A Thanks Button - Your Opinions

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jesp
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Our previous home had a "Thanks Button" but, unfortunately, our move to IDB meant that we couldn’t offer this functionality for our new users. A little more than a year ago I tried to find a way to offer a thanks button again but the only option caused massive issues on the forum’s back end and I couldn’t go any further with it. Recently, however, those issues seem to have been resolved and the extension to the board software that allows a thanks button works as it should, and we’re able to offer it.

We’ve discussed it and, while we’re happy to offer it, we do have some concerns. We also recognise that adding it without consulting our users is the wrong thing to do - we want to be sure that you all have a say in this decision.

Our major concern lies in popularity contests, or, the appearance of one user being more popular and thus more valued due to having a large number of posts that have received thanks. If this is an issue that most users do not feel is a problem we’re happy to move forward.

We also want you to be fully aware of what we’re offering. This is what you’ll see when a post is thanked:

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This would list a certain number of usernames between the body of the post and the signature on the post, then provide the number of thanks above those that are displayed as a username. We can set the number of usernames to be anything between 1 and 250, but we would keep it to 10 or below because a high number is both messy and can cause server lag. I didn’t want to create ten test accounts but I hope the screenshot is helpful.

We are not able to offer a thanks given and thanks received counter.

If the general opinion of the thanks button is that users would like it to be added we would enable it for a trial period and ask for further opinions at a later date.

We may need to disable the extension - possibly indefinitely - with no notice if there are compatibility issues. We may also disable the extension if it leads to a toxic environment.

We want to make clear that from a mod perspective we would not place any value in thanks that a user has received when we’re making any moderating decision.

Please do use this thread to give us your thoughts and to provide us with your concerns. If you want more information from us feel free to ask. We’ll let the thread run for a few days.

Edit: if you would rather share your thoughts privately you're more than welcome to - just send me or another mod a message!
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noodlebum
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I like this idea, as sometimes I do just want to say I liked or agreed with several people's posts, but don't want to clog the thread up with me quoting everyone just to say 'agreed!'. Of course everyone could still do that if they wanted, and had more to add to the conversation. But a thanks button would be nice as a quicker option. And I actually like that there wouldn't be a counter under usernames, as I think that would possibly incite a popularity contest more than ones just for individual posts.
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obsessivelymoody
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I think so long as it doesn't become a popularity contest (I'm glad there won't be a counter for it!), and knock wood it doesn't, this is a great idea. Often when I want to tell a user I liked their post, or even add a simple "+1", I feel like I need to come up with something else to say, which can deter me from my initial purpose for writing the post. In short, I like this idea, and I'm very open to try it out!
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plinthofmylife
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I run a different forum and we have a "like" button and I have found myself wishing there was one on IDB because it's hard to acknowledge that you liked a post when you don't have much to add to the discussion. I'd really love one over here, it's one of the features I think is missing most often!

ETA: looks like you've already done the functional work on this, but we do a face-pile on ours that expands when you click the <3 icon to see the usernames - but we have it turned off so you can only see the # of likes on other people's posts, but the usernames on yours. I have it set so users can toggle on or off how much they want to be notified about likes on posts (default is first like, and like #10 because that gets an "appreciated" badge")

It doesn't cause too much trauma on my server, but I don't know how our forum loads compare. We get about 25K pageviews a week, and about 30% of our total data processing at the database level is from likes.
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knq
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I like the idea of a trial period! That way we can see how members use or don't use the feature. Like noodlebum and obsessivelymoody, I think not having counts for thanks given/received is a feature.

I like the idea of the 10 usernames you plan on displaying. I would maybe think not allowing more than 10 thanks, or if the feature allows it, a button to see more usernames without the number of them being counted, instead of a +15 or the likes would prevent the button from being a popularity thing.
jesp
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plinthofmylife wrote: Thu Jul 18, 2019 10:20 pm I run a different forum and we have a "like" button and I have found myself wishing there was one on IDB because it's hard to acknowledge that you liked a post when you don't have much to add to the discussion. I'd really love one over here, it's one of the features I think is missing most often!

ETA: looks like you've already done the functional work on this, but we do a face-pile on ours that expands when you click the <3 icon to see the usernames - but we have it turned off so you can only see the # of likes on other people's posts, but the usernames on yours. I have it set so users can toggle on or off how much they want to be notified about likes on posts (default is first like, and like #10 because that gets an "appreciated" badge")

It doesn't cause too much trauma on my server, but I don't know how our forum loads compare. We get about 25K pageviews a week, and about 30% of our total data processing at the database level is from likes.
Our total pageviews for the last week is around 161k, and from what I can tell around 100k of that would be pages that would show post likes.

