Are we counting favorites the right way? October 5, 2016 6:55 PM   Subscribe

On our user pages, the two numbers tracked for favorites count different things. The first one is a count of how many individual comments I have favorited. The second number is a count of how many times everyone has favorited a comment of mine. The description of that second number, "Favorited by others," is sort of misleading, I think, because it doesn't count individual comments the way the first number does.

I never really thought about it until today, but when I read "Favorited by others," I expect to see, "out of all the comments by this user, this many comments have been favorited by somebody" instead of an aggregate of every time somebody favorited one of my comments.

If that's the number we want to track there in the second spot, shouldn't the description be something like Favorites from others instead of Favorited by others?

Alternately, would a true count of comments "Favorited by others" be good / interesting to track in addition? Imagine a user who posts 10 comments in an FPP. Two of those comments make people go, "Ha!" or "Whoa, she's right," and the user gets 30 favorites in that FPP. Is that number 2, the number of favorited comments by that user, worth tracking somehow?
posted by emelenjr to Feature Requests at 6:55 PM (40 comments total)

I think of it more like "Pat has been favorited X times" - so it's the number of favoriting clicks that have been experienced by that person. Although that may be weird, philosophically, in a way it's easier to understand quickly.
posted by amtho at 6:58 PM on October 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


(First of all, the numbers on the profile page count favorites on both posts and comments. For simplicity I'll just say "comments" here, but we should remember we're talking about both.)

I think I see the confusion. It looks like you're thinking that the first number ("Favorites" on the profile page) is counting the number of comments I've given a favorite to. But I can't give two favorites to a comment. My favorites given : comments favorited ratio will always be 1:1. So this first number is indeed counting the number of favorites I've given. Then we can see the second number ("Favorited by others") actually is parallel to the first -- they're both counts of favorites given.

Strictly speaking, the full phrasing should be more like this: (note: "anyone" can include me)
Favorites given by me, to posts/comments written by anyone
Favorites given by anyone, to posts/comments written by me
But that's just too wordy. So to express those, we've used "Favorites" and "Favorited by others" as shorthand. I agree the "by others" isn't perfectly accurate, but I think it works more or less okay.

Changing anything about favorites is a minefield. One drawback of switching to "from others" or using the wordy versions with "given", is people may be annoyed at the implication that favorites are being "given" like a gift, when some people just use them as bookmarks etc. We could say "acts of favoriting done by me" etc, but again, wordy.

I don't really see a need to track # of comments that have received at least one favorite; it strikes me as a curiosity that will only come up once in a great while, and I think adding another thing there on the profile page might be confusing. But I can imagine others might feel differently.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:02 PM on October 5, 2016 [7 favorites]


I could see calling them like "outbound favorites" and "inbound favorites" or something like that, but anything I think of along those lines, e.g. "out/inward-facing", "outgoing/incoming", seems too vague or insufficient or overdoing it or otherwise not quite right.

It never occurred to me before today that the current wording was unclear.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 8:02 PM on October 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


By others isn't accurate because it includes favorites you gave yourself?

If you want to know how many comments of yours have one or more favorites, you can go to the favorited by others list, and show the "popular" view. Scroll down to the bottom and multiply the number of pages by 20, and that's it. (if you need precision, which given that you're bringing this up in the first place, maybe you do, go to the last page, and subtract out however many that page falls short of 20)
posted by aubilenon at 8:03 PM on October 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


They are both the same if you think of "to favorite" as a verb and the numbers are counting occurances of favoriting.

Favorites: I have favorited 100 times, resulting in 100 favorites
Favorited by: My stuff has been favorited by others 100 times.
posted by bleep at 8:31 PM on October 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


You could always change "Favorites" to "These are a few of my favorite things" and include a little annotation that links to all the mods singing songs from The Sound of Music...
posted by Hermione Granger at 8:35 PM on October 5, 2016 [6 favorites]


So here is my favoriting pet peeve. If you click on your favorites number, the next page gives favorites for each comment and it looks like this:

favorited 2 times, recently by Literaryhero, Literaryhero's Sockpuppet
MetaTalk comment - 14 hours ago


Which says "Metatalk comment -14 hours ago" however, the favoriting was 14 hours ago, not the comment. That is confusing right?
posted by Literaryhero at 9:35 PM on October 5, 2016


