Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Poll: Should We Bring Back the Purple Thumbs? (Update)

In perhaps what has turned out to be one of the biggest debates around here, the question of the week is: should we bring back the purple thumbs (i.e. the “disagree” function in the comments section)? In an effort to create a little more congeniality on the site, I got rid of both thumbs over the weekend. Then, due to many requests, I restored a “Like” button/ thumbs up feature. But so many of you don’t seem satisfied. I’m getting emails asking me to bring back the purple thumbs, but if recent comments are any indication, you all are deeply divided on the issue.

I, myself, am on the fence. On one hand, the purple thumbs help me moderate comments and get rid of potential trolls โ€” or at least alert me to keep my eyes on them. And people seem to enjoy controversial comments, which, let’s face it, is always good for traffic. On the other hand, I think some people use the purple thumbs to act out some sort of personal vendetta against another commenter on the site, which is really silly. So, what do you guys think? If there’s a clear majority in the poll, I’ll go with that. Democracy rules.

UPDATE: You must place your vote in the comment section, please.

347 comments… add one
  • avatar

    amber September 16, 2011, 11:37 am

    the main reason i like the purple thumbs being gone is i think it gives people a chance to maybe better understand where everyone is coming from and creates more dialogue by forcing them to comment instead of just leaving a thumbs down when they disagree.

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest September 16, 2011, 11:40 am

      what amber said.

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    • avatar

      Slamy September 16, 2011, 12:15 pm

      I voted yes… but I do think you have a good point.

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    • avatar

      amber September 16, 2011, 1:40 pm

      and since i didn’t specifically say it, i vote no to puprple thumbs ๐Ÿ™‚

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  • avatar

    HBomb September 16, 2011, 11:38 am

    I think the purple thumbs would be handy if they were used wisely. They can def create a hot debate on issues, but all too often they seem to create hateful, negative comments that aren’t necessary.

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  • avatar

    lets_be_honest September 16, 2011, 11:39 am

    I’ll keep my answer short, sweet and not dramatic at all…NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest September 16, 2011, 11:42 am

      Can I vote more than once? Please?

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      • avatar

        TheOtherMe September 16, 2011, 1:15 pm

        KILL the purple thumbs.

        When people feel strongly enough to disagree, they actually do so, in the comments, which in my opinion is great.

        Too many times there has been a comment that really gets thumbed down because people jump on the thumbsdown bandwagon…

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest September 16, 2011, 1:18 pm

        Wheres my promised avatar I’ve been looking forward to? ๐Ÿ™‚

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      • avatar

        TheOtherMe September 16, 2011, 1:47 pm

        I wanted to figure out a way to send you a PM but they are not available here yet.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest September 16, 2011, 1:59 pm

        I’m really not interested in any prime ministers and frankly, I’m glad Wendy does not sell them. That would be really bizarre. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest September 16, 2011, 1:28 pm

        Aha! I’m using the tip DW option as a bribe to keep the purple thumbs away. You name the amount Wendy!

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  • avatar

    splashes September 16, 2011, 11:44 am

    I voted yes, but I do agree with all the comments above mine about not having purple thumbs creating more discussion.

    I like them because I can see where the biggest discussion is – the more controversial posts. I would hope that people here would use the purple thumbs as a comment of agreement or disagreement instead of using it to just harass other posters!

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  • avatar

    6napkinburger September 16, 2011, 11:49 am

    I know we would start to veer into the absurd, but I liked someone’s suggestion yesterday of:
    1) agree
    2) respectfully disagree
    3) just plain mean (i.e. dislike)

    options. I also like the idea of a “flag” button as well, in a different place (like the top, next to the avatar) for real trolls/advertisement (though you don’t really get those), that only gets shown as being flagged to Wendy. (like on Slate or craigslist). If people abuse the “just plain mean” button, you can make it so that isn’t counted, and just gets shown to wendy, to moderate.

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    • avatar

      6napkinburger September 16, 2011, 11:52 am

      This way, people can see where the “hot debate” is (agreements/disagreements) without feeling attacked (if they wanted to “dislike” your comment, they could have but didn’t, they just “respectfully disagree”, so you feel better).

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    • avatar

      thyme September 16, 2011, 12:00 pm

      I like your idea about having the “mean/dislike” votes only visible to Wendy.

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    • avatar

      Shadowflash1522 September 16, 2011, 12:12 pm

      The trouble is that the flag/dislike/mean button is still open to abuse. Severe personal vendetta-keepers would still hit the button out of spite and a petty desire to see that person’s comments potentially banned. Similarly, if they hate that person’s guts but want to post some negativity for all to see they will spam the “disagree” button for no reason. It’s still upsetting, which is what they’re going for.

      Not to rain on the parade, just trying to think like a troll…

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      • avatar

        6napkinburger September 16, 2011, 12:13 pm

        I always get gnomes and trolls confused, and just totally imagined you sitting there with a pointed hat like David the Gnome and couldn’t help but smile. Maybe if more people stopped, mentally pictured that, and then acted we could avoid this convo altogther ๐Ÿ™‚

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      • avatar

        Shadowflash1522 September 16, 2011, 12:15 pm

        Hahahaha hey, if that’s what it takes to get people to lighten up, I would wear a pointy gnome hat any day ๐Ÿ™‚

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  • avatar

    silver_dragon_girl September 16, 2011, 11:50 am

    I voted no for all of the aforementioned reasons. I think purple thumbs are a good idea in theory, but I think in reality way too many lurkers (and commenters, I suppose) use them without explaining WHY they disagree. I think there’s a tendency to just automatically thumb people down when debates get really heated, particularly when discussing touchy subjects.

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    • theattack

      theattack September 16, 2011, 2:16 pm

      I guess I just don’t really see what the big deal is in thumbing down without explaining. Usually _someone_ will reply why they disagreed, and that person will get thumbs ups. Sometimes it’s just impractical to reply to every single comment. That’s exhausting, unnecessary, time-consuming, and just plain impossible. But it is nice to show (especially to the LW) what most people think about something.

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  • avatar

    Mainer September 16, 2011, 11:58 am

    We had this discussion a while back in a letter completely unrelated (as is often the case). I stood my ground on a thump-up only button and denounced thumbs down. The thumb-up to thumb-down ration was pretty even, thus confirming it is a divided issue for sure. My argument was very similar to what Budjer pointed out above. People are more likely to post what they are truly thinking or truly believe if they know it will not be passively judged negatively. As such, it actually FORCES a person to explain why they disagree, which is the whole point of the comments section. I think the lack of thumb down encourages people to actually speak for themselves and take responsibility for their views rather than just thumbing down a comment because they didn’t like the *way* it was said or the person who wrote it or it had too many grammatical errors or whatever (which can result in the *context* of the thumb down being misinterpreted as a disagreement with the overall point the comment made, when in fact it was based of a technicality or an unrelated issue). When a person responds to a comment they disagree with, it allows the original commenter to elaborate on their comment, clarify any mis-read parts, or to continue to reinforce his or her view. If a comment has no follow ups and just a bunch of purple thumbs, the commenter has no basis to support his or her view, therefore negating the very PURPOSE of having an intellectual debate. The thumb down is far too passive for my liking. I say we take the purple thumb and stick it up it’s respected purple ass.

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    • avatar

      Eljay September 16, 2011, 1:11 pm

      Brilliant! Exactly what I was thinking but couldn’t put into words. Yours were spot on and just what I wanted to convey! Thanks for that!

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    • avatar

      ForeverYoung September 16, 2011, 1:28 pm

      Yeah but some days the most interaction with dear Wendy I get is 20 minutes on my iPhone at lunch. I’m lucky if I can read all the comments. I still want to be able to include my input without having to type out a whole separate response, especially if someone wrote exactly what I was thinking and I can just thumb up

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    • avatar

      TheOtherMe September 16, 2011, 1:28 pm

      Like, like, like !!!

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  • avatar

    Mainer September 16, 2011, 12:01 pm

    Also – case in point:

    All the comments here are to argue NOT bring the thumb down button back. But the votes clearly show a majority feel it SHOULD be brought back yet they are doing NOTHING TO SUPPORT THEIR VIEW!!! Passive people.

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    • avatar

      silver_dragon_girl September 16, 2011, 12:09 pm

      Agree. Also, BOOM, LAWYERED.
      (not sure if that really fits here but it’s Friday and I wanted to say it)

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      • avatar

        Ladybug September 16, 2011, 12:40 pm

        A good “How I Met Your Mother” reference fits anywhere! It’s LEGEN…wait for it..DARY.

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      • avatar

        TheOtherMe September 16, 2011, 1:30 pm

        Are you still going to give us your friday feel good/childish response ?

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      • avatar

        silver_dragon_girl September 16, 2011, 2:18 pm

        I really want to, but I’m waiting for a good one!

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      • Budj

        Budjer September 16, 2011, 2:32 pm

        No snark deserving LW situations today – timing is everything.

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      • avatar

        silver_dragon_girl September 16, 2011, 2:35 pm

        …YET…

        You’re right. I don’t think I did one last week, either, for that very reason.

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    • avatar

      thyme September 16, 2011, 12:16 pm

      You know, I don’t think it’s a bad thing for people to be passive. I personally am not, but I don’t think there’s any reason to resent people who are comfortable clicking a “disagree” thumb but not comfortable putting themselves out there with a long explanation of their feelings.

      I think the people who are offended by the purple thumbs are manufacturing most of the hatred they associate with them in their own heads. Like I said before, the button said “disagree,” not “daggers of hatred.”

      When I click “disagree,” that’s what I mean. And when I got purple thumbs myself, I thought it was interesting to see how many people agreed with me versus how many people didn’t agree with me. It’s ok for people to disagree with me; it doesn’t have to put you on the defensive if you choose to take it as information rather than an attack.

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      • avatar

        Blitzen September 16, 2011, 12:30 pm

        I agree with everything you said. I’m in favor of bringing back the purple thumbs, they help me see the most interesting comments when I don’t have time to read everything. Also, I avoid commenting when my point has already been made by someone else. I simply thumb them up. The same way I would thumb down a comment I disagree with instead of commenting, if what I wanna say has already been said by someone else in reply. When I disagree, it’s simply that.. disagreement. Not a personal attack. I’m not that bothered by any purple thumbs I get, I see it as disagreement, and that’s fine. Everyone is entitled to their opinion.

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      • avatar

        MJ September 16, 2011, 12:37 pm

        I totally agree. I think people take the purple thumbs WAY too personally. Who knows why people are purple-thumbing you? Maybe they’re idiots, or maybe they hit the wrong thumb on their phone, or maybe they sincerely disagree. I was always curious to see how many purple thumbs I’d get on a comment, but once I took note, I dismissed them. Meh, we disagree (or whatever).

        Now if I poured myself out about something I passionately believed in, and got a ton of purple thumbs, that would make me question if I were indeed correct. But I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that either.

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      • avatar

        Blitzen September 16, 2011, 12:46 pm

        For real. I find I care very little about any purple thumbs I may get on my comments. Who cares?

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      • avatar

        haggith September 16, 2011, 6:43 pm

        agree… i don’t see why people feel offended by the purple thumbs, which means “i disagree with you,” no “i have a vendetta against you” or “i hate you.” if i thumb down someone, it is not personal (i don’t even know you!!!)… and i don’t even have to explain myself because probably i’ll speak my mind in another post and you are welcome to thumb me down as many times as you like with no complaints. if i thumb someone up, do i have to explain why i agree it too? is thumbing up without a comment as passive as thumbing down without it? consistency please, consistency…

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    • avatar

      GatorGirl September 16, 2011, 12:25 pm

      Passive? I think you may have been a little quick to jump to this conclusion…this question hasn’t been up for more than 3 hours…not everyone has been able to check DW, and perhaps some voted quickly, but will post later.

      I am personally for the thumbs down. I have been a DW reader since June, but only recently started commenting regularly. Before I started commenting, I used the thumbs up and down as a “silent” way to express my opinion. I feel that the thumbs down are a way of showing disagreement with a comment when one is unable to make a “nice” comment.

      There was clearly some serious negativity going on, but Wendy I think you are doing a fabulous job creating an enviornment that fosters stimulation discussion on a wide range of relationship issues.

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    • avatar

      El September 16, 2011, 12:27 pm

      Yes yes yes! I thought the exact same thing. I’ll be pretty disappointed if they return based on these poll results. They just don’t provide any substance to discussion.

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      • avatar

        Giancarla September 17, 2011, 11:49 am

        See, I wish I had a “dislike” or “thumbs down” button to push because I disagree with what you said. They DO provide substance to a discussion, just not in a form of words. Maybe someone already addressed my point of view and it would be redundant to post. Maybe I have no time on my iPhone to comment.

        I should be able to express my opinion and choose to not elaborate on it. The lack of the option to disagree with something inherently blocks any discussion because you don’t get the other side of the coin. Then this is all a bunch of “Yes” comments and opinions which is skewed.

        Feel free to disagree with me but you won’t be able to press a button for it!

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    • Budj

      Budjer September 16, 2011, 12:07 pm

      I was just going to say that lurkers are probably beefing up the “bring it back numbers”….it’s nice and easy to judge when you aren’t sticking your “e-neck” on the line.

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      • avatar

        Mainer September 16, 2011, 12:14 pm

        to that point, how about this Wendy – Use the comments as your tally. Force people to explain themselves. I’ll do it for you if you don’t want to, just let me know when you want the “voting” to end, and I’ll tally the responses in the “yea” or “nay.” But you have to support your argument, you can’t just say yes or no.

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      • Dear Wendy

        Wendy September 16, 2011, 12:18 pm

        OK, I like that. People have to explain themselves! Ima update this post and say that I’m counting the number of yays and nays in the comment section.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest September 16, 2011, 12:24 pm

        If I were, say, pregnant, or a conjoined twin, could I vote twice then? I’m really anti-purple thumbs ๐Ÿ™‚

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      • avatar

        ForeverYoung September 16, 2011, 12:58 pm

        I am very pro bringing them back, and i’m pretty sure Sampson (my dog) totally can see where i’m coming from ๐Ÿ™‚

        Also another good reason I was thinking of Wendy – I actually feel like we have been getting fewer comments this past week (don’t know if there is an unrelated reason for that) but it seems like when people can’t just read through to see the controversial comments they are less likely to get passionate about things. This is just speaking from personal experience.

