The question in topic is If or How to answer compliments from boss at work and what I will say is that I will probably flag this as primarily opinion based as well.. It is. As per the question it asks you when flagging:

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.

I do however feel this question has been left open and edited slightly without it being closed and is now just seeking more low quality easy answers for karma. I feel like this question by now should of had something done about it, I don't want to point fingers but it feels like people overlook this when they think free reputation is available.

To clarify further on why I opened this up on meta is that over the last couple of days that I've been giving this exchange a go and seeing if I enjoy answering questions here it seems a lot of questions as a whole are low quality. Though if people jump onto the question it seemingly isn't being closed for the right reasons? Why is this? Shouldn't we as a community be closing these questions that aren't likely to go anywhere?

Furthermore editing said question to include a question again isn't helping this thread become a higher quality. "What is an appropriate way to respond when my boss compliments me over text at work?" Again this is just so subjective I could answer saying profanity and I'd at least be somewhat right? I feel like this question and the changes don't bring this up to the quality that this exchange has..

Further clarification:

In response: A good example might be sending a thumbs up emoji on its own. Am I a better or worse person for sending that over thank you? vs the many other ways I could respond. This is just so subjective to where you work and who you work with.

The above is a good example of how this is just deeply opinon based and while 'thank you' is a great general answer it's just not a good question that should of been put on hold or closed while it came up with a better question overall.

  • I would appreciate the people who are down voting to at least let me know why they downvoted?
    – li x
    May 2, 2018 at 14:10
  • 2
    Responding to your boss with profanity would be "appropriate" and "at least somewhat right"? You mean like this - Boss: "Good job!" You: "F*** you!" OK, try that at your workplace and tell us how it goes.
    – Masked Man
    May 2, 2018 at 14:12
  • @MaskedMan A good example might be sending a thumbs up emoji on its own. Am I a better or worse person for sending that over thank you? vs the many other ways I could respond. This is just so subjective to where you work and who you work with..
    – li x
    May 2, 2018 at 14:13
  • @lix I removed some code markup from your question, which we don't use on this site. Please see this Meta for info on why. Also, remember that voting is different in Meta and is mainly used to express agreement or disagreement.
    – David K
    May 2, 2018 at 14:14
  • @DavidK Thank you for the formatting, I also know about meta but it's appreciated anyways.
    – li x
    May 2, 2018 at 14:16
  • So the subjective answer could be "thank them as appropriate in your company culture". That is still an answer. In the end, nearly every question we answer is opinion based. Law based questions and answers are out of scope. Science based answers are rare on Workplace.SE. Sorry, but either something is regulated by law or it is culture/tradition/colloquial/a guideline with or without scientific background which in the end boils down to "heavily affected by the opinions and experiences of everyone involved".
    – skymningen
    May 2, 2018 at 14:19
  • @skymningen Your completely right about it being opionated but when a question's answer boils down to two single words 'thank you' I think that's when it needs to be closed and used to duplicate other low quality posts. These forms of questions just cause people to drop all over them for free rep and really don't help future visitors.
    – li x
    May 2, 2018 at 14:21
  • 1
    @lix "Any positive response will do" would be an answer in that case. The original version of the question specifically asked if thank you would be a good response, and the answers addressed that. I don't see any reason to close the question just because the first version wasn't the best.
    – Masked Man
    May 2, 2018 at 14:22
  • @MaskedMan Then surely you'd agree that the post is low quality and should be closed and used to mark duplicates in the future if that's true, but instead it's being pushed as a legitimate question.
    – li x
    May 2, 2018 at 14:26
  • @lix I don't think the post is "low quality", and we are not "pushing" any questions here. The question concerns a specific workplace scenario and it is useful to know how to deal with it. Just because the answer is "obvious" to you doesn't mean the question is low quality.
    – Masked Man
    May 2, 2018 at 14:30
  • 1

2 Answers 2


over the last couple of days that I've been giving this exchange a go and seeing if I enjoy answering questions here

It sounds like you're new around here, so welcome!. The Workplace is a little different than most of the Stack Exchange network in that almost all of our questions inherently are slightly opinion-based. There isn't always one right way to respond to a situation, especially for questions that ask how to respond, or how to phrase something. This is why we have a Back it Up Rule.

