Coming from a wiki-background, I’d say there’s a lot MDN can learn from how Wikipedia and other MediaWiki-based wikis solved this.
When I started editing at MDN, I was very surprised how there was pretty much no one watching over my edits. On the one hand, I do enjoy the loose moderation - on Wikipedia specifically, it is way too easy to revert an edit, which makes it frustrating for new authors. It can happen that you put in a lot of effort finding sources and getting the wording right, and then another user can just revert your changes and all the work is wasted. You are not supposed to revert the revert, you have to contact them on their talk page and figure it out, at which point you lost the interest in it.
In contrast, this is unlikely to happen at MDN, but I would wish for more hand-holding at the beginning, especially when it comes to guidelines on how pages should be structured or which templates to use. I know there are some guides on this, but they are very hard to find unless you have the link to them, some of the info is outdated, and it’s just too much to read through at once, especially since a lot of it is self-explanatory and doesn’t need mentioning.
To start with, the Revision dashboard could use an overhaul. I actually enjoy looking at it from time to time to see what pages have been edited, and it is an easy way to check for spam.
- It took me a while to figure out you could click on a row to see the diff. There should be a note at the top mentioning this.
- When you change the tags (add a new tag, delete a tag), this is not shown in the diff. This is a major issue and should be fixed ASAP.
- For some reason the filters don’t work or have a horrible performance. For example, I have no interest in the other languages, I only care about the en-us pages, yet when I want to apply a filter to set the locale, it stays at “Hang on! Updating filters…” forever and doesn’t update.
See also Recent changes on Wikipedia for comparison.
Some other feedback:
I hope that you can get the pages into a uniform format; right now every section on MDN has their own weirdness.
When you look at the raw source code instead of the visual editor, you’ll find many differences between the pages, e.g. some pages use a <div> instead of <p>, or they insert instead of spaces, or the title="" is missing from <h2> headings.
We are all developers, so it shouldn’t be hard to write a few bots to take care of maintenance like this. I’d do it myself but I don’t dare writing a bot myself and just spamming the revisions dashboard without approval.
Wikipedia solves this by having their own Wiki markup. Maybe MDN could switch to either this or Markdown instead of HTML, this would make the code less verbose and prevent those small differences in code.
And finally, I hate that you outsourced the templates into the GitHub repo. For example, the SpecName template is outdated, it is missing some specs, or the URL or status may be wrong.
I took a look what it would take to set up a dev environment and create a pull request, and immediately lost interest. There’s no reason to not have the templates integrated into the site. On Wikipedia, everyone can edit templates (though obviously some of the more widely-used templates cannot be edited by anyone but you need privileges for that).