Beefy Boxes and Bandwidth Generously Provided by pair Networks Joe
Perl: the Markov chain saw
 
PerlMonks  

To thank or not to thank?

by blazar (Canon)
on Jun 25, 2007 at 14:03 UTC ( #623175=monkdiscuss: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??

This is an issue I've been thinking about for quite some time, but I got some more momentum about writing about it here after having read a recent thread (see in particular the final part of my reply there) also dealing, like this one, with quick feedback. So, as aware as I am of the potential risks about mentioning possible "improvements" to the current mechanisms, albeit on a purely hypothetical basis, I'm trying my hand now...

The point is really about whether to to thank or not to thank after having received useful help. Courtesy would suggest so, but replies to that effect most often just seem to "pollute" the thread they make their appearance in: when they're addressed at me, and it often happens with newbies, I just /msg them to the effect that they can /msg too. Personally I don't thank unless I have something more to add that may be relevant to the thread. In fact I even happen to downvote those kind of replies if I feel they just add to the noise/signal ratio of the thread: of course you will tell me that I can just leave them as they are - yet I have the tendency to put a vote on all the entries of a thread I read, a problem of mine, I know...

OTOH, the missing of a "thanks" reply may not only leave the person who supplied the helpful answer in a warnocked state, but all the others possibly stumbling upon it as well and what's worst, a /msg would too. So... I'm mumbling... there could be a special kind of mechanism just to "say thanks": e.g. the associated nodes should not be votable, have limited maximum size (just customizable enough to say "thanks, it worked" rather than "thanks, it gave me some clue") and be visually recognizable but unobtrusive in the context of a thread, perhaps even completely unvisible depending on a personal switch, or visible only if in reply to one's contribution, or...

Further brainstorming... perhaps this could blend nicely with the cool tags/keyword stuff about which discussions and rumors are increasing lately...

Update: mandatory (meta-?)thanks to all those who contributed to the thread! :-)

Comment on To thank or not to thank?
Re: To thank or not to thank?
by grep (Monsignor) on Jun 25, 2007 at 14:16 UTC
    I know of some other sites along the lines of PerlMonks allow the OP to flag a reply as 'helpful' or 'worked'. Instead of a new node, it could just be a flag on the reply.

    A note in the header of the reply as to whether the reply was flagged would keep the clutter down.

      A note in the header of the reply as to whether the reply was flagged would keep the clutter down.

      Very good idea. Perhaps in the form of a link optionally bringing to an "extended" text. Or a combination of the two. I had originally thought of a node because AIUI under the Everything2 engine everything is a node, after all. Of course a node to be rendered from the UI POV in such a light manner to be like a one comment line... no links, no bells and whistles... and perhaps in the footer rather than in the header. (I would make it look like part of the node it applies to, with a color that would stick out, but in small enough text. Of course it would all be depend on suitable css settings.)

      The point being, as with the other ongoing discussion I mentioned, that PM is very KISS and that's one of its strenght so any "improvement" to the current and working mechanisms, even before crashing on the wall of actual and possible implementation difficulties should be thought of as making sure about not getting in the way of that...

Re: To thank or not to thank?
by Sidhekin (Priest) on Jun 25, 2007 at 14:20 UTC

    I'm all in favour of saying thanks. I don't think a /msg is good though; it leaves the thread "unresolved".

    I don't mind thank-you notes, and I often upvote them. I never think of "thank you" as clutter.

    Alternatively, if you really don't want to add "clutter", how about updating your node to acknowledge the help you've received?

    print "Just another Perl ${\(trickster and hacker)},"
    The Sidhekin proves Sidhe did it!

      Alternatively, if you really don't want to add "clutter", how about updating your node to acknowledge the help you've received?

      Well, that's one possibilty. And it has the advantage of being implemented already. But updates often get unnoticed. So we should not refrain from possibly thinking os something better... so long as it doesn't get in the way of doing anything that's more useful, of course!

        But updates often get unnoticed.

        Hmm, that makes me wonder - is the update timestamp stored anywhere? If so, we could have "Recently updated Nodes/Threads" page, maybe? For homenodes, there is such a page...

