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Starting now: No more points for likes on comments/replies

Hi everyone,

In an effort to further encourage the creation of quality content, we are making changes in point assignment.

Effective immediately:

  • The author of a reply in a discussion thread will no longer receive 2 points when this reply is liked by someone.
  • The author of a comment to a blog post or document will no longer receive 2 points when this comment is liked by someone.

When we decided to give these points a couple of years ago, we wanted to encourage feedback on meaningful replies and comments, but we see that the desired effect is not happening.

  • We see comments or replies being written solely for the purpose of getting these like points
  • Some of these comments or replies do not add any value and may not be encouraging for the author either
  • There are groups of people who appear to be liking each other's comments and replies in order to earn a large amount of points quickly.

Please remember that SCN is a professional community and we are looking for added value. What is adding value? It's making contributions - a perspective, content, etc. - that are original, insightful and helpful to others in this community.

If we find that points are encouraging low-quality contributions in other areas (for example, copyright infringement in blogs), we will consider changing the points awarded further, and could consider eliminating points completely.

Whenever the Rules of Engagement are not respected, we will continue removing points and disabling accounts.

I hope we will all see value in this change. Thank you for your attention as always.

Laure

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42 Answers

  • Best Answer
    author's profile photo Former Member
    Former Member
    Posted on Mar 06, 2014 at 10:07 AM
    16

    Anyone else appreciate the irony that everyone replying to this wonderful post are those who won't actually be affected by the change, and those that it is targeted at are conspicuous by their absence? 😊

    Cheers,

    G.

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  • Posted on Mar 07, 2014 at 06:15 PM
    13

    Hi everyone,


    Thank you all for the feedback. It is mostly positive and I appreciate the support and replies.

    A couple of comments:

    @Henrique Pinto you are spot on. It is, indeed, sad that we are removing points for replies liked in the discussion forums. I thought these like points would be a good way for anyone (not just the original poster) to express their appreciation for good content that helped them. But unfortunately there was so much cheating that the negative impact was perceived as greater than the positive impact. Unfortunately this is life. C'est la vie. People with good intentions suffer for decisions made because others don't respect the rules. This doesn't just happen on SCN, right?

    To be honest I'd rather see less noise in the forums - and maybe less helpful content - than all the point cheating that was recently going on. But I'm an observer and community manager, and I don't rely on the SCN forums to solve my problems at work, so maybe I have no right to say that!

    Thank you for mentioning Stackoverflow Henrique, because I'm a big fan. In case you don't know it yet. Stackoverflow is where I think we should go, and it's been the topic of discussions when we talk about reputation systems. Stackoverflow is a true reputation system, and it works: giving certain rights to people who have accrued reputation after posting quality content… This gets my vote any time!

    @' MoazzaM ' interesting thought that has already crossed our mind: showing only badges and levels. Audrey and I had discussions and that's all I will say for now ;-)

    More generally there have been discussions here and there around the content of messages and replies. Is "thank you" valuable or not? I don't think we'll all ever agree on this, and my opinion is that it depends on the context. And as you can imagine it's difficult (impossible!) to automatically sort between the useless comments/replies and the useful ones. Recently I was reading Vijay Vijayasankar's post published on his personal site when he left SAP, and I couldn't help but notice that he was replying to every single comment, sometimes with just a few words. On SCN this may sometimes be perceived as "noise" when it may just be courtesy. In general I would advise everyone to wait a bit (a day or two) and observe comments received on a post, and then reply to more than one person in one comment/reply - like I'm doing it. It reduces the notifications and - hopefully - pleases people worried about the noise. Nowadays with the speed of internet and everyone connected via mobile, we expect others to reply to us right away. When there is no urgency, why rush? OK, I'll have to say it... I used to pick up the phone or wait a few days to get news from my friend in Paris when I was in high school. Yeah, it could take a couple of days to hear from her via - hum - a letter! Some of you remember these days, I'm not nostalgic but I think we can still pace ourselves. We're going very fast now and may miss important things in life. (oh my I'm getting too philosophical here).

    To finish on this, the context is what matters. If I'm a newcomer on SCN and I publish my first ever blog or document, a Thank You for someone will mean a lot and encourage me to continue.

