policy favorites comments July 22, 2006 4:21 PM   Subscribe

Can we please get rid of the '1 user marked this as favorite' crap?
posted by nixerman to Etiquette/Policy at 4:21 PM (105 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

It's terribly distracting. It's also quite annoying; I don't enjoy being told what to like. I can decide for myself if a comment is good. It also undermines other comments and generates a sort of fanboyish, cliquish, popularity atmosphere. Really it just rubs me the wrong way. I don't like being rubbed the wrong way. I like being rubbed the right way. Anyways, please make this optional mathamyn. If I want to see the favorited comments in a thread, then I can afford to click another button to do so.
posted by nixerman at 4:23 PM on July 22, 2006 [10 favorites]


Is it the concept or the huge string that is causing you anguish? Because it would be nice if the string was a bit shorter.
posted by Mitheral at 4:24 PM on July 22, 2006 [2 favorites]


I HATE IT WHEN WEBSITES IMPLEMENT THINGS WITHOUT CONSULTING ME
posted by cellphone at 4:26 PM on July 22, 2006 [13 favorites]


So tempted to favorite every comment in this thread
posted by danb at 4:27 PM on July 22, 2006 [3 favorites]


I love your tone. So balanced, not like you just had a bad day and were looking for something to blame.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 4:38 PM on July 22, 2006 [14 favorites]


I like being rubbed the right way

So how would you like mathowie to rub you, exactly?
posted by SassHat at 4:48 PM on July 22, 2006 [4 favorites]


My day is not so bad, so that's not it. The weather sucks, yeah. It's like a Turkish Bath outside. Also I'm running out of popsicles and limeade. It does piss me off that God made alcohol a diuretic, but that's a longstanding complaint of mine. But mostly it's a good Saturday. I've gotten a lot of work done and next week I'll be rewarded for my efforts.

Seriously, I just don't like this feature. It detracts a lot more than it adds. If there are many others who like it, fine, I can live with it. At least I'll try. Sorry if I came off a little melodramtic--it's a bad habit of mine. I come from a big family.

So how would you like mathowie to rub you, exactly?

I'd like him to rub my feet. And I want him dressed very preppy--like a young Catholic school-boy. Or maybe a young Catholic school-girl. And he should definitely be wearing those dorky blocky glasses. Also he should smell like peaches.
posted by nixerman at 4:51 PM on July 22, 2006 [5 favorites]


All you people marking various comments as favorites are bastards.
posted by nixerman at 4:52 PM on July 22, 2006 [37 favorites]


It'd be less distracting if it were in gray instead of yellow.
posted by interrobang at 5:03 PM on July 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


nixerman writes "All you people marking various comments as favorites are bastards."

This is reverse psychology right? You are secretly trying to get a comment with the highest number of favourite marks right?
posted by Mitheral at 5:03 PM on July 22, 2006 [2 favorites]


I bet greasemonkey could fix you up
posted by mathowie (staff) at 5:05 PM on July 22, 2006 [2 favorites]


The length of the string is causing me to despair. It could look like [+fav] X favs and it could be a sunnier yellow, and there could be a sky blue background and little clouds, or rain or snow, to denote the bliss level of the marker of the fav and we could all have cute little ponies or it could even look like [*] X favs, or faves, since Matt is a Brit, and they use that spelling.
posted by theora55 at 5:07 PM on July 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


And [*] could have the balloon saying Mark as Favorite, like the [!] says Flag this Post, which I never noticed before, and is quite spiffy.

Matt, "I bet greasemonkey could fix you up" sounds dirty. I like it.
posted by theora55 at 5:10 PM on July 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


Matt, "I bet greasemonkey could fix you up" sounds dirty. I like it.

