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The Favorites Experiment
May 4, 2012 10:36 AM   Subscribe

As a follow-up to my previous MeTa, I've been running a little Mefi experiment where I strictly use favorites as references. Please join me inside for some bean cake and snark counseling.

In the previous MeTa I requested an overhaul of the favorites system so we could have upvotes and references. Some hours after posting that MeTa I removed all my favorites so that I could use favorites for references only, i.e. things that I want to read later or follow up on. Now that I've been doing this for almost four months, I would like to share my thoughts.

Removing thousands of favorites took hours and I lost several comments that I really wanted to save (didn't bother reading every single one, just removed them as fast as possible) which kinda sucked.

Not using favorites as upvotes took some time to get used to. I slowly realized that I favorited stuff for a variety of reasons, e.g. to agree with someone, to express gratitude, to express sympathies, etc. Just using favorites for references removed a layer of social interaction, and honestly it often feels asocial and rude not to favorite as the least I can do when someone has written a nice and long comment is to hit the + link.

My new favorites system essentially created a todo list with items I wanted to read later on or stuff that I needed to use as references. For example, I kept a FPP about Hong Kong films for a long time just so I could examine the many individual links.

One thing I've realized with this new approach to favorites is that it's become much easier not to read stuff. I can favorite FPP's and if I haven't read them within a couple of days I just remove it as a favorite because chances are that I will never read it at all. Less information angst in other words.

To collect interesting comments and posts, I've made a basic list of my Mefi profile page where I add comments that really strike a chord (interestingly enough, I don't feel the need to keep track of entire FPP's like this). I still haven't found a substitute for the social layer that favorites used to provide (expressing sympathies, saying thanks, etc) without actually writing a comment.

I find the Favorited by others counter on my profile page a bit addicting, so maybe it is jerk-y that I don't extend the same favoriting courtesy to others.

I'm not sure what the point of this MeTa is beyond providing some anecdata for future discussions. That and I really needed to get this out of my system.
posted by Foci for Analysis to Etiquette/Policy at 10:36 AM (108 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

When you removed your favorites, did you do so individually? I've been thinking of restarting with a blank slate of favorites recently, but the thought of clicking all those thousands of minus signs has kept me from trying. If there were a faster way, I'd do it.
posted by ocherdraco at 10:40 AM on May 4, 2012


Removing favorites should be an arduous task, nigh on impossible, and at the very least require a full re-reading and heartfelt reassessment before you can do it.
posted by carsonb at 10:42 AM on May 4, 2012 [8 favorites]


Seems like it might not be too hard to add a "remove all favorites" button.
posted by jedicus at 10:43 AM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


tehloki would have to outsource favorite removal to Malaysia.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:48 AM on May 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


I once removed 3000+ favorites at one sitting. It took two hours or so.

It also pissed off a lot of people. Something to consider.

There is a greasemonkey script to remove all favorites, which I believe was written by Blazecock Pileon. It doesn't work.
posted by zarq at 10:55 AM on May 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


It also pissed off a lot of people. Something to consider.

Yeah this sort of thing has a not-inconsequential affect on the community and we're not going to make it easier to do.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:58 AM on May 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


It also pissed off a lot of people. Something to consider.

Might you elaborate on why people were pissed off over that?
posted by mph at 10:58 AM on May 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


It also pissed off a lot of people. Something to consider.

Huh. I don't think I'd mind so long as it was an indiscriminate mass-removal, but I may not be quite as invested in favorites as some people. Best answers, now, removing those ought to require a court order.
posted by jedicus at 11:01 AM on May 4, 2012


I removed the favorites individually but I tinkered around with Mefi's CSS to make it easier to do so (I made the remove favorite link HUGE). Towards the end it was pretty much all muscle memory. I guess I could have coded one of em grease monkey fellas but that would probably have taken more time.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 11:01 AM on May 4, 2012


I remember when zarq removed all his favorites. I guess I was actually online at the same time as he was doing that, because I was just watching the favorites counter going backwards and, for a second, I wondered if the mods instituted some sort of punitive system that takes away your favorites when you say something particularly stupid.

Anyway, I don't doubt that someone out there will get pissed off because their Self Esteem Metric Readout drops by a few ticks but I'm still going to act incredulous about it.

Also I think we should institute a demerits system. And every other month or so flip the demerits and favorites numbers. That'll keep everyone on their toes.
posted by griphus at 11:03 AM on May 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


Yeah, it pisses people off. Someone even mentioned this in the previous MeTa. It's kinda like giving someone a gift and then taking it back, I think. Even if the gift is small taking it back raises questions and makes you seem like a jerk.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 11:03 AM on May 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


Might you elaborate on why people were pissed off over that?

It was heated thread and there were other things going on. The removal of favorites was seen as connected to that.

