Encouraging Good Discussion on YikYak

YikYak, the anonymous location-based social media app, can be used for serious discussion because arguments identities change from thread to thread. This article goes over the upvoting and downvoting guidelines I use to encourage better discussion behaviour on YikYak. Maybe you will agree with my decisions, maybe not. At the very least I hope my reasoning encourages you to consider how your actions affect discourse.

In serious discussions, there are some who downvote comments people based on disagreement alone. The problem is that YikYak has an automated filtering system that removes comments once they hit five downvotes. Only five downvotes is a tiny group of like-minded people to thought police a discussion into a useless echo chamber. So, I follow these rules when commenting on YikYak.

  1. I hardly ever downvote. I do downvote needlessly hurtful comments. Comments that contribute nothing or comments advocating self-harm in posts where people are asking for help and advice.
  2. I upvote any downvoted comment that is relevant to the discussion regardless on whether or not I agree with the statement. If a substantive comment has downvotes, then I upvote in response.
  3. I upvote comments that I like, agree with, or find witty and that contribute to the discussion.
  4. I do not downvote a comment that is addressing the topic of conversation even when I do not agree. I do not upvote these comment either.
  5. I do not downvote incorrect facts. My reasoning is that if one commenter believes that fact then others might too so it is usually better to false facts with another comment. Thought policing a false fact out of the discussion misses the chance to change the minds of those that hold it.

Encountering uncomfortable opinions is an important part of a functioning democracy. While discussing issues, we learn about each other and find ways to live together in relative harmony despite differences in our beliefs. Platforms like YikYak enable people to discuss ideas openly. Please join in upvoting good discussion regardless of whether or not you agree with it.