For a site like IMDB in which users write reviews, is it preferable to allow users "Like" a review( e.g. goodreads.com) or answer "y/n" to the question "Did you find this review helpful?"?

  • 7
    Just a data point, not a full answer: Steam reviews of games are often just memes or jokes (e.g., "10/10 would die again"), which many people find funny but somewhat fewer people find helpful. Steam's use of "find helpful?" tries to counteract this so the actual helpful reviews sort higher, to mixed results. Dec 29, 2014 at 17:42
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    "Like" is not equal to "Helpful". A great example is SO itself: A joke answer might be very humorous and well constructed, but is not helpful at all. Classic sample: stackoverflow.com/questions/1732348/…
    – Kroltan
    Dec 30, 2014 at 0:15
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    @Kroltan: That answer actually is helpful. (It's not merely or even primarily helpful; but it hasn't jettisoned helpfulness for the sake of humor. In fact, its helpfulness is a key part of its humor!)
    – ruakh
    Dec 30, 2014 at 6:10
  • To follow on from my previous comment, Steam now says "Was this review helpful? [Yes] [No] [Funny]". Might be something to consider if your reviews have the same problem. Jan 18, 2015 at 2:06

7 Answers 7


I think "Did you find this review is more helpful" is more precise, and attempts to solve the disconnect between negative sentiment and a "like" action. In other words, a user may really dislike a product or dislike a reviewer's writing style, quality, etc. but at the end of the day, the review was helpful in their decision whether or not to purchase the product. So the user can comfortably say "this helped me" even if they can't say "I liked this"


I don't suppose you've ever read Jared Spool's The Magic Behind Amazon's 2.7 Billion Dollar Question?

In times like these I would recommend looking to those that have done the research before you, such as Amazon. According to Mr. Spool, the question "Was this review helpful to you?" generated Amazon $2.7 billion in revenue. While they didn't actively consider a like button, the article does discuss a yes or no feature and plays on the art of good design. My recommendation would be to put a "y/n" feature to the question "Did you find this review helpful?" as this article describes.


A simple up/down arrow system like Stack Exchange seems to work pretty well. The arrow 'shape' can vary from a thumb up/down.

If you did however add a like, you need to add a dislike/disagree button.

  • Many would disagree with this conclusion. Search for the word "poll" on meta SE...
    – Aaronaught
    Dec 31, 2014 at 18:53
  • 1
    Mouse over the comment "upvote" button here on SE. Now, consider comments like this one or this one. Then, consider: do users actually vote up things that are helpful?
    – apnorton
    Jan 1, 2015 at 5:56

I can like something without it being helpful.

"Did you find this review helpful?" is more direct and will give you a relevant answer. Whereas "Did you like this review?" can give you the wrong information. I sometimes "Like" things, not because I actually found them helpful, but because I do know that it's a popular topic that many others are interested in, so why not vote for it? Also, I may like a review that wasn't helpful. It may not have been what I had expected, and thus didn't answer my questions, but it may have been good enough to distract me from what I intended to read it for.

If you want to know if something is helpful, then ask a direct question: "Was this review helpful?"

If you want to know if they liked the review, say "Did you like this review?"


Ideally, prompt the user to think in terms of whether the review is helpful or useful in making a decision.

There are a lot of reviewers who make silly jokes, angry rants, or spout on political views. A significant number of users might enjoy reading those reviews, even though they may be irrelevant to the subject and get in the way of a more serious user's research.

I'd avoid terms like Like/Dislike or Agree/Disagree so that reviews are less likely to be promoted or buried for the wrong reasons.


As Daniel Zahra said, simple up/down arrows work well, but I would consider adding hover texts. Something like "this comment is helpful"/"this comment doesn't contribute to the conversation" (but for reviews).

I have found it helps for me if I am about to "misuse" voting systems by upvoting things I just find funny or personally agree with.

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    The need for "hover text" on any particular solution would be a mark that it is not an appropriate solution. If the user needs a hint to avoid misusing an action, the implementation does not properly communicate its intentions properly. Dec 29, 2014 at 21:39

You can even use a simple heart button. If the user likes the review than the user will use the heart button. It is same as a like button of goodreads.com . But instead of "like" "heart" is used. enter image description here

  • 1
    It looks cute..and completely irrelevant as well.. Dec 30, 2014 at 15:49

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