The Dislike Button

If you had not heard the news lately, the grand muckeymucks at Facebook have announced that they are working on finally adding a dislike button to Facebook’s user interface. Facebook has had a “Like” button attached to each and every post you, your friends or companies make. By clicking “Like” you indicate your support for the post or the person who posted it. I only explain this because I know for a fact I have a reader or two who don’t know this information. A lot of sites have similar buttons allowing friends and fans to show their support without having to think up a clever comment. I’ve clicked these buttons on both Facebook, Tumblr and even right here on WordPress. The dislike button would allow people to voice their displeasure with a post, subject matter, etc.

When I first got into the groove of using Facebook I joined the crowd in calling for a dislike button. There are some situations where clicking a like button just doesn’t cut it, such as when people announce a personal tragedy. However, now I’m not so sure about wanting to install that dislike button. When I wanted the dislike button it was at a angrier time in my life. I loved to rail against what I couldn’t stand and I relished the chance at giving a big thumbs down to whatever I wanted. I was into punk, heavy metal and wearing a long black coat that scared the bejeezus out of some of my teachers and classmates. I like to believe I’ve changed but I do understand that the world doesn’t change like that.

The reason I object to the “Dislike” button is that I feel that the internet, or at least my corner of it, has become uncomfortably negative. I already deal with avoiding a lot of bile in my daily commute through the internet that the thought of any more fills me with dread. Sure, it’s low level dread but it is dread all the same.

For instance, I have mentioned in my Media Update posts that I have taken to absorbing a lot of my entertainment through Netflix and Youtube. Youtube is a great place to catch original programming largely from self-made content producers who built their operation from the ground up. It’s actually pretty uplifting. If you want to continue to be uplifted, do not scroll down. A large part of the comments under a video on youtube are full of gnashing of teeth and a lot of trolling. Some of it is simple button-pushing but a lot of it seems to be actual hate. It’s hard to read it without having a visceral reaction.

I have recently discovered Reddit. I really only visit one fandom’s Reddit and it was recently named as one of the most toxic communities on Reddit. I’m talking about the Game Grumps Sub-Reddit. The community is extremely divided to ridiculous degree. Everything is written as either black or white. They are divided over whether the old co-host is better than the new co-host. They’re divided over whether the recurring female co-host is awful or great. They’re divided over how you should be a fan of something I find entertaining and kind of inspiring.

The two sites I just mentioned have dislike buttons. In Reddit, the button is actually a “downvote” button which is a term that doesn’t sit right with me. I don’t disagree with a downvote or dislike button’s purpose in voicing your opinion on what somebody else has posted on the internet. It just feels like the internet has become a very negative place where we assume things of one another and we are quick to judge. Hitting the dislike button is too easy. Voicing our concerns or putting out content with a counterargument is too hard or at least that’s what I’m seeing.

Will installing another dislike button really cause much more negativity in the internet? Probably not. I’ve seen it misused to crush other people’s fun but I’ve also seen it used to crush internet trolls. It’s a double-edged sword. I just feel like there’s a lot of negativity already and the dislike button was like a beacon to me. I realize that negative energy has its proper place such as comedy or self-defense but not when it comes to responding what a person has created. I just want more constructive criticism out there as I’ve grown tired of being negative for the sake of being negative.

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2 Responses to “The Dislike Button”

  1. Lise Mendel Says:

    Ravelry has really incredible forums. The default buttons are “educational interesting funny agree disagree love”

    In on forum (“As You Wish”, Princess Bride fandom) the ‘interesting’ button has been changed to ‘inconceivable’. This was done by the site’s one and only beloved Code Monkey, Casey, and I’m pretty sure it’s the only mod he’s made on a per group basis. Mods of individual groups can opt to hide individual buttons, and some have hidden the ‘disagree’ button.

    There are some individuals who claim they have stalkers who follow them from group to group and ‘disagree’ every post they make. Now individuals can chose to hide particular buttons, so this sort of harassment can no longer affect them (though the thought of it might).

    For my part, I’d rather have the ‘agree’ and ‘disagree’ buttons than a ton of ‘me too’ posts, which they do seem to have cut down on.

    Anyway, join Ravelry. You don’t have to knit to enjoy the forums and it’s the friendliest corner of the internet I’ve found so far.


    • Wolf of Words Says:

      Yeah, “disagree” is a subtle difference that I like better than “dislike”. “Me too” posts can be a little annoying and I try to stop myself from posting too many of those myself as it does clog more popular communities. I might just be frequenting some of the more toxic communities instead of focusing on the more positive ones. I probably should join Ravelry since half the people I know seem to be involved there.


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