Actually, it sounds like a big "fuck off", but whatever.
posted by interrobang at 5:17 PM on July 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


I think that the "x users marked this as a favorite" is a bad idea. It reminds me of Slashdot's egregiously dorky mod system.
posted by Afroblanco at 5:24 PM on July 22, 2006 [3 favorites]


It is pretty close to that whole Slashdot / Digg thing where you can rate each comment. How many mefi-ers want to implement that? It's horrible. I agree that it's starting to be distracting to read a series of comments and wonder why someone "favorited" this particular comment. It really doesn't tell me anything I need to know.
posted by mattbucher at 5:30 PM on July 22, 2006 [2 favorites]


But it's distracting for a reason, so you can see noteworthy things at a quick glance. Perhaps the placement, color, or exact size/length of wording could be tweaked, but it's a helpful feature that I'm keeping around.

I mention greasemonkey because if you don't like the logo of the site, think timestamps are a waste of space, and never want to flag anything, you can write a small script to strip things out and change them with anything you want. And I mention it because this is a new fixture of comments that'll be sticking around.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 5:38 PM on July 22, 2006 [2 favorites]


1 user has not marked any of this as favorite.
posted by mischief at 5:40 PM on July 22, 2006 [2 favorites]


Lots of favorites marked in this thread. :)
posted by caddis at 5:41 PM on July 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


Also he should smell like peaches

So now you've brought politics into the mix!


posted by ericb at 5:43 PM on July 22, 2006 [3 favorites]


This thread is dangerous and should be removed immediately.
posted by Heatwole at 5:44 PM on July 22, 2006 [3 favorites]


I have a fever for the savior of the favorite.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 5:44 PM on July 22, 2006 [2 favorites]


Hey, the Popular Favorites page doesn't include MetaTalk! Bogus.
posted by Gator at 5:51 PM on July 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


Can we please get rid of the '1 user marked this as favorite' crap?

I agree it's an awful, useless feature that takes away from the site, but I hadn't even noticed it until you mentioned it, so I'd say just ignore it.

And since matt's made it law, you really have no other choice.

so you can see noteworthy things at a quick glance.

So you can see what others think are noteworthy. Big difference.
posted by justgary at 6:02 PM on July 22, 2006


mathowie, I'm not against favorites per se. I just don't like the in your face reminder that somebody somewhere deigned to mark some comment as favorite. It changes the way I read and respond to threads in a not-good way. Maybe we could have a way to disable it in preferences? If it's really important, maybe something like [+fave (X)] could be adopted where X is the number, or X is just a link to the list of favoriters.

I'm generally against such mob selection mechanisms. I've been saying it since 92, and it's only now just sinking in, but seriously: democracy does not work.
posted by nixerman at 6:04 PM on July 22, 2006 [4 favorites]


Matt, I think that you should make the # of users the same font and color as the flag. So basically:

posted by mathowie at 8:38 PM EST on July 22 (+fave) (!) (3)

And when you scroll over the # with the mouse, it'll say, "3 users marked this as a favorite". The flag is pretty inconspicuous, but everyone knows it's there. I think that you could do the same with the favorites and make the best of both worlds (those who think it's obtrusive and bad and those who really like knowing what people's favorites are).
posted by SeizeTheDay at 6:05 PM on July 22, 2006 [2 favorites]


I think knowing which of your OWN threads was faved is a REALLY good feature. Other people's.... maybe not so much. It feels slashdotty.
posted by Malor at 6:08 PM on July 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


Mathowie, I think you should pay every poster a dollar for every "favorite" one of their posts or comments garners. And then you should eat some ice cream.
posted by jtron at 6:12 PM on July 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


It changes the way I read and respond to threads in a not-good way.

Could you expand on this? How on earth does it change how you read a thread? Or respond to a thread? If you could, give specific ways that it affects you, and not stuff like "I don't think it's very nice that some people like clever posts more than unclever ones, it doesn't seem very nice to people who can't make things that people like."
posted by 23skidoo at 6:19 PM on July 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


I think I agree with Nixerman -- when you're skimming, you automatically ascribe more rhetorical heft (whether you agree or disagree) to posts marked with favorites. (I'd make the link less intrusive, I guess, and lose the count: just have it say "*" or something if any number of people marked the post.
posted by Tlogmer at 6:25 PM on July 22, 2006


Everywhere I've noticed comments marked as favourites, it hasn't been particularly useful. Too often it's just people marking silly one-liners as favourites for some reason. Maybe I'm just hanging out in the wrong kind of threads. It does seem like too much text.

