Please kill favorites March 10, 2009 7:47 PM   Subscribe

Favoritism is killing Mefi. Please kill favorites.

Here's a question for the mods: Are favorites meant to be a revenue generating tool by directing lurkers to the 'Popular Favorites' links?

If so, then I dunno what to say.

If not, then the present favoriting system is toxic.

Favorites are making Mefi a popularity contest, encouraging snark and vitriol.

This can be remedied. Here's an alternative: make my favorites visible only to me. Renaming hem to bookmarks will not help.

Please.
posted by sidr to MetaFilter-Related at 7:47 PM (389 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

examples?
posted by brevator at 7:49 PM on March 10, 2009


How will I know if tehloki still likes me?
posted by special-k at 7:51 PM on March 10, 2009 [20 favorites]


A REVENUE GENERATING TOOL? What?
posted by kate blank at 7:51 PM on March 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


Why does sidr get to see all the favorites and we don't?
posted by ALongDecember at 7:51 PM on March 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Also, a white background would be more professional.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 7:52 PM on March 10, 2009 [14 favorites]


Here's an alternative: make my favorites visible only to me.

Ohh, missed the "my." Sorry. You do know we just discussed this, right?
posted by ALongDecember at 7:54 PM on March 10, 2009


Are favorites meant to be a revenue generating tool by directing lurkers to the 'Popular Favorites' links?

No. I don't even know what that might mean. Our revenue generating plan is "keep the site as excellent as we can" and that's about as craven as we are about it.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:54 PM on March 10, 2009 [29 favorites]


Favorites are making Mefi a popularity contest, encouraging snark and vitriol.

To be fair, snark and vitriol are as old as Grey and Blue, respectively.

Unfortunately, this feature is far too popular now to get rid of. It's like the official Apple motto for features: take forever to implement a new feature, because once you add it, you can never, ever take it away for fear of creating anger amongst your user base.

But I agree that it's more a popularity tool than anything else. Really, people who have more than "x" number of favorites (given, not received) couldn't possibly revisit all of them, nor would they plan to.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 7:55 PM on March 10, 2009


You did this just to get a lot of favorites, didn't you sidr?
posted by Effigy2000 at 7:56 PM on March 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


Oak Leaf Clusters: classical honors or breakfast cereal?
posted by grobstein at 7:57 PM on March 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


Now that jessamyn has wrapped this up, can I just say that Electric Wizard rules? 'Cause that's all I have to say.
posted by Bookhouse at 7:57 PM on March 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Favorites are making Mefi a popularity contest, encouraging snark and vitriol.

Yes, and before Favorites, MeFi was 100% snark and vitriol-free. Yes.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 7:58 PM on March 10, 2009 [5 favorites]


I don't even know what that might mean.
Really? Then why slice Mefi up by popularity at all?

Our revenue generating plan is "keep the site as excellent as we can"
And greater excellence can be achieved by doing away with favorites.

Please. I'm not here to be preachy or snarky. Help Mefi heal.
posted by sidr at 7:58 PM on March 10, 2009


Help Mefi heal.

/me gives Mefi a hug.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 8:00 PM on March 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Somebody Kill Me Please
posted by KokuRyu at 8:00 PM on March 10, 2009


Before favourites came along, I had no friends.
posted by gman at 8:01 PM on March 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Metafilter was at least as snarky and vitriolic before the favorite system went into effect. But honestly it's not the snarky vitriolic comments I see that get the favorites, but the uplifting, helpful, or personal ones.
posted by aubilenon at 8:01 PM on March 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


You know what's toxic? Lame, hysterical callouts on a topic that's already been done to death. Thar she blows!
posted by ob at 8:01 PM on March 10, 2009 [10 favorites]


It appears that you're here to help MeFi turn into something you want, not to help it "heal." Your actual problem appears to be snark and vitriol. Work on the snark and vitriol, not on some tenuously-associated mechanism which you believe creates snark and vitriol. Favorites as popularity contests also encourage people to share their experience, wit, and insight. Which is excellence.

If you don't like snark and vitriol, you don't have to linger over it. Unless you do have to linger over it, in which case you should visit AskMe, which will collectively tell you to see a therapist.

And, yes, you're being preachy. Sorry. Trying to yank stuff away so people will behave like the good people you think they ought to be is pretty much preachy as preachy gets.
posted by adipocere at 8:02 PM on March 10, 2009 [13 favorites]


Favorites has been around longer than you, dude. If the community didn't think it was working, it likely would have been dealt with in Aught-Six.

