By large there could be two meanings of (up-)voting when scores are shown-

1) I like this.

2) I think it should have more score.

Both are two separate things. Both calls two separate usability pattern. How should the design say it?

I am not referring to UX/SE's upvote system, but the general system of scoring/liking/voting. Take the example of IMDB rating- there I personally don't rate depending on my dislike/like but on the basis of what score should be. While in case of Facebook's like system, it's usually on basis of my like/dislike/

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    I'm not sure I'd agree that they are separate. More score is not meaningful in itself; it's a way of indicating that you like (or some other positive reaction to) something.
    – Peter
    Commented Jul 16, 2015 at 11:45
  • This should be on the UX Meta site or the SE Meta... but I'm pretty sure it would get heavily downvoted anyway... because, on Meta, it would be viewed as a "feature-request", where votes are used differently. Beware!
    – David
    Commented Jul 16, 2015 at 12:01
  • @David I don't think he's asking specifically about UX/SE's upvote system but just upvoting as a whole. But I also think there is not too much distinction, for example facebook where they even call the upvote a "Like" doesn't mean they like it, as in someone could post about a deceased relative and a "Like" shows support not that we like the death of the loved one. It's all about the context.
    – DasBeasto
    Commented Jul 16, 2015 at 12:49
  • @David I'm not reffering to UXSE only. Question edited to make it clearer. Commented Jul 16, 2015 at 16:06
  • @travisbickle What's an example of a scenario (e.g. on IMDB) where you don't like something, but think it should have a higher score?
    – dennislees
    Commented Jul 17, 2015 at 13:05

1 Answer 1


Upvoting isn't about whether you "like" something, it's about whether you think a question/answer is good. In the case of this site, a good answer is "useful and appropriate", and will provide lasting value for a variety of users, but what constitutes a good answer will change from site to site.

I think the issue here is that you're complicating the concept of voting by thinking of it in questions like "Do I like/dislike this?", rather than "Do I think this good?" or "Do I think it provides value in the context of this site?"

Sites usually make an attempt to clarify what this means:


Voting up is how the community indicates which questions and answers are most useful and appropriate. Whenever you encounter a question, answer or comment that you feel is especially useful, vote it up! - Source


"If you think something contributes to conversation, upvote it. If you think it does not contribute to the subreddit it is posted in or is off-topic in a particular community, downvote it. - Source

Only two examples, but both present voting in way that has nothing to do with like and dislike. There may be some overlap between things you think are "off-topic" or "inappropriate", and things you don't "like", but it's just overlap.

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