• Jamal
    5.7k
    PlushForums is about to update the software this site runs on, and they say the new version will make it possible to turn off the reputation system, meaning the "likes" that accrue to members.

    If we did turn it off, my personal preference would be to retain likes for posts, but detach them from members--but I wouldn't be surprised if that's not an option in this release, because likes for a post just are likes for the member who posted it. If so, it's something I would ask for in the next features request e-mail I send to them, if other people here think it's a good idea.

    So what do you think?
    1. What should we do about likes? (35 votes)
        Keep things as they are.
        20%
        Get rid of likes and reputations entirely.
        34%
        If possible, get rid of likes that accrue to members but retain them for posts
        37%
        Something else (please say what)
        9%
  • Baden
    14.1k
    I'm OK with likes on posts but I don't like them accruing. Voted accordingly. (My second choice would be to just turn them off.)
  • Jamal
    5.7k
    A supplementary question to that option is this. If it is not in fact possible to do that, or not possible for a while, would you rather have likes as they are now or get rid of post likes and accrual entirely?
  • Baden
    14.1k
    Anything that stops the members being organized according to likes earned is good with me even if it means no likes at all. The last thing we need here is this kind of popularity hierarchy.
  • Jamal
    5.7k
    I think I agree.
  • Jamal
    5.7k
    Thanks for the like :D
  • Baden
    14.1k
    Don't worry, you'll never make it to 150 anyway if I have my way. >:)
  • Jamal
    5.7k
    I am willing to sacrifice my reputation for the good of the community. O:)
  • Moliere
    2.6k
    I voted 1, but I agree with 3 as well. I suppose I wanted to say "Option 3, if no, then option 1" -- in general I like "likes" in formats like this because it keeps good housekeeping. It's a way of expressing approval w.o. cluttering the discussion with a bunch of "qtf"-style posts.
  • Soylent
    188
    I require validation of my ideas and not me personally. I voted to like the posts but not the members (unless you really do like me).
  • S
    11.8k
    I voted to keep things as they are. The 'cumulative likes' list makes things a bit more interesting, although I don't take it seriously, and I could easily do without it.

    On the other hand, perhaps it's distracting in a bad way.

    To lose the 'likes' altogether would be disadvantageous, I think.
  • BC
    11.5k
    One should say what one thinks as effectively as one can and then let the chips lay wherever they land. If people don't like it, tough bounce. I voted to get rid of the likes entirely.
  • S
    11.8k
    Isn't the opportunity to give and receive some form of quick-and-easy, yet not too distracting, positive feedback, a good thing? I say it is, and I say the likes do so. Ergo, keep the likes.

    @Bitter Crank I don't always have the time or inclination to say what I think as effectively as I can. Likewise for others. And in such cases I don't see why one shouldn't be permitted to simply like a comment instead.
  • Janus
    13.2k
    I voted '3' and '2' would be my second option. I can see a value in acknowledgement that individual cases of effort, erudition or even sheer brilliance have been appreciated, but I don't think we need a popularity hierarchy of members.
  • S
    11.8k
    I vote to keep the likes at all costs, even if that entails keeping the list of cumulative likes, which in turn entails that I cry myself to sleep every night because I'm not as popular as @Hanover, even though I'm superior to him in every way imaginable, especially in terms of humility.
  • Janus
    13.2k
    Keep going, you got two likes for that last post alone!

    But, on second thought maybe you're right that the value of registering the likings of posts does outweigh the disvalue of registering the accumulated likings of posters; I'm feeling equivocal now...
  • Postmodern Beatnik
    69
    "Likes" and "dislikes" have always struck me as importantly different, especially in the context of philosophy. There are times when someone posts something that says everything you think needs to be said. Having "likes" gets rid of the temptation to post "me too" responses, which are essentially empty. "Dislikes," meanwhile, make it all too easy to express disagreement without having to present any actual objection. This is a classic case of enjoying the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought, and it is quite unphilosophical. For these reasons, I find option three to be the most preferable.