And I'm sick of you heal-y healthy people. You give bad medical advice.
posted by Weighted Companion Cube at 8:04 PM on March 10, 2009 [8 favorites]


I've argued in the past that favorites have done more harm than good, and also suggested making them private. At this point, though, they're thoroughly ingrained into the site and its culture, and I can't really see them going anywhere. It'd be like abolishing the DH.
posted by danb at 8:06 PM on March 10, 2009


Yes, and before Favorites, MeFi was 100% snark and vitriol-free. Yes.
I didn't imply this.

Favorites as popularity contests also encourage people to share their experience, wit, and insight. Which is excellence.

Here's the rub: experience, wit and insight can be shared just as well without being rewarded for it. Why prop up a system that encourages the glib, the snowclone, the snarky meme at the same time?

And how does the suggested alternative 'Trying to yank stuff away'? You still get to see your bookmarks, right?
posted by sidr at 8:06 PM on March 10, 2009


Favorites has been around longer than you, dude.

So?
posted by sidr at 8:07 PM on March 10, 2009


Dude. Sometimes we don't have time to read every comment (though in threads I read, I do try to). Favorites are a kind of community editor/publisher, in the sense of an editor or publisher's role as a gate-keeper, picking out the best from all submitted works.

Also, at 10,000 favorites, you get a happy ending.
posted by orthogonality at 8:08 PM on March 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


I don't think favorites encourage snark and vitriol. I think there are times that the community at large promotes those things; favorites are, at those times, a symptom, not a cause. I use the Popular Favorites and Contact Activity tools to guide me to things that people are favoriting, and it's almost always guided me to things I'm glad I saw. And yes, that often includes some cleverly crafted snark, but that's one of the great things about Metafilter!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:08 PM on March 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


Maybe the pony you're asking for is a toggle to turn the visibility of favorites off. You should make a greasemonkey script. Moses scratchy.
posted by Bernt Pancreas at 8:08 PM on March 10, 2009


Help Mefi heal.

It took long enough to teach it to sit and roll over.
posted by jonmc at 8:09 PM on March 10, 2009 [11 favorites]


Favorites are a kind of community editor/publisher, in the sense of an editor or publisher's role as a gate-keeper, picking out the best from all submitted works.

But o, you assume here that more favorites -> better quality. This is not the case.

Why not try out private favorites for one week?
posted by sidr at 8:10 PM on March 10, 2009


My favorite favorite from today didn't even get a chance to live.
posted by anniecat at 8:10 PM on March 10, 2009 [11 favorites]


Maybe the pony you're asking for is a toggle to turn the visibility of favorites off. You should make a greasemonkey script. Moses scratchy.

No, as this would not alter the way popular favorites work. Why not rank the popular favorites page by the number of page views?
posted by sidr at 8:12 PM on March 10, 2009


Why not rank the popular favorites page by the number of page views?

Because that really doesn't make any sense.
posted by gman at 8:13 PM on March 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm going out now. I'm sorry if I was preachy. How about trying this out for one week?
posted by sidr at 8:13 PM on March 10, 2009


sidr, we're still waiting for examples of what you're talking about. Here are some things I'm glad I found courtesy of my Contact Activity bar.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:14 PM on March 10, 2009 [6 favorites]


No, as this would not alter the way popular favorites work.
That's because they aren't broken.
posted by Bernt Pancreas at 8:15 PM on March 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm saying maybe you don't get the community yet. Communities like this are organic. You can't show up and try to yank things the community has gotten used to, over the period of almost three years, away because you, person-come-lately, don't like them. You perceive the way they work in one way - likely not the way the rest of us do.

And just because a lot of us piled onto the snarky comments on, say, the multiple-hued one last week - myself included - doesn't mean that comments are primarily used for that. But also look at the favorites of people that show life, or anecdote - I'm thinking of stuff Dee Xtrovert says, or that thing with the...oh, fine: Here are the recent favorites. There's snark, sure, but look at the posts as well as the comments. In fact, only some of the comments falling off the bottom of the list are bitter and sarcastic and....

And you know what? Memes are awesome. I say that 'cause I'm a meme. That's a personal insult there that is.
posted by Weighted Companion Cube at 8:15 PM on March 10, 2009


Well, I certainly don't think it's killing mefi, but I've never really been a fan.

Perhaps someone could cook up a greasemonkey script that hides them?
posted by Afroblanco at 8:16 PM on March 10, 2009


This thread is going to devolve into a litany of people showing up to post the same thing over and over: snark and vitriol predate favorites by a long shot, therefore the logic behind your request is fundamentally unsound. Give it a rest.

