Thanking Now Restricted to OPs


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Barkeep

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Post Tuesday, 1st March 2016, 17:59

Thanking Now Restricted to OPs

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. In my reading of these threads, as well as the related discussions in the moderator's super secret subforum, I think it's fair to say that while the Thanks feature has its defenders, a pretty broad consensus favors a change, and the only thing that has stopped its removal in the past was the belief that nobody but Napkin could accomplish it. However, njvack and I recently uncovered where the Thanks settings are located in phpBB's administrative tools, which removes this obstacle.

For now, instead of removing Thanks altogether, we'll be trying another one of the toggles we found, which only allows Thanks on the first post in a topic. It's the perfect middle ground for a trial run; comparing popular OPs to popular replies will provide good data on how effective Thanks are at preventing "me too" posts while simultaneously removing most of the avenues for thanking behavior that has frustrated people in the past. Unlike removing Thanks altogether, this is also relatively painless and easy to reverse.

Naturally, if we find that we really miss Thanks for replies, or that removing them creates more problems than it solves, we'll bring them back. I'll be happy to post a follow-up thread in S&C in a month or two to reassess. I expect there will be posters who disagree with Thanks removal, and they should feel free to register their disapproval here or via PMs to the mods, but I encourage everyone to give this experiment time to produce results before demanding the return of Thanks buttons.

While I'm mucking about in the forum settings, I've also taken the liberty of removing the "ratings" display, which has always struck me as misleading visual clutter. As a reminder, we've already removed the Thanks list in users' profiles and the Thanks "ratio" display in the sidebar; you can still view that ratio on a user's profile, and unless I'm mistaken, the entire Thanks function would have to be removed to get rid of them.

Sar

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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Tuesday, 1st March 2016, 18:02

Re: Thanking Now Restricted to OPs

so now if I want to make a really funny joke I just make a new thread and link the original one in it

ok gotcha

Edit: actually nvm I have a better idea

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johlstei
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Barkeep

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Post Tuesday, 1st March 2016, 18:10

Re: Thanking Now Restricted to OPs

I'm pretty sure you're not being serious, Sar, but I will take the opportunity to ask that if people have a problem with this, they register their opinion here instead of gaming the system. Most of those threads I linked in my OP included plenty of jokey "me too" posts as an example of what Thanks ostensibly prevent, but if people find themselves stymied by the lack of Thanks buttons, I for one would really appreciate it if they noted it here or in S&C instead of gaming the system or making a rhetorical point in actual post.

edit: okay, Sar's "better idea" was pretty funny, and I don't mean to say that all jokes on the topic are verboten. Just, you know, don't go nuts.

Shoals Surfer

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Post Tuesday, 1st March 2016, 20:42

Re: Thanking Now Restricted to OPs

It's great to see thoughtfulness about maintaining the quality of this message board, but I'm skeptical of this particular change. I doubt removing thanks will lessen the number of posts that are substanceless insults/personal attacks, it will just prevent those posts from having thanks attached to them.

The point of the thanks feature is to quickly allow people to agree with a post or to acknowledge a post as a significant contribution to a discussion. It serves that function well (although it would be better if there were a way to distinguish between its two possible meanings).

Honestly, I think the best things to help the atmosphere of the tavern would be: clearly outlined rules and goals for discussion (look at how crawl's philosophy section often serves to ground disagreements about design, something for discussion could serve similarly), and just encouraging people to play an active role in contributing to those goals. Post the kinds of contributions you'd like to see more of, explain to people when and why you think they're making the board a worse place, report hostile or discriminatory posts to mods, etc.

Dis Charger

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Post Tuesday, 1st March 2016, 20:44

Re: Thanking Now Restricted to OPs

Personally, I liked the feature because it's a easy and not polluting way to agree with a good suggestion, either being in gdd or an advice in yasd forum. And for the good sarcastic jokes.

While I can happily live without thinking sarcams, I'd still like to show my appreciation when Crate write a long, detailed, well done analysis in gdd without adding a post ad hoc to do that
screw it I hate this character I'm gonna go melee Gastronok

Dungeon Master

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Post Tuesday, 1st March 2016, 20:50

Re: Thanking Now Restricted to OPs

archaeo: Now you can experience first hand what it feels like to design something. And to use removals in your development :)

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Post Tuesday, 1st March 2016, 21:28

Re: Thanking Now Restricted to OPs

nago wrote:Personally, I liked the feature because it's a easy and not polluting way to agree with a good suggestion, either being in gdd or an advice in yasd forum. And for the good sarcastic jokes.

While I can happily live without thinking sarcams, I'd still like to show my appreciation when Crate write a long, detailed, well done analysis in gdd without adding a post ad hoc to do that

Show your thanks by not capitalizing my name! It looks weird with a capital...

