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Member survey: what should we do with the mark this post as helpful button?

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi everyone,

Under each post on the forum is a button called "mark this post as helpful".

This button was originally introduced following feedback from members that they would like a way to be able to show appreciation or acknowledgement for a post when they weren't up to writing an entire reply in response.

Recent discussion on the thread What stops you from joining in? has seen some members questioning the value of this button and suggesting that it can be used in an exclusionary way.

We are running a Survey Monkey to gather wider feedback on what we should do with the "mark this post as helpful" button. The three options we are canvassing are:

* Remove the button
* Keep the button
* Keep the button but call it something else

Please click here to take the survey, which we will leave open until the week of January 1 to give as many members as possible the opportunity to have their say.

You can also leave more in-depth comments here in this thread for discussion.

35 Replies 35

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Thanks for the opportunity for everyone to have a say on this.

I have just taken the survey and voted to have the button removed. My reasons for this were expressed in the "What stops you from Joining in?" thread. It seems to be currently used more as a popularity vote, rather than an expression of what posts are helpful and which are not. There is also, I believe, an incorrect perception that CCs and VCs posts are more valuable than ordinary members and they are automatically given a thumbs up simply for that reason. Some thumbs up appear to be given simply because of who posted (again a popularity thing), rather than as an indication of the value or helpfulness of the advice given. All of this combines to create a sense of exclusion for some members.

Personally I give a thumbs up to members posting to my own thread in acknowledgement that I am listening, even if not posting. I also give thumbs up on other's threads when I believe the advice is good or when I'm trying to encourage new members or existing members who may need a little bit of encouragement to continue posting.

I find it interesting that there is the capability to actually 'thumbs up' one of your own posts. I know other forums do not permit this, as the function is deactivated for own posts. If this survey votes to keep the button I would at least like to see it deactivated for own posts.


Thanks for your feedback Amanda.  

The coding in the button does not allow for us to restrict people from marking their own posts as helpful, or restrict an individual member's ability to use the button, so this is not something we will be able to change.  However, we do have the ability to restrict whether you can "unmark" a post (this is currently set to off, so once you mark something as helpful, you can't unmark it).  

We have now added this additional question to the survey.

Community Champion
Community Champion

Thanks also from me.

I will have to take a slightly different viewpoint to Mandy, but I can understand the reasons why based on what Mandy said etc. I like to think that I rarely use the button, and my reasoning this. I view the function of the button similar to that as used in the space like stackexchange.The higher the count on the post, the "better" (broadly speaking) the answer. That does not mean it is the only answer/reply. Rather it indicates the answer/reply that I might give, and that I have nothing to add to that discussion. For me, it is NOT a "like" button as might be used on FB or other social media.

If there button were removed, I would not bother me either.

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Thanks Sophie. You said you'd added a second question to the survey. But since I had already replied to it I am now unable to go back in to answer the second bit. It just says I have already responded. I would be in favour of 'unmarking' the helpful button if possible. Because I have accidentally pressed it on my own post in the past, and would like to be able to unmark it if it happens again.

Tim (smallwolf) - When I said that other Forums do not permit people to mark their own post as 'helpful' or 'supported' or 'liked', I did not mean any social media or facebook forums. I actually meant other MH forums such as Sane for example. I agree that the button should not be used such as a 'like' on FB. I'm not into social media anyway. Not sure what stackexchange is?


Community Champion
Community Champion

Mandy - Sorry, I only mean an opposing viewpoint in the relation to (keeping) the button. The reference to social media was my input only and not targeted anywhere else. And fwiw, stackexchange is a Q/A type web site where users can ask questions etc.


Summer Rose
Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi Chris

Thanks for taking the initiative and formally addressing this issue.

I like the "mark this post as helpful button". I see it as a valid and easy way to acknowledge the time and effort another poster has taken to formulate a response. It's simply a way to say, "I appreciate the valuable help you've given me."

