easier access
June 7, 2010 2:35 AM   Subscribe

My favorites are piling up. Have you ever thought of a way to classify each user's favorites on the website ?
posted by nicolin to Feature Requests at 2:35 AM (68 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

This is a recurring request and apparently something that's still on the radar.
posted by Rhaomi at 2:57 AM on June 7, 2010


Some thoughts on how tagging could be used (I'll back down from my previous calls that if you're going to have tagging everyone should be able to tag posts in a way that's visible to all since, let's face it, it'd be used for passive aggressive snarking), but...

1. I see that old thread calls for the tagging of favorites. I'd like tagging to be completely independent from favorites, if anything.

2. If individuals could tag things in a way that is not visible to other users in threads, but readily accessible by the user accessing their own tags, that would be very useful.

3. A community tag cloud showing tagging activity would be ace. This might show top tags for the week, month, each year and previous years, and all time.

4. Some sort of weighting by contact-relationship might be nice.

5. Where more than one user tags an FPP with the same word, that should show up in the tag search results and perhaps even tags on the thread itself. This should prevent snarky abuse but also mean that tagging becomes much more useful: at present good search results may not show up in a search because of the quirks of an individual's tagging practice.

I say all this as someone that likes to use MetaFilter, but has no idea how it works, so sorry if this comes across is a list of magical, flying ponies -- it's just stuff I reckon would be cool.
posted by nthdegx at 3:17 AM on June 7, 2010


I think you're describing combining Delicious with Metafilter.
posted by blue_beetle at 6:08 AM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I am in favor of being able to tag favorites.
posted by Jaltcoh at 6:25 AM on June 7, 2010


I'm tagging all your comments with a HamSandwich.
posted by chunking express at 6:25 AM on June 7, 2010


OK, have fun with that.
posted by Jaltcoh at 6:27 AM on June 7, 2010


Very soon we are going to have far too many tags for favorites. So I think we should start planning a way to favorite popular tags. So a page like popular favorite tag favorites would be nice.
posted by special-k at 7:00 AM on June 7, 2010


i want something like this, only to make it easier to go through them and clean them out.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 7:07 AM on June 7, 2010


I didn't mention tags. I don't know...it could be done through another method... The front page of askmefi, with its categories on the right side, can be seen as a template. Provided that one could choose categories. That's a folder sort of thing, isn't it ?
posted by nicolin at 7:08 AM on June 7, 2010


No, never.
posted by adamdschneider at 7:28 AM on June 7, 2010


I didn't mention tags. I don't know...it could be done through another method... That's a folder sort of thing, isn't it ?

Isn't a "folder" just a tag except that something can't be in more than one folders?
posted by Jaltcoh at 7:29 AM on June 7, 2010


It's not on the top of our to do list, but it's something we'd like to get to eventually.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:32 AM on June 7, 2010


No, never.

Or, maybe sometime?
posted by Rory Marinich at 7:46 AM on June 7, 2010


Ghostbusters 2.
posted by Mister_A at 7:49 AM on June 7, 2010


There's del.icio.us (and lots of other services) which, with a toolbar button, can do this for you -- for all the websites you visit. The nice thing about the web is that a particular site doesn't have to do everything you need, it just has to be reasonably standards compliant so you can use other tools to extend it.
posted by seanmpuckett at 8:08 AM on June 7, 2010


There's del.icio.us (and lots of other services) which, with a toolbar button, can do this for you -- for all the websites you visit.

People used that as a reason not to have favorites at all.

But it's easier to do it within Metafilter. I would almost never save a Metafilter comment in delicious, especially since the link often doesn't go directly to the comment -- it will land above or below the comment. (I see that you have 298 Metafilter comments saved within the site. How many Metafilter comments have you saved in delicious?)

