No love for Like, OK? Plus!

Andrew Boon posted 24th of June 2011 in Boonex News. 37 comments.

English is my second language and the last thing I could ever picture myself doing was arguing English linguistics in public. And here I am, doing exactly that - doubting the way "LIKE" word is used by you know who.

So, is it me, or is "Like" actually used inappropriately as a noun as an expression of agreement/accent? We fell for it and also use "XX likes" here on BoonEx, but from what I read, when you use "like" as a noun, it is:


"used with reference to a person or thing of the same kind as another"

• ( the like) a thing or things of the same kind (often used to express surprise or for emphasis) 



- So, saying that "the article has 25 likes" would mean "25 other articles are similar to this", no?

- Also, when you click "like" and later "unlike". Unlike is also a real word, but never a verb. Only preposition or adjective, meaning "different", etc.

- Next, when used as part of social networking site "like" button often serves (and on Facebook too) as a method of subscribing or as a bookmark or as a sharing tool. In many cases people don't really like what they "like". 

- It gets ugly when you see translated versions - Russian in particular. Hard to explain, but trust me - it's pathetic.


Why Like

As saying goes "Internet has only two currencies that attract people - real money and self expression", so I can understand rationale behind choosing "Like" as a method of wooing quick/casual substitute for a comment and later doing it's job as social aggregator (often without people realising they've subscribed to something). People click "Like" because they actually like what they see, and let the rest slide. It may work wonders for a site with specific goals, but it may not be a good approach for us - software developers. We need a term that works universally and makes sense. 



Google is trying to make +1 work, which sounds good, but regrettably lacks any emotional ties. You have to know what this +1 is doing to even care. Made up terms like "digg" or "tweet" might work, but they are all extentions of their brands and are not an option for us. "Follow" and "Subscribe" sound right, but this kind of button often doesn't subscribe you to anything, and most importantly isn't nearly as gratifying for recipient as "Like" is. 

So, after deep and extensive research we came up with our own idea that we plan to use both here on BoonEx and in Dolphin 8...



Looking at the meanings OK should serve you well (Unless you're from Oklahoma, in which case you could use "okay"):


OK 1 (also okay |ˈōˈkā|informal


used to express assent, agreement, or acceptance : OK, I'll pass on your message | OK, OK, I give in.

• used to introduce an utterance : “OK, let's go.”

adjective [ predic. ]

satisfactory but not exceptionally or especially good : the flight was OK.

• (of a person) in a satisfactory physical or mental state : are you OK, Ben?

• permissible; allowable : I'm not sure if it's OK to say that to a teacher.


in a satisfactory manner or to a satisfactory extent : the computer continues to work OK.

noun [in sing. ]

an authorization or approval : do you know how long it takes for those pen-pushers to give us the OK ?

verb ( OK's, OK'd, OK'ing) [ trans. ]

sanction or give approval to : the governor recently OK'd the execution of a man who had committed murder.

ORIGIN mid 19th cent.: probably an abbreviation of orl korrect, humorous form of all correct, popularized as a slogan during President Van Buren's reelection campaign of 1840; his nickname Old Kinderhook (derived from his birthplace) provided the initials.


We added "+" to be able to do "-OK" and to avoid confusion with form submits. 


All in all, +OK seems to be just right:

- It does express approval/assent.

- It may be used even if you don't really "Like" what you're OK'ing.

- Gramaticaly correct forms are used according to their actual meaning.

- There's practically no need to translate. This is possibly the only word in the world people all nations know well, even when very young.

- It serves fine as method of following/subscribing. 


It looks just right to me. What do you think? Is it a go, or is my second language failing me?



After some discussion in comments we think that PLUS and MINUS may work better.

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The way people look at "Like" is it's a piece of content or such that a person "Likes" however it's a good pointer using that term out of the dictionary.
Something like +Ok, i don't think some people will grasp that too quickly.

