To “like” or not to “like”?

It has been suggested that we add to this blog the ability to register “likes” and “dislikes,” thumbs up or thumbs down on comments, with tabulation of the responses.  Other blogs do this, and something like it is a fixture of Facebook.

The reasoning is that this would give “lurkers” the ability to participate by registering their responses to other people’s comments.  It would also add to the sense of community.  Then again, there is the BAD part of communities; namely, the exertion of a peer pressure that lends itself to conformity and group think.  We wouldn’t want that here.

What do you think?  Would this add another dimension to our conversations here?  Or would it be a detraction and a distraction?  Would it make for more and better discussion, or less?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Pete

    Thumbs down.

  • Pete

    Thumbs down.

  • raun h

    thumbs down

  • raun h

    thumbs down

  • SKPeterson

    Maybe if we had an “I admire the esprit in your comment, but your idea is completely insane” button to balance a simple like-dislike dichotomy.

  • SKPeterson

    Maybe if we had an “I admire the esprit in your comment, but your idea is completely insane” button to balance a simple like-dislike dichotomy.

  • fjsteve

    Like @ #3

  • fjsteve

    Like @ #3

  • Tom Hering

    What we really need is a box that shows “most recent comments,” so we don’t have to remember the last number of comments for a thread, or open it to see if anyone has added to it.

  • Tom Hering

    What we really need is a box that shows “most recent comments,” so we don’t have to remember the last number of comments for a thread, or open it to see if anyone has added to it.

  • DonS

    With a nod to SKP’s creativity, thumbs down to the like/dislike buttons. It is easy enough to comment on this blog — registering your like or dislike of a particular comment without saying more doesn’t add anything to the conversation.

  • DonS

    With a nod to SKP’s creativity, thumbs down to the like/dislike buttons. It is easy enough to comment on this blog — registering your like or dislike of a particular comment without saying more doesn’t add anything to the conversation.

  • Abby

    “Would it make for more and better discussion . . .” — No. Hopefully, no “like” button.

  • Abby

    “Would it make for more and better discussion . . .” — No. Hopefully, no “like” button.

  • jrr

    Dislike. I just read and rarely post. One of the things that keeps me interested in reading this blog and occasionally sharing a post with a small group of friends is that people can back up their responses with reasons. Like/dislike allows for opinion without thought.

  • jrr

    Dislike. I just read and rarely post. One of the things that keeps me interested in reading this blog and occasionally sharing a post with a small group of friends is that people can back up their responses with reasons. Like/dislike allows for opinion without thought.

  • Booklover

    Thumbs down on the like, dislike button, for reasons already expressed. I have appreciated the intelligence of this blog. Buttons would lessen that.

  • Booklover

    Thumbs down on the like, dislike button, for reasons already expressed. I have appreciated the intelligence of this blog. Buttons would lessen that.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Add an an Ambivalent button, and I’m in.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Add an an Ambivalent button, and I’m in.

  • Pete

    @10

    A “meh” button?

  • Pete

    @10

    A “meh” button?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Nope.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Nope.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    I am completely indifferent to the idea. It can have it’s pluses and minuses. If the like/dislike option followed say what is on getreligion.org it could be an easy to highlight good or contentious ideas. It wouldn’t suppress expression but it would be a way of highlighting comments on an exceptionally long thread.

    Considering the personalities who follow your blog, I seriously doubt it is going to suppress people offering contrary opinions or unpopular positions.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    I am completely indifferent to the idea. It can have it’s pluses and minuses. If the like/dislike option followed say what is on getreligion.org it could be an easy to highlight good or contentious ideas. It wouldn’t suppress expression but it would be a way of highlighting comments on an exceptionally long thread.

    Considering the personalities who follow your blog, I seriously doubt it is going to suppress people offering contrary opinions or unpopular positions.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    For some reason, I wanted to press “like” on Pete at #10…

  • http://www.facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    For some reason, I wanted to press “like” on Pete at #10…

  • http:/Forsomereason,IwantedtopresslikeonPetea/www.facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    I meant #11. This cowboy needs to slow down before hitting “submit.”

  • http:/Forsomereason,IwantedtopresslikeonPetea/www.facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    I meant #11. This cowboy needs to slow down before hitting “submit.”

  • http://HOPElbc.com Jim Rademaker

    A detraction and a distraction.

  • http://HOPElbc.com Jim Rademaker

    A detraction and a distraction.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Hmm. Color me surprised by the reaction so far.

