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Forums / Welcome and orientation / Member survey: what should we do with the mark this post as helpful button?

Topic: Member survey: what should we do with the mark this post as helpful button?

  1. Chris B
    Community Manager
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    Chris B avatar
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    11 December 2018

    Hi everyone,

    Under each post on the forum is a button called "mark this post as helpful".

    This button was originally introduced following feedback from members that they would like a way to be able to show appreciation or acknowledgement for a post when they weren't up to writing an entire reply in response.

    Recent discussion on the thread What stops you from joining in? has seen some members questioning the value of this button and suggesting that it can be used in an exclusionary way.

    We are running a Survey Monkey to gather wider feedback on what we should do with the "mark this post as helpful" button. The three options we are canvassing are:

    * Remove the button
    * Keep the button
    * Keep the button but call it something else

    Please click here to take the survey, which we will leave open until the week of January 1 to give as many members as possible the opportunity to have their say.

    You can also leave more in-depth comments here in this thread for discussion.

    7 people found this helpful
  2. Guest8901
    blueVoices member
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    11 December 2018 in reply to Chris B

    Thanks for the opportunity for everyone to have a say on this.

    I have just taken the survey and voted to have the button removed. My reasons for this were expressed in the "What stops you from Joining in?" thread. It seems to be currently used more as a popularity vote, rather than an expression of what posts are helpful and which are not. There is also, I believe, an incorrect perception that CCs and VCs posts are more valuable than ordinary members and they are automatically given a thumbs up simply for that reason. Some thumbs up appear to be given simply because of who posted (again a popularity thing), rather than as an indication of the value or helpfulness of the advice given. All of this combines to create a sense of exclusion for some members.

    Personally I give a thumbs up to members posting to my own thread in acknowledgement that I am listening, even if not posting. I also give thumbs up on other's threads when I believe the advice is good or when I'm trying to encourage new members or existing members who may need a little bit of encouragement to continue posting.

    I find it interesting that there is the capability to actually 'thumbs up' one of your own posts. I know other forums do not permit this, as the function is deactivated for own posts. If this survey votes to keep the button I would at least like to see it deactivated for own posts.

    Amanda

    3 people found this helpful
  3. Sophie_M
    Community Moderator
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    11 December 2018 in reply to Guest8901
    Thanks for your feedback Amanda.  

    The coding in the button does not allow for us to restrict people from marking their own posts as helpful, or restrict an individual member's ability to use the button, so this is not something we will be able to change.  However, we do have the ability to restrict whether you can "unmark" a post (this is currently set to off, so once you mark something as helpful, you can't unmark it).  

    We have now added this additional question to the survey.
    6 people found this helpful
  4. smallwolf
    Community Champion
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    11 December 2018 in reply to Chris B

    Thanks also from me.

    I will have to take a slightly different viewpoint to Mandy, but I can understand the reasons why based on what Mandy said etc. I like to think that I rarely use the button, and my reasoning this. I view the function of the button similar to that as used in the space like stackexchange.The higher the count on the post, the "better" (broadly speaking) the answer. That does not mean it is the only answer/reply. Rather it indicates the answer/reply that I might give, and that I have nothing to add to that discussion. For me, it is NOT a "like" button as might be used on FB or other social media.

    If there button were removed, I would not bother me either.

    4 people found this helpful
  5. Guest8901
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    11 December 2018 in reply to Sophie_M

    Thanks Sophie. You said you'd added a second question to the survey. But since I had already replied to it I am now unable to go back in to answer the second bit. It just says I have already responded. I would be in favour of 'unmarking' the helpful button if possible. Because I have accidentally pressed it on my own post in the past, and would like to be able to unmark it if it happens again.

    Tim (smallwolf) - When I said that other Forums do not permit people to mark their own post as 'helpful' or 'supported' or 'liked', I did not mean any social media or facebook forums. I actually meant other MH forums such as Sane for example. I agree that the button should not be used such as a 'like' on FB. I'm not into social media anyway. Not sure what stackexchange is?

    Amanda

    4 people found this helpful
  6. smallwolf
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    11 December 2018 in reply to Guest8901

    Mandy - Sorry, I only mean an opposing viewpoint in the relation to (keeping) the button. The reference to social media was my input only and not targeted anywhere else. And fwiw, stackexchange is a Q/A type web site where users can ask questions etc.

    Tim

    7 people found this helpful
  7. Summer Rose
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    11 December 2018 in reply to Chris B

    Hi Chris

    Thanks for taking the initiative and formally addressing this issue.

