"The reward challenge" is the debate around feedback loops and motivation. In their peer review paper “Response and resilience to feedback loop activity: What’s behind self-regulation and persistence among websites and social media”, Bo Chang, Jeneen Lee, and Wang Zhang argue that people’s increased satisfaction with negative information and emotional reaction to negative information (e.g. ridicule) led to a decreased motivation for positive feedback loops. This means that by continually getting this form of negative information, the person will get the feeling of their own inadequacy. However, in a recent paper, Bo Chang (Stanford), Richard Schnillie (University of Texas at Dallas), and Stephanie Lombard (Penn State) refute this finding and show that the people receiving the feedback loops have the ability to counteract negative feedback by generating a self-regulatory resistance that is thought to be self-regulated by the ongoing, systematic feedback loops.

In practice, work done on social media follow, follow-related posts and quotes, respondents have often been found to share responses that contain a positive tone after having been displayed to the article or product for the first time. While validation does happen on the microblogging platforms and social media profiles, people prefer sharing feedback on an ongoing basis. People tend to post a positive message after the content has been displayed to them a couple of times since publishing. What seems to be happening on the microblogging platforms and social media profiles is that when the content has been shown to someone a couple of times, they expect the message to be evaluated positively the second time. For that reason, when the content has been shown to be rated on one occasion, the receiver chooses to give feedback instead of sharing and complaining.

In theory, it is possible that if the person decides not to re-read the content posted on the microblogging platform and social media profile, then maybe the social media profile would prompt the person to go back to read the content, where the external feedback loop in the microblogging platform would be self-imposed, with all interested parties confirming the negative message. On the contrary, most people seem to be aware that they are looking for positive feedback and participate in it, so when the content is shared several times in a row after having been posted to the site for the first time, the person is familiar with the message and gets the feeling of having satisfied themselves. This interaction with self-regulatory feedback loops has been shown by the team to produce a self-regulated channel of re-reading positive feedback, indicating that the person is comfortable re-reading the content that was received for the first time, even if the reason for the initial choice to not read the content was genuine. People who have high positive feedback are also much more likely to act on their goal to be included in the spotlight, suggesting that these people were more likely to rely on self-regulatory feedback loops and the feedback loop communications channels than people who were merely simply trained not to ask for feedback.