    In the past, people have explicitly mentioned wanting a “like button” here (that would include Joe, Dr. Luther in 21st Century, Bror, among others) or “+1 buttons and -1 buttons” (WebMonk), or “the up/down vote like on getreligion.org” (again, Dr. Luther in 21st Century).

    In fact, Dr. Luther in 21st Century has said that more than once, at one point stating:

    What I would like to see is an up/down vote similar to getreligion.org, it makes it very easy to see who is making a good or bad point.

    And then there are the numerous comments (which are often otherwise contentless) like “thumbs up” (from, among others, FWS, Steve Billingsley) or “+1″ (from, among others, Dan Kempin, Joe, Mike Westfall, Bryan Lindemood, FWS, kerner, Michael B., Bob, formerly just steve, WebMonk, Stephen, bike bubba, #4 Kitty, Helen K, Jon, Steve Billingsley, MarkB, mikeb, John, Jonathan, steve, Kirk, Michael Z., Larry Wright, E-Raj). To say nothing of the somewhat Christian versions of these, “Amen” or “Amen to that”, which I’m too lazy to Google.

    I can’t help but notice that those explicitly advocating for such a system haven’t weight in on this thread, with the exception of Dr. Luther in the 21st Century, who is now “indifferent”. Maybe.

    I also notice that those employing an informal version of this same thing (commenting with a “+1″) aren’t terribly well represented here, either.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Hmm. Color me surprised by the reaction so far.

    In the past, people have explicitly mentioned wanting a “like button” here (that would include Joe, Dr. Luther in 21st Century, Bror, among others) or “+1 buttons and -1 buttons” (WebMonk), or “the up/down vote like on getreligion.org” (again, Dr. Luther in 21st Century).

    In fact, Dr. Luther in 21st Century has said that more than once, at one point stating:

    What I would like to see is an up/down vote similar to getreligion.org, it makes it very easy to see who is making a good or bad point.

    And then there are the numerous comments (which are often otherwise contentless) like “thumbs up” (from, among others, FWS, Steve Billingsley) or “+1″ (from, among others, Dan Kempin, Joe, Mike Westfall, Bryan Lindemood, FWS, kerner, Michael B., Bob, formerly just steve, WebMonk, Stephen, bike bubba, #4 Kitty, Helen K, Jon, Steve Billingsley, MarkB, mikeb, John, Jonathan, steve, Kirk, Michael Z., Larry Wright, E-Raj). To say nothing of the somewhat Christian versions of these, “Amen” or “Amen to that”, which I’m too lazy to Google.

    I can’t help but notice that those explicitly advocating for such a system haven’t weight in on this thread, with the exception of Dr. Luther in the 21st Century, who is now “indifferent”. Maybe.

    I also notice that those employing an informal version of this same thing (commenting with a “+1″) aren’t terribly well represented here, either.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Oh, forgot to add fjsteve (@3) to the list of people penning contentless “like” comments. ;)

    My previous comment (@17) could, ironically, be evidence that peer pressure and group think are already setting in on this thread. I wonder if a shyer person than I, coming across an already lengthy list of “no” votes, would be scared from weighing in, thinking that the group had already spoken. We’ll never know, of course.

    And, forgive me, but why are people who almost never comment here voting on this? What dog have you got in this fight?

    I’m beginning to wonder if people are imagining a different system than I am. Like DLit2C, I was imagining something like they have at GetReligion. Comments don’t disappear if they get lots of negative votes. The system just gives a sense of what people think — both those inclined to write otherwise contentless words of praise, as well as lurkers. Vocal types could also vote, of course, but they would continue actually commenting, as well.

    I’ve seen on other blogs that the frequent commenters often do not represent the opinions of the reading audience. I think that’s interesting.

    Picture this: a large group has gathered and a debate has broken out on a topic. Not everyone is brave enough to speak. Not everyone is informed enough to speak. Some who speak aren’t informed, either, but nor are they scared. You listen from the sidelines, not having anything to add to the discussion as far as arguments go. But a point you really agree with is made. Do you clap? Do you say, “Yeah!”? Or a truly insipid argument is offered up. Do you boo?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Oh, forgot to add fjsteve (@3) to the list of people penning contentless “like” comments. ;)

    My previous comment (@17) could, ironically, be evidence that peer pressure and group think are already setting in on this thread. I wonder if a shyer person than I, coming across an already lengthy list of “no” votes, would be scared from weighing in, thinking that the group had already spoken. We’ll never know, of course.

