Likes/Ratings Are Virtual Body Language

The Fool

True & Honest Fan
Jan 2, 2016
(Disclaimer: I'm drunk)

I was considering this thread and why it's so stupid. It's an easy thing to trivialize away, you can just say "lol ratings are dumb" and be done with it. But why? Sure, ratings don't matter, they don't have a technical function on the site. But they do have a social function, one that made that thread extra dumb.

Ratings, along with Likes on many social media platforms, is a form of body language. We have no body language on the internet, all of this is not real-time, you're reading this long after I've written it, and this is merely text, I can't convey body language through this medium in an idiomatic way (not counting kaomoji), and neither can you. This is where ratings and likes come into play, they're a way for us to convey our emotional response without actually saying anything. This isn't a revolutionary idea, it's the entire reason why we have ratings in the first place, so people don't have to post "this" or "+1" in response to something they agree with but otherwise have no further input in regards to the subject matter.

That's why the previously mentioned thread is extra stupid. It's the real-life equivalent of saying "if we all smile at each other then we'll all be extra happy". People receive ratings based on how others wish to emotionally react to their posts, and more importantly, they're a way for the poster to read the social behaviors and instincts of the community. You can't "farm" being socially intuitive and idiomatic, you can't "farm" being capable of empathy. If you make a post that does not relate with the community, people will rate it negatively, in lieu of being able to physically express a negative facial expression. And from there, it's up to the poster to understand and recognize this, and learn from their mistakes so they can better integrate with the community. I honestly shudder to think what this site would be like without ratings, due to how fluent and natural they are at conveying these attributes. Many of you are familiar with the results of this as getting angry at negrates, pulling a Cucky. But in reality it's how we as a species have adopted dealing (or not dealing) with the disapproval of our peers from a non-vocal medium. We have defied computerized text and have discovered a vaguely human way to convey our feelings non-verbally. A post getting like, 50 "winner" ratings is the equivalent of a room full of laughter or cheering, and a post with 20 or so "dumb" ratings is essentially what we'd be doing if we all looking at each other quizzically and whispered "what?" to each other.

It's why "autistic" is considered a negative rating when functionally it's neutral, it's why speds get upset when they get loads of negative ratings despite having literally no consequence whatsoever. Even unconsciously, this is how all of us act when we interpret ratings. We knowingly and willingly use ratings to replace the body expressions that have been stolen from us.

I'll take those autistic ratings now.

The Gangster Computer

Buy my games.
True & Honest Fan
Apr 16, 2017
Why doesn't css.php work anymore I just get a 403.png


Forum Staff
True & Honest Fan
Nov 28, 2015
I agree. You are not really a fool, are you?


True & Honest Fan
Apr 1, 2019
I think if you were looking for something to be most like body language here the ratings would be it, but there is one fundamental difference. Body language is almost entirely subconscious. Ratings on the other hand are certainly conscious.