[Wikimedia-l] Thanking anonymous users

Yaroslav M. Blanter putevod at mccme.ru
Tue Jan 14 14:42:54 UTC 2014

On 13.01.2014 23:57, Risker wrote:
> I dunno, guys.  I certainly would take a talk page message over a
> mechanical "thank" any day of the week.  More particularly, I notice a
> significant trend in using "thank" notifications to express agreement 
> with
> people without having to actually say "yeah, I agree" somewhere.
> That the loss of human contact, replacing it with another 
> technological
> whizbang, is considered a net positive...well, I guess that's what can 
> be
> expected from Wikimedia.
> Risker

Actually, I think here there are two issues mixed here and this is why 
your message got such a reaction.

We do not have just two types of messages - human and automated ones. 
We actually have three: human custom, human templated, and automated 
templated messages. I do not see much of a difference between human 
templated and automated templated messages. For example, when I nominate 
a file for deletion on Commons, this is done by one mouse click, and the 
uploader gets an automated message on their talk page. I do not have any 
problems with this. Certainly not more than if I had to go myself to the 
talk page and leave a template. Well, may be if I did it manually, I 
also could add their talk page to my watchlist and potentially answer 
questions - but OTOH I would have by now thousands user talk pages on my 
watchlist, and it would be very difficult to manage. Anyway.

What does indeed make a difference and creates a sense of human 
interaction is custom messaging over templated messaging. I am myself a 
strong supporter of custom messages, and I do not use templates for 
communication except for the situations when I am legally bound to do it 
(deletion notices, copyvio notices, and block notices), and also welcome 
templates since they contain a lot of useful links. On my RfA in the 
English Wikipedia I was asked a question about it and went into some 
detail answering the question, and I am not going to repeat it here. I 
do believe that templates make Wikipedia more similar to MMORPG that we 
(at least I) would like to see it and in the sense contribute to the 
decline in number of active users. OTOH, I also see that someone who is 
overworked and had to communicate with dozens of users per day would 
choose over templating just to save time.


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