Is it possible that others watching what post and who gets "helpful" tics may be making some assumptions? Just because one individual doesn't find a post helpful, doesn't mean that many others don't. We have to remember that there is a very broad cross-section of people reading responses. I also want to suggest that I believe it's a big jump to assume that any "helpful" tic is only because of popularity or having the role of CC or VC.

Having said all that, I haven't been around as long as others, and it's possible that those who have been here longer and perhaps been more active have seen "exclusionary" behaviour emerge. I'd be happy with a "Thank You" button, which would meet the original objective.

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Thank you Chris and Sophie for this opportunity.

Like SummerRose, I think the idea of a "Thank you" (or how about "thanks mate"?) button is really lovely.

I find the thumbs-up very much like a "like" button and is probably used as such by many.

I do think it's nice to be able to acknowledge support and the time taken out of another person's day, even if we're not up for posting a reply.

I feel a bit apprehensive about expressing my thoughts, but here goes.

Although I am one who voiced concerns about exclusion, I don't believe that the button is always used in this way, and I don't think it automatically is pressed for CC and VC contributions. I do feel like sometimes on some threads it is used like a popularity vote.

Amanda, you mentioned one of the ways you use the button is to support those who need some encouragement to post. That comes from a very warm and kind place in your generous heart.

But i feel that it's also very subjective: it means us deciding that one particular person needs a boost and another person does not need a boost.

How do we make that call?

We do not know how each person is doing. What if the person we decide does not need a boost actually really, really does, and the fact they don't get acknowledged makes them feel invalidated and less-than?

I'm not trying to be argumentative, but I see that as ppssibly using it a little bit like a cheer squad, and that can feel hurtful to others who don't get the same amount of cheering.

Some particular threads have a "following" and some of those regular followers "like" each other's posts a lot more than they "like" those who don't post as regularly. Sometimes even if all they post is one line or an emoji, they might get 6 thumbs up and a visiting poster might write a really thoughtful and valid post of support and get one or none.

These are just my observations and feelings.

Since discussing this on the other threads I feel a bit better about it and now i try not to even look at how many likes a post receives.

Really I guess the "likes" should be irrelevant, it should be about the words and care taken, not the thumbs up.

May everyone feel liked and/ir thanked today 😊


Summer Rose
Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi Birdy

Thanks for explaining how "popularity" is being interpreted and linked with the idea of cliques. I get it.

Just a word on using the helpful button as encouragement. When I first joined the forum, I used to carefully read those posts marked helpful multiple times to learn about what made a good post and acceptable behaviour on the forum. It wasn't a judgement about anyone, just the fastest way to learn.

Once I got my confidence up and started posting, I stopped noticing the number of helpful tics on my posts or others. It just wasn't important to me any more.

I use the tool to show my appreciation to others when it occurrs to me because that makes sense to me. But I don't ever take it personally if people don't do the same back because there are many reasons someone may not choose to do this and they may not have anything to do with me.

I think it's really interesting how different people use the tool and their different interpretations and expectations. Don't know if it brings us closer to a solution but it's great to know people really care about this place and each other.

Hi everyone,

Above all I'm stoked to see a poll happening about the topic. Thanks Chris.

One thing I've noticed being on the forums long term is that a safe and welcoming culture is absolutely vital.

When misunderstandings happen it affects the feel of the whole online community so it is up to every single one of us to speak up if something is making us feel uncomfortable. Thanks Birdy for raising the issue.

I have to admit I couldn't care less if a post of mine is ignored... however... it has taken time (and the reassurance of others) to feel this way.

I used to worry at times too until I realised whether my comments are useful/liked/popular/appreciated or not as long as I'm following the rules I have the same right as anyone else to voice my thoughts.

I voted to keep it as it is. My thought was if we delete it how can I show someone I have read their words and they matter? Some days the button is the only response I'm able to give.

If we change it that means debate. Like? Helpful? Hugs (yuck)? And I just don't care enough to be honest. To me it is simply a way to acknowledge a post when I'm unwell.

That said... Clearly it matters to others so I'm glad everyone has a chance to have their say.