Micro.blog

In reply to
walter
walter

I know we don’t do likes on this platform. However, I would really like a quick way to say: “I saw your post, it made me feel some feelings that were positive”. Could we get like an agreed upon emoji string or something if we’re not going to do “likes”? @macgenie @manton

brentsimmons
brentsimmons

@walter 🐣

manton
manton

@walter I sometimes use 👍 for this. (And we've thought about making quick emoji reactions a more formal part of the UI, maybe in Sunlit first.)

walter
walter

@manton I feel like it has to come from y’all or else it will devolve to eggplant emoji and racist skin-tone emoji. @macgenie has the bully pulpit with the podcast. Perhaps she can help socialize the idea.

smokey
smokey

@manton @walter I think there’s a danger that anything built into the platform that’s sufficently “close enough” to a “Like” will eventually become indistinguishable from a “Like”.

An easy-to-click 👍 reactmoji, even if it doesn’t have a count associated with it, is going to either overwhelm or displace existing conversational replies, as people are conditioned to perpetuate the “Like” behavior by mental-muscle-memory. (This is likely to be particularly true for newcomers who haven’t yet retrained their brains and learned the culture and norms of this community.)

I personally am fine with someone manually using some sort of “quick” emoji reply from time to time as a quick signal or when words fail—I do it myself, and we even have the 💙 Empathy Heart as part of our community culture—because manually inserting 👍 or 💙 or whatever emoji seems appropriate is still very intentional; there’s enough friction in going through the emoji picker or even copying and pasting that you’re not just giving in to the rodent brain and clicking on the cheese because it’s there. (Intentional usage is what I percieved Walter to have in mind; he just wanted to know which emoji or text strings to use.)

(Sometimes, though, a brief, one-or-two word reply is faster and still gets the message across 😉)

jack
jack

@smokey @manton @walter I'll take this opportunity to restate my wish for private likes. Like @walter, I often want to acknowledge someone's post. The problem with using an emoji or one-word reply is that it clutters up everyone else's timelines with a stream of 👍s or "Right on!"s replying to posts they may or may not have seen. I sometimes see entire screens full of one person replying to a dozen or more posts with not much more than "Nice!".

Receiving Likes feels good. They only become a problem when they are publicly displayed and tallied.

So, my suggestion is to let me like a post, but only announce it to the recipient.

adamprocter
adamprocter

@jack Its tricky a private thumbs up might be a way to solve what? as much as the cluttering timeline maybe an issue it’s the other side of the validation that concerns me. You write a wonderful blog post and you get a private like from Bob but you don’t understand why Dave didn’t send you a private like, did his see my blog? Did he not like it? Is Dave still my friend ... it’s not hard for Dave to press that thumb icon is it ... Dave why !!!!

This is why I think for now a reaction or like system should not appear private or not.

Validation is good but I don’t think it needs to be built in a simply as a button

ayjay
ayjay

@jack I'm privately liking that proposal.

mcg
mcg

@walter @manton

Some thoughts on this from Matt Baer....

My main gripe at the moment is with favorites, and how favoriting a post/toot sends a signal back to the author, instead of it being a private action. I have a problem with favoriting and not boosting because boosting carries weight — by placing another's words on your own profile — and a more specific meaning. This weight means it can't really be used just to make the author feel good, and with time keep them fiending for that little hit of Mastodon-sourced dopamine.

Favoriting, on the other hand, is inexpensive and vague when it's a public signal — social, psychological candy. Maybe you favorite something because you genuinely love what someone wrote; maybe you just want to save it for later; maybe you're silently agreeing; maybe you want to let them know you saw their message; maybe you want to politely put an end to the conversation; maybe you want to offer moral support; maybe you don't want to converse. But no matter your nuanced response, the author sees only a star. Maybe they stop what they're doing in life to pull their phone out of their pocket, click a button, and see that you “favorited” what they posted. Then there's nothing for them to do but feel “good” because someone liked (or somethinged) their post. There's no bridge into a larger conversation, no social introduction, no cue to interact. Just a piece of candy.

