I want to know how we can analyze the number of preferences versus lack of preferences, or dislikes versus likes, and determine if the balance or lack thereof signifies a truly positive affirmation or a truly negative one from a general viewpoint of society.

For example, say someone posts a message as follows on YouTube:

"This is why black people are the majority of prison populations."

The comment has 89 thumbs ups and remains stagnant (e.g. not enough dislikes throw or even the balance back to 0, and it remains around 89 likes). The comment is in response to a video showing a black male robbing a business. Is this purely indicative that positive approval of this message signifies truly positive affirmation from the scope of those reading it? Basically, is the statement true within the majority of those reading it; the majority of only those who liked it; the majority of those engaging in the conversation; or it just has no combative, negative affirmation?

If I were to come across the latter comment, am I wrong if I dislike it because most have already liked it?

Or say I head over to Reddit and someone is the top-comment of a post that's saying something big portions of society would consider questionable, yet it has the likes to prove that, "Most like it, agree with it, or approve of its message or from what they get from it somehow."

Deducing this down to the scope of those on this page and/or those capable of viewing and countering the likes with dislikes, is it correct to say that it's actually truly correct from its approval status from the scope of that community, possibly? Or from a good deal of members in that community? Even if what they're saying is deemed by society as prejudice, unjust, uncivil, etc.?

But if we got another community or group of people they could easily have never made that comment get those up votes. Does that mean that there is a such thing as a message ever officially being truly positive or truly negative?

On YouTube some people say some extremely illogical, stupid, senseless things, and make ranting, poor arguments, and hateful messages, or things that are provably false; and many people somewhere at some time are agreeing. If the majority agree under something provably false, is it true if no one counters this?

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    Can you highlight the question for us. Also, positivity and negativity have specific meanings in some philosophies, it doesn't seem like you're using them in that way... – virmaior Aug 15 '14 at 0:46
  • It's the modern world. We vote on everything. It's the rule of the mob. – user4894 Sep 14 '14 at 0:46
  • I like to think of voting systems as the modern form of peer pressure (and lynching). – Dave Sep 14 '14 at 8:22

This is a problem only in the case that we equate truth with the consensus of the majority. I'm sure some thinkers have argued for this view of truth, but my sense is the vast majority of people would reject it.

In terms of establishing a norm for a given community, however, it's quite possible that the appearance of consensus can change opinions. It also has been shown that the views of any given subgroup tend to become more and more radicalized when they interact mainly with each other.

Again this is an epistemological danger chiefly in the case that you consider opinion as foundational to truth.

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