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"Like" Button?

View Poll Results: Q: What is your view on FlyerTalk implementing a "Helpful" button feature?
Support
433
59.72%
Oppose
275
37.93%
No opinion
17
2.34%
Voters: 725. You may not vote on this poll

"Like" Button?

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Old Nov 21, 15, 7:56 pm   -   Wikipost
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Some FTers are supportive of like/helpful button. Some are not. Some on both sides of the issue have questions, concerns and/or need more info. This wiki attempts to highlight them in bullet format/"cliff notes" version from the 566 posts in this thread. More detailed information regarding the pros/cons/questions/concerns/info can be garnered by reading the entire thread, where FTers on both sides of the like/helpful button have been eloquent/provided valuable input.

Pros:
* Makes Flyertalk more modern; more like Facebook, LinkedIn, and other progressive internet bulletin boards
* A like/helpful button would minimize unnecessary replies such as +1.
* Streamlines posts
* Positive feedback incentivizes quality content/FTers will post more
* Some people won’t take time to write a thank you but will post a like
* Those with more likes/helpfuls are considered knowledgable

Cons:
* Makes it easier for airlines/companies to find mistake fares/glitches/underground tricks
* Makes Flyertalk more like Facebook/dumbs it down
* FT had rating system here years ago and it did not go well
* System can be gamed/cliques develop
* Clutters up posts/takes up valuable screen space
* Will not eliminate +1s/+1s also provide positive feedback
* Posts that have inaccurate info can also get likes/doesn't mean poster is knowledgable
* If FTers post info & it doesn't get likes/helpfuls, less incentive to post more
* Some who might have posted info in the past will now just post like, so less information provided to other FTers.
* Older posts will tend to have more likes/helpfuls on average than newer posts in the same thread, which can be misleading when the information is out-of-date. [added by MSPeconomist]

Questions, concerns about how it will work, and/or information based on brief internal trial already done
* If implemented, can FTers who prefer not to utilize the like/helpful button turn it off so that they don't see it?
* Is there a software way to separate likes of posts from posters? (Limited trial indicates no; don't know if software can be changed to do so)
* Can a post/day count be implemented before implementing for FTers, similar Omni/CC? (Yes)
* Can certain forums have it turned off such as Omni? (No, current software is it's either all forums or none)
* If a sitewide trial is created, what are the metrics for success or failure?
* What is the goal of this/how will the data be used?
* If customization of current software is required, will this take away from development on other projects such as a better mobile app?
* Will or can there be a dislike/unhelpful button?
* What happens if a post that is "liked" gets its content edited and ends up having a different meaning than it initially had at the time the post was "liked"?
* Can threads or individual posts deemed helpful be bookmarked/saved?
* Can users "opt out" and select to remove all trace of the system, as is currently possible with the ignore list and removing view of signatures?
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Old Jan 21, 15, 9:47 am
  #736  
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Originally Posted by nsx View Post
As to a extremely useful post ending up in TalkMail after it is selected by a human editor, that would happen with or without a reader feedback button. No difference.
I suspect there are some people who'd be reassured by a specific opt-out, assuming IB was amenable. (No idea if that's a small or large number.)

I don't know why the ones posting here seem to feel it's more likely if this feature is added; I don't recall seeing ANYBODY suggest that they want some kind of automatic curation based on the likes. I think the potential "gaming" nonsense (though harmless) may actually decrease the odds that it WON'T contribute more likely, as any gaming adds "noise" to the potential value to any automated selection.

Last edited by nkedel; Jan 21, 15 at 9:55 am
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Old Jan 21, 15, 10:33 am
  #737  
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Originally Posted by halls120 View Post
Facebook's real name policy is a joke. Trying to discredit the research post upthread on that basis is laughable.
It's not a matter of discrediting the research (which is interesting in its own right, simply inapplicable) but one of several reasons why it's not applicable to the case at hand.

As for the real name policy being a joke, while some people can and do work around it, most people who are actually active users use it as intended (either with a real name, or a consistent identity tied to their "real life") which is going to effect behavior online.

But you don't have any research to back it up, right? It's just opinion. In my opinion adding a like button provides no positive benefit, and instead, a negative impact.
Yes, and we've both stated it already up-thread, and at this point are (except on the question of the applicability of the research, which intuition was kind enough to post) just repeating ourselves.

If you want to be more specific about how there'll be a negative impact, feel free. As far as I can tell, virtually all the negatives presented have either been vague or based on extensions of the function that nobody's expressed an interest in.

So in the end, this all comes down to personal preference based on supposition and opinion, and because the majority of a tiny minority voted for it, FT should change what's been working?
ISTR it being pointed out up-thread that Talkboard got elected with a smaller minority, and as far as anyone's said this vote is purely advisory.

