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View Poll Results: Should the Thanks system continue?
Yes. 24 60.00%
Yes, but be restricted in certain sections (Discuss). 12 30.00%
No. 4 10.00%
Voters: 40. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 04/14/2016   #1
Ghost X
Default Thanks System Referendum.

I've heard from time to time that some folks have issue with the thanks system and would like for it to end, so I basically wanted to see how deep the resentment goes and/or how sympathetic to this argument the people of the forum are as a whole with an anonymous poll, as a matter of forum stability . Please do keep things civil with your arguments, and respectful of those with differing views, if you wish to be vocal, etc. The last time something like this was brought up many years ago, it got quite dramatic . So, basically:

- Do you support the thanks system, and would like to see it continue?
- Would you like for it to end?
- Do you think it should just be removed from certain sections?
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Old 04/14/2016   #2
Joe
Default

I'm just gonna put here what I said when this was recently spoken about, for clarity.

There are aspects of the 'Thanks' system that I quite enjoy. I find it quite nice to see posts that are thanked in great numbers, as it tends to show that a majority of people enjoy the contents of the post or are lending their support in favor of it. On top of that it's quite gratifying to see a lot of thanks on ones own posts; a humorous post receiving many thanks gives a feeling akin to laughter confirming your joke didn't fall flat.

All of that said, I strongly disagree with the inclusion of the Thanks system in the News, Politics, Religion & Debate forum. This is for a couple of reasons:

The first is that this section is supposedly designed for serious discussion. It's a haven for intelligent discussion and - though there are some more light-hearted posts - a majority of this discussion takes place in a well-mannered and civil way.
The Thanks system is counter-intuitive to this entire setup. A thanks in that sections gives people the ability to weigh in on a topic without actually going to the effort of making a post. It doesn't promote discussion of topics and instead entices people into silently supporting an opinion, without giving their reasons why.

To add to that, there's the second reason. There's a lot of thick-skinned people happy to share their viewpoints and that's great. There's also a lot of people with skin less thick. The thanks system is literally the biggest deterrent to anybody of that nature posting there. People may have even noticed recently that there's little in the way of opposing viewpoints on certain subjects. A lot of the time those people that do give viewpoints opposite to the majority tend not to stick around long. It's not hard to see that the reason for this is that they can physically see a crowd of people online, shaking their head at them. It's not a nice feeling to see posts that heavily criticize your views getting silent support from dozens of people. Sure, everybody posting there needs to be open to criticism. But the thanks system allows one person to criticize while a crowd of people stand behind them essentially condemning your view.
Obviously these feelings aren't felt by everybody that are opposed there, and might even just affect a minority. But should we really be unwelcoming to even a minority in a debate section, of all places?

To compliment that blurb, what would we be losing if we were able to take Thanks out of that sub-forum? For one I think we'll see a lot more posts, simply from those that only use Thanks in that section right now.
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Last edited by Joe; 04/14/2016 at 10:20 AM.
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Old 04/14/2016   #3
Claymore
Default

I've always disliked the thanks system since coming here. It can be painfully obvious sometimes the 'cliques' that are forged and members that gang up to support their friend, whether they agree with the actual sentiments in a particular discussion or not. I'm personally not in a place to broach the subject, but I was hoping that, once plans continued with the new forum installation, someone would bring this up as it's something that I think is counter-productive to a forum environment and it just doesn't sit well with me at all.

Joe makes some excellent points about its need in the more serious sections, but I'd definitely call for it to be removed entirely.
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Old 04/14/2016   #4
Fangu
Default

I don't think removing the Thanks system for the more 'serious debate' sections will necessarily be a fix for the issues it causes (or not). Like you said Joe, a Thanks is a way to support a post or an argument without having to write "I support that" or "I'm with x" or "x pretty much sums it up for me" or "^ what s/he said" or "signed" or whatever people tend to write on other forums.

