This forum seems kind of one-sided in that people can come along and just “like” something without explaining why. I assume that’s why there’s no NOT-like button - because you want people to give a reason instead.
We are using the Discourse software; you should ask that on https://meta.discourse.org instead, as we do not design the software.
The purpose of Discourse in general (and of this site in particular) is to enable civilised discussions. “Yeah, I agree, but I’ve got nothing to add” is useful information to have for a given proposal, but let’s be honest it doesn’t make for a great contribution as a message. That’s why you have like.
At the other end, “No, I really don’t like this idea” is also important to know, but it is useless unless it comes with motivation, without something constructive. So if you don’t like something, you have to speak up and explain why.
This makes for sane defaults.
What if I don’t like something for the same reasons that have already been stated? “I disagree, but I’ve got nothing to add” is certainly useful for any of the sums to be meaningful. In other words - a count of people who liked something is kind of meaningless without knowing a count of people who disliked something.
That’s what makes the defaults un-sane in my opinion.
Then you can like the disagreement post expressing those reasons.
So, say that someone posts “Let’s have X feature” and there are 100 likes on the topic. Without reading every post on the topic in detail and evaluating whether it’s in actual agreement or not, one has no way of accurately gauging the reaction.
Furthermore, it affects bias - someone new to the thread would likely think that most people agree on that topic when in actuality 75 of the likes could have been on posts that stated disagreement.
This seems to work in opposition to the stated goal of giving meaningful feedback on specifications.
You can tell the difference between likes on the root message and likes on replies to it.
From a proponent’s viewpoint I think it would be foolish to read likes as anything other than agreeing with the fact that the problem is one demanding to be solved. The actual solution requires discussion no matter what, but that happens as part of normal specification development, digging into issues.