    Happy to debate on this last paragraph, maybe over a beer/glass or wine than on this thread, since we could digress ;-)

    If you feel a question in this thread has not been answered, or you want to hear from me, please let me know by replying here! There's quite a lot of things to read here :-)


    Greetings from Sunny California (today at least).

    Laure

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  • Posted on Apr 03, 2014 at 08:18 AM
    12

    One thing I have noticed in the aftermath of this decision (which I wholeheartedly support) is that it becomes even more important that people properly mark helpful and correct answers to questions. I get lots of likes to answers, even from the original poster, when a helpful or correct answer would be more appropriate. I've also noticed that related, and sometimes unrelated, questions get asked in comments and answers to those can only be rewarded by likes since only the OP can award helpful or correct answers. These answers no longer earn you points.

    I wonder if we need to find a way to encourage more awarding of helpful or correct answers? And if anyone has any suggestions for how to deal with the "related questions" problem...

    I'm not especially driven by the need to accumulate points, but if the points system is meant to encourage people to contribute obviously some people are so motivated and the points system needs to work properly.

    Steve.

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    • Very good idea. I recently came across an old question/discussion thread from 2008 in which I provided the correct answer, and the OP even replied that my answer had worked for him, but he never closed the thread. The OP has been inactive since 2010, so that one's probably a lost cause, and too far back to worry about anyway, but it illustrates the larger issue. The reason I came across it again was because a few days ago someone else 'liked' my correct answer.

  • Posted on Mar 05, 2014 at 07:26 PM

    Hello Laure,

    Julius will be thrilled! 😀

    It is sad, that is has to come to this, because this platform should be - like you said - used in a professional manner, but I am really glad that the team behind the gamification on SCN is reacting to the issues and I think, this is a good reaction.

    It kind of feels like a warning shot, too, and maybe some users will now start to re-think their motivation for posts and use their time more wisely. 😊

    Regards,

    Steffi

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    • TW Typewriter wrote:

      Steffi,

      To understand (confirm) these rules, did you get points because members liked your reply?

      • The author of a reply in a discussion thread will no longer receive 2 points when this reply is liked by someone.
      • The author of a comment to a blog post or document will no longer receive 2 points when this comment is liked by someone.

      Or the (four) likes are just "text" and do not add to your points?

      Thanks!

      Since you asked me directly and I don't want to look rude by not answering: yes, it works. ^^ No points were earned through the likes, just a warm feeling of acknowledgement. 😀

  • Posted on Mar 05, 2014 at 10:14 PM

    Hi Laure,

    As I said on Twitter, it's definitely good news, but I would rather see the down voting option.

    Cheers,

    Custodio

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  • Posted on Mar 05, 2014 at 10:26 PM

    Hi Laure

    Wonderful news on this one. I doubt it will stop the endless thanks but will cut down points gaming.

    I'm starting to wonder if blogs needs a "thanks for contributing" button (separate to the like) and put a counter there instead of everyone writing 'thanks' and 'well done'

    Regards

    Colleen

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  • Posted on Mar 06, 2014 at 08:43 AM

    Wonderful decision Laure Much awaited one..Really appreciate..Hoping that the noise will be little less than earlier..Some people just commenting on each and every blog to get those 2 points.Sad indeed !

    This is a technical forum and the focus should be more on answering the queries of the OP rather than earning points just by commenting on blogs--Good doc..wonderful blog..Nice document..Oh come on.

    One more thing i just want to share if we can make Pay It Forward Badge unrepeatable mission.I can witness some people getting the badge twice in a day that simply means misuse of the mission.

    Regards,

    AL

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  • Posted on Mar 07, 2014 at 03:45 AM

    Hi Laure,

    while I do agree with the overall concept behind these changes (I've been a long supporter of "quality over quantity" on SCN, as one can imply from my personal comments in the Moderators private space), I do think you've got two different situations and applied the same solution, which still leads to a non-optimal scenario.

    1. One problem is the "point for comments" hunting in the articles, blogs and documents. Some people basically post comments with the intention of getting likes and, while several comments do add value to an ongoing discussion (and some blogs even ask for them), the objective of these kind of content (articles, documents and blogs) is to share what was posted in the original content in the first place. Hence enforcing (i.e. giving points) to any additional comment is not really necessary from a community engagement perspective. The main aspect here, from the gamification perspective, is to properly pay forward the original author and not the commenters.
    2. A discussion is a completely different kind of engagement. On these, you want (actually, you need) to have the replies. The main purpose of these contents is not justified on the question alone; a discussion is only complete if there is, well, discussion. This implies that, from a gamification perspective, you want to enforce (and thus pay forward) both the author and the repliers, since a question without replies is not really a good discussion, no matter how good the original question was.