I think, instead of taking a stroll around the pond, lets dive into it and address the real issue at hand, which has been talked about in posts about the Thanks system before: The tendency for a person to feel 'ganged up upon' when people Thank every other post but theirs. I'm pretty sure, with certain exceptions of course (because there always are exceptions) - pretty much everyone who frequent these forums have had that feeling once or a million times when discussing something we feel strongly about, whether or not it's a debate, opinions, jokes, whatever. Who here can't honestly say they've been thinking "oh, so THAT post you thank you dick!" when checking for Thanks (let's admit it, we do that) on your (and other people's) posts. When I'm in a fragile or bad mood, Thanks can ruin my day. I'll admit that straight away. But I know that that's not an argument to remove Thanks; I need to have the stomach to handle that other people have more popular arguments than me. Which happens, in my opinion, most of the time

Also, it needs to be mentioned that I often Thank posts I don't agree with, but I think are well argumentet. But I guess for most of the time, I Thank posts that managed to say what I'd want to say if I had the time to type it up myself. Or if I could write English that well

tl;dr I guess I don't mind Thanks being removed from the debates section if people who frequent that section agree they want it removed. For a trial time, or forever. Maybe it'll make more people participate - but then again, it might not be the fix for the problem.

Edit: And yeah, I've been in the other end of the 'clique' discussion and I now know what people in the 'clique' meant when they said WHAT CLIQUE! I mean, yes, there are people here who know other people well, but if people think I'm in any sort of clique right now because my random General Discussion posts are frequently Thanked, well, I might have been in some sort of clique back in 2012 but I barely speak to anyone (on Skype etc) these days; if I do it's Ami, Yop or Lex
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Old 04/14/2016   #5
Doom Bunneh
Default

I like the thanks system for many sections, as it gives me a way of acknowledging what someone says even when I don't have something specific to say in return. For example, if someone posts a sad thing in Ruins, I may not know what to say, but I feel that in thanking the post I'm showing that I do care about the problem, and I am here to support them.

But in specifically the threads that Joe has mentioned, I know that I myself have refrained from posting because I feel as though I already know what the reaction will be, or as though making my post won't make anyone think, but rather just cause drama. And I get that feeling from the thanks system. It's rather ironic, because I actually often thank posts I disagree with if they made me re-evaluate my position, or if I feel that the argument is made well even if it opposes mine. But it can feel like it is brining emotion into what is meant to be mainly a cerebral discussion.

So, I say remove it from the more serious sections, but not the lighter ones. Hell, if I make a joke and it doesn't get thanked, I already know that my sense of humour is Dad-like, so no big surprise there
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Old 04/14/2016   #6
Shademp
Default

I definitely think the Thanks system should stay but I am indecisive as to whether or not the Thanks system should be restricted from certain sections. The "News, Politics, Religion, & Debate" should perhaps be a less emotional, more neutral ground where ideas can be exchanged without a person instantly spotting where they are in the minority.

This idea though does not cover for example a news thread about a recent massacre, where many people will thank the news item to show their support and devastation, even when they don't have anything to say themselves. But that's just me nitpicking the removal of an easy way to show compassion without actually involving myself in any sort of discussion.

Thick skin or not, there is definitely a case for making threads about politics and religion in particular into a more neutral ground.


If not for the Thanks system, I would not have been nearly as motivated to continue with my research threads. My Dirge of Cerberus research thread in particular would have been painful without the acknowledgement from Tres, hito, and the few others who joined the Thanking. I know I am in the minority to even care about this game's existence, but the Thanks system has given me a sense of joy when learning more about Dirge of Cerberus.

It also pleases me that we are able to show our support for works such as those of DynamixDJ, even though our response simply boils down to "Cool!". The same is true for any newly published frontpage article, which has the benefit of its corresponding forum thread getting Thanks and thus showing much deserved appreciation to the publisher.
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Old 04/14/2016   #7
Joe
Default

I agree with a lot of your post Fangu, but I just want to address that first thing you said and how my views are counter :

Fangu wrote: Like you said Joe, a Thanks is a way to support a post or an argument without having to write "I support that" or "I'm with x" or "x pretty much sums it up for me" or "^ what s/he said" or "signed" or whatever people tend to write on other forums.
This is one of the ways I use the Thanks system myself, and like you mentioned I also tend to Thank posts I think make a good argument in general.

But in that section specifically, I feel having the equivalent of an 'I agree' button is incredibly counter to good discussion. Nobody's opinions are identical and from where I stand the button may dissuade those from speaking up if their opinions are similar to some already posted.

This is, of course, ignoring those that do feel under attack by this perceived 'ganging up', which I don't think we should be doing. While I feel having a thicker skin is beneficial to healthy debate, I don't think we should be restricting those who haven't developed one. While I believe the majority of us here are incredibly accepting of others' views (ilu guys seriously <3) the Thanks in a heated discussion absolutely can be perceived as a negative form of opposition to one or more opinions. From the 'outside' perspective, our generally accepting nature can be so simply subverted by a system that shows you exactly who disagrees with your thoughts.


