What are "Likes"?

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

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About Likes

  • All likes are public; each like, when expanded, 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.
  • You cannot like your own post.
  • You can only like a post once.
  • You can undo a like within 10 minutes.
  • Likes affect post rankings, such as Top, Weekly Digests, Summarize This Topic.
  • The amount of likes you can grant per day depends on your Trust Level.
  • Likes can also award badges, for example First Like
List of badges based on Likes
  • First Like
  • New user of the month
  • Admired
  • Crazy in Love
  • Empathetic
  • Gives Back
  • Higher Love
  • Respected
  • Appreciated
  • Out of Love
  • Thank You
  • Welcome
  • Great Reply
  • Great Topic
  • Good Reply
  • Good Topic
  • Nice Reply
  • Nice Topic

What are they good for?

Likes are central to how Discourse works. So central that there’s no “on/off” switch for them because Discourse isn’t designed to run without likes.

Avoiding repetition

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

Game Company OP: Every player gets 100 free loot boxes for Christmas!
Reply 1: Awesome!
Reply 2: Heck 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 offer the :heart: button. It aggregates the likes and keeps the topic short and informative.

Signaling

  • 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.

FAQ

What about users abusing Likes?

We have customizable rate limiting in place for new users to avoid spamming. If it helps, we have not seen significant like abuse in the wild, at least 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.

Note that Q&A is not discussion; Q&A and discussion are, in many ways, opposites.

How do I signal bad behavior?

You may be concerned that without “the opposite of a like”, there’s no way to indicate bad behavior. That’s what :triangular_flag_on_post: flags are for.

Can I change it to +1 or upvote?

Yes, see the Change the Like icon to :+1: theme component.

Can I disable/hide likes?

You can, but keep in mind that throughout the application and interface, we assume that likes will be available. If you hide Likes then you may need to tweak other systems such as Trust Levels accordingly.

Best practices

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.

Discourage malevolent likes

Sometimes you’ll see users liking a post that is disruptive and unconstructive. Use your best judgment 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.
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