Some things I do sometimes (if anyone's interested):
--If I happen to come across a post somewhere, just while browsing around the forums, that I find to be particularly helpful/informative to me and that I know
will help me do something sometime, or that answers a question I have in my mind but have not asked, I will click the "I found this post helpful" button.
--If someone takes the time to provide a thoughtful, informative reply to a question I have posed, but their reply does not help me solve the problem I have asked about, then I may "Thanks" them (This is equivalent to saying in real life, "Hey, thank you for trying
to help me out, even if/though it didn't fix it."), but I won't necessarily click the "helpful" button.
--If someone takes the time to write a thoughtful, helpful reply to a question I have posed, AND that reply directly helps me solve the issue
about which I'm asking, then I click both mysterious buttons for that person.
Sometimes a combination of, or deviation from the above, happens too, but unless you send me to a psychiatrist for while, we'll probably never figure out why or when this happens.
And as for my own statistics/personal POV? Sure it's nice to be thanked (verbally, typed-outedly, or otherwise). But, I'm not here specifically to have my buttons pushed, or to rack up statistics. Frankly, I think I enjoy more seeing an OP type a written expression of happiness, satisfaction, relief, thanks, understanding, or "Wooohooo!!! That fixed it!!", than click a button for me and go away.
In related news: I've seen a few posts around wherein ratios
of posts vs thanks, posts vs helpfuls, helped vs helpfuls, etc., are bandied about. From what I can tell, such ratios are fairly meaningless, at least in so far as comparing one member to another:
: Let's say we have two brand new members, one is a very 'expert' Linux user, and the other is a total 'newbie' Linux user. The newbie asks 100 questions, and the expert answers those 100 questions. The newbie thanks the expert 100 times, while the expert thanks nobody. Now, we have two members: one with 1:1 posts/thanked ratio, and a member with 100:0 posts/thanked ratio respectively. Not an accurate representation of things generally, as they cannot be reasonably compared.
: Let's say we have a member (ABC) who has been here 10 years, made 10,000 thanks-worthy posts, but has only made 100 thanks-worthy posts since the thanks system came into being, so has only 100 thanks. And we have another member (XYZ) who has been here 3 months, and has made 100 thanks-worthy posts, for a total of 100 posts, and been thanked for those 100 posts. Now, we have two members, ABC with 100:1 posts/thanked ratio, and XYZ with 1:1 posts/thanked ratio. Again, these members cannot be accurately or reasonably compared to one another.