Update on ‘no thanks’

May212012

So we launched “no thanks” about two weeks ago, and the feedback has been loud and clear: people don’t like how it’s been working.

The problem is that, because we automatically collapse comments after a certain number of “no thanks,” people are abusing it. They’re clicking “no thanks” when they disagree with something, or if they just plain don’t like somebody, rather than reserving it for comments that are truly inappropriate.

And as a result, some comments have been collapsed when they shouldn’t have gotten collapsed, and a whole bunch of nice, positively-contributing users are getting frustrated, which has resulted in threads like this, this, this, this and the comments on the original blog post.

We’ve been watching these discussions with great interest, and you may have noticed we’ve made a few changes to the system since it launched: we changed the “no thanks” button design to be much less prominent, and we added a message and “undo” button after you click “no thanks” (which has had a decent effect on “incorrect” usage of the feature). We’ve also tried to be diligent about catching users who are gaming the system (for example, signing up for multiple accounts).

But, in the long run, these are all stopgap solutions to a larger problem. Rather than playing a flawed game, we’d rather change the rules of the game.

We’ve got a bunch of ideas on how we can change “no thanks” in a way that prevents misuse while achieving the original goal of keeping negative and destructive behavior off the site. We don’t have anything to show just yet, but know that we’re working on it.

Finally, for those of you in our hometown of Chicago who are interested in helping us figure this out, we invite you to join us for a lunchtime “no thanks” discussion this Thursday, May 24, in the Ravenswood neighborhood. We’ll talk through the issues and potential solutions, and the pizza is on us. If you’re interested and available, send an e-mail to feedback@everyblock.com. (We’ve got room for about 10 people.)

Thanks for dealing with us as we figure out this “no thanks” thing, and stay tuned.

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