Faves I Gave
Faves I Got
posted by chococat at 9:51 PM on October 5, 2016 [4 favorites]


Number of comments that have received at least one favorite could probably be determined by someone who knows how to use the infodump. That is not me.
posted by AugustWest at 10:38 PM on October 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


These are the faves I know I know
These are the faves I know
posted by duffell at 1:19 AM on October 6, 2016 [12 favorites]


I think this post is good because it's really important that we count favorites in such a way that my husband is no longer rewarded for taking advantage of my pregnancy and post-birth convalescence to push past me in the favorites count when previously I was clearly winning. Counting favorites on AskMe but not MeFi? Favorites on comments but not posts? Only counting favorites given months after the fact or on a Wednesday or something? Surely there is some metric, however ridiculous, but which I am beating him, and I would like that to display on our profile pages.

Who even does that? What kind of monster takes advantage of the person GIVING BIRTH TO AND CARING FOR HIS CHILD by scoring cheap internet favorites when she can't post anything even though she's almost certainly funnier than he is? We can't reward this behavior. It is an abomination.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 3:14 AM on October 6, 2016 [54 favorites]


That said, I think the thing is that you can only favorite a comment or post once whereas your stuff can be favorited by multiple people so in fact they're both counting the same thing (number of favorites, not number of comments or posts favorited). I guess the wording could be changed to something like "favorites received" or whatever but yes I think we're counting them the right way.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 3:16 AM on October 6, 2016 [5 favorites]


1) I made an explicit point of not gloating about my favorites victory to a sleep deprived new mother. I behaved quite well, under the circumstances.

2) This is a transparent attempt to make up ground in our favorites war. I respect it for well it will likely work, though.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 3:19 AM on October 6, 2016 [8 favorites]


This is a transparent attempt to make up ground in our favorites war. I respect it for well it will likely work, though.

This is beneath you sir. How dare you accuse me of this when I am just innocently airing my grievances with no ulterior motive? I'd like to urge everyone who supports me in this matter to show that support by favoriting this comment. Together we can prove that I am NOT just trying to beat his favorite total but the only way to do that is to give me as many favorites as possible. UNITED WE STAND!
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 3:23 AM on October 6, 2016 [21 favorites]


It's a happy marriage, I swear.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 3:24 AM on October 6, 2016 [13 favorites]


Mrs. P, you should steal his password and then have him rage quit on FanFare. That'd teach him better password hygiene AND not to fuck with a new mother.
posted by wenestvedt at 3:29 AM on October 6, 2016 [5 favorites]


Literaryhero: Which says "Metatalk comment -14 hours ago" however, the favoriting was 14 hours ago, not the comment. That is confusing right?

No, not to me. It points to the act of favouriting, like you said, not the act of commenting. That's always been clear to me. Maybe because a comment is not an act. It's something that exists (or not), not something that happens.
If it was meant to point to the moment the comment was posted, in my view, it would read something like "Metatalk comment - posted 14 hours ago".
posted by Too-Ticky at 4:03 AM on October 6, 2016


I think we need a currency symbol for favorites, the way the Rupee or New Shekel has.

I propose this:

I looked for a Unicode bean or plate of beans, but didn't find one. However, there are a whole lot of Egyptian hieroglyphs, so I might have missed one.
posted by XMLicious at 4:33 AM on October 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


In the war between Bulgaroktonos and Mrs. Pterodactyl, I am voting #1 The Quidnunc Kid.
posted by briank at 4:51 AM on October 6, 2016 [8 favorites]


Favourite Optimisation

Dear user at metafilter.com,

i am a busnies man. I thought you might like to know some of the reasons why you are not getting more favourite traffic at metafilter.com.

1. Your username is 33% relevant. This can be improved for higher favourite ranking.

2. Your Favourite Optimisation score is 70 %. This can be improved as implementing on and off-site factors will fetch better results in favourite performance.

3. You haven't yet implemented the quidnunc kids #1 pay-per-fave service which can provide you up to 100 favourites for your comments and posts each day, at a market-competitive rates.

We have helped a lot of favouritees thrive in this market and we can help you! Simply hit reply and I’ll share with you the cost and the benefits. See you at the top!