    And, forgive me, but why are people who almost never comment here voting on this? What dog have you got in this fight?

    I’m beginning to wonder if people are imagining a different system than I am. Like DLit2C, I was imagining something like they have at GetReligion. Comments don’t disappear if they get lots of negative votes. The system just gives a sense of what people think — both those inclined to write otherwise contentless words of praise, as well as lurkers. Vocal types could also vote, of course, but they would continue actually commenting, as well.

    I’ve seen on other blogs that the frequent commenters often do not represent the opinions of the reading audience. I think that’s interesting.

    Picture this: a large group has gathered and a debate has broken out on a topic. Not everyone is brave enough to speak. Not everyone is informed enough to speak. Some who speak aren’t informed, either, but nor are they scared. You listen from the sidelines, not having anything to add to the discussion as far as arguments go. But a point you really agree with is made. Do you clap? Do you say, “Yeah!”? Or a truly insipid argument is offered up. Do you boo?

  • Grace

    I agree with DonS @6.

    It reminds me of my iPhone YouTube, which isn’t all that interesting.

  • Grace

    I agree with DonS @6.

    It reminds me of my iPhone YouTube, which isn’t all that interesting.

  • http:/Forsomereason,IwantedtopresslikeonPetea/www.facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    tODD @18

    +1

  • http:/Forsomereason,IwantedtopresslikeonPetea/www.facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    tODD @18

    +1

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    The indifference of my earlier response is probably some what due to the fact I am feeling pretty meh about everything. I think it is the weather. Yeah, I am going to blame to weather. That and stupid computer problems.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    The indifference of my earlier response is probably some what due to the fact I am feeling pretty meh about everything. I think it is the weather. Yeah, I am going to blame to weather. That and stupid computer problems.

  • Joe

    I’d still like something along the lines of a like button. There are times when someone says almost exactly the point I’d like to make and I don’t comment because, I don’t like to simply repeat someone else.

  • Joe

    I’d still like something along the lines of a like button. There are times when someone says almost exactly the point I’d like to make and I don’t comment because, I don’t like to simply repeat someone else.

  • http://fivepintlutheran2.wordpress.com/ David Cochrane

    #3 indeed

  • http://fivepintlutheran2.wordpress.com/ David Cochrane

    #3 indeed

  • fjsteve

    tODD, #18 -1 :) The new moniker was your idea by the way.

  • fjsteve

    tODD, #18 -1 :) The new moniker was your idea by the way.

  • Michael B.

    Dislike.

    Under the current system, if you dislike a post, at least there is something of a motivation to write why you dislike it. And if you use a “like” on a post, it’s something done sparingly, for comments that you think are especially good, and not merely something you agree with.

    Also, on forums like Slashdot, there are other choices other than “like” and “dislike”. One of these modifiers is called “interesting”. For example, there have been several times where I have disagreed and disliked something sg has written, but I thought it was a very interesting perspective and one I hadn’t considered before.

    Lastly, as one of maybe 3 Democrats on this forum, I’m expecting get really slammed by the system. :)

  • Michael B.

    Dislike.

    Under the current system, if you dislike a post, at least there is something of a motivation to write why you dislike it. And if you use a “like” on a post, it’s something done sparingly, for comments that you think are especially good, and not merely something you agree with.

    Also, on forums like Slashdot, there are other choices other than “like” and “dislike”. One of these modifiers is called “interesting”. For example, there have been several times where I have disagreed and disliked something sg has written, but I thought it was a very interesting perspective and one I hadn’t considered before.

    Lastly, as one of maybe 3 Democrats on this forum, I’m expecting get really slammed by the system. :)

  • helen

    If you like/dislike something enough to push a button, say why!

    I am not on facebook, flickr, twitter, (or Wittenberg Trail, FTM)
    and the reason is the gimmicks which don’t add to conversation.

  • helen

    If you like/dislike something enough to push a button, say why!

    I am not on facebook, flickr, twitter, (or Wittenberg Trail, FTM)
    and the reason is the gimmicks which don’t add to conversation.

