I’ve been participating in online communities for over 30 years (Pre-Internet in other words) and I’m surprised ‘we’ haven’t yet managed to evolve beyond the like button. It’s a very blunt tool and in cynical (undignified?) hands can be used to express negative sentiment. Something I rather clumsily refer to as negative likes.
Negative likes are given in a number of ways. The most obvious is when a comment attacks another member/comment and, in turn, attracts one or more likes from folks that share that negative sentiment. Some might say this is democracy at play but I see it differently and will be instructing my mods, when I go live, to actively dissuade this type of behaviour.
The second less obvious, but arguably more destructive use of negative liking happens when an original post or comment is effectively ignored, only to see a follow-up comment within the same thread, often rehashing the topic itself, attracting a disproportionate number of likes. I see this a lot and it’s a way of saying I have issues with the OP, but I agree with the sentiment of the topic itself.
Both behaviours mentioned above are rife in quite a large car forum I use and the moderators are either blind to it, or tacitly promote it, given they seek traffic to feed their Adsense revenues, not dignified discussion as we see here.
In saying that @Drew_Warwick, I am not suggesting that either of the above are behind the behaviour you describe given the poll might have attracted more likes simply because it was recognised as being a more a more appropriate device for gathering feedback in that scenario.
Either way, I would like to see Discourse look at other ways of promoting dignified rapport. Yes, we should be allowed to express sentiment. But a simple like button, on an otherwise mostly brilliantly executed platform, falls short of what’s needed. In my Sunday morning opinion, of course.
Keep it up team. Great job.