This website makes me realize that I've been trained to "reward" others for posting online. I feel an uncontrollable urge to "upvote" or "like" comments but quickly realize the button isn't available.
It's an odd feeling, isn't it? Perhaps the real reward stems from participation and free-flowing discussions that are motivated by our interest in the topic and conversations rather than attention-seeking behavior :)
It really is. I also have this urge, and it feels almost impolite to not respond in some way (be it with a like, upvote, etc.) to a comment simply because I have nothing to add. I'm enjoying that Subreply is different enough to challenge something that's now almost a constant across almost all other forms of social media I can think of.
I think that's a reflection of conversational (i.e., talking) communication. A lot of conversation depends on non-verbal cues, such as a head nod or a "mm-hmm". Its totally a cultural thing that was translated to the "like" button in the web. It feels odd when we don't have a way of doing that. It's like we've gone all the way back to sending letters.
I like the word choice here - Even when I don't want to add something significant to the conversation, I may want to say "I agree" aka "I like this" and it feels impolite to leave the conversation hanging. Liking a comment in some ways is like saying "yes, I hear you." otherwise you may feel that your input was lost to the void.
Are you all Canadian? ;-) Seriously, I very much identify with all this. Even when it's awkward -- e.g., using hearts for this ack/nod -- it's still far more comfortable than leaving it all to the void. :-)