        I personally would like to see three buttons – agree, disagree, and “Wendy please remove this comment” because this person is clearly a troll and being offensive just to be offensive.

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      • avatar

        ForeverYoung September 16, 2011, 1:00 pm

        I guess I just don’t take purple thumbs seriously, I assume people just disagree. Nothing more nothing less. I would rather see the comments regulated a little more so if people are saying really rude and offensive things it gets deleted. How can a little thumb get people such hurt feelings? The rude words are what get me upset, not just little thumbs. I never interpret a purple thumb as someone sending me daggers. But again, just my opinion.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest September 16, 2011, 1:07 pm

        Wendy, please remove this comment because this person is clearly a troll. Amiright? (which in case you dont know, means my comment is a joke). I love that your dog is participating ๐Ÿ™‚

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      • Dear Wendy

        Wendy September 16, 2011, 1:08 pm

        Not fewer comments this week. We had one column with over 300 columns and a few with over 200…

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      • Budj

        Budjer September 16, 2011, 1:53 pm

        Yea I was going to say..I noticed an increase…it was much harder to stay focused at work!

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      • avatar

        silver_dragon_girl September 16, 2011, 2:17 pm

        …Work? Oh, is that where I am? Huh…

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      • avatar

        amber September 16, 2011, 2:27 pm

        i keep telling myself i’ll try and get some extra work done this weekend, hah! ๐Ÿ™‚

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      • avatar

        TheOtherMe September 16, 2011, 1:29 pm

        me too

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    • avatar

      Shadowflash1522 September 16, 2011, 1:33 pm

      Some of us have been here in the trenches since this morning/early afternoon, so “NOTHING” is perhaps a bit strong…

      That said, I found myself wondering if the poll would let you vote twice. Multiple-voting lurkers trying to manipulate the numbers would make me *very* angry!

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      • avatar

        Mainer September 16, 2011, 1:46 pm

        You are a leader among your people, an exception to my claim.

        And yes, you can vote more than once, you just need to refresh the page and you can vote again.

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      • avatar

        Shadowflash1522 September 16, 2011, 2:08 pm

        Ah. Not good.

        Glad Wendy took the suggestion and made us all come out here to defend out claims ๐Ÿ™‚

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  • avatar

    thyme September 16, 2011, 12:09 pm

    I get what everyone is saying about a lack of purple thumbs encouraging people to voice their opinion more explicitly. But if Commentor A says something I disagree with, and Commentor B has already replied with an opinion that I do agree with, I’d like to give A a “disagree” and B an “agree,” because it would be redundant for me to restate B’s opinion as my own instead.

    My primary reason for liking the thumbs is because they help me find the comments that people had strong feelings about. Those are the most interesting. Without the thumbs, I find I have less patience for scrolling through the comments and end up only reading the short ones. But I don’t know how many other people that applies to.

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    • avatar

      Blitzen September 16, 2011, 12:39 pm

      Oh okay. =P You said the exact same thing as I did, above, just more coherently. See..redundant.

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      • avatar

        thyme September 16, 2011, 1:28 pm

        I actually liked yours better ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • avatar

      Slamy September 16, 2011, 12:27 pm

      “My primary reason for liking the thumbs is because they help me find the comments that people had strong feelings about. Those are the most interesting. ”

      Ditto

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      • Firegirl32

        Firegirl32 September 16, 2011, 2:08 pm

        Ditto too. Is that redundant? ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • theattack

      theattack September 16, 2011, 2:25 pm

      Completely agree with you, thyme! And actually, I think I’m less likely to read all the comments on Dear Wendy without the purple thumbs. It can take up to two hours to catch up on DW after I’ve been gone just until the early afternoon. If I have to read a hundred “I agree with you”s or “I think you’re wrong because of the exact same reason someone above me said” I will probably not stick around and do that. Which, of course, will keep me from commenting. The thumbs organize it for us and direct us to where we should go first. Then we might be more motivated to read the rest of them.

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    • Budj

      Budjer September 16, 2011, 1:56 pm

      Or you could just like the comment that the person in disagreement replied with? Maybe we could color code a comment background option of agree or disagree with YOUR comment and that count could help fuel heated debates.

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      • Budj

        Budjer September 16, 2011, 1:57 pm

        By fuel I mean highlight them to people that don’t check this through out the day.

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  • avatar

    sweetleaf September 16, 2011, 12:15 pm

    I’m voting purple thumbs. But I do think some people were using them just because they dislike the person, not the comment.

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    • Firegirl32

      Firegirl32 September 16, 2011, 2:08 pm

      Agreed.

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    • katie

      katie September 16, 2011, 8:25 pm

      i cant believe that people would do that… i have so many better things to do with my life then actually remember everyone’s names (no faces, voices, ect, just screen names) and actively seeking them out to thumb them down…. i just cant wrap my head around that lol

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      • avatar

        MsMisery September 19, 2011, 9:09 am

        Agreed! I’ve been reading DW for, like, a year and I maybe remember three or four names when I come across them. I guess because this isn’t FB and we don’t really know each other here, and most of us have an anonymous icon. It’s not like I sit at my desk and write down the posters that piss me off!!

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  • avatar

    MissDre September 16, 2011, 12:16 pm

    The reason i DO NOT like the purple thumbs is because they are not always used to disagree and sometimes I don’t see the reason for them.

    For example, once on an open thread about gift giving I wrote about how my current boyfriend is a really great gift giver and I’ve been so so happy with the presents he has given me. Simple things like my favourite coffee and a gift card for Chapters. And I got like 10 thumbs down?

    What the hell is there to thumb down about me being happy? Did I come across like I was bragging? Do you not like coffee or books? In that case I don’t think people should be thumbing down. If you disagree with my OPINION on a matter fine, but don’t thumb me down because I’m happy about a present I got on a thread about presents.

    And I see it all the time on other people’s posts too. Posts where they tell their own happy experience and they get thumbed down. Even when people say “This is how I FEEL and I certainly understand that my feelings may differ from others” and they still get thumbed down. That is not constructive.

    The thumbs breed negativity. I don’t like them.

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    • Just Max

      Just Max September 16, 2011, 1:01 pm

      And this is why I vote to not bring the purple thumb back, MissDre.
      I rarely comment, but do read through the posts and comments regularly. Quite often I end up scratching my head, wondering why a comment (about a personal preference, or “I like this” or “I flew to the moon”) would get thumbed down for no apparent reason. So… Don’t bring the purple thumb back. Please.

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      • avatar

        Christy September 16, 2011, 1:27 pm

        Sometimes I thumbsed down to indicate that I thought a comment unneccessary. Like when someone makes a good point and someone else comments “THIS!” or “I totally agree” what’s the point of commenting? Why would people be thumbsing up if they didn’t agree with the post? So I would thumbs down the unnecessary comment because I didn’t think it added anything (ANYTHING) to the discussion.

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      • avatar

        thyme September 16, 2011, 1:30 pm

        I (respectfully!) disagree with you, Christy. I think it’s nice when people show their support like that (and that’s why I do it).

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      • Firegirl32

        Firegirl32 September 16, 2011, 2:10 pm

        I totally agree. :O

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      • avatar

        6napkinburger September 16, 2011, 1:31 pm

        That’s a little harsh. Who are they bothering? Do they bother you? I get if there were 10 comments on a side comment saying THIS, but that seems like an overly zealous use of the purple thumbs. Not every comment is going to be a winner, but that’s pretty clear when they get no thumbs.

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      • avatar

        6napkinburger September 16, 2011, 1:36 pm

        This is also why I think “disagree” and “dislike” should be two buttons. Christy is using “disagree” as “dislike” and that’s confusing/the problem.

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      • avatar

        TheOtherMe September 16, 2011, 1:40 pm

        Maybe it’s still ok because added more traffic to the site ?

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      • avatar

        Mainer September 16, 2011, 1:40 pm

        Don’t you feel that is a little hypocritical? You are doing something that doesn’t add anything to the discussion because you didn’t like the fact someone did something that did not bring anything to the discussion?

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      • avatar

        MissDre September 16, 2011, 2:03 pm

        Ha!

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      • avatar

        Christy September 16, 2011, 3:43 pm

        You misunderstand me. I only think that comments don’t add anything to the discussion when they *don’t say anything new*. Especially in response to a good comment. I understand that commenters (like thyme) use it as a way to show support for a comment, but personally, I don’t see the worth in doing that. I get frustrated when I see that an article has a new comment and it is just a “THIS.”

        Whereas I think with my comments, I’m (1) actively trying to spark dialogue or (2) explaining my actions or thoughts. I’m not saying THIS for the sake of seeing my name on DW. (And I know people don’t do it for that reason, but it sure feels like it sometimes.)

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      • avatar

        6napkinburger September 16, 2011, 3:54 pm

        I think he was referring to your referenced act of thumbsing down the “THIS” post as something that didn’t bring anything to the discussion, not your comment today, which clearly does.

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      • avatar

        Slamy September 16, 2011, 4:57 pm

        I sometimes comment just to agree with people. I can’t help it. I’m just like “OH ME TOO!!!!” especially if they say what i was going to say in the first place… it’s redundant either way!

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      • avatar

        Rachel September 16, 2011, 1:41 pm

        I’m with thyme. I’m not the most eloquent person in the world, so when someone says exactly what I was thinking better than I would, I sometimes like to tell them so by saying “THIS!” rather than just thumbs-upping which I’ve probably already done to multiple posts.

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      • theattack

        theattack September 16, 2011, 2:28 pm

        I totally read this as “I’m the most eloquent person in the world” and was really shocked.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom September 16, 2011, 4:45 pm

        That’s one of the big problems of the purple thumb. You have no idea why someone chose to use it. I’ve never thought of it as a statement that the post was unnecessary so it didn’t convey that thought to me even though that’s what you intended.

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      • avatar

        Christy September 16, 2011, 1:28 pm

        Oh, and as for personal preference, I would TOTALLY thumbs down a Steelers fan on DW. I thumbs down Steelers fans in real life.

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      • avatar

        Morgan September 16, 2011, 1:47 pm

        You and me both.

        Some things are just personal, ya know?

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      • avatar

        thyme September 16, 2011, 1:32 pm

        But thumbs down is not “hate,” it’s “disagree.” If you say “I like this” and I don’t, I might disagree with you. How is that a bad thing?

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      • avatar

        MissDre September 16, 2011, 2:09 pm

        But what is there to disagree with about “I’m happy because my boyfriend gave me a present that I liked!” when it’s an open thread about presents. Thats what I mean about negativity! I did not state an opinion. I said I am happy! Therefore, why would you disagree or dislike?

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      • avatar

        MissDre September 16, 2011, 2:26 pm

        I’m not just talking about my comment in particular. I see it a lot. Disagreements when no opinion has been stated, when someone is just sharing something personal and often positive. No need for thumbs down!

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      • avatar

        6napkinburger September 16, 2011, 2:35 pm

        Just as a devil’s advocate answer, in your example, you say your BF got you a gift card. If I think gift cards are tacky gifts, I might thumbs down your post, because you are saying that your BF gave you an amazing gift, and I disagree, I don’t think its an amazing gift, I think its a tacky gift. So it might not be mean-spirited, and it is a disagreement. But it might seem meaner to post on your thing saying, “eh, I think gift cards are tacky. You’re wrong, your bf’s presents suck.”, but you might still want to express this opinion somehow.

        Just a thought; I didn’t thumb that down.

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        MissDre September 16, 2011, 3:19 pm

        Yeah but I said in my post, he gave me a gift card to chapters because I said I needed new books, and I was so happy that he remembered. I think horribly negative to thumb down a present between my boyfriend and I that make ME happy.

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      • avatar

        haggith September 16, 2011, 6:56 pm

        as someone already said, maybe they disagree with you that a gift card was not a good one. if you liked it, good for you… just moa

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      • Budj

        Budjer September 16, 2011, 2:38 pm

        But that’s the whole point…you don’t convey that message by just thumbsing down….there needs to be a compromise here to satisfy people’s desires from the site that I’m not sure we will get with a thumb up vs thumb down system. The most active users don’t want the purple thumbs for good reasons and I also agree with the side of the less active users because it is annoying reading a novel for a few good comments if you don’t enjoy the thread progression itself.

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        Christy September 16, 2011, 3:48 pm

        Not to be a complete hypocrite, but I want to emphasize Budjer’s point here:

        “The most active users donโ€™t want the purple thumbs for good reasons and I also agree with the side of the less active users because it is annoying reading a novel for a few good comments if you donโ€™t enjoy the thread progression itself.”

        I think this is an important thing to note, because the people who have been commenting on this post the most are some of DW’s most active users. And I am happy that you all are so active (I’m being rather active myself today) but many of us don’t have the time to constantly refresh DW. Today’s a slow day, so I can spend a lot of time on the site, but I generally can’t wait for new comments to come up. Thus it’s not interesting to see the now-complete conversation unfold, because there’s not really anything that one can add that hasn’t already been said (in many cases). By having the purple thumbs, the less active readers can still feel like active participants in DW if they disagree with something. Because it feels really dumb to add your comment if the usual commenters have largely moved on to another topic.

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        RhyanShae September 16, 2011, 4:18 pm

        I know that I don’t comment much, not because I don’t have an opinion, but by the time I get to the site (barring my days off), most of the more active posters posted, the conversation was had, and only the more heated discussions are still running, and things are “dying” down here for the night until the next day’s new crop of posts. Usually, only 1 or 2 comments are added to a prior post after the current day’s new posts are up. People moved on. So, yes, I think people used the thumbs in a little way to have input because they weren’t here in the heat of the discussion.

        Plus, I think if anyone went on vacation or were absent for a few days, they’d feel kinda silly leaving a comment on posts days old when they can just click a button to support whomever they agree/disagree with.

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        SGMcG September 16, 2011, 2:39 pm

        If it were a general post or conversational blog thingy about presents that Wendy started, then I wouldn’t thumbs that down. If it were purpled, I personally don’t take it personally if I got a few purples – some people just want to be the Sad Sack on a post with positivity. As long as it didn’t enter Hot Debate territory, I would personally see no reason to comment on the lone purple thumber – Haters are gonna Hate.

