A recent Tweet from @StackOverflow on Twitter said:

Announcing our new reactions feature, available today on Stack Overflow for Teams for Basic and Business tiers, and coming to Enterprise in 2020.

New ways of saying 'thanks' will be coming to the Stack Exchange network next year, too.

You can now express your gratitude or amplify your need for help using reactions in addition to upvotes (emphasis added)

The emojis look like an SOS symbol, a party emoji, a highfive / plea (still unclear on that), and a "100".

For the benefit of users who aren't on Teams, what does this currently look like?

More importantly, what are the current plans for what this will look like when it hits the SE network? Will it be the same set of emojis? What will the rep requirements to use them be? Will people be able to see who reacted what or will they be anonymous? Will you get a notification for reactions? Is there a limit to how many you can use in a day? Are there badges related to either giving or receiving them?

What will these reactions look like when they hit the broader network?

  • 2
    sad that they don't include the (just discovered some seconds ago) Jobs.SE unicorn reaction as part of the background template. that'd be so schön.
    – CptEric
    Nov 27, 2019 at 17:59
  • 6
    🙏🆘💯🎉 are the emojis, I think
    – user245382
    Nov 27, 2019 at 18:02
  • 3
    Here is a question with some screenshots of this in teams.
    – Laurel
    Nov 27, 2019 at 18:04
  • 9
    I don't understand what the SOS reaction is meant to suggest, honestly. Nov 27, 2019 at 18:04
  • None of them really match the text descriptions imo.
    – Kevin B
    Nov 27, 2019 at 18:07
  • 1
    @doppelgreener "help", probably. It probably only makes sense in the context of a question, like "I have this issue too!"
    – user245382
    Nov 27, 2019 at 18:10
  • 7
  • 8
    for example, the "high five", or "thanks" as it's called here, is often used for praying... wouldn't something more emotion based be more clear, like a smiley? thumbs up? Where's the angry emoji, or are we just going to ignore those people
    – Kevin B
    Nov 27, 2019 at 18:11
  • 8
    Wouldn't the SOS icon be used for every question? We disallow 'SOS' or 'HELP' text in questions for good reason
    – dustytrash
    Nov 27, 2019 at 18:12
  • 5
    To be honest, at least this feature does not have direct devastating effect... if people like to play with emojis... well, fine... Of course, I would much rather see some effort put in other more important features, like moderator tools... ¯_(ツ)_/¯ Nov 27, 2019 at 21:37
  • Glorfindel asked part of this question on SO, using the reactions tag.
    – Rob
    Nov 27, 2019 at 23:42
  • 1
    Are these emojs related/linked to voting or a completely independent system?
    – dfhwze
    Nov 28, 2019 at 5:27
  • 11
    Funny how there are only positive reactions possible. At lease Github offers other possibilities. Nov 28, 2019 at 10:05
  • Why can't we just use comments and say "Thanks!" there instead of making our precious community look like a social media? I thought they said that this place is not intended to be a typical social media, yet adding these corny emojis practically gives the opposite of that desired rule. Jun 18, 2020 at 17:39

3 Answers 3


NOTE: a modified version, allowing only 'Thanks' as a reaction on answers, is currently being tested on the public Stack Overflow.

For the benefit of users who aren't on Teams, what does this currently look like?

I've added this information to the reactions tag wiki on Meta Stack Overflow:

For questions about reactions, canned responses in the form of icons ('celebrate', 'help', 'thanks' and '100') to posts on .

popup to add a reaction to a post

list of reactions on a post

The first screenshot is the popup you use to add a reaction to a post; the second one shows the current list of reactions.

Will people be able to see who reacted what or will they be anonymous?

Yes, see the second screenshot.

Will you get a notification for reactions?

No, you don't get notifications for them.

The above information is just to inform you how they currently look like. The tweet says

New ways of saying 'thanks' will be coming to the Stack Exchange network next year, too.

which could be interpreted as meaning that the networkwide feature will have roughly the same purpose, but it will be different than the Reactions feature on Stack Overflow for Teams.