        --shmem

        _($_=" "x(1<<5)."?\n".q·/)Oo.  G°\        /
                                      /\_¯/(q    /
        ----------------------------  \__(m.====·.(_("always off the crowd"))."·
        ");sub _{s./.($e="'Itrs `mnsgdq Gdbj O`qkdq")=~y/"-y/#-z/;$e.e && print}
        But updates often get unnoticed.

        So what? The point, I thought, was to leave something for future seekers. As for leaving a note of thanks — you can draw the thankee's attention to the update (if a direct "thank you" isn't sufficient) with a simple /msg.

        A word spoken in Mind will reach its own level, in the objective world, by its own weight
Re: To thank or not to thank?
by tirwhan (Abbot) on Jun 25, 2007 at 14:44 UTC

    I find an update to the original question to be ideal, e.g.

    How can I frobnicate the furlitzer with Perl 6?

    Update: thanks to everyone, the solution by Furlitzmonk is what I ended up using because it was the most globulicious

    that way, future readers are immediately pointed towards a solution to the problem and the answering monk gets the praise/thanks he deserves/expects, all without increasing the danger of node-id-space running out before 2037 ;-)


    All dogma is stupid.
      that way, future readers are immediately pointed towards a solution to the problem and the answering monk gets the praise/thanks he deserves/expects, all without increasing the danger of node-id-space running out before 2037 ;-)

      As I wrote in reply to Sidhekin's comment, which also was along the same lines: the nice point about this is that it is already possible. It's KISS and on a second thought it's probably also the most efficient solution as far as future references are concerned, which is the point you brought about. So I'm not insisting, but... should the hypothetical mechanism be put in place, it wouldn't be mutually exclusive with the modus operandi you suggest.

Re: To thank or not to thank?
by Limbic~Region (Chancellor) on Jun 25, 2007 at 16:04 UTC
    blazar,
    When I have requested help, I try to respond to each unique reply with feedback along the lines of:

    • Thanks, this is exactly what I was looking for
    • Your solution doesn't work because X
    • Your solution works but I chose to go with Y because Z
    • You answered the question I asked but I really meant X
    • etc, etc, etc

    I do this so that others reading my thread in the future, with a similar problem can immediately see what did and did not work, what considerations I made to render my decision, etc. It also gives feedback to the person providing the response that they are appreciated and potentially point out flaws so they themselves can learn.

    I resevere just /msg response when I am not adding anything to the content of the thread. This might be to some responses that said the same thing as another in the thread I did reply to.

    This is all very much subjective.

    Cheers - L~R

Re: To thank or not to thank?
by CountZero (Chancellor) on Jun 25, 2007 at 19:51 UTC
    User discretion is advised!

    If it is just to say "Thank you", you add nothing of content to the thread and is indeed perhaps better done in a /msg. It is more personal and nicer.

    A general comment such as "I used solution 'X' rather than 'Y' as it is more sexy" is best put as an update in the original node, but individual comments (which can include a "Thank you!") should be put in their own nodes.

    YMMV

    CountZero

    "A program should be light and agile, its subroutines connected like a string of pearls. The spirit and intent of the program should be retained throughout. There should be neither too little or too much, neither needless loops nor useless variables, neither lack of structure nor overwhelming rigidity." - The Tao of Programming, 4.1 - Geoffrey James

      If it is just to say "Thank you", you add nothing of content to the thread and is indeed perhaps better done in a /msg. It is more personal and nicer.

      Thank you for your contribution! (This is actually a meta-thanks!) In fact that's what I wrote in the root node too, and what I currently do. Yet, as I also underlined there, it may leave the respondent with Warnock... yes, I also wrote that it would leave people reading the thread with him as well - of course an update cures that. And of course each solution has its own advantages and its best area of application, as you clearly point out. Though there are overlappings. Thus I started this thread to see whether there was some sort of consensus both wrt the current status and if any good idea/brainstorming could get out for an additional "official" solution. Personally I think that simpler nodes with no vote button and limited text content, to be rendered as a footnote to some other node would be very nice to have. But that's just me, and a whole implementation away, of course!

        Thank you for your "Thank you"!

        In the Monastery we fortunately have the XP-system, which gives a rough indication how well the node was received by the other Monks and as such leaves us less "Warnocked" than on usenet.