If you used something like "Agreed" "Agree" or something in that nature it lets publishers know that it's something that makes sense even though they may not like it, they still do agree to that content.
Or maybe "I Approve" see more or something like that lol
We could always inject a bit of humour into dolphin with the "Dislike" "You must be Joking" or the "you are having a laugh" buttons. Actually the spoof buttons I made up and put on FB were much ruder and much more funny.

If you want to link emotion with a button just have a "Love" button. It could be used to express the love of a concept or an idea, to ecpress love of an Item such as a car or a video, or to express love of a person or place. Hey... stick see more a little heart logo on it whilst you are at it and you are onto a winner!

You could also think (bumper sticker) here. I have seen them... "I love my car" "I love my dog" "I love peanut butter"... Have an editable button with an "I" heart logo "editable text" so I can make a button that says "I love Chocolate" if i wish to.

Just a thought.
Andrew Boon
Good ideas. We expect site owners to change OK to their own versions, but don't forget that for the terms to be true to it's purpose it has to work as noun too and also not to limit to expression of fondness or approval.

Many don't realize it, but when you click Like on Facebook or outside you start following updates of the content you "liked". That's what it does technically and Like word is there to trick you into subscribing.
Andrew - you amaze me! Nothing like jumping in with both feet, but some assertions are incorrect. The use of "like" in the software is as a verb form. Using the definite article "the" in front of it changes that form to a noun (group of characteristics, traits or other similarities). Russian doesn't use articles "like" English does, so it can be difficult to conceptualize (you like that?) for a native Russian speaker, but screams ESL...
Same with "unlike" see more - as used here in the software - it is a verb form and not as an adjective or preposition. Better put would be "don't like" (dislike is ok - no pun) but maybe there's not enough room for these....
I tend to agree with Wolf about OK - and the "like" button is in many places you go now - it's pretty understood. If things are so distilled down to one or two buttons - you may agree with most but not all contents and making that better would require more buttons: mostly like, like 40%, don't like, really don't like etc. It then becomes a poll, so if you have a Like or OK button (and its opposite counterpart) the rest can be expressed further in a Reply link if desired.
Also - So, saying that "the article has 25 likes" would mean "25 other articles are similar to this", no?" No - just means that 25 people liked it and in no way implies that other articles are like (similar) to it.
Personally - I most like "Like" and "Don't Like" - but know this: if I could speak/write Russian even half as well as you speak/write English - I'd be a very satisfied person! My compliments on your courage and tenacity....
Andrew Boon
Ok, I see. So it's not that bad :)

I would agree with "Like" for the most part, but one of the biggest issues is that it is also used instead of "Subscribe" and sometimes you need to subscribe to something you don't like but want to keep track of.

For example, if you want to follow updates from a "Page" on Facebook, you need to "Like" it. Thus, when I want to, say, get updates on whatever Australian Meat Exporters group says and I have to "Like" see more their page. My Wall would say "Andrew likes Australian Meat Exporters". But I don't! I just need to get the bloody (no pun intended) updates and I know the little button does the trick. Imagine all the cheeky comments I'd get for that kind of liking from my vegan friends :) . If I OK'd it, it would have somewhat different connotation.

Either way, I propose using OK by default, but webmasters could change it to whatever they want.
andrew what i think happens here is a bundle attempt concept. not all things are to be liked, and as you say, you may wish to follow or track or watch something, but not necessarily 'like' or consider it to be ok. so not all things can fall under the bundle of one construct.

as you say, you dont like meat exporters, but you would like to watch or follow certain threads or aspects of what is going on, for whatever purposes you need.

though if there was an article written where the banning of see more exportation of meat from Australia had been implemented, you may very well 'like' that and also wish to 'follow' the topic.

so i think again you are close in your concept of +Pos or -Neg for some things, which require an opinion, but if you are interested in ongoing results, this would not necessarily fill that requirement, and you may have been better to 'follow' or 'track' the subject or topic?
Andrew Boon
Well, my goal is to figure out something "universal" that can be later substituted by webmaster as per their specific purpose. So, I was thinking that something like +OK and -OK being quite neutral and slightly "communicating" (not just plain + - ) might work.
Andrew Boon
Also, with, say "Pos" and "Neg" the problem is that "Neg" is always only revoking of "Pos" and isn't actually an expression of negative attitude, but the word makes it feel like it is.