The length of the string is causing me to despair. It could look like [+fav] X favs

Better yet, "[+fave(5)]"

But I wouldn't go so far as to call it annoying. More like a barely noticable flaw in the otherwise smooth complexion of the flow of text.
posted by sfenders at 6:28 PM on July 22, 2006


Sorry, Matt; I agree that the inclusion of the script is both distracting and prone to abuse - like, in this thread.

Although I do appreciate seeing which of my own comments were marked as favorites (and marking others to let the poster know their words were appreciated), reading through a thread and seeing other comments pre-marked for my consumption takes away from the experience of just reading a thread and deciding for yourself what is good and what is crap.
posted by yhbc at 6:37 PM on July 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


I said the formatting could use work -- I'm fine with that. I could just make it

(5) +fave
posted by mathowie (staff) at 6:42 PM on July 22, 2006


"x users marked this as favorite" doesn't change how I read a thread. However, it does change the nature of the community. Even if I ignore it, others may not.

Comment rating is the #1 reason why I don't contribute to Slashdot. Because of comment rating, I don't think of Slashdot as a "community where people discuss things," but as "a place where my contribution is evaluated and rated by people."

Besides, what problem is this feature supposed to address? Was there a need to know what comments people thought were notable? I never thought that MeFi threads were particularly hard to read or make sense of. Whatever happened to just reading the thread?
posted by Afroblanco at 6:45 PM on July 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


/me agrees with Afroblanco.

It's not the formatting, its the fact that there is now something - and any little bit would do it - included in some comments but not others that says to the reader "this comment has been evaluated by the creators/contributors to/obsessive readers of this website and has been determined to be one which you should pay particular attention to, so do it, boyo".

That's just not good.
posted by yhbc at 6:52 PM on July 22, 2006


Aargh, that second paragraph above was supposed to start with a separate segue that I forgot to put in. That wasn't Afroblanco's point, it was mine in response to mathowie.
posted by yhbc at 6:54 PM on July 22, 2006


And I KNOW it should have been "one to which you should pay particular attention". That's the sort of errant pedantry up with which, yadda yadda.
posted by yhbc at 7:00 PM on July 22, 2006


If the feature must stay, that condensed formatting is much less distracting.
posted by gsteff at 7:03 PM on July 22, 2006


it's a helpful feature that I'm keeping around.

What's "helpful" about it?

I like being able to mark posts and comments for later perusal; that is definitely a helpful feature that had been often requested. But that's not what Nixerman is objecting to. I agree that this smacks of the Slashdot and K5 moderations — and if you haven't noticed, about half the time people are using this feature to applaud snide quips. Those comments make MetaFilter look bad enough to the average reader without being tagged with little prize ribbons to indicate community approval.
posted by cribcage at 7:30 PM on July 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


Maybe you could shorten the whole thing now that everyone knows what's behind the links, so instead of the bloated string:

posted by mathowie at 7:38 PM EST on July 22 [+fave] [!] 8 users marked this as favorite

You could use the title attribute more effectively, and have something more like:
posted by mathowie at 7:38 PM EST on July 22 [+] [!] [8]
posted by blasdelf at 7:44 PM on July 22, 2006


[+] [!] [8]

it seems obvious to me that the number should appear next to the favorite function, and not have the flag function stuck between the two. that makes no sense.
posted by quonsar at 7:48 PM on July 22, 2006


I agree that this smacks of the Slashdot and K5 moderations — and if you haven't noticed, about half the time people are using this feature to applaud snide quips. Those comments make MetaFilter look bad enough to the average reader without being tagged with little prize ribbons to indicate community approval.

This is an excellent point; I'd been doing this myself without realizing it. To my eye, of the eight comments currently listed in sitewide recent favorites list (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8), six appear to be marked for their intentional or unintentional comedic value (2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8). That's not always bad, of course; #4, by goodnewsfortheinsane, is brilliant. But assuming that these function as a feedback loop, as they seem to be intended to, it seems pretty much guaranteed that it will increase the quantity (and possibly quality) of quips on the site. I won't be favoriting comments anymore.
posted by gsteff at 7:56 PM on July 22, 2006


but gsteff, the sitewide favorites page is broken at the moment -- it ignores Ask MeFi, which contains the bulk of favorited comments and they're almost all comprehensive, enlightening contributions that are good to spread around.

