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In light of the recent discussion on codifying how the Lobste.rs community is intended to work, I’d like to bring up something that’s annoyed me [slightly] from the beginning: the down-vote icon.

tl;dr The up- and down-vote icons look identical, but their meaning/function is not. I believe the down-vote icon should be changed to a “–” (minus) to reflect this similar-but-not-equal nature.

The up-vote arrow is very self-explanatory, especially for users of reddit and similar. It’s used to show one’s support of a post or comment, and it’s used by the sorting to raise a post above lesser-voted posts. On the contrary, the down-vote arrow is used more as a reporting tool, indicating poor quality or spammy posts, and less as a simple “rank this lower” to the sorting; “rank this lower” is effected by simply not up-voting a story. Because these two tasks aren’t quite the same, I feel they should not share the same iconography. The down-vote arrow is actually a menu that expands into the familiar reasons for down-voting a story, and I believe it should have a menu-like icon that still respects its negative intention but its inequality from the up-vote. Thus, a “–” minus, or perhaps even the “…” ellipses as is used in Android.

So Lobste.rs, what do you think? Am I off-base or alone in thinking this way? Or perhaps there are better suggestions?

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    Or downvoting can be removed completely and replaced with a “flag” link along edit/delete/discuss. The flag reasons would still show up like downvotes, but would not affect the score. Enough flagging would auto-moderate a story and remove it from the homepage until it was released by a moderator (if applicable). For comments, they would just turn gray like they currently do after a few downvotes.

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      Flag implies, to me, that someone’s going to later take a look at the comment and make a determination if it was invalid for some reason or not. A down vote or minus implies that the voter’s decision “counts”. I’m having difficulty expressing exactly what I mean, sorry…

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        Since the only intended outcome from flagging is killing, just go ahead and call it kill. I’d like to believe (heh), that’d prevent some spurious downvoting. Is this story/comment really so bad that I want to kill it?

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          A simple and elegant solution. And I think “clearer” than the down-vote icon or menu. “Flag” is pretty self-explanatory.

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          Given the recent surge in “why are you downvoting all the things” comments, I feel like it might be a good time to bring up the topic of s/downvote/flag/ once again.