I just got a lovely little email...
Congratulations for hitting a quarter-million points on Ask Ubuntu! Few people will ever make as big a difference teaching others as you have.
Did you know that your posts have been seen by literally millions of people across the Internet? (Yes, I counted.) When we started this whole thing, it was based on a crazy idea that there was a community of users willing to share their knowledge simply for the satisfaction of helping others get better at what they do. But we never envisioned that individuals like yourself would give their time SO GENEROUSLY that they’d hit 100,000 points — but here you are, over a quarter-million reputation!
You should take a lot of pride in what you’ve accomplished here. There are a lot of smart people in this world, but it is a rare gift when someone comes along who can also teach what they know to others so effectively. I’ll be damned if you didn’t change our little corner of the Internet for the better — and that’s what it’s all about.
You are truly the best at what you do.
Director of Community Development Stack Exchange Inc.
The thing I like about Stack Exchange sites is that despite its slightly robotic nature, there's usually a human somewhere influencing it by upvoting, editing, flagging, whatever.
These "Well done, chap!" emails aren't just obviously automated (sent at 00:00 UTC with next-to-no personalisation), they're also being sent by Robert, who is very much no longer the Director of Community Development. This post is not about the tone-deaf exploitation of a great former employee. "We need to clean house when we fire people!" is not the lesson here.
If one of your users hitting 250K means anything to a human at Stack Overflow, send a real email. If it doesn't, don't fake it for my benefit!
If you want that person to feel valued, you could...
- Spawn a meta post so their community can acknowledge it.
- Poke the site mods and give them a chance to collectively say something.
- Feature them on the site or network somehow.
- Literally anything that included a person who's actually interacted with me in some way.
Automated emails just cheapen the whole thing. I don't feel any sincerity. If anything, reading it made me feel less appreciated now I know it's a robot. And sending it addressed by somebody who I've had a few decent human interactions with just made me angry.