Support multiple-reactions per post (Retort style)

Continuing the discussion from Add … option to Discourse reactions:

Please make some supported function for replacing Retort by allowing people to post multiple reactions to any individual post (from a limited set if desired, but the set chosen by admins without limit to number of choices for admins to set).

For example, :100: is a good option to signal agreement but the same reactor may want to signal :frowning_face: for sympathy with something sad. There are tons of other use cases for multiple reactions. Limiting people to picking only one way to react is frustrating.

Also, setting custom reactions should be an option, admin uploading arbitrary images with arbitrary titles. That way, communities can set reactions that are specific to their community.

The function could be a revamped Discourse Reactions or it could be some extra “Multiple Reactions” plug-in, basically Retort but maintained. Discourse Reactions as is does not replace Retort adequately.


Multiple reactions there where reactions are shown has zero value for delivering feelings. And thas why all of platforms (that I know) limit given reaction to one.

And if someone wants to move from words to pictograph it is there already.

So, I don’t get it and reason for that is in me I’m sure :man_facepalming: :woozy_face:

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I don’t think anyone is suggesting it be mandatory, it would likely be an optional setting in the plugin. :slightly_smiling_face: Every community is different, and each will find different features desirable. Lots of people have been enjoying the Retort plugin for some time, so there are definitely some out there that would want this feature. :+1:


Of course there is. Like out there is a lot of people who like to use tags as hashtags or use emojis instead of words.

It is still pollution, because million flies can be wrong sometimes :wink:

Now we are deep in pure meta.

  • mostly things are available because admin wants it; he/she recons knowing better than an user
  • it is never matter of using reactions, emojies what-so-ever… by writing users, it is matter of reading users (one against everyone else)

Sure if there is an option of allowing multiple reactions it is up to admin what he/she wants to offer or not. But… We don’t have multiple categories, because using those is just pointless. This is another pointless option :wink:

I would like to see a mockup how a topic or post would look when someone decides use multiple reactions as telling a short story, similar ways than so many is raping hashtags on Instagram.

So if and when the team must choose what features shall start building and developing I would say this isn’t high in that list. It would be much nicer if all reactions gives +1 (because now option of multiple reactions is one reason slowing down increasing TLs).

Slack comes to mind. Not a niche product in the chat/forum scene.

I agree with others here that it may make sense for some communities. Having a setting to enable it doesn’t force any community to use the feature.

Something to keep in mind is metrics. One user adding 17 reactions still should count as one use reacting once.


We only allow one emoji in the reactions plugin to get mapped to a like (which influences top topics, summaries, etc), so that shouldn’t be a problem.

Screen Shot 2022-08-04 at 11.45.09 AM


I simply disagree. Are you actually arguing that marking :cry: and :angry: has zero value for delivering feelings because they are two reactions?

Does that :wink: mean /s? Obviously, sticking to categories is a structural value for sorting, but the alternative, which Discourse thankfully has, is tags. And yes, tagging of posts (rather than only topics) is a potentially useful thing. Multiple reactions (Retort style) actually allows a version of it because custom reactions can be added and labeled which can be whatever uploaded image with whatever name. For example, on a Discourse instance I use, there is a Retort reaction with the label “changed_my_mind” which really is superb to have in the options.

GitHub is another that allows multiple reactions, and it is really nice to have. There was a time when only like or up/down were common and having a variety of reactions was not a thing. At that time, having various reaction choices was just as useful as it is today, the developer/designer community just hadn’t realized it yet. Now they have, and consensus supports having a variety of reactions available. Allowing people to mark multiple reactions to one post is the same pattern. It is useful enough that nobody who gets it would want it gone, and at some point it will be consensus once everyone realizes it, and anyone doubting it today is just doing the same naysaying as people who resisted having various reactions in the first place.


That is actually a fact. Those have zelo value and are needed only fot two reasons:

  • to get rid of oneliners
  • getting user acts for other reason, as SoMe wants

If you take a look what ever social media platform you’ll find most of users aren’t using those. They give just a thumb up.