As for "what's working," some level of this functionality is working nicely on many many other sites. FT is a relatively creaky and dated-looking site, and if all we ever do is "change is bad" will continue to get more so. For those of us who've been using it for over a decade, as long as it remains functional, that won't be a problem, but I have a suspicion that in the long run that will hurt new user acquisition and engagement.

Originally Posted by intuition View Post
1. I take the conclusions to be covering a more basic human interaction principle
In general, I don't disagree; I don't, however, see how the proposed "like" functionality here connects to that.

2. No, not really. But I think the like-system has some major disadvantages if applied to a discussion board like FT.
3. I think the ordinary poster sees the home of the thread as the audience - Post in the BA forum and the audience are people with interest in BA and who more or less share the tone and attitudes of that forum. The same poster would most likely post in a different way in another forum, and if his BA post is at risk to appear elsewhere, then that self censoring will affect the BA threads too.
Let's be clear here: I think that's a reasonable concern, but what I don't understand is why you think either (A) a like button will increase the odds of posts being surfaced publicly, or (B) that even if they won't, people will assume they will.

To the extent that's (A) is concern, I think it would be very valuable to have a separate discussion about how these things are in fact surfaced and curated, and potentially talk about an opt-out.

I just don't see (B) but if it could be demonstrated, it's potentially a good argument. OTOH, that particular paper does nothing to connect its point to (B).

Originally Posted by intuition View Post
These 2 principles fits perfectly with a positives-only system on FT. The ideas to use the votes for other purposes than immediate feedback, makes the audience fuzzy.
Has any such idea been actively discussed in this thread? (I can see several people speaking against it, and nobody speaking for it.)

When poster understands that the post may appear somewhere else or be used for an alternate purpose, it will make some poster (male posters in general, as suggested by study) more careful and limited in their speech.
Once again, a fair point but I don't see the connection to the actual discussion of the "like" feature here, and something that's already possible (for example, anyone signed in can click on your user name and see all your posts/replies regardless of forum, already.)

And when snarky posts or posts by the clique leader gets all the likes, there is no reason for some posters to post a secondary view of a topic at all.
This has been raised before, and I think it's a reasonable case to consider, and it is IMO more of a reason to be leery of of allowing down-voting. That said, I'm not sure how it's testable, and it could go very much the other way -- from what I can see* insiders are MORE likely to be comfortable actually typing up a note of agreement, while new people are more likely to keep silent, and mechanisms like "like" or for that matter the poll here, which lower the barrier to engagement encourages them to become engaged.

(* no scientific study, but from 20 years on the internet at 10 on BBSes before that)

It would be nice if we could turn off "likes" on some of the snarkier TravelBuzz type threads, as it will undoubtedly lead to some amount of additional pile-on support for some of the contentious subjects that inevitably turn into zoos (recline, window shades, passengers of size, etc) but since (A) that's impractical, and (B) those threads are already turning into zoos that very often lead to locked threads, I'm not sure how that could make it worse.

Actually, that's one thing that really ought to be checked on: would people be able to continue to "like" the post or replies if a thread is locked? Would be good to make sure they can't.
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Old Jan 21, 15, 10:41 am
  #738  
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Originally Posted by nkedel View Post
As for "what's working," some level of this functionality is working nicely on many many other sites. FT is a relatively creaky and dated-looking site, and if all we ever do is "change is bad" will continue to get more so. For those of us who've been using it for over a decade, as long as it remains functional, that won't be a problem, but I have a suspicion that in the long run that will hurt new user acquisition and engagement.
^
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Old Jan 21, 15, 11:07 am
  #739  
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Originally Posted by jackal View Post
^
I see what you did there!
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Old Jan 21, 15, 11:18 am
  #740  
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Originally Posted by nsx View Post
I see what you did there!
^
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Old Jan 21, 15, 10:56 pm
  #741  
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Originally Posted by jackal View Post
Originally Posted by nkedel View Post
As for "what's working," some level of this functionality is working nicely on many many other sites. FT is a relatively creaky and dated-looking site, and if all we ever do is "change is bad" will continue to get more so. For those of us who've been using it for over a decade, as long as it remains functional, that won't be a problem, but I have a suspicion that in the long run that will hurt new user acquisition and engagement.
^
^
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Old Jan 22, 15, 12:06 am
  #742  
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
I would argue that on MP, the likes system has reduced the average quality of posts. Many people post meaningless nonsense, such as "hi", just to create more posts that can be liked. Some even advise newcomers to do this. Of course, it's an apparent race for status, but I also suspect that some people over there just like to see all the likes they're getting. It all started with a thread entitled something like "I just want to be liked...." that begged people to like the OP's posts. IMO initially it was cute, but all the likes over there have become rather ridiculous and off-putting.
Over at Milepoint, elite level status does reap actual rewards — such as an experience free of advertising and a Milepoint T-shirt depending on elite status level as examples, if I recall correctly...

...and collecting “likes” is one factor towards earning elite level status at Milepoint.

There are no plans at this time — or at any time, to my knowledge — for FlyerTalk to have actual awards as a result of the number of “likes” one collects; and therefore no incentive to collect “likes” on FlyerTalk...

...other than for bragging rights, I suppose...
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Old Jan 22, 15, 2:35 am
  #743  
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Originally Posted by Canarsie View Post
Over at Milepoint, elite level status does reap actual rewards — such as an experience free of advertising and a Milepoint T-shirt depending on elite status level as examples, if I recall correctly...

...and collecting “likes” is one factor towards earning elite level status at Milepoint.
There are still people on the internet who haven't hidden the ads at the browser level?

I'd be curious what the "pro" argument for those changes, although I suppose if nothing else it is an engagement mechanism. Unlike the basic "like" functionality, that seems a good bit more on the risk side of risk/reward(and I don't see IB sending out free T-shirts ) ...

I really wanted to like MilePoint when Randy founded it, but as of when I last checked it out -- a while ago -- it still never had the critical mass to be worth reading anywhere near as regularly. The software is pretty good, though; in terms of functionality and visual appeal the software there looks and acts a lot more modern than the software here.

There are no plans at this time — or at any time, to my knowledge — for FlyerTalk to have actual awards as a result of the number of “likes” one collects; and therefore no incentive to collect “likes” on FlyerTalk...

...other than for bragging rights, I suppose...
Building up a big like count which could be from junk posts might even be a way of discouraging those plans in the future. The bragging rights case seems harmless to me, although I think the elimination of any visible per user counter that nsx is now favoring gets rid of even that.
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Old Jan 22, 15, 5:58 am
  #744  
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Originally Posted by nkedel View Post
I really wanted to like MilePoint when Randy founded it, but as of when I last checked it out -- a while ago -- it still never had the critical mass to be worth reading anywhere near as regularly. The software is pretty good, though; in terms of functionality and visual appeal the software there looks and acts a lot more modern than the software here.
Same here - Milepoint has nice looking software, but is short on content. But I'd rather have valuable content over flashy looks, and I've yet to be convinced FT will be improved by adding a like function.

On other boards I visit where this feature is in use, I find it to be of no use and that it adds clutter.
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Old Jan 22, 15, 6:08 am
  #745  
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FT user acquisition didn't suffer because Milepoint had this feature and FT didn't. And is the usefulness of this board merely a function of member acquisition counts? I don't think it is at this point, since there is a critical mass here.

Originally Posted by halls120 View Post
Same here - Milepoint has nice looking software, but is short on content. But I'd rather have valuable content over flashy looks, and I've yet to be convinced FT will be improved by adding a like function.

On other boards I visit where this feature is in use, I find it to be of no use and that it adds clutter.
I'm sure that the absence of a "like"/"helpful" button has been useful to me. It's absence has meant that some who want to agree with/thank a post (even if via a +1 or TY) has increased the odds for more discussion than would otherwise take place -- especially as once you start with a "reply" then the odds of there being more content as a result of wanting to like a post increases the likely amount of aggregate content.

While some are so extremely obsessed with the "signal to noise ratio" on FT, it is the FT running discussion element -- including with some tangents and "noise" -- that furthers the discussion and the learning that takes place on FT. If this place were just one big wiki -- or even a Facebook spin -- focused on miles and points with "facts" and nothing more, the content here would dry up pretty quickly and/or migrate elsewhere. It's the more traditional discussion dynamic that made FT what it is; and the Milepoint "feature" actually undermined discussion since "liking" was easier than posting content. Milepoint has all these "more modern bells and whistles" and had a decent core, but a critical mass is hard to achieve or sustain when a place is thin on new content and discussion is less dynamic or less likely due to the "more modern bells and whistles" ... including the "like" feature.

Last edited by GUWonder; Jan 22, 15 at 11:59 am
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Old Jan 22, 15, 11:40 am
  #746  
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Originally Posted by nkedel View Post
I really wanted to like MilePoint when Randy founded it, but as of when I last checked it out -- a while ago -- it still never had the critical mass to be worth reading anywhere near as regularly. The software is pretty good, though; in terms of functionality and visual appeal the software there looks and acts a lot more modern than the software here.
^
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Old Jan 22, 15, 2:31 pm
  #747  
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Originally Posted by halls120 View Post
Same here - Milepoint has nice looking software, but is short on content. But I'd rather have valuable content over flashy looks, and I've yet to be convinced FT will be improved by adding a like function.
I certainly would not want to overstate the benefit of a like button; I would use it and find it useful, but I mainly don't see the harm.

On other boards I visit where this feature is in use, I find it to be of no use and that it adds clutter.
How it's presented and thus how much clutter it adds seems to vary a lot between boards. In general, I find it a plus; the only ones I've seen where it's particularly bad are some bbPress ones (which is absolutely terrible software to begin with.)

Originally Posted by GUWonder View Post
FT user acquisition didn't suffer because Milepoint had this feature and FT didn't. And is the usefulness of this board merely a function of member acquisition counts? I don't think it is at this point, since there is a critical mass here.
It certainly hasn't up until now, and doesn't seem likely to start soon. OTOH, you can only get by on old tech and benign neglect for so long.

I'm sure that the absence of a "like"/"helpful" button has been useful to me.
It's absence has meant that some who want to agree with/thank a post (even if via a +1 or TY) has increased the odds for more discussion than would otherwise take place -- especially as once you start with a "reply" then the odds of there being more content as a result of wanting to like a post increases the likely amount of aggregate content.
I'm not sure that's true or not but if it were actually the case that starting a "thanks!" reply often actually led to useful content, that would be the counter-argument that would be pretty significant.

I really doubt the software here could support it, but it would be very interesting to do an A/B test on a given forum (someone said BA was most active, so maybe BA) where a randomly-determined half the users were shown the like functionality and half weren't (in order to get a mix of active and less active users), and then the actual content production among the user groups was compared after say, a week.

Given the distribution of very-active vs. less active users here, I suspect even there if you hit someone very active who was grumpy about the feature, in the short term things would suffer (or if you failed to randomly select the grump, you'd lose out on that part of the effect), so it's not perfect data but it would be a good deal better than the supposition we've got now.
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Old Jan 23, 15, 1:55 am
  #748  
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A way to look at it would be a historical analysis comparing a sub-set of the posting habits of a set of FTers who were comparably active on FT and MP for a set period of time (or type of period of time). I am not about to have that attempted, but I do know that some people on both boards indeed did use the "like" feature on MP instead of choosing to type a response using any characters/words. That dynamic doesn't help further a discussion; although for those obsessed about getting credit for being "helpful" or "liked" by some clique or another, or for those frustrated over the "signal to noise" dynamic, perhaps that short-circuiting of discussion doesn't necessarily get perceived as a negative in the aggregate and is seen as a positive. I just don't see it working as a positive for me when I'm interested in getting and providing further information and enjoy the discussion dynamics on FT as they have existed for years.

I give most adults credit enough to be able to make judgments for themselves about what they encounter without needing these kind of post or member reputation scoring crutches that substitute for (or undermine) independent thinking and don't further what I perceive to be constructive and/or entertaining discussion about miles and points and the stuff we encounter when traveling.
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Old Jan 23, 15, 2:04 am
  #749  
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Originally Posted by GUWonder View Post
A way to look at it would be a historical analysis comparing a sub-set of the posting habits of a set of FTers who were comparably active on FT and MP for a set period of time (or type of period of time). I am not about to have that attempted, but I do know that some people on both boards indeed did use the "like" feature on MP instead of choosing to type a response using any characters/words. That dynamic doesn't help further a discussion; although for those obsessed about getting credit for being "helpful" or "liked" by some clique or another, or for those frustrated over the "signal to noise" dynamic, perhaps that short-circuiting of discussion doesn't necessarily get perceived as a negative in the aggregate and is seen as a positive. I just don't see it working as a positive for me when I'm interested in getting and providing further information and enjoy the discussion dynamics on FT as they have existed for years.
I think I used the “like” feature on Milepoint four times, if that — which is an average of one time per year.

I am also not a member of Facebook.

Although I am keeping an open mind, experience suggests that I am just not the type of person who would use this feature, as I myself prefer the discussion aspect as well...
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Old Jan 23, 15, 6:44 am
  #750  
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Originally Posted by Canarsie View Post
I think I used the “like” feature on Milepoint four times, if that — which is an average of one time per year.

I am also not a member of Facebook.

Although I am keeping an open mind, experience suggests that I am just not the type of person who would use this feature, as I myself prefer the discussion aspect as well...
Not that it would actually happen, but I think it would be interesting to know the background of each person making an argument in this thread (as well as our TalkBoard members).

I wonder how many of those opposing this feature are active Facebook and/or MilePoint users. Is the opposition simply due to a lack of familiarity with how it works?

I place more weight on the argument of someone who actively uses the feature elsewhere but believes it will not add to the community here, in which case, I would like to know that person's specific reasoning for his or her position.
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