Remove the thank feature


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Crypt Cleanser

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Post Friday, 19th February 2016, 17:10

Remove the thank feature

Effort posts get thanked, but not as often as low effort sarcasm/black humor/outright trolling, effectively doubling spell power on all such troll attempts, and encouraging the cycle to continue.

I may eventually make a longer post about ways to improve this forum but this would help staunch the bleeding so the patient can be stabilized in the short term.

Edit:

To expound on this a little, every site that includes a thank or support or upvote feature goes through a similar cycle:

First phase; People upvote quality, high effort posts that include a lot of reasoning, original content, etc. This is usually the intended function of the system and it works well... for a while.

Second phase; People upvote people they like/agree with, and downvote or ignore people they do not like/do not agree with. At this point the system is arguably neutral, neither encouraging quality content, nor discouraging.

Third phase; People upvote anything funny, or that attempts to be funny. This is the worst phase, and signifies that your forum has literally become a joke. People use it to feel good about themselves, to get a few cheap laughs, usually at others' expense, and everyone trying to be "witty" and feel smarter than others by trolling them, or being in on the in-joke.

Imo, this forum is hovering between 2 and 3. Prompt action is definitely needed to prevent system collapsing into full cesspit mode.

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Barkeep

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Post Friday, 19th February 2016, 18:16

Re: Remove the thank feature

Okay, first off, let's acknowledge that these metaphors ("staunch the bleeding so the patient can be stabilized") and dire predictions ("system collapsing into full cesspit mode") are probably taking things a little far, lethediver. Sure, the Tavern isn't a model society or anything, but as far as Internet forums about video games go, I've seen worse.

That said, the mods were already discussing this. Currently, we're held up because I suggested doing a halfway thing as a trial period; there's a setting that would make it so that posters can only thank the OP of a thread, which retains the useful stuff (esp. "I agree"/"Me too" posts) while getting rid of a lot of other stuff. However, we haven't really discussed it much yet, and if that's not going to work, we'll definitely just be seeing how the forum works with no thanks.

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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Friday, 19th February 2016, 19:15

Re: Remove the thank feature

fwiw I don't think the use of "thanks" has changed at all since I started visiting tavern

so, unless there is something going on here that I don't know about--maybe there is an apocalyptic event scheduled to begin when the total number of tavern thanks reaches some threshold, which we are quickly approaching, or something; in this case you should probably tell the forum admins your secret knowledge--I don't think "prompt action is definitely needed"

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Post Friday, 19th February 2016, 21:04

Re: Remove the thank feature

I assure you that Tavern started at 3.

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Post Friday, 19th February 2016, 21:49

Re: Remove the thank feature

remove thanks over my dead body
take it easy

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Post Friday, 19th February 2016, 21:59

Re: Remove the thank feature

I think it is fine, and perhaps even good, for the community to publicly enjoy a bit of levity in between 500 word essays on the rpg death grid game. (This sounds derisive but it's not intended that way, I genuinely enjoy participating in such discussions.) This isn't true when said jokes are mean-spirited or actively discourage serious participation, which...I don't think is the case. I make jokes and joke accessories and I approve this message.

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Barkeep

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Post Sunday, 28th February 2016, 23:32

Re: Remove the thank feature

An update to note that I haven't heard any real objections to a trial run of restricting thanks to OPs, so I plan on pulling the trigger on that in the near future.

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Abyss Ambulator

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Post Monday, 29th February 2016, 01:26

Re: Remove the thank feature

There are enough poor OPs and quality replies that it feels a bit arbitrary to restrict the ability to thank something simply based on placement. Thanks are a cool form of positive reinforcement that have a good place in a forum like this, inevitable silliness notwithstanding. I don't think a trial run of restricting thanks to OPs would have a truly bad impact, but it seems unlikely to really help anything either.

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Crypt Cleanser

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Post Sunday, 6th March 2016, 04:14

Re: Remove the thank feature

I'm about to post again in the damage vs resistances thread.