I just tried out the new formatting here, based on blasdelf/quonsar's suggestions. It might be too subtle, but I think it works.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 8:03 PM on July 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


That actually relieves me a lot.
posted by gsteff at 8:04 PM on July 22, 2006


oh yeah, that looks a lot better. Nice.
posted by bob sarabia at 8:21 PM on July 22, 2006


Count down to "What are the numbers in the sig line?" metatalk post in 5, 4, 3, ...

Seriously though looks much better without all the extra verbage.
posted by Mitheral at 8:39 PM on July 22, 2006


It's not the heat, it's the humidity.
posted by cortex at 8:54 PM on July 22, 2006


Too often it's just people marking silly one-liners as favourites for some reason.

I've noticed that, too. And while I love the idea of 1) marking your own favorites and 2) being able to see at someone's user page the comments by that user others have favorited, I'm not at all clear why the notation that a comment has been favorited needs to appear in the discussion thread itself. It does seem like a kind of 'mob rule' interference with the marketplace of ideas thing that's MeFi at its best.
posted by mediareport at 9:06 PM on July 22, 2006


I wasn't going to say anything but this new notation looks so so much better.
posted by MadamM at 9:14 PM on July 22, 2006


It does seem like a kind of 'mob rule' interference with the marketplace of ideas thing that's MeFi at its best.

For me, it comes down to, "Do we we want to communicate with each other in words, or in clicks?"
posted by gsteff at 9:14 PM on July 22, 2006


theora55: "since Matt is a Brit"

He is?
posted by matthewr at 9:21 PM on July 22, 2006


I think the condensed formatting is fine on comments, but the other formatting should remain for initial posts (questions, posts, etc) ..

Sure it's intuitive to MeFi regulars who were familiar with the feature already... but with the compact syntax it will likely be wholly ignored by the less tech savvy / less metafilter-regular readers...

Not to tell you how to run a site or anything, but I would figure one of the ways you keep people coming back is by making them aware of all the cool-ass features your site has... If they're blindly passing them over, that doesn't help you much.

Speaking of which: a prominently linked "keyboard shortcuts" legend would be valuable ...
posted by twiggy at 9:25 PM on July 22, 2006


theora55: "since Matt is a Brit"

He is?

No, he's not. He's from california.
posted by bob sarabia at 9:40 PM on July 22, 2006


that should be:

theora55: "since Matt is a Brit"

He is?


No, he's not. He's from california.
posted by bob sarabia at 9:40 PM on July 22, 2006


btw, that is probably the best picture of him I've ever seen.
posted by bob sarabia at 9:45 PM on July 22, 2006


Just rumormongering. idle hands, and all that.
posted by theora55 at 10:31 PM on July 22, 2006


It's ok, people see my teeth and mistake me for british all the time.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:37 PM on July 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


btw, that is probably the best picture of him I've ever seen.

nice pussy!
posted by quonsar at 10:52 PM on July 22, 2006


It's ok, people see my teeth and mistake me for british all the time.

LOL
posted by persona non grata at 12:29 AM on July 23, 2006


Since the [+] and the [14] are connected perhaps the text should be as well, like [+/14]
posted by grouse at 12:47 AM on July 23, 2006


quonsar said 'it seems obvious to me that the number should appear next to the favorite function, and not have the flag function stuck between the two. that makes no sense.'

Yeah, it is a little odd that the flag is in the middle. I do like the new compact look, though. [!][+][3] would maybe make more sense.
posted by jack_mo at 1:05 AM on July 23, 2006


As apposed to: [+] [3] [!]

