Community Wishlist Survey 2022/Notifications/Enable Thanks Button by default in Watchlists and Recent Changes

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Enable Thanks Button by default in Watchlists and Recent Changes

  • Problem: The Thanks button is only available on individual Page Histories, which very few people interact with on a regular basis -- especially more experienced editors. The number of newbies looking at individual history pages, is miniscule.
  • Proposed solution: There is a user script on English Wikipedia that implements a thanks feature in other feeds ( see en:User:Evad37/Thanky.js ) but this is a super hidden feature -- and for most wikis, having to configure a script is too high of a technical threshold for most users, especially the ones we want to interact with other users: newbies. I recommend either enabling this by default across all the wikis, or building directly into the Thank feature, that way its something that other mediawiki wikis could handle.
  • Who would benefit: We have a lot of scholarly evidence that the Thank feature improves the general social dynamic on our Wikis, for example, this recent paper, summarized here. However, the thanks button right now in the default interface is living only in the history page of articles, not in many of the places where experienced editors interact with diffs (watchlists, recent changes feeds, etc).
  • More comments:
  • Phabricator tickets: phab:T51541, phab:T90404
  • Proposer: Sadads (talk) 12:10, 11 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]


  • The [thank] button is also available next to the [undo] button when viewing single diffs, see for example here. Sophivorus (talk) 01:04, 16 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Which is the most natural placement for it, considering that a genuine, meaningful expression of gratitude for a contribution would actually involve knowing what that contribution was, i.e. seeing the diff page of the edit. I'm not sure how much we want to encourage sending thanks in ignorance of what the thanked user actually did. Such concerns were already brought up earlier (e.g. phab:T51541#2189460, but also elsewhere about the history page design IIRC), but I don't see them addressed in this proposal. Regards, HaeB (talk) 05:21, 23 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • We really liked that wish when we reviewed it as a team today and are happy to accept it! KSiebert (WMF) (talk) 19:59, 21 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Personally, as an editor, I like the Thanks feature a lot. But the claim that "We have a lot of scholarly evidence that the Thank feature improves the general social dynamic on our Wikis" seems to oversell the existing research results considerably. I agree that the mentioned preprint study was well done, it seems by far the best evaluation of the feature's effects to date (see also my review in the Wikimedia Research Newsletter). But contrary to many expectations (including mine), the thanked newbie users did not contribute more - as measured by daily labor hours - in this experiment. The biggest effect was that they ended up sending more thanks themselves. Interpreting the latter result as a significant improvement of the wiki's social dynamic requires the circular assumption that we already know that the Thanks feature has this effect. Again, I like the feature personally and try to use it often myself as an editor. But the evidence for its impact should not be exaggerated for the purposes of prioritizing this proposal. Regards, HaeB (talk) 05:10, 23 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Comment: Similar to HaeB above (05:21) I'm not sure that thanking someone without viewing the diff is good practice. (IIRC, I had raised this once before and was told that, and found their point convincing.) Perhaps we should remove thanks from the History too, to bring it into parity with WL and RC. ⁓Pelagic (talk) 23:29, 29 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @HaeB @Pelagic The problem is that you can see diffs in a lot of these other places because of popups, and other tools -- especially experienced editors have ways of "seeing" the diff, without going to a diff page -- its really frustrating especially when you see, for example, someone do a revert of vandalism from a clearly vandalism account, etc., Sadads (talk) 15:58, 31 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The Popups tool actually already includes a "send thanks" action (as someone already pointed out in the linked Phabricator tickets). Besides, we shouldn't change the general MediaWiki interface for all users to support a use case that only fully makes sense for a small number of power users employing certain bespoke tools. Regards, HaeB (talk) 11:03, 2 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@HaeB However, that button needs a lot more clicks (it even loads the Special:Thanks page rather than sending it directly). I agree that this feature is not very useful for newcomers (and thus would not support this being enabled by default), but a simple preference for this seems useful. ~~~~
User:1234qwer1234qwer4 (talk)
19:37, 11 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • @Sadads Might be a bit paradoxical to present this proposal as aimed at "newbies" in the description and then make an argument about "experienced editors". ~~~~
    User:1234qwer1234qwer4 (talk)
    19:27, 11 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @1234qwer1234qwer4 The point, is that the technical skill is high for experienced editors and for new editors -- and in small wikis, configuring it and alongside the other features, especially when you don't necessarily need to open the history or a diff to appreciate it, is to high when compared with the value that comes from thanking folks, Sadads (talk) 23:51, 11 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]