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Yes, the title is a based off of Questions with lots of "Thank you" answers. Because to me, it's a related issue, although scoped to Meta specifically. Two posts today have come up, regarding the close UI and the error report. They're not actually questions, they're just stating thanks.

Don't get me wrong. I think it's a good idea that people are finding functionality on the sites useful, and are expressing their thanks. But... is posting a new question really the way to do it? And should we really be rallying behind these people, voting them up because they're publicly announcing their gratitude? Aren't these kinds of questions pretty much as useless as answers that serve no purpose but to say "Thanks"?

At the end of the day, feedback on the sites is part of Meta's scope. Although gratitude is a form of feedback, it isn't one suited to the engine. You can't "discuss" gratitude (what, do you want people to convince you that you shouldn't be thanks?), they're about things that are implemented so they don't fall under the other categories either. It's strictly material that fits in comments, I know I express my gratitude in that fashion. If you really want the team to hear your heartfelt words, then you can also email them. The address is always in the footer. That's my take on this.

But does the community prefer that we allow these kinds of non-questions? Feedback is always welcome here in Meta, according to the footer... do we wish to become a site with lots of "Thank you" questions?

What are your thoughts?

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Countdown to the meta-post asking "Should questions asking about 'Thank you' questions be discouraged?"... –  Bill the Lizard Jun 17 '10 at 15:21
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@Bill the Lizard: and then it's "Should questions asking about questions asking about 'thank you' questisons be discouraged?"... When will it end? –  Randolpho Jun 17 '10 at 15:27
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Thank you for saying this –  Bob Jun 17 '10 at 15:30
    
Let me get this straight, you have a problem with people saying thank you to the developers of the site on a website dedicated to talking about said site? –  jjnguy Jun 17 '10 at 15:36
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@jjnguy It's about the same as I'd have a problem with people saying thank you to answerers that solved their problems on a site that is dedicated to solving problems, yes. –  Grace Note Jun 17 '10 at 15:44
    
@ccomet I disagree. People giving thanks to the developers of the site is feed back. That is what meta is for. The proper feed back to give on SO is an upvote. –  jjnguy Jun 17 '10 at 15:48
    
@jjnguy I have a counter to that... but I'm finding it very difficult to phrase it without making it look like I kick three-legged dogs as a hobby. Until I come up with better, just see my response to devinb's answer. –  Grace Note Jun 17 '10 at 17:39
    
@ccomet haha. It's ok to disagree. I'm just kinda playing devil's advocate. –  jjnguy Jun 18 '10 at 2:15

3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

The thing is, positive feedback is still feedback, and in many cases it is harder to solicit. People are always ready and willing to lodge complaints about something that they felt was terrible (or even a little bit off) but they will usually stand idly by while someone goes wildly beyond expectations to do something to help them. ("Well, it's his job, he's supposed to help me")

Positive feedback is critical for two major reasons. From a developer standpoint, if there is positive feedback about something, it is an indication that the feature/aspect can be moved lower down in the "needs improvement" schedule. This means that all other items get 'relatively' bumped up.

Second of all, it opens a dialogue. If someone said "I really love the way that I'm able to flag all the incorrect answers". Then it gives the opportunity to explain that flagging isn't meant to be used that way. Even if it is just a critical aspect working normally which you want to disagree with, you can, at that point.

The way that StackOverflow questions are fueled by attention, so are StackOverflow features. They don't have time to fix everything, so they need help prioritizing, and that is where meta comes in.

Obviously, I don't want the site to be overrun with "Thank You"s, but we can close them as duplicates if that becomes the case.

I do not feel that this is a problem at all.

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I can agree with this answer. As I said, I think positive feedback is good, but I felt that the question medium simply wasn't appropriate when we have comments and a contact mailing address. But it seems that, perhaps, maybe there is a discussive portion for gratitude. It seems awkward to consider gratitude attributed for incorrect conclusions, yet that is the kind of window which makes these kinds of "questions" appropriate on Meta. Thanks, devinb. –  Grace Note Jun 17 '10 at 17:14

I think that some venue should exist for people to give positive feedback regarding features, especially if those features aren't obvious to many people (e.g. the error page). Developers get mostly only bug reports. Its nice to have someone discussing your software without the context of needing to fix it.

I don't think 'thank you' questions are any more appropriate than 'thank you' answers on any other site. I'm not sure about meta.

On the one hand, this site is known to show 'broken windows' on the front page frequently. I'd hate to see more. On the other hand, it is supposed to be a place where discussions regarding SO can happen. But a thank you is not a discussion, its a statement. Still, it seems almost appropriate, and a rather nice thing to do.

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The "question" about the close UI is essentially a duplicate and should be closed as such, because the change was documented in the original question.

The second, I don't mind so much. Yes, it contains the word "thank you", but it's well-established that questions on meta don't have to be questions, and it's good for people to occasionally call out the things that the team is doing right, considering how much time we already spend pointing out what they're doing wrong. If you take out the last "thank you" line then it's really just another discussion of a feature.

I'm sure that we don't want meta to be full of these posts, calling attention to every little feature that exists on the trilogy/SE network, but unless and until I see it getting out of hand, I'm not going to get trigger-happy on them.

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At first, I was going to just leave a comment on the close UI post, but then the error page one was posted, so I figured I'd consolidate my efforts into a single post. It's not that I foresee this getting out of hand (despite that the title implies that). But if it would be considered problematic if it came in high volume, I'd like to know that before it became a problem. –  Grace Note Jun 17 '10 at 15:50

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