But you know what, I'll do you one better and prove it to you.

Here is the very first MetaFilter thread with more than 10 comments. The entire thread is a snark-fest and then.. wait for it.. vitriol.

Maybe after you've been around a whole year favorites will grow on you.
posted by CRM114 at 8:17 PM on March 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


How about trying this out for one week?

Are you going to personally field the 6,754 MeTa posts and 1.78 x 1050 emails in the vein of "OMG WHERE ARE FAVOURITES? WHY NO?!" that this will spawn?
posted by CKmtl at 8:19 PM on March 10, 2009


Maybe after you've been around a whole year favorites will grow on you.

There's a cream for that.
posted by gman at 8:20 PM on March 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Hold on, you believe experience, wit and insight can be shared just as well without being rewarded for it but you simultaneously believe that favorites cause snark and vitriol. So ... you have this feeling that rewards can encourage negative expressions but will have no effect on positive expressions? That's not particularly consistent.

And, as to your cries to "try it for one week," aside from the burden to the mods, exactly how the heck do you intend to measure if this is successful or not? Is there a snark-o-meter? Do we have a professional vitriologist? Is there a hidden Department of Measuring Excellence? No. So you are proposing a change to fix a problem, but you haven't thought about how you would prove that it helped.

This is a strange association between two things that you'd like to alter (And there's probably no "oh and make the favorites private" switch, so that is a time cost to pb to program, and the rest of the mods to answer endless emails about) without any kind of followup. I don't see a plan here. I don't see the beginnings of a plan.
posted by adipocere at 8:23 PM on March 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


my Contact Activity bar.

Somehow I'm picturing this looking something like a salad bar. I envision pinky helping herself to some tossed favorites, with comment bits, seasoned post croutons and Lite Callout Dressing.

and Casino Clam.
posted by jonmc at 8:24 PM on March 10, 2009


There are far more important problems on mefi. Like this racist askmefi.
posted by orthogonality at 8:25 PM on March 10, 2009 [8 favorites]


THIS IS A CLIENT-SIDE PROBLEM. THE ANSWER IS GREASEMONKEY.

Man, am I really going to have to learn greasemonkey and do this myself?
posted by Afroblanco at 8:28 PM on March 10, 2009


I want a snowclone.
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:29 PM on March 10, 2009


Wasp problem: They're in my room, I have a phobia. What to do?

Play some gangsta rap and put out some spicy ethnic food.
posted by gman at 8:29 PM on March 10, 2009 [9 favorites]


all he's got is some Johnny Mathis albums and a dozen donuts. Close enough?
posted by jonmc at 8:30 PM on March 10, 2009


anniecat that was really sad. If you google, she's been begging in all caps for help all over the place for a few months at least.
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:32 PM on March 10, 2009


72K username trying to tell people how to run the site.

LOL

Oh, wait.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 8:33 PM on March 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


also, I had a cocktail today that involved pecan-infused bourbon and Lillet Rouge. It was delicious. I also had a slice of pizza, a bacon wrapped hot-dog with cream cheese, 2 brooklyn lagers and four budweisers and double cheeseburger from McDonalds.
posted by jonmc at 8:33 PM on March 10, 2009 [5 favorites]


"There are far more important problems on mefi. Like this racist askmefi."

The poster's main problem is living in a room approximately eight feet wide. Let's not lose sight of that.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 8:34 PM on March 10, 2009


Jesus Christ, Jon. Your arteries must hate you.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 8:36 PM on March 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


You can't ruin something with love.

Fact: Greg Nog is not ruined.
posted by cowbellemoo at 8:39 PM on March 10, 2009


FAVOURITES ARE THE CANCER THAT IS KILLING MEFI!
posted by turgid dahlia at 8:40 PM on March 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


wait, wait, wait ...I could be generating REVENUE?
posted by The Whelk at 8:41 PM on March 10, 2009


Snowclones for everyone!
posted by Evangeline at 8:41 PM on March 10, 2009


But also look at the favorites of people that show life, or anecdote...

And that's why I favourited jonmc's comment.
posted by gman at 8:41 PM on March 10, 2009


Don't fave me, bro!
posted by GooseOnTheLoose at 8:42 PM on March 10, 2009 [11 favorites]


There's a bookmarklet to hide favorite counts.
posted by Pronoiac at 8:45 PM on March 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


So what is the dollar to favorite conversion? I could really use 20 bucks for beer and chips.
posted by nola at 8:47 PM on March 10, 2009


For everyone suggesting a Greasemonkey script to hide favorites, ook created one last week.
posted by des at 8:47 PM on March 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


They have Budweiser at McDonald's now? Wow, am I out of touch.
posted by netbros at 8:50 PM on March 10, 2009


Also, at 10,000 favorites, you get a happy ending.