I really think this discussion would have gone better with the thank system still in place.
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Abyss Ambulator

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Post Sunday, 6th March 2016, 05:33

Re: Remove the thank feature

Arrhythmia wrote:remove thanks over my dead body


D...did you kill him Archaeo!?!????
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Post Sunday, 6th March 2016, 08:17

Blade wrote:There are enough poor OPs and quality replies that it feels a bit arbitrary to restrict the ability to thank something simply based on placement. Thanks are a cool form of positive reinforcement that have a good place in a forum like this, inevitable silliness notwithstanding. I don't think a trial run of restricting thanks to OPs would have a truly bad impact, but it seems unlikely to really help anything either.

[button] Thank [/button]
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Barkeep

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Post Sunday, 6th March 2016, 15:11

Re: Remove the thank feature

I think we're gonna try a run without thanks for any of the things. It may be terrible, or it may not make any particular difference. But please don't keep on with the "thank" spamming actual threads. The whole point is to try to keep signal-to-noise a little higher in threads with actual content.
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Post Sunday, 6th March 2016, 15:21

njvack wrote:The whole point is to try to keep signal-to-noise a little higher in threads with actual content.

I'm no native English speaker and I didn't get the meaning of this sentence, even after reading it several times. What do you mean?

Vestibule Violator

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Post Sunday, 6th March 2016, 17:17

Re: Remove the thank feature

Can thanking be enabled/disabled by subforum? If so, please fully enable it in CYC.
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Abyss Ambulator

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Post Sunday, 6th March 2016, 18:02

Re: Remove the thank feature

njvack wrote:I think we're gonna try a run without thanks for any of the things. It may be terrible, or it may not make any particular difference. But please don't keep on with the "thank" spamming actual threads. The whole point is to try to keep signal-to-noise a little higher in threads with actual content.

I haven't been thank-spamming and I do not intend to. That said, it seems pretty apparent that people have been doing it because most Tavern posters genuinely do not want Thanks gone, now or in the future. Does it have its problems? Of course. Those have been well discussed. Overall, though, it really does serve its purpose well. It lets people know when their input is appreciated far more than simple reply comments, and it's become pretty well entwined with the way people post on Tavern. From my view, every time people have spammed thanks, it is a way of saying that: We like Thanks. We don't have the same way to reply to posts without it.

In fact, archaeo indirectly called for it:
if the experiment "fails," it will either be because people start spamming threads with "me too" and "I agree"

I can't speak for others, but it sounds like they want the experiment to fail. I know I do. It's been weird not being able to thank posts, and it hasn't made me want to comment more. It's made me show my support for ideas I like less, because others usually say what I want to say, and all I have to add is my agreement.

So... Please consider that users aren't making this sort of reply just to pollute Tavern and mess with mods. It's because a popular, effective feature is in the process of being removed with no replacement, and unlike Crawl, Tavern doesn't have a cascade of redundant features to remove.

Edit: turukano, "keep signal to noise ratio higher" just means: more quality content, less rubbish.

Edit 2: I'm one of the biggest advocates for quality content here, and I've been actively pushing it in several ways. I will continue to do so. On my recent "Legends of Crawl" thread, it took around five hours of steady work to put the story together, and seeing a dozen or so people thank it within the first day was, as silly as it sounds, a huge relief and a big motivator. Replies alone don't have that same potential for high support. In at least one instance of serious content, then, the removal of thanks actively hurts things and acts as a demotivator.

If you're serious about promoting quality, and I think you are, there are better ways to do it, and you'll find a lot of people willing to help.
Last edited by Blade on Monday, 7th March 2016, 00:33, edited 1 time in total.
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Post Sunday, 6th March 2016, 18:31

That was a good post, Blade.

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Post Sunday, 6th March 2016, 18:33

Re: Remove the thank feature

agreed

Shoals Surfer

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Post Sunday, 6th March 2016, 20:08

Re: Remove the thank feature

I very much agree with Blade.

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Sunday, 6th March 2016, 20:15

Re: Remove the thank feature

I also agree with blade, for me, there's a number of times where I would like to acknowledge something someone said, without feeling like I particularly need to add any content.
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Swamp Slogger

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Post Sunday, 6th March 2016, 21:33

Re: Remove the thank feature

I'm with Blade on this one. While I don't post that often I lurk quite a bit, and it's quite often I see something that I would thank to throw my own opinion behind when I'm not feeling too lazy to log in on mobile, where there's a post that more or less fully encapsulates my opinion and thus doesn't require an especially large elaboration on.
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Barkeep

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Post Monday, 7th March 2016, 01:11

Re: Remove the thank feature

Rast wrote:Can thanking be enabled/disabled by subforum? If so, please fully enable it in CYC.

