Possibility to express support or disagreement in addition to voting

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For the voting feature, I wonder if it is possible for one to also indicate “support” or “against” (not referring to bugs here). But for something that actually would be good to get opinions.


Emoji reactions are available to everyone for indicating emo-tions. Right now the reactions available are all supportive except one that is more neutral: :open_mouth:

We can offer any selection of emojis available in the Forum i.e. :-1: or whatever people prefer. We just need to think about the implications that each emoji has, as some might be just inappropriate in the context of reacting to people’s comments.

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I think we should swap the current reaction emojis for those used on GitHub, which are:

:+1: :-1: :grin: :tada: :slightly_frowning_face: :heart: :rocket: :eyes:


:slightly_frowning_face::-1: are the ones from that set that are not supportive. What about adding those while we discuss the rest?

These two seem neutral enough and the fact that they are defaults in a big platform is something indeed.

I like that we have no negative sentiment icons, it makes the atmosphere more collegial. People can always explain in a comment what’s wrong with an idea, or upvote such a comment if it exists already. Rude behavior via emojis is also harder to address (e.g. reporting options din’t work for it). And I doubt the features related to emoji reactions (like highlighting highly-voted comments in long discussions, or trust level conditions) can differentiate between positive and negative emojis, since custom emojis aren’t a core feature.

Personally, I would just disable the custom emoji plugin and only keep the heart. I don’t think any of the others are particularly useful.


The reason I want to add it is that now, when all reactions have a somewhat positive tone, it will give a skewed image of the first post as it will seem like everybody reacting to the post are positive, hence making it a tougher choice for people that don’t agree with it to engage as they may feel gaslighted.

You say “can always explain in a comment what’s wrong with an idea” but that might not feel so easy if a number of people have already given a thumbs up. That would be much easier if there were an equal number of thumbs up and down as one would feel as more part of the community than contrarian to it. Not allowing it increases the first mover advantage.

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If anyone is reading this discussion and you think it is important, please consider adding you opinion and/or your vote.

Thank you to the participants in this conversation so far. It has more sauce than I thought.

Can we get more opinions from others?


Personally I agree with what @Ainali pointed out here; to me it is also about making sure other voices could be heard as well in an easy way. Because when there is only easy way for ones to express support, likely the case is whoever oppose the idea may just not react at all to the post. It is difficult to have a proper overview whether there are more people oppose the idea or support the idea.

However, I also see the point that emojis like :frowning_face: or :-1: could hurt others’ feeling and make the person who posted the discussion feel bad. Therefore in my mind what would be best is to really just have the options to say “agree” and “disagree”. I see these two words more neutral; when I say I disagree with something, doesn’t mean I think the proposal is bad, it just means I have a different view.

If we really are using emojis, what about using the one that does not have strong indication of something being negative. Like :thinking: for example, to express that one has other thoughts - of course in the case that we actually agree that on the forum this thinking emoji means disagree. (Could be any other more neutral emoji of course, just giving an example).

It is a delicate balance.
The current set of emoticons appears sufficient to express the basic scale of reactions.
On the other hand, a large gallery of icons opens the door to an entire subset of reactions and more abstract (incl. humorous, sarcastic, ironic, sardonic, etc., etc…) ways of communication. And that is perfectly fine as long as participants operate within the (more or less) similar frame of reference.
Imho, putting this on a genuinely multi-lingual platform raises the risk of misunderstanding. The same graphic symbols may carry different contexts in different cultures and communities (for instance, even a simple :laughing: icon is (mis)interpreted in some communities as a “mocking laughter”).

My vote goes to simplicity.

Context: @Ainali asked on the Hubs channel on Telegram in reference to [DRAFT] Minimum Criteria for Hub Pilots. There are many positive emoji reactions and he was making the point that the lack of critical emoji reactions leaves the situation imbalanced (the wording is mine). I pointed them to this request.

The comment on the Hubs channel on Telegram came in a moment when there was (and there is) strong criticism for the draft by many participants in that channel. What is true is that a casual visitor of this topic and that channel would get very different first impressions about the sentiment of each room. I can understand how, in a context like this, some people willing to express criticism lightly in the form of an emoji reaction may feel alienated or excluded.


Non-original idea: Lets copy Loomio.Org on this!
(corrected .com to .org)

I clicked on the link @Zblace but I couldn’t find out – what does Loomio.com do??

What a lively discussion here! Everyone is making compelling arguments.

Ooh, interesting alternatives.

That’s definitely my initial thought on this!

But I’m sold on Vivien’s comment here!

This is a great consideration.

…Given the information at hand right now - and since I don’t think “agree” and “disagree” are technically possible - maybe a simple :slight_smile: and :frowning: are good enough? :+1: and :-1: seem like stronger indictments?

My opinion might change once we have more info and hear more proposals :upside_down_face:

Pardon. Corrected the URL.
I would say LOOMIO makes consensus building software and methods.

@Zblace The new URL requires to login to see anything. Can you take a screenshot of what you want to show (I guess it is related to emoji reactions), please?

It is useful to collect what emojis are being used by other platforms by default. GitHub is ok but developer-driven and probably culturally biased toward California/US. Having other emoji sets to compare would be useful.

What about :heart_eyes: or :smiley: or :slightly_smiling_face: as agree, but :thinking: or :question: or :face_with_monocle: for disagree. These last three are more the neutral emojis, but as they indicate “pondering or deep in thought”, “have a question”, and “pondering, considering, or questioning something” I think they could serve the purpose. :slightly_frowning_face: could still feel a bit strong and has negative meaning.

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What about :heavy_plus_sign: and :heavy_minus_sign: ?

Scroll to Reactions…
…was expecting it to be a bit better (think they gave in to pop choices).

Seeing the scrollbar in the screenshot, they seem to offer the full emoji set. This is what Signal or Slack do too. Right now this is not possible in Discourse although I recall a recent discussion about adding this possibility (but anyway the discussion here so far isn’t going in that direction).

For what is worth it, Telegram:

Now that we have been discussing for a bit and there are several options… can we narrow down and decide which emojis to add?

I know this is culturally problematic for people (and WMF) living anglo-saxon culture,
but I think it is not such (big deal?) for the many elsewhere…
Narrowing expression options tight feels like oppressive re-centering Californian norms.
Extra pressure is than on critically thinking folx as they have to elaborate in text at all times
or their voice is invisible, while ‘always-positive’ are one click away. IMHO corporate ethics.

@Zblace I see your point here. Tough one though, to find that balance - can see both pros and cons here. When I think about the forum aiming to have underrepresented folks join and trying to encourage newcomers, I tend to agree that we should try our best to not accidentally discourage people - including not having negative emojis. But I also totally agree with you about not putting extra pressure on critically thinking people to elaborate further - this was actually the reason I posted the discussion in the first place.

I tend to feel what @Qgil-WMF proposed here( :heavy_plus_sign: and :heavy_minus_sign:) seems neutral enough and does not give more weight on one or the other, and both the ones that are for or against can express themselves with a simple click. Also I think these two are likely to be less culturally problematic. Curious to know what others think though.