        Yet if the post in question occurred in an opinion to the LW, who had an issue with her BF giving presents, I would thumb that happy opinion down, only because it is a bit insensitive to the plight of the LW writer.

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        thyme September 16, 2011, 2:36 pm

        Yeah, I agree that one was weird. Who knows? People are weird. But also, why would you let it hurt your feelings that some people are weird? Surely you didn’t have 50 purple thumbs for it; I’m guessing only 1 or 2. Like someone else said, I ignore the first couple thumbs because I know people are weird. You can’t eliminate weird people from the internet no matter what you do.

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        MissDre September 16, 2011, 3:22 pm

        It actually did have a huge amount of thumbs down. And I was really hurt by it because I was trying to share a happy experience in an open thread. The only thing I could think of is that my tone came across as bragging. Anyway, I’m not trying to make this all about me. That’s just the best example I have at the moment because it happened to me personally.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom September 16, 2011, 4:51 pm

        I think it leaves you confused because you have no idea what the purple thumbs mean and too many people hide behind them by using them and not saying why. I think a purple thumb should at least require an explanation otherwise it doesn’t add anything to the conversation.

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    • avatar

      Buzzelbee September 16, 2011, 1:41 pm

      I totally agree. I just don’t see the need for that level of negativity.

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  • avatar

    6napkinburger September 16, 2011, 12:17 pm

    PS as this is more of a direct line to Wendy than the other posts:

    I LOVE the “recent comment” feature. It’s my favorite. Does it update on its own, or do you have to refresh to update it? (It be the most awesome thing ever if it did it automatically)

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest September 16, 2011, 12:19 pm

      I just wish it were longer, like 10 recent rather than 5.

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      • katie

        katie September 16, 2011, 8:30 pm

        me too!!!

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    • Dear Wendy

      Wendy September 16, 2011, 12:24 pm

      Automatically!

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      • avatar

        6napkinburger September 16, 2011, 12:25 pm

        very heartfeltedly like!

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      • avatar

        TheOtherMe September 16, 2011, 1:42 pm

        that’s another good variation, or I would even like to add an ” I love this with a passion ” option

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  • Jess

    Jess of CityGirlsWorld.com September 16, 2011, 12:23 pm

    Didn’t vote because I’m neutral on this topic honestly. I don’t care at all if I get purple thumbs on a comment (not that it’s happened a lot!). I don’t give it a second thought. I like the thermometer aspect of it but I don’t find it meaningful enough that I would miss. I trust your judgement Wendy. Do what works best.

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  • bagge72

    bagge72 September 16, 2011, 12:35 pm

    My personal opinion is that you shouldn’t bring the purple thumbs back, because it makes people take accountability for what they feel and say. If somebody really feels negatively about a comment the have a chance to say what they feel, and the original commenter can respond, because sometimes things on blogs are taken way out of context, and it is nice to be able to explain yourself to somebody.

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  • avatar

    VP September 16, 2011, 12:37 pm

    I like the purple thumbs. Please bring them back.

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  • avatar

    Samantha September 16, 2011, 12:40 pm

    I’d like to see the purple thumbs return for the same reason others said above – it makes finding interesting and controversial comments easier to find. It also made it easy to find discussions between the intelligent commenters (which is to say most folks) on this site. It also helped me as a new reader to feel more a part of this online community before I actually started commenting.
    It’s horrible that people have to abuse a useful tool, but it’d be nice to bring it back for the majority of the site – those who are responsible and use it for good discussion, not for trolling.

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    • avatar

      Samantha September 16, 2011, 12:41 pm

      I just realized my first sentence was completely ridiculous – it makes finding controversial comments easier. Did not mean to repeat myself!

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      • avatar

        Slamy September 16, 2011, 12:56 pm

        Hahahaha. That made me laugh. Nicely. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  • Budj

    Budjer September 16, 2011, 11:40 am

    You generate more discussion without them and people are less bashful about giving their opinion. No one wants to feel like they are being boo’ed out of an online community…which let’s face it…some comments that should be disagreed with civily are torn apart by purple thumbs and then people feel justified in being nasty with their retorts in the reply section. I think disagreements have been handled much better.

    A thought for helping locate deleteable / bannable comments is to have numbers associated with comments / replies for easy locating…or simply offer an offensive / troll comment “thumb” (could be abused).

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    • avatar

      Shadowflash1522 September 16, 2011, 11:43 am

      Yeah, any kind of negative feedback has potential to be used for personal vendettas. Overall I think it’s a moderation thing–literally–and I trust Wendy’s judgment on that score. Actually, I think most of us trust Wendy’s judgment–that’s why we’re here, yes?

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    • avatar

      Kerrycontrary September 16, 2011, 12:00 pm

      I like the purple thumbs…but sometimes I did feel like I had a short and sweet comment (like “I agree with Wendy, great response) that would purple thumbs and I would be left feeling really confused, like there is a person on this site who just doesn’t like me or my comments in general.

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        Shadowflash1522 September 16, 2011, 12:07 pm

        I feel you there, negative feedback isn’t fun for anyone, but maybe a change of perspective is in order too. Somehow, we need to make it clear that purple-thumbing is to be taken as debatable disagreement not a personal attack. I’ve seen just as many mean-spirited comments in my time (fewer here than most) that were harder to swallow than faceless negativity.

        If posters in general could learn to view all purple thumbs as cordial disagreement, then it would lose its value as a personal attack. In theory anyway ๐Ÿ™‚

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        Mainer September 16, 2011, 12:10 pm

        There is no way to force that, however. People will still use it in the way they want to use it, regardless of whether it is it’s intended use or not.

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      • avatar

        Mainer September 16, 2011, 12:10 pm

        Edit: no way to *enforce

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        6napkinburger September 16, 2011, 12:12 pm

        Unless you have separate “dislike” and “disagree” buttons. That isn’t quite “enforcing” it, but it is providing the ability to differentiate.

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        Shadowflash1522 September 16, 2011, 12:14 pm

        Agreed, hence the “in theory”.

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      • theattack

        theattack September 16, 2011, 2:11 pm

        There’s no way to force it, no. But this is the internet. People should learn to stop being so sensitive. A thumbs down only means someone disagreed with you. And even if it is a personal attack, this is the internet! No one _really_ knows you or where you’re coming from.

        My approach in general is to ignore the first few thumbs down as they could come from anyone for any reason, or even just accidental clicks.

        I say bring back the thumbs down! Sometimes I don’t want to repeat the exact same thing someone else said, whether for time or not being able to express things as well as they did or even just not wanting to post a comment saying the exact same thing. And since this is a place where letter writers seek advice, it would be more productive for them to be able to see what most people agree with. I don’t think getting rid of the thumbs increases comments _that_ much, but it does decrease the ability to see how many people agree or disagree with it. Bring them back!

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        Tinywormhole September 16, 2011, 8:19 pm

        I completely agree – bring back the purple thumbs! I especially agree on the point that if I were the LW it would really help to see what people generally agree with or not. Sometimes, one comment in a sea of many really hits the nail on the head and the LW is going to notice it if it has 100 thumbs up but only 0 or 1 thumbs down. Without this feature they may lean toward advice that more closely aligns with what they want to hear, but all the thumbs will at least force them to think. My only suggestion (if it hasn’t already been said) is if it’s possible to place them farther apart that would help prevent accidental purple thumbing on smartphones.

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        MsMisery September 19, 2011, 8:59 am

        I agree with bringing them back. Sometimes my disagreement with a post was either already stated by someone else or doesn’t go any further than “BAH!” so doesn’t require a lengthy comment. Also, I did like to see how many people were agreeing vs. disagreeing. It was (a) neat and (b) a useful tool to see what comments to read/what comments were stirring up controversy. Although, yes, some people just get automatically purple’d. I think I’ve been purple’d for no good reason. But like theattack said, welcome to the innernets. Here there be trollz.

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      • avatar

        thyme September 16, 2011, 12:20 pm

        Well-said, shadowflash ๐Ÿ™‚

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      • avatar

        demoiselle September 16, 2011, 3:10 pm

        However, the red thumbs were officially introduced (I thought, at least) as a means of reporting abuse, not as a means of cordial disagreement.

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        6napkinburger September 16, 2011, 12:07 pm

        But if I disagreed with Wendy, and you say that, I might thumbs down your comment because I disagree with you too (because you agree with wendy.) That’s why I like the idea of separating “disagree” from “dislike” — they aren’t the same thing.

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        thyme September 16, 2011, 12:18 pm

        I like the way you think, 6napkinburger, and I also want to know the story behind your name.

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        6napkinburger September 16, 2011, 12:22 pm

        Ha, no story at all. There’s a restaurant in New York called 5NapkinBurger and I had ordered from them the night I decided to post for the first time. As I always need a little more than everyone else does (love, hugs, napkins), I went with 6.

        Wow, I really wish that was a better story.

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        TheOtherMe September 16, 2011, 1:22 pm

        We should have an “explain your screen name / avatar ” day !!

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        lets_be_honest September 16, 2011, 1:24 pm

        Yes! I think the Frisky used to have a Meet the Commenter thing if I’m remembering correctly.

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        TheOtherMe September 16, 2011, 1:43 pm

        yes. I was met ๐Ÿ™‚ so have a lot of the other DW commenters

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest September 16, 2011, 2:25 pm

        Oh wow, pretty cool.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest September 16, 2011, 3:47 pm

        Holy cow! I found it. Not what I was thinking at all. Can I be nosey and ask if you’re still with the single dad? I didn’t notice when the article was written. ps very pretty, eh (I threw the Eh in bc you’re canadian. hehe. that’s what canadians say, right?)

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        TheOtherMe September 16, 2011, 4:03 pm

        LOL I don’t say Ehhhh … ๐Ÿ™‚ but I say “I know, right ?” way too much. Well what did you expect Missus’ LBH ??? … My avatar is my actual photo ! ( you can click on my name for my gravatar avatars ! ).
        Ps: yes I am still dating SD as I call him.

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        lets_be_honest September 16, 2011, 4:07 pm

        I hope that wasn’t insulting! I have one client thats canadian and its the only phrase I ever picked up on that I considered “canadian” so every time my secretary buzzes my phone to tell me he’s calling, she says “It’s Tom, eh” and I laugh my head off. Anyway, I have no idea what I was expecting to be honest. But that’s nice you’re still together ๐Ÿ™‚ How old is the kid? Do you get along well? (am i being too nosey)

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        TheOtherMe September 18, 2011, 9:07 am

        Not insulting at all, it’s kinda cute ๐Ÿ˜‰

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      • TaraMonster

        TaraMonster September 16, 2011, 3:43 pm

        I really like that feature on the Frisky! But I don’t read it anymore. Partly because Wendy is here now (although I think she still does DW for them sometimes), and partly because the Frisky just started getting on my nerves.

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        lets_be_honest September 16, 2011, 4:30 pm

        Agreed on all points, esp the last! I often wonder how old a commenter is and things like that, so aside from taking away anonymity, it’d be cool if we knew a little bit more about who’s saying what.

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      • avatar

        cookiesandcream September 16, 2011, 1:35 pm

        hahaha! No that’s actually a pretty cute story! I usually make my screen names based on what I’m eating too! ๐Ÿ™‚

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      • avatar

        TheOtherMe September 16, 2011, 2:30 pm

        ..”As I always need a little more than everyone else does”..

        That’s so cute, reminds me of when my nephew was younger, he asked for some ice cream & as I opened the container to put some in a bowl for him, he said ” give me more ” but I hadn’t even started serving him yet, he just KNEW he wanted more !

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  • avatar

    Rachelgrace53 September 16, 2011, 12:42 pm

    Bring back the purple thumbs! Sometimes I want to approve or disapprove without a big explanation, especially considering that usually someone has already explained a similar viewpoint on what’s wrong with the comment.
    Also, being able to spot the controversial comments quickly is helpful, because sometimes I’d rather just not deal with it or sometimes I’m specifically interested in the controversial opinions.

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    • avatar

      melikeycheesecake September 16, 2011, 1:36 pm

      I agree with you!

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  • avatar

    TMSC September 16, 2011, 12:44 pm

    This was tough, and everyone has made good points for both sides of the argument. After some internal debate, I am going to say no, they shouldn’t be brought back. I too like to read through more controversial items, and it was handy that way. However, I can still do so by actually reading through the comments instead of scanning for the big block of color. This might force people to actually read through all the comments, and hopefully consider them more seriously. Also, I admit I have often been shy too comment sometimes for fear of purple thumbs. I would much rather have someone respond to my comment in a thoughtful way if he or she disagrees with me, rather than just hitting the purple thumb. I have really liked the discussions getting rid of them has seemed to generate, and the site seems to have a more positive vibe overall.

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest September 16, 2011, 12:46 pm

      I agree with your statement a lot! All of it actually.

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      • avatar

        Eljay September 16, 2011, 1:33 pm

        Seconded!

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      MissDre September 16, 2011, 1:27 pm

      I agree! No more purple thumbs! More positivity!

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    • Firegirl32

      Firegirl32 September 16, 2011, 2:15 pm

      This, above is my vote as well, for the exact same reasoning. Thank you TMSC! Count me a No thumbs vote.

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  • avatar

    ForeverYoung September 16, 2011, 12:46 pm

    Bring them back!! It’s an easy way to see a controversial thread. I have been thumbed down before and never took it personally because normally it’s by like I didn’t already know I has an un common/unshared opinion on the subject. I know people keep saying to bring them back so people are forced to say why they disagree but sometimes I jar don’t have time and really like to show my support or disagreement quickly. It’s an easy way for me to still feel like my voice is being heard. Also sometimes I don’t have some long drawn out reason, I simply just don’t agree. Like I someone is asking if they should call a guy they like after the first day and someone commented that they should go for it I might “disagree”. It’s not like I thinkyoure an idit how could you ever have that opinion, it’s more like a quick, meh, I disagree.

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    • avatar

      ForeverYoung September 16, 2011, 12:50 pm

      Wow first time Commenting on my iPhone (that’s how passionate I am about this subject, haha) and holy autocorrect errors. Enjoy trying to decipher that comment y’all

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      • avatar

        Eljay September 16, 2011, 1:36 pm

        That was hilarious! Almost spit my sody-pop!

