The ability to dislike

Somewhere, as social networking expanded online, the masses lost the ability to dislike stuff.

I know, it’s because existing online is a wonderful kumbaya everyone loves everything everywhere kind of place, right?!

It isn’t. 

I can think of countless examples of sites, opinions, people I dislike. I’m sure you can think of quite a few as well. There needs to be a way to dislike something without having to join Anonymous.

Some sites seem to come close – If you look at reddit for example, you can vote an item up (or like it), and you can vote items down. It’s one of the reasons reddit seems to work well, there’s a community filter in effect, and to be honest, it’s usually quite good. The thing about this approach though, is that the more down votes an item has, the less chance it has to be seen. I think this opens up the possibility of down voting masses attacking a particular idea, so it won’t get seen.

There are times when people should be allowed to show they disagree with something, without that affecting how many people see that item. Just because I happen to dislike something, I shouldn’t affect other people’s exposure to it.

facebook and Google+ don’t want to see the other side of the coin.  They only let you “like” or “+1” something. The least reaction is no positives, that’s not how life works.

I think Google could leap ahead of facebook by introducing this:

It wouldn’t affect where an item shows up in the stream, or even generate extra SEO to it. Don’t make it too attractive to try to get -1’s, just allow people to show that they dislike or don’t approve.

While we’re adding buttons, maybe even add a “0”, to say “I’ve read this, and it leaves me indifferent.” Seems like it’d be easy to do… and would generate valuable information.

You can learn a lot about a person by paying attention to what they like, you can learn even MORE by paying attention to what they don’t like.

What do you think?

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  1. But, we’re all a community….. OK, I’m kidding. Seriously though, this is why I like reddit as well. Digg had its problems with people voting stuff down massively a few years back. I am tired of people being afraid to disagree with someone because they think it will hurt their ‘personal brand’ or some other bullshit. OK, rant off….

  2. I just came across this… and I think I may be on the same track, with a Facebook feature I proposed a while ago.

    1. Bob says:

      I like it!

      An “Ehh” button functionality could be the default behaviour of “Mark as Read” in Google Reader too! The possibilities are endless!

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