The flag isn't in the middle, and it seems to make as much sense as [!][+][3]
posted by bob sarabia at 1:18 AM on July 23, 2006


for what it's worth, marking of favourites doesn't bother me. it bothers me more if they are spelled "favorites", which, if i think about it, bothers me about as much as a non-(dengue / ross river fever / malaria etc) carrying mosquito. what's the issue, here?
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:42 AM on July 23, 2006


The issue is that most of us don't spell it "favourites", guvna.
posted by bob sarabia at 2:33 AM on July 23, 2006


This is much better, especially as someone who uses a screenreader for reading large amoutns of text, MeFi comment threads have been far easier to 'read' than, say, slashdot, which requires a lot of skipping over useless text like comment ID #s and URLs.
posted by Space Coyote at 2:40 AM on July 23, 2006


Unless you're completely indoctrinated into the metafilter culture (and maybe even if you're not), I suspect this solution will completely baffle you.
posted by crunchland at 5:26 AM on July 23, 2006


Don't forget to update the FAQ entry for Favorites, if this change is going to be permanent.

Personally, I would've at least left it at [+fave] instead of changing it to [+]. Yes, we all know how to mouseover, I just think there's such as thing as paring it down too much.

I don't agree with the Slashdot comparisons, either ("mob rule"?); what we have here is nothing but positive, i.e., there's no way to "mod down" or "thumbs down" anyone's contributions, thankfully. That would be a massive trainwreck.
posted by Gator at 5:39 AM on July 23, 2006


OH MY GOD. No, no, no. Nononono.

Laying it out like it is here really does make it look like comment ratings -- it doesn't look like "5 users marked this comment as a favourite", it looks like "this comment has a rating of 5". And that's bad.

Better to just keep the + and drop the number entirely, if you ask me.
posted by reklaw at 5:45 AM on July 23, 2006 [1 favorite]


btw, that is probably the best picture of him I've ever seen.
posted by bob sarabia at 9:45 PM PST on July 22 [+] [!]


That is, of course, Matt's specially trained attack cat accompanied by the look that says "You are but one claw strike away from feeding yourself through a hole in your throat. Consider your next words carefully."
posted by Tuwa at 6:29 AM on July 23, 2006 [1 favorite]


Or perhaps replace the [5] or [22] or whatever with an indicator: [x] that links to the page with the list of people who have saved it. If there is no [x] then it hasn't been saved. Or have the number on a mouseover.
posted by peacay at 6:30 AM on July 23, 2006 [1 favorite]


{But I don't really care either way...just a suggestion}
posted by peacay at 6:31 AM on July 23, 2006 [1 favorite]


So long as we're here— I'd really like a "later" button that would remember where in the thread you stopped reading, so that you could get back to it later instead of having to scroll through 50-75 comments to find your place again. I don't necessarily stop on favorite comments, but often want to get back to a thread. Right now the only way to do that is to comment and then read it again on the comments page.

(ilx.wh3rd.net has a "later" for logged in users, if you'd like to see how it's implimented).
posted by klangklangston at 7:16 AM on July 23, 2006 [2 favorites]


Don't forget to update the FAQ entry for Favorites

did it this morning. thanks for the reminder.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:27 AM on July 23, 2006 [1 favorite]


grouse is right; [+/3] within one set of brackets makes the most sense. And Gator, my point was that the # of people who've favorited a comment just strikes me as an unnecessary distraction from the content of the actual discussion. I don't see it as necessary for everyone to know that at all; it's only purpose is for the larger mob. It's therefore not that big a stretch to consider that it could lead to mob behavior.

Anyway, when only one user has favorited a comment, the mouseover text should change to "user" instead of "users."
posted by mediareport at 8:48 AM on July 23, 2006 [1 favorite]


Say, what are these new numbers in the sig?
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 8:56 AM on July 23, 2006 [1 favorite]


It's ok, people see my teeth and mistake me for british all the time.

Well you're not fucking stupid enough to be a Yank...
posted by i_cola at 10:18 AM on July 23, 2006 [1 favorite]


The flag isn't in the middle, and it seems to make as much sense as [!][+][3]

It was in the middle when I posted, wasn't it? May have been seeing things...

