Hearts & owls.
You know what I'd prefer, if I had my druthers?
Do away with thumbs up & down altogether. (As a thread "rating" function. Not necessarily for individual posts.) There is too much confusion about their actual purpose & also considerable bad feeling caused (whether some want to acknowledge it or not) by this system of "rating" threads.
Replace them with a symbol (a red bullet?
) indicating a high level of current participation
in a thread. By "participation" I mean a high level of both posting
& also reading
activity (which, to me, has always been the real indicator of interest in a thread).
I actually think this would encourage more people (particularly new or less confident members) to instigate their own threads. I'd also like to be able to indicate that I have no interest in a thread (& be able to completely ignore it) without "downgrading" it (thumbing down).