'Thank You' Button

Increases retention & contagious prosocial behaviors

'Thank You' Button

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What It Is

A stand-alone button, or reaction, which enables users to express thanks and gratitude.

When To Use It

This works as either a react icon for when users may 'like' content, or as a stand-alone button beneath content.

What Is Its Intended Impact

Evidence has shown that receiving thanks increased two-week retention of Wikipedia contributors by 2 percentage points on average, and caused people to send more thanks to others by 43% on average.

How We Know It Works

Why It Might Work

In 2020, Cornell's Citizen & Technology Lab—i.e. CAT Lab—published findings from a year-long experiment. The study explored the impacts of 344 volunteers thanking 2,702 Arabic, German, Polish, and Persian-language, Wikipedia contributors.

Why It Matters

The ability to increase new user retention by two percent, coupled with a 43% in thankful exchanges, could correlate to not only increased sustained web traffic, but also to a more resilient community.

We also think that it matters that people, when they are thanked via a button like this, proceed to use the button to thank others.

Humans are social creatures. Research on gratitude has found that, when your brain recognizes that someone has done something nice for you, it reacts with gratitude to motivate you to repay them and others. Gratitude signals the "interpersonal warmth of the expresser, [which prompts] investment in the burgeoning social bond." (Williams, L. A., & Bartlett, M. Y., 2015)

We would like to see more research on whether this increased gratitude has more direct, measurable effects on community cohesiveness and resilience to anti-social behavior.

Special Considerations


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Volunteers Thanked Thousands of Wikipedia Editors to Learn the Effects of Receiving Thanks


J. Nathan Matias, Reem Al-Kashif, Julia Kamin, Max Klein and Eric Pennington

Date of Publication

June 20, 2020

Entry Type


Study Design



Is The Sample Size Significant?


Online Impact


APA Citation

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Further Reading

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