Should FlyerTalk Have a Like Button?
“Can you implement a like button at the very least? Plenty of other forums have the and all sorts of other buttons such as: disagree, funny, informative, excellent topic, dislike, old” is what FlyerTalk member Silver Fox posted. “We have all this other social media stuff so it makes perfect sense to implement this.”
The renewed interest pertaining to the implementation of adding the functionality of a like button on FlyerTalk is once again being considered — and it has been considered for years, as I first reported in this article written on Wednesday,
Should FlyerTalk Have a Like Button?
Since its inception in February of 2011, members of the forums of InsideFlyer — which was originally launched as Milepoint — have been using what is known as a like button if they liked any content which is posted; and likes are part of the formula which enables members to elevate in status: from general members to those with Silver and Gold elite level status.
There is also the vaunted Platinum elite level status; but to my knowledge, no one has attained it — yet, anyway.
As there are no elite status levels to be earned by members of FlyerTalk, likes would only be used in appreciation for content posted in discussions — possibly with the added benefit of reducing the amount of times that content containing only a “+1” is added to a discussion.
Support for the functionality has been consistent, even if the sampling is unscientific and relatively small: of the 725 FlyerTalk members who already voted in this poll — which is shown at the top of this article and is now closed since TalkBoard had been disbanded — pertaining to the addition of a like button or similar functionality to FlyerTalk:
- 37.93 percent of FlyerTalk members oppose it
- 59.72 percent of FlyerTalk members support it
- 2.34 percent of FlyerTalk members abstained
Advantages of a Like Button
The advantages of adding a like button to FlyerTalk include:
- Make FlyerTalk more modern or more like Facebook, LinkedIn and many other social media sites
- A like or helpful button would minimize unnecessary replies such as +1
- Streamlines content which is posted to FlyerTalk
- The value add of showing likes, helpful votes, etcetera is that it can surface good content and get more views for it
- Positive feedback incentivizes quality content; and FlyerTalk members will post more
- Some people will not take time to write a thank you but will post a like
- Those with more likes or helpfuls are considered knowledgable
Disdvantages of a Like Button
The disadvantages of adding a like button to FlyerTalk include:
- Makes FlyerTalk more like Facebook and dumbs it down
- FlyerTalk had a rating system called Reputation — which was implemented years ago — and it did not go well
- System can be gamed and cliques could develop
- Clutters up posted content and consumes valuable screen space
- Will not eliminate +1s, as +1s also provide positive feedback
- Posted content which has inaccurate information can also get likes and does not mean that the FlyerTalk member who posted it is knowledgable
- If FlyerTalk members post info and it does not get likes or helpfuls, there could be less incentive to post more content
- Some who might have posted info in the past will now just post like; so less information could be provided to other FlyerTalk members
Questions and Answers
Paul O’Brien — who is the community manager of FlyerTalk for Internet Brands and is also known as FlyerTalk member IBobi — has answered some questions and responded to concerns pertaining to how exactly a like button would work.
- If implemented, can FlyerTalk members who prefer not to utilize the like button or helpful button turn it off so that they do not see it at all? “I doubt we would implement the ‘like’ feature at all if it were not ‘always on,’ since making it user-selectable would largely defeat its purpose. Users can choose not to ‘like’ anything.”
- Is there a software way to separate likes of posts from posters? “Likely it can be developed to exclude the ‘like’-er’s username. We anticipate that including the username is actually a deterrent to any ‘abuse,’ as it is public.”
- Can a post count or day count be implemented before implementing for FlyerTalk members, similar to the Omni and The Coupon Connection forums? This question was not addressed.
- Can certain forums have it turned off — such as in the Omni forum? “Actually, yes, as tested we announced that it can be tailored forum by forum.”
- If a sitewide trial is created, what are the metrics for success or failure? “Usage/adoption vs. issues created (if any), I would imagine.”
- What is the goal of this; and how will the data be used? “We have proposed adding a user-clickable ‘sort thread by likes’ feature that would allow anyone to easily see the most-liked posts in a thread topic; as far as I know this is the only ‘use’ for this that has been proposed.”
- If customization of current software is required, will this take away from development on other projects such as a better mobile software application program? “There is no mobile FT app, nor are there any plans for one. We have a mobile skin, which is developed by a separate group of developers from those who work directly on FT. Apart from that, yes, development of any custom FT features is shared by the same pool of programmers.”
- Will or can there be a dislike or unhelpful button? “No.”
- 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”? “The same thing that happens when someone replies to a post under the same conditions today, without a ‘like’ button. This is an issue with the post edit window, not with ‘likes’.”
- Can threads or individual posts deemed helpful be bookmarked or saved? “‘Subscribe to thread’ is unchanged.”
In the grand scheme of things, this issue may seem rather minuscule and of little importance when compared to some of the other challenges which frequent fliers face these days — but it is one about which some members of FlyerTalk are passionate.
I have no preference as to whether or not a like button — or similar functionality — should be added to FlyerTalk. I am not a member of Facebook; and as a member of the forums of InsideFlyer since its inception, I may have used the like button five times at the most in greater than six years, as it is not a feature for which I particularly care to use…
…but in addition to opining in the Comments section below, you may comment on whether or not a like button should be added to FlyerTalk in this discussion, as implementing this functionality is under consideration.