Thank you seem to be the hardest words

Image shows an arrangement of different coloured letters spelling the phrase
Why does “thank you” seem so difficult to say?

This post was written by Jon Davies, Wikimedia UK Chief Executive

A few months ago I wrote a critical review about a hotel I stayed in for Trip Advisor. I wanted to share my experience and warn off others. I posted and thought no more of it. I was surprised a few weeks later to receive a ‘Thank you’ email explaining how important by little piece of bile had been, and how many people had read it. I was chuffed. A month after that, and a couple more reviews, I was thanked again, given an update on the surprisingly large number of people who had read the reviews, and was awarded the equivalent of a ‘gold star’.

OK, so it was a bot but it occurred to me how sad it was that we don’t do something similar for our contributors. Barnstars are great but from what I observe many people never look at their user pages. Wouldn’t it be great if every time one of my uploaded photos made it onto a page I got some sort of alert or just a ‘thank you’ for every twentieth edit?

When I started working for Wikimedia UK I was warned that I was entering a culture that didn’t ‘do thank yous’. I think that we are missing out here and if we want to encourage and retain editors a few words of thanks from time to time would be a powerful tool.

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