Unfortunately, the technical reasons that have prevented adding a thanks button to the forum for a while also don't allow for a large amount of customisation. A bare bones approach is the best approach for us at the moment and I'm also wary of making too many changes - we're running a slightly older version of the phpBB software and I'd like to err on the side of caution.

Edit: I forgot to mention that our analytics for the last month or so aren't reflective of the usual numbers we see. BIG, vidcon, etc. have given us a little more traffic than usual. Our average before June was hovering around 90k pageviews.
Last edited by jesp on Thu Jul 18, 2019 10:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: clarified numbers
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mathsniel
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Has there been any discussion about making it fully anonymous? There's been at least a couple of times on the forum where it's been split by some controversial topic and I've not wanted to take sides publicly, whilst still agreeing with one side. Letting it be anonymous would allow people to let a person know they agree with them whilst not having that opinion attached to their account/username.
alien
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I'm all for it.
jesp
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mathsniel wrote: Thu Jul 18, 2019 10:44 pm Has there been any discussion about making it fully anonymous? There's been at least a couple of times on the forum where it's been split by some controversial topic and I've not wanted to take sides publicly, whilst still agreeing with one side. Letting it be anonymous would allow people to let a person know they agree with them whilst not having that opinion attached to their account/username.
I agree that this would be a great option, but unfortunately isn't something we'd be able to do. We're really only able to offer the option explained in the OP or no thanks button at all.
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plinthofmylife
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jesp wrote: Thu Jul 18, 2019 10:36 pm Unfortunately, the technical reasons that have prevented adding a thanks button to the forum for a while also don't allow for a large amount of customisation. A bare bones approach is the best approach for us at the moment and I'm also wary of making too many changes - we're running a slightly older version of the phpBB software and I'd like to err on the side of caution.
I definitely understand the need to play it safe - IDB has made me want to do custom emojis for my forum sooo much but I think it might break everything.

I don't run on phpBB anymore so I unfortunately think my data about how it would affect your SQL load is largely irrelevant - but I will say the # of pages with likes visible for me has less impact than the total # of people taking the action since it then requires a database action each time to link the user record to the individual post record. That being said, it hasn't killed my database load (the database runs on AWS - separate from my actual data - and it's still relatively minor even with all those actions).

Anyway I'd love it. I'd say give it a trial run.
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autumnhearth
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If we had a like button right now I would just like some of the posts above that say sounds good especially as there is no counter ;)
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AltMay
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I think it's an amazing idea! I agree with what has already been said here about sometimes just wanting to +1 a post and feeling like something else need to be said in order not to clog the thread.
In regards to competition, hopefully it won't happen especially cause there wouldn't be a counter promoting it.

In short, agree to all of the above, would love to test it out.
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Puffy
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I also like the idea of a trial of a ty button, all the valid reasons I can think of have already been said by others so +1 to that!
vogonsrock
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I hardly ever post, there are so many eloquent people here that anything I might say has mostly already been said. I often see posts that practically make me want to applaud, so I would really appreciate a thanks button as a way of kind of joining in the conversation.
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kavat
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I kind of like that there isn't a like/thanks button today. For one, I like that everyone is on a level playing field here where followers or likes don't matter. More well known posters would probably get more likes, and someone who doesn't get any might feel discouraged to post.

I also think that the lack of a like button encourages discussion. You can quote someone today just to say +1 and there is nothing wrong with that (I don't think this happens enough today that it cloggs the thread) but people often add more to the discussion as well. If there were a like button, some of those posts would not happen and that makes me sad.

I'm up for a trial period, but I'm just a little skeptic.
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liola
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I think a trial run is needed but I would love the functionality, sometimes you just want to agree with a poster, especially during conversations where a lot of people would just reiterate the same things. I guess there's a risk of lowering the amount of posts on threads but I guess if there's a huge difference and we notice the thanks are lowering the discussion quality, then you can take it back.

As god himself Phil Lester would say, try new things :ribena:
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glitterintheair
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I support the trial run!
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noodlebum
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Yeah a trial run would be good. I see what Kavat means with it perhaps meaning less posts. But think be worth a go and see if it makes much of a difference to post amounts :)
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Ablissa
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I'm a bit ~meh on the subject, to be honest. Even those "I agree" posts generate some discussion, so I hope people won't use the thanks button as a total replacement for participating.
kavat wrote: Fri Jul 19, 2019 8:46 am I kind of like that there isn't a like/thanks button today. For one, I like that everyone is on a level playing field here where followers or likes don't matter. More well known posters would probably get more likes, and someone who doesn't get any might feel discouraged to post.