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duvessa
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Barkeep

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Post Tuesday, 1st March 2016, 21:39

Re: Thanking Now Restricted to OPs

all before wrote:The point of the thanks feature is to quickly allow people to agree with a post or to acknowledge a post as a significant contribution to a discussion. It serves that function well (although it would be better if there were a way to distinguish between its two possible meanings).

One of the issues, as I see it, is that there aren't two possible meanings, but a pretty substantial range that goes from "literal thanks" to "literally the opposite of thanks." I've been thinking about Tavern thanks a lot (which says any number of unflattering things about me undoubtedly), and it troubles me how often I have to stop and think, "What does this thank actually mean?"

Honestly, I think the best things to help the atmosphere of the tavern would be: clearly outlined rules and goals for discussion (look at how crawl's philosophy section often serves to ground disagreements about design, something for discussion could serve similarly), and just encouraging people to play an active role in contributing to those goals. Post the kinds of contributions you'd like to see more of, explain to people when and why you think they're making the board a worse place, report hostile or discriminatory posts to mods, etc.

I agree with most of this, though I'm not sure we need to add or better define rules; instead, clarifying the goals for discussion is one of the next things I'd like to look into. I'm also not sure that this is best seen as a "Tavern atmosphere improvement" project, despite the fact that lots of people have proposed it as such. My assumption is that it might have a significant effect on users' posting habits, but it probably won't change the forum's tone.

nago wrote:Personally, I liked the feature because it's a easy and not polluting way to agree with a good suggestion, either being in gdd or an advice in yasd forum. And for the good sarcastic jokes.

While I can happily live without thinking sarcams, I'd still like to show my appreciation when Crate write a long, detailed, well done analysis in gdd without adding a post ad hoc to do that

I totally understand the convenience and tidiness of thanking. 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, or it will be because the barrier to agreeing with posts will get raised to the point that people who would otherwise support a post by thanks won't reply, leaving only motivated dissenters as responders.

My hope is that it will instead encourage people who previously would've just hit the thanks button to reply, not with "me too," but "me too, and."

Tomb Titivator

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Post Tuesday, 1st March 2016, 22:17

Re: Thanking Now Restricted to OPs

I alone have the power to thank, hopefully now that the incentives are in place, the forums will now properly align themselves to be filled with posts I like.

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duvessa
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Barkeep

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Post Wednesday, 2nd March 2016, 01:17

Re: Thanking Now Restricted to OPs

Okay, as duvessa and johlstei have demonstrated, it looks like you can bypass the setting and continue thanking. As far as I can tell, the only way to prevent this would be to edit the user permissions so that nobody can thank any posts at all.

I'll look into the settings to figure out what might be done. We may or may not graduate to trying out full thanks removal in the near future. In the meantime, it would be incredibly cool for everyone to treat this trick like it doesn't exist so that we can actually get a sense of what "thankless" conversation looks like.

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Rast

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Post Wednesday, 2nd March 2016, 07:12

Re: Thanking Now Restricted to OPs

Just bring thanks back or take it away completely. Restricting thanks to the OP is silly. Oftentimes the OP is complete garbage but there are quality posts inside the thread.

Also +1 what nago said.
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Zot Zealot

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Post Wednesday, 2nd March 2016, 07:21

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.

I had a look at the linked topics. Besides the obvious fact that there are different reasons for hitting Thank I especially agree with two posts:

and into wrote:I actually think the thanks button exists mainly so that threads aren't littered with zero-content replies that just say "yes, exactly" or "you said it" or "LOL" or "hear, hear." When that's all you have to say in response, you can avoid having to say anything and just hit the thanks button.

Siegurt wrote:I do get annoyed by scrolling down past large numbers of contentent-less replies where little or nothing is said, so anything that condenses this into less scrolling for me I consider a good thing.

So, if there won't be various thank buttons in the future like "thanks for the advice" / "I agree" / "thanks for the funny joke" or whatever I'd like to get the old thanks feature back.
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Post Wednesday, 2nd March 2016, 10:08

archaeo, I'd like to elaborate on the above mentioned post of Siegurt ("annoyed by scrolling down past large numbers of contentent-less replies").

The thank button is a very useful feature if you want to look at a long topic. Imagine I want to know how to deal with torment. I can use the search function (which is not optimal but that's another story) and if I'm lucky I'll find an entire topic dealing with the torment problem. If this topic contains 3 or 4 pages I'll have a short look at where I find the most thanks. This doesn't guarantee a useful post but for sure it's one of the posts I read first.

archaeo wrote:Naturally, if we find that we really miss Thanks for replies, or that removing them creates more problems than it solves, we'll bring them back.

Alright!

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Post Wednesday, 2nd March 2016, 14:44

Re: Thanking Now Restricted to OPs

Yeah thanking people who give you good advice in the advice forum is probably the best use of the feature and that fundamentally can't be the OP.

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Wednesday, 2nd March 2016, 19:50

Re: Thanking Now Restricted to OPs

Unfortunately, bad advice gets thanked just as much as good advice.