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Last edited by Joe; 04/14/2016 at 08:35 AM.
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Old 04/14/2016   #8
Octo
Default

I've been thinking about this overnight. What if we had a trial period where we disable thanks, for like a month or two?

I'm just thinking if we do that, then those of us who really like the thanks system can get a true assesment of how much it'll be missed, and those who don't like it will get to see if it truly makes a difference to how they feel. Then at the end of that period we could vote again?

Thoughts?
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Old 04/14/2016   #9
Shademp
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Octo wrote: I've been thinking about this overnight. What if we had a trial period where we disable thanks, for like a month or two?

I'm just thinking if we do that, then those of us who really like the thanks system can get a true assesment of how much it'll be missed, and those who don't like it will get to see if it truly makes a difference to how they feel. Then at the end of that period we could vote again?

Thoughts?
For removing the Thanks function in the News, Politics, Religion & Debate section alone, I think a trial period is a good idea. It's good to remember that any change made to the forum is not necessarily a permanent one.
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Old 04/14/2016   #10
Joe
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Agreed. Any proposed changes ought to come with the stipulation that they can be changed back if they don't work out.
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Old 04/14/2016   #11
Flintlock
Default

On a technical level, can we even remove the system from a single section?

I think this is a conversation worth having every couple of years (or when we move to new forum software) to see if it's still something our member base wants to keep. Right now, I'd like it to stay. I enjoy thanking and being thanked. I'm aware of the system's potential to alienate people - I've felt it myself, and not just in the 2012 drama - but I can't say it's ever stopped me from making what might be an unpopular post or disagreeing with people I consider to be my friends. I suppose I get a bit frustrated when I'm debating someone and then my "opponent" thanks a post by a third party, because it feels like they're saying "SEE!?", but that's just my interpretation and therefore my problem. Similar to Fangu and Joe, in those situations I only thank posts that take an opposite view to my own as a way of acknowledging someone else's opinion and saying "I'm glad we can have this debate". Everyone is free to come up with their own rationale for thanking posts (doing it on a whim is fine too) and I'd rather stick with that than restrict it or abolish it completely. If it's being used to cause problems, we should try to find the root cause rather than just tackling the symptoms.
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Old 04/14/2016   #12
AvecAloes
Default

Joe wrote: To add to that, there's the second reason. There's a lot of thick-skinned people happy to share their viewpoints and that's great. There's also a lot of people with skin less thick. The thanks system is literally the biggest deterrent to anybody of that nature posting there.
I strongly disagree with this. Literally the biggest deterrent? Not the posts from people saying that they disagree with someone's viewpoint? Not someone having to constantly defend their unpopular opinion when most of the members in those threads disagree with them? THAT'S tiring. THAT'S why I stay out of the debate threads - debating with a majority of people who do not share your opinion is incredibly draining and can end up feeling demoralizing. I don't care how many people THANK a post that says "Your opinion is wrong and here's why" if it doesn't agree with my opinion, I care about how things are worded and how things come off. Not garnering thanks (or seeing others get them) is so different from feeling berated for your opinion. Maybe one can contribute to the other, sure, but to say that the Thanks system is the biggest deterrent seems way off to me.

People may have even noticed recently that there's little in the way of opposing viewpoints on certain subjects. A lot of the time those people that do give viewpoints opposite to the majority tend not to stick around long. It's not hard to see that the reason for this is that they can physically see a crowd of people online, shaking their head at them. It's not a nice feeling to see posts that heavily criticize your views getting silent support from dozens of people.
Number 1, I would also like to point out that it seems that the majority of the people on this forum have political/ethical/whatever opinions that sway further towards liberal ideals than conservative. Maybe there aren't many people in there disagreeing with you because there just aren't that many people on the boards who do.

Number 2, without the thanks system, people will still know when people disagree with their opinion, trust me. People are going to post saying as much. How is that really any different? At least with the Thanks system, you won't necessarily have 12 people saying that they disagree with you in individual posts, which I think can be a lot more discouraging than seeing 11 people thank 1 person's post who stated what they're all thinking, anyway. Sometimes silent support can be intimidating, but having more instances of vocal support seems worse to me, honestly.
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Old 04/14/2016   #13
ForceStealer
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The only negative to the Thanks system is when Tres doesn't thank you.
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Old 04/14/2016   #14
Flintlock
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Yeah, that's when you know you've really fucked up.
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Old 04/14/2016   #15
Octo
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^This. Whenever I see Tres hasn't thanked my post I think: Fuck, what did I do?
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