And, again, the mods are in favor of tagging favorites. They are apparently not convinced by the "you could do it with delicious" point.
posted by Jaltcoh at 8:19 AM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


When we first started working on tagging for favorites we ran into the "del.icio.us problem". We knew how we wanted to add tags to favorites from various pages across the site, but we didn't have a clear picture of how users would access and manage those tags—that required a new interface. As we were building we realized we were trying to duplicate delicious. Matt and I are avid delicious users, and we knew we wouldn't be happy with a system that fell short of that. That means having many of the nice shortcuts and conveniences of delicious that have been added over the years. So our quick couple-week project quickly ballooned into duplicating delicious—a site that has evolved over years. That shifted it to the back burner.

We recognized the same yearning to be another site in MeFi Mail (which naturally wants to be Gmail), and that's why we explicitly keep MeFi Mail as simple as possible. We don't want to start that race, and the alternative exists.

I still think tagging favorites would be helpful on the site, but in the meantime there are many tools like delicious that can help you be more organized. A quick Greasemonkey script could probably even integrate delicious tagging with MetaFilter so you can use a more formal system for organizing URLs you want to remember.
posted by pb (staff) at 8:19 AM on June 7, 2010


Have you thought of trying to integrate with delicious somehow rather than duplicating it?
posted by grouse at 8:42 AM on June 7, 2010


The idea seems slashdottier than MeFi, imo.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:45 AM on June 7, 2010


Well, the nice thing is we are already integrated with delicious. You can add any URL at delicious and all of our URLs are public. We could add some shortcuts on the page for adding a delicious bookmark, but we'd open the door to: why delicious and not [my favorite bookmarking site]? And following that we'd hit the Nascar problem of 20+ icons on the page for adding this page to facebook, delicious, tumblr, etc.
posted by pb (staff) at 8:49 AM on June 7, 2010


The thing is, this begs the question that favorites are the same as bookmarks.

Personally, I mostly use them instead of always having to say "What they said."

If you use them as bookmarks, might I suggest a bookmarking tool?

Also, WORST CASE SCENARIO: people start indicating exactly what they mean by their favorites. Right now their total impact is somewhat buffered by an uncertatinty of their intent. But if suddenly favorites are tagged as "votingfor" or something, suddenly favorites absolutely become a popularity contest.
posted by Deathalicious at 8:54 AM on June 7, 2010


if suddenly favorites are tagged as "votingfor" or something, suddenly favorites absolutely become a popularity contest.

Even presupposing that they'd be totally public (which isn't obvious), the use of tags would never become more of a "popularity contest" than favorites already are. Any given tag will be used on some percentage of favorites significantly less than 100%. So the effect of many "agree" tags would be less than the effect of a comment having 50 favorites (which, if the comment is at all expressing a point of view, is always interpreted to mean that 50 people agree).
posted by Jaltcoh at 9:15 AM on June 7, 2010


Or, maybe sometime?

I do have a dim memory that someone may have offhandedly brought up maybe splitting favorites into bookmarks and agreements or something like that once in the distant past, possibly, and then never again. Maybe.
posted by adamdschneider at 9:22 AM on June 7, 2010


Speaking of how "public" tags would be, here's how I'd like to see it work:

- Your tags on a favorited comment show up right next to the comment, but this is visible only to you.

- When someone else clicks through to the list of users who favorited the comment, next to your username and timestamp it will say, "(tagged with ____)."

- When someone clicks on a tag, it goes to a list of everything tagged with that tag by that individual user. At the top of this page, there's an option to "See posts/comments everyone tagged with ____."
posted by Jaltcoh at 9:26 AM on June 7, 2010


It's not on the top of our to do list, but it's something we'd like to get to eventually.

Is this copyrighted? Because it's very good.

I can think of many uses for this phrase in my work life. Almost daily, in fact.
posted by Danf at 9:27 AM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Personally, I mostly use them instead of always having to say "What they said."

If you use them as bookmarks, might I suggest a bookmarking tool?


Sorry, I used them EXCLUSIVELY to bookmark. I don't think I've ever once used "favorites" to show solidarity. I've favorited things I disagree with, just because I thought they were well written.
posted by grumblebee at 9:31 AM on June 7, 2010


Wait 'till your spouses start piling up, then you'll really have issues!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:34 AM on June 7, 2010


If you use them as bookmarks, might I suggest a bookmarking tool?