  • Grace

    Helen @ 26

    I don’t care for “gimmicks” either. A discussion worth reading or responding to, doesn’t need them. ;)

  • Grace

    Helen @ 26

    I don’t care for “gimmicks” either. A discussion worth reading or responding to, doesn’t need them. ;)

  • Helen K

    At least I made tODD’s list. LOL I don’t comment much because I don’t feel as smart and informed as most of you guys. But….I love taking a look at the blog every day and reading what is said. I’ve learned a lot. As a new Lutheran when I joined last year, I’ve appreciated much of your perspectives.

    What I’d like (and mentioned once before) is the ability to follow a thread i.e. conversation without the necessity of making a comment.
    At times I’ve merely written “following” in the comment box and then I’ll be notified of additions in my regular email program. Much easier than looking through the entire blog each time.

    If any of you know how to do that, please let me know. I check the little notification area, but unless I write something, anything, in the comment area it doesn’t work.

    I wish I were as smart as you all!

  • Helen K

    At least I made tODD’s list. LOL I don’t comment much because I don’t feel as smart and informed as most of you guys. But….I love taking a look at the blog every day and reading what is said. I’ve learned a lot. As a new Lutheran when I joined last year, I’ve appreciated much of your perspectives.

    What I’d like (and mentioned once before) is the ability to follow a thread i.e. conversation without the necessity of making a comment.
    At times I’ve merely written “following” in the comment box and then I’ll be notified of additions in my regular email program. Much easier than looking through the entire blog each time.

    If any of you know how to do that, please let me know. I check the little notification area, but unless I write something, anything, in the comment area it doesn’t work.

    I wish I were as smart as you all!

  • JonathanH

    Tempting. Very tempting. In fact, I secretly wish there were like/dislike buttons EVERYWHERE online. And yet, with more actual thought, I nearly always conclude that it would ultimately degrade discussion quality.
    Why? Because if there were buttons, I wouldn’t have written this!

    In case we must compromise, I suggest this: keep all comment scores *hidden except upon request*, even after you vote.

  • JonathanH

    Tempting. Very tempting. In fact, I secretly wish there were like/dislike buttons EVERYWHERE online. And yet, with more actual thought, I nearly always conclude that it would ultimately degrade discussion quality.
    Why? Because if there were buttons, I wouldn’t have written this!

    In case we must compromise, I suggest this: keep all comment scores *hidden except upon request*, even after you vote.

  • Michael B.

    @Helen K.

    ” I don’t comment much because I don’t feel as smart and informed as most of you guys”

    Is this sarcasm?

  • Michael B.

    @Helen K.

    ” I don’t comment much because I don’t feel as smart and informed as most of you guys”

    Is this sarcasm?

  • Helen K

    Michael B @ 30…

    Nope, I wish I were clever enough that it might be taken that way.
    I’m just an average person who likes to be informed. No college, no special training. I will admit I’m somewhat intimidated by some of the contributors on the blog. How about you?

  • Helen K

    Michael B @ 30…

    Nope, I wish I were clever enough that it might be taken that way.
    I’m just an average person who likes to be informed. No college, no special training. I will admit I’m somewhat intimidated by some of the contributors on the blog. How about you?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Todd, if this is implemented, we must make sure that someone can only vote once. Otherwise some people who shall remain nameless, will sit there, clicking “dislike” on a post ad nauseam, merely to make an imaginary point.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Todd, if this is implemented, we must make sure that someone can only vote once. Otherwise some people who shall remain nameless, will sit there, clicking “dislike” on a post ad nauseam, merely to make an imaginary point.

  • SKPeterson

    KK @ 32 – C’est moi?

  • SKPeterson

    KK @ 32 – C’est moi?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    SKP @ 33 – cha, Umusa.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    SKP @ 33 – cha, Umusa.

  • Tom Hering

    How do tallys of anonymous judgment add to a sense of community?

  • Tom Hering

    How do tallys of anonymous judgment add to a sense of community?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Tom (@35), in the same way that applause tells you what the non-speaking crowd is thinking. There are way more people lurking here than leaving comments.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Tom (@35), in the same way that applause tells you what the non-speaking crowd is thinking. There are way more people lurking here than leaving comments.

  • Tom Hering

    Are we performing for audience approval?

  • Tom Hering

    Are we performing for audience approval?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    [Sigh] No, Tom (@37).

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    [Sigh] No, Tom (@37).

  • Tom Hering

    I still don’t understand how the like/dislike votes of lurkers will add to a sense of community. A community is composed of people are connected by something – like commenting.

  • Tom Hering

    I still don’t understand how the like/dislike votes of lurkers will add to a sense of community. A community is composed of people are connected by something – like commenting.


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