Suggestion: ‘Likes received’ and ‘Posts’ in User Card


I’m on another website which uses Discourse and I very much like it. I’ve also discussed with the owner of the website and he gave me the okay to ask about this here. The issue is that, especially for newcomers, and since there is no quick way to know users’ activity/contribution, everyone looks like new members.

It would be great if, in the user card (the small rectangular box when you click on a user’s profile icon), along with ‘Last post’ and ‘Joined’, there would also be ‘:black_heart: received’ and ‘Posts’.

Knowing someone’s past activity/contribution has many uses, and while the join date can be used for this, it may simply mean that the account was created, but the user hasn’t posted much or hasn’t returned. Also, I guess you could go to the full profile page of each member, but doing this takes quite a lot of time compared to simply clicking on the profile icon (and you also have to leave the thread you were initially reading).

A few reasons why ‘:black_heart: received’ and ‘Posts’ are useful:

  • If you see that a member doesn’t have many posts, it can help you understand his/her posts better, or more importantly, adjust your replies accordingly (be more helpful).
  • Vice versa with long-time contributors.
  • Knowing that a user has participated/contributed more—and even more so if he/she has lots of likes, or when comparing the number of posts and likes—can help you pinpoint good users, so you can read more of their posts, or read their posts more carefully.
  • Having lots of posts but very little likes could be a small reminder to try and post more valuable content (quality rather than quantity), or to improve the quality of your posts in general.

Something along the lines of (I hope you don’t mind if I use your profile card, Joshua :slight_smile: ):



Nice idea, ideally this would be easier instead of navigating through the profile to view the likes/posts. Could this be implemented for the next release?

(Jeff Atwood) #4

If anything I would put total read time here. Reading is more important than talking.


I agree read time would be very useful! It would show how much someone thinks/reads compared to talking/posting.

I’d be happy to see that info as well, but could you also add ‘Likes received’ and ‘Posts’? It would be useful information to give a general idea of the quality of member’s posts/contribution (and the ratio of likes/posts is also a small incentive to post quality over quantity).

If there isn’t enought space, apart from the member class, would adding those three member statistics in place of the badges be a good idea? It’s difficult to interpret them in the user card without having the accompanying definition (maybe having the total number of badges would be good)?

(Jeff Atwood) #6

You would need to do this in a plugin. You can read why I am violently opposed to post count next to user names in any form here.

That will not change.


I’m of a similar opinion regarding post count (although, your blog article delved even deeper into the topic and was intriguing). The reason why I thought post count in user cards would be useful would be solely to compare it to likes (for example, 4000 likes/500 posts vs. 50 likes/3000 posts).

Maybe only read time and likes could be in the user cards (or simply read time altogether)?

I understand the reason of trying to avoid posting becoming a highest post count contest, or a popularity contest, which are huge problems with traditional forums and Facebook. However, by adding some of these metrics to the user card (rather than under the username of every post), they could be used as an advantage, as well as giving at least some information regarding the user’s contribution and post quality.

These are ideas, but like in the first part of the OP, the initial issue is that, unless you’ve actively been part of a community for quite some time (especially if it is—or becomes—a big community) and unless you individually memorize the usernames of most of the members who post, then there is the issue that most users look like new members.

Anyway, I don’t think there is much more I can add without sounding forceful, so I’ll leave it at that.


As an afterthought, especially with the community I’m in (which is quite good), I’m assuming most users are educated/cultivated. Still, some users probably would post in higher amounts only to increase their post count, or similarly, would modify their posts to get more likes (sadly, some might even be happy their post number is high, all the while ignoring that they barely have any likes).

Thanks for the interesting discussion. Please do consider the ‘most members looking like new members’ issue though. Cheers.

(Mittineague) #9

To some extent this is already a non-issue. New member posts are easily recognizable even without looking at the member’s user card or profile. The names of New members are displayed in a lighter shade of grey, similar to the difference between an unvisited vs visited link. eg. look at the other member’s names in this topic compared to yours.

(Carson) #10

Great article - very interesting.

In light of that, I think it would be interesting if the dashboard reported the total read time. Today / Yesterday / Last 7 / Last 30 / All. Also perhaps the number of users who read more than 5 (?) minutes/day.

It’d be interesting to know if our site has more people spending more time reading on it as a way of measuring the impact of the community. Perhaps the read time is going up because it is humorous, like a bad joke, but in most cases, it seems that would be an indication that people are finding increasing value in the site’s content.


Thanks, I hadn’t noticed that. How long does the colour stay light grey for new users? New members, for me at least, is under 6 months. Most newcomers have a lot to study/read before they are to some degree knowledgable. :wink:

Obviously, there is also the join date, but this can be misleading; the account could have been created years ago and the user might have only spent a few days on the website (variants of this being quite common).

(Mittineague) #12

I didn’t mean “new”, but “New” as in trust level

(Erlend Sogge Heggen) #13

Just a random idea: One thing we might want to consider, or would at least be happy to see someone do with a plugin, would be to highlight new users more clearly to others. Something like this:

The user themselves wouldn’t necessarily need to see that, but the rest of the community would (visible to all will be easier to implement though). That tag would be visible for a week after registration.

Similarly, users who’ve been lurking for a while but haven’t posted yet would have a “:new: Poster” tag for a week after making their first post.

(Jeff Atwood) #14

Since there is already a css class for new users this would be easy. However TL0 has its own rules, not “for two days”, etc.

(Jeff Atwood) #15

Ok @neil made this so, as I felt it was the strongest scenario by far:

Total read time is now displayed on all user cards. Reading Is Fundamental!

Total read time definitively covers this scenario. Reading > talking.


Awesome! Thanks, Jeff.

I’ve read a number of your articles on your blog. They’ve really changed the way I see online discussion and discussions in general. Thanks for that as well. :slight_smile: Cheers.


(Jeff Atwood) #17

Thanks for the prod to do something here – we should have added read time on there a while ago, as it’s a core value!

(Dave McClure) #18

Happy to see us surfacing more about reading as a core metric. (It’s long been one of my wishlist items for the dashboard).

I personally find the “posts read” metric easier to understand and compare across users, but happy to see something like this bubbling up.

(Jeff Atwood) #19

Unfortunately it is possible to game that stat; enter a topic and jump to last post, and you (sometimes*) get read credit for all (n) posts in that topic.

Actual read time can’t be gamed in this manner.

* @Mittineague may remember this, I have bounced the topic with details.

(Mittineague) #20

I’m seeing some funky "recently"s on user cards. For example
codinghorror Read 4mon (7d recently)
HAWK Read 8d (2d recently)
Mittineague Read 82d (4d recently)

There’s quite a jump. I’m hoping this is because a job hasn’t run yet, though I confess I don’t really get what the recently is about.

(Jeff Atwood) #21

Read it like so:

All time read (time read in last 60 days)

@neil the tooltip here should have that info