More and more people prefer to use text communication instead of using their phones for, well, phone calls. But text has limitations – it can’t carry emotion or even simple gestures like a nod or a thumbs up. Emojis solved that problem, especially when used for reactions.
We use reactions all the time for our internal communications and we thought that they would have real benefit for our comment sections. The simple upvote system that we added a few years ago wasn’t particularly expressive.
You can still upvote a comment you like and agree with – that will be represented with a “thumbs up” icon. But you can also add some emotion to that: laughter, amazement, shock, regret, there are 18 different reactions to choose from. You can always change your mind later and rescind an upvote or pick a different reaction.
The emojis will look slightly different depending on your platform, but those are only stylistic differences, the meaning carries through unchanged.
The system is simple to use – just hit the emoji button next to the “reply” button to open the React menu. For each comment (beside your own) you can upvote and add one additional reaction. The reactions will show up on the bottom of the comment and you can hover/tap on each one to see the names of commenters who used that particular reaction.
Note: if you see a comment that breaks our posting rules, the “report” button is also in the React menu. Don’t use it as a downvote, though, this is meant for offensive comments or post that break our guidelines in other ways.
While we were upgrading our comment system, we took the opportunity to add some features to our mobile site that were already present on the desktop version, including avatars. If you haven’t done it already, head to your Account settings to pick an avatar (we support Gravatar).
Even the simple upvote system wasn’t available in the mobile version, now both the desktop and mobile versions of our site support reactions, as does our Android app.
Note that you need an account to vote on comments and to set up a custom avatar (here’s the sign up page). You can see the reactions even without an account, however.
We hope that this more expressive reaction system will help promote the helpful and insightful posts we often find in our comment section. But as you can tell from the selection of emojis, we’re not against a bit of fun either.
One last thing – the new system is brand new and has only gone through internal testing. If something goes wrong or doesn’t function as it should, leave us a comment here and we will fix it.