Understanding Likes in Discourse

:bookmark: This guide explains the concept of “Likes” in Discourse, their functionality, and their significance in the Discourse ecosystem.

:person_raising_hand: Required user level: All users

The :heart: “Like button” is a key feature enabling users to express agreement, support, and highlight interesting posts on Discourse forums.


This guide provides an overview of:

  • The functionality and rules for using Likes.
  • The benefits and significance of Likes in Discourse.
  • Best practices around using Likes.
  • Addressing common issues and misconceptions about Likes.

About Likes

Likes serve several purposes in Discourse:

  • Public visibility: All likes are public; anyone can see who liked a particular post.
  • User profiles: Your profile tracks all given and received likes.
  • Notifications: The first like on a post triggers a notification to the post’s author.
  • Restrictions: You can’t like your own post and can only like a post once.
  • Undo: You can undo a like within 10 minutes.
  • Influence: Likes affect post rankings, such as Top, Weekly Digests, and Summarize This Topic.
  • Daily limit: The number of likes you can give depends on your Trust Level.
  • Badges: Giving and receiving likes can earn you badges, such as First Like.

Like Button

How do likes help?

Likes are integral to Discourse and contribute significantly to maintaining an engaging and organized community.

Avoiding repetition

Without a Like button, users may post many repetitive short replies, cluttering the forum. Using the Like button allows users to express agreement without redundant replies. This keeps the topic concise and informative.


Likes serve as signals in various ways:

  • Topic summaries: Discourse uses likes to summarize long topics, highlighting the most liked content.
  • Top Topics: Likes influence the selection of Top Topics, helping users find high-quality discussions.
  • Trust Levels: Your like count can affect your promotion to higher trust levels.
  • Top Users: Although not perfect, like counts help identify major contributors in the community.

Common Issues and Solutions

Abusing Likes

Discourse has rate limits for new users to prevent spam. Abuse of likes is rare in well-maintained communities.

Absence of downvotes

Discourse does not have downvotes as opinions cannot be scientifically proven. Instead, empathy is crucial in discussions. Downvotes can harm opinion-based systems. More on this can be found in the following links:

Signaling bad behavior

To signal bad behavior, use the flag system. Flags enforce a straightforward zero-tolerance policy against disruptive content.

Changing the Like icon

Admins can change the Like icon to :+1: using the this theme component.

Disabling or hiding likes

While possible to disable likes, note that many Discourse features assume their presence. Disabling likes may require adjustments to other systems like Trust Levels. Learn how to disable likes.

Best Practices

  • Like a lot of content: Encourage liking constructive posts to foster a positive community atmosphere.
  • Discourage malevolent likes:
    • Publicly dispute disruptive posts.
    • Discuss issues directly with the poster via personal messages.
    • Flag problematic posts for moderation.

Additional Resources

Last edited by @hugh 2024-06-17T09:47:26Z

Last checked by @hugh 2024-06-17T09:47:32Z

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