Another example - today's BUG hunt. One has to 'Like' a bug to push it up, but funnily they have to do it with the bugs they dislike most :D .
yeah this one should be fun..... because it seems that not only are you seeking something expressed and universal, but you are trying to bring to entities together, that may not actually mashup.

why not consider dumping what has been, and just create your own acronym or pseudonym.
drop off of what has already been established, and come up with uniqueness.....

i had just submitted this, but thought of something, as i was about to close the browser.

a sliding scale which could at one end, see more have the + or 100% which 100% could also be utilized for follow or track, but not necessarily depict your favortism, and it could be named Interest Scale

so at one end, would be 100% which would also provide for a track
the other end could have -100% and indicate either a dislike or non-interest in the subject or topic.

so on the rule, you could at say some point, establish something around +80% enable the follow marker
on the other end, -80% would indicate 0 interest and not necessarily declare that you dislike the matter, but just have no interest.......

oh well that was my fleeting thought....

yeah this is a good one......
Andrew Boon
Interesting idea... Sounds more like an idea for 3rd party plugin though, but might be a cool social interaction tool.

As for own acronym - I wish we could :( We're under the curse of software development as opposed to site development. We have to make it clear, translatable, unbranded.
this is interesteing, A new concept. perhaps it needs more thought But I see no reason why it would not work.
" + " = "Like"
" - " = "Don't like"
" : " = "Follow"

A "Neutral" button is completely superfluous. Why? Because you don't like, dislike, or follow on something you feel neutral about. Indifference ("neutral") requires no action, therefore should require no button.

Why should " : " be used as a symbol for "Follow"?

Symbolically the " : " is two points (dots). One above (or see more positive) relative to the other. A person may be indifferent about a topic, blog, forum, post, picture, but still want to "Follow" both the positive and negative things about it in the future (and past).

Mathematically* the " : " symbol is used as part of a set-builder** notation "...stating the [positive, negative, and neutral comments] properties that its members (users) must satisfy." A set is a collection of elements or members.**

Grammatically a " : " is used in citing references at a local, as opposed to specific street address or broad state or country, level of where and when something is published. As well as when a list of examples are to follow a point as listed below:

- You are reading this point you are following what I listed after the " : "
- If you've read this far then you may agree that the " : " may be more intuitive of a character to symbolize "Follow" that you had originally thought. ;-)

I believe a slider would just ad another element of complexity to something that should be kept very simple.

Someone could both "Like" a topic and also "Follow":

Example "+:Kittens" wold be to like and follow Kittens.

Someone could both "Don't like" (work with me here) and "Follow" a topic:

Example "-:Murder" would be to not like or be a fan of Murder, but want to follow the topic.

Finally, a " : " could follow both sides, positive and negative, of an item, topic, etc. without having to
disclose whether or not you like or don't like it:

Example ":abortion" would mean to follow something you regardless of how you feel about it personally.

Feedback is welcome. Please note I am not a premium member and do enjoy contributing to the topics so please do not close the discussions off to just premium members if you found my input helpful.

* Mathematical symbols:
**Set-builder notation:
*** References (Citations):
That's when Dolphin 8? I'm in a hurry ^^
well i never seen whats was wrong with the thumbs up or thumbs down version. relatively it all means the same. - + like unlike, but it never declares dislike, just unlike, strange word would be like unlove, or some other hookishly insane word.

you have a good point, where is the universal expression that would not be impeding on others brands, or piggy backing on what has already been established.

how bout a garbage can for 'not liking' something, anything, you can put anything in the garbage, see more

and a gold bar for liking, with possilby the term 'bank' emblazoned on the gold bar.....

yeah thats a difficult one andrew......
Great Idea Andrew

But, just wait a minute. I am little perplexed. you wrote about +OK how about the cancellation of the +OKing?