It's a minor gripe in the grand scheme of things, but an important one to me. If we're going to build the web world we want, we have to constantly evaluate the pieces we bring with us from the old to the new. With each iteration of an idea on the web we need to question the very nature of certain aspects' existence in the first place, and determine whether or not every single old thing unimproved should still be with us. It's the only way we can be sure we're moving — if not in the right direction, at least in some direction that will teach us something.

via: write.as/matt/mast...

walter
walter

@smokey I don’t want to clutter the mentions. I already find that annoying (but not enough to write my own mobile client, yet). Reading the other responses I understand there are issues I haven’t considered. I’m just looking for a way to say: “you posted a thing and I, another actual human, saw it and it made my life a little richer. Thanks, keep it up”. I feel like mentions should really be for “let’s have a conversation about what you’ve posted”

jack
jack

@adamprocter I would never wonder why Bob Liked, but Dave didn't Like something, but that could just be me. And even so, it would remain an individual concern, meaning if I can't see other people's Likes, I don't have to wonder why neither Dave nor Bob Liked your post(s).

The problem this solves is it allows me to acknowledge your wonderful blog post without contributing to either clutter or gamification. But yes, I'd still rather leave them out completely than have them be public.

DrOct
DrOct

@jack Totally on the same page here. I would also like this!

adamprocter
adamprocter

@jack yeah I never thought that would be the case but that’s how started to feel towards the end of my personal use of Instagram, it was odd and one of the reasons I left personal use of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, along with all the other obvious ones.

walter
walter

@mcg thanks for that. It has some other points I’ve not considered. Funny how something that seems so simple can be so complex as you consider it more <insert joke about armchair quarterbacks here>

adamprocter
adamprocter

@walter yes it’s a tricky one, I think the attention issue (attention economy) is also something to think about, the gamification of this stuff on the social networks is to keep your attention and pull you back in at any cost, the premise of liking something of someone’s is by default a nice and positive action but maybe a private and curated (end of the week private stats) might be another way to implement without the hook , behaviour nudge badness. I don’t like the cluttering timeline issue at all

jack
jack

@adamprocter Interesting. Come to think of it, my daughter frequently texts me and asks, "Did you see my Insta?"..."Why didn't you Like it?!" so it may be more common than I thought.

adamprocter
adamprocter

@jack it was the weirdest feeling and ofcourse IGs algorithm does help for either those trying to like all their close friends/relatives posts or those wondering why they have not been liked

manton
manton

@smokey These are really good points. Whenever this is discussed, the potential downsides of a formal "like" solution give me enough doubt that I think I'd rather not do anything. There is probably more "feature" than "bug" in Micro.blog's current implementation.

manton
manton

@mcg Some good thoughts in this post. Thanks for sharing the link.

handy
handy

@manton after a lot of thought, I agree about not having it. We have a whole emoji set and many languages to use for replies.

👋💻🦇🍓✈️😅👉👸🌮🦉🎈🙌🎉🍾🍍😆🎧☔️🙏😬🏠🎥🛑🤡👌💯🏴‍☠️✔️📖😊

Those ^ are all in my most recently used emoji set. The 💯 is my favorite way to "like".

manton
manton

@handy 💯

handy
handy

@manton 🥑

johnjohnston
johnjohnston

@manton what make micro.blog so great is the thought that goes into this and the conversation around it. I do like getting likes, but think, overall, MB is better without them. I wonder is @jack’s private likes could be temporary. Viewed in the app when the receiver gets then by the receiver and then vanish. Maybe me a nice fade?

bix
bix

@mcg Much of my own thinking about this over the last several months has been around the idea that current social media is too frictionless, and so too weightless. Likes and retweets are indications, not interactions, and provide no context for the action. I'm mostly pretty on board with the idea that first social media should do away with the public counts of retweets and likes, and then get rid of them altogether. In their place, or at least in the place of likes, create something more akin to highlights on Medium, which at least communicate the context of what drew your attention.

smokey
smokey

@walter @jack I’m definitely sympathetic to the issue of wanting to show appreciation (and, since last summer, I have always kept @vasta’s Beacons of virtual proximity in the back of my mind when thinking about these sorts of things). Part of the problem for me, though, is similar to what @adamprocter described, all of the wondering (why Bob “Liked” my post X and Dave did not, or why no-one “Liked” my post Y—it only takes one. freaking. second., after all!), and they end up being “beacons of virtual forgottenness” instead—whereas for others they feed the rat brain, and so forth. IMO, private likes don’t solve any of those issues.