There have been one or two other mass removal of favorites that were not so explosive.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:04 AM on May 4, 2012


It also pissed off a lot of people

I'm as invested in my favorite count as anyone here, but when I see it drop my reaction is 'oh, someone liked something I posted and saved it for later, and now it must be later.' Basically, what I posted was so tasty it took that long to savor.

Does anyone have a link to the explosion/fallout? I might want to read it, later.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:06 AM on May 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


I can't imagine the circumstance where I'd ever even notice that I was unfavorited.
posted by COD at 11:08 AM on May 4, 2012 [25 favorites]


mph: " Might you elaborate on why people were pissed off over that?"

I don't want to rehash what was a shitty experience, but the simplest answer to your question is: people did not like seeing their favorites counts drop by dozens of numbers at once.

I had flamed out. Some people felt I was being an ass or vindictive, because I returned, deleted all my mail, removed my favorites and contacts and then left again. A bunch of people took the removal personally and I heard about it over email and memail and a couple of other social media sites for a couple of months afterward. Poisoned my interactions a couple of people on this site permanently.

I was not the first person to remove all my favorites. There was a Meta posted a few years ago because someone was doing the exact same thing. And I won't be the last, I'm sure. But man, that sucked. Won't be doing that again.
posted by zarq at 11:09 AM on May 4, 2012


I can't imagine the circumstance where I'd ever even notice that I was unfavorited.

Wait 'til you see Saw XII.
posted by griphus at 11:10 AM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thanks, Brandon Blatcher and zarq. I understand what I was missing now.
posted by mph at 11:12 AM on May 4, 2012


Wow, there are whole... depths and currents of interactions here that I am unaware of.
posted by kavasa at 11:16 AM on May 4, 2012 [31 favorites]


Wow, revelation for the day: people take favorites way too seriously.
posted by RolandOfEld at 11:16 AM on May 4, 2012 [14 favorites]


Wow,

Jinx, you owe me a coke.
posted by RolandOfEld at 11:16 AM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Pruning old favorites is an art. Like bonsai. You can't just hack away wholesale.
posted by roger ackroyd at 11:18 AM on May 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Does anyone have a link to the explosion/fallout? I might want to read it, later.

Here is that long and not especially enlightening thread. For clarification, the username 'nomadicink' was me at the time.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:20 AM on May 4, 2012


I think it sucks a bit that favorites were not intended to be used as upvotes, but the community decided to treat them that way, and now a moderator is saying they aren't going to make it easier to use the feature to bookmark because the community would get riled.
posted by cribcage at 11:21 AM on May 4, 2012 [7 favorites]


My account is instituting a new Casual Favorites feature, effective immediately. When you leave a favorite on any piece of "gilrain" account activity, using my new Casual Favorites, the favorite you leave is completely revocable, at will. With Casual Favorites, you never need to worry about unpleasant repercussions again!

Use gilrain brand Casual Favorites today!
posted by gilrain at 11:21 AM on May 4, 2012 [6 favorites]


now a moderator is saying they aren't going to make it easier to use the feature to bookmark because the community would get riled.

Excuse me? I said that we're not going to add a "remove all favorites" option because it is a community-level headache. If you have suggestions on how to make it easier to use favorites for bookmarking, please share them.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:30 AM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


The day that I call the Omega Day approaches. Upon that day, everyone I have given an even number of favorites to will be mailed a check for $283.34. Everyone I have given an odd number of favorites to will be imprisoned in a sinister dungeon filled with diabolically cunning mantraps.

Prepare, Metafilter. Prepare.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 11:31 AM on May 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


mph, you're welcome.
posted by zarq at 11:33 AM on May 4, 2012


Cribcage, community (aka the mob) is strange and fickle. It's also much larger than before, doing site wide changes isn't as easy or smooth.

For historical interest, here's the announcement of Favorites, from 2006. It's birthday is coming up!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:33 AM on May 4, 2012


If you have suggestions on how to make it easier to use favorites for bookmarking, please share them.

Someone already did, and you answered. Did I misrepresent your comment? It seems to me that "the community would get riled" and "it is a community-level headache" are equivalent.
posted by cribcage at 11:38 AM on May 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


I didn't see a "remove all favorites" option as one that was somehow essential to or simplifying of using favorites as bookmarks, maybe I'm misunderstanding something?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:42 AM on May 4, 2012


Here's Matt's reason for using 'Favorites' instead of 'Bookmarks'. Interesting how things ended up.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:44 AM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


mathowie said:
"I'm sure in a week or two you won't notice."

Bless him, he means well, we all know that. But that's hilarious now, considering the number of threads that have tangled over the bookmarks vs. favorites conundrum.
posted by batmonkey at 11:50 AM on May 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Maybe I was unclear. As I understand Foci for Analysis' experiment, he wanted to begin using favorites as bookmarks. In order to do this, first he removed all of his favorites. This makes sense to me, because it would be difficult to find something among thousands of "bookmarks"—and making something easy to find is the point of a bookmark.