    I like the "mark this post as helpful button". I see it as a valid and easy way to acknowledge the time and effort another poster has taken to formulate a response. It's simply a way to say, "I appreciate the valuable help you've given me."

    Is it possible that others watching what post and who gets "helpful" tics may be making some assumptions? Just because one individual doesn't find a post helpful, doesn't mean that many others don't. We have to remember that there is a very broad cross-section of people reading responses. I also want to suggest that I believe it's a big jump to assume that any "helpful" tic is only because of popularity or having the role of CC or VC.

    Having said all that, I haven't been around as long as others, and it's possible that those who have been here longer and perhaps been more active have seen "exclusionary" behaviour emerge. I'd be happy with a "Thank You" button, which would meet the original objective.

    8 people found this helpful
  8. Birdy77
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    12 December 2018 in reply to Chris B

    Thank you Chris and Sophie for this opportunity.

    Like SummerRose, I think the idea of a "Thank you" (or how about "thanks mate"?) button is really lovely.

    I find the thumbs-up very much like a "like" button and is probably used as such by many.

    I do think it's nice to be able to acknowledge support and the time taken out of another person's day, even if we're not up for posting a reply.

    I feel a bit apprehensive about expressing my thoughts, but here goes.

    Although I am one who voiced concerns about exclusion, I don't believe that the button is always used in this way, and I don't think it automatically is pressed for CC and VC contributions. I do feel like sometimes on some threads it is used like a popularity vote.

    Amanda, you mentioned one of the ways you use the button is to support those who need some encouragement to post. That comes from a very warm and kind place in your generous heart.

    But i feel that it's also very subjective: it means us deciding that one particular person needs a boost and another person does not need a boost.

    How do we make that call?

    We do not know how each person is doing. What if the person we decide does not need a boost actually really, really does, and the fact they don't get acknowledged makes them feel invalidated and less-than?

    I'm not trying to be argumentative, but I see that as ppssibly using it a little bit like a cheer squad, and that can feel hurtful to others who don't get the same amount of cheering.

    Some particular threads have a "following" and some of those regular followers "like" each other's posts a lot more than they "like" those who don't post as regularly. Sometimes even if all they post is one line or an emoji, they might get 6 thumbs up and a visiting poster might write a really thoughtful and valid post of support and get one or none.

    These are just my observations and feelings.

    Since discussing this on the other threads I feel a bit better about it and now i try not to even look at how many likes a post receives.

    Really I guess the "likes" should be irrelevant, it should be about the words and care taken, not the thumbs up.

    May everyone feel liked and/ir thanked today 😊

    🌻birdy

    6 people found this helpful
  9. Summer Rose
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    12 December 2018 in reply to Birdy77

    Hi Birdy

    Thanks for explaining how "popularity" is being interpreted and linked with the idea of cliques. I get it.

    Just a word on using the helpful button as encouragement. When I first joined the forum, I used to carefully read those posts marked helpful multiple times to learn about what made a good post and acceptable behaviour on the forum. It wasn't a judgement about anyone, just the fastest way to learn.

    Once I got my confidence up and started posting, I stopped noticing the number of helpful tics on my posts or others. It just wasn't important to me any more.

    I use the tool to show my appreciation to others when it occurrs to me because that makes sense to me. But I don't ever take it personally if people don't do the same back because there are many reasons someone may not choose to do this and they may not have anything to do with me.

    I think it's really interesting how different people use the tool and their different interpretations and expectations. Don't know if it brings us closer to a solution but it's great to know people really care about this place and each other.

    7 people found this helpful
  10. Quercus
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    12 December 2018 in reply to Summer Rose

    Hi everyone,

    Above all I'm stoked to see a poll happening about the topic. Thanks Chris.

    One thing I've noticed being on the forums long term is that a safe and welcoming culture is absolutely vital.

    When misunderstandings happen it affects the feel of the whole online community so it is up to every single one of us to speak up if something is making us feel uncomfortable. Thanks Birdy for raising the issue.

    I have to admit I couldn't care less if a post of mine is ignored... however... it has taken time (and the reassurance of others) to feel this way.

    I used to worry at times too until I realised whether my comments are useful/liked/popular/appreciated or not as long as I'm following the rules I have the same right as anyone else to voice my thoughts.

    I voted to keep it as it is. My thought was if we delete it how can I show someone I have read their words and they matter? Some days the button is the only response I'm able to give.

