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[IPS News] New: Reactions

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This entry is about our IPS Community Suite 4.2 release.

IPS Community Suite has long had a reputation system; first we had a simple up/down system, later updated to introduce a Likes system as an alternative. Whichever system you chose to use, it tied in with our reputation system.

We're pleased to introduce the latest updates to the reputation system, and it's something that has been requested for quite some time: Reactions.

Quite simply, reactions allow users to offer more fine-grained sentiments towards content than a simple up/down or 'like'. They are now in common usage on social networks, and so users expect to be able to be more nuanced in their response to something they see.

Let's see how they work in a post, and then cover the options you'll have available.

reactions.gif

What you see above is the default setup for a site that has used the Like system in version 4.1. We include 5 reactions by default:

  • Like
  • Thanks
  • Confused
  • Sad
  • Haha

If you currently use the older style up/down reputation system, don't fret - you'll still get the new reactions on upgrade, but they'll be disabled by default and instead the new reaction UI will show up/down reactions. This gives you the flexibility to decide which of the new reactions, if any, you want to allow.

So, those are the basics - but what configuration options can you expect to see? First, you can of course add your own reactions! We expect that beyond the default reactions you'd expect to find, some sites will want reaction types specific to their use-case. On an intranet, you might want to have 'agree' and 'disagree' reactions for staff to use when responding to discussions. On a gaming community, you might replace the icons to be some graphic from a video game that means something to your particular userbase. There's a wealth of possibilities.

Each reaction you set up can be configured to adjust the original author's reputation count - a reaction can be positive (i.e. award a reputation point), negative (i.e. subtract a reputation point), or neutral (i.e. leave the reputation count unchanged). Our default set won't include any negative reactions, but you are free to configure these and new reactions to suit your own use-case. A user's total reputation count is still shown alongside their content and in their profile, of course.

If you don't want to use the new reactions for whatever reason, you can disable all of them except Like, and it'll behave just the like 4.1-and-earlier system:

react_like.gif

 

Sites that currently use the up/down system don't show a list of names of users, and instead show an overall reputation score for the content. With the new reaction system, you can enable this even if you don't use up/down reactions. This is great if you plan to use reactions as, for example, an agree/disagree system, or where the content score is more important to your site than the individual reaction types.

reaction count.png

How the reaction UI looks with the 'count only' setting enabled

As you'd expect, you can click individual reaction counts (or the overall reputation score, if you enable that setting) to view who reacted to the content. This remains a permission setting that you can apply per-group.

react who.png

On touch devices, on-hover functionality is not suitable, and so for these devices the reactions UI looks like this:

react_mobile.gif

Reactions play well with all areas of the suite, including Recommended Replies:

react_recommend.png

...and activity streams...

react_activity.png

...and a couple of places we aren't quite ready to reveal yet ;) 

 

We hope you're looking forward to this new feature as much as we are. It's already been a hit on our internal testing site, and we're looking forward to seeing how clients customize it for use on their own community.

Developer note: Reactions are one of two new features (the other currently unannounced) so far that make use of PHP Traits.

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