Most of the community currently uses favorites as upvotes. If people wanted to try using favorites as bookmarks, then presumably they would first need to remove all their previous favorites. A few posters mentioned how tedious that would be. If you are an "upvoter" but you'd like to begin "bookmarking," it would be considerably easier if there were a CLEAR FAVORITES button.
posted by cribcage at 11:51 AM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I wrote a Greasemonkey script a while back that clears out favorites 50 at a time, which worked reasonably well, but then I think the site administrators made some changes to break that script and I haven't had the time to try to debug those changes.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:14 PM on May 4, 2012


Ah, here it is, if anyone wants to take a crack at a patch.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:17 PM on May 4, 2012


I had flamed out. Some people felt I was being an ass or vindictive, because I returned, deleted all my mail, removed my favorites and contacts and then left again. A bunch of people took the removal personally and I heard about it over email and memail and a couple of other social media sites for a couple of months afterward. Poisoned my interactions a couple of people on this site permanently.

We need more people to do this regularly.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 12:21 PM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, that's a pretty easy fix, Blazecock. Just add the following line:

else if (user.name = "griphus") { user.favorites++; }

That should fix things.
posted by griphus at 12:23 PM on May 4, 2012 [8 favorites]


Hey, it worked! lolz
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:24 PM on May 4, 2012


We need more people to do this regularly.

Except for the coming-back part, sure.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:26 PM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think it sucks a bit that favorites were not intended to be used as upvotes, but the community decided to treat them that way, and now a moderator is saying they aren't going to make it easier to use the feature to bookmark because the community would get riled.

It's no harder to remove favourites than it was to favourite stuff in the first place. Easier in fact because you aren't limited to 100/day.

Most of the community currently uses favorites as upvotes.

No way of knowing if this is true or not.
posted by Mitheral at 12:30 PM on May 4, 2012


Most of the community currently uses favorites as upvotes. If people wanted to try using favorites as bookmarks, then presumably they would first need to remove all their previous favorites. A few posters mentioned how tedious that would be. If you are an "upvoter" but you'd like to begin "bookmarking," it would be considerably easier if there were a CLEAR FAVORITES button.

My feeling is that the emphasis here is on the "a few posters" angle; the number of folks who have given out a great big pile of favorites is much, much smaller than the number of folks who have given a much smaller pile of favorites. The number of people in that small group who want to revamp their whole favoriting groove is smaller still. And clearing out past favorites my be part of that revamp idea but isn't strictly necessary (one can just use them as bookmarks going forward) and so not something all of that smaller-still group are going to care about.

So we're not totally unsympathetic to the subset of folks with a lot of favorites who, years later, are thinking they want to go to bookmarking-centric favoriting and also want to clear the slate, but that's a wee fraction of the userbase. Introducing a button that we don't feel great about as a general site feature to address that niche situation feels very far from being an obvious "this will help with bookmarking" move.

If anything, I feel like it'd be an incentive to be more loose with favorites—if you know you've got a reset button, you may be a lot less inclined to think about how your favoriting habits scale.

Systematically removing a pile of favorites is going to be a tedious operation with the current system based largely on the size of the pile. Most folks have very small piles and thus very little tedium to worry about, so adding in a potentially disruptive button (let's think about the first time someone accidentally or impulsively nukes their favorites, that's a fun conversation) seems like not really necessary. I don't see a disinclination to go there as being remotely anti-bookmarking in the general case, no.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:30 PM on May 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


In case anyone is curious: The Great De-Favoriting of 2008. That one wasn't me.
posted by zarq at 12:45 PM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I still haven't found a substitute for the social layer that favorites used to provide (expressing sympathies, saying thanks, etc) without actually writing a comment.

You could send a MeMail! Especially if I'm hanging out in Ask (where there's supposed to be less "hey neato" and "yeah, that reminds me of THING"), but also on other parts of the site, I sometimes just send a MeMail that says, like, "Haha, great story, thanks for sharing!" or "Wow, that was a really even-handed comment in a tough thread." Someone sent me a MeMail to that tune once, and it made my whole week.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 12:49 PM on May 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


My new favorites system essentially created a todo list with items I wanted to read later on or stuff that I needed to use as references. [...] I can favorite FPP's and if I haven't read them within a couple of days I just remove it as a favorite because chances are that I will never read it at all. Less information angst in other words.

[...]

To collect interesting comments and posts, I've made a basic list of my Mefi profile page where I add comments that really strike a chord (interestingly enough, I don't feel the need to keep track of entire FPP's like this). I still haven't found a substitute for the social layer that favorites used to provide (expressing sympathies, saying thanks, etc) without actually writing a comment.

