As you may have noticed, we have changed how we are handling reactions. In an effort to make things more fair and streamlined, we have decided to change the reactions to a simple “upvote” and “downvote” system. These “upvote” tag will work similarly to the “like” reaction. If enough people “downvote” a post, it will eventually bury it.
The moderation team will also be taking a more active role in policing off-topic comments.
We will be trying this system out for three months and re-evaluate it at that point.
One problem I have with this is I think downvoting for abuse/off-topic etc. is different than downvoting for disagreement. For one thing, if a productive back-and-forth is happening within a thread, I certainly wouldn't want posts to disappear because they received disagreeing downvotes. Or suppose I post a news item which is considered bad news for community members (say, a typography museum is being forced to close)--that shouldn't be buried if everyone reacts with a downvote.
In my opinion, the upvoting should be for situations such as (and not limited to) :
1. Answers to a question.
2. Useful replies (I could see a lot of the info in many of the OTVar threads becoming a lot easier to parse with the use of upvotes).
d) I am a troll.
B,C,D) Basically the same?
Off-topic isn't abusive. Trolls can hide in plain sight.
Also, I'm going to miss the simple gesture of a Like or Agree to say "thanks for your contribution, I've seen it" in a clutterless way.
The previous system was straightforward, therefore reliable, both as a communication system and a moderation aid.
I think the previous Reaction system probably couldn't bear the weight placed on it. For one thing people interpret things like "troll" too divergently, so the specificity often ends up creating confusion and misplaced ill feeling. And I've seen some people (not many) using a blitz of flagging as retaliation, or flag from the safety of not making an actual post that others can react to... You can see that even in this thread.
Another big thing is that, as we see on social media simply clicking on a button is so easy it makes us talk less, impoverishing the forum. Most posts contain multiple things, and I'm sure I'm not the only one who has been torn whether to use a flag, and which one. As others have said above, if you disagree with something in a post, explain yourself! Using Vote Down for disagreeing with part of the content of a complex post it very primitive. Related is how previously a member's Points didn't go down when Disagree was clicked. Now, is it worth having Agree/Disagree for possible use on single-thought posts? It might enrich things (and reduce misuse of Up/Down) but it might also be lazily misused on complex posts.
So I don't think flags can replace discourse; we have to do that the old-fashioned way. Their usefulness is mostly limited to management: if a post actually harms the integrity of the discourse or is notable for helping it along.
I don't think the choice is between clicking a button and giving an in-depth reply, but between clicking a button and not bothering with a reaction. In the second case, removing the button impoverishes the forum.
Meanwhile, you can still give in-depth replies.
@James Todd, I can see how this change streamlines things, but how does it make things more fair?