I'd really like a "later" button that would remember where in the thread you stopped reading

If you have Firefox, Metafilthy does that - very handy.
posted by jack_mo at 10:36 AM on July 23, 2006


Much better. I might even start using this function now that it doesn't add a whole sentence to the sig line (if you're the first fav'er to a comment, anyway).
posted by obloquy at 11:11 AM on July 23, 2006


jack_mo writes "If you have Firefox, Metafilthy does that - very handy."

Not quite. Metafilthy remembers what the last comment displayed was not the last comment read.
posted by Mitheral at 12:13 PM on July 23, 2006


I like the new format much better, though if I had my druthers I'd move the actual number to the mouseover tooltip (and the "these users marked this as a favorite" page), and take it off of the comment itself, as others have suggested. Not sure what the right glyph would be to replace the number, though.
posted by whir at 12:44 PM on July 23, 2006


LOOKS LIKE YOU GOT WHAT YOU WANTED AMBROSECHAPPLE!

I hope you're happy (actually it is an improvement, IMO, more concise)
posted by delmoi at 4:54 PM on July 23, 2006


I'm having trouble understanding why we have a comment scoreboard in the first place, and why it's a good thing.
posted by majick at 5:47 PM on July 23, 2006


I'm having trouble understanding why we have a comment scoreboard in the first place, and why it's a good thing.

MOB RULES! The flagging system was IMHO the original incarnate of MOB RULES!. But as this site grows larger, managing and reading the volume of comments by so many different posters makes the creation of accurate judgments of people increasingly difficult. So by creating a publicly viewable favorites system, we're able to, as a mob, distinguish the wheat from the chaff.

We've gone from "every comment is equal on a flat view of comments" to "let's have a system of being able to judge people's comments publicly". MOB RULES!

This is not a negative comment towards management, but instead simply a display of displeasure concerning the direction of the site. Whatever...my opinion is one of 40000, and I didn't even pay to play, so everyone can ignore me. I can be that drunk, homeless guy that no one really likes but the town wouldn't be the same without him. :-)
posted by SeizeTheDay at 6:05 PM on July 23, 2006


Uh... As I remember it, the logic went like this—
Some people wanted an internal bookmark system. Some other people said things like "Loquacious has great taste. I wonder if he's seeing any cool stuff that I'm missing on this huge site?" and so asked to be able to see other people's bookmarks.
So that's how/why Matt did it.

Then, later, people decided this was a bad idea because the "mob" (not them, mind you, but the rest of those people who read the site) would use the favorites to, you know, make things visibly popular. This is bad because popular things are bad and having popular users will lead to wedgies and titty twisters just like in HIGH SCHOOL, man.

(And now for the troll— people who support democracy in content, something this site is largely based on, but appeal to the idea of the mob are the same as Bush refusing to deal with Hamas after they were elected. Democracy's fine, man, until you chumps vote for the wrong dude. People should all have the right to decide for themselves, except they shouldn't choose that, man, that's uncool and mobbish.)
posted by klangklangston at 6:33 PM on July 23, 2006


Perhaps my acid tongue has struck again. My biggest concern with flagging, favorites, and contacts has always been that they seem to, in my mind, magnify group-think, which I think is very strong here already. I am afraid of people creating groups here because I think that they become cliques and bullies. Of course, groups also create camaraderie, friendship, and bonds, which I'm obviously a fan of, but the implementation of the flagging and favorites system, in their current form, seem to bring out not-so-great qualities.

The flagging system has been mentioned to help admins weed out bad comments and posts. On many occasions, both Matt and Jess have mentioned how much they rely upon the # of flags to help their decision. But isn't that mob rules? When flagging helps locate double posts or self-links, I understand their usefulness. But when they editorialize (I don't think it fits in here so I'll flag it as noise), aren't we giving power to the masses in a way that discriminate against minority opinions?

Now the favorites system is here and I completely understand that it helps to bring out the best. I think that marking great comments as favorites is a great idea. But when people mark witty insults and zippy one-liners as favorites, doesn't that encourage hostility and additional bad behavior? In addition, aren't we creating a kind of competitive environment by acknowledging a certain # of favorites marked by others?