I use favorites mainly to bookmark, not to vote. I have 2,736 Metafilter comments bookmarked. Are you seriously suggesting that I go through those and save them to my delicious account? Why would I do that when it's so much more convenient to have them directly on the site? Many people have thousands of Metafilter comments bookmarked internally -- is there anyone who has that many saved to delicious instead? I keep seeing people mention this as a theoretical possibility, but I'd be interested to know if there's literally a single Mefite who uses delicious in this way.
posted by Jaltcoh at 9:48 AM on June 7, 2010


(By "bookmarked," I meant favorited.)
posted by Jaltcoh at 9:49 AM on June 7, 2010


I've already used up all my favorites and I'm not going to pay $12 for another 2000. From now on ye'll have to rely on psychic favorites from me.
posted by Mister_A at 9:54 AM on June 7, 2010


I'd like to see a favorites-based leveling system wherein I can get a sweet +5 mace or better aim when I break X000 favorites. We should at least be able to cash-in our favorites for tootsie rolls or chinese finger traps.
posted by fuq at 10:14 AM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Dude, you can't use spouses as bookmarks, that's just unnatural.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:16 AM on June 7, 2010


I'd be interested to know if there's literally a single Mefite who uses delicious in this way.

Well, I have more than a hundred (mefi, askme). Some of that stuff is not actually to MeFi itself, but something that was linked from MeFi. If I need to be able to find something later, it goes on delicious.
posted by grouse at 10:21 AM on June 7, 2010


If I need to be able to find something later, it goes on delicious.

Ditto that. I don't have as many delicious links to be Metafilter as I do bookmarked favorities, but Delicious use comes into play for stuff I want tagged and to remember.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:42 AM on June 7, 2010


Are you seriously suggesting that I go through those and save them to my delicious account?

Are you suggesting it would be any less trouble to go back and tag them all with some internal-to-MeFi system? For me, it would be equally time-consuming, barring some Magic MeFi AutoTaggr. You might be able to argue increased ease for future comments, but the number you already have currently doesn't have much to do with the argument at hand. Not trying to be fighty, just curious, you seem pretty highly invested.
posted by donnagirl at 10:50 AM on June 7, 2010


Well, I have more than a hundred (mefi, askme). Some of that stuff is not actually to MeFi itself, but something that was linked from MeFi. If I need to be able to find something later, it goes on delicious.

Grouse, I know that some people sometimes add Metafilter posts to delicious. So do I. I would not have asked if there's anyone who does that. I was asking about using delicious as a way to keep track of Metafilter comments on a large scale. Like, saving hundreds or thousands of comments. You've saved one or two Metafilter posts to delicious in the past year, and I don't see that you've saved any comments. If people almost never actually use delicious for this purpose, it's not convincing to say there's no need for the feature since people can use delicious.
posted by Jaltcoh at 10:50 AM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Are you suggesting it would be any less trouble to go back and tag them all with some internal-to-MeFi system?

I'm not suggesting that it would be easy for me "tag them all" or that I would want to do this. But I would like to tag some of them.

I would do so if it were possible within Metafilter's existing internal favoriting system. I would not do so -- nor is it clear to me that anyone does so -- in delicious, even though it's theoretically possible.
posted by Jaltcoh at 10:52 AM on June 7, 2010


you seem pretty highly invested

In other words, I'd like to see a feature implemented that many people have said would be a good idea. Yes, that's true. By the way, some of those other people are named mathowie, jessamyn, and cortex.
posted by Jaltcoh at 10:57 AM on June 7, 2010


There are several links to comments in there, but I haven't always bothered to change the title of the bookmark.

It sure is a lot easier to hit the favorite button rather than take the time to tag something in delicious. But most of that is due to the time spent coming up with tags, which is a problem that will also exist if we have a homegrown system here.

Not really arguing against adding a more complete system here, just discussing it.
posted by grouse at 11:08 AM on June 7, 2010


Wait 'till your spouses start piling up, then you'll really have issues!