    We know that both scenarios might potentially lead to point gaming, and that's why there is need for a robust community platform, that provides tools for the community managers to fight that.

    While I agree that simply removing the points for likes on comments is a viable approach for solving point gaming issues in scenario 1 above (since paying forward the comments was not really necessary from a community engagement perspective), it is not the optimal solution for the outlined scenario 2, since it might potentially lead to less engagement on the very core requirement of the discussions. Less replies mean less good discussions (since a discussion is the final result of a good answer and one or more good replies), while less comments does not mean less good blogs/documents (which are whole by themselves).

    Thus, IMHO, simply removing the points for discussion replies might solve one problem (point gaming) but could potentially lead to a very undesired side effect (less community engagement on discussions). Hence I do believe that a more sophisticated solution is required here.

    One very elegant solution (and that has been overwhelmingly proved successful in several other online communities) is the dislike button for replies in the discussions. This has been discussed for ages on the Moderators private space (i.e. to follow StackOverflow's pointing system) and was formally proposed in the Idea Place by @Jelena Perfiljeva (link: Dislike / thumbs down button : View Idea). With that, you give negative feedback capability to the community and, with it, the capability to auto-regulate. Point gamers might still attempt it, but in a healthy community (which SCN is) the number of negative votes on any hunting reply would kill and gaming attempt without any community manager intervention.

    <techie rant mode=on>

    Anyone with an engineering major knows that any system with only positive feedback tends to the chaos. ;-) In order to be controllable, a system demands negative feedback, and that is what we're talking about here.

    <techie rant mode=off>

    That being said, I do understand that in the real world, we have to work with the existing limitation of Jive and try to solve the additional problems on a demand basis. As a temporary solution, I do believe that disabling points for replies is better than leaving it indiscriminately activated, in order to solve the urging point gaming situations we're facing now. Kudos for you and the team to embrace quality over quantity as we have been demanding for so long. But this must be seen, as I've said, as a temporary solution. Letting points enabled + the dislike button (or any other solution, for that matter, that enforces the engagement of both authors and repliers on discussions while giving the community a way to autoregulate and eliminate point gaming by itself) is mandatory on the long term for the community to stay healthy and really perform close to its full engagement capacity.

    Sorry for the long post.

    I just had to let go what was in my chest. ;-)

    Best,

    Henrique.

    PS: again, kudos. Quality over Quantity FTW.

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  • Posted on Mar 07, 2014 at 07:49 PM

    I agree 100% with everything @Henrique Pinto said above. Rather disappointed about likes in the discussions (which was a great way to reward someone whom the OP forgot to recognize), but as we say in Russian "so is the c'est la vie" ("такова селяви"). 😊

    Also great point by @Laure Cetin (finally someone said it out loud!) - many members confuse SCN with a chat and it does create a lot of "noise" and, most importantly, blasts out emails to everyone following the content. I doubt everyone expects a personal thank you note for every comment, so let's keep niceties within reasonable limit. Also check out the item number one on @John Appleby's blog.

    Of course, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to throw "let's get rid of the points altogether" into the mix, but what if we had, say, a "point-less" month on SCN? I wonder what would happen...

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    • Former Member

      I have for several years been suggesting to deactivate the points system in the security space as a pilot. To see how quality, moderator intervention and general chemistry improves.

      If the reaction to that is anything to go by, you will be ignored for some time. If you persist then you will be told that you can forget it. If you gather sufficiently significant community support for it, then a project will be invoked for a platform upgrade to a version of Jive which no longer makes it possible to realize these wonderful, but in the end pointless, ideas.

      My 2 cents...

      Julius

  • Posted on Mar 06, 2014 at 08:13 PM

    Members,

    Sometimes in a thread, I ask "connected" questions, when a members gives quality input to my query; I would like to give him/her well deserved points - by press the Like button.

    Now, my appreciation would not give him/her the points!

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