Boo Circle

I’ve been enjoying the heck out of old Mario Maker videos and enjoying even more of the heck out of Mario Maker 2 videos. Simple pleasures for a simple man, eh?

For the new edition, Nintendo did one little thing that strikes me as interesting, if complicated.

In the original Mario Maker, players had only an option to “star” a level they like — not so different than the type of one-click feedback Facebook and Twitter are known for accepting. In the new one, players still have an option to give one-click positive or negative feedback on any given level. It doesn’t look like an upvote/downvote counter a la Reddit, etc. I have no idea how it works. Or even if it works.

11 seconds of googling didn’t turn up anything definitive about how Nintendo is using the information.

What I have is anecdotal — maybe the new game is actually surfacing as much hot garbage as ever — but from what I’ve seen so far, the levels that show up in videos look a lot better and a lot more fun to play.

I also don’t want to overdo the point because BOO button looks like one of the smallest among a whole bunch of other thoughtful changes.

BUT, and here’s my complicated thought:  From a content aggregation perspective, I’d imagine knowing what all levels draw a lot of explicitly negative reaction makes it a lot easier for Nintendo to bury bad levels and surface good ones. I’d imagine accepting explicitly negative direct one-click feedback could help all kinds of platforms sort through other kinds of content. I’d bet other tech platform-type companies are taking another look at adding BOO buttons of their own.

Facebook’s set of emotion-centered reactions don’t seem to be as clear-cut about letting Facebook users mark content that is just plain bad.

If BOO came to Facebook newsfeed, I’m sure some news publishers would face organized and cynical efforts to bury their stories. I’m sure some people will continue to be highly motivated to stop the distribution of information they’d rather not address. Despite these qualms, and even though it won’t keep some people from posting nonsense, I’d like to see BOOs come full circle.

Because I’d much rather live in a world where the first people who see junk content can signal clearly that it’s junk, than persist by default with the world we’ve got now, in which it’s all too common for people who get along IRL to sever online relationships over lousy third-party content. 

Published by Andrew Ottoson

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