This is possible, but doesn't seem remotely desirable. If we decide to stick with full thanks removal, I can't imagine a scenario where it makes sense to bring it back in the one subforum where its "signal-to-noise reduction" function is least necessary and all its other issues are just made worse.

Blade wrote:I can't speak for others, but it sounds like they want the experiment to fail. I know I do. It's been weird not being able to thank posts, and it hasn't made me want to comment more. It's made me show my support for ideas I like less, because others usually say what I want to say, and all I have to add is my agreement.

We know people want it to fail; it's very difficult to ignore the most tepid civil disobedience in the history of protest going on across the forum, after all. I didn't "call for it," as your post suggests, indirectly or otherwise. If these kinds of +1 posts were happening organically, it would be a reason to consider the experiment a failure; given that 100% of it so far has come from posters who have been critical of removal in the S&C and Announcement threads, it doesn't hold much weight for an argument against thanks removal.

Nobody is totally convinced this is the right move, including the other mods and I; the mod team just happens to agree unanimously that this is an experiment worth trying. If you're adamantly against it, we ask for your patience. As njvack said above, we're hoping that people can be reasonable about giving this change a try instead of requiring us to remove their protest posts, something that we will likely have to start doing if people persist.

Shoals Surfer

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Post Monday, 7th March 2016, 02:14

Re: Remove the thank feature

If your experiment is to see whether removing thanks creates more contentless posts, then you can't discount actual contentless posts as merely a protest. Well, I guess you can, but I don't know how you imagine you're going to get anything like objective results.

To put that another way: if this is an experiment, what would be the signs that it is or isn't working?

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Post Monday, 7th March 2016, 02:21

Re: Remove the thank feature

I'll admit that some of my posts have been in protest, but a fair number have also been a genuine automatic response. Where I feel that I should express appreciation of something, but the only way now is through a contentless post. I guess I could just not express appreciation, but I really don't want to do that.

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Monday, 7th March 2016, 03:14

Re: Remove the thank feature

Why don't you? Expressing appreciation doesn't do anything useful.

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Post Monday, 7th March 2016, 03:19

Re: Remove the thank feature

duvessa wrote:Why don't you? Expressing appreciation doesn't do anything useful.

Why do you sometimes thank posts you find funny?

bel

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Post Monday, 7th March 2016, 03:20

Re: Remove the thank feature

How exactly would one know whether the experiment of not allowing thanks on posts works? What exactly is one measuring?
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Barkeep

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Post Monday, 7th March 2016, 04:30

Re: Remove the thank feature

ydeve wrote:
duvessa wrote:Why don't you? Expressing appreciation doesn't do anything useful.

Why do you sometimes thank posts you find funny?

This exchange gets at the heart of the matter, to me: are thanks socially useful, or are they a useless distraction? We can debate that endlessly, or we can just try not having thanks for awhile and see what happens.

bel wrote:How exactly would one know whether the experiment of not allowing thanks on posts works? What exactly is one measuring?

I'll be honest and say we have no objective metrics for success. The only outcome we're aiming for is making the Tavern a better community. If it turns out that thanks removal doesn't do that, we'll reverse it, and we'll be sure to take everyone's feedback into account.

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Post Monday, 7th March 2016, 04:51

Re: Remove the thank feature

If whenever you tell a joke no one laughs, would you continue to tell jokes? How am I supposed to let the teller know I think it's funny if I can't laugh back without having something witty to add in return without making "contentless posts"?
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Post Monday, 7th March 2016, 04:53

Re: Remove the thank feature

I'll be honest, I was expecting thankless responses to be a major improvement. However, that is very far from what I've experienced.