  • 1
    Not getting notifications seriously reduces their utility. Nov 27, 2019 at 18:18
  • 76
    I'm not sure reactions have any utility.
    – fbueckert
    Nov 27, 2019 at 18:20
  • 2
    well, aside from using them to make up data
    – Kevin B
    Nov 27, 2019 at 18:21
  • 7
    Will there be badges associated with these? Such as getting 100 100's on 100 posts?
    – dustytrash
    Nov 27, 2019 at 18:25
  • 12
    @fbueckert Some people like to say thank you, and some people like to be thanked. Reactions keep those interactions from taking up as much space. Nov 27, 2019 at 18:27
  • 15
    @rockwalrus-stopharmingMonica what's so wrong in hitting the up-vote? Is that not sufficient? My gripe with this "feature" is that it has no purpose. What do the emojis mean? They're subjective.
    – Script47
    Nov 27, 2019 at 18:33
  • 9
    @Script47 see Shog9's comment on a post that proposed something like this a year ago. Some people want to / feel the need to leave thanks, and this gives them an outlet without making noisy comments.
    – Em C
    Nov 27, 2019 at 18:36
  • 4
    @Script47 Upvotes are overloaded. It's not hard to find people complaining that people upvote content the complainant thinks is bad as a way to thank the author for helping them. Also, upvotes are anonymous, which makes them less useful for responding to someone who responded directly to you. Nov 27, 2019 at 18:37
  • 2
    @rockwalrus-stopharmingMonica I don't get why you'd need to respond to a up-vote? Why would someone care who up-voted them?
    – Script47
    Nov 27, 2019 at 18:38
  • 2
    @Script47 The use case is for a person trying to communicate the "thanks" to the thanked in a way that the thanked knows that the communicator is thankful. For example, in place of replying to a comment with a "thanks for the suggestion. I've incorporated your feedback into my answer." Nov 27, 2019 at 18:42
  • 13
    @rockwalrus-stopharmingMonica people constantly shoot down feature requests citing not enough resources/man power and this seems like a complete waste of resources. You want to thank someone? Up-vote. They don't need to know it was you. You want to thank the system? Help out in whatever form you can. It seems to me that this is trying to solve a non-issue or at the best, a non-major issue.
    – Script47
    Nov 27, 2019 at 18:44
  • @EmC And you expect them to embrace that outlet rather than commenting anyway when the upvote button already wasn't enough of an outlet? Nov 27, 2019 at 18:50
  • 1
    @ChrissaysReinstateMonica Yes I would hope so, because unlike an upvote, your username is displayed with the reaction.
    – Em C
    Nov 27, 2019 at 18:52
  • 2
    @Lamak reacted with help
    – Lamak
    Nov 27, 2019 at 19:30
  • 9
    It's noise. This is pne of the noisier features added as of late. At least the banners try to clarify something already being expressed. This is just noise for the sake of being social. It jas no place here.
    – zero298
    Nov 28, 2019 at 2:41

Github added similar emoji "Reactions to Pull Requests, Issues, and Comments" a few years ago:


github emoji

This feature was specifically created in response to an issue raised in the "Dear GitHub" open letter sent by members of the GitHub / Open Source community:


  • Issues often accumulate content-less “+1” comments which serve only to spam the maintainers and any others subscribed to the issue. These +1s serve a valuable function in letting maintainers know how widespread an issue is, but their drawbacks are too great. We’d like issues to gain a first-class voting system, and for content-less comments like “+1” or “👍” or “me too” to trigger a warning and instructions on how to use the voting mechanism.

In my experience these emoji have been hugely beneficial in GitHub PRs, issues, and comment threads - essentially a quick way to upvote/downvote a post, but also allowing you to express reactions such as "love" or "confused" or "celebration".

There's less of an obvious immediate need on SE, where posts can already be upvoted/downvoted (or easily edited/deleted) to solve many of the same problems raised in the GitHub letter.

P.S. here was GitHub's response to the community open letter:

Dear Open Source Maintainers,

We hear you and we're sorry. We've been slow to respond to your letter and slow to respond to your frustrations.

