Lessons from Colossal Caves

Maybe then I should have asked whether anybody remembers rogue…


And something else that occurred to me in reading your exploration of the ideas was that maybe when a like was the only visual indicator it stood for every reaction - so the liker and the likee knew to interpret It’s use in a way that allowed a charitable interpretation.

But with the introduction of visual indicators that provided more explicit messaging maybe the ambiguous messaging ceased to be interpreted by either or both parties as a charitable ambiguity- almost a devaluing or derailing of the generic indicator because one COULD have used more exact reinforcement?

I suspect that this contextualized interpretation of symbolic messaging amongst a group of people who share the meanings is a component of the establishment of culture. - I think culture is the shared perception of something being acceptable, not acceptable, normal,…

So you may not like them when they were introduced because at introduction they are not within the culture. But their introduction changes the culture and as a member of the community you feel that morph and become comfortable with it?

Or maybe these are just ramblings :slight_smile:

Just to clarify, what is this topic about?

Sorry Jammy but i had to. ask Claude that is...

This forum discussion reflects on lessons learned from the classic text-based adventure game Colossal Cave Adventure.

post 1 @51mon reminisces about playing Colossal Cave Adventure on mainframe computers in the past. They note how secret words like “Plove” were passed down by word of mouth, creating a sense of mystery and exploration.

post 2 @JammyDodger points out that Reactions are a relatively new addition on Meta, which may explain the lower usage compared to Likes so far.

post 3 @51mon wonders if making site stats publicly visible could encourage more community participation.

post 5 @Ed_S chooses not to use Reactions because Likes seem more integrated into Discourse’s systems.

post 6 @merefield shares links to play Colossal Cave Adventure online or via bot in Discourse.

post 10 @JammyDodger explains that Reactions don’t impact Trust Levels as much as Likes.

post 13 @pfaffman sees Reactions as unnecessary bloatware but will use them for fun.

post 14 @merefield argues the simplicity of a Like is part of what makes Discourse great.

post 15 @Canapin initially disliked Reactions but grew to appreciate them over time.

post 17 @Lilly finds many users dislike Reactions and prefer a simple thumbs up icon.

post 19 @Lilly reminisces about the classic game Oregon Trail.

Overall, the discussion reflects nostalgia for early text adventure games while debating the merits and adoption rates of Discourse Reactions compared to Likes. There is no clear consensus, with some preferring simplicity while others have grown to appreciate Reactions over time. The conversation explores how features like Reactions spread through communities and gradually shape culture and norms.

Summarized with AI on Sep 6


Hmm, so there is indeed a heart reaction, and guess what, it’s distinct from the heart as a like. Terrible choice!

I fully see that as a forum admin one might want to replace the Like icon, using a thumbs up, heart, +1, star or something else which fits the community culture. I don’t think that’s presently available to us as an option. Instead we have reactions, and now we have them, we’re unlikely to see them go away. The best we might hope for is to have an admin table which associates some reactions with a positive score so they can act like a Like.

It is indeed difficult to express approval of a negative post. Over on MeFi, death notices will conventionally get a parade of replies each of which is a single “.” and I think as a piece of culture that works very well.

Of course agreeing with an angry or complaining post could be seen as positive, in that it rewards the poster for bringing the offending fact to light.

1 Like

Well there is this theme component and it’s generally pretty easy to replace the heart as a like (or any icon) with some api.replaceIcon code . But replacing or disabling the heart in reactions specifically seems to be a bit of a pain.



The this in the above was, in my head when I wrote it about the spread of features and their uptake (speed of, or rejection of,…) by participants and thus the shared conventions that establish culture. That was why I posted it under the community category

1 Like

I think things are getting muddled. When Reactions are enabled it includes the heart by default, and by default it will be mapped as a Like. :heart: = Like

But if you don’t want to enable Reactions on your forum (for reasons practical, moral, or philosophical) then that’s completely fine. :slight_smile:


I did think that. :slight_smile: It has gone on a small tangent about Reactions.

There are quite a few other features that aren’t ‘every day’ ones that I think can go under the radar for an average user. Wikis is one I think. Polls can also be under-used too depending on your forum culture. They do have a tendency to become more prevalent when others see them in action and realise they can use them too.

We do have the @discobot tutorials that can emphasise some of the features, like bookmarks, notifications, editing, etc. Those can be quite useful for beginners (or to check out things you may have missed).

1 Like

Quite possibly. I seem some posts in this thread with a collection of reactions, including hearts, but no Likes, and other posts with likes, but no other reactions. If I’m confused, perhaps it comes from the complexity (non-simplicity) of the interface.


Indeed so. The nature of Discourse development is, it feels to me, to keep adding things. Always, presumably, because someone felt the new thing to be a worthwhile addition, and knew what they wanted, or what they intended to do with it.


Is there anything other than tutorial advanced tutorial roll quote and fortune?

I don’t remember seeing anything on bookmarks notifications or editing in either tutorial or advanced

I must be missing something

I think this is largely true. I think we add much more than we take away each year (especially if you include community contributions as well). We’re definitely feature-rich. :slight_smile: Though I think by making the extras available in plugins or theme components, or behind site settings, it allows each forum’s admins to put together or extend a site based on the features and functions that they want to use, or that their community would find useful.

It’s more than possible to have a very simple site if that’s what you’re looking for, or just add a couple of extra bits, without going the whole hog and adding all of the things. I think they’re also quite easy to take away again if you try something out and the community doesn’t like it.


Checking your badges, it doesn’t look like you’ve done the first tutorial one fully yet. The first message in that asks you to bookmark the topic to continue. :+1: