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Comments on Suggestion for allowing to mark answers as "accepted", "outdated" or "dangerous"

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Suggestion for allowing to mark answers as "accepted", "outdated" or "dangerous"

+26
−1

Currently, it is possible to upvote and downvote answers. That's likely enough in most situations, but there are some cases where you might want to have more than one way to react to a post.

For example, imagine you are on Software Development and an answer suggests a solution that drastically impedes your system's security. Or you are on Electrical Engineering and the answer suggests something that might electrocute you. In these cases, a downvote might not be enough of a signal to warn users of such possible dangers.

Another possible situation is "accepting answers", a concept that exists on most common Q&A sites. Unlike other sites, we decided quite early that a single vote from the asker shouldn't impact answer sort order.

And yet another feature suggested and strongly advocated for by some users is the option of "signed votes", mostly seen as a way for experts or highly reputable community members to give more weight to their votes by publicly endorsing (or refuting) a specific answer.

I think I've got a solution, one that might provide a framework for commmunities to solve all these use cases. We discussed this in chat and tossed some ideas around, and I must say that I absolutely love the current proposal:


Communities will be able to define a small set of "reactions", which can be applied to posts. Default (or recommended) reactions would likely be:

  • ☑ This post works for me (= accepting an answer, but not only by OP)
  • ⏳ This post is outdated
  • ⚠ This post is dangerous

However, communities might want to have different reactions. For example, Cooking might want to have

  • 😋 This is tasty
  • 🤮 This doesn't taste good

Once applied to answers, there would be a little box/badge above the answer, which contains the selected reaction and a list of users who have chosen that reaction. I used the developer tools in my browser to simulate what this might look like. Imagin, that the tooltip on the first badge says the names of the users choosing that reaction.

Mockup showing two badges (works for many users & found dangerous by one user) above a post

Users will be able to choose reactions from a modal that can be opened from a button below the voting buttons. When choosing a reaction, users will be encouraged to add comments, giving details to their vote. This is especially neccessary for marking a post as "dangerous", because other users need to know what exactly is dangerous.

Here are two mockups for how the reactions modal might be presented:

Mockup showing a modal with the label "This post ..." and the options "works for me", "is outdated" and "is dangerous (add comment)" and an optional comment box

Same mockup as above, but some icons similiar to the emojis in the list above have been added

Additionally, when entering a comment into the comment box in the modal, a comment will be posted on the user's behalf, which contains the chosen reaction and comment. (Also seen in the screenshots.)

What do you think of this suggested feature? Do you have any other use cases we should consider if we chose to implement this suggestion?

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General comments (7 comments)
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+13
−1

I was part of that conversation, so my input is mostly reflected in this proposal already. I want to add one thing, about community customization, which gets into philosophy.

I don't want us to end up with gazillions of emoji decorating posts. That way lies madness and Discord. A reaction should have to earn its place by answering the question "what useful information does the presence of this symbol convey to readers1 that voting alone doesn't convey?". By that measure, "works for me", "dangerous", and "outdated" are useful (especially if tied to comments, which we should probably require at least some of the time). If a post is dangerous it can be edited. If a post is outdated it can be either updated or annotated ("In Java 6, the way to solve this is..."). And knowing that people (including the OP) tried the solution and it worked is helpful.2

But -- and I realize it's just an example -- reactions like "I like this" and "I don't like this" don't convey useful information. Who cares if some users on Cooking like that stew recipe and others don't? On the other hand, a science site might have a "dubious sources" reaction for answers based on non-peer-reviewed work or junk science, which seems like useful signal that people can act on.

I want to discourage3 communities from adding reactions that are (a) subjective and/or (b) not actionable. I suggest that, when considering specific reactions, people ask: "what can readers do with this information?".

  1. To readers, not just to the author. For the latter you can just leave a comment.

  2. On some communities more than others, I grant.

  3. Discourage, not prevent. Assuming we have customization, which I think we should, then communities can do whatever they like. But I think reactions will be more effective if communities follow these guidelines.

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1 comment thread

General comments (5 comments)
General comments
Mithrandir24601‭ wrote almost 4 years ago

On (in addition to?) your point about 'I like this' and 'I don't like this' on cooking... What would that tell you that regular votes don't?

Monica Cellio‭ wrote almost 4 years ago

@Mithrandir24601 exactly. Reactions should augment votes, not divert or duplicate them.

Olin Lathrop‭ wrote almost 4 years ago

I generally agree, +1. Emojis are way overused today, and have gotten annoying as a result. I would like to see "signed" up and down votes added as a special mechanism. Instead of just saying "I like this", it says "I agree, this is correct, (or disagree, this is wrong) and am putting my reputation behind that judgement.".

Monica Cellio‭ wrote almost 4 years ago

@OlinLathrop I think signed votes could be displayed in a similar way, but I've been thinking of casting them as part of the voting process rather than a separate reaction. I'm imagining that a user can, as part of voting, say "make this public", UX to be determined.

Olin Lathrop‭ wrote almost 4 years ago

@Monica: I'd be fine with that too. I was just thinking this might be an easy mechanism to add signed votes to, implementation-wise.