Spontaneous Thought

Indignant post today, another webcomic up tomorrow.

Yesterday’s post concerned something along these lines, but I would like to delve further due to a new, somewhat horrifying change in WordPress, the platform I use to write.

Guess what, kids! We now have a “like” function for articles!

That’s right, everyone, we’re now turning into Facebook. I’d at least give them some credit if they tried to hide it, like using some other word besides completely ripping off Facebook, but no. After seeing the post from WordPress about the function, leaving a disappointed comment that has mysteriously been skipped over for mod approval, and searching for a pages on the subject (this one’s not bad), I logged off angrily.

It’s not that they’re “tainting” my precious WordPress in any way, it’s their website and they can do what they want with it. The problem lies in the fact that they’ve introduced instant gratification tools into something that is supposed to foster complex thought, not unlike the polls on the forums that I was talking about yesterday.

You see, WordPress users have something of an expected standard for the quality of work. They should be fairly well-written, yes, but mostly they need to have a thought-provoking point. After all, you can’t write much of a post on nothing. This, of course, is counter to the thinking of Twitter and Facebook, both of which expect your typings to be short, to the point, and relatively meaningless.

The problem with “like” functions is that they take the place of real, meaningful commentary and discussion. Yes, it works for the nothing “statuses” of Facebook and the like, but is this really what we want on our site? Meaningless punching of buttons taking the place of real discussion? When you give someone an outlet that shows pseudo-participation, you lose a lot of the real participation. And everyone suffers for it.

I’m not saying that I expect utter quality from these pages, I don’t. After all, I didn’t put everything into this post that I might have, given unlimited time, because I know that people won’t read really long posts. Yes, I bow before the thing I hate. However, they are supposed to foster thought, not just allow people to scream “LOL” as they run on to the next one. You must slow down, read, and possibly leave a comment behind to move the discussion along. So why must we sink to such depths? Are we really so devoid of the ability to spontaneously think about a subject that we’ve lost the ability to leave anything meaningful in our footsteps? Do we really need to emulate a social networking site, the half-a-second gratification system?

The answer is no. We do not. Please, WordPress, reverse this monstrosity.

As an afterthought: Yes, I know that the function is supposed to advertise good pages, but it’s unnecessary. People link to sites all the time, I did one myself in this very post. Plus, there’s always the Freshly Pressed pages. All and all, if it is truly good, then it will get hits naturally. You don’t need a gimmick to make them succeed.

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