I wish.

Really? Then why slice Mefi up by popularity at all?

With some respect, I still don't understand this. I get the "favorites reward snark" angle though I don't agree with it. And, to be polite, I don't know really who you are. You've been a member since last April but really only active in the last month and suddenly you're in MeTa convinced you know what is ruining the site and as near as I can tell, you've never even participated in this part of the site before.

No big deal, there's a first time for everything, but since I'm not seeing the effect that you're seeing, maybe you could illustrate it somewhat?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:53 PM on March 10, 2009 [5 favorites]


Snowclones are delicious.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:53 PM on March 10, 2009


Gracias to des and Pronoiac for pointing out solutions.

Yeah, as much as I dislike the favorites system, they're pretty much here to stay. mathowie likes them, and it seems like just as many users hate them as love them.

I'll definitely try out the greasemonkey/bookmarklet solutions. But I try not to pay too much attention to favorites anyway, so in the end I'll probably just let it be.
posted by Afroblanco at 8:55 PM on March 10, 2009


Without having yet read the thread...


OHFORGODSSAKE QUITFUCKINGWHINING ABOUT FAVORITES YOUFUCKINGWHININGMOTHERFUCKER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
posted by slogger at 8:55 PM on March 10, 2009


As someone who read MetaFilter for years before favorites were introduced, I can tell you that your premise is totally wrong. It's just a bizarre idea to have, considering that MetaFilter was known for its snark many years before favorites popped up.

Also, I wonder a little where you get off asking for a feature beloved by many to suit your whims. Not only have you not been around very long, you have contributed very little to the site in the the time you have been here. Less than 50 comments? Amazing.

In short, I think you should work more on working to improve this community through your own efforts, and less on stuff like this. Now go enjoy the rest of the site.
posted by grouse at 8:56 PM on March 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


sidr: Favorites are making Mefi a popularity contest, encouraging snark and vitriol.

You know why you're getting laughed out of court, right? Because you didn't give even one hint of evidence. You didn't even give us the vague hand-waving we usually get in these posts to the effect of "I've noticed that we have a tendancy to..." or "Lately it seems like..." No, you're perfectly confident that this problem is so very pressing that no one will even for a moment dispute your proposition, even though we've talked about this heatedly at least three dozen times before here.

But aside from all that, it would be interesting to see some actual datapoints. Can the Metafilter statisticians think of any way this could actually be measured and tested? Like, maybe once threads get more favorites, do they begin seeing a disproportionately larger number of flags?
posted by koeselitz at 8:56 PM on March 10, 2009


I want to become a professional vitrologist. Or professional vituperator. Either one.
posted by slogger at 8:57 PM on March 10, 2009


1. Say witty/snarky/insightful thing
2. Get favorites
3. ?
4. Profit!

wrong thread sorry
posted by rtha at 8:57 PM on March 10, 2009


What if they were favourites? Would that be okay? That way you could peruse the site, knowing that all comments were of suitable rigour.
Is this just an anglocentricity issue on your part?
posted by Cold Lurkey at 8:57 PM on March 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


How about trying this out for one week?

How about no? Does no work?
posted by jerseygirl at 8:58 PM on March 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


I am not my favorite count.
posted by hellojed at 8:58 PM on March 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Did anyone else think, on first read, that this whole post was going to turn out to be an attempt to launch "snowclone" as the new "tater"?

I was actually kind of sad to see that the word had an actual definition.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 8:59 PM on March 10, 2009


Yo koeselitz, I've noticed you have a tendency to pwn n00bs so we put a n00b in your MeTalk so you could pwn while you talk.
posted by turgid dahlia at 9:01 PM on March 10, 2009 [8 favorites]


Let's just pretend one of those actual-'s never happened? M'kay? M'kay.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 9:01 PM on March 10, 2009


Seriously, we fought this fight in 06 and it's over. They're just not going away. Learn to embrace the suck.
posted by Rhomboid at 9:02 PM on March 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't care what they say. They can't take away my memories of eating snowclones at the state fair.
posted by krinklyfig at 9:02 PM on March 10, 2009


I have had some thoughts on this for a while and resisted typing them up because, well typing up thoughts in a coherent way takes effort. But here goes:

I think the view of Favorites as a "popularity contest" is fairly accurate (although the phrasing is a bit juvenile). I also like favorites and I think they're a good thing.

