Metafavouriteness? March 24, 2008 5:29 AM   Subscribe

What makes a favourite favourite?

New metafiltrist seeks enlightenment on manners and the proper use of the little [+]. Is the 'favourites' function more a social bookmark used to collate useful/good posts and comments (as in, "yeah that's cool"), or a tick given as silent applause for wit, cleverness, commendable profanity or helpfulness (as in, "yeah that's right")? Are there pre-existing categories of favouriteness, or is it done ad-hoc?
Is it possible to offend by favouriting wrong, and are there favourity gaucheries I should know about?
posted by Fiasco da Gama to Etiquette/Policy at 5:29 AM (82 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

Use it however you want. It's yours.
posted by OmieWise at 5:33 AM on March 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


It's whatever you want it to be.

It's everything and nothing.

It says, "I love this post!" or "This made me laugh!"

It says, "This is so ignorant and irritating I will mark it so I can show all my friends how stupid it is."

It says, "Here's where I left off so I can go back and read the rest later."

It giveth and it taketh away.

It is the joy and scourge of MetaFilter.

It is your lover, your friend, and your blood-sworn enemy.

It's a gum and a candy.

It's two, two, two, mints in one.

There is no wrong way to use favorites, just don't use the feature incorrectly, or you will be the laughing stock of MeFi.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 5:37 AM on March 24, 2008 [18 favorites]


This is a topic that will never die.

Perhaps we can just set up discussion of favorites on a weekly schedule?

Or maybe sidebar a link to the current active discussion?
posted by BigSky at 5:38 AM on March 24, 2008


New metafiltrist seeks enlightenment on manners and the proper use of the little [+].

Throw it out. See a doctor ASAP. DTMFA.
posted by mkultra at 5:46 AM on March 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


ATTN. FIASCO DA GAMA: congrats, your question was answered correctly in the very first response! Now, please ignore the coming onslaught of snark already beginning to be slung in your direction. Unless you're into that sort of thing.

Or maybe a mod could just close this fucker up before that happens. Enjoy your stay!
posted by 2or3whiskeysodas at 6:14 AM on March 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Generally speaking, favorites are used exactly as you'd expect a 'favorite' to be used... to indicate posts people like. WHY they like them isn't included, so you don't get much data about the actual reasons. They seem to mostly be 'tips of the hat', tiny little rewards for authors.

Because they can be used for any reason at all, you can't take much of a message from one or two.... but when you get a lot, that's a pretty good sign that you wrote something people found worthwhile.

As far as when to give them: as Fuzzy says, you can make up any rule you like. Issue them or don't issue them; it's up to you. I do tend to think that favoriting comments you like is a good idea, to gently encourage more of the same, but that's purely up to you.

One warning: if you issue lots of them, their usefulness as a bookmark will drop drastically. But if you don't, you may not get as many of the posts you particularly like.
posted by Malor at 6:16 AM on March 24, 2008


New metafiltrist seeks enlightenment on manners and the proper use of the little [+].

"The little [+]," hmmm. Anus, perhaps?
posted by breezeway at 6:19 AM on March 24, 2008


Or maybe sidebar a link to the current active discussion?

The sidebar is where the cool kids do their favouriting.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 6:28 AM on March 24, 2008


I do not want to be exposed to anus.
posted by adamvasco at 6:32 AM on March 24, 2008


Definitely not always to show how much something is liked. Quite often more like a bookmark to something useful. Look at the amount of favorites given to things like recipe sites, free stuff, language courses etc.
posted by caddis at 6:33 AM on March 24, 2008


This is a topic that will never die.

Which just further demonstrates that it's not clear what favorites do/are for here. Fiasco da Gama doesn't want to misstep, and I can't blame him, really. It's not surprising that a new member would want to know the whys and wherefores so they don't get called out or look like a fool. Not everyone knows what some of us know....that favorites are for whatever we want them to be for.

Favorites are explained in the FAQ, by the way. It might be a good idea to add a sentence in there about how you can really use favorites how ever you like - they don't necessarily have to be an 'internal bookmark system'.

Is the 'favourites' function more a social bookmark used to collate useful/good posts and comments (as in, "yeah that's cool"),

Yes.

or a tick given as silent applause for wit, cleverness, commendable profanity or helpfulness (as in, "yeah that's right")?

Yes.

Are there pre-existing categories of favouriteness, or is it done ad-hoc?