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        thyme September 16, 2011, 2:08 pm

        Hahaha that’s exactly what I was thinking as I was reading it: “Hm, this was definitely posted from a phone.”

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  • avatar

    Christy September 16, 2011, 12:56 pm

    I think the purple thumbs have a place here. This website can’t have that many active trolls. I agree with the previous posters that the purple thumbs point to the most interesting discussions on the site. While sometimes the discussions get heated, I think this a good forum for debate: where else can we discuss such an intimate topic as relationships with strangers? I think the ability to aggregate general emotions on the site is useful: it lets everyone weigh in on comments, and posters can see if their ideas are popular or unpopular. Say there was a poster named LibbietheLiberal and she always turned every discussion into a question of gender equality. Rather than having to comment to her “Would you please stop with your singleminded commenting?” people could just thumbs down the unnecessary comments. Hopefully, she’d realize that her feminist rantings were getting old and she’d cut back on them.

    Anyway, that’s my four or five cents. My biggest problem with the purple thumbs is when people would actively ask about them. Sometimes I don’t feel like hearing you brag about your amazing boyfriend. Sometimes I wish you had made a better joke. Sometimes I think you’re a heinous (crossword word today!) bitch. But I almost never feel like explaining myself.

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    • avatar

      demoiselle September 16, 2011, 1:55 pm

      This post contains examples of all the reasons that I think the purple thumbs should NOT be brought back:

      –Censoring political views that the silent thumber dislikes (if the site is being used by a real political troll or feminist, Wendy can do something about it herself)
      –Punishing people for sharing personal anecdotes (thumber resents that someone had a happy outcome/wedding/experience and wants to neg her)
      –Passive-aggressive, unconstructive critique of someone’s sense of humor, spelling, or opinion (makes the original poster feel bad for trying to participate in the community)
      –Personal animosity towards another poster
      –Resistance to having to take responsibility for the hostile atmosphere the thumber is creating.

      I really do find it curious that many of us have come to opposite conclusions based on the same basic actions. But if there were purple thumbs, I wouldn’t have had to take the time to think about our differences.

      In the end, purple thumbs and like buttons are tools. Tools can be useful or destructive, based on the motivation of the person using them. I doubt there is going to be much agreement between the two camps.

      For me, the bottom line is that the internet can create a kind of mob mentality, where people anonymously gang up on others. No one has ever been (or is likely to be) harmed by being mobbed by people “liking” their posts. No reader is going to be harmed by *not* knowing that Someone Out There might hate their spelling or sense of humor. But I think that there is a possibility of harm coming from the purple thumbs: scapegoating, ganging up on others, loss of communication, discouragement from participating in a dialogue, or a general feeling of negativity.

      It’s easy enough to be misunderstood without a general atmosphere of hostility or opposing camps. So please . . . no purple thumbs!

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      • avatar

        6napkinburger September 16, 2011, 2:07 pm

        You may have just changed my mind.

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      • avatar

        6napkinburger September 16, 2011, 2:08 pm

        ooo what is that rating thing????

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        XanderTaylor September 16, 2011, 2:22 pm

        I agree. Great post!

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      • avatar

        MissDre September 16, 2011, 2:28 pm

        Amazing post demoiselle! Thank you for saying this!

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      • avatar

        TMSC September 16, 2011, 2:51 pm

        yes, this is a good way of explaining it.

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        callmehobo September 16, 2011, 3:16 pm

        demoiselle, this is perfect!

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow September 16, 2011, 4:52 pm

        Except why would a feminist need to be removed?

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      • avatar

        demoiselle September 16, 2011, 6:59 pm

        Well, I don’t think it is necessary, but the poster I was responding to was talking about thumbing down a hypothetical tiresome feminist. I thought I’d just go with it in my reply. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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    • avatar

      jena September 16, 2011, 2:46 pm

      Yeah, so thumbs downing a good boyfriend or a joke you didn’t laugh at is a good reason to start drama? This is exactly why I hated the thumbs down feature, because people did it for bitchy reasons.

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    • avatar

      iseeshiny September 16, 2011, 3:59 pm

      Wow. I dislike and disagree. I would thumbs down your post, but I can’t.

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    • avatar

      katiebird September 18, 2011, 11:11 am

      I like the purple thumbs and I want them brought back so I can thumbs down your post. The purple thumbs are supposed to mean “I disagree with your opinion” not “I disagree with your existence”

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  • avatar

    RhyanShae September 16, 2011, 12:57 pm

    I never minded the purple thumbs as one of those “passive” readers as it usually showed me where the hottest debating was. I still read everyone’s comments, but if I noticed a post was increasing in comments fast, I usually could look for those purple sections to tell me where the discussion was still continuing.

    As for my one annoyance about the purple thumbs? The people who, when receiving them, would immediately call people out and ask, “Why the purple thumbs?” It was almost as if saying, “Really, someone disagrees with me? How could that be?” Once you put an opinion out there, you should expect that someone, somewhere might not fully agree with you. It’s the nature we humans have, and quite honestly, questioning the fact that you might have gotten 3 with your comment, with 12 likes is off putting for people to want to comment to tell you why they might disagree. Don’t take them personally and comment upon them, and it just may be some people will clarify their position since they’re not being on the defensive to explain.

    I do, however, want to say that just because someone used the purple thumbs and didn’t comment (and I have), doesn’t mean they’re hiding behind the curtains peeking out like a troll. I don’t have the opportunity to get on the net while at work, even on my smartphone, so majority of the time, I come to DW after I get out of work. Thus, by that time, most of you have said something I agree or disagree with in the way I would have said it. So, that little click just says, “Yeah, I’d be saying the same thing!,” or, “Heck no, I wouldn’t say the same thing.”

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      thyme September 16, 2011, 2:12 pm

      “As for my one annoyance about the purple thumbs? The people who, when receiving them, would immediately call people out and ask, โ€œWhy the purple thumbs?โ€ It was almost as if saying, โ€œReally, someone disagrees with me? How could that be?โ€ Once you put an opinion out there, you should expect that someone, somewhere might not fully agree with you.”

      THIS.

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      • avatar

        MissDre September 16, 2011, 2:39 pm

        Because, like I said above, a lot of people get thumbed down when they didn’t even state their opinion on a matter. They shared a personal anecdote and I don’t think we should be thumbing down someone’s personal experience. It’s one thing to disagree with someone’s opinion or advice on a relationship issue, but don’t put down somebody’s personal story.

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        RhyanShae September 16, 2011, 3:27 pm

        Too bad it wasn’t like Facebook…where you can click on the likes to see the list of who liked it, and with a dislike, see that list. I think it would cut down on the vindictive and kinda show the trolls’ true faces.

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      • avatar

        Slamy September 16, 2011, 5:07 pm

        Damn – Now my mind is changed. I would love it if we could have the thumbs down, and then it’d tell you who thumbs downed it. Christy just proved how immature some people can be with their motivations for doing stuff.

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      • avatar

        kali September 16, 2011, 3:47 pm

        TOTALLY agree.

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  • avatar

    SGMcG September 16, 2011, 12:58 pm

    I personally liked seeing the purple thumbs, and I have had instances where I had my fair share of them. For one thing, seeing the purple thumbs helps me recognize a potentially minorty viewpoint – one that I haven’t considered. I appreciate seeing that perspective, and perhaps potential LWs would want to hear it as well. As it stands now, it’s hard to see the general consensus of the Dear Wendy community hivemind without the teal and purple – which makes it hard for an LW to sift through all the comments and see the ones that the community believes the LW needs to see for instant feedback. I imagine it’s also intimidating to see over +100 for a letter response too – and having the colors to sort helps.

    Another reason I liked the purple thumbs is when I see them for my comments and re-read my opinion with a purple thumber in mind. Could have I said my stance with more civility? What aspect of my original opinion needs to have further explanation or be rephrased? I know there was one instance in which I apologized for my opinion and gave a further explanation – and then I was tealed for the extra perspective. I like to believe that I’ve become a more empathetic commenter, instead of a rash one, not only because I want to genuinely support the LW, but having the purple thumbs makes me constructively criticize my advice – in making sure I’m not giving my guttral emotional response, but rather something pragmatic for the LW to consider.

    If there was a way to bring back the purple thumb AND mandate that if you leave a purple thumb, then a comment MUST be left, I would be all for that. OR if you cannot leave thumbs at all unless you have a registered gravatar account AND have an icon that’s not the standard default ones issues, just for potential accountability, maybe it will stop the drive-by purple thumbers. Heck, if there was a way to get the thumbs features at a special subscription price, I’d gladly pay for that.

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      SGMcG September 16, 2011, 1:26 pm

      And so it be counted officially, my vote is YES on thumbs, but with restrictions, if possible.

      Reply Link
  • avatar

    2_J September 16, 2011, 12:59 pm

    My opinion is that i simply like the pruple thumbs because, in response to what your answer was, Wendy, when i asked why they were gone, you said because it forces people to have to put their disagreement in writing by commenting. Some people may not want to start and confrontational type comment, they simply would like the people to know that they either agree or disagree, without the risk of starting an argument. Besides you can see the majority of what people think. If i thumb down somone, i sometimes will comment as to why, but other times, most times, i just agree or not.

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  • Heather

    Heather September 16, 2011, 12:59 pm

    I definitely agree that nixing the purple thumbs helps create dialogue and discussion. And also some comments that received purple thumbs were just plain confusing. However, I think that if you’re going to have thumbs, then you should have both, and not just a thumbs up. Either none or both, in my opinion.

    And personally, I loved the hot debate topics. They were a lot of fun to read.

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  • avatar

    lets_be_honest September 16, 2011, 1:01 pm

    Here’s my thinking on people saying its an easy way to voice their opinion without commenting-theres almost always going to be a comment that you can just thumb up that you agree with that disagrees with a comment you disagree with.

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    • avatar

      MissDre September 16, 2011, 1:29 pm

      Exactly!

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  • fast eddie

    fast eddie September 16, 2011, 12:04 pm

    There’s some value in a purple thumb but it does add drama to the discussion that isn’t always appropriate. When there’s only a couple I ignore them. There will always be those that just want to stir up the mix. The biggest up side to a thumbs down is that it’s an easy and fast way to disagree with a comment without the need of making a point in detail. If you decide to relegate them to history, I won’t miss them but they do afford feedback that you can easily monitor without having to read a pile of replies. Nobody’s arm is being twisted to click on up or down. An abuse button might be useful but publishing a count for that would stir up trouble. Alternatively perhaps bringing the purple digit back without the count being made public would accomplish the purpose.

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      lets_be_honest September 16, 2011, 12:18 pm

      Someone broke into my house a couple weeks ago to twist my arm into thumbing. Its in a sling to this day. So I have to respectfully disagree with your ‘no one’s arm is being twisted’ comment.

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        Jubietta September 16, 2011, 6:07 pm

        That made me laugh!

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      • fast eddie

        fast eddie September 16, 2011, 6:03 pm

        Did your assailant force an up or a down? File a complaint with the International Bureau of Free Thumbers (IBFT).

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        lets_be_honest September 18, 2011, 11:04 am

        I’m voting IBFT in the next election. That was hysterical!

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  • avatar

    Amber September 16, 2011, 1:12 pm

    YES to purple thumbs!

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  • avatar

    lk September 16, 2011, 1:13 pm

    I prefer no purple thumbs — I like that people have to speak to disagree & add to the conversation, rather than just -click- dislike

    : )

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  • avatar

    Shadowflash1522 September 16, 2011, 1:13 pm

    Update for the record: I voted “Yes” earlier (just checked back after lunch)

    In summary, I’m going on a few basic points:
    1. trolls will be trolls, no matter how you slice it.
    2. it bothers me to see a like without a dislike–witholding my “like” is not the same as disliking. Relatedly, if you want people to be accountable for their disagreements then I think they should be accountable for their agreements too.
    3. I have full faith in my moderator(s) to remove completely inappropriate posts. Call me idealistic, but I think that on this website the trolls are few but virulent and easily contained.

    That said, if I had my druthers we would also get the “report abuse” button so we don’t cofuse disagree with distasteful.

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  • avatar

    Laurel September 16, 2011, 1:15 pm

    I vote to bring back the thumbs down option.

    1) I don’t always have time to read all 150+ comments on each article, and having BOTH thumbs up and thumbs down helps me be able to skim the comments.

    2) Reading a zillion “I agree” or “I disagree” comments is boring. Thumbs are an easy way to express this when you don’t have anything else to add.

    3) We all like Wendy for the tough-love advice she gives. Are we really so sensitive, as a commentariate, that we can’t handle someone giving us a thumbs down when they disagree with us?

    4) Controversial comments are interesting, and the “heated debate” blue posts make them easy to find. Without thumbs down, there is no way to easily find these posts.

    5) Makes it easy to identify trolls and spambots.

    That enough reasoning for you all to see that not all people who like the thumbs down option are “passive” lurkers or people carrying out vendettas? (And FWIW, lurkers also bring up Wendy’s page hit count, even if they aren’t posting. Which does benefit the site. Not everyone wants to or has time to comment.)

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      Coughla September 16, 2011, 1:30 pm

      This is what I would have written if I could have put it as well as you have ^^^. I like the purple thumbs and would like them to come back. I’m not a big commenter unless it is something that REALLY hits home with me.

      Also, I don’t get all this personal vendetta stuff. If I disagree with a comment, I’ll put a thumbs down just like if I agree with a comment, I’ll put a thumbs up. That doesn’t mean I agree/disagree with everything a commenter says or even put any thumbs on every single comment.