You just have to accept them for what they are. Somebody liked a comment exactly enough to move their mouse over the little "+" and click. That's all. A comment that is just barely amusing enough to cause that click gets exactly the same "amount" of favorite as the most profound thought ever expressed by man.

Think of it like a comedian. For some comedians, "laughs" are the be-all-end-all. They want to hear someone open their mouth and say "ha," and they don't care why. if they have to get laughs through groin jokes, airline food, "black guys dance like this/white guys dance like this," they don't mind. If you forget the joke the minute you get out of the club because it's stale and you've heard a variation of it 100 times before, or if you only laughed because you were drunk, or you felt sorry for him, he doesn't care. He got his laugh.

Then there's the Monty Python's of the world. They're doing what they do because it's what they're in to. Not everybody laughs, because not everybody gets it, but oh well. That's not what they came for. They know a laugh is just someone going "ha."

Some of what I feel are my best comments have gotten like 2 favorites. And sometimes a dashed-off snark or Simpsons reference, written by me when I'm in a hurry at work or just in a bad mood, will get 25. But I really do value the two favorites more. Sometimes talking on the internet, especially on a site this big, can feel like throwing words into a hole. It's good to know someone read what you said, and got it, and you connected in some small way. It doesn't have to be 100 people. The system definitely does "render unto Caesar." The favorite whores will get a lot of favorites, because it doesn't take much effort or commitment to favorite something, and it's always easier to appeal broadly then deeply. If that's not your game, then just don't play.
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:03 PM on March 10, 2009 [32 favorites]


I do think Metafilter is changing. That's not new -- it's been changing since day one, in ways for the better and for the worse. That's the way things go.

But, as I've said before, I remain unconvinced that favorites as implemented have, overall, been a positive influence on the community. We've been over that ground before and it doesn't sound like they're going away, so we shall see where the grand experiment takes us. Metafilter is still better than most of the rest of the web when it's good, and just as stupid and nasty when it's bad. Some things never change.

OK, I'm done. Recommence piling-on.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:04 PM on March 10, 2009 [5 favorites]


Shit was SNOW clone!
posted by turgid dahlia at 9:04 PM on March 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


I love favorites. They're what finally drove me to drop down the money to join, after lurking since like 2004.

I use them, almost exclusively, to judge myself. Am I being a noticed, valued contributor? Am I saying things that actually contribute? Am I being insightful and entertaining whenever I post, or, failing that, trolling in a unique way? It's easy to think you're being helpful and hilarious when you're laughing at your own jokes and nodding at your own advice from the comfort of a cafe/workplace/home office, but having other people back you up lets you know that you're not just lecturing the mirror.

~Sustained posting power~ comes from the general sense that people out there are appreciating what you're bringing to the table. Obviously, this is a rule of thumb, as some of my favorite posters speak up rarely and often go undernoticed, but in general, it works for me. Furthermore, nothing beats direct response, engagement, and MeFi mail of someone saying "Hey, I thought about your point/I laughed at your joke/Nice ASCII art." But as there isn't enough time in the day for me to drop personalize notes to people whenever they make me laugh or smile, I usually just use the favorite feature.

Also, they're a great wake-up call. Wall of text not work in an argument? No favorites on a worn-out meme? Time to elevate your posting style, son.
posted by Damn That Television at 9:05 PM on March 10, 2009 [5 favorites]


You know what's really killing MetaFilter? Nothing. (Well... entropy, I suppose, eventually, assuming the astroids miss us. But I digress...) MetaFilter rocks, more now than ever. There is so much new content around here every single day that if you can't avoid whatever Meta bee happens to be buzzing around your bonnet, then I can only assume you really don't want to. It's observation bias, pure and simple. If you really don't like the kinds of comments you assume are inspired by favorites, then don't read comments that garner a lot of favorites. It's a self selecting solution. In fact, favorites are doing you a favor by highlighting themselves for your disapproval. What a wonderful fucking system.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:05 PM on March 10, 2009 [9 favorites]


That said. there are some heavily favorited comments that annoy the LIVING SHIT out of me. I'm fine with the snarks, they can be really funny. And I love the shit out of Simpsons quotes when used appropriately. What I can't stand is the ones that SOUND GOOD. the psuedo-profundities that take up 3 paragraphs, get on the sidebar and get like 150 favorites.
They tend to support a popular viewpoint, like "the modern world is too noisy" or "things are so much worse now than 100 years ago." They're well-written, grammatical and clever.

Everything about them is really good. Except they're WRONG. Read with any intellectual rigor, they just don't hold up.

posted by drjimmy11 at 9:06 PM on March 10