There are no categories.
posted by iconomy at 6:35 AM on March 24, 2008


Is it possible to offend by favouriting wrong, and are there favourity gaucheries I should know about?

No.

You have, unwittingly or not, stumbled into one of the long-standing debates about site functions and policy. As-created, the favorites are just a way for you to keep track of things on the site, sort of like a site bookmarking feature. You're limited to some huge number per day [100? anyone remember?]. People use them for all sorts of reasons and none of them are "right" but some people have very strong opinions on this topic anyhow.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:36 AM on March 24, 2008


You can trade in 1000 favorites for an increase in self-esteem equal to that created by taking a walk in the evening or beating the first level of a video game.
posted by ND¢ at 6:39 AM on March 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


Favorites are bookmarks. Anyone who says otherwise is a god damn moron, and I'll see them in the pit. (Bring your own broadsword.)
posted by absalom at 6:39 AM on March 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


A while ago I thought someone was acting poorly, and I mentioned such in the thread along with several other commentors; that person then favorited my comment along with the rest which I thought was weird. Like, did I just put myself on their List?
posted by yeti at 6:48 AM on March 24, 2008


The only way to favorite incorrectly is to spell it with a "u."

[NOT COMMONWEALTH-IST]
posted by Rock Steady at 6:53 AM on March 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


The colours make it favourite.
posted by [@I][:+:][@I] at 6:54 AM on March 24, 2008


Favorites are bookmarks. Anyone who says otherwise is a god damn moron

Then why are they called 'favorites?'
posted by jonmc at 6:56 AM on March 24, 2008


Like, did I just put myself on their List?
posted by yeti at 9:48 AM on March 24 [+] [!]


They wanted to show your prints to friends I bet.

Fiasco da Gama, remember tapes and boomboxes? Remember how you could listen to a tape and hear something awesome and you wanted to hear it again? You'd hit stop, then rewind, then hit play again. Favorites are stop-rewind-play. In fact, Metafilter is really the old boom box of the intertubes. It's a nonstop freestyle cypher over a pounding bassline with the dj's moderators. Favoriting is also a way of saying "OHhhhh!!!" with the crowd when somebody drops an ill lyric.
posted by cashman at 7:00 AM on March 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


Then why are they called 'favorites?'

It may have been some time since you used Internet Explorer.
posted by caddis at 7:01 AM on March 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's a gum and a candy.

I'm terribly sorry, but this is utterly incorrect: the appropriate answer would have been "It's a gun and a candy."
posted by aramaic at 7:04 AM on March 24, 2008


They're another tool used to analyze behavior in the ongoing sociological study in online communities that is this website.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:05 AM on March 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


Most of the time when I mark a favorite it's because I clicked the wrong button. So, to all of you whose comments I've favorited, I really meant to flag them as noise.
posted by Koko at 7:07 AM on March 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Fiasco da Gama, all you need to know about favorites is this:

Whenever you see mr_crash_davis in the "posted by" line, click the [+].

tia
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:10 AM on March 24, 2008 [4 favorites]


I came to this thread in search of Metacavorite. Am I too late?

How about cortexrulestheworldium?
posted by Eideteker at 7:27 AM on March 24, 2008


I wish every website had favorites.
posted by that girl at 7:29 AM on March 24, 2008


Is it possible to offend by favouriting wrong

It's possible to offend by doing just about anything wrong, or even right. Don't lose sleep over this.

and are there favourity gaucheries I should know about?

There are very narrow niche uses of favoriting that could be read as primarily abusive. These are tiny ethical crevices in the otherwise anything-goes landscape, and I can only think of one or two accounts where that was going on; they were, to be clear, accounts apparently designed specifically for abusive behavior based on favorites.

So, really, no: if you're not being pathological in intent, do whatever. Some folks fave a lot, some don't.

A useful newish fave-related feature: the My Favorites view, which you can reach by clicking on the "Recent Activity" link up on the menu at the top (or at the bottom) of the page and then clicking on the appropriately name tab. That'll show you recent comments in the threads you've favorited, sorted by the threads with the most recent comment.

It's a lot like the main "My Comments" tab that's the default view when you click on Recent Activity (most of the time when people mention "Recent Activity" they're talking about this tab view specifically), except that Recent Activity only tracks threads you've commented in. If you don't have something to add to a thread and yet want to track it easily, give it a favorite and it'll show up in the My Favorites tab, slick as snot.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:49 AM on March 24, 2008


Favorites are a way of the moderators peering into your soul before consuming you for all eternity. Or a dessert topping.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:52 AM on March 24, 2008


I can only think of one or two accounts where that was going on; they were, to be clear, accounts apparently designed specifically for abusive behavior based on favorites.

