Confessions of a "Recommend" button addict.
I am guilty. I read an article - I read lots of articles - then I promptly scroll down to the comments section. What do I do? Well, I "recommend" the first clever comment I see. Then I read a clever reply to it and see that Applefan1 sure showed that other fanboy up, and so I "recommend" that one as well. Everyone loves it when someone gets put in place by another commenter; has their ideological inaccuracies splayed out for the rest of the community to see. Perhaps the spectators who stand on the sidelines of the commenting battlefield, punching the recommend button, are just as guilty as the commenters themselves. We egg them on; we give them a tangible reward for their highly intellectual rhetorical prowess. Or whatever you call it.
I love +1 buttons. They give me some feeling that I contribute to the conversation, even if only by rewarding some possibly bad behavior. But I have come here to repent. Mashing the recommend button every time someone says something clever that is only vaguely related to constructive conversation only helps to destroy conversation altogether. When I started typing this post, I was planning to say we need a ":D" button in addition to the "recommend" button, thinking that would solve the issue - the recommend button could be used for its original purpose, and a :D button could be used for feeding the trolls. That's when I realized that is exactly what I have been doing - feeding the trolls.
In support of quality conversation on The Verge, I am going to only use the recommend button for "recommending" constructive, intelligent posts here going forward. I believe there is a real value in being able to upvote posts, and I don't want to lose that option simply because of abuse. I am not going to sink down to the same level as the trolls that I at once admire and abhor.