13 Aug

Weekly Update 114: The importance of IA pages

This is a copy of our weekly newsletter for developers which you can subscribe to here.

Hello contributors,

As you know, we have a public list of all live Instant Answers, from cheat sheets to interactive tools, from converters to entertainment data, and more. But did you know that as a contributor to an Instant Answer (IA), you have access not just to that IA's traffic data but also to updating its information?

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6 Aug

Weekly Update 113: Making Swift sing

This is a copy of our weekly newsletter for developers which you can subscribe to here.

Hello contributors,

Firstly, thank you to everyone who's been visiting the new DuckDuckHack forum and joining in the discussions and brainstorming. We've been sharing analysis and todo items for improving programming Instant Answers and we're getting results! There are already merged and soon-to-be-merged pull requests for our five target languages: CSS, JavaScript, Perl, Python and Swift. This week, I'd like to draw your attention to the last of those — Swift.

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4 Aug

Announcing the DuckDuckHack forum

Over the past few weeks, we've been working with several volunteers from the community to understand the requirements and best practices for developing high quality Instant Answers.

We've learned:

  • Usage data and metrics are critical to developing and improving Instant Answers, which must be provided by staff at present.
  • Focusing in a single topic area allows staff and contributors to work much closer together and make faster progress.
  • The community needs a new place to plan development and discuss ideas.

We're kicking off this new phase of DuckDuckHack by focusing on improving search results for five programming languages: CSS, JavaScript, Perl, Python and Swift. To facilitate analysis and discussion, we're launching a forum, check it out:

forum.duckduckhack.com

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30 Jul

Weekly Update 112: Scratching your own itch

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Hello contributors,

We sometimes get messages from people wanting to contribute to DuckDuckHack but not sure what to do. One of the best ways is to "scratch your own itch" and I'd like to share a couple of recent examples of contributors doing just that.

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16 Jul

Weekly Update 110: Show us your code

This is a copy of our weekly newsletter for developers which you can subscribe to here.

Hello contributors,

I'm very proud that we get lots of people starting their programming lives by contributing to DuckDuckGo. Together with the welcoming community, my hope is that it's an opportunity both to learn new skills and to be part of a greater mission that benefits people around the world.

But programming's not easy and we all run into bugs and errors. That's why we have an #ask-anything Slack channel where you can ask for help with any problem, big or small. To make this easier, however, I have one bit of advice for when you seek help:

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9 Jul

Weekly Update 109: Owning the query space

This is a copy of our weekly newsletter for developers which you can subscribe to here.

Hello contributors,

We often recommend that developers try to "own" a query space, in other words that they develop Instant Answers for a particular topic they're interested in. You are all experts in something and so are better placed than we are to know things like:

  • What content users are looking for
  • What's missing from current Instant Answers
  • What data sources are best

One good example of this is contributor Manraj Singh who has created most of our C++ cheat sheets. Each of them are for a specific C++ niche and form the long tail of searches that only human contributions can properly cover.

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2 Jul

Weekly Update 108: An easy way to help

This is a copy of our weekly newsletter for developers which you can subscribe to here.

Hello contributors,

We're very fortunate to have a continuous flow of new and improved Instant Answers (IAs) in the pipeline, and as you know they all need testing on our beta server before going live. Although we're currently focusing on Instant Answers for programmers, you can help with testing IAs whether you're a confident coder or not.

To help out, simply set your default search engine as https://beta.duckduckgo.combrowser instructions are here — and look out for existing regular Instant Answers or new ones in the "IA Testing" tab.

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18 Jun

Weekly Update 106: Acknowledging Community Leaders

This is a copy of our weekly newsletter for developers which you can subscribe to here.

Hello contributors,

I'm pleased to say that in the past couple of weeks we've welcomed two new Community Leaders, PJ Hampton and Robert Gaul. They're both technical members of the DuckDuckGo community and have recently spent a lot of time both working on Instant Answers directly and helping out other contributors. Welcome!