A moment of silence, please, for You Get a Favorite for Being Dumb.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:54 AM on March 24, 2008 [3 favorites]


I'm gonna do the same thing I did the last time this came up, and link to hermitosis's comment, which pretty much sums up how I feel about the whole hullaballoo.
posted by Greg Nog at 7:57 AM on March 24, 2008


Knowing mathowie, favorites are probably just another way to allow the Chinese government to monitor your behavior.
posted by kosem at 8:16 AM on March 24, 2008


As as a giver of a favorite, you are not necessarily implying anything positive.

As a recipient of a favorite, you can infer that it was because your favorited comment was full of awesome.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 8:25 AM on March 24, 2008


1. What's the point of Favorites? Well, what's the point of anything?
2. Favorites emphatically rejects anything that is not Favorites, and fully supports anything that is.
3. The better you understand something, the more Favored it turns out to be.
4. Favorites say, "Don't be fooled into thinking there has to be a reason for everything."
5. Favorites reveals the surprising truth about people and situations.
6. Favorites do not subscribe to any religion, or endorse any political party, or do anything other than feel Favored.
7. There is no real secret to feeling Favorites.
8. Favorites may be the preferred drink of other people such as yourself.
9. Never overestimate the remarkable abilities of "Favorites" brand.
10. Please wake up every morning knowing that things are going to be Favorited.
posted by boo_radley at 8:30 AM on March 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well, hey, since we're talking about it again, I'll repeat my own position, previously stated across various MeTa "favorites: applause or bookmarks?" threads as well as my profile:
"The whole continuing problem here is arguably that people are being asked to bookmark something but name it a favorite. If there were 'favorites' and also 'bookmarks' we would not have this issue constantly arising. The entire planet relies on useful naming conventions; I don't get why it's acceptable to expect that MetaFilter should just be able to 'deal with it.'

"Protest all you like that Favorites are meant to be just bookmarks -- they're used equally as applause here if not more, and they mean something or else they wouldn't appear publicly, they wouldn't aggregate, they wouldn't appear in Contact Activity, and they wouldn't indicate alpha users)."

"I think we should get Favorites and Bookmarks. Say what you will about the applause culture and popularity contests -- they are part of the site now for better and for worse, and I think it would be too divisive to remove them. But the 'I want to note this but not applaud it' problem remains."
(Yes, I realize that the administrative suggestion for that which one wants to merely bookmark but not applaud is to use an external system like delicio.us. I just don't agree that's the best solution. To me, the repeated confusion of the user body indicates that a problem remains.)
posted by pineapple at 8:31 AM on March 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


I use favorites in AskMe to mark what I consider the best answer. I think of it like voting. On the blue, I favorite things that are hilarious or agree with my own rather odd belief system.

But that's just me.
posted by emd3737 at 8:34 AM on March 24, 2008


I'm actually a lot more curious about what makes people unfavorite.
posted by Afroblanco at 8:58 AM on March 24, 2008


Favorites are for:

Wow, what an incredible post!
That dillweed is mouthing off again, so I will favorite everyone else's posts in the thread but his.
Miko wrote something insightful/grumblebee said something nice/cortex is being cool again.
Astrozombie/quonsar/Meatbomb/ND¢ wrote something hilarious.
I never knew an octopus/giant squid/fungus/slime/portabella mushroom could do that!
Hey, this is great blackmail info on one of the admins or power users that I can dig up later.
I just know this person is going to flame out, so I had better watch this thread.
I agree with that pony request, and maybe if we all favorite it, the mods will take note.
Hey, that guy who flamed out came back and posted here!
Hey, someone favorited me, I'll return the favor.
I don't have a chance to look at these tools/applications/recipes now, but I'll check on them later.
Yeah, what he/she said, but I'm too lazy to type it.
posted by misha at 9:07 AM on March 24, 2008 [3 favorites]


Oh! And you can also use favorites to oust hermitosis (NOT HERMITOSISIST) and send the cabal secret messages!
posted by misha at 9:09 AM on March 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'm actually a lot more curious about what makes people unfavorite.

It's your shoes.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:10 AM on March 24, 2008


Technically, how can you have more than one "favorite"?

And yes, I am the first person to have thought of that point.