Best Regrads

Sales Team

posted by the quidnunc kid at 5:02 AM on October 6, 2016 [21 favorites]


By others isn't accurate because it includes favorites you gave yourself?

People who favorite their own stuff deserve to be confused.
posted by Etrigan at 6:09 AM on October 6, 2016 [14 favorites]


I had a longer, saltier comment I was working on, but then Etrigan came along and said it just fine.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:35 AM on October 6, 2016


Huh I never noticed you can see how many favorites you've received.
posted by beerperson at 8:37 AM on October 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


OH SWEET CHRIST YES ANOTHER ONE
posted by beerperson at 8:50 AM on October 6, 2016 [11 favorites]


People who favorite their own stuff deserve to be confused.

This is a societal stigma we could really do without. It wasn't all that long ago that doctors used to warn young patients about the dangers of self-favoriting. Every now and then I think we've made progress as a society, and then I see comments like this, and... [sigh]
posted by duffell at 8:53 AM on October 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


If I could favorite myself I'd never leave the house....

Oh! wait, I can....
posted by Confess, Fletch at 9:31 AM on October 6, 2016


God favorites those who favorite themselves. And what is prayer but a shameless self-link?
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:05 AM on October 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


please don't change the "favorited by others" count it is a foundational part of my self esteem
posted by grumpybear69 at 10:25 AM on October 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


I could see calling them like "outbound favorites" and "inbound favorites" or something like that

"Deasil favorites" and "widdershins favorites." I shall not insult MeFites' intelligence by saying which is which, as the correspondence must be obvious to all.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:29 PM on October 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


"By others isn't accurate because it includes favorites you gave yourself?"

I once attended a sociolinguistics lecture where the speaker blew my mind by pointing out that 'everybody' necessarily excludes yourself when you say "Everybody is looking at me."

Then I stared at my trippy hands for the next 7 hours.
posted by iamkimiam at 1:30 PM on October 6, 2016 [6 favorites]


You aren't really Kim, you're a hole in the not-Kim.
posted by XMLicious at 2:16 PM on October 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


Confess, Fletch: "If I could favorite myself I'd never leave the house....

Oh! wait, I can....
"

Only a hundred times a day though.
posted by Mitheral at 8:56 PM on October 6, 2016


"Deasil favorites" and "widdershins favorites." I shall not insult MeFites' intelligence by saying which is which, as the correspondence must be obvious to all.
posted by DevilsAdvocate


Nice advocating try there. We all know it's October, the Walls Between are thin, and I'm sure everyone remembers the old saw "the Road to Hell is paved with backwards spinning favorites." You won't catch me so easily.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:56 AM on October 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


I might support calling them "favorights" and "favorlefts," though, just to stop the "favorites/favourites" bickering.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:58 AM on October 7, 2016


That only substitutes one dispute for another, though, as UKians spell the second one "favorlieuts."
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 3:44 AM on October 7, 2016 [6 favorites]


Who what where now? Have I missed a good bit of bickering? Blimey!
posted by Too-Ticky at 6:14 AM on October 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


This is some high quality bean plating. I am delighted.
posted by stoneweaver at 8:29 AM on October 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


I believe the number should be the result of dividing the sum of the number of faves given to (a person's) comments by the number of their comments, and multiplied by the number favorites you've given to others, divided by the number days you have been a member of the MeFi community, rounded down to the nearest day.

This would help to give even weight to newer members, who have not yet been jaded and benumbed by repitition, and who have not yet lost their spark of thoughtful originality. Of course this applies only to comments, not posts.

Nobody should be able to fave posts, because, who cares? Anyway, that would just add to the confusion. Also, it's unseemly to be kissing up to mods, so any mod comments ought not to be favoritedable.

Also, no more lying about your coordinates. I'm tired of finding MeFites in the middle of uninhabited Pacific islands,
posted by mule98J at 9:26 AM on October 7, 2016


This reminds me, I must keep tally of all users I have ever given favourites to, and remove some if they ever displease me.
posted by scruss at 2:00 PM on October 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


Favorites are "clumpy" count data, so clearly the correct "favorite score" is to assume that favorites per comment are negative-binomially distributed, perhaps with some transformation of "favorites per thread" as an offset parameter, and then calculate the mean

Why yes, I have spent too much time at work recently
posted by en forme de poire at 6:12 PM on October 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


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