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        SaraiLuv September 16, 2011, 2:47 pm

        I agree about the personal vendetta thing. Some people are just ridiculous. For exapmle, stop giving people a thumbs down because they typed too fast and misspelled something. Or as what happened to Forever Young, the iPhone auto correct was just seriously doing the most. Stop it! Get over yourself as if you don’t make minor errors. And if it is brought back, stop thumbing down people who speak about something they like, dislike, have a fear of, are proud to share, etc. Gosh! With that being said, no purple thumbs, but at the same time, be mature and if someone comments that you don’t like, just simply respond with a simple, “I hate you and your comments. You are the scum between my toes. You make me vomit. And until you do right be me (the comments) I will always respond to your comments with this.” I’m sure that’ll get your distate with the person out and maybe even give you chance to have some balls and just say how you feel. But don’t hide behind the purple thumbs. That’s just like a sucker punch. Now this of course does not apply to people who feel as though they’re being redundant and just want to thumbs up or thumbs down someone. You don’t need purple thumbs for that. if someone says something you dosagree with, don’t click on anything on the comment. But if someone has already responded with their disagreement on the comment and you agree, just thumbs up there. That speaks volumes.

        *stepping off the soap box*

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      SGMcG September 16, 2011, 1:52 pm

      3) We all like Wendy for the tough-love advice she gives. Are we really so sensitive, as a commentariate, that we canโ€™t handle someone giving us a thumbs down when they disagree with us?

      Woman, if I could give you 100 thumbs alone for THIS comment, I would! I remember times seeing one or two purple thumbs with a comment I wrote that was eventually tealed into well-loved. Heck, one comment I made was a Comment of the Week, and it even had a couple of purples. Those little thumbs are so close together, that the accidental hit happens with your iPhone. Must people be so insecure in their opinion that they have to immediately ask, “Why am I being purpled?” when they’ve barely registered 5 purple thumbs or the comment is well-loved?

      When those comments entered the Hot Debate territory and there is still no explanation for the purple thumb, THAT would have been the time to ask “Why am I being purpled?” Not immediately before. Heck, wait 15-30 minutes before you add an additional comment to your own original comment.

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        lets_be_honest September 16, 2011, 1:55 pm

        I think people who ask about the purples (I know I have at least once) are truly curious, not just sensitive. Esp when a disagreement makes no sense at all, like if I were to say its sunny out and got a purple thumb.

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        SGMcG September 16, 2011, 2:30 pm

        But to ask about the purples when you see one or two of them, and when the comment hasn’t even entered Hot Debate territory? It’s an attention-grubbing plea to the hivemind that’s not needed, especially if it doesn’t contribute to the conversation at hand. A purple thumb is only disagreeing with the content of your post, not the attack of your character. It may be sunny outside to you, but maybe where I am it’s cloudy, so I’d disagree with your opinon.

        When I comment on a letter or post in Dear Wendy, I generally want to contribute a funny insight to the related post or help the LW. I don’t do it for the attention from the DW community and I certainly don’t need the populist approval to my comments to post here. If you were genuinely curious about the purple thumbs, wait and see the consensus of the hivemind first. If my comment is well-loved, even with the purple thumbs, I don’t need an explanation for the errant thumb – mobile phones have sensitive screens sometimes and the occasional slip occurs. Yet to immediately ask about purple thumbs one sees they’re getting, even when not enough people have seen the post yet and/or it’s not yet Hotly Debated? It’s attention-grubbing and make your own website for that if you want that type of approval.

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        lets_be_honest September 16, 2011, 2:52 pm

        You’re a better man than I, Gunga Din.

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        lets_be_honest September 16, 2011, 2:54 pm

        Also, attention-seeking and curiousity are two very different things. So uh, yea.

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        SGMcG September 16, 2011, 8:56 pm

        Curiosity is an emotion related to natural inquisitive behavior such as exploration, investigation, and learning. Sometimes it leads to attention-grubbing behavior, like successively commenting on a post in several conversational starter threads when one could easily just add an original comment to their post or creating long threads of posts immediately following the initial one to create the illusion of intelligent conversation when the poster is just writing the tritest material. Admittedly a behavioral trait and an exercise of emotion are different things, but their of the same spectrum of selfishness, especially if one asked about purple thumbs in a post with a LW involved, not an open thread.

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        lets_be_honest September 18, 2011, 10:50 am

        This would be one of those instances I would purple thumb rather than exhaust myself in replying to a nonsensical obnoxious post. But since I can’t, your post makes no sense. Being curious does not make you attention grubbing. Posting itself doesn’t either. Otherwise, you’re basically saying everyone posting is attention grubbing, yourself included. I’ll bite my tongue on the rest.

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        SGMcG September 20, 2011, 2:46 pm

        I’m sorry if you object to my philosophizing regarding the nature of a post. You’ve made it perfectly clear that your stance is anti-purple thumb (several times in this thread, in fact) AND you’ve also made it known that you’re also a poster who’s obviously curious, and perhaps sensitive, enough to ask why are you getting thumbed down. I’ll let your posting record in this thread alone as opposed to mine speak for itself.

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        haggith September 16, 2011, 7:16 pm

        completely agree (i wish i could thumb this up 1000 times!)

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        demoiselle September 16, 2011, 2:49 pm

        The reason *I* ask is that (by my possibly flawed recollection) soon after the thumbs were introduced, posters asked Wendy if the thumbs were intended to be “agree” and “disagree” or “agree” and “inappropriate/abuse” and she said that she wanted to use the thumbs to track abuse. Therefore, I’ve tried to take that as the site policy.

        I’ve tried to use the thumbs-down for two main reasons:
        1. Post is abusive/mean/trolling.
        2. The advice in the post is (I think) potentially harmful/dangerous/dangerously incorrect.

        Obviously, the purpose of the thumbs has shifted over time, and to some degree my use of them has, too. But when I get unexpected purple thumbs, I remember that Wendy was using them to track abuse, and I want to know why me or my (innocuous, hopefully) post is being reported.

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        jena September 16, 2011, 2:43 pm

        I was never insecure when I asked why I got thumbs-downed. It’s the idea that sometimes, things I had written were so innocent and non-drama causing that I was just like okay, what the hell? It’s irritating when people are trolly.

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      • Budj

        Budjer September 16, 2011, 2:58 pm

        Especially incognito trolly.

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      • avatar

        haggith September 16, 2011, 7:12 pm

        exactly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom September 16, 2011, 1:24 pm

    I’m for getting rid of the purple thumbs just because I think the discussions this week have been more in depth. One of the things I like about this site is that there are lots of comments and I get to see a broad range of viewpoints. It’s easy to click a purple thumb and move on but takes more thought to write a reply. The purple thumb is a gut reaction while the comment requires that gut reaction to be put into words which makes you think about it more and put that feeling into words.

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      Christy September 16, 2011, 8:32 pm

      But the blue thumbs are a reaction, too! I’m not understanding why it’s necessary to explain why you disagree when it’s not necessary to explain why you agree. If we have to explain our comments, then we should get rid of all thumbs.

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  • avatar

    Slamy September 16, 2011, 12:25 pm

    I voted yes… but I think that good points are being made in the comments here. I personally did like how the more “controversial” comments would turn a different color, and I like to read the comments here as much as I like to read Wendy’s responses. Actually, this is one of the very few sites where I actually read *all* of comments because none of them are spam and DW has some really intelligent, insightful commenters.

    I also think that a report/flag option has a high potential for being abused. I would be sad if someone just didn’t like me for whatever reason and then set about trying to get me banned from commenting on Dear Wendy. I somehow got banned from Yahoo! Answers (and I can’t figure out why) and it bums me out. I like answerin’ and I was on level 6. Sorry, off-topic.

    So.. I guess I am torn. I’m no help today.

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      6napkinburger September 16, 2011, 12:30 pm

      While I see your point, the “flags” would only go to wendy, and she can see what the “offensive post” was. While annoying to wendy (sorry wendy), that doesn’t change the tone of the dialoge and she can just ignore the misflaged ones.

      And if it is TOO annoying to wendy, she knows who flags, and she can block their IP addresses if it is clear that they repeatedly and troll-ishly (with gnome hats) flag particular people for no reason (and didn’t listen to warnings that they were doing it wrong — I think warnings are nice, b/c some people don’t realize they’re too far) . but that still leaves “disagree” buttons for all the non-trolls.

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        Shadowflash1522 September 16, 2011, 1:24 pm

        gnome hats are a sure sign of trollishness ๐Ÿ™‚

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    TheReverendMrs September 16, 2011, 1:27 pm

    I also liked the purple thumb because I could scan for the controversial comment threads, but I am voting against it. My reasons are very similar to other posts – purple thumbing seemed to get rather vindictive at times.

    Maybe the website could highlight comments with lots of responses?

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      MissDre September 16, 2011, 1:32 pm

      Yes, highlight the ones that are “Well-loved” once they get to like 20 thumbs up or highlight the ones that have a ton of replies. No more purple thumbs!

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      amber September 16, 2011, 1:45 pm

      i like the idea of highlighting the posts with the most likes. it gives people who don’t want to read everything a way to sort through still.

      i’m enjoying the greater number of comments and discussion this week. i feel like some of the negativity of weeks before has been replaced with that discussion and more understanding of where other people are coming from.

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  • avatar

    jane September 16, 2011, 1:33 pm

    i liked the purple thumbs too for all the reasons Laurel said!

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  • avatar

    Morgan September 16, 2011, 1:36 pm

    I don’t mind the purple thumbs. I tend to write novels in the comments section, and a lot of times, I’ll comment under someone who I disagree with intending to just say “I don’t think its fair to assume x, or I don’t think its so black and white as that” and end up writing this whole long thing, only the first part of which is actually related to what the person above me said. So I guess my preference is being able to thumbs down that comment but just work into my comment what it actually is I disagree with.

    Or, if I come on to comment and see something I really disagree with but see that someone else has already really eloquently responded saying basically what I would have said, I’ll just thumbs up that response and thumbs down the comment I disagree with. I’m thinking especially of a comment today where someone said something I found offensive, but SpaceySteph had already perfectly explained what was wrong with it, so I just liked her comment. Had there been purple thumbs, I would have disliked the original comment.

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    brendapie September 16, 2011, 1:40 pm

    No to purple thumbs. I just don’t see the value they bring to discussion. However, I do wish that comments that got the most responses could be highlighted in some way. That’s what I did like about the purple thumbs – you could scroll through the comments and instantly see what comments were the most debated.

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  • CatsMeow

    CatsMeow September 16, 2011, 1:48 pm

    I want the purple thumbs back.

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    • CatsMeow

      CatsMeow September 16, 2011, 2:36 pm

      Maybe it could be”agree” and “disagree” buttons (like, the actual words). I think some people might be sensitive to purple thumbs because it’s a thumbs down, like “boooooooo hisssssssssszszzs”

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  • avatar

    kris September 16, 2011, 1:53 pm

    I’m not a big commenter on this site, nor do I go around thumbing up or down people but I did like the purple thumbs. As people have said above, it makes it easier to find the controversial comments. Also, I have noticed the increase in comments since the purple thumbs went away. It has caused me to stop reading through more than the top twenty comments or so because there’s no way to sort through them, they all end up sounding very similiar, and I don’t have time to read 200+ comments. For me, that has made the site less interesting because the comments are one of the reasons I like reading dear wendy versus other advice sites. I do agree that some people abused them but unless there is some other way to mark the comments that are controversial, I think they have a good use and make the site better.

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      thyme September 16, 2011, 2:22 pm

      I agree. “More” comments isn’t better for me (although it probably is for Wendy) because I lose patience with them and stop reading when there is no way to tell the thought-provoking ones from the ho-hum ones.

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    • avatar

      IdaTarbell September 16, 2011, 2:30 pm

      Agree. The noted debates are why I read “Dear Wendy” as opposed to other things. Arguments can be constructive!

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    • avatar

      Elle September 16, 2011, 2:31 pm

      How about we only write a comment if we have an opinion / point of view that hasn’t been expressed yet? That’s what I’ve done lately, since I see no point in stating what someone else has already said (that’s what green thumbs/likes are for). This also meant that I haven’t posted that many comments lately. Oops, guess that wouldn’t be too good for traffic.

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  • Public Pearl

    Public Pearl September 16, 2011, 1:55 pm

    I liked the purple thumbs. I rarely used them myself (sometimes, but rarely), but I didn’t mind getting them. In fact, if I got a lot of them, it made me feel like I was really sticking to my own beliefs rather than being influenced by the internet’s tendency toward moral relativism.

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  • avatar

    plasticepoxy September 16, 2011, 1:55 pm

    I prefer without purple thumbs.

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  • avatar

    lets_be_honest September 16, 2011, 2:00 pm

    WHOA! What’s this rating thing? I can rate my own comment? I hereby give myself 5 stars.

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      SGMcG September 20, 2011, 2:39 pm

      FYI – THIS type of post makes you attention grubbing. ;D

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        lets_be_honest September 20, 2011, 2:46 pm

        You are incredibly rude and immature. Please stop commenting about me or to me. This is the kind of stuff Wendy was trying to not have when she banned people and got rid of the purple thumbs. Get a life, or at least mind your own business when it comes to my posts on here. Thanks.

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  • avatar

    cookiesandcream September 16, 2011, 2:07 pm

    This is a really tough issue; I’m leaning towards not bringing back the thumbs down. I remember when this site just started the thumbs up/thumbs down I really liked them, but lately it seems like there’s a lot of negativity. I think if some people are using the thumbs down as petty, passive ways to bring others down, then it’s necessary to get rid of them. Everyone on this site should feel free to express their opinions without having to worry about personal attacks.

    However, if they do end up coming back, then I think a few changes might be really helpful. I like how on the New York magazine website (nymag.com) there’s a “flag a comment” feature where you have to state the reason why you’re flagging that comment. Also, it shows who is liking your comments (that site has no dislike feature), so if we want to have a dislike comment feature, there’ll be some accountability because everyone will be able to see which users are disliking their comments. I also think that if there’s a dislike feature, then the liking and disliking should be limited to registered users only because that might help with the trolls.

    I want to end by saying that I really appreciate how much effort you’re putting into your site, Wendy. I feel like this is one of the few places on the internet where people are, for the most part, respectful and thoughtful about helping other people. I also appreciate how you’re taking an active role in making sure everyone is respected. ๐Ÿ™‚

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      Laurel September 16, 2011, 2:17 pm

      A “thumbs down” is not a personal attack.

