Recently Joel Spolsky kicked off the Stack Exchange summer of love as a way to be proactive against the rudeness that occurs in all mature online forums. Then Josh Heyer clarified the role of niceness in a Q&A forum. I applaud this effort in general. However, I think they forgot one thing. They should remind people to say thank you.
As a participant on several of the Stack Exchange sites, mostly the original trilogy, I am no Jon Skeet, but I do try to answer questions when possible. When I answer questions, two things really annoy me:
- Those who never upvote or mark an answer as correct
- Those who never ever use the comments for saying thank you, or It worked.
See, I’m a fairly social person, and while I’m not always good at it, I’ve made an effort in recent years to remember to say thank you in emails. On top of that, I like to help people. My reward for answering your question is you saying “that worked for me.” A thank you simply does that better than a green check mark. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about the upvotes, green check marks, and badges. The gamification is a driver, but please make me feel like I’ve help out a fellow human being to solve a problem.