Vote vs. Like vs. Favorite vs. INSERT VERB HERE

On the conversation app dev list we’ve been having a small discussion about the feature that is currently called ‘vote’.

There are really two debates going on in the discussion.

The first is, should a user be able to 'down vote’ and/or 'remove their vote’ or should it remain that a user can only 'up vote’ something?

My personal opinion is that we should actually support all three actions. That 'up voting’ and 'down voting’ should be something that is tied to the atomic share unit, while 'remove a vote’ is a feature that is tucked away inside of a user settings or account area and a bit more work to find/use (because I believe it’s an uncommon edge-case use and therefore shouldn’t clutter up the UI).

The other debate going on is what to actually label this feature.

Currently it’s called 'vote’ but no one is sure that’s the right verb…for most of us, it just doesn’t feel entirely *right*. But if we change it, what should we change it to?

Well first - let’s briefly talk about what the feature is about.

Right now, the vote feature is primarily used as one signal in determining the sort order for the 'hot list’ (comments and time are other signals that play a factor).

Where it starts to get fuzzy is that, in the next production release, you’ll be able to see who has 'up voted’ an item and you’ll have an area in your user settings where you can see a list of the items you’ve 'up voted’ (making the feature double somewhat as a bookmarking feature as well).

Of course it will still play a key role in the Hot list algorithm but it will now also serve the role of a public thank you AND a bookmarking feature.

One feature, lot’s of use cases.

I think this is great for users, because it means you can use it however you want and it can mean whatever you want it to mean for yourself…but from the UI/UX perspective, and the dev. perspective, it becomes a struggle on where/how to implement it and name it so that it doesn’t cause confusion (or worse, frustration) for users.

So in thinking about a problem like this, I always like to do a quick bit of research and see what others (who have likely spent more time/money on this question, and are also likely smarter than me) have landed on.

A quick tour around the internet finds:

Digg famously has the digg.

Facebook has the like.

Twitter has the favorite.

Hacker news has points and arrows.

Reddit and Disqus don’t really label it and just have arrows & numbers.

Hrmm…seems like everyone has a different answer.

I wonder if that’s for branding reasons or if it’s just a reality of the fact that there is no 'perfect’ answer? Probably a little bit of both.

So, since no one seems to really have solved the problem, and everyone’s verb of choice is a bit branded with their service already (plus means something slightly different within each service)…I actually think the best option is to avoid all these labels and implementations.

Instead I think it’s time to pick our own verb.

Something we can own within our our users minds as they use our service…something that they will immediately understand…but that they will also not have any preconceived notions or expectations or beliefs because of what other services do.

So - after all of that - what’s my suggestion?

My suggestion is that we call it ’bump’.

It’s fun to say, has a nice musical vibe to it (energy), and I think maps pretty well to many of the actions it can be used for…

You can bump a share up or down the hot list.

You can ’bump’ someone to give them a little public validation (like a fist bump).

And you can bump a share to bookmark it (ok so that doesn’t mentally map perfect – but life isn’t always perfect. deal with it.).

So that’s my suggestion. That’s what gets my ’bump’.

But this is an open source project, and I’m but one guy with one opinion…what really matters is *your* opinion…so what do you think? What should we label it?

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This is the personal blog of Kevin Marshall (a.k.a Falicon) where he often digs into side projects he's working on for and other random thoughts he's got on his mind.

Kevin has a day job as CTO of Veritonic and is spending nights & weekends hacking on Share Game Tape. You can also check out some of his open source code on GitHub or connect with him on Twitter @falicon or via email at kevin at

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