    If we change it that means debate. Like? Helpful? Hugs (yuck)? And I just don't care enough to be honest. To me it is simply a way to acknowledge a post when I'm unwell.

    That said... Clearly it matters to others so I'm glad everyone has a chance to have their say.

    5 people found this helpful
  11. blondguy
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    12 December 2018 in reply to Quercus

    Hi Everyone

    Hey Summer Rose....I really appreciate your clarity when you post including this......

    Summer Rose mentioned "I use the tool to show my appreciation to others when it occurs to me because that makes sense to me" Absolutely spot on and thankyou Summer Rose

    Hey Quercus....I am with you on this....I also voted to leave the 'Mark This Post as Helpful' as it is. You made an excellent point referring to.... its how we interpret this button and not overthinking what it represents. Good1

    Just my humble opinion....If its not broken...dont fix it!

    Have a great day everyone :-)

    Paul

    6 people found this helpful
  12. blondguy
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    12 December 2018 in reply to Guest8901

    Hi Amanda (excuse I for the double post ChrisB/Sophie_M)

    Always great to read your thoughts on any thread including this one too!

    I have posted several times that new or existing members' posts are just as highly valued/appreciated as any CC , VC or Life members' .

    You mentioned "There is also, I believe, an incorrect perception that CCs and VCs posts are more valuable than ordinary members and they are automatically given a thumbs up simply for that reason" You have drawn a long bow here Amanda

    Its only my humble opinion as a member this 'button' is there to show that someone's post was helpful to others..Its a form of positive encouragement so to speak which is the basis for the forums in the first place :-)

    Your posts are just as valued as mine or anyone else's Amanda. There is no difference

    4 people found this helpful
  13. geoff
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    12 December 2018 in reply to blondguy

    Hello Everyone, if you like a thread or a reply that someone has so generously made, then you are entitled to click 'Mark This Post as Helpful', this shows an appreciation to the person that their reply is helpful, supportive and very encouraging.

    If you don't want to click it, that's your choice, it's not about any competition, this is a depression site helping those people who are asking us for assistance.

    Leave it alone, and keep it there, no change, and as Paul says,

    If it's not broken...dont fix it!.

    Geoff.

    7 people found this helpful
  14. Suet suet
    Suet suet  avatar
    39 posts
    13 December 2018 in reply to geoff

    I hope I am ok to join the discussion here as well. 🙂

    I am surprised that different people interpret and use this button differently. The words is pretty much self explanatory “mark it when you find it useful for you”. For me, I tried this button before thinking to bookmark and appreciate a post and that was all it. But at the end it really just added a number in. I don’t use that much now. Does that imply the more click tagged to a post, the more useful it is?! I have no idea.

    On the other hand, I would appreciate if the button could be served as a bookmark. For some reason, I have troubles of finding a particular thread/ post. To fully digest a long post often takes time (for me). I might have to go back and read again at times

    For example, the other week I was rushing to a meeting while I was in the middle of a reading a long thread. After I logged off, I was unable to locate that particular post - it was lost somewhere. I thought if I had some sort of a bookmark or the like i would be able to find it - it just makes things easier.

    It’s just what I feel maybe helpful! Not sure if anyone has the same problem?!

    4 people found this helpful
  15. Suet suet
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    39 posts
    13 December 2018 in reply to Suet suet

    So I vote to remove the button and replace another one with a bookmark or the like.

    2 people found this helpful
  16. Sophie_M
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    13 December 2018 in reply to Suet suet
    Thanks Suet suet - if you haven't already, could you please follow the survey link in the original post to ensure your vote is counted?  

    In terms of bookmarks, we don't have the ability within the forum software to allow members to bookmark threads, but you can use the bookmark function in your browser to save a thread in the same way you would save any other webpage you're looking at.  You can even set up a separate folder in your browser's bookmarks tab for saving Beyond Blue forum threads.

    Depending on which browser you are using, there are plenty of tutorials available online if you google "Organise boomarks for [browser, e.g. Chrome, Safari, etc]".
    3 people found this helpful
  17. PamelaR
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    13 December 2018

    Hi all

    I'm pleased to see the discussion that's happening here. How better to get some understanding about what people are thinking. It's great!

    When I first joined I viewed that button as one to mark when I appreciated the time someone put in to provide a comment and I thought the post was helpful. A month or so in I began realising that the button was not necessarily used for this purpose as highlighted by Birdy.

    So, I began to ignore it. Never use it anymore and take no notice of the numbers.

    I'm with Nat and Paul that the use of this post is ... it is simply a way to acknowledge a post when I'm unwell and helpful to others..Its a form of positive encouragement.