Please note that answers should be backed up either with a reference, or experiences that happened to you personally. You should always include in your answer information about why you think your answer is correct.

I've certainly left comments on one-line answers before explaining this, pointing out that another user could say the exact opposite thing with no explanation and we wouldn't know which is correct. I'll admit that Joe's answer on this question is pretty short, but I would also say that this is a pretty simple situation. His explanation of "You're overthinking this" is enough for me, especially when you pair that with the voting.

But all of this is about the quality of answers, not about on-topicness for questions, which is what you've asked about. If you look at our list of acceptable topics, included is "communication problems" and "holding hard conversations" and I would add generally professionalism and etiquette, which I would say this falls under. You might think that this isn't a difficult conversation, but obviously the OP and not everyone who visits will think so.

The types of opinion-based questions we are trying to avoid are those that are completely subjective. Questions like "What color is the most soothing for an office?" or "Which job should I take?" or "Is it better live in the city or live outside and commute in?". The "correct" answers for those are going to be different for every person, and so we can't really give good advice here.

So to summarize, everything you find here is going to have some element of opinion in it, but as long as you can provide answers that you can back up with experience or reasoning, it should be okay.

  • Thank you for taking the time to bring me up to speed, this actually does answer a lot of my concerns. Is there any relevant documentation for not only acceptable topics but topic quality before closure? or is this just based on how the community see it?
    – li x
    May 2, 2018 at 17:46
  • 1
    @lix If you haven't already, I recommend taking a look through our tour and help center - they're a good place to get started. There's also a lot of information on Meta, in particular those questions with the faq tag. If you want to ask a question but aren't sure if it's a good fit here, then you can ask about it on Meta too. Finally, if you want any clarification on topics, want to talk about a specific question, or just want to chat about anything (on topic or not), there are often people hanging out in The Water Cooler in The Workplace Chat. Hope this helps!
    – David K
    May 2, 2018 at 18:29

I think you're taking opinion a little too literal and not considering professional opinions that have some basis in work place experience.

Part of an answer may involve going through a process to determine the best course of action instead of an explicit, "Do it exactly this way." Relationships with people can be complex. One day the boss may lose his temper and snap back, "Stop sending me a F*%!9g thank you text 10 time a day!"

There's probably some matter of opinion in every question on this site compared to Stackoverflow or other technical sites. Experienced professionals develop rules of thumb as a guide or a framework for navigating the workplace and not a perfect map.

Personally, I answer a question based on whether or not I can help this person and those in similar situations. I've closed my fair share of questions to help monitor the site. Getting points is very secondary.

My answer received a negative vote. That doesn't change a thing.

  • I have to make a very literal statement or my point about the post quality wouldn't be stark enough, if the communtiy as a whole disagree, fine that's what meta is for I suppose and I'll just have to go back and reflect / learn from this. Thanks for the response.
    – li x
    May 2, 2018 at 17:47
  • @lix In addition to what Jeff says in this answer, rep farming is not really a "thing" here. It is probably a thing on Stack Overflow because a lot of people like to brag in real life (in interviews too) about their imaginary internet points. However, it would be highly unusual for anyone to brag about their Workplace SE internet points, so rep farming is not worth the effort anyway. Moreover, in this particular case, Joe (the user with the top voted answer) would be the last person who needs internet points. Actually just go through the links on his profile page, you will see why.
    – Masked Man
    May 2, 2018 at 18:07
  • It's not Joe I'm worried about, I can see he's highly rated and doesn't really need the points. It's just the further swam of posts that don't really bring anything new to the table and are considerably low effort looking for points. It just makes any thread you look at feel lesser quality and something future users wont want to read.
    – li x
    May 2, 2018 at 18:10

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