I did something this past week that has all but destroyed the peace and tranquility of a large group of people. Did I murder someone? No. Did I rob them blind? No. Did I tell them that their grandmothers all wore army boots? No. Did I run stark-naked down the street yelling obscenities? Well, yes, but that’s not it.
No, the crime is much worse, I introduced a ‘like’ button to the Castanet forums.
You need to know that the Castanet forum membership is a rare and delicate eco-system of extremely volatile creatures. It takes very very very little to disturb the equilibrium of this delicate eco-system. They don’t like change. They almost expire from change. If they don’t expire, they gripe. Oh my god they can gripe.
And you know, I could make a change so that every member received $5 for each post they make, and they would gripe that a) it was paying too little, or b) it was paying too much, or c) that it was nothing more than a pathetic attempt to bribe them to follow the rules, or d) that it was a conspiracy to get into their heads and steal their thoughts, or e) the payment method was all wrong, or f) all of the above.
They are like that, these members.
So, I should have known better when, because I received so many requests for a ‘like’ button, I thought it meant they wanted a ‘like’ button. I was told repeatedly that ‘EVERYbody else has a ‘like’ feature, why can’t we have one too?’
I should have saved the proof of those requests, because now the biggest complaint is that ‘EVERYbody else has a ‘like’ feature, why do we have to have one as well?’
There are thirteen pages and counting of complaints about the new feature.
There are complaints that having a ‘like’ button makes the board nothing more than a popularity contest. If anybody goes to the Castanet forums to win a popularity contest, they are in for a surprise. They will grow old, withered and gray waiting for that crown of thorns.
There are complaints that not having a ‘dislike’ button is tantamount to a major world disaster.
There are already signatures in some user profiles asking, ‘Please do not ‘like’ my posts’. I have to say, if anything is guaranteed to get your posts ‘liked’, that’s it.
There are complaints about the lack of a ‘like’ feature for private messages.
There are pleas to never include a ‘like’ feature for private messages.
There are people offering me some seriously good bribes to make the ‘like’ go away . . . wait, hold on, that one’s not so bad.
Castanet members react with conniptions to anything new on the board. They react with conniptions to anything old on the board as well, come to think of it. The reaction to the ‘like’ feature is no better or worse than the reaction to any other change to the board, it temporarily puts us over the top on the chart; we were cruising 500 feet above Extreme at the onset, but have quickly settled to a mere High, which is, basically, where we generally cruise on a quiet day. We have never achieved a Low. It is a suggestion only. Or maybe wistful thinking.
And here’s the thing. After a month of this new feature, any attempt to remove it would result in the exact same conniption, and possibly from the same members. So, it doesn’t matter what you Castanet crazies think of the ‘like’ feature, because by god you have one now, and you’re going to like it whether you like it or not. Or, you know, you can ‘like’ it instead of like it. I’m fair ‘like’ that.