We now have over 20 Community Leaders and they guide the community in various ways, from technical support and advice, to helping with physical meetups, to to answering user questions and suggestions. They're even active outside DuckDuckGo sites, for example on sub-Reddits or social media.

So this week I'd like to acknowledge the great work they put in to make our community a friendly and fulfilling place to be. Community Leaders, we salute you!

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11 Jun

Weekly Update 105: Your Instant Answer stats

This is a copy of our weekly newsletter for developers which you can subscribe to here.

Hello contributors,

Did you know that you have access to the traffic for your Instant Answers (IAs)? If so, have you checked it recently? You may be pleasantly surprised.

To take a look, log in to duck.co and visit any of your IA metadata pages. Lower down the page you'll see a weekly-updated chart showing how many times that IA was shown over the past 30 days.

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4 Jun

Weekly Update 104: Programming coverage status update

This is a copy of our weekly newsletter for developers which you can subscribe to here.

Hello contributors,

As you may know, we're currently concentrating on improving our Instant Answers (IAs) for programmers, and we're delighted to see people joining in and updating the programming IA coverage table. This week we did some spring cleaning, getting rid of out-of-date information and fixing the status for some IAs. The way we're monitoring progress is not perfect — each IA is very different in what it covers — but taking a rough count about 34% of boxes show partial or full coverage.

A big thank you to everyone who's been helping so far! Every week we see nice comments on social media about our Instant Answers, boosting our motivation to make them even better. And of course, it's not too late to join in :-)

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28 May

Weekly Update 103: Benefitting from outside help

This is a copy of our weekly newsletter for developers which you can subscribe to here.

Hello contributors,

I'd like to share a nice example of collaboration leading to a better experience for users. We have a handy Instant Answer for finding Rust cargo packages which we told the Rust community on Reddit about. They quickly gave us specific suggestions for improvement, Tom Bebbington and PJ Hampton got coding, and now we have an Instant Answer with better triggering and showing more package results - and happy Rust developers!

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21 May

Weekly Update 102: A Slack milestone

This is a copy of our weekly newsletter for developers which you can subscribe to here.

Hello contributors,

I'm delighted to say that this week we reached 1,000 Slack members! Fun fact: If we all stood on top of each other, we'd reach over five times higher than the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

With more people joining, it's great to see not just more questions but also more answers and technical help. If you've been unsure about how to contribute, now is a good time to join us on Slack, say hi, and ask for help or suggestions, no matter what your level of experience is. You can get an invite instantly here: quackslack.herokuapp.com

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20 May

Getting to know the team

Working at DuckDuckGo is unusual. Firstly, there's the hiring process. Rather than focusing on resumes and interviews, it's based on results and team fit. Then there are the working hours and vacation — work and rest as much as you need to get your tasks done. Most peculiar, though, is that we're a remote team. The majority of our staff work from home or shared office spaces in countries all around the world but it's no substitute for laughing, debating, learning and relaxing in the same room. To solve that, we host an annual, week-long event at our company headquarters for staff to mingle face-to-face. This month was our 2016 meetup.

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14 May

Weekly Update 101: Getting community feedback

This week we were lucky enough to attend a Quack & Hack meetup in Los Angeles — many thanks to Jon Paul and Sasha for organizing it. There are five of us looking after the DuckDuckGo community and we were in Los Angeles as part of a week-long team meeting. During this and the Q&H meetup, we looked in detail at our current programming Instant Answer mission and whether we can make it easier for anyone to contribute. Turns out we can! This starts with us supporting individual contributors and helping you to "own the query space", i.e. making the most of your expertise in a particular topic or programming language.

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7 May

Weekly Update 100: Celebrating open source

As you may have seen, this week we had an article published on opensource.com that explains some of our experiences building up the DuckDuckHack community. It was 2012 when we first started receiving code contributions, and since then we've learned a lot about how to make contributing easier, and how to encourage more people to join in. We're still working on improvements and plans for the future, and of course welcome your comments and ideas.

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