For example
We have this now ( like" and "unlike".) right?
We should expect this (+OK" and "un+OK".)?
Funnily, un+OK is not clicking good for me.. Some people may consider ' un+Ok' to be a typo. because of the plus in the middle..

Just my views.
Andrew Boon
It's +OK and -OK. And this one is important, because "-OK" as I understand merely implies revoking of your previous +OK, not necessarily a change of opinion. I I understand people click "unlike" mostly when they want to unsubscribe from updates, or clicked Like accidentally, while unlike SOUNDS like they don't like it anymore.
the -OK sounds great. Thanks
Maybe consider:

"Feel" when it comes to Comments, Blogs, Notes, Status Updates, etc. - provides an emotional response "I feel the same way about his comment, blog, note, status" +5 Feel this comment

"Track" when it comes to Groups, Events, Images, etc.- non emotional response to a group or event such as Andrew Boon is Tracking Austrailian Meet Exporters. Or Andrew Boon Tracks Autrailian Meet Exporters 2011 Expo.
If you're a student and need to get information on a assignment you have to complete you'll want to subscribe to that information however it's based on a topic you don't "Like"

I like the idea of a slider mentioned by DosDawg.

Slider Value:
0: -Ok (Not yet subscribed nor liked)
1: Subscribed (Subscribed to content)
2: Like (Likes content)
3: +Ok (Like and subscribe to content)

3 screenshots here

-Ok is good cause you're stating that you don't like see more and don't want feeds on such content.
+Ok is good cause you're stating that you do like and want to subscribe to such content.

But it's important that you don't force a subscription to someone who doesn't want to subscribe but just likes the content.
This is hence the reason for the Customize option
You're just over complicating the process Andrew.

This +Ok formula is only ever going to be understood by people familiar with the Boonex Dolphin platform. The members of these sites are just going to be even more confused than they already are on a website that is riddled with poor explanations, grammar and usability/functionality.

Personally, I agree with DosDawg, you can't go wrong with a thumbs up / thumbs down - It's a universal symbol and everyone gets it.

Don't make Dolphin over complicated, see more you'll just end up pushing people away.
I agree, I think we should not try to complicate things and keep it standard across the social networking platform for e.g. let's say you go with "OK", then tommorow there will be a new debate as to why not "Okay" or "O.K.". If they can include words like "Befriend" in the dictionary, I guess they can change the "Like" definitions as well in future....These are trivial issues and we should not spend so much time on them, let's concentrate our efforts see more more on the system architecture, design, marketting etc. Right now, end-users cannot even write apps for dolphin which can be run within dolphin without any installation like PnP (plug an play) architecture..just a thought !!! Secodnly, there was a BIG thread few weeks back on market feedback and lot of developers complained but nothing has been done so far....
I live here in Oklahoma! :oþ

Fluently in ASL (American Sign Language), Auslan (Australian Sign Language) and IS (International Sign).

No love for gesture? Did you know that ankle-biters under one-year old knows more vocabulary in sign language than those two-years old who speaks?

Thumb Up/Thumb Down - simple and unbiased.
Just these two thumb gestures form in many definitions. Displaying thumb icons speaks for itself and is more practically no need to translate. Use these as counter whilst see more "Like/Unlike" button replaces to "Follow/No Follow"?
I think this is all making it all too complicated. So let's make it even more complicated..

First of all, it is not about what the producers (programmers) want, it is about what the consumers (visitors) want. Thus you have to find the "thing" that works best for the consumer, not for the programmer. If you're smart you make the field "translatable", as in you can adapt its appearance by changing a setting in the admin panel (studio). Don't only limit it to words but also images, see more so you can use a thumbs up/down image if you want / need.

The main thing is not to think to big / not to over think it.
Let's face it, "Like" might not be used in the proper way (as in grammar), it might be hard to translate.. but .. somehow 500million people know how to use it, and don't mind using it.

Even if you think about your "+OK" we can over think it and ruin the concept:
"OK" in various countries means alright / average.. nothing special.
Back home in the Netherlands you can also use it to curse somebody out by referring to ovarian cancer.

