I find Reddit to be a much more interesting social media platform than Twitter. Reddit's users are generally supportive, well-informed, and nice to each other. Twitter, on the other hand, has a culture that rewards snarkiness and anger. How did these two different platforms evolve such different user behaviors? Among the many differences between the two platforms are the ways users can rate other users' content. Reddit has up/down arrows, while Twitter has a heart-shaped "like" button.
Yesterday Twitter announced that it would start experimenting with different ways for its users to rate posts. One of those ways will be to use Reddit-style up-down arrows.
The problem with this experiment is that Twitter won't use the up/down tallies to help it determine which tweets to promote and which tweets to bury at the bottom, like Reddit does. Until Twitter starts doing that (and maybe they will in a later experiment), will they get much useful information from it?
And while I'm glad Twitter is looking into ways to improve the Twitter experience, I don't think anything they do with up/down buttons will solve Twitter's toxicity problem. That's going to require much more work.
If Twitter were to act on this information to actually rank the replies, it could make it easier and more enjoyable to read longer Twitter threads — like those that follow viral tweets, for example. But it could also help to better showcase the replies that add something informative or interesting or even just funny to a conversation, while pushing any trolling remarks down the thread.
Today, Twitter allows users to manually hide the replies that detract from a conversation by placing them behind an extra click. Perhaps, in time, it could do something similar for replies that received too many downvotes, too — like Reddit does. But none of these types of features are being tested right now, to be clear.
Reddit founder Alex Ohanian is on Twitter(!) and he commented on Twitter's latest announcement: