Consider Blogging As a Privilege

Consider Blogging As a Privilege

Do we have the 'right' to 'write' what we want, even if it is technically incorrect?

Manik's photo
ยทOct 29, 2022ยท

6 min read

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Table of contents

  • The Medium Story
  • Why The Rant?
  • The Fight for the Keywords
  • What Can we do as Software Developers?
  • Share Your Thoughts

In my humble opinion, just because the publishing platforms are so easily accessible, we developers should not consider publishing technical writings as an inferred right instead, it should be considered a privilege.

What motivates me to write this post is my encounter with a garbage post recently pushed to my inbox by Medium. The email said that something was trending about JavaScript that I must read.

The Medium Story

The story starts with a fine morning when I sat down at my workstation and started my day by checking my emails. I got an email in my Inbox from Medium saying that this article was trending in JavaScript and suggesting that it was handpicked for me and I must read it (pun intended). The article had a very catchy title which made me click on the link and made me super excited about the fact that I would get to learn something new. The next thing I see on my screen is a lot of comments on the article, which re-assured my expectations of learning something cool.

But here is the thing, as I started going through the article and looking at the code examples, I started getting a bad smell about the code. Then a few more lines of garbage, and I thought, either there was something I didn't know about JavaScript or the author had no idea about what was published.

The only reason a sense of self-doubt came about was that the article had attracted many comments, making me think I might be missing something.

And then, I decided to read the comments. Reading through the comments, I started understanding why the article had attracted so much attention. So many seasoned JavaScript developers were cribbing about the post and its contents. The most exciting part of the article was the comments section because the article made no sense. The article came from a noob who had no practical experience whatsoever. I wasn't happy that so many people were speaking against what was posted but saddened by the fact that the author took no action. For a moment, I also thought that the article was published purposely to get traffic and traction.

Without being judgemental, I decided to post my opinion in the comments and was blunt about the fact that the article was spreading misinformation. To my surprise, my comment on the article got the fastest first ten claps on Medium I have ever got ๐Ÿคฏ.

Why The Rant?

So what's the big deal about it? Why this rant? I am ranting because I am empathetic toward someone just starting her career as a software developer. The empathy comes from my journey as a software developer. I have been working as one for the last 14 years. I have learned a ton from contributions made by my fellow developers on early years authoritative blogs like Smashing Magazine, CSS Tricks, etc. They still have a quality control policy in place. (Just to make it clear, this article is not sponsored by them). Publications are a source of learning, and as someone starting my career as a software developer, I had full confidence in what these blogs posted.

Now think about someone new to JavaScript who gets an email from Medium about a new trending topic and lands on this garbage article. Instead of learning anything new, he's misinformed about how he should be writing "clean" code. The claps and the comments on the article (if not read) make it seem to be an authoritative post. The problem is not just specific to Medium as a platform. I have seen some YouTubers teaching nonsense with complete confidence and people thanking them in the comments without validating the facts stated in the video and accepting things.

The Fight for the Keywords

Suppose you consider the above case a classic example of getting social attraction by the author and nothing else. In that circumstance, you are with me in considering the other side of the coin where people write for keywords and not to solve a problem. Now and then, I hear people talking about content generation as a promising way to attract traffic, which it is, but the content needs to have the correct context. But most of the time, it is written to rank for specific keywords, which only creates more articles that add no value.

Don't get me wrong; I am not against researching keywords to identify what people are searching for and then generating content to answer their queries. The problem is when you write for the heck of getting traffic and want to rank for the keywords.

I can't stress more that whenever someone clicks a publish button, it should be from the point of view of adding value to the reader's life.

What Can we do as Software Developers?

One thing I love about being a software developer is that I am probably a part of the most thriving and contributing communities the world has ever seen. Platforms like Stack Overflow are examples of how people help each other grow in our community. I know things aren't perfect, but our community thrives because of the good people who are a part of it. With the intent to help others, I think there are a few things we can do before we click the publish button.

  • Test the Content - Like any piece of good software, the published content needs testing as well. Before you hit the publish button, check and re-check whether the information you are about to share is correct. If the information that you are about to share in your article is not correct, it will do more harm than good to people who will read it. Testing involves keeping the ego aside and being humble about our skillset. I understand that the ability to write code makes us developers special compared to the rest of the population ๐Ÿ˜‰. But being humble about it and understanding that you are not the only developer in this world and confirming your statements before you publish is the way to go.

  • Don't Write for Adrenaline Rush - Another change we can bring is to not write for the Adrenaline Rush. The content we post should not be driven by selfish motives but should have the intention of educating someone about something we have been able to grasp. This way, we can contribute to each other's knowledge, and everyone can grow in the community.

Share Your Thoughts

What do you think? Has a similar incident happened to you as well? I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas on how we, as a community, can improve the quality of our content contributions.

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