From the controversial blog post:

We’ve started with user research, and we’re keeping an open mind to all ideas. There are opportunities to work on things like reviewing site copy for inclusive language. Maybe it’s time we re-visited things like our “no pleases or thank yous’” rule. (It serves a valuable purpose by keeping signal high, but also suggests that we just might be Zuckerbots who aren’t even trying very hard to pass as actual humans). In any case, here are some areas we’re planning to focus on first:

This has received very little notice, among all the other controversies resulting from the post, but should we really allow thank you posts? Won't it clog up the site?

There's no reason to allow thank you posts. All it would result in is an inane amount of notification and tons of visual clutter in the comments.

  • 6
    Isn't this a bit premature? It's just an idea, in a blog post. Nothing "official" about it.
    – yannis
    Commented May 1, 2018 at 21:02
  • 5
    @yannis Nope. If they want to discuss it, so will we.
    – TheAsh
    Commented May 1, 2018 at 21:05
  • 3
    Who is "they" and who is "we"?
    – yannis
    Commented May 1, 2018 at 21:07
  • 1
    @yannis They is the stack overflow staff, and we is the users.
    – TheAsh
    Commented May 1, 2018 at 21:08
  • @SonicWizard Most definitely not, as I'm addressing the new blog post. I'm trying to preempt future changes.
    – TheAsh
    Commented May 1, 2018 at 21:23
  • Here on Meta, our rules for closing as duplicate are much more lenient, especially if the proposed target is tagged faq. In particular, it is allowed to close feature requests that go against ideals/principles of SE as duplicates of questions that explain the relevant principle. Commented May 1, 2018 at 21:25
  • @SonicWizard I'm not trying to feature request or trying to solve whether to thank, I'm trying to preempt changing the TY rules.
    – TheAsh
    Commented May 1, 2018 at 21:26
  • I understand (given your self-answer), but your question as written strongly implies you're requesting this. Commented May 1, 2018 at 21:29
  • @SonicWizard any suggestions how to edit it to remove dupe status?
    – TheAsh
    Commented May 1, 2018 at 21:29
  • Instead of posting a question asking if they should be allowed and a terse self-answer saying that they shouldn't, simply say in the question that you don't think they should be allowed. Commented May 1, 2018 at 21:31
  • @SonicWizard done, and deleted my self answer.
    – TheAsh
    Commented May 1, 2018 at 21:33
  • Related: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/2950
    – tkruse
    Commented Mar 17, 2020 at 2:20

1 Answer 1


So... This is one of those ideas that sounds really caring. Who could possibly be against expressions of gratitude!

I mean, sure, they get noisy for 3rd-party readers after a while, but hey, small cost compared to making authors feel good right?

Well... After a while, they ain't that much fun for authors either

Thing is, our traditional solution - an FAQ / Help Center blurb discouraging them in favor of votes - doesn't actually work all that well. Folks post them anyway, in pretty big numbers. Yes, we can flag 'em and get rid of 'em after a while, but that's work. We could probably implement an automated script to get rid of them, but...

...there is another option, if we really care about both the optics of not explicitly discouraging gratitude and the practicality of avoiding excessive noise. A couple of years ago, GitHub faced the same problem: phatic responses to comments and actions that cluttered up threads and notification feeds without conveying any useful information. In response, they implemented reactions - instead of writing a comment, you can select a cute emoji and communicate precisely as much information - with the added bonus of feeling like one of those hip teenagers.

We already accept anonymous feedback from anyone viewing a post: click up- or down-vote, and that gets recorded in the PostFeedback table (and... ok, nothing else happens, but in theory it could). If we combined the comment field with a "reaction" selector, and let folks select a "thumbs up/thanks" option... We could silently convert that to an upvote (if privileged) or anonymous feedback (if not privileged) and display this as a little emoji, without pinging the author or junking up the comment thread.

Friendly, cute, hip-like-tinder, quiet. What more could we ask for?

(aside: Zuckerbot joke is ironic given facebook's popularizing of the phatic like)

  • 14
    Only if it doesn't notify me. I have enough of a problem with searching out dopamine responses in upvotes as it is. I don't really need to also get notifications when people "like" my post... or dislike it or tag it as funny or whatever inane things y'all come up with.
    – Catija
    Commented May 1, 2018 at 21:19
  • 13
    Or... OR... We could do the Twitter thing and only notify you about your "likes" if you haven't visited the site in a while. ENGAGEMENT! FUNNELS! CALLS TO ACTION! ...sorry, lost my head there for a moment. No, we should absolutely not notify you about any of this crap.
    – Shog9
    Commented May 1, 2018 at 21:23
  • I'm all for TY if there's no notifications!!!
    – TheAsh
    Commented May 1, 2018 at 21:24
  • 3
    So you confirm that part of the blog post is just noise? Commented May 1, 2018 at 21:59
  • 15
    Not at all, @shadow; it's legitimately off-putting to a lot of new users: they got help, their mamma taught them to always thank the folks who helped them, and we tell them "no" - what, we got something against their mom? Are we perhaps against motherhood? What are our feelings on apple pie - negative, they'll bet. We bastards! Problem is, the solution can't be as simple as saying, "fine, just thank people then" - that generates too much noise.
    – Shog9
    Commented May 1, 2018 at 22:33

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