It's complicated. I know. And perhaps I'm making it more complicated than it really is. But back in the day every comment on MeFi was equal to others and while it wasn't the greatest system in the world, I think it was very fair and non-judgmental. But now with flagging and favorites, I feel like the atmosphere is changing to one that perhaps highlights negative aspects of our nature. I especially feel that way about flagging having a role in moderation by the admins. I'm still on the fence about the greater good of favorites.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 6:42 PM on July 23, 2006


"The flagging system has been mentioned to help admins weed out bad comments and posts. On many occasions, both Matt and Jess have mentioned how much they rely upon the # of flags to help their decision. But isn't that mob rules?"

No, that's mob advice.
posted by klangklangston at 6:44 PM on July 23, 2006


klangklangston, I completely get your troll, and appreciate the irony of those who claim to be democratic. Rest assured, I am not one of them. Despite voting Democrat, I am very much opposed to pure democracy and allowing the masses to have too much power. I believe that they often don't know what's good for them and take far too long to "get it". Environmental policy, for instance. Or the value of pure R&D and the search for discoveries within science vs. tax cuts (I'm getting too specific here, I know, but I think you get my point).

No, that's mob advice.

Are you suggesting that I should blame the admins for listening to the mob, as opposed to blaming the system for creating a way for the mob to express their opinion? Because that's a really interesting point that I didn't think of until now.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 6:51 PM on July 23, 2006


But as this site grows larger, managing and reading the volume of comments by so many different posters makes the creation of accurate judgments of people increasingly difficult.

Actually, the flagging system works precisely because you can't see what other people have flagged some content. This preserves the sphere of individual choice and prevents the sort of mob beatdowns that would result if the system was completely 'open'. If favorites worked the same way they'd be just fine.

And yeah, klangston, yeah, that's pretty much right, except, you know, there's no such thing as "democracy in content." I'm not sure where you pulled that from. Mefi discussions work only because there are interesting individuals involved. They don't work when everybody tries to play the same tired cooler-than-thou-snark role or when everybody adopts a party line. The mob-based feedback mechanism undermines this and discourages open discussion. That's not to say such mob-based feedback mechanisms are "wrong." The information is useful but it should be optional. Making it the default lends a unholy authority to the opinion of the group. Usually, if I want to determine which comments warrant special attention I do this by examining the author of the comments. This is the way a community should work. Pulling my attention to "popular" comments is really actually less HIGHSCHOOL and more COMMUNIST. And we all know Communism Is Wrong.

Anyways the current system is still a bit irksome and I'd rather not see any number and it reeks of post rating. Still, it's a huge improvement o'er what came before. I'll take what I can get. Thanks mathowie.
posted by nixerman at 6:53 PM on July 23, 2006


"And yeah, klangston, yeah, that's pretty much right, except, you know, there's no such thing as "democracy in content.""

Not pure democracy, but the front page IS democratic in that anyone can post pretty much anything (within guidelines).

"The mob-based feedback mechanism undermines this and discourages open discussion."

I haven't seen evidence of that, frankly. I don't think potential harm is the same as actual harm and I have yet to see actual harm. (This is where an experiment should be designed to answer the question, like making favorites invisible in a sample of random threads and seeing if that predicts less bad behavior).
posted by klangklangston at 7:40 PM on July 23, 2006


Browsing the profiles of those who have marked a thread a favorite often yields additional relevant favorites. So, I like this feature.

I don't agree that it encourages a mob mentality in any problematic way. People don't need encouragement to be dumb.
posted by evil holiday magic at 7:53 PM on July 23, 2006


I actually do like using the popular favorites page when I'm just browsing around on the site, and I like being able to browse other people's favorites too. I think it's just the (perceived) prominence of the numbers on individual comments that rubs some people the wrong way. In any case, the way it is now is a big improvement in that regard, and I suppose one could argue that the people who don't care for the numbers could just skip them.
posted by whir at 7:58 PM on July 23, 2006


I still don't like it. If you have a flag that can be clicked to advance a counter, great; you don't need the number sitting in the comment to stick out like a sore thumb purple finger letting everyone who reads the thread know this was a great comment, you should like it too. If I read a comment, think it's a great comment, click on the flag, and then am told that "x other users marked this a favorite", that works. This just encourages piling-on, and doesn't work.
posted by yhbc at 8:27 PM on July 23, 2006


If that was the only way to view such a list, mightn't people add a post as a favorite just to see it? (Like how Amazon makes you add something to your cart to see their "insane low price.")
posted by evil holiday magic at 9:11 PM on July 23, 2006


you don't need the number sitting in the comment to stick out like a sore thumb purple finger letting everyone who reads the thread know this was a great comment, you should like it too.
posted by yhbc at 8:27 PM PST on July 23 [+] [!]