Well, if you'd been smart from the very beginning you wouldn't have a spouse-piling problem.
posted by carsonb at 11:18 AM on June 7, 2010


It sure is a lot easier to hit the favorite button rather than take the time to tag something in delicious. But most of that is due to the time spent coming up with tags, which is a problem that will also exist if we have a homegrown system here.

I don't know that that's the main reason. There are other ways delicious is less appealing than internal favorites. Even if tagging favorites were introduced, people wouldn't be forced to add tags to their favorites. Presumably, they'd be free to keep using favorites the same way. The same can't be said for delicious. While it's technically possible to bookmark something in delicious without a tag, that's much more disorderly because you can't search comments and posts by their full text in delicious the way you can in Mefi. If I want to find the comments I've favorited that mention the Beatles, I can easily do so here. Delicious doesn't allow this, and I don't think it ever will.

Also, a new feature isn't going to be used in a vacuum -- it's built up on top of lots of existing activity. My favorites already exist in Metafilter, since I've been using it that way for years. This is surely true of thousands of Mefites (including some of the very people who have made the "Oh you can just do that in delicious" point).
posted by Jaltcoh at 11:23 AM on June 7, 2010


I should have added: a huge benefit of Mefi favoriting is that they're all here, together, with nothing else getting in the way. I usually either want to read just-Metafilter content, or I'm looking for something that's decidedly not-Metafilter.

I can bookmark in Metafilter with just one click, but if I save it in delicious I feel the need to type "metafilter," which is more work and also has less of a community feel. Other delicious users might instead use "mefi" or "askme" or "[cute-name-]filter," or they might not use a metafilter-specific tag at all, or they might use these tags to apply to things that aren't on Metafilter (as grouse said he does). This is a huge mess that you don't have to deal with when using Metafilter's internal favorites.
posted by Jaltcoh at 11:34 AM on June 7, 2010


No, never. (adamdschneider)

What, never?

Well, hardly ever.
posted by ocherdraco at 12:03 PM on June 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'd be happy if I could just sort my AskMefi favorites by category.

That would go a long way towards making it easier to go through my old favorites while sidestepping the whole "let's build a whole new system" thing.
posted by malapropist at 12:51 PM on June 7, 2010


suddenly favorites absolutely become a popularity contest.

Where have you been? That ship has sailed.

Because of the unfortunate naming of them we have folks like Deathalicious using them as a voting system and other folks whinging about they can't BELIEVE that someone favorited horrible post/comment XYZ.
posted by phearlez at 1:50 PM on June 7, 2010


By the way, some of those other people are named mathowie, jessamyn, and cortex.

Yeah, I said I wasn't being fighty, just curious, so no need to jump on me. I can read, I've seen the moderator endorsements, and I actually happen to agree that the feature is a good idea, in general. I was asking about you, since you seemed to be responding so emphatically. Thanks for your response.
posted by donnagirl at 2:04 PM on June 7, 2010


Well, hardly ever.

I am a moderator on MeFi
(And a hell of a mod at that!)
You're very very good and be it understood
I don't know how they scanned this cat.
posted by SpiffyRob at 2:04 PM on June 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


By the way, some of those other people are named mathowie, jessamyn, and cortex.

Yeah, I said I wasn't being fighty, just curious, so no need to jump on me.


By pointing out that the moderators support the idea, I wasn't "jumping on you." I was just ... pointing out that the moderators support the idea, in response to your question about why I was so "invested" in the idea. "Invested" = I agree with the moderators and hope they follow through with the idea (though I realize it might not be a high priority, which is fine). This isn't an attack on you, and it's not really about you at all. It's just saying I like the tagging favorites idea.
posted by Jaltcoh at 2:44 PM on June 7, 2010


I know noting about writing script or any of this stuff, but would it be possible to - when a user favorites something - they are given the choice to pick either Favorite A or Favorite B? This would only be seen by the person making the favorite and would register as a regular old favorite for the comment. The user could then access their Favorite A list or their Favorite B list and what each user makes those two categories would be completely up to them. I might use Favorite A for "right on" comments and Favorite B for stuff I want to read later, so when I'm trying to find a great post I read about plates of beans, I would know to search my Favorite B list. (Sometimes I don't "right on" as much as I want because I don't want my favorites are growing too big to mange.)