I find the Favorited by others counter on my profile page a bit addicting, so maybe it is jerk-y that I don't extend the same favoriting courtesy to others.
posted by Foci for Analysis


This is how I use favorites. I favorite stuff to come back and read thoroughly. They're my Metafilter-filter.

I get that you're running an experiment to make a point about using favorites "as intended", but it seems you're happier with the other way. Couldn't you solve the problem by going back to using favorites as "upvotes" and keep a list of "bookmarks" for later reading on your profile page (or elsewhere)?

From what I gather--I'm pretty new here, first MeTa comment--there's nothing wrong with favorites-as-upvotes if that's you're thing, it's just that there won't be additional functionality in that regard.

But I have to admit that when I first saw it, the "favorite" link seemed more like a "like" or "upvote" feature than a bookmark.
posted by Boxenmacher at 12:49 PM on May 4, 2012


Foci for Analysis - I may have missed it somewhere in the previous thread, but other than just doing an interesting mefi experiment, why are you (are you?) against the idea of using instapaper or some similar outside tool to store references, leaving the favorites option available to use as upvotes or whatever?
posted by Wretch729 at 1:13 PM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hmm, maybe I shouldn't point it out, but my script seems to work again, at least with Chrome 18.0.1025.168. It happily removes favorites — albeit only in 50-favorite increments. But that's fine and dandy for quick pruning.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:46 PM on May 4, 2012


I actually did a semi-inverse experiment of this a few years ago where I started paying attention to favorites (right around when hiding them became a feature, a.k.a The Favorites Kerfluffle). I've been vocal in the past about using favorites as bookmarks and that people shouldn't assume that a favorite always = Appreciation/Admiration/UpVotes, and so I wanted to see if I was missing anything.

I started clicking through to see who favorited things. I checked my own Favorited By Others numbers daily. It really felt uncomfortable and alien to me (although I did begin to better grok the siren call of perceived appreciation much better) even when I ended the experiment. I tried to favorite based on appreciation, but I was bean-plating it so much that it got in the way of reading the site. So, that didn't happen Since that experiment, I hide favorites and generally ignore what a post or comment gets favorite-wise and who is liking who. It usually doesn't add any value FOR ME to know those things (there are exceptions, but they are extreme outliers).

This is, to be honest, not entirely perfect. In one of the other half-a-zillion MeTa threads made in the last 48 hours, someone made a lovely introspective statement saying essentially that because the comments and favorites have different levels of visibilty, her recent contributions to a particular discourse weren't as balanced as she thought they were at the time and resulted in potential misreadings of her wider perspective. And that hit home, because I do remember thinking that something was a bit off about that whole interaction set and thinking about the anomaly a lot.

That was the first time I really thought that my ignoring favorites as appreciation really did hamper my use of the site as a whole. If I was more in tune with majority use of favorites, maybe I wouldn't have sat there wondering what seemed so off about that interaction, and what possible ramifications there might be. I really don't think it's going to turn me into a favoriting machine, but I may reference favorites more when trying to figure out what's going on when a member of the community starts acting a little different from what I expect.

To sum up: experiments are good, people are different, favorites can be useful in all sorts of ways.
posted by julen at 1:59 PM on May 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


I favorited you, julen, because that was a thoughtful and interesting comment.
posted by gilrain at 2:40 PM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


People get upset when their "favorited by others" drops?
Barn's burnt down —
now
I can see the moon.

- Masahide
posted by benito.strauss at 2:51 PM on May 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


Boxenmacher: I get that you're running an experiment to make a point about using favorites "as intended", but it seems you're happier with the other way. Couldn't you solve the problem by going back to using favorites as "upvotes" and keep a list of "bookmarks" for later reading on your profile page (or elsewhere)?

It's not that much of a issue, really. This solution is pretty effortless and I get to keep my todo on Mefi and not in the browser of anywhere else.


Wretch729: Foci for Analysis - I may have missed it somewhere in the previous thread, but other than just doing an interesting mefi experiment, why are you (are you?) against the idea of using instapaper or some similar outside tool to store references, leaving the favorites option available to use as upvotes or whatever?

Nope, I'm not really against Instapaper or any other external tool. It's just that the current, new, system works ok and the remaining issues aren't annoying enough that I would look for another solution.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 2:59 PM on May 4, 2012


Also, Instapaper (to my knowledge) captures the entire page -- I know that I sometimes only want to save a partucular long comment/post rather than the whole hundred comment long page.

Anyone know of an alternative way to get one comment into Instapaper?
posted by m@f at 3:19 PM on May 4, 2012


Continueing down the Instapaper rabbit hole, via experiment I just learned that highlighting a selection of text before hitting Read Later performs a pull quote into the Instapaper article. Handy!

