The Thanks notification offers a way to give positive feedback on Wikipedia. This feature allows editors to send a 'Thank you' notification to users who make useful edits – by using a small 'thank' link on the history page or diff page.
The Wikimedia Foundation's editor engagement team developed this small feature to encourage productive contributions to MediaWiki projects. It was introduced to the English Wikipedia on May 30, 2013 and now is widely available across many WMF projects.
Why this feature?
To make it as easy to show appreciation for each other's work as it is to express disagreement or disapproval. Sometimes you don't have time to write a personal note, yet still want to show your appreciation. Thanks is that quick way to say "thanks" for an edit.
It's easy to react to bad edits. All you do is hit undo (or rollback etc. if you can) on an article history page. This is a good thing, because it keeps the encyclopedia from being overrun.
However, if you thought an edit was good, there was not much you could do about it quickly, before Thanks was implemented. The only way we could tell others they did a good job was to go to their user talk page and post a message (see Wikipedia:Expressing thanks). This takes some effort, and doesn't really work for 'small' contributions – a set of typo fixes is most welcome, but maybe not worth a barnstar. With Thanks, there is a quicker way.
What the feature is
This feature, which is simply called "Thanks", makes it easy for you to express your gratitude, using the notifications tool. It's a simple way to thank another editor for a revision, when viewing it in history or diff view, as shown below:
How this feature works
To make this possible, a 'thank' link is shown on the history pages and diff page for each edit by a logged-in user (next to 'undo'). This link has a title (displayed as a tooltip in most graphical browsers) that reads 'Send a thank you notification to this user.' If you activate that link, a confirmation message appears saying, "Publicly send thanks?", with links for "Thank" and "Cancel". If you select "Thank", the user's notifications will contain a message saying that the editor was thanked by you for that edit. Also the link on the history page changes to 'thanked'. To prevent abuse, you can't thank more than ten people in a minute. If you select "Cancel", the action is cancelled, and no message is sent.
To thank other users or see the thanks you have received, you must be a registered user and be logged in. You can only thank other registered users; edits by IP users or automated bots cannot be thanked.
When someone thanks you, you get a notification in the personal menu next to your user name. The Thanks notification includes the name of the person who thanked you, a link to their user page, the name of the page you edited, a text snippet from your edit (or its summary), and a link to your edit's diff page. A "thanks for the thanks" response is not needed!
The word "Publicly" appears, somewhat imprecisely, in the confirmation message because, even though a user's notifications are only visible to that user, thank-you messages are logged (see Special:Log/thanks). Anybody who looks at the logs can tell how many thank-you messages a user has given and received, as well as the user name of the other editors involved. However, the logs do not show specifically which articles or edits thanks were given for.
Hopefully this feature will be useful for thanking any user who does good work – and especially for encouraging new editors during their critical first steps on Wikipedia.
What the feature is not
A "thank you" should be a simple, personal message of gratitude, rather than a public endorsement of edits.
How do I see the thanks I've got
To see all the thanks you have received, visit the Thanks log. In the "Target" box, type "User:" followed by your user name, then hit enter. Now the log shows only the thanks given to your edits, including who thanked you and when.
The Thanks log does not record which particular edit of yours triggered the thank you. To find that out, go to your Notification archive: Special:Notifications, which does show the edit for which you were thanked. Clicking a notification in this list takes you directly to the diff of the edit for which you were thanked.
How do I see the thanks I've given out
You need to visit the Thanks log, and filter it on your own user name. (Visit the log and type in your own user name under "Performer", then hit enter. Now the log shows only the thanks you have given out).
You will only be able to see who you thanked, and when. The log does not record the specific edits, and you cannot access other editors' notifications.
How to turn off this feature
To stop getting thanks notifications, you can opt out from them in your notification preferences. Go to the Notifications tab of your preferences. This only prevents you from getting notified, it does not prevent users from thanking you.
For tips on how to use the Notifications tool, visit this FAQ page.