I am the most special snowflake of all of you.
posted by yhbc at 9:20 AM on March 24, 2008


I demand to know the rationale behind each and every favorite I've received so far.
posted by Eideteker at 9:22 AM on March 24, 2008


:: pinches Eideteker's cheek ::

'cause you're so cute, yes you are!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:26 AM on March 24, 2008


Oh, you're all my favorites. How can I choose. That's not a fair question. Now give grammy a big hug.
posted by not_on_display at 9:30 AM on March 24, 2008


Afroblanco said: "I'm actually a lot more curious about what makes people unfavorite."

In case you weren't being flip: I unfavorite when the comment or post that I bookmarked (for specific travel information, a book I want to read, an article I want to re-examine) becomes obsolete in some way. I either made the trip or read the book or the event passed or whatever. It bothers me to unfavorite someone; I worry about that person's feelings. Go ahead and mock.

In case you were being flip, here's some trivia to redeem my otherwise-non-germane response: did you know that American comedian Flip Wilson is credited with coining the phrase "What You See is What You Get," which of course is now a household initialism for a computing system in which content during editing appears very similar to the final product?

TMYK™ .·=≈¤º*
posted by pineapple at 9:42 AM on March 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Fiasco has the cleverest usere name
posted by francesca too at 9:43 AM on March 24, 2008


It's FAVOURITE! [Not USIANIST]
posted by Rumple at 9:53 AM on March 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Every time you add a favorite, Jesus masturbates.
posted by Mister_A at 10:00 AM on March 24, 2008


Face crinkles, reminds Mister_A of old creation myths.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:04 AM on March 24, 2008


The favorites button also doubles as a medipack. Click it to heal what ails ye.
posted by Rhaomi at 10:08 AM on March 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


You can favorite for whatever reason you want. You can even favourite, if you feel like it. 'Cause this is America, baby.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:08 AM on March 24, 2008


That would explain the guns.
posted by jonmc at 10:09 AM on March 24, 2008


New metafiltrist mefite seeks enlightenment on manners and the proper use of the little [+] archives and search function.

Much like over on AskMe, it is best to assume that someone else has been curious like you before.
posted by carsonb at 10:14 AM on March 24, 2008


For some favorites are like little kisses in cold, cold world.
posted by Free word order! at 10:28 AM on March 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


My last ten favorites were given because:

1. It felt really good.
2. I wanted to show orange swan how big I am.
3. I was afraid to say "no" due to the possibility of physical harm.
4. The person offered me drugs for it.
5. I wanted to show my affection.
6. They were "new" and it was an initiation rite.
7. The person was a little "dirty" and I like that in a person.
8. I wanted to feel closer to God.
9. I wanted to give that person a little "gift" for the future.
10. I was horny.

No, wait--those were my last ten reasons for having sex.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 11:18 AM on March 24, 2008 [4 favorites]


What makes them favorites is the favoritinol in every one.
posted by klangklangston at 11:27 AM on March 24, 2008


I'm actually a lot more curious about what makes people unfavorite.

I keep trying to unfavorite people, but apparently MeFi doesn't understand negative integers.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 11:35 AM on March 24, 2008


Favorites are the measure of your personal value in life and the more you get the better a person you are. Better start pandering so you can get into college.
posted by baphomet at 12:54 PM on March 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'm actually a lot more curious about what makes people unfavorite.

I favorite things to keep track of them for the podcast and then unfavorite them when the podcast is done.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:42 PM on March 24, 2008


5:29 AM (58 comments total) [add to favorites] [!] 1 user marked this as a favorite

And yet--we'll never know why.
posted by roombythelake at 2:50 PM on March 24, 2008


I'm actually a lot more curious about what makes people unfavorite.

I favorite things in the manic phase, then unfavorite them in the depressive phase.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 2:56 PM on March 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Thanks all.
I had read the FAQ explanation and was curious about the semantic reasons for favouriting---not just what and how, but why. As it happens I do enjoy a bit of snark, for some perverse reason the more so when I'm the target. I can see I've found the site for me.
...
And isn't the international symbol for anus (*)?
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 2:58 PM on March 24, 2008


did you know that American comedian Flip Wilson is credited with coining the phrase "What You See is What You Get," which of course is now a household initialism for a computing system in which content during editing appears very similar to the final product?