I have noticed no change aside from making it harder to search through longer threads to find the key points that have been made so far in the thread. I am definitely in favor of returning the universal thank system.
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Post Monday, 7th March 2016, 15:13

Re: Remove the thank feature

bring it back, I'm exhausted having to scroll through +1s and having to type out "amusedthanks" or "correctthanks"

it's literarily exactly what most sensible people predicted would happen
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Barkeep

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Post Monday, 7th March 2016, 15:27

Re: Remove the thank feature

ZipZipskins wrote:bring it back, I'm exhausted having to scroll through +1s and having to type out "amusedthanks" or "correctthanks"

it's literarily exactly what most sensible people predicted would happen

Wait what why would you type 'amusedthanks' or 'correctthanks' they're just as spammy as any other thanks don't do that we'll delete those posts if we're trying to be rid of thanks.

My thoughts on this: I agree with the sentiment that Thanks may help to encourage threads to go off-track (getting thanks is nice, jokes get thanks) or antisocial behavior (getting thanks is nice, sick burns get thanks). So I've been in favor of not having the Thanks feature. But I also see that basically all the other online communities have something like Thanks; it may be that it's a better outlet than the alternatives.

So! Thanks, all, for the thoughtful commentary in this thread. I'm being rather converted to the idea that thanking is better than not thanking.

OK, now I am really supposed to be doing more useful things than doing meta-discussion on a crawl forum
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Barkeep

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Post Monday, 7th March 2016, 15:54

Re: Remove the thank feature

Does literally anyone else think this is a good idea? I mean, seriously; previous threads included a number of posters who were in favor of removing thanks, and I notice that exactly 0 people have shown up to support it now that it's done. If nobody else is even willing to step forward with tepid agreement, I'm not sure how much I really want to stand up here as the only "non-sensible" person, as Zip would have it.
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Post Monday, 7th March 2016, 16:14

Re: Remove the thank feature

it was all just a set-up, archaeo, to make you look foolish! does OP sound remotely sensible? no other mods took the bait. and look how easily you got duped!
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Barkeep

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Post Monday, 7th March 2016, 16:24

Re: Remove the thank feature

As I pointed out in the announcement thread:
archaeo wrote:We've discussed the Thanks feature a few times in recent history. The most recent discussion was here, but some other previous discussions can be found here, here, and here.

This OP only served as a reminder of something that had previous mod consensus and a modicum of forum consensus but never got done because, previously, we only thought Napkin could remove thanks.

But yes, thank you HardboiledGargoyle, I appreciate how I've now been called a sucker as well as someone without any sense.

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Post Monday, 7th March 2016, 16:39

Re: Remove the thank feature

Hey I hedged a bunch. I said very clearly "most sensible people"

It wasn't my intent to offend and in fact I typically appreciate your moderation
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Barkeep

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Post Monday, 7th March 2016, 16:47

Re: Remove the thank feature

To be fair, all the mods have been on Team Senseless Suckers for some time. And in the other threads about it, I like think we have been in good company.

My gut feeling is "hey, we thought thanks was maybe causing more problems than it was helping with, what if we tried not having the feature for a while and see if things were better without?" Right now, there's a lot of call to bring it back. But I don't know if this is because having it is better than not, or because everyone is used to how things were, or both.

What if we let things run for a week or two without the feature and give peoples' muscle memory a chance to wear off?
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Post Monday, 7th March 2016, 16:52

Re: Remove the thank feature

I don't think thanks fulfill their original purpose very well, ie rewarding people who help others. That said, it's unclear whether removing them will improve things or not. I treat them as a joke but I like jokes.

On the other hand, as njvack suggests, I suspect the recency of the removal is part of the reason for the complaints, and people will soon forget. If moving regen from a ring to an amulet is enough to get a guy to declare he's quitting crawl, then it is proven that people really like the status quo and will oppose change for its own sake. +1 for staying the course for some fixed-length trial.

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Post Monday, 7th March 2016, 18:12

Re: Remove the thank feature

njvack wrote:Wait what why would you type 'amusedthanks' or 'correctthanks' they're just as spammy as any other thanks don't do that we'll delete those posts if we're trying to be rid of thanks.


They're spammier, which is kind of the point of the thanks feature in the first place, and if you look at threads they are littered now with this type of reply

Look, I think it's a decent experiment and I'm totally cool with giving it more time if you feel like it will help but so far the forum hasn't actually improved at all. I'm not one to say that it won't.

Moreover I think my "most sensible people" comment has been blown way out of proportion and taken personally. Archaeo, you were acting out the will of mods and what I would consider to be a vocal group of protestors and as a forum general moderator this kind of thing is what you have to do. Please don't construe what I said as some kind of slight on you. I'm not saying you were a fucking moron or something.