If I give a reaction to your answer, will

  • :flushed: mean you are confusing or what you wrote is confusing
  • :exploding_head: mean I’m angry at you or that context made my head explode
  • :cry: mean I’m sad for you or was described situation sad
  • :rofl: mean I’m laughing at you, with you or context itself was ridiculous

Reactions are made for platform (facebook-style), relatively rarely used and are really confusing (and wrongly understood emojies have started countless blame wars), I’m just wondering who wants a lot of emojies more: admins or users?

And getting a whole catering of emojies instead few is crime against UX too :wink:

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Would you consider a suggestion to phrase your thoughts with more questions? Superlative assertions like “actually a fact” (as a description of your stated opinion) and “zero value” are more likely to reduce your own chance of learning compared to an attitude of seeking the null-hypothesis (looking for how you could be wrong, which is either going to end up supporting your original view or leading you to learning).

Here’s a concrete use case for Retort’s multiple reactions (and it is only one of infinite potential examples):

And at our Discourse instance, we specifically and commonly use multiple of these custom-labeled reactions in order to indicate these different and complementary meanings that have consensus about the semantics and significance. If you are doubtful about the utility, that’s only an indication of cynicism on your part. There’s no question about the utility of our set up.

In any given community, norms can arise either through planning or just evolution over time, and indeed already many emoji have general consensus meanings out in the general social-media world. I can easily imagine all sorts of communities using reactions that have specific inside meaning to them. I am not making the argument that images on their own have inherent meaning that exists outside of socially-mediated context or that naive people will understand the meaning automatically. I am asserting (with evidence and experience) that multiple reactions can have great utility.

I mentioned GitHub, and they too use a small selection of emoji rather than arbitrary ones. Users do post multiple reactions to posts there, and it’s useful and meaningful.


It seems to me that the hooray, haha, totally, sympathies and thank you reactions can be replaced with the “thumbs up” appreciate reaction without any problems? Can you give me a concrete example of a post where one could respond with multiple of these reactions and it actually changes the meaning of the response?

This perspective is the same as saying we could remove those phrases from English and not have any problems. Obviously, these words have different meanings and connotations.

Almost 100% of the posts at our forum are examples of the significance. We have explicitly described that “appreciate” means “thank you for this post”, as in “this post contributes constructively”, like I appreciate that the post was made. It doesn’t indicate at all that I agree with the post. And this dramatically changes how we engage and how we feel about engagement. If thumb’s up had to imply agreement, then you can’t react with appreciation for a post that expresses an opinion you don’t share. It is so refreshing to feel happy giving a thumb’s up “appreciation” for someone expressing a thoughtful post that I do not agree with. I appreciate that they thoughtfully shared their perspective (which is not a feeling I have about any and every post, I don’t appreciate self-righteous or rambling or off-topic or dismissive posts). So, we give way more appreciations than other forums, and it feels good to do that! It’s so freeing to acknowledge having read and appreciated a post without worry that the reaction will be misinterpreted as agreement. All the higher quantity of appreciations makes for a more public visibility of simple acknowledgement and a friendlier and more supportive community.

So, in this context, hooray is celebrating a post like “we did the release!” as in GitHub’s use of :tada: which is stronger and different from :+1:. And “haha” means sharing in some humor, certainly not all posts apply. “totally” as :100: is the agreement indicator (again, distinct from appreciation of the post). Sympathies is expressing compassion when people share something troubling. And finally “thank you” as :heart: got added later when people found they really wanted to express a stronger gratitude (such as for a post saying “I worked all weekend on this, and here’s the progress I made”) distinct from just saying thumb’s-up, thanks for your post. It’s more thanks for your work etc. We felt in general that :heart: was just emotionally too strong for generic use all the time and disagree with its use as the default reaction, but we missed having it when we wanted to express something stronger.