We're working hard to fix this. Over the next few weeks we'll begin releasing a number of improvements to Issues, many of which will address the specific concerns raised in the letter. But we're not going to stop there. We'll continue to focus on Issues moving forward by adding new features, responding to feedback, and iterating on the core experience. We've also got a few surprises in store.

Issues haven't gotten much attention from GitHub these past few years and that was a mistake, but we've never stopped thinking about or caring about you and your communities. However, we know we haven't communicated that. So in addition to improving Issues, we're also going to kick off a few initiatives that will help give you more insight into what's on our radar. We want to make sharing feedback with GitHub less of a black box experience and we want to hear your ideas and concerns regularly.

We'll be in touch next week. Sorry it's taken so long, and thank you for everything.


  • 25
    This. GitHub lacked something and it created some annoyment. Users sent a feedback, GitHub reacted accordingly by implementing the appropriate changes. Now, SE: New users not following rules post crap, get yelled at by established users. SE say "we're not welcoming enough". They think hard and go: "Being allowed to say thanks will make us more welcoming". Two years later, they implement this thing nobody asked for, that is supposed to indirectly solve a misidentified issue. Of course, this isn't really harmful either, but in SE's case, it just adds noise.
    – dim
    Nov 28, 2019 at 8:11
  • 6
    The thing that is ironic here is that GitHub did not have a way to indicate the quality of a post, so they had to make one. Stack Overflow is built on a way to indicate the quality of a post, so they... made... another... way...? Jun 18, 2020 at 20:11

I think those ways of conveying thanks aren't worth the bytes it takes to record them, because they don't say much more than "thanks", which is what an up vote does.

But that does not mean a systematic or structured means for communicating a more nuanced way of saying "thanks" might not be useful. In theory, although I am mildly sceptical.

Perhaps something communicating why someone is thankful might be better. Like,

  • "thanks, that saved me much time"
  • "thanks, I learned something useful for the future"
  • "thanks, I avoided a potential disaster"
  • "thanks, you explained an important thing that is elsewhere obscured by technical details and jargon"

Why would that be better? Because a structured means might at a glance communicate to potential readers why they might want to read the post. It might also save them time, teach them, enable them to avoid a disaster, and so on. Being able to see something about the post at a glance is the benefit over recording thanks in free form comments. If posts can be sorted or filtered by reactions, they could also help with searching in a way that thanks in comments can't.

  • 8
    I wouldn't deem the first 3 reasons particularly useful either. They just amount to your personal lifestory, too. However, the last one is a thank you comment that could be useful as a genuine comment indeed, since it explains what about the answer is specifically worthy of an upvote. Nov 27, 2019 at 19:06
  • Upvotes aren't the same, they're anonymous. The thanks reaction is linked to the user that performed it. While I'm not a big fan of the sillier kind of reactions, providing an alternative to thank you comments seems like a reasonable thing to try. Nov 28, 2019 at 8:19
  • This is already implemented, they are called comments and are freeform.
    – Luuklag
    Nov 28, 2019 at 8:26
  • 4
    @Luuklag neither upvotes nor comments are available to users with 1 rep. Our need to limit access to those for fraud prevention and noise reduction leaves many people with no way to say thanks or show appreciation. So, they often feel left out or, in an attempt to satisfy their needs, they write “I have the same question” and “thank” answers. Also, these sorts of comments would generally be flagged and deleted, adding work to our mods’ pile.
    – Catija
    Nov 28, 2019 at 13:42
  • 3
    @Catija, they can on their own posts. Or use an upvote. This just feels like taking a short cut from educating them. Have a popup that says to show their thanks by voting when they try to comment. Or find a way to reduce spam comments when you open them to 1 rep users. Like a review queue.
    – Luuklag
    Nov 28, 2019 at 13:45
  • 3
    Letting them post an SOS emoji signals that they need help, bit there still is no way to interact with them @Catija
    – Luuklag
    Nov 28, 2019 at 13:46
  • 1
    @Catija and Luuklag even if there would be way to interact with people needing help, do we really want and need users spamming other users with cries for help? Nov 29, 2019 at 13:57

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