Does it mean you shouldn't use it now? No

Another solution that people posted on here is the "thumbs up/ thumbs down" .. now lets over think that.
Thumbs up is good in America..
Thumbs up" traditionally translates as the foulest of gesticular insults in some Middle Eastern countries — the most straightforward interpretation is 'Up yours, pal!'[ (also in parts of Africa)
In Bangladesh, Iran it is traditionally an obscene gesture, equivalent to the use of the middle finger in the Western world.
In the UK, specifically north-west England, a single-handed thumbs up sign can be used as a farewell or greetings gesture between young males.
In Japanese sign language, the thumbs-up indicates a man, or male gender as opposed to an extended pinky indicating female.
In India, although the gesture is well accepted, similar gestures have negative connotations..

Does this mean you can't use it? No

Another solution might be a simple plus or minus sign.
However same goes for here, other countries and cultures other meanings

Does this mean you can't use it? No

You shouldn't over think the concept. It doesn't matter if it isn't perfect English or if it isn't English at all. (Was Twitter / Facebook / Google a word before their launch??)
It does matter, however, how users perceive and see it; how they feel about it.
The whole point of these buttons is for users to show that they appreciate the work posted; which can be a blog post / a video / a picture etc.. All it comes down to is expressing the following conversation in one or two words (or signs): (Person 1) "Hey!, I went to the zoo yesterday and I saw this gorilla banging on the window, isn't this a sweet picture!" (Person 2) "O wow that is so cool / I like that / I hate that / so interesting/ so nice etc"
Me thinks you think too much! (see, I like that :-) )
Andrew Boon
Interesting ideas all around. It may sound like something unimportant, but in the new Dolphin structure it's the single most important link/button, so we do need to get it right.

Thumbs up / Thumbs down - sounds good and easy to use, but mostly as a sign (icon in our case). Also a problem for Middle-East and partly Africa, as mentioned earlier.

How about "PLUS" and "MINUS" then? These guys come from latin and their respective characters are quite recognisable.
andrew, i think this is important, just as you think its important. one thing we can consider here is to provide a means in the admin panel, to where you have a selection of image icons, and one could apply their custom image icon, but the functionality would remain the same, but the image would be all that changes?
Fair enough. "Plus" and "Minus" is the best universal option.
I like DosDawg's idea. + - with customization option.
i have a dumb idea :)

Bless +1
Curse -1

Comments Closed
Don't over think it. It's obvious we don't. It's pretty simple. If I click the 'Like" button, I am saying "I like this" used in that context it's perfectly acceptable.

If you really want to have some fun, just change the word to "Lick"
"OK" means "Not good. Not bad, but average." e.g. "It's OK but could be better." You also need to remember that the internet is a place where new definitions and words are created. The English language is constantly involving and always has been through out history. New words are added to the English dictionary with every revision, and existing words often change meaning "gay" being the most well known example. "Like" says it all, and everyone knows see more what it means. So why fight it?
As an Englishman I would find the word OK too non-descript. It doesn't really mean anything, there is no emotional pull to it. It is already used on command buttons as well (press OK to continue). How about the phrase 'Cool' ? Or a temperature scale (hot,warm,cool,cold,freezing etc).

Also it is worth discussing if there should be a negative version available (facebook don't have a dislike button for a reason), from a physiological point of view do you want people to see that if they post something see more they might get judged by the haters? Also, it can send out a negative impression of the content on your site to visitors.
It is funny, I was about to click "Like" for Ok!!!, but then, I saw people did that!!! .but I guess it is OK!!!...However, I just want to point out that SOMETIMES (In America) Ok = Average...Hence, As long as it does not reflect the AVERAGE..THEN we are OK!!...For example, someone post something, and then..someone will click "Yea it is OK"..Therefore, I very much OK the fact +/-
What's wrong with a simple "Follow" and "Unfollow"? To me, that's not really saying you like it or not, just simply following it/them...or not.
Can anyone help me? I want to add the "Like/Unlike" button to show up on my user's wall comments, but I cannot figure out how to do so.

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