If you are a product of the Facebook generation (or not) you probably know what the “Like” button is. Many of you (@Klocker) who don’t typically participate (@Klocker) in a lot of social media (@Klocker) like Twitter, Facebook, etc. may not understand what the point is.
In Discourse, the “Like” button (a little heart icon) has very real implications.
On the surface, it solves an ongoing problem forums have suffered from for over a decade. Ever been to a forum topic where someone writes a post and it is followed by 30 one-liner responses?
“This is Dope!!!”
Yeah. We get it. Pages and pages of people all saying something…yet saying nothing. The noise in the signal-to-noise ratio goes way up. Moreover, there’s no way to go back and quantify just how good something is. If a post had 20 people saying they thought the OP WAS TOTALLY RIGHT, but the forum itself has over 5000 active users, what the hell kind of quality is it, really?
The Discourse “Like” button solves that problem.
“Best Of” View
As more users in the community “Like” specific posts made by certain individuals over time, those topics automatically generate a “Best Of” view, in which the highest quality posts remain visible, while many less important “Thanks!” “Wow!” “What this guy said!!” posts get suppressed.
Why this is important is that it is often very cumbersome to navigate an online community, looking for the specific answers to questions you may have. Even if you are lucky enough to find the right community, sifting through reams and reams of posts to find the actual answer you are looking for is a chore.
We don’t have enough content yet to generate a “Best Of” view, but here is an example of one over at HowToGeek.com:
Click the Heart
In conclusion, don’t ignore the “Like” button because you feel like it’s being forced on you by the Facebook generation. Facebook’s rules don’t apply here. If you think someone’s post is valid, important, of high quality…don’t just reply “QFT”…click the little heart icon. Facebook may not be improving the Internet…
…but you are.