    Option two would be my second choice because it seems to me that the reputation system is unproductive enough to undercut the value of likes. I've seen sites that run largely on reputation, and it affects the behavior of everyone on them—including, and sometimes especially, those who claim most that they couldn't care less. It can also be discouraging to those who are newer in a way that a simple system of likes typically is not. Anyone can get a few likes with a strong post, after all. But a reputation system tracks seniority as much as—and often more than—ability.
  • Baden
    14.1k
    Option two would be my second choice because it seems to me that the reputation system is unproductive enough to undercut the value of likes. I've seen sites that run largely on reputation, and it affects the behavior of everyone on them—including, and sometimes especially, those who claim most that they couldn't care less. It can also be discouraging to those who are newer in a way that a simple system of likes typically is not. Anyone can get a few likes with a strong post, after all. But a reputation system tracks seniority as much as—and often more than—ability.Postmodern Beatnik

    At the risk of writing a "me too" post, I agree wholeheartedly. There should be no overt signs that could be interpreted as hierarchical or of denoting seniority visible next to members' icons as it may bear the false suggestion that a particular post is more valuable than another for reasons above and beyond its content. This would go for post count as well as a posters' number of likes. I suppose an exception would be the icon that identifies staff as there is some practical benefit for members to know immediately who the staff are (although it's not crucial as the staff are listed in the members section too). In contrast, I see no benefit at all in reading a post to immediate knowledge that the poster has a lot of likes or that they've posted a lot. If we want to know more about a member's competence, the best way to do it is to look through their post history and that's available on their profile page.
  • shmik
    207
    There should be no overt signs that could be interpreted as hierarchical or of denoting seniority visible next to members' icons as it may bear the false suggestion that a particular post is more valuable than another for reasons above and beyond its content.Baden
    I heard a story recently. Foucault was in an interview and made the suggestion that for one year the books in France should be published without authors, that people should read the books before being influenced by things outside the text. The point being there are always going to be elements which affect how a post is taken, outside of the post itself. We have the names on the post, we get to see how other people react to the post in their comments, we see how people react to other contributors in general. I don't think I've ever read a post before checking who wrote it, reputation always precedes content. I'm don't actually think anything you said was wrong, just thought that was an interesting aside, how can we speak about this topic and not argue about the role of an author? :)

    Anyways, I'm going to put it out there, I like likes. On top of the ability to say 'I agree' without putting superfluous posts in a thread, its nice to let someone know that you liked what they wrote. And it's nice when others like what you write.

    Also I completely agree that that rep is a huge problem, it creates a hierarchy and in-groups. At the moment I don't care about the cumulative likes, mostly because I'm already familiar with the posters here so checking the likes won't give me more information about how much weight to give a post. I wouldn't want a new poster to come in an feel somewhat excluded because they don't have any reps.

    The uncomfortable side of likes to me is the idea of being trained like one of Skinner's rats. I've long since come to terms with the fact that my posting style has likely has been influenced by likes in ways that I am not aware of. I had this idea a while ago that if you took a normal poster and started 'rewarding' them when they were a bit short with others, sprinkling in some dislikes when they were helpful, you could eventually turn them into an arsehole. Of course we are also heavily influenced by how others interact with us through their posts but it doesn't feel as overt and sinister.

    So I'm undecided. First preference is definitely keep likes and remove the counter but for the second preference I lean slightly towards keeping things as they are though I see downsides with it.

    Damn it, what am I doing? One more like and I'm in the top 10, I should have written something short and witty instead of this long meandering post.
  • Pneumenon
    448
    In response to @Postmodern Beatnik and @Baden, I wanted to say: is there any way that perhaps we could make post counts invisible? Post counts can have the same effect as a reputation system, albeit more mild, so perhaps we should make them invisible.
  • S
    11.8k
    I had this idea a while ago that if you took a normal poster and started 'rewarding' them when they were a bit short with others, sprinkling in some dislikes when they were helpful, you could eventually turn them into an arsehole.shmik