On the other hand, by not having a dead-simple, absolutely-fricitionless way of “Liking”, I’m still in a grey area of wonder, but it’s a “happier” one for me—maybe they didn’t see my post at all, maybe they had no time to reply, or maybe it just didn’t speak to them at all. It’s a better ambiguity, for me. (And the flip side, having “Likes”—or a “Like”-like thing—then makes me feel compelled by social custom/politeness to either “Like” everything I like—or to reply, but let’s face it, if I’m under the societal obligation to “Like” everything I like/appreciate, even with a completely frictionless “Like” mechanism, it’s going to take too much time to do that, leaving no time for real replies.) It’s a double-bladed sword that cuts me with both blades, no matter how I look at it. Again, that’s just me (and that’s why I’m so sensitive to the issue); I know others are immune to these pressures and worries. But the lack of this boulder of convention, politeness, and compulsion crushing me is one of the reasons I have found Micro.blog so enjoyable and been able to stay on the platform.

I’m also very sympathetic to your points about flooding the Timeline with short replies of appreciation, which I hadn’t thought about so much (but of which I’m definitely guilty). To pull a little Tuesday Whipper-snappering, I wonder if a “compromise” solution that solves the problem of “wanting to show appreciation without flooding the Timeline” is not a “Like“-adjacent thing but rather a Timeline setting that filters out replies with fewer than, say, 5 “words” or 30 characters (mindful of i18n—language and writing system variety)? Similarly, maybe a toggle in/for Mentions so that you can keep Mentions to replies likely to be “let’s have a conversation about what you’ve posted”? Dunno.

Once again, this has been a constructive conversation that’s raised some issues and points I hadn’t thought about before—even if we’re not changing minds, it seems like we’re able to see things from others’ perspectives 👍

smokey
smokey

@manton 🙏

jack
jack

@smokey @walter Great stuff, thanks! The only thing I'm certain of is that there's unlikely to be a solution that suits everyone :). There seems to be mounting evidence that even "invisible" likes can put undue pressure on people. This doesn't really surprise me, but it's something I hadn't considered.

An interesting problem, for sure!

simonwoods
simonwoods

@smokey @walter @jack @adamprocter @manton I also wonder about another possible factor: reply length. And then I thought about a lot more regarding replies in general.

(Related: I wonder if a good alternative might be for Micro.blog to support more easily posting a short reply with a link to a longer reply?)

smokey
smokey

@simonwoods My thought about long replies (like many of mine… ;-) ) has long been to show them collapsed/truncated in the Timeline and then in full in the actual conversation (possibly with an inline toggle)…but I think it ultimately comes down to the question, as you’ve pointed to, of “what is Micro.blog (the Timeline portion) supposed to be?”

If it’s a place for real conversations, then it needs to allow for reasonably-unlimited replies, because chopping everything you say up into 280-character pieces makes it impossible, or at best clunky, to have meaningful conversations about anything non-trivial.

Further, in line with the theory behind Webmentions—if I reply to your post by writing my own post on my site, then my whole post becomes a comment under your post on your site, allowing the conversation to be unified, not disjointed, in one place while allowing me to own my thoughts—I think you need to allow for “full” replies in Conversations here, whether they come in via Webmention or natively….

(I have more thoughts, but not the time to sort and express them now ;-) )

walter
walter

@walter Interesting interaction at dinner tonight: I brought this up to my Gen Z child. Her response was: if you want stuff like that, go to Twitter. Quite a different perspective.

smokey
smokey

@walter “stuff like that” meaning “Likes” specifically, or meaning people showing appreciation for something you have written?

walter
walter

@smokey I believe she meant likes and follows and obsessing over reposts.

simonwoods
simonwoods

@smokey Hm, interesting. I think I could be onboard with limitless length only if they were truncated as you mentioned and if the inline conversation view was improved. I don't really know how it is on iOS (I need to use my iPad for reading a lot more but I'm not there yet) or the Mac but when it comes to the more involved conversations on the web I just find it difficult to read the flat, multiple walls of words. It's actually one of those things that just screams "Apple only!" in the way that I know is unintended but the intention is almost irrelevant so it could well be a problem beyond personal preference.

vasta
vasta

@smokey @miraz Thanks for the reminder about that piece! Had totally forgotten I had written it; was nice to rediscover it again. :)