What I was trying to say in a flippant, offhanded way is that there were a lot of voices in the conversation that were trying to analyze what function the feature actually served and to me, it really seems that the majority of people opposed were opposed for emotional reasons.

I'm not saying that those reasons are invalid either before that sentence also explodes

(My vote is still on the side of bring it back but truly I'm cool with whatever you wanna do)

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Post Monday, 7th March 2016, 20:00

Re: Remove the thank feature

archaeo wrote:Does literally anyone else think this is a good idea?

I'm not sure what you are referring to with "this".

I don't really care about thanks one way or another but I think that the current half-measure is pretty bad; you should either remove thanks entirely or leave them in, since being able to thank just the OP (even if it actually worked correctly) is pretty awkward imo. On forums where the number of thanks (upvotes etc.) actually direct which content you see it makes some sense (though, that's probably still more of an argument for thanks on all posts), but Tavern obviously does not function like that, so if you want to remove thanks you should just remove thanks. I'd probably lean toward retaining thanks since that was how tavern functioned in the past and no-thanks does not seem to be noticeably better.

That said, a handful of people over two years in two-ish threads is not exactly much support for thanks removal. There wasn't exactly heated opposition to thanks removal in those threads either, of course.

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Post Monday, 7th March 2016, 20:07

Re: Remove the thank feature

The problem is that you said it was a trial run and you might bring thanks back. That is something you should never say because it assumes your users have a shred of maturity. They never do. So now the people who liked thanks are spamming because they think it'll bring thanks back, and apparently it's working on you. You needed to remove thanks (or restrict to OPs) ostensibly permanently with no possibility of reversal. Then if the forum is actually worse without them you can restore them. But instead you really dropped the ball and not only explicitly said that thanks might come back, you practically asked people to protest it by spamming:
archaeo wrote:To be frank, if this experiment fails, it will either be because people will start "polluting" threads with "me too" or "lol" or any of the other concise statements that are currently wrapped up in thanks,

Unfortunately the damage is already done. You might be able to cut the losses by putting your foot down now and saying thanks aren't coming back no matter what.
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Barkeep

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Post Monday, 7th March 2016, 20:14

Re: Remove the thank feature

Alternately, say they're coming back immediately and then not put them back.
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Barkeep

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Post Monday, 7th March 2016, 20:15

Re: Remove the thank feature

ZipZipskins wrote:Moreover I think my "most sensible people" comment has been blown way out of proportion and taken personally.

I was lightly teasing with my Team Senseless Suckers comment ;)
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Post Monday, 7th March 2016, 20:33

Re: Remove the thank feature

ZipZipskins wrote:Moreover I think my "most sensible people" comment has been blown way out of proportion and taken personally. Archaeo, you were acting out the will of mods and what I would consider to be a vocal group of protestors and as a forum general moderator this kind of thing is what you have to do. Please don't construe what I said as some kind of slight on you. I'm not saying you were a fucking moron or something.

Oh, I was being flippant too; my feelings aren't at all hurt.

crate wrote:I don't really care about thanks one way or another but I think that the current half-measure is pretty bad; you should either remove thanks entirely or leave them in, since being able to thank just the OP (even if it actually worked correctly) is pretty awkward imo. On forums where the number of thanks (upvotes etc.) actually direct which content you see it makes some sense (though, that's probably still more of an argument for thanks on all posts), but Tavern obviously does not function like that, so if you want to remove thanks you should just remove thanks.

I think I've said this before, but I can't remember or be bothered to check, so here it is again: thanks-only-on-OPs was an easy switch I was sure wouldn't break the forum, where removing thanks altogether requires editing user permissions in an ugly set of menus. Given that, it was easy to convince myself that OP thanks were the least problematic and thus could be allowed to stay, etc., but it's clearly not convincing anyone else.

duvessa wrote:You might be able to cut the losses by putting your foot down now and saying thanks aren't coming back no matter what.

Given that thanks-for-OPs-only has been universally panned, probably the next step is to remove that and, in doing so, set out a clear timetable for the trial during which "thanks" posts will actively be removed.