Others might make up their own system (A for well written, B for read later and so on), but being at least able to put them in one of two categories would be a big organizational help for some people and would preserve the outward appearance that favorites are just favorites.
posted by NoraCharles at 3:37 PM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think basically we're in a position where if we're going to implement and roll out a revamped favoriting-with-metadata system will do something more ambitious than that, NoraCharles; basically, it's going to take a fair bit of plumbing either way to build out any extension to the existing system, so if we go for it we'll probably go farther than that kind of minimalist nudge.

I don't personally have strong feelings about the favorites-metadata feature but have no problem with it; I dispense favorites pretty minimally and so don't have a hard time finding stuff on the occasions that I need to, but I know that I'm in that sense a relatively light user compared to a lot of folks.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:01 PM on June 7, 2010


cortex claims to be a light user in ± 100 words.
posted by Cranberry at 4:33 PM on June 7, 2010


Not to be insistent, but is the idea of sorting my AskMefi favorites by the already existing AskMefi categories no good?
posted by malapropist at 4:42 PM on June 7, 2010


I think it's an interesting idea.
posted by pb (staff) at 4:59 PM on June 7, 2010


I still have a bunch of questions that I need to think through. Not every site has categories, is this for Ask only? Because we can favorite everywhere. Why categories and not tags? Do we sort Ask comments by the category too? How do we represent the category in Favorites URLs? Do we need to? Would this replace the idea of tagging favorites? I don't think it would have to. How would we display a way to filter by category? List the category next to each post or include sub-menu like we have for sites?

These are just some of the things I think about the idea that I need some time to consider, and talk over with others. Just haven't had a chance to do that yet.
posted by pb (staff) at 5:09 PM on June 7, 2010


I think they should be called "Favorites" for a reason- you like the content of a post or comment. Let's not make the definition of a favorite too blurry.
posted by dunkadunc at 7:16 PM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I would like to see a "show me a random [post|comment] I've favorited" link on the favorites page.
posted by Faust Gray at 9:00 PM on June 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


Assuming a large percentage of users care about favourites on their comments to some degree - and I can't imagine why it wouldn't move you in some way, however slight, if one of your comments gets 500 favourites while another is lambasted in thread and gets 0, especially if your preference does not match the hive's - they seem to be another driver of the evolution of a 'Metafilter sound' (which may or may not exist).

Comments that appeal to a tiny percentage of users get, say, 10 favourites. The commenter notices this and subconsciously upvotes that style of commenting and, perhaps, this affects their perception of new comments from other users, and makes him more likely to appreciate comments in a similar style. &c. ...and then someone tells us we're all going to hell Yahoo Groups for denying the existence of a creator Metafilter style guide.

Good thing? Bad thing? Common sense? Not specific to Metafilter, and in fact just pseudo-analysis?

I'm not sure.


I think they should be called "Favorites" for a reason- you like the content of a post or comment. Let's not make the definition of a favorite too blurry.

In that case, give me a 'Contains useful links' option.

Actually, pony request. Is there any way to aggregate every single URL in a thread into a single generated post at the end of that thread, once it has been archived? Or is that devaluing the conversation too much? (Or just stupid?)
posted by doublehappy at 11:43 PM on June 7, 2010


A favorite would mean a lot more than it does now if favorites were limited. Best would be short-term and long-term memory:

"Favorite" something and it goes into short-term memory with an expiration date of a month, after which time it is automatically unfavorited. That would be suitable for in-thread agreeing and cheerleading and for tracking stuff in current conversations, which is probably how most people use favorites. After the thread closes, most favorites are forgotten, so they might as well be removed. You could still keep a permanent count of how many faves a person had received, regardless of whether those favorites had expired.

