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 is now available on MediaWiki.org and the English Wikipedia (where it was introduced on May 30, 2013).
Why this feature?
We think it should be as easy to show appreciation for each other's work as it is to express disagreement or disapproval. Right now, 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's not much you can do about it quickly. The only way we can tell others they did a good job is to go to their user talk page and post a message (Wikipedia:Expressing thanks elaborates on this). 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. What if you don't have time to write a personal note, yet still want to show your appreciation?
What's needed is a quick way to say "thanks" for an edit.
What the feature is
This feature, which we're just calling "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:
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, "Send public thanks for this edit?", with links for "yes" and "no". If you select "yes", 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'. If you select "no", the action is cancelled, and no message is sent. (To prevent abuse, you can't thank more than ten people in a minute.)
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 "public" appears, somewhat confusingly, in the confirmation message because, even though a user's notifications are only visible to that user, thank-you messages are logged. 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.)
We hope 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
We want to limit "thank yous" to being simple, personal messages of gratitude, rather than a public endorsement of edits. They do get noted in Special:Log/thanks for now in case sysops or anyone else want to monitor the volume, though we can turn this off if it gets too noisy.
"Thank" links are not part of watchlists or recent-changes. They are only in page histories and edit-diff pages.
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.
For tips on how to use the Notifications tool, visit this FAQ page.
We introduced the Thanks feature on history and diff pages in the English Wikipedia on Thursday, May 30th, 2013. This experimental feature can also be tested on MediaWiki.org, where it has been available since March 2013, as described on this testing page.
This feature was intentionally built to be as simple as possible, so we can all evaluate and improve it together, based on user feedback.
Your comments and suggestions are very welcome on this talk page -- and we look forward to a healthy discussion, once you have had a chance to try it out.
For more information, check out the full feature requirement for the Thanks notification.