What are "Likes"?

(Erlend Sogge Heggen) #1

Express agreement, support, and highlight interesting posts with the prominent :heart: button on every post.

Will update image once 1.4 goes stable.

Properties of Likes

  • All likes are public:
  • Each post shows which users have liked it
  • A user’s profile tracks all given and received likes.
  • The first “Like” on a post will trigger a notification to the post’s author.
  • Likes can also award badges.
    • Example: a post with 10 likes will grant the author a “Nice Post” badge (default admin setting).
  • You can not like your own post.
  • You can only like a post once.
  • You can only undo a like within 10 minutes after submitting the like. (default admin setting).
  • Likes affect post rankings (undocumented) (Top, external comments etc.)
  • The amount of likes you can pass out in a day depends on your Trust Level.

What are they good for?

Likes are central to how Discourse works. So central in fact that there’s no “on/off” button for them because Discourse is not designed to run without likes enabled.

Avoiding repetition

Likes help you keep your forum clear of redundant posts: On forums without a “Like” button, when someone posts something that other users agree with, you end up seeing a lot of very short replies. For example:

Game Company OP: Every player gets 100 free loot boxes for Christmas!
Reply 1: Awesome!
Reply 2: Hell yeah
Reply 3: So cool
Reply 4: Thanks

Reply 100000: OMG this is amazing

Since forums typically have a lot of vertical space for each post, this means that a casual reader has to scroll past dozens or hundreds of such posts!

Instead we ask them to hit the :heart:️ button. It will aggregate the likes together and keep the topic shorter and more informative.


  • Topic Summaries: The feature where Discourse summarizes long topics is heavily influenced by how much each post is liked. Without that signal the content will be less useful to users who are looking for “the gist” of the topic.

  • Top Topics: Likes are used in the calculation of the “Top Topics” filter as a way to allow users to find high quality topics on the forum.

  • Trust Levels: By default, we use the likes to calculate a user’s promotion to a higher trust level. This can be disabled, but again it’s one of the best signals of a high quality user.

  • Top Users: while it’s of course not a perfect metric, like counts are very helpful in identifying major contributors in your community.


What about users abusing Likes?

We have rate limiting (customizable) in place for new users to avoid spamming the feature. Also, we have never seen any significant like abuse in the wild in the many Discourse forums we host or help maintain.

Why no downvotes?

Systems of fact, data, and science can benefit from downvotes, because statements can be scientifically proven to a reasonable degree. Systems of opinion do not benefit from downvotes and are in fact materially and seriously harmed by them, because nobody can prove an opinion. Empathy is the order of the day in opinion systems.

On top of that be very aware that Q&A is not discussion, in fact Q&A and discussion are rather opposites. One is a classroom, the other is a restaurant.


How do I signal bad behaviour?

Can I change it to +1 or upvote?

Yes. Theme component pending.

Can I hide likes with CSS?

You can, but keep in mind that throughout the application and interface, we have assumed that likes will be available. If you hide Likes then you got to make sure you tweak other systems like Trust Levels accordingly.

Best practice (blitz version)

  • Like a lot of stuff: Not so much that the social value of likes is negated, but enough that practically anyone who has ever said anything constructive in your community has received at least one like.

  • Dissuade malevolent likes: Sometimes you’ll see users liking a post that is disruptive and unconstructive. Use your best judgement as a community manager and do one or more of the following:

    • Publicly dispute the post and set an example of the kind of discourse you want in your community.
    • Delete the post and talk it through with the poster.
    • Leave it up to the community to flag it.

Discourse vs Email & Mailing lists
List and explain Discourse specific features to new users?
Show both like and vote button on topics