Easy configure option to remove popularity features

I hate the whole idea of popularity contests. Those hearts just encourage people to game the system by arranging mutual admiration societies, spamming, posting pictures of kittens, etc. I want to run a mature (not in the x-rated sense) forum even though it caters to teenagers.

I get it that the trust level system depends on the popularity contest. Honestly, I’m not fond of the trust level system either. The only way to get an account on the forum is to have an account on the server for our browser-based programming language, so I don’t think we’ll be spammed by robot probes; it’ll take human intervention to spam us. So I’d really like users to start at trust level 4 and to have to lose trust (because of flagged posts) not to have full access to everything. Or, if my optimistic idea turns out to be wrong, let everyone start at tl1and jump to tl4 after 3 days.

Yes, I’m old; I grew up on the Arpanet, where everyone was a grownup, even the kids, because the environment encouraged that. (And, yeah, because you had to be a defense contractor to get in.)

P.S. I saw the thread about changing the heart to a thumbs-up. That would be better, but not as good as not having them at all.

So, am I the only one who wants this? Thanks.

1 Like

We appear to markedly disagree about what should be categorized as “popularity features” and what should not.

  • The “like this post” button is an effortless means for me to acknowledge the content and contributions that other members make. I often use it with or without my written thanks. I often use it to encourage new users. I’d hate to be without it and I haven’t been on a Discourse forum where it could be considered to be abused.

  • In the online world that I live in there are too many people who don’t participate constructively. The trust levels allow us to grow into responsible use of the Discourse features. Those who spam, troll and abuse shouldn’t have free rein at TL4…

Anyway, I wouldn’t want such options in core Discourse unless there were a proved demand. But there’s nothing to stop you doing it yourself.

The beauty of Discourse is that you can suppress every :heart: and you can set everyone to any trust level you like. I’d say that they are relatively easy configuration options which could be introduced in a plug-in. If it ever became popular then that would be the time to ask for a core feature.


Have you read what trust level 4 can do? Do you really even want everyone to be able to edit topic names and change category and tags which level 3 can do? You might want to default to level 2 but not 4. You demote user level by hand for bad actors.

You can hide likes with CSS, though as mentioned already, in addition to providing an easy way to thank a user for a post they also help people know whether a post is of high quality.