And the multiple reactions thing is: I want to express appreciation for a post and sympathies, and sometimes a post has some humor and tragedy at once, and sympathies+haha actually makes sense. And reactions don’t create as much noise as reply posts… I mean, I feel like I get into explaining why there are reactions at all, and that’s not the topic here. Obviously there was a time when forums had no reactions, everyone prefers having them now, the official plugin now supports multiple choices, so there’s consensus about offering different options. The only reason there isn’t consensus about letting people react in multiple ways to the same posts is the same reason there did not used to be choices at all — people not yet recognizing the utility even though it was always there.


Thank you for the very detailed explanation.

My personal opinion is that this would be… tiresome.
“Don’t make me think”

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I suspect you find the designing and discussing of the set up tiresome rather than the simple use of it. Once there’s a set up and general consensus, the use of the tooling makes engagement easier and less thinking (considering a few simple reactions is quicker and simpler than the thinking that would go into a reply just to express basically the same reactions).

Right here, I wish I could :+1: your reply because I appreciate hearing your opinion, but I don’t want to be misunderstood that I share your opinion. Eh, I marked :heart: anyway, I don’t think in this particular context that there’s any confusion. :slight_smile: But I guess I share your opinion some after all. My own overthinking right here was tiresome. But it would not be that way if I could have just marked a few appropriate reactions and not bothered overexplaining with this separate text response :wink: … and I just imagined you and others marking “haha” :laughing: reaction on this post in a laughing-with-me acknowledgement that this is kinda ridiculous (the levels of meta and overthinking)… so, yeah, I’m proving your point. Or maybe I am tiresome more than the reactions are… haha


:face_with_monocle: :thinking:

Replying concisely with text is also supported. You can even decorate with big emojis.

Fundamentally, the underlying design of reactions is at odds with “multiple emojis per post”. There was a fork in the road … Slack style or Facebook style, we picked Facebook style.

We would need a completely different type of control for multiple reactions, would be a major engineering change.


That is very well put. Had I been in the discussion, I would have argued strongly for “Slack style”. Recognizing that Discourse Reactions is “Facebook style”, this simple Facebook-vs-Slack style of reactions is the cleanest, clearest way to express why it would be good to stop describing Retort as simply superseded. Retort being maintained or replaced does bring up all the dilemmas around limited volunteer (or paid even) developer hours and priorities, but I think everyone being clear about the situation is a start.

FWIW, too late now, the existence of Retort being “Slack style” could have been brought up as a reason to make Discourse Reactions that way since it would be a smooth transition for everyone already using Retort. As is, we can treat this topic as a request for a “Slack style” plugin, an actual successor to Retort.

A separate plugin is a matter of choise and skillful coders and there is always room for new options, but I’m curious.What would you guess, in generally: shall more users for forums come from facebook or slack background :wink:

Well, that’s a reasonable question, but the more important point is that the Slack approach is superior. Design should consider familiarity but also what makes better design regardless of familiarity.

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Aaaand… we are back on good old beta vs vhs question :wink: Or is markdown more superior than like wysiwyg front of html. Or the mightiest king&queen ever: apple vs PC. I’m meaning that is just another generalization made from someone’s own preferences. Known as matter of taste too :wink:

The biggest and strongest point is that users have to know how to use environment and it feels familiar. Actually that is the honest reason why you and some others would like to get Slack style. And there is nothing wrong in that.

But the reality is Slack users are small minority. That’s why default, and if a system can’t expand, offered solution, must follow needs and habits of majority.

But this is clean meta topic now because we are back in question: shall someone code a plugin for that. After that whole ground question are reactions really widely used and wanted, or is it just another gizmo admin wants is more or less academic — because it is matter of choise.

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I’d like to just quickly say that I very much want to see the features requested in this thread as we currently use Retort on our forums. These two features: custom emoji and multiple reactions per post are used quite a lot. Well maybe multiple emoji reactions per post less so but very often at least the combination of liking a post and reacting to a post are used (as I currently understand it the reactions plugin doesn’t support this use case either). Our community also extensively uses Discord so making the reactions work on the forums similarly to Discord would be a nice bit of consistent user experience.

custom emoji is already supported.

The #reactions plugin already creates an underlying like when you use the reaction that is configured to map to likes.