Of course. Who did you think it was, youngster?
posted by timeistight at 3:22 PM on March 24, 2008


"you better believe it coz you ain't gonna get to see it!"
posted by jonmc at 3:41 PM on March 24, 2008


When I favorite a FPP, it's generally because it's fascinating and well thought out. When I favorite a comment, it's generally because I want to raise the commenters Metafilter score as they made me laugh or I agree with them.
posted by bunnytricks at 3:49 PM on March 24, 2008


This is your favorite. Use it here.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:27 PM on March 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


There's a Metafilter score? ...

I feel so ripped off.
posted by Phire at 5:59 PM on March 24, 2008


Just don't rack up too many, or I'll come for you.

In the night.
posted by tehloki at 6:24 PM on March 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


The only time I've unfavorited was when hermitosis was on the bubble of reaching 500 and closing his (her?) account, and then it happened anyway.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:33 PM on March 24, 2008


It is typically one of the first few comments. See above for an example. I'm sure it is confirmation bias on my part but very often one of the first three comments in a thread has a disproportionally high number of favorites.

I will admit I sometimes favorite something similar to how you 'vote for a comment' over at Newsvine.
posted by geekyguy at 7:45 PM on March 24, 2008


One warning: if you issue lots of them, their usefulness as a bookmark will drop drastically. But if you don't, you may not get as many of the posts you particularly like.

I agree this is a dilemma. In addition, the word "favorites" implies to many of us a rare or singular entity. I would therefore advocate the word "recommended" instead. And if someone wanted to copy or save a post as a bookmark they should also be able to do so privately, because tagging is not just for favorites anymore.
posted by Brian B. at 8:13 PM on March 24, 2008


Don't forget that your 100th favorite of every day belongs to me. It's in the User Agreement you didn't read when you signed up with your $5.
posted by misha at 8:32 PM on March 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Is it possible to offend by favouriting wrong, and are there favourity gaucheries I should know about?

Actually it is possible to offend the mods by abusing the favoriting system to make a point. If you look at favorited by others list and and go back about 6 months you will notice that Tennyson D'San favorited every single comment I had ever made on metafilter. I have no idea why he choose me, but I think by doing this he was trying to break the favorite system. I think he got a time out or a stern email from the mods about it.
posted by afu at 8:37 PM on March 24, 2008


absalom writes "Favorites are bookmarks. Anyone who says otherwise is a god damn moron"

This goddamn moron uses favorites like slashdot mod points. Exclusively. If I favorite a comment, it's because I'm pointing out to others that I find it insightful, instructive, or funny. Once I notice I'm liking several comments from a particular user, that user gets "linked", with a crush/date or muse classification (in increasingly order of perceived insightfulness of the comments). Prior to favorites being implemented, I'd link to people faster; now with favorites I can indicate I like a comment without linking.
posted by orthogonality at 11:11 PM on March 24, 2008 [3 favorites]


Oh, and given that I use favorites as "mod points", I never unfavorite.
posted by orthogonality at 11:13 PM on March 24, 2008


If I unfavorite, it means I hate you.
posted by hjo3 at 3:05 AM on March 25, 2008


THE FAVORITES HAD THE HAMMERS!!! KING WINKLES HAS THE FAVORITES!!!! I AM YELLING ABOUT THE CARROTS BECAUSE THE RABBITS FOUND THE BEANS!!
posted by flabdablet at 7:27 AM on March 25, 2008


I favourite only as a way to bookmark, and I scan the favourites list semi-regularly to see if anything is no longer relevant to me and may be deleted.

So my favourites are a passing and fickle thing. I may use "u", but it's not all about "u", so just keep that in mind.
posted by orange swan at 8:57 AM on March 25, 2008


I knew a "u" user back in college. That dude ruined his GPA because he was always off chasing u-holes.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:01 AM on March 25, 2008


I've been using favorites as a way of designating those who will die.

But the, I've also been using them as a way of marking who I want to have sex with, and who gets a cookie.

The only problem is that I sometimes forget which is which. I suspect this will lead to some awkward conversations at some point in the future.
posted by quin at 2:44 PM on March 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


I use favorites to condense metafilter into factoids so that people can read my favorites page instead of the actual site.
posted by tehloki at 4:02 PM on March 25, 2008


What's the difference?
posted by dg at 7:12 PM on March 25, 2008


You know, sometimes I think for those of us who use favourites solely as bookmarks, that the list will be a little too revealing. Kind of like that Onion story I can't find right now "Couple's Web Browser Drop Down Menu Documents Their Unfulfilled Needs and Unspoken Desires".
posted by orange swan at 6:29 AM on March 26, 2008


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