Still captures the whole page, though.
posted by m@f at 3:23 PM on May 4, 2012


Wow, that's a hell of a story. It's disappointing that people would let something so trivial poison the well, I had no idea - and I love favourites!

Zarq, I want you to know that you can remove each and every favourite you've ever given me, and I will still love, and cherish you, and will send you interrogative notes only about your cute children.
posted by smoke at 3:50 PM on May 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


favorites can be useful in all sorts of ways

It's useful to know that at least eleven people thought my off-the-cuff movie sequence about magical ball juice noteworthy and/or disgusting enough to click on the +.

(Any of you eleven people work in Hollywood and want the next blockbuster, call me up. I got what you're looking for.)
posted by zennish at 4:08 PM on May 4, 2012


Wow. Just wow.
posted by Decani at 4:42 PM on May 4, 2012


I have enough human failings and petty points of pride to imagine being disappointed to notice my favorite count drop. It's harder for me to imagine expressing that disappointment publicly with no shame.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 6:57 PM on May 4, 2012 [8 favorites]


Hah, I noticed that I'd dropped 8 favorites. Not that I felt it personally, but I found it funny that someone must have spent a lot of time unfavoriting things. I bet it had something to do with this thread. That's what I suspect. I'm not Columbo or anything, but I bet it's this thread.
posted by not_on_display at 7:31 PM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


smoke: " Zarq, I want you to know that you can remove each and every favourite you've ever given me, and I will still love, and cherish you, and will send you interrogative notes only about your cute children."

Thanks. :) That's very kind of you. :)

(Baby pictures! I wanna see baby pictures!!) :)
posted by zarq at 8:53 PM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


So, when and where do we redeem our favorites for cash anyway?
posted by telstar at 8:56 PM on May 4, 2012


*I've* always figured it's the *ratio* that matters. (straightens tiara)
posted by Trochanter at 8:57 PM on May 4, 2012


So, when and where do we redeem our favorites for cash anyway?

Coinstar, but you have to do it at midnight or it won't work.
posted by brina at 10:16 PM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


You want to see real grief and angst? Start tracking 'best answer(s)' in AskMe.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:42 AM on May 5, 2012


Is it better to have been favorited and lost, or to never have been favorited at all?
posted by notme at 6:28 PM on May 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


My favourite count goes up and down like a whore's drawers. I choose to see this as a sign of my raffish and hugely mercurial appeal. That way I don't have to get all weepy about it.
posted by Decani at 7:03 PM on May 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Decani: "My favourite count goes up and down like a whore's drawers."

I just spent way to much time trying to figure out why anyone's drawers would do anything other than go in and out of a chest of them before I realized you were insulting sex workers in a foreign language.
posted by Blasdelb at 7:22 PM on May 5, 2012 [7 favorites]


Whenever I'm unfavorited, I get all excited, because I'm sure it's because one of my posts or comments has made it to the podcast, and the mod who noticed my genius and marked it with a favorite then unmarked it, as it no longer had use since it was to be read aloud by matthowie himself!

Since I don't have the time or attention span to actually listen to the podcasts, I take it on blind trust that it is so.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:08 PM on May 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


How is that insulting? It's just part of the business.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:30 PM on May 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


How is it a foreign language?
posted by zarq at 8:54 PM on May 5, 2012


If one had given out thousands upon thousands of favorites and wanted to blank them out without having to click thousands upon thousands of times, would it be possible to contact the mods via the Contact Form and ask for one's favorites count to be reset? Is it in principle possible to remove all of someone's favorites from the back end, and if so would Team Mod ever be willing to accommodate user requests of that sort?
posted by Scientist at 8:54 PM on May 5, 2012


Whores' drawers are, like, appetizers, right?
posted by gingerest at 8:57 PM on May 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


I just spent way to much time trying to figure out why anyone's drawers would do anything other than go in and out of a chest of them before I realized you were insulting sex workers in a foreign language.

I just spent way to much time trying to figure out what you were saying before I realized you need to work on you subject/object structures.
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 9:04 PM on May 5, 2012


In the Great De-Favoriting of 2008, jessamyn makes a passing comment that favorites ought to be renamed "star-bellies". I am fully in favor of this idea.
posted by Scientist at 9:04 PM on May 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also: that thread is not one of MetaFilter's prouder moments.
posted by Scientist at 9:10 PM on May 5, 2012


I spent a fair while thinking about this when I made Gamefilter. I ended up splitting the functionality into 'Thanks' and 'Bookmarks'. Mashing the Thanks button works more or less like favoriting here -- it's public, and in the case of GFi, explicitly meant to be a positive-reinforcement mechanism, and counts are shown beside the item in question and on profile pages for Thanks given and received. Bookmarks, on the other hand, are private. The functionality just allows you to save stuff you want to look at later or keep for reference, and nobody else can see them, so there's no status games or emotional aspect to it.

I'd love to have a separate, private bookmarking function here. I am aware that the canonical response to that pony request is to use offsite bookmarking, but to be honest, I have more confidence that Metafilter will be around than I do Delicious or its equivalents in the future.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:41 PM on May 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


jessamyn: "I didn't see a 'remove all favorites' option as one that was somehow essential to or simplifying of using favorites as bookmarks, maybe I'm misunderstanding something?"

Er - having that option would pretty much be the only way I could switch to using favorites as bookmarks. As it is, that would be impossible, because I have so many random things favorited. I totally understand that that is not gonna happen, largely because I can see why it might be bad for the community in general, but there's a reason Foci for Analysis had to start this little project by going through and removing all favorites and starting over. Having 21,226 "bookmarks" makes those bookmarks pretty useless as actual placeholders.
posted by koeselitz at 11:04 PM on May 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


There should be permanent bookmarks and ephemeral favorites.

You get X (100? 1000?) bookmarks to track stuff forever. After you use X, you have to unbookmark something to bookmark something else.

You can hand out unlimited favorites to pat people on the back for being such great posters or commenters, but your favorites vanish after three months. In terms of favoriting, you are only as good as your last three months.
posted by pracowity at 2:56 AM on May 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I notice when my favorite count goes down. It smarts.

But you can't keep me down. I will make another post. I will deploy more snark. I will do what it takes.
posted by Trurl at 3:02 AM on May 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


My favorites/favored by are only one apart at the moment. I feel a strange type of calm and balance has been achieved. I'm outta here..
posted by Sailormom at 4:43 AM on May 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Nobody touch my favourites - either way - they're at 5555
posted by infini at 5:12 AM on May 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


I do think that there's (probably) a difference in use of favorites depending on whether you're on the blue or the green (or the grey).

Here's how I do it:

Topic-level favorites mean that either I'm interested in the subject enough to want to come back to it, either to see more answers or to see how the situation resolved itself

ANSWER/comment-level favorites mean that I found a specific comment particularly useful and want to help highlight it for the community/OP (kind of a 'i would mark this as best answer if i were OP' function), OR that it contains specific information that might be useful for me later.

It does seem like the 'best answer' function serves as the 'upvote' purpose (especially since OP is not limited to only selecting a single response). Maybe that functionality could be expanded to some kind of 'community best answer' language, as distinct from what the OP thinks, although that language is confusing at best.

Anyway, I wanted to tease out the different uses and point out that we do have a 'solution', its just not more than single-user for now.
posted by softlord at 6:17 AM on May 6, 2012


Mine went up or down today -- I'm not sure which, but I think it was probably down because it didn't appear that there were any new favourites on recent posts. But the number was definitely different to what it was last time I looked -- even though I don't actually remember what it was then.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 6:26 AM on May 6, 2012


I lost thirty, you cruel fuckfaces.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:26 AM on May 6, 2012


I gained 2 and ruined the pattern, you dittos
posted by infini at 8:10 AM on May 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Now I have to worry about 'Peak Favorites'?

?!?
posted by mazola at 8:16 AM on May 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


That was the first time I really thought that my ignoring favorites as appreciation really did hamper my use of the site as a whole.

My husband has favorites visible and I use them as bookmarks so I turn them off. It's very clear to me that I have a different view of the site as a result. For me, this isn't a hampering so much as a "this makes the site usable for me". Based on what I see when I look at Metafilter on my husband's computer when he shows me something, the favoriting behavior for upvotes is pretty off-putting.

I'm sort of vaguely aware of people favoriting me, presumably as an upvote, and it's nice, especially when I'm in a thread that I'm testy about. (Double standard!) Still, I expect people who want to say something to actually say it and my sense of their contributions is based on what they actually post in threads. I don't have enough time or interest to dig into other people's participation on the site by favorites, and particularly not enough to determine their opinions by comparing their comments to their upvotes. I imagine I'm typical in that lack.
posted by immlass at 8:23 AM on May 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


immlass writes "the favoriting behavior for upvotes is pretty off-putting."

I've got favourites turned off for this reason as well. It's weird. Reading a comment that strikes me as pure idiocy doesn't seem to bother me. Seeing that same same comment get favourited is rage inducing.
posted by Mitheral at 9:05 AM on May 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


My mind is kind of blown by the idea that there are people who would fuss enough to create "community-level headaches" over a change in their favourites count.

It seems to me that making the favourites feature more useful to the people using it should take precedence over the egos of the people who create such headaches, but I am basically a robot, so the nuances may be escaping me.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 9:08 AM on May 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just to add to the "people use favorites differently" anecdata, I only use favorites as bookmarks in a very limited set of circumstances: when I'm tracking how two or more people are responding to each other. I'll favorite the participants in some line of conversation, and then be able to read their conversation in my favorites to see how they are (mis)representing each other.