"Double-favorite" something (or "Remember" it or otherwise cause it to be moved from bucket A to bucket B) and it goes into long-term memory with no expiration date. But give the long-term bucket a maximum size of maybe 100: after you fill long-term memory, you have to take something old out of it before you can add something new to it. It would always be your top 100 things on MetaFilter.
posted by pracowity at 2:10 AM on June 8, 2010


I don't see any logic of tying tags into favorites if tags is a route being considered.
posted by nthdegx at 5:10 AM on June 8, 2010


To make things clear, what I meant was a feature that would allow the user to sort his own favorites in a meaningful way. Don't you think that allowing the user to build up a page with his own categories would be nice ? These categories wouldn't spread anywhere else but would stick to that page. Then the user would be allowed to put the favorited posts in one of the categories...
posted by nicolin at 6:53 AM on June 8, 2010


Actually, pony request. Is there any way to aggregate every single URL in a thread into a single generated post at the end of that thread, once it has been archived? Or is that devaluing the conversation too much? (Or just stupid?)

That could be done pretty easily on the client side with some sort of script. I don't think there's any real reason for us to do it server side, though I feel like it came up at some point previously in metatalk (possibly complete with a "you know, just like on slashdot" aside, heh).
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:24 AM on June 8, 2010


ocherdraco: "No, never. (adamdschneider)

What, never?

Well, hardly ever
"

Ha ha ha ha ha ha haaaa!
posted by Barry B. Palindromer at 12:55 PM on June 8, 2010


Everything I know about HMS Pinafore I learned from that Simpsons episode that was an in-many-cases shot for shot parody of Cape Fear.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:05 PM on June 8, 2010


/me steps on rake, mutters under his breath.
posted by SpiffyRob at 1:09 PM on June 8, 2010


I love that that scene was done explicitly to fill time because the episode came in short.

I also love the final, off-screen rake hit and muttering before Marge and Homer start talking.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:15 PM on June 8, 2010


pb:

This could be for AskMefi, and any other subsite that has categories already.

Why categories? They exist already, they're already understood by the community, and they seem less messy than any favorite tag solution, at least to me.

I think comments should be sorted by category of the post they're in as well.

You would know better than I whether and how to represent categories in favorite URLs.

I don't think this option would replace the idea of tagging favorites either.

The way I'm imagining displaying the categories for favorites would be similar how the page looks for a certain tag. The favorites page as it is would stay the same, except on the right side there would be a sidebar that looks like this:

Favorites by category
Ask Metafilter
human relations (32)
work & money (11)
etc.
MetaTalk
feature requests (7)
meetups (16)
etc.

It would list out all the categories, and in parentheses next to the category would be the number of posts and comments you have favorited in that category. Clicking on a category would bring you to a page with all the favorited posts from that category, and then you could switch to comments, like the way it already works with all favorites.

But like I said, you know best how doable this all would be.
posted by malapropist at 1:17 PM on June 8, 2010


Thanks for expanding on that malapropist. Yeah, I think there's potential there and it doesn't rule out tagging favorites as well. It could be a good intermediate step for a portion of favorites until we're ready support a more formal system.
posted by pb (staff) at 3:21 PM on June 8, 2010


I'd personally find NoraCharles's idea of personalised A and B lists a better interim solution before full tagging implementation, than Malapropist's idea of separating by Ask category.

At the moment I fave for...

Stuff that made me laugh
Stuff with which I strongly agree
Stuff containing useful content I'll want to look at later
Stuff containing links to useful content I'll want to look at later

Because I fave a good-ish amount of stuff, it's gotten a little crowded in there. At the moment I'm solving that by favouriting the comment in question for stuff from the first two groups and favouriting the post in which the comment appears for stuff from the last two groups. It makes finding the insight amoungst the lulz a little easier, but it's a total pain when the insightful comment I want to bookmark is near the end of a massive thread.

The ability to assign one of my four categories to a comment at point of favouriting would be super-handy.
posted by the latin mouse at 12:12 AM on June 10, 2010


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