        CountZero

        A program should be light and agile, its subroutines connected like a string of pearls. The spirit and intent of the program should be retained throughout. There should be neither too little or too much, neither needless loops nor useless variables, neither lack of structure nor overwhelming rigidity." - The Tao of Programming, 4.1 - Geoffrey James

Re: To thank or not to thank?
by Gavin (Canon) on Jun 25, 2007 at 20:37 UTC
    I too have always wondered whether to thank or not. While I was always taught to thank someone as a youngster who has helped me, I do see that it can well clutter the thread. In the past I have thanked both with private messages and posts.

    Reading the entire message string it is sometimes difficult to see if the posted problem has been answered to the satisfaction of the original poster. Recently looking at another help forum (PHP) which asked that all those that had found a suitable solution to their problem should raise a flag which indicated problem Solved

    This to my mind gave some positive feedback to the member who posted a suitable answer but also stopped others posting unnecessarily. That may or may not be a good thing here as many subsequent answers to posts also have great merit.
      Recently looking at another help forum (PHP) which asked that all those that had found a suitable solution to their problem should raise a flag which indicated problem Solved

      Well, if there were a tagging system in place, as is also being discussed, I suppose that there may be official tags, one of which being "solved", and special actions could be taken for that particular official tag e.g. in terms of visual appearance. So I support jdporter: yes, we need tags!

      This to my mind gave some positive feedback to the member who posted a suitable answer but also stopped others posting unnecessarily. That may or may not be a good thing here as many subsequent answers to posts also have great merit.

      Seconded all the way, but it may also help one to decide whether to read the whole thread anyway, perhaps to find something to add because a priori they suspect they will find it, or move to something else. It depends on how much one weighs simply supplying immediate help to those who ask it, plain and simple, over going into detail into an issue.

      OTOH this makes me think of possible cultural differences between Perl crowds and PHP ones, which is also a subject matter occasionally touched upon here, and even quite recently, that I can remember: no flame intended, but perhaps in the latter case people will tend to look for fishes to be spoon fed with, in relation to some immediate problem, while in the former they will at least occasionally be looking for deeper knowledge and wisdom, or wanting to share their own. Quite intellectual for a language that is supposed to be much about pragmatics, ain't it? (And that's the way I like it!!)

Re: To thank or not to thank?
by smahesh (Pilgrim) on Jun 26, 2007 at 03:59 UTC

    My personal bias is towards the "thank you" approach. How to thank someone is open-ended - either via a node, private msg, chatter box, etc.

    A couple of reasons for thanking someone I can quickly come up with are:

    • The person who helped you out has taken some time out of their schedule to look at *your* problem and resolve it. There is no compulsion for them to do this other than a "helping" nature. The least you could do is spend a couple of minutes to thank them for their help and support.
    • I think, more than XP, monks (correct me if I am wrong) get a "buzz" when they know that they have helped someone out of a problematic situation. We are inherently "problem solvers". A simple thank you will let them know that you appreciate their solution/feedback.
    • When someone posts a problem, many monks will give different solutions. Not all solutions are elegant, practical, meaningful to the OP's original issue. A "thank you" note will highlight the solution that "best" (NOTE: Best here is not absolute/technically best but only best w.r.t OP's context) solved the OP's scenario. This will also help other monks who may face a similar problem and they can immediately narrow down to the "best" solution.

    Mahesh

      There is no compulsion for them to do this other than a "helping" nature.

      <joke>
      How 'bout boasting about what they know and bashing others for their errors and imprecisions? ;-)
      </joke>

Re: To thank or not to thank?
by mojotoad (Monsignor) on Jun 26, 2007 at 08:52 UTC
    I, for one, would like to thank you for bringing this up.

    ;)
    Matt

Log In?
Username:
Password:

What's my password?
Create A New User
Node Status?
node history
Node Type: monkdiscuss [id://623175]
Approved by Corion
help
Chatterbox?
and the web crawler heard nothing...

How do I use this? | Other CB clients
Other Users?
Others having an uproarious good time at the Monastery: (5)
As of 2014-04-21 02:47 GMT
Sections?
Information?
Find Nodes?
Leftovers?
    Voting Booth?

    April first is:







    Results (489 votes), past polls