Forem Creators and Builders 🌱

Alexis Moody
Alexis Moody

Posted on

Custom reactions

While putting together the finishing touches on our cloud Forem a few early users asked about more reactions for posts/comments. The initial thought was that our community is coming from Facebook which has a number of emotion based reactions, so it might ease their transition to have some similar reactions in this new space.

But that got me thinking about the possibility of custom reactions. Sort of like slack's custom emojis but probably limited to common "reaction" types that could map to custom png images for each Forem. For my community we could use Harry Potter symbols instead of a unicorn for example.

Are there others that would find this valuable?

Top comments (5)

citizen428 profile image
Michael Kohl

This is an interesting idea. I think there'd be no major technical hurdles for implementing this (famous last words), but we should probably keep to a reasonable number, e.g. 5 max.

ben profile image
Ben Halpern

Reactions were originally meant to be extensible and ultimately work more like Slack reactions. IMO we should have default ones and then allow for a bunch more like Slack......

But then we sort of settled into where we are now. Under the hood there's nothing tying us to the current system because it was meant to be the MVP (years ago lol)

cc @lisasy @pp

pp profile image
Paweł Ludwiczak

I'm generally all-in for that.

One thing we have to probably figure out before tackling that is a bit of a tech (and product) debt we have around reactions and that involves many areas:

  • we have reactions in different places: Feed Items, Posts, Comments, Notifications
  • for each of these places we kinda treat reactions differently (for example in Notifications you can like/dislike a post and comment right from the Notification center.. In the Feed, it's not possible)
  • in Notifications you can reply to a comment (which is also a form of reaction) right from the Notifications, but not in the Feed.
  • sometimes we let ppl react only with one specific reaction (like for Comments) and sometimes with other reactions too (unicorn for articles).
  • "saving" is sometimes considered being a reaction and sometimes it's actually a specific CTA that user may want to be interested in.
  • on top of everything, code responsible for handling reactions is pretty much different for every place I've mentioned :D

Sooo, if we could figure out ^ these first, before we jump into adding another layer of complexity, that would be pretty awesome :D

That being said, I think there's something we could consider a "good start". So maybe we could let admins customize the "Unicorn" reaction only? The Unicorn feels very DEV-oriented and I don't think it fits other communities that well. We could treat it as a "superlike" and let each community to define what their super like is:

  • for Quidditch community it could be Golden Snitch (sorry, I don't know much about HP and Quidditch)
  • for Formula 1 community it could be a chequered flag or a helmet
  • for Whiskey community it could be a glass of scotch..
  • ...

^ that should be much easier to achieve rather than evolving our current reactions system to be able to add multiple reactions.

Thread Thread
afrodevgirl profile image
Alexis Moody

Yea, those complexities definitely warrant a larger refactor if slack-moji's are the goal. I'd love a custom "unicorn" reaction to start! For us it would probably be a snitch although i'm sure people would love to debate what our "special" reaction should be lol.

lee profile image

Great idea!