If I want to bookmark anything else, I'll use a bookmarking service that gives me access to tagging so I can categorize what I bookmark.

Otherwise, I do use favorites to indicate agreement in some sense. However, I think there's some complexity that the term "up-voting" can overlook. There's a pragmatic dimension of conversation that can get lost in online text-based discussions (such as nodding heads in agreement). And I use favorites to try to recapture that pragmatic dimension, though of course they serve this purpose imperfectly, and maybe the benefit of using favorites for this purpose is outweighed by other effects more deleterious to our conversations.

iamkimiam talked about this function of favorites back during the 2009 experiment.
posted by audi alteram partem at 9:14 AM on May 6, 2012


It seems to me that making the favourites feature more useful to the people using it

I am also a bit of a robot about it but it's become clear to me that people get really fussy about favorite-related stuff.

So, the two major times that I've known of where people did a mass defavoriting, we got emails and people bringing that sort of thing up in Metatalk and it became a Thing. And anytime something turns into a Thing it becomes a bit of a headache and spotlights a bunch of stuff that isn't problematic on its own but if people start putting a magnifying glass on it, it gets people all agita about it.

So, our general feeling about favorites which we've stated over and over here is that we are very dislinclined to make any more adjustments to the favorites system. What would be seen as a useful feature to some people [and I'm with cortex, this is a very small niche request even though I think I understand why some people would find it useful] would have social repercussions that we're not so psyched about managing.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:17 AM on May 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


> I gained 2 and ruined the pattern, you dittos

Fixed! That was hard though. I'd mostly bookmarked them for a reason, so "No, not the banana chutney recipe! I'd never find it again ..." Eventually I found two I could live without.


> Based on what I see when I look at Metafilter on my husband's computer when he shows me something, the favoriting behavior for upvotes is pretty off-putting.

I'm mostly a bookmarker. But I have favorites visible; it doesn't bother me. Visible favorites (to me) are kind of like back channeling in a conversation, where one person is talking and other people go "uh-huh", "yeah", "oh! I didn't know that", etc. (It doesn't really matter from this perspective whether other people's favorites are 'I agree' favorites or bookmarks.)

It only bugs me when somebody makes a shitty attack on another user, and a bunch of people use favorites to go "yeah!" That sucks. But I'm not willing to kill the entire channel because some people are jerks.

Favoriting on MetaFilter is not an upvoting system, even though people frequently use it to indicate agreement. Posts and comments don't become more or less visible because people favorited them or not, the way they do on websites that have true up-and-down voting systems, and use those in place of moderation.

MeFi's favorite feature isn't a dumb or broken version of upvoting that doesn't work because it doesn't do anything to change the status or visibility of what you favorite. It's a different feature that doesn't work that way because it was never intended to do what upvoting or downvoting does on other sites.

(For the most part I'm just agreeing with what audi alteram partem said above.)
posted by nangar at 11:01 AM on May 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I only notice my favorites drop if I'm close to a round number of favorites and am eagerly awaiting the turnover. Like getting close to 10,000 and being like "9,994 ... *refresh* ... 9,997, awroit, here we go ... *refresh* ... 9,984? What the HELL, dude? What kind of monster would DO this shit?" And then, because I keep updated screenshots of my Favorited By page, I'll start matching up comparisons and look for missing names. Once I've found the culprit, I immediately MeMail them a strongly-worded message, politely but firmly demanding an explanation. I mean, some people don't seem to appreciate the Round Number Favorite Count (RNFC). You actually have to calibrate it just right - when you start getting close, you have to leave a comment that is funny/snarky/witty enough to garner favorites, but not too much! You have to hold back your awesomeness a little, lest the favorite count roll right past the RNFC before you can see it with your own eyes and enjoy it. You'd think that it'd be common courtesy to at least check the profile of the person you're unfavoriting to make sure they're not within 20 of the RNFC, but no. Some people are just so narcissistic.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:53 PM on May 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


I just wanted to chime in that

a) removing favourites does indeed annoy me

and

b) jesus h christ in a chicken basket people, sometimes things are annoying and then you deal with them. Losing a fave is right up there with people blocking the aisle at the grocery store or someone driving slow in the passing lane. Which is to say DIE IN A FIRE and I need to take a few deep breaths and move on.