I also think that the lack of a like button encourages discussion. You can quote someone today just to say +1 and there is nothing wrong with that (I don't think this happens enough today that it cloggs the thread) but people often add more to the discussion as well. If there were a like button, some of those posts would not happen and that makes me sad.

I'm up for a trial period, but I'm just a little skeptic.
kavat basically stated all my thoughts on the subject!
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alittledizzy
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Ablissa wrote: Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:38 pm I'm a bit ~meh on the subject, to be honest. Even those "I agree" posts generate some discussion, so I hope people won't use the thanks button as a total replacement for participating.
kavat wrote: Fri Jul 19, 2019 8:46 am I kind of like that there isn't a like/thanks button today. For one, I like that everyone is on a level playing field here where followers or likes don't matter. More well known posters would probably get more likes, and someone who doesn't get any might feel discouraged to post.

I also think that the lack of a like button encourages discussion. You can quote someone today just to say +1 and there is nothing wrong with that (I don't think this happens enough today that it cloggs the thread) but people often add more to the discussion as well. If there were a like button, some of those posts would not happen and that makes me sad.

I'm up for a trial period, but I'm just a little skeptic.
kavat basically stated all my thoughts on the subject!
Those are the hesitations that we've had during internal discussions, as well. That's why we want to do the trial period. If it causes a decline in posts or discussion, we aren't likely to keep it as a feature.
jesp
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alittledizzy wrote: Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:43 pmThose are the hesitations that we've had during internal discussions, as well. That's why we want to do the trial period. If it causes a decline in posts or discussion, we aren't likely to keep it as a feature.

Absolutely. The health of the board and people's desire to post is the most important thing, and if the thanks button causes issues with this we would rather disable it.

In the meantime, I've enabled the thanks button in About This Forum only - you'll find it to the top right of a post, beside the quote and report buttons.

I've enabled it so that people can see how it will look. The amount of likes displayed as usernames on a post is currently set to 5 but that can be changed easily. If this discussion leads to the thanks button being enabled on other parts of the forum the thanks on posts from this test will be reset.
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OhItsElliott
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I think a trial run would be a fantastic idea! Agree with the concerns about it becoming a popularity contest or discouraging user engagement, thus a trail seems like a good thing.

Although it could discourage people from adding to the discussion, I also think it could help a lot of those people who lurk on the forum but have a lot of social anxiety about publicly posting (which used to be me, and some days still is) to get them to engage on a level that feels more accessible, which may even act as a stepping stone and help build their confidence to post? idk if it would actually work this way but I think it's a possibility.

Additionally, I sort of like keeping the likes displayed at 5 just for visual clutter but it might be nice to be able to see the full list of likes if that's a possibility?
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obvsly
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I love it that we are being consulted on the matter. :) thanks all the mods and I’m willing to try it. Personally I’m still on the fence but I’m sure it’ll become clear whether it helps or hinders the discussion during the trial period.

Oh, another thing. Is there a way to make the 5 displayed names that “thanked” the post be the most recent ones instead of the oldest? (Or is it already that way? Sorry if it is; I’m not sure how to check it.) Just to give everyone equal exposure/responsibility for their thank, you know? Otherwise after the first 5, it gets much easier to add your thank into a controversial post knowing your name will never be shown.
jesp
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obvsly wrote: Sat Jul 20, 2019 1:31 pm I love it that we are being consulted on the matter. :) thanks all the mods and I’m willing to try it. Personally I’m still on the fence but I’m sure it’ll become clear whether it helps or hinders the discussion during the trial period.

Oh, another thing. Is there a way to make the 5 displayed names that “thanked” the post be the most recent ones instead of the oldest? (Or is it already that way? Sorry if it is; I’m not sure how to check it.) Just to give everyone equal exposure/responsibility for their thank, you know? Otherwise after the first 5, it gets much easier to add your thank into a controversial post knowing your name will never be shown.
It can only show the first 5 {or whatever number it is set to show as usernames}.

This is all the customisation we have for the thanks displayed on posts:

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obvsly
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jesp wrote: Sat Jul 20, 2019 2:25 pm This is all the customisation we have for the thanks displayed on posts:

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Understood! 👌
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