But yeah, I think this experience proves that if I were a Crawl dev the game would still have Mountain Dwarves, lord help me.

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Post Monday, 7th March 2016, 20:37

Re: Remove the thank feature

duvessa is right: if there's one thing you could've learned from Crawl development, it's that it is no consultation or democracy. People can say something, and perhaps developers will answer, but there is a clear hierarchy. It is the same for this forum: you moderate it, so you make the rules. Listen to negative comments, but decide what *you* think is best. This is not really related to online communication (similar structure applies to parents/children or teacher/class or superior/subordinates, in my opinion), but the internet makes discourse a bit worse, as always.

Anyway, keep up the good work!

edit: We posted at the same time, had to laugh about the Mountain Dwarves :) Players would love you!!!

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Post Monday, 7th March 2016, 21:39

Re: Remove the thank feature

archaeo wrote:
ZipZipskins wrote:Moreover I think my "most sensible people" comment has been blown way out of proportion and taken personally. Archaeo, you were acting out the will of mods and what I would consider to be a vocal group of protestors and as a forum general moderator this kind of thing is what you have to do. Please don't construe what I said as some kind of slight on you. I'm not saying you were a fucking moron or something.

Oh, I was being flippant too; my feelings aren't at all hurt.


Thanks.
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Post Monday, 7th March 2016, 22:07

Re: Remove the thank feature

For what it's worth, I don't think the Tavern's users lack even a "shred of maturity," and I don't think being a forum moderator is anything like being a parent/teacher/boss/developer. I'm more like a janitor who occasionally works for the school basketball team as a referee.

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Post Monday, 7th March 2016, 22:46

Re: Remove the thank feature

crate wrote:That said, a handful of people over two years in two-ish threads is not exactly much support for thanks removal. There wasn't exactly heated opposition to thanks removal in those threads either, of course.


Fwiw, it may not have been heated, but I did present, in what I believe was a pretty direct and thought out way, why I believed and still believe Thanks make the forum better, rather than worse at the time.

Also "removing posts because they are just Thanks substitutes" gets real subjective real fast, and a lot of people want to feel like they can say things like "I agree with that" even if they feel the point had been made sufficiently that they don't have anything substantial to add.

People like to feel like they are heard and can lend their voice to the discussion, giving people no outlet to do so other than by posting will inevitably lead to Los of low value posts, simply because there is no alternative.

If we get super draconian about it, where any post that doesn't add any content always gets removed, we end up with no ability to debate points, as a lot of discussions pretty much look like "I think x", "I think y", followed by a considerable amount of people agreeing with one side or the other until you can actually see a consensus, without the ability to test ideas against popular opinion, really terrible and useless ideas are given equal weight with the good ones, not to say we would go that far, but then someone has to decide exactly how far we go.

A low-overhead solution like Thanks for giving people the outlet to venture opinions without clutter is a net win, since it allows us the freedom to express ourselves, without forcing is to try to filter (which is inherently a biased process no matter who is doing it or what criteria they use) or forcing us to endure miles of content less junk.
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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Monday, 7th March 2016, 23:14

Re: Remove the thank feature

dpeg wrote:duvessa is right: if there's one thing you could've learned from Crawl development, it's that it is no consultation or democracy. People can say something, and perhaps developers will answer, but there is a clear hierarchy. It is the same for this forum: you moderate it, so you make the rules. Listen to negative comments, but decide what *you* think is best. This is not really related to online communication (similar structure applies to parents/children or teacher/class or superior/subordinates, in my opinion), but the internet makes discourse a bit worse, as always.

Anyway, keep up the good work!

I agree.
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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Thursday, 10th March 2016, 00:39

Re: Remove the thank feature

i had a dream last night that thanks came back
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Post Thursday, 10th March 2016, 06:29

johlstei wrote:On the other hand, as njvack suggests, I suspect the recency of the removal [of thanks] is part of the reason for the complaints

The recency is one thing I thought about as well. My Poll: Removal of Thank button was made yesterday, i.e. about one week after Thanks were removed.

Actually the majority of the votes is in favour of getting Thanks back. 12/25 users consider the removal to be a "rather bad idea" and even 7/25 voted for "bad idea". This is not surprising after what I've read in the recent discussions.

It could be interesting to start the same / a similar poll after some time again.
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