    However, I do see that not all use it for this purpose and it has the potential to make people feel excluded. I must confess in the beginning I felt that way too. Now that I've ignored it I don't get that feeling anymore.

    Mandy, I'm with Paul. I don't think that that button is used for CCs and VCs at all. In fact I think it the opposite and think a little along the lines of Birdy.

    For me, it is being used as a popularity button by some, a thank you button by some, and a yes this was helpful by some.

    I have no particular views on whether the button stays or goes, so will find it difficult to do the survey.

    4 people found this helpful
  18. PamelaR
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    13 December 2018 in reply to PamelaR

    I opted to change it's name to - Thank you.

    Not sure how helpful this is going to be though.

    2 people found this helpful
  19. Guest8901
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    13 December 2018 in reply to Chris B

    The very fact that management has deemed this survey necessary is a clear indication that the currently named 'helpful' button is a contentious issue. Why court controversy and possible exclusionary behaviour, when to simply remove or fix the cause is a simple process?

    I believe the helpful button causes comparisons between members. Who has the most 'thumbs ups' on their posts? Oh, so they must be better than me. My posts are not good enough, and therefore I'm not good enough. This type of thinking is hard to prevent when most of us with MH already have strong feelings of inadequacy, and of not being accepted. It's very normal behaviour for human beings to compare themselves to others.

    The purpose of the button was meant to show appreciation of particularly supportive and helpful posts. It's not currently being used that way, as is evidenced by the various responses here.

    Incidentally I would not like to see the button removed entirely. It remains, for most, a very useful tool to acknowledge a post or to reassure others that we're okay, though not up to posting at this time. Calling the box 'helpful' is not applicable to how the button is now commonly being used. Nor is it a fair assessment of the value or helpfulness of posts. As such, I believe the use of it could be seen as discriminatory or divisive. I would be much more in favour of having a box called simply - 'read', 'thanks' or 'acknowledged'.

    Amanda

    2 people found this helpful
  20. Summer Rose
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    13 December 2018 in reply to Guest8901

    Hi Mandy8

    I don't agree that management has initiated this survey because the "helpful" button is a contentious issue. Management introduced the button in the first place to serve a need expressed by members, the need to show appreciation to others.

    I believe management simply care about all members and are interested in garnering other views and being responsive to all concerns, which is exactly how I feel. I want this forum to be a place of warmth and acceptance for everyone, just as I'm sure you do.

    I can appreciate how you feel but to say that the helpful button, designed as a way to permit members to show appreciation, is "not currently being used that way" is inaccurate. I use it that way and have said so, as have others. Perhaps we should let the survey run it's course before making definitive statements.

    For the record, I don't think "read" hits the mark but "thank you" could work (as I said earlier). The elephant in the room, of course, is that some people may start counting how many people ticked "read" or "thank you" and reading into it all over again.

    6 people found this helpful
  21. Quercus
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    13 December 2018 in reply to Guest8901

    Hi Amanda,

    Part of what you wrote has stuck in my head and I've been considering it...

    This type of thinking is hard to prevent when most of us with MH already have strong feelings of inadequacy, and of not being accepted.

    It made me wonder if the button is not the only issue that needs to be addressed.

    Whenever I am faced with feelings of inadequacy or unwelcome there are two threads I go to...

    www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/online-forums/staying-well/taking-things-the-wrong-way-(on-the-forums-and-in-life)

    www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/online-forums/staying-well/talking-to-your-inner-critic-can-it-be-tamed

    I visit these regularly to remind myself how to identify and challenge unhelpful thoughts. It is a work in progress but very worthwhile.

    Summer Rose mentioned that replacing the words may have little impact. I think she has a valid point. Will a new title improve anything if members are still counting clicks?

    Another thing that has stuck in my head that helps me immensely is something Chris B mentioned once (wish I could remember the thread).

    He said we need to expect the best intentions. So when I see a post of mine and it is the only one not acknowledged I could expect the worst. Or I could expect the best of others. That noone means to hurt me.

    I hope these help you and others too.

    Nat

    3 people found this helpful
  22. Sueetties
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    13 December 2018 in reply to Quercus

    I am on read-only mode most of the time. So I am not qualified for a vote here ...

    I notice that if I don’t login i’m unable to reply a post as the reply button dorsnt show up. Though i can still see the helpful button but i’m unable to mark it. Maybe you can remove it?

    I wonder if you can display the name who actually press this helpful button rather than showing a number? Like the Facebook...