But seriously, if you have ever complained to a mod about your favourite count decreasing, you should just have your account deleted. Since favourites seem to be too emotionally exhausting perhaps it's for the best.
posted by GuyZero at 9:56 PM on May 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I actually kind of like having my favorites removed. It feels like having a king of weight lifted off of me, removing any tally that I might feel I have to keep track of. The world is open again, with fresh potential. Maybe people should think about it that way - I mean, it's really just a bunch of people on the internet removing plus marks on a web site. If you've made great comments that you're really proud of, you're allowed to just be proud of your contribution here; you don't need anybody's permission for that.
posted by koeselitz at 11:26 PM on May 6, 2012


Having your favorites drop is an awesome opportunity to practice not caring about things that really don't matter at all.
posted by dfan at 5:30 AM on May 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, stop with the posturing. People just like to joke about losing them.
posted by Burhanistan at 5:58 AM on May 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sooo, in other words, I shouldn't have used my favourites count in my "other accomplishments" section on Linkedin?
posted by MartinWisse at 6:26 AM on May 7, 2012


I... I lost a favorite overnight.

I know where it came from, too: right here. The last time I checked it, yesterday, it had two favorites; Now it only has one. I know it was there, but I can't remember who gave it, only to capriciously snatch it back. So I can only wonder: why?

I know that it was merely a restatement of Justinian's joke in a different milieu, but I thought that I'd get points for film literacy, for nostalgia, for adapting the joke to the common grammar of Westeros. When I wrote it, I thought I might get three favorites; maybe even four. Two was a little disappointing, but I told myself that I could live with it. And now I don't even have two.

One favorite. Only one.

Certainly, the difference is minuscule when viewed in light of my overall favorites count. I did the math; you guys like me only about 99.87% as much as you did yesterday. But I can see where things are heading; I read the Statistics bonus chapter of my Introduction to Algebra book in Junior High, even though the teacher never got that far.

Since my final disposition is only a matter of time, I will save you the trouble of expelling me from your community with 782 tiny cuts, and myself the embarrassment of suffering through that indignity.

I resign.

Mods, please delete this account.
posted by The Confessor at 6:38 AM on May 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


So I can only wonder: why?

Probably a short term bookmark for a person to remember where they are in the thread. Removed when they continued reading.
posted by Mitheral at 7:33 AM on May 7, 2012


Mods, please disregard; I just got another favorite.
posted by The Confessor at 7:38 AM on May 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


For some reason, in the past couple days, four of my favorites were (I'm sure) given a heartfelt reconsideration before being deleted.

I can only hope that these people wish me well in all of my future endeavors.
posted by Danf at 10:47 AM on May 7, 2012


Sooo, in other words, I shouldn't have used my favourites count in my "other accomplishments" section on Linkedin?

Not at all! I prefer to bring my laptop to job interviews, so I can show prospective employers some of the witty ripostes I've smacked down around here, and tell them, "See that? 68 favorites. Now watch, as I scroll down ... you see? Two favorites to that guy, four here, three there. I owned that fucking thread. That's the kind of surgical insight and comprehensive engagement I can bring to the deli counter at Safeway."
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:08 AM on May 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


Fascinating, this whole thing.
posted by davejay at 11:43 AM on May 7, 2012


people did not like seeing their favorites counts drop by dozens of numbers at once.

I have a workaround for this: avoid saying consistently worthwhile or insightful things, so that no one user racks up multiple favorites on my account. So far it's worked; I've never noticed my favorites drop by more than one or two at a time.
posted by owtytrof at 12:17 PM on May 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


And really, all of those mass unfavoriting situations had other factors in play beyond tallies being decreased. It's kind of disingenuous to make it all about simple numbers.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:55 PM on May 7, 2012


Simplest solution to Disfavoring Despair that doesn't involve removing favorites: remove the users ability to see how often their own comments have been favorited. No favorite counts next to your own comments or on your profile so you'll never know if you had any to lose.
posted by Apoch at 3:14 PM on May 7, 2012


And really, all of those mass unfavoriting situations had other factors in play beyond tallies being decreased. It's kind of disingenuous to make it all about simple numbers.

Not sure if this was directed at me, but I did give further context to my own situation in the comment owtytrof quoted. I mention this because I've specifically been accused of not doing so before, in at least one previous meta thread. So I'm even more wary of giving people that impression now.
posted by zarq at 8:15 PM on May 7, 2012


I like apoch's idea. Keep favourites, but remove the personal scoreboards.
posted by terrapin at 6:23 AM on May 9, 2012


I may be the most indiscriminate favoriter of all (34,007 and counting). But I don't take it personally when someone unfavorites one of my comments or posts, although this may just be because I can never figure out which post or user it was. Favorites are made, and unmade, for all kinds of reasons, and to obsess about why someone clicked a [+] or [-] seems silly when there are all kinds of more disturbing things to obsess about. WHY IS A CAT WATCHING MY WINDOW FROM ACROSS THE STREET? WHAT DOES HE KNOW??
posted by JHarris at 4:21 AM on May 10, 2012


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