Is this how people are really using it? For the most part I look it over and think "huh, I wonder why that's so popular? Oh well."

By which I mean, is seeing evidence of other peoples' opinions supposed to prevent me from forming my own? Because if that's how it's supposed to work, I need reschooling. (First, I need to get rid of all those books and movies expressing opinions I don't already agree with, lest some errant thought take root. That would leave me with a mostly empty living room, which would be a good start. Next I'd need to construct a Great Wall around my psyche. I'd chuck the television too, quit going to the library, quit school, quit going to work, screen all my friends, quit talking to most of them, set up a contract to have groceries delivered by the most taciturn man alive....)
posted by Tuwa at 6:02 AM on July 24, 2006


Funny. I barely noticed the "X users marked this as a favorite," and probably won't notice this change any less or more. But I do respect the need to be outraged about something.
posted by pardonyou? at 6:53 AM on July 24, 2006


Mefi discussions work only because there are interesting individuals involved.

really? where?
posted by jonmc at 6:58 AM on July 24, 2006


Tuwa, don't throw out the TV; it's the most effective tool you have for preventing formation of your own opinions. Watch Fox as much as you can, then learn to love the latest leader of the American Idol contest, or to despise the previous leader, if they've fallen in the standings. That's excellent practice in adopting the mass opinion as your own.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 8:00 AM on July 24, 2006


For me, it comes down to, "Do we we want to communicate with each other in words, or in clicks?"

Me too!!!

You're right, gsteff, adding a comment just to say "me too" is so much more effective at promoting communication than simply marking a favorite. Imagine how much better this thread would be if, instead of all the comments marked as favorites, each of those was a "me too" comment! Brilliant!
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:50 AM on July 24, 2006


That's the rub. Commenting forces people to come up with more substantive contributions than "me too."
posted by gsteff at 9:16 AM on July 24, 2006


Commenting forces people to come up with more substantive contributions than "me too."

I agree.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 9:22 AM on July 24, 2006 [1 favorite]


In the bizarre possiblity that Matt actually returns to this thread, I've noticed something else about the favourites system.

If you look on your own profile page and go through to the posts/comments people have saved or marked as favourites, when it is only a single person and you want to know who that person is, you must click through to the original post or comment and then click again under the post or comment to go and see the name of the only person who's saved it.

If more than one person has saved it, there's a direct link from the profile/favourites page to that list of people.

No biggy of course, just a minor glitch or oversight or.....or.......not.
posted by peacay at 9:58 AM on July 24, 2006


I find the [+ 5] notation to be awkward. There are two distinct functions with non-descriptive links in the same set of brackets. It also just looks a little funky to me, with the space and the mixed bolding. What about just a separate symbol that appears when it has been marked as a favorite? This would remove the visible ranking, while still providing a binary indicator of general favoritness. The favorites, it seems to me, should be kept a social bookmarking function, and its use as any sort of comment ranking system should be discouraged. I suggest [!][+][=] or [!][+][&]. The equal sign or ampersand taking the place of the number that appears in the 'add to faves' function.
posted by iloveit at 2:25 PM on July 24, 2006


I don't think we're at risk of turning into slashdot. If the beginning of this thread taught us anything, the visible fave number is just another beautiful vehicle for snark, and that is awesome.
posted by blasdelf at 11:52 PM on July 24, 2006 [1 favorite]


So... is this going to be implemented site-wide, or just on MeTa for now?
posted by anarcation at 12:58 AM on July 28, 2006


It's opaque, don't you think?
posted by evil holiday magic at 4:34 PM on July 29, 2006


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