  23. Sophie_M
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    13 December 2018 in reply to Sueetties
    Hi again Sueetties, anyone who uses the forums is entitled to vote in this survey, even if you only read posts and don't make posts.  The vast majority of forum users only read, and never actually post (we have over 100,000 unique visitors monthly to these pages).  

    However, you do have to be logged in to mark posts as helpful at the moment - that's just the way the button was built.  We also don't have the ability to display the name of the member who has clicked the button.

    For anyone reading who is a regular visitor to these pages and is not currently a member, we would encourage you to register.  You don't have to post if you don't want to, but there are a number of benefits to being logged in when you browse the forums, including:

    * being able to access a list of all the new threads and posts that have been made since your last visit
    * highlighting threads within each section that you have already read, or are new
    * remembering your place within a longer thread, so when you click into it on a later visit you are taken straight to the latest post
     
    3 people found this helpful
  24. Sophie_M
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    1 January 2019 in reply to Chris B
    Happy new year to all!

    We are going to leave this survey open until the end of this week, and will let you know the results on the morning of Monday 7 January.

    If you haven't already voted, please follow the link to the Survey Monkey in the original post and have your say.
    1 person found this helpful
  25. Chris B
    Community Manager
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    6 January 2019 in reply to Sophie_M
    Hi everyone,

    Thanks for taking part in this survey. A total of 29 members answered the survey. The results are as follows:

    Leave it as is - 38%
    Keep it but call it something else - 28%
    Remove it - 34%

    The majority of respondents (66%) were in favour of keeping the button. For those who were in favour of keeping the button but calling it something else, the most common suggestion for retitling was "Thanks" or "Thank you".

    We also asked respondents whether members who have marked posts as helpful should be able to change their minds and unmark it. The results are as follows:

    No - 54%
    Yes - 46%

    Based on these results, we are going to leave the button as it is for now, but we acknowledge these results were quite close, and a relatively small number of members took part in the survey.

    We will leave this thread open as an ongoing discussion on the "helpful" button and will look at running a similar survey again in the future if the discussion here progresses further.
    5 people found this helpful
  26. geoff
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    7 January 2019 in reply to Chris B

    Hello Chris, thanks for letting us know.

    Best wishes.

    Geoff.

  27. Quercus
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    7 January 2019 in reply to Chris B

    Thanks Chris. Such a small number of respondents. If it was a huge problem surely people would have voted.

    2 people found this helpful
  28. Rabbit33
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    7 January 2019 in reply to Chris B

    Hi Chris,

    I quite like the 'Mark this post as helpful' button. So long as it's used to genuinely agree and promote the comment people are agreeing with. It indicates other users that it's a good read, useful info and that others have read the thread and agree with the context of the poster.

    It may be worth being able to unmark it though, incase it was accidentally clicked. Otherwise, i'm all for it! :-)

    P.S Sorry that my input was delayed.

    HAPPY NEW YEAR TO Y'ALL :-)

    2 people found this helpful
  29. Shelll
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    7 January 2019

    I am aware the survey is done now. But I wanted to voice what this button means to me. Most likely I will press the button in another members post for a variety of reasons. One being to give the people validation that they are worthwhile, like they matter because someone has heard there voice. This is what I hoped they would know and feel. ( but now that I really think about it it may be very very own lack of self worth and my own rejection issues that get all mixed up in that)

    Another reason would be is because it was actually helpful in someway to myself or I could see that it would help someone else.

    mmm that’s about it I think

    2 people found this helpful
  30. Birdy77
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    1 October 2019
    Hi everyone,

    Have you seen recently that Instagram and Facebook are trialling a period of hiding the number of Likes a post receives on their platforms, as they face pressure over the impact it has on user's mental health?

    The thumbs up symbol signifies popularity and approval in a lot of online interactions in social media etc., and it must be a *thing* for insta and fb to make a move like that, not just something a few sensitive people over here on bb felt.

    I found it interesting in light of this discussion from almost a year ago.

    This is just a thought, but instead of changing the button's name from "helpful", maybe the symbol could be changed so it isn't a thumbs up?

    It's not something that personally bugs me so much anymore, but i just thought I'd put it out there since other platforms are attempting to reduce the impacts that measuring the number of likes has on the mental wellbeing of users.

    And, seeing as this is a platform 100% concerned with member's mental health, i thought it was worth bringing up again, in light of the changes that are happening elsewhere.

    Just some thoughts!
    1 person found this helpful

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