's not helping if nobody votes good content back into the frontpage.

    Also, instead of whining about spam, report the post or ... better yet... give me a shoutout on Twitter (campuscodi) or email (catalincimpanu @ gmail dot com) and I'll have it nuked as soon as I can.

    You don't even have to start a conversation. Just send me the link to the spammy post and I'll know what to do.

    11 points
    • Account deleted almost 4 years ago

      I’ve been reporting a lot of spammy content. Hope it’s not too annoying of me. :)

      0 points
    • Ken Em, almost 4 years ago


      Well there's part of the problem right there. DN doesn't have any respect for its users. That's been abundantly clear for a while now.

      Another suggestion, instead of complaining that members aren't doing enough, how about being more proactive regarding spam instead of reactive.

      0 points
  • Joe di Stefano, almost 4 years ago

    Your ideas are good and sensible, but I have very mixed feelings about putting more effort into a community that has clearly been abandoned by its owners. Especially when they are selling advertising and job postings against our user-generated content.

    8 points
  • Marco SousaMarco Sousa, almost 4 years ago

    I like this fresh 2020 energy!

    4 points
  • Alexey Khamarkhanov, almost 4 years ago

    This shit is dead. Just leave it alone.

    3 points
  • Dennis Weinhardt, almost 4 years ago

    Here, take my upvote because you care!

    2 points
  • John PJohn P, almost 4 years ago

    Should just move the community elsewhere, not sure why DN's neglected community should be the ones putting the effort into propping up this job board income when the sites owners do nothing.

    2 points
    • Taylor Palmer, almost 4 years ago

      That's been attempted a few different times, but it never takes. The new community space would need:

      1. Upvoting capability
      2. Thread & comment capability
      3. API capability (so other sites can reference and display top posts)
      4. Profile, karma, etc

      That was attempted with Reddit but, for whatever reason, didn't work. What would you suggest?

      0 points
  • Remus Baltariu, almost 4 years ago

    Let's upvote it all! Great post, and indeed true. Sadly true. A couple of years ago it wasn't a day I wasn't here to read the latest in design, but now, I rarely do it. But as your call to action, let's take action!

    2 points
  • Rey AlejandroRey Alejandro, almost 4 years ago

    the upvote button affordance is very bad, it can be bigger and with a background to look more like a button and more obvious that it's clickable or just make the tap target bigger, not just the arrow

    1 point
  • Daniel GoldenDaniel Golden, almost 4 years ago

    Thanks to @MattHollingsworth for pinning this post to the top of the feed for a while. Many good points, presented in a kind and respectful way. This post is life-giving for this community. Thanks for taking the time to post it.

    1 point
  • Mark BultMark Bult, almost 4 years ago

    I'm not voting much because offsite links are set to open in the same tab (while, strangely, onsite links are the opposite). So when I click a link, it goes offsite, I close the tab when I'm done looking and DN is gone. No vote.

    Counterintuitive AND counterproductive in one! Reverse that and you'll get more votes.

    1 point
  • Matthew Hollingsworth, almost 4 years ago

    Thanks for this, Taylor. We agree whole heartedly. We'll continue to fight spam and remove click bait material. Fresh content and upvoting from the community is always the way to help improve the site.

    Thanks for being a part of the community : -)

    1 point
  • Jakub Polomski, almost 4 years ago

    My first thought after I read this - where the hell is upvote button? Why isn't it at the end of the article/post. Why I have to scroll all the way up to find it? Have you considered it as the cause of this problem?

    Just my 2c

    BTW, The link to this post in my newsletter looks like header, not link. I was lucky that my mouse cursor changed to the pointer when I was scrolling through.

    0 points
  • Nikhil VootkurNikhil Vootkur, almost 4 years ago

    I upvoted because it holds the community accountable

    0 points
  • Matt KMatt K, almost 4 years ago

    Other than the fact that this site has pretty much been abandoned by the owners for years, is that there actually isn't that much good content about.

    Most new articles are either content marketing from a company like InVision, or low-quality 'What I learned in my first 3 days as a UX designer' style posts.

    There's only a few people/companies producing high-quality content, maybe because it's hard, and people with the talent to do it tend to be busy.

    I wonder if the design/UX field is large enough to support a site like this?

    0 points
  • John PJohn P, almost 4 years ago


    this got shadow buried

    0 points
  • Chinmay Kulkarni, almost 4 years ago

    Sounds like a good idea. Will do

    0 points
  • Braden HammBraden Hamm, almost 4 years ago

    I've been commenting and upvoting more often for the same reason. I can't complain about the community dwindling if I'm part of the problem.

    0 points
  • Duke CavinskiDuke Cavinski, almost 4 years ago

    I think we should ask ourselves why there aren't very many non-CIS non-identifying males interacting here. It's never really felt like a safe, inclusive space for all, and there is a pile of evidence to support that suspicion.

    0 points
  • Thomas Nuuk, almost 4 years ago

    Great post!

    0 points
  • Matthew O'ConnorMatthew O'Connor, almost 4 years ago

    I posted my first Design article here yesterday! https://www.designernews.co/stories/106688-design-at-zego-planning-for-scale#comment-325680

    Would love some feedback on it, as we will be updating our journey on how we are implementing our Design System this year.

    0 points
  • Andrew Lilja, almost 4 years ago

    what do people actually want on here? is it longform writing about ux and the process? lord knows i don't need another poorly written medium article about the basics of something i do every day.

    here's an article that really got me thinking, the kind of thing i set aside time to read. i think bret victor's articles are really good. i personally want something thought-provoking. case studies that explain how a particular problem was solved. why a well-known company made a decision. how do i even find that if i'm not using designer news?

    i'm a pretty active reddit user but i never upvote things there, i just comment. i don't know why. maybe comment activity is a better indicator of how good something is instead of an upvote? can you get comments on things without upvotes? feels like a catch-22.

    0 points
  • Wouter RamakerWouter Ramaker, almost 4 years ago
    1. Post something every now and then
    2. Comment on why you are/aren’t upvoting

    In short: post more. Although I fully agree, I think there is a bit of a catch 22 we need to break through though.

    I agree that there is a lack of engagement among the users here. This is probably the result of high-quality posts being drowned out by spam, and a lack of moderation has led to a sense of apathy. The up (and downvotes, for as long as they lasted) were a way to self-moderate, but they were gamed by the spammers, leading to further disengagement by actual users. So, I don't think just telling people to post more will take away this feeling.

    0 points
    • Taylor Palmer, almost 4 years ago

      I actually think that genuine upvoting will do more than posting. There are still good things being posted, they just get lost.

      Even “highly ranked” stories only have 15+ upvotes these days. What if the good stories had 50? 100? 500? It makes voting rings much more difficult.

      0 points