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Post Wednesday, 2nd March 2016, 20:52

Re: Thanking Now Restricted to OPs

duvessa wrote:Unfortunately, bad advice gets thanked just as much as good advice.

And removing thanks fixes the situation how? Bad advice still gets given as often as good advice.

Dungeon Master

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Post Wednesday, 2nd March 2016, 21:07

Re: Thanking Now Restricted to OPs

Bad advice is hopefully less often thanked by posters of colour.

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Post Wednesday, 2nd March 2016, 21:50

Re: Thanking Now Restricted to OPs

You mean devs and forum mods? The counselor group was removed.

Dungeon Master

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Post Wednesday, 2nd March 2016, 21:58

Re: Thanking Now Restricted to OPs

True! One colour's missing, so that reduces my point.
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Barkeep

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Post Thursday, 3rd March 2016, 01:58

Re: Thanking Now Restricted to OPs

ydeve wrote:
duvessa wrote:Unfortunately, bad advice gets thanked just as much as good advice.

And removing thanks fixes the situation how? Bad advice still gets given as often as good advice.

duvessa's point is that thanks are a pretty bad indicator of which advice to pay attention to.

In my experience, anyway, bad advice that gets posted usually gets corrected, while good advice usually results in replies that back it up and expand upon it. I don't think thanks make a huge difference either way, frankly.
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Post Thursday, 3rd March 2016, 02:52

Re: Thanking Now Restricted to OPs

what the fuck
take it easy
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Zot Zealot

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Post Sunday, 6th March 2016, 08:27

archaeo wrote:For now, instead of removing Thanks altogether, we'll be trying another one of the toggles we found, which only allows Thanks on the first post in a topic. It's the perfect middle ground for a trial run;

Serious question, archaeo: is this a kind of psychological game you play with all of us?

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Post Sunday, 6th March 2016, 22:41

Re: Thanking Now Restricted to OPs

I have to say, I miss the Thank feature. It was a good idea to do a trial run with it removed, but if it were up to me I think I'd bring it back.
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Barkeep

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Post Monday, 7th March 2016, 00:12

Re: Thanking Now Restricted to OPs

Turukano, it's a serious attempt to make the Tavern a better forum. If it doesn't succeed in doing that, we'll bring it back.
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Post Thursday, 10th March 2016, 07:59

Re: Thanking Now Restricted to OPs

archaeo wrote:Turukano, it's a serious attempt to make the Tavern a better forum. If it doesn't succeed in doing that, we'll bring it back.
I trust you and understand this concern, but feel like the solution isn't great and removes both some fun and a way to identify good answers/posters.

I feel like jokes/sarcasm posts that get thanked were easy to identify and had no bad impact on the forum or player's behaviour. ie "you should really throw this +15 vamp exec axe in lava" would certainly get some thanks and not induce an OP in error !

If you really want this out. What about 2 buttons :
- the original Thanks, a kind of like button, that can be used for sarcastic uses or jokes
- a +1/-1 one, that shows the advice value of the post...
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Zot Zealot

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Post Thursday, 10th March 2016, 08:21

Re: Thanking Now Restricted to OPs

mopl wrote:If you really want this out. What about 2 buttons :
- the original Thanks, a kind of like button, that can be used for sarcastic uses or jokes
- a +1/-1 one, that shows the advice value of the post...

No, that's technically too complicated as njvack pointed out in the recent topic Are different Thank buttons possible?

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Post Thursday, 10th March 2016, 08:29

Re: Thanking Now Restricted to OPs

Replace all instances of "Thank" with "Bad Idea" and all instances of "thanked" with "said this is a bad idea".
The advantage of this system is not only can it still be used to show your gratitude for jokes, it can also be used to locate posts with the most popular advice. Because joke posts and unpopular advice will end up with similar Bad Idea counts, the popular advice will be selected more effectively than it was with the regular thanks system.

I'm not sure why people want to highlight the most popular advice in the first place, since it's pretty much never good advice. But this would accomplish it.
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Post Thursday, 10th March 2016, 12:47

archaeo wrote:Turukano, [the removal of the thank button] is a serious attempt to make the Tavern a better forum. If it doesn't succeed in doing that, we'll bring it back.

The way I see it is like this:

  • The Thank button is a good feature, same with the Quote button (this refers to another recent topic, Thoughts about the Quote button).

  • The point is how it looks like in practice. Buttons are no-brainers and allow "quick and dirty" answers. So I guess the removal of Thank doesn't address the feature itself but the way the buttons are (ab)used.
Am I right with this?

So the actual situation disables the "quick and dirty" answers, hoping to improve the tavern's level.

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Post Thursday, 10th March 2016, 14:56

Re: Thanking Now Restricted to OPs

duvessa wrote:I'm not sure why people want to highlight the most popular advice in the first place, since it's pretty much never good advice. But this would accomplish it.

I don't look at how many people thank a post. I look at who thanks a post.

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