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        cookiesandcream September 16, 2011, 4:54 pm

        Sorry I should have clarified: I completely understand that thumbs down aren’t personal attacks in all instances. I wanted to refer to the times Wendy was referring to when she said, “I think some people use the purple thumbs to act out some sort of personal vendetta against another commenter on the site, which is really silly.” A more specific way to say what I meant to say would be, “Since, at times, some people use the thumbs down as a personal attack, they shouldn’t be used.”

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    Tristy September 16, 2011, 2:08 pm

    I vote to bring back the purple thumbs. As as an infrequent commenter but frequent lurker I like reading the comments that go against the norm b/c they offer a viewpoint that I may not have thought of myself but don’t necessarily agree with.

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  • avatar

    ReginaRey September 16, 2011, 1:10 pm

    I definitely like this forum better without the purple thumbs. I think it discourages nastiness just for the sake of nastiness, and as others have said, opens up the forum for more debate and dialogue. I think just this week it’s done wonders for the sheer AMOUNT of comments on the articles – and that’s a good thing for you, Wendy!

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      Shadowflash1522 September 16, 2011, 1:20 pm

      As far as nastiness for its own sake, I think I’d far rather have a purple thumb than a post that reads “You’re ugly and your mother dresses you funny.” (not that I’ve ever seen that, I got it off a mug my dad owns). Absence of a “dislike” opportunity *could*–not saying will–encourage the more passive trolls to become active.

      Just a thought.

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        demoiselle September 16, 2011, 2:17 pm

        Not many regular, constructive community members would be willing to post “You’re ugly and your mother dresses you funny” (or worse) with their screen name and email attached, because then they’d have to face the consequences of losing face, making people dislike them, or getting banned for their behavior . . .

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    Elle September 16, 2011, 2:21 pm

    I don’t have an opinion on this. I don’t like the purple thumbs because if somebody disagrees with you and doesn’t say why, as a commenter, you are left confused. So, my personal way to deal with it was not to give purple thumbs to anyone, and if I disagreed, I would write a comment as to why I disagree. I’ve been doing this for months, and if purple thumbs come back, I will keep doing it. (I guess what I’m saying is, given the way things were, I figured out a way that was best for me.)

    As a way to deal with the absence of purple thumbs – If a comment has may replies and very few likes, than that’s probably a controversial comment. Even if there are not that many replies, if the replies have many likes, then that would be another way to spot a controversial (or highly disliked) comment. Maybe highlight a comment with more than 8-10 likes? I noticed that comments posted earlier usually have more thumbs (purple or green) than comments posted later in the day.

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    • Budj

      Budjer September 16, 2011, 2:25 pm

      You and I have the same idea… your’s is just way simpler and probably easier to implement. haha.

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  • avatar

    Jane September 16, 2011, 2:23 pm

    Long-time lurker here (but not a thumbs-downer, don’t worry). I read through the comments, but apologize if I missed whether or not anyone mentioned this idea:

    What if the purple thumbs were re-implemented, but with a requirement that rationale be stated? For example, if someone clicks the thumbs-down icon, then a text box pops up asking what the reasoning is behind the disagreement. The post could then be highlighted purple (or with some other identifier) showing that it is a post in disagreement.

    Also, that could just be for the thumbs-down, not thumbs-up.

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    • Tracey

      Tracey September 16, 2011, 2:39 pm

      Great minds think alike….

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  • avatar

    IdaTarbell September 16, 2011, 2:26 pm

    Bring back the purple thumbs! It alerts me to the interesting dialogues, or the ones where actual debate is going on.

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  • becboo84

    BecBoo84 September 16, 2011, 2:28 pm

    I like the purple thumbs. They allow other commenters to call someone out when they’re being rude, etc.

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  • avatar

    Mainer September 16, 2011, 2:32 pm

    If Wendy added a “most commented” option at the top as a way to organize the comments (meaning the posts with the most comments would be at the top, and move their way down according to number of comments rather than when they were posted), would that address the pro-purple’s concern over being able to see the “controversial” stuff (which was one of the more common reasons for having the thumb downs)?

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      6napkinburger September 16, 2011, 2:45 pm

      Exactly, some sites offer that as an option: most recent, oldest, most liked, most commented, etc. as ways to sort the comments. If that were possible without too much work, that’d be awesome.

      Except don’t accidentally go and be like Slate, which has the newest comments first, and no way to sort them, so it is nearly impossible to read the first comments. Boo Slate.

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    • Budj

      Budjer September 16, 2011, 2:35 pm

      I don’t think so…because typically the most controversial just had an ass load of purple thumbs with enough green thumbs to keep it a hot topic.

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        Mainer September 16, 2011, 2:42 pm

        But those aren’t controversial, they’re just not liked. Did they mean they want to more easily see the comments that the most people hated? Or did they genuinely want to see controversial posts? Why would people care to look at a comment (likely from a troll or someone) that is just generally hated but not debated?

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      • Budj

        Budjer September 16, 2011, 2:44 pm

        Good Q, sometimes both. But still often times there was no debate with a hot topic…it was just a thumb up or down war.

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  • avatar

    AndreaMarie September 16, 2011, 2:33 pm

    No Purple Thumbs. Not having them helps create more dialogue and debate. Instead of just clicking the purple thumb people now have to actually say WHY they disagree with the comment.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    Britannia September 16, 2011, 2:36 pm

    I want the purple thumbs back. I think that some sort of profile system should be implemented, though, so that you can SEE who disagrees AND agrees with you, kind of like how Facebook lists it. That would keep the “mob mentality” from happening since everyone would still be able to put a face on a thumb. I think purple thumbs are valuable because they allow you to express your opinion in a very simple way, instead of creating redundancy in comments.

    As for the sensitivity toward being purple thumbed into oblivion? Don’t be so sensitive, people are allowed to disagree with your opinion! Besides, the internet is seriously serious business, amirite?

    Reply Link
    • avatar

      Elle September 16, 2011, 2:50 pm

      That would mean I would have to register here, and I don’t like the trouble of making an account whose password I’ll forget in 2 minutes… That’s what I liked about DW, the fact that I didn’t have to register. Plus, I check DW from different computers/phone, I wouldn’t like to have to sign in every time, which means I would just read the comments and not bother to agree/disagree with anyone.

      Reply Link
      • avatar

        Britannia September 16, 2011, 4:21 pm

        It’s really not that difficult to make a profile – and all you have to do, from my browser at least, is put in your name and email.

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      • avatar

        Slamy September 16, 2011, 5:24 pm

        I think I have a profile… and I don’t even remember making it. I know I have a picture next to my name, so that means I have a profile… right?

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      • avatar

        Britannia September 16, 2011, 5:39 pm

        Yup!

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      • avatar

        Emsz September 18, 2011, 5:46 am

        No, that means you have a gravatar account associated with your e-mail address.
        These are not profiles, because anybody could use any name. That includes names they have already seen here on Dear Wendy. Generally when a website has profiles usernames are protected, and if one already exists you can’t have it again. The comment section doesn’t work like that.

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    • avatar

      Addie Pray September 16, 2011, 3:34 pm

      I don’t like that idea because then everyone will be able to see how many times I like my own post! I kid, I kid, kind of. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Reply Link
    • avatar

      Addie Pray September 16, 2011, 3:34 pm

      I don’t like that idea because then everyone will be able to see how many times I like my own post! I kid, I kid, kind of. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Reply Link
      • avatar

        Addie Pray September 16, 2011, 3:37 pm

        Dudes, why do I keep double posting?! Wendy, can you fix that? But delete the double post that has the least thumbs up, thanks. ha!

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      • avatar

        Britannia September 16, 2011, 4:22 pm

        lol! I like the idea of having people actually having profiles on here, similar to how the Frisky used to be. That way, it’s consistent and people can’t troll.

        Link
    • Budj

      Budjer September 16, 2011, 2:41 pm

      I thought about that as well. I think tracey, you and I (and a few others, sorry too lazy to scroll up and remembers names) had a few good options if they are possible that would satisfy everyone.

      Reply Link
      • Tracey

        Tracey September 16, 2011, 2:58 pm

        Didn’t see you suggesting that, too, Budger. Can’t wait to see how this plays out….

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  • avatar

    jena September 16, 2011, 2:39 pm

    I vote leave them off. I like the lowered level of negativity around here, because now we have to explain ourselves rather than just thumb things down. Furthermore, it kind of always irritated me when, on the rarity that I posted something completely innocent, not drama-causing whatsoever, it would still get thumbed down by one or two people (likely trolls)? I think it just caused people, myself included, to become more combative. I like the atmosphere here without them better.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    TheOtherMe September 16, 2011, 2:48 pm

    UNRELATED: They are actually playing Christmas music on Audio Popsicle ? WTH ?

    Reply Link
    • Budj

      Budjer September 16, 2011, 3:00 pm

      Commericialization….play it and they will come…

      Reply Link
      • avatar

        TheOtherMe September 16, 2011, 3:46 pm

        – It gave me a mini panic attack ๐Ÿ™

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      • Budj

        Budjer September 16, 2011, 4:13 pm

        I boycott till December…still a lot of good holidays to enjoy before I think about Christmas.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest September 16, 2011, 4:54 pm

        I allow myself to start the day before thanksgiving, otherwise, I’d probably listen year round. I know, I’m weird.

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  • landygirl

    landygirl September 16, 2011, 2:51 pm

    I vote against bringing them back.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    Flake September 16, 2011, 2:52 pm

    I vote for purple thumbs. And I usually get a few of them, but it would never cross my mind to take them personally.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    Eljay September 16, 2011, 2:56 pm

    They’re baaaaaaaaaack……..

    Reply Link
    • avatar

      SGMcG September 16, 2011, 2:58 pm

      Not in this post…but definitely, the next one! AND they’re weirder than ever!

      Reply Link
  • Tracey

    Tracey September 16, 2011, 2:00 pm

    I’m not a fan of the purple thumbs and would say no to them coming back, but your updated voting got me thinking. Why not split the difference? People don’t seem to like the thumbs in and of themselves, but like the opportunity for debate, opposing viewpoints, and shared opinion. Wendy, you liked the thumbs down because it was a helpful comment moderation tool. From what I’ve read here, reader (myself included) don’t like the lurkers who vote thumbs down without saying why. Why not offer the thumbs down but only allow the option if a comment is included? Is this possible? Seems like that sort of option would address most of the issues raised.

    Can’t wait to see the outcome of this one….

    Reply Link
    • Tracey

      Tracey September 16, 2011, 2:00 pm

      Here’s another question: What would Miles pick?

      Reply Link
      • avatar

        SGMcG September 16, 2011, 2:10 pm

        Panini. Miles would always go for the Panini. ๐Ÿ˜€

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      • avatar

        SGMcG September 16, 2011, 2:10 pm

        Panini. Miles would always go for the Panini. ๐Ÿ˜€

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      • Tracey

        Tracey September 16, 2011, 2:38 pm

        Umm, panini…. ๐Ÿ˜€

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  • Budj

    Budjer September 16, 2011, 2:11 pm

    Ok…after reading this thread I’ve come to a general consensus (so far) for each side of the argument:

    For Purple thumbs: They dont’ spend a lot of time and want to get to the interesting opinions / threads of comments.

    Against Purple Thumbs: More positive atmosphere (proof is in the pudding here), more dialogue, and it gives commenters with conflicting views a chance to explain their P.O.V. to the disagree-ers and actually debate things…which is healthy and also prevents stupid “e-vendettas” from happening in the community…because really…most of us are reasonable people here.

    My proposal is something I said above…is there anyway to select agree / disagree for your comment to associate a color background for the comments? That way it’s obvious there is a debate going on and people can LIKE the comment that disagrees with the comment being replied to if they agree with the other side… This satisfies people’s desire not to be redundant and to passively click while perusing and also satisfies the people that like having an opinion with a disagreement.

    Additionally…if there is a way to count the background comment color we could use that system to highlight it as a “hot topic” comment thread like it did with the green/purple thumbs.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    Eljay September 16, 2011, 3:19 pm

    Seriously, I’m not getting ANY work done today! I’ve become quite the slacker.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    Addie Pray September 16, 2011, 3:20 pm

    I vote NO to the purple thumbs for the following five reasons: (1) To the extent people think purple thumbs are good because they create controversey, I disagree; I don’t think they do — and we saw this week that, even without the purple thumbs, controversey ensues, so I don’t see a benefit from the purple thumbs in that regard; (2) in fact, I think purple thumbs dissaude controversey; I don’t know about you, but sometimes I am discouraged from leaving more controversial comments because I’m afraid of all the purple thumbs — yes, I’m sensitive that way, even when leaving comments under a fake name! (3) consistent with No. 2, receiving purple thumbs make the commenter feel bad; well, I personnally don’t like to see the purple thumbs (but a written reply that disagrees with me but articulates why — that I can deal with and I like); (4) purple thumbs are confusing; you see a purple thumb on a long post, but you have no idea what part of the comment was not liked; and (5) I don’t have a No. 5, but I thought providing 5 reasons sounded better than just 4.

    Reply Link
    • avatar

      belongsomewhere September 16, 2011, 4:25 pm

      I totally agree with you (and a bunch of others above). Plus, while it’s nice and quick to hit the “thumbs down” button if you don’t have much to say in response to a comment, it’s also a bit lazy and doesn’t further discussion much, if at all, as far as I can tell, since essentially the commenters hitting the “thumbs down” are saying “I don’t agree with you, but I’m going to keep my reasons to myself.”

      Reply Link
  • avatar

    Addie Pray September 16, 2011, 3:20 pm

    I vote NO to the purple thumbs for the following five reasons: (1) To the extent people think purple thumbs are good because they create controversey, I disagree; I don’t think they do — and we saw this week that, even without the purple thumbs, controversey ensues, so I don’t see a benefit from the purple thumbs in that regard; (2) in fact, I think purple thumbs dissaude controversey; I don’t know about you, but sometimes I am discouraged from leaving more controversial comments because I’m afraid of all the purple thumbs — yes, I’m sensitive that way, even when leaving comments under a fake name! (3) consistent with No. 2, receiving purple thumbs make the commenter feel bad; well, I personnally don’t like to see the purple thumbs (but a written reply that disagrees with me but articulates why — that I can deal with and I like); (4) purple thumbs are confusing; you see a purple thumb on a long post, but you have no idea what part of the comment was not liked; and (5) I don’t have a No. 5, but I thought providing 5 reasons sounded better than just 4.

