For the love of God go easy on the emoticons

your say May 25, 2014 00:00

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Can readers vote on whether we like emoticons? We've got "Happy" "Inspired" "Amused" "Sad" and "Angry" to choose from. They all get a down-vote from me, and here's why:

Let’s say there's an article or a letter about rescuing shipwrecked pirates from a sinking boat, where half the pirates died during the operation. If someone votes “Happy”, what are they expressing? Are they happy half the pirates were saved or happy half died? If someone votes “Sad”, are they sad that half were saved or sad that only half died? Or are they saying they’re sad that piracy exists?
Similarly, if there’s an article about a Shinawatra getting busted for avoiding taxes, which one of the emoticons express support for them getting busted, and which ones are against that happening? Think about it, because each emoticon can mean two opposing things, depending on how they're seen to be applied. In other words, the subjectivity of the observer is part of the equation.
It would be a lot clearer to simply offer four options: “Like very much”, “Like”, “Dislike”, “Detest”. With those four options, readers can express what they like and don’t like. Or as Facebook does: “like” or “dislike”.
Simple and clear, instead of predicated on the reader’s interpretation.
Ken Albertsen
Chiang Rai