    Did you do that to me? Or have I just been an arsehole of my own accord?
  • Baden
    14.1k
    Well, they're not visible next to posters' icons when they post. You have to search on profiles to find them. So, there's no need for you to know any post count other than your own. That seems to me to be the right balance.
  • Baden
    14.1k
    Liked. Even though it was a bit meandering. Comparing my approach to Foucault's is almost as much of an ego boost as getting multiple likes on my posts. (Note that I'm just going to ignore the parts where you disagreed with anything I said). :-*
  • Pneumenon
    448
    Sapientia, I have no doubt about your natural capability to be a gaping, steaming, prolapsed asshole.
  • Postmodern Beatnik
    69
    The point being there are always going to be elements which affect how a post is taken, outside of the post itself. We have the names on the post, we get to see how other people react to the post in their comments, we see how people react to other contributors in general.shmik
    Sure, but I take it that the issue here is about undue influences, which context (the general category into which each of your examples falls) does not seem to be. With all due respect to Foucault, knowing who one is conversing with can be helpful when it provides information about background assumptions (I don't have to ask why Sally assumes x when I have previously read her argument for it). This isn't to say that his idea doesn't have merit—a bit of context-free reading can be an excellent exercise. But the shortcuts allowed by names aren't always bad, and are often helpful.

    As for seeing other reactions, maybe I think y is a good reply to x until I see someone else break it down as part of their explanation for why response z is better. This might prove enlightening while also preventing me from wasting effort on defending y. Alternatively, it might help me formulate y', which is an improved version of y that overcomes the objections motivating z. So all in all, we have an improved level of discourse.

    And of course, seeing how others respond gives me an idea of the forum's norms and what sort of responses are expected. In a forum with high standards then, this again raises the level of discourse. And even in a forum without high standards, it at least helps bring the level of discourse to the appropriate level. None of these are undue or undesirable effects, so they don't seem as objectionable as a reputation system.

    One possible objection here might be that certain names will inevitably gather certain reputations within the community anyway (and certainly within the minds of individual members). Thus a person with a strong reputation might receive undue deference and a person with a weak reputation might receive undue umbrage. It might also act as filter such that one occasionally reads a bad post by Famous Frank while ignoring an excellent post by Newbie Nicholas. This, I take it, is in the background of Foucault's proposal.

    The first issue strikes me as more of a problem than the second. However, completely anonymous systems often end up with members treating everyone else as Newbie Nicholas rather than showing the sort of restraint they might muster for dealing with Famous Frank. So complete anonymity might actually exacerbate the problem more than using names would.

    However, this strikes me as less of a problem in a community like this than it might be in the field of published work. For one, our biggest filter is more likely to be in the form of which discussions we read and participate in. I doubt many people read individual posts at random. Instead, they are reading all new posts to a discussion they have decided to follow. This is different from a situation where there might be ten books on topic A, and so you have to pick whether to read the one by Established Esther or Debut Debbie.

    I had this idea a while ago that if you took a normal poster and started 'rewarding' them when they were a bit short with others, sprinkling in some dislikes when they were helpful, you could eventually turn them into an arsehole.shmik
    But how would one control for the natural tendency of the internet to do precisely the same thing without provocation? ;)


    ...is there any way that perhaps we could make post counts invisible?Pneumenon
    I have no idea if that is possible, but I agree with @Baden that it's not nearly as big an issue on a forum like this where you have to go to someone's profile to see their post count.
  • _db
    3.6k
    Would it be possible for only the user to know what post of theirs was liked?

    To see a post with likes, no matter its content, subconsciously makes people think it is superior to other posts that don't have likes. I have found myself only focusing on the posts with likes and ignoring the ones without any.
  • Baden
    14.1k
    Well, you have to put your mouse over a post to know how many likes it has, or if you're on a mobile device tap the post. So, there seems to be an element of choice there that isn't present with the accrued likes next to the icons, and, again, I think that's a reasonable balance. Anyhow, we staff will go along with whatever the community as a whole wants. There'll never be full agreement but I think we'll get closer to the ideal than we're at now.
  • _db
    3.6k
    True. The like system on the new PF is far better in my opinion than the like system in the old PF. Mostly because there are no dislike options. That's not to say people can just post whatever they want, but rather they can post freely without mob lynchings. It's no fun seeing your posts disliked without any explanation, which leads to the assumption that the voting system was only being used as a way of expressing agreement or lack thereof.
  • The Great Whatever
    2.2k
    Get rid of it entirely. The model of likes and dislikes, karma, and so on, are meant for a model of interaction that has nothing to do with the goals of a philosophy forum, and they're poisonous to good discussion. Having only likes and no dislikes is maybe the worst possible option, but nothing would be best.
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