    Reply Link
    • avatar

      lets_be_honest September 16, 2011, 3:32 pm

      I love all your reasons, esp the 5th.

      Reply Link
      • avatar

        kali September 16, 2011, 3:40 pm

        Addie, I was your 5th Thumb Up. Cuz 4 is better than 4. ๐Ÿ™‚

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      • avatar

        kali September 16, 2011, 3:41 pm

        Sorry, I mean FIVE is better than 4.

        I can’t type today…

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray September 16, 2011, 3:42 pm

        5 is wayy better than 4, so thank you! Unless we’re talking about STDs or something, in which case I guess I’d rather have 4 than 5.

        I think I’m still drunk from last night. But I am making sense, right? Right.

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  • avatar

    bluesunday September 16, 2011, 3:30 pm

    I would like the purple thumbs back. I don’t think anyone has time to read every comment on this site, and I like to see the ratio of green to purple thumbs to see if a comment is widely regarded as sound advice, or if it’s controversial (and those are my favourites!). Also, if a comment has a lack of green thumbs, we won’t know if its because people disagree with it, or if its simply because it’s redundant and doesn’t add anything to the conversation. I think they’re really important to reduce bias.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    kali September 16, 2011, 3:37 pm

    Hate the purple thumbs because you have NO FREAKIN’ CLUE what, if anything you said that set the non-commenter off. Maybe they don’t like your avatar photo. Maybe it’s your screen name. Maybe they prefer dogs to cats or guinea pigs to hamsters or California cheese to the Wisconsin stuff?

    I’ve received many a purple thumb for a personal story and I gotta say, I was left in the dark as to why.

    NO MORE PURPLE THUMBS! We NEED comments!!

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    Stilgar666 September 16, 2011, 3:40 pm

    Yes, bring them back. Please.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    Riefer September 16, 2011, 3:44 pm

    I agree with what seems to be the consensus so far – it’s better without the purple thumbs.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    Jennifer September 16, 2011, 3:46 pm

    I like the purple thumbs.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    bad tempered sparrow September 16, 2011, 3:54 pm

    please bring them back- I know some people get offended by being thumbed down but it brings a sense of balance to the debate. It helps the discussion along.

    Reply Link
    • avatar

      kali September 19, 2011, 2:16 am

      How does it help the discussion if you don’t know WHY they gave a purple thumb?? I disagree. Comments help the discussion along. Not being thumbed down.

      Reply Link
  • avatar

    Steelbird September 16, 2011, 4:00 pm

    Not sure if anyone has said this yet, but what about looking at it from the perspective of the LWs? LWs don’t come here for entertainment, they come here for advice, so if the purple thumbs are there, when they look through the comments they can immediately see which pieces of advice get more thumbs up and which get more thumbs down, if they want to know why a particular piece of advice is getting thumbs down then they can read through all the responses to that post but they can also very quickly find the advice with the highest thumbs up and lowest thumbs down and weigh that advice differently than one with many thumbs down. I’m not sure if I really expressed myself very clearly there but the moral of this story is I like the purple thumbs for sorting good advice from mediocre (sp?) advice.

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    • avatar

      demoiselle September 16, 2011, 4:32 pm

      But is it clear that the “thumbs down” option actually clarifies anything about the value of the advice that was down-voted? Especially if there are people down-voting for myriad non-advice-quality-related reasons?

      Wouldn’t just having a “like” button give as good an idea bout the majority consensus about whose comment was the most helpful (after Wendy’s)?

      Reply Link
      • avatar

        bluesunday September 16, 2011, 4:53 pm

        No, even though 30 people agree with a comment, there might be 60 that disagree. The purple thumbs are a quick visual way to assess the most widely- agreed- upon advice, because they show both those that agree and those that disagree.

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      • avatar

        Steelbird September 16, 2011, 5:42 pm

        Exactly my point, thank you for clarifying for me.

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      • avatar

        demoiselle September 16, 2011, 7:04 pm

        I see what you mean.

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      • avatar

        kali September 19, 2011, 2:21 am

        If I had written in the DW, I would read ALL the comments, no matter how many, because it was my letter and any one response (in addition to DW’s) could hold very valuable advice.

        Just my opinion, but purple thumbs add nothing but confusion.

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      • avatar

        kate September 19, 2011, 7:15 am

        That’s good you would read every comment, bit I don’t always have the time for that. I suspect many other readers don’t have the time either.

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  • sobriquet

    sobriquet September 16, 2011, 4:12 pm

    I was all for the purple thumbs at first because if I was late to the article I could easily jump to the controversial posts. UNTIL I posted a personal story on a weekend open thread that got a trillion purple thumbs. “Disagreeing” with a personal story kind of did it for me. It’s one thing to disagree with advice or a viewpoint about a letter, but when personal stories get 10+ thumbs down, you know you have trolls lurking around.

    So I vote to keep it the way it is. You can still voice your disapproval by NOT thumbs upping someone. It WOULD be cool if the purple thumb required you to write a 1 sentence explanation for why you disagree, but I realize that’s not plausible.

    Reply Link
    • avatar

      bluesunday September 16, 2011, 4:56 pm

      I don’t generally read the weekend threads so I don’t know what goes on in them, so I can’t really comment on why people thumbed- down your personal story. However, often times in the advice threads, people use personal stories to illustrate a point. And sometimes if i think its a bad point, or irrelevant to the discussion, i’ll thumb them down.

      Reply Link
      • sobriquet

        sobriquet September 16, 2011, 6:27 pm

        I think the Open Thread post was linked to The Frisky (saying something about horrible FWB stories) and a bunch of people new to DW hopped on over and were seething with disapproval when most of the stories were not, in fact, filled with horror. They purple thumbed just about everyone. It was pretty ridiculous, seeing as how the stories were relevant and were not trying to make a point, they were just a part of the discussion. Most of them said something like, “Well, not exactly a horror story but this is my experience with FWB.” Certainly not worthy of purple thumbs!

        They call it an Open Thread because, well, it’s open. People go off topic every single week. Of course it’s completely different when you’re actually giving advice, or your story is about how you kicked puppies or something.

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      • avatar

        Morgan September 16, 2011, 11:10 pm

        Or projecting. I usually only thumbs down personal stories (not on open weekend, on letters), if the comment is something along the lines of “I had a situation just like this (describes situation that is in fact totally different or has a ton of other factors) therefore the only correct response is this.” But usually someone has already said something like “Holy projecting batman” so I don’t feel the need to do anything more than purple thumb.

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  • avatar

    emjay September 16, 2011, 4:17 pm

    I liked the purple thumbs, but after I posted something quite a few people did not agree with, I noticed them coming around a heck of a lot more often. So I think think that there are people here who just see a screen name and don’t even read the content of what is being said, and just thumb down the person saying it. So I have to say no more thumbs down. Block out the personal attacks against fellow commenters, and keep an open discussion open about thwe topic at hand. And btw, the only time I got really upset about a lot of thumbs down when we had an open thread and people were thumbing me down because I made my life better than what it used to be and I totally flipped about it. But I do follow this site a lot, not always commenting, but I read it everyday, and the atmosphere seems to be more positive since the purple thumbs are gone.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    demoiselle September 16, 2011, 4:44 pm

    One final thought about thumbs-up/down vs. like buttons. On Ravelry.com’s message board, they have “disagree” buttons, and predictably, the boards are split between those who love “disagree”, those who hate it, and those who are indifferent. Their solution is that members have an option to “turn off” the disagree button. If you disable “disagree,” you never even see it (unless you turn it back on). That means you don’t get to dislike other people, but it also means that you don’t ever have to know how many readers disliked any forum posts–yours or otherwise.

    This option would require regular users to create some kind of DearWendy.com account and turn off the dislike button, but since many of the people who hate the purple thumbs are high-volume posters, maybe that wouldn’t be an issue. Since Ravelry.com is members-only, this is a wrinkle they never had to iron out . . .

    My vote is still for “No Purple Thumbs” but I wanted to point out that there could be another option. It wouldn’t fix everything (increasing commenting, accountability) but it might reduce the negativity for those who just don’t want to know.

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  • avatar

    Jayfemme September 16, 2011, 4:44 pm

    I am a long time lurker at DW, hailing all the way from The Frisky. While I enjoyed the convenience of purple thumbs (ie, quickly highlighting controversy and the juiciest discussions), I think they were definitely abused and can be abused again. One of the commenters above blatantly listed all the petty reasons she would thumb someone down — none of them being a legitimate “Disagree” reason.

    It’s difficult to argue to bring something back for nominal convenience when people have expressed that they were hurt or felt shunned or isolated by the purple thumbs. It’s also not our place to tell them to toughen up or stop being so sensitive. For some people, putting themselves out with a comment is a huge undertaking and seeing several purple thumbs with no explanation could feel like a slap in the face. Rather then having the purple thumbs back so we can benefit from the convenience, I’d prefer to get rid of them and the negativity and take an extra minute to scroll down.

    So, no to the purple thumbs. BUT if you bring them back, I think it would have to be different, like thumbs down with modifiers: Thumbs Down, (1) contributed nothing, (2) inappropriate, (3) disagreed in part, (4) DISLIKE, (5) other (with option to explain). The second step to select a modifier could also decrease the incidences of accidental phone thumbs down.

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  • avatar

    Rosie September 16, 2011, 5:08 pm

    No purple thumbs!

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    Christy September 16, 2011, 5:13 pm

    I like the purple thumbs! I think it’s fine to “drive by” purple thumb, as some people have called it. People do the same with green thumbs, and it’s fine. Some comments are so obviously wrong that it’d be a waste of time to type out a comment, and I liked how the super obnoxious comments would disappear with enough purple thumbs. And I think people usually explained why they purple-thumbed when it wasn’t obvious. We should think of the thumbs purely as “agree” vs. “disagree” and not “I don’t like you,” which I think happens sometimes.

    Reply Link
    • theattack

      theattack September 17, 2011, 4:59 pm

      It’s an excellent point that people do the same thing with the green thumbs. If people can accept having green thumbs that go unexplained, why do they have to have explanations for the purple ones? I think it’s just that some people are really sensitive and are taking the internet too seriously.

      Reply Link
  • avatar

    VP September 16, 2011, 5:16 pm

    I already voted to keep the purple thumb but I thought I should say why.

    First, it lets me find the good/controversial posts, which can save me a lot of time when there are hundreds to read through. I like to see when people disagree with posts so I can take a side by using one of the thumbs. In fact, when I see someone with a lot of purple thumbs, but I like the comment, I am more likely to comment in support or at least give her the thumbs up.

    Second, it lets me passively dislike a comment (for whatever reason) without having to get into it. I don’t always have the time or energy to argue with people about their comments. Sometimes, I just want to read it and let them know anonymously that I agree or disagree.

    Finally, I feel that the purple thumb keeps the spice on the comments page and I feel it actually avoids a lot of the negativity. People keep saying that they want to see comments if people have negative feelings about their posts, but wouldn’t that be worse? I would definitely rather see some purple thumbs than comments stating that I should stop bragging or that I give terrible advice.

    An alternative solution would be to use the system I have seen on other websites (e.g. Daily Mail) where the thumbs up and thumbs down are aggregated into one score. For instance, if 29 people liked your comment and 20 disliked your comment, your comment would score a 9. That way, people can still participate but the thumbs down wouldn’t be viewable unless a majority of people disliked the comment. Or if people really hate the negative score, Wendy could make it so the lowest possible score is 0.

    Personally, I like the thumbs the way they were. I welcome your thumbs.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    Teresa September 16, 2011, 5:20 pm

    I say no purple thumbs

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    Bellz September 16, 2011, 5:25 pm

    The purple thumbs are really useful. I vote bring them back. I typically don’t comment, unless I have a very strong opinion that hasn’t been more eloquently said by someone else already.

    Both green and purple thumbs help me quickly figure out which comments are important, either because lots of people agree or disagree. It helps me scan the comments quickly when there is a giant thread and I don’t want to read the comments that are not important. Without purple thumbs, it’s impossible to know if a comment got no thumbs up because it was unimportant, redundant, or because people don’t agree.

    And trust me, I really don’t care if I get purple thumbed. So what if people disagree with my opinion? At the very least, it could help me realize that maybe I should rethink my opinion.

    Reply Link
    • theattack

      theattack September 17, 2011, 5:04 pm

      I like your last point! I’m very pro-purple thumbs too. Getting purple thumbs doesn’t offend me. If I get a lot of purple thumbs, it lets me know that my opinion isn’t necessarily the most popular opinion, which I’ve actually found educational on a personal level.

      Reply Link
  • avatar

    suesues September 16, 2011, 5:28 pm

    I vote to keep the purple thumbs…I tend to be more drawn to controversial comments, and those are usually the ones that show me a different side to things I hadn’t considered. Thanks for giving us the chance to vote on this!

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    Coolio September 16, 2011, 5:36 pm

    i vote keep the purple thumbs. It makes it easy to avoid trolls.

    Reply Link
  • catch22

    Stephanie September 16, 2011, 5:39 pm

    Yes to purple thumbs, for the sole reason that to not offer them feels like censorship. By not allowing for both a thumbs up and a thumbs down, those commenters who don’t agree with/dislike a certain comment are effectively censored out of a response option in which those who do agree with/like a comment can participate.

    I would actually vote to not allow any thumbs (up or down) without a comment included. To encourage everyone to dialogue more!

    Reply Link
    • avatar

      haggith September 16, 2011, 7:28 pm

      exactly… i think it’s either both of them or none

      Reply Link
    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom September 17, 2011, 1:30 pm

      It’s really not censorship when you are free to leave a comment.

      Reply Link
      • catch22

        Stephanie September 18, 2011, 1:01 pm

        Well, I would argue that it is a form of censorship because it systematically gives an inaccurate representation of peoples’ attitudes (any other statistics nerds out there?). As someone stated earlier, if there is just a thumbs up category, then we only see “x” number of people that agree. There might be an even larger number of people that disagree, but if they don’t have time to post a full response their opinions simply get left out. As opposed to someone who agrees – who can simply thumbs up quickly even if they don’t have time to respond fully.

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      • avatar

        Kate September 18, 2011, 1:03 pm

        This.

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  • avatar

    Amanda September 16, 2011, 5:45 pm

    I haven’t read all of the comments, but what about a third option? Instead of a blanket disagreement (purple thumb) why not have a disagree button where one must input their reason for disagreeing with the comment before they can submit it? That way you could easily tell if someone had a valid point or if the were just being a douche.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    Betty Boop September 16, 2011, 6:09 pm

    I like the purple thumbs, but I understand why some people don’t. A lot of comments against the thumbs has been about how much more pleasant it’s been in the comments lately. I agree it’s been more constructive and friendly but I’m very, very curious if that’s from lack of purple thumbs or more about the commenters that have been banned. I would be most interested in an experiment to see how it would go to bring them back into a clearly happier community.

    I am not a frequent commenter at all because I’m usually read Dear Wendy in the late afternoon after most people are done with the debates. I always used the thumbs up/down as a way of adding input to the discussion without making a comment that probably won’t be read. I always thought of the purple thumbs as a guide for the LW to see how the community felt about the advice that person gave. Overwhelming purple thumbs indicates bad advice that the LW shouldn’t take into account. I’d always thumb down when I read something that was clearly intentionally inflammatory or advice that was presuming too much or unrelated to the actual question.

    Whether or not we get purple thumbs back, I am so very, very, very in favor of some sort of flag/inappropriate/troll type of button that would only alert Wendy or any other moderator. There were some commenters that were clearly trolls and having a way to call that to Wendy’s attention in a quiet manner would be very nice. It also seems like a good time saver for Wendy, something that will be in short soon!

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    EB September 16, 2011, 6:21 pm

    I vote bring them back. A purple thumb means “I disagree” not “I hate you”. I’ve definitely been thumbed down before yet I’ve lived to comment another day.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    spark September 16, 2011, 6:46 pm

    Bring them back, Wendy! I really liked them, and I think they help readers hash out ideas, develop ideas, reach a consensus, etc. I value knowing where other readers’ opinions are and how they relate to mine.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    EmmieEm September 16, 2011, 6:52 pm

    Bring it back!!

    Reply Link
  • Amanda

    Amanda September 16, 2011, 7:23 pm

    I don’t know if this is an option at all, but what if you made people who thumbs-downed something have to explain their reasoning? That way there would (theoretically) be less vendetta and bandwagon hopping and people could still use the little purple thumbs?

    Otherwise, if that’s not an option, leave ’em off.

    Reply Link
    • avatar

      kate September 17, 2011, 1:35 pm

      Do all the positive comments ned the same treatment?

      Reply Link
  • avatar

    Temperance September 16, 2011, 7:54 pm

    I like the purple thumbs. If a LW with a particularly controversial issue comes to check what we think, it might suck more for them to see a barrage of negative comments with a few “likes” rather than a shitty comment with a lot of thumbs down markers.

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    scattol September 16, 2011, 7:56 pm

    Bring it back!! It’s sometimes surprising what can be considered controversial. Beside, the thumbs up/down are an instantaneous survey of people’s opinion.

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  • katie

    katie September 16, 2011, 8:40 pm

    Wendy, ill still read your site no matter what you do. i really feel like this isn’t that big of an issue…

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  • avatar

    mgm September 16, 2011, 9:02 pm

    this site is a lynch mob.
    if everyone does not repeat the same thing 200 times, the person is lynched.

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  • avatar

    JennyTalia September 16, 2011, 9:33 pm

    Maybe we can do a positive-negative average score. Both Thumbs-Up and Thumbs-Down options are available, but we only see what the sum of them is. For example, if a comment has 14 Ups and 6 downs, the number that we see is 8.

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    • avatar

      MissDre September 17, 2011, 12:53 pm

      This is a cool idea.

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  • avatar

    Nick September 16, 2011, 9:58 pm

    I like the having both up and down voting. Promote congeniality by posting a nicely worded community guidelines doc and weighing in when absolutely necessary.

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  • avatar

    bubbacats September 16, 2011, 10:57 pm

    no purple thumbs, much more honest responses without them.

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  • avatar

    Jimbo September 17, 2011, 12:58 am

    Well I have not been here long, but the few times I did post, I usually got slammed with purple thumbs. Some because lets face it, this is a female dominated site. some ladies will just purple thumb a male view point no matter what. So I took no offense, and just tried to tell it like I see it.

    I dont check the site much anymore, I think its been a week. As soon as the hammer came down on the purple thumbs I split. Yes I heard all the stuff about positively poistive sweetness and all, but it turned me off. If you want an all girl only site, go for it, its your site, I wont be here.

    Now many would hammer the purple thumbs at that comment, but I dont intend any hostility. I am just not typing/speaking with my “woman in the room filter” on.
    We men have those, yup, you all know it too. If I attract purple thumbs because of it, I dont really care, so long as I am not intentionally trying for purple thumb champion of all time, you shouldnt care either. One of the reasons I like purple thumbs, and one reason I expect wendy trashed them, it exposed the herd mentality a site dominated by one sex can promote. When someone posts a disagreement to the vast majority of commenters, the purple thumbs would fly. But some would see the clear bias, and the reasonable response that got hammered. Purple thumbs aplenty, they win the battle on numbers, but the war moves against the purple thumbs dropped due to spite.

    I say bring them back. Else enjoy the girl talk. Cause without them this site is just not that compelling to me. Just my .02$

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    • fast eddie

      fast eddie September 17, 2011, 10:36 am

      I don’t think there’s a herd mentality here but certainly most contributors are women, thus from a female perspective. I’ve gotten a lot of purple thumbs, but many more green ones. I accept the bruising and reflect on my prattle when it’s criticized. Hopefully most readers know me well enough to understand that my convictions include a willingness to look at the comments and letters objectively. I admit that sometimes I write reactivity without thinking and get bombed, but as Harry Truman put it: If you can’t stand the heat stay out of the kitchen.

      Over time DW and other female dialogs has expanded my appreciation and stimulated a limited understanding of women. I hope that they’ve profited from our male perspective as well. This current debate is a good analog of what congress has to deal with in trying to endear millions of conflicting opinions.

      I deeply appreciate that my X chromosome relieves me from having to cope with fashion trends, finding the perfect cosmetics, and reproduction of the human genome.

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    • avatar

      GingerLaine September 19, 2011, 10:22 am

      FYI Jimbo, I don’t think you got purple thumbs because you’re a man on a female-dominated site. There are many of those here. I think you got purple thumbs because the tone of your comments is often very negative and antagonistic.

      I’ve seen more green thumbs than purple on Fast Eddie, Mainer, Budjer, Spaceboy (wherever he is) and many of the known Men of Dear Wendy.

      Don’t read those purple thumbs you’re getting as though we’re all man-haters. Nobody likes a bad attitude, regardless of who it’s coming from.

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  • avatar

    Kate September 17, 2011, 11:19 am

    I like them because it makes the hotly debated comments stand out.

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    • avatar

      kate September 17, 2011, 1:41 pm

      The other aspect for me is thata I enjoy this site for entertainment from Wendy and the commentors. I guess I take no offense at negativity. I don’t care if I get purple thumbs. I haven’t been on much this week since I started a new job, but when I did come, it wasn’t as much fun as usual.

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  • avatar

    Giancarla September 17, 2011, 11:51 am

    From my comment on an existing comment:

    YES for Purple Thumbs!!

    I should be able to express my opinion and choose to not elaborate on it. The lack of the option to disagree with something inherently blocks any discussion because you donโ€™t get the other side of the coin. Then this is all a bunch of โ€œYesโ€ comments and opinions which is skewed.

    Feel free to disagree with me but you wonโ€™t be able to press a button for it!

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    • avatar

      iseeshiny September 17, 2011, 10:43 pm

      But everyone has an option to express disagreement. They just have to use their words to do so. An “I agree” doesn’t usually require any justification because presumably, the person you agree with has already done so. When you disagree with someone, it begs the question. Unless someone is making some sort of yes/no statement like, “hot dogs are delicious,” more simply expressing disagreement adds nothing constructive to the conversation.

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      • avatar

        Kate September 18, 2011, 1:05 pm

        What if someone doesn’t have time to write out a comment to every comment they disagree with? By that thinking, we should get rid of all thumbs.

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        Elle September 18, 2011, 5:48 pm

        Kate, out of all the people who read this site, someone will find the time to state the reason of why they disagree. And all the other people only have to ‘like’ the new comment.

        I think the downside will be way too many comments.

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      • avatar

        Kate September 18, 2011, 6:21 pm

        I still fail to see the logic, and I agree, it will result in too many comments.

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom September 17, 2011, 1:25 pm

    When you express an opinion with a single click then no one knows what it means so it hasn’t conveyed much at all except negativity. The same can be said for the like button but at least it isn’t meaningless negativity.

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  • avatar

    Stephanie September 17, 2011, 9:39 pm

    Yes for purple thumbs! But can we all quit with the “seriously? I’m getting thumbs down?” comments? The thumbs down showed me what comments were causing the most heated reactions and I liked it.

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  • avatar

    DramaQueen224 September 17, 2011, 10:40 pm

    Yes please to purple thumbs!

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  • avatar

    lemongrass September 17, 2011, 10:42 pm

    I like the purple thumbs, its the easy way to read the most interesting comments on my lunch break!

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  • avatar

    Heidi September 18, 2011, 1:11 am

    Yes to bringing back the purple thumbs. I also like the little green thumbs,it’s like a smile, you don’t have to explain it, you just know what it means. I prefer a little purple thumb on a comment I make(or read) than a mean or nasty reply if I happen to disagree with an opinion.

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  • avatar

    katiebird September 18, 2011, 11:16 am

    I liked the purple thumbs and want them brought back, but I can definitely see why some people don’t like them.

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  • avatar

    stina September 18, 2011, 12:39 pm

    I have seen other websites where you can click to see which screen names agreed/disagreed with you…maybe making people accountable for their choices would make them choose their thumbs more wisely?

    Also, I vote to bring back purple thumbs because I feel it gives a better perspective on how all the commenters feel about certain posts/ideas. Without purple thumbs, a comment with 10 green thumbs looks like it represents a popular opinion…but had the purple thumbs been there, the score may have been much, much lower, and we would see that it is not as popular an opinion as was thought. Just a thought!

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom September 18, 2011, 3:13 pm

    I think the volume of comments here shows the value of requiring a comment over a like or dislike click. We weren’t getting all of these comments until they were required to vote.

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    • avatar

      EB September 19, 2011, 3:22 am

      I politely disagree, I think this thread is kind of a clusterfuck… one that I didn’t have the time or energy to sort through before I checked the site and posted my vote/opinion late Friday afternoon.

      Now that I’ve had time to read or at least skim the 200+ comments before mine, I see that at least 7 or 8 people had already said the exact same thing I posted. So I don’t really feel my opinion added value to the discussion since few people want to slog through a thread that is a sea of repetition.

      When it comes to comments, I prefer quality over quantity.

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  • avatar

    GingerLaine September 19, 2011, 10:48 am

    I am ANTI-purple thumb. Let me just restate some points that the lovely Demoiselle made:

    “…Reasons that I think the purple thumbs should NOT be brought back:
    โ€“Censoring political views that the silent thumber dislikes
    โ€“Punishing people for sharing personal anecdotes
    โ€“Passive-aggressive, unconstructive critique of someoneโ€™s sense of humor, spelling, or opinion
    โ€“Personal animosity towards another poster
    โ€“Resistance to having to take responsibility for the hostile atmosphere the thumber is creating.”

    “Tools can be useful or destructive, based on the motivation of the person using them… No one has ever been (or is likely to be) harmed by being mobbed by people โ€œlikingโ€ their posts. No reader is going to be harmed by *not* knowing that Someone Out There might hate their spelling or sense of humor. But I think that there is a possibility of harm coming from the purple thumbs: scapegoating, ganging up on others, loss of communication, discouragement from participating in a dialogue, or a general feeling of negativity. ”

    A lot of people have said that people need to stop with the sensitivity of “Why the purple thumbs?!” I’ve asked that before & I’m not sensitive. It just occurs to me that when I take the time to put out a well-thought comment, and all I’ve gotten back are a smattering of green & purple thumbs, obviously no further comment is needed for the green, but sometimes not even one person says what are the purple thumbs in reference to. My opinion? A joke? Misused or misspelled word? A smartphone finger slip? I’m a fairly regular commenter, but those thumbs & not knowing why they were given might discourage other new commenters from posting again, because those green thumbs don’t say “I disagree with this opinion” (which may have been their intended use, or a lot of people’s typical use for them, but that’s certainly not the ONLY reason they’re given & we see it a LOT). They say “I don’t like this.” If we could limit purple thumbs availability only when the actual opinion being expressed is the point of contention, it would be great. But there’s no built-in mechanism to handle that, and if thumbs can’t be forced to ONLY be “I disagree with THIS that you said, BECAUSE X” then I don’t think we should have them at all. I don’t think it adds to the conversation for anyone. It may help the LW see points that a lot of people disagreed with, but I don’t see how thumbs pointing to all the drama is constructive for this site. And it’s a little abrasive to me that some people are giving that as their reason to keep it.

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  • avatar

    uyzie September 19, 2011, 12:55 pm

    Although I totally can see the appeal of using the purple thumbs (and I admit, I used to love looking for the blue highlighted “hot debates”), I really like not having them on DW.com. It’s more than just wanting to remain positive– it makes sense from a community and dialogue standpoint. Sometimes, another commenter will take the words right out of your mouth and say something so perfectly that there’s nothing for you to add, and all you need to do at that point is agree with them. So the thumbs up is perfect for that. However, when you disagree with someone, it’s natural that you’re going to want to explain why you disagree with them, and it’s natural that they’ll want to hear your reasons as well. Giving the thumbs down inhibits that by giving you a “lazy” way out of explaining the reasons why you disagree. When you force someone to actually state their opposing views, you end up with a better dialogue, more back and forth (and hopefully more understanding), and much less maliciousness. If this were any other website, I’d probably revel in the glorious mess of it all, but this is DW– probably the one site I visit that I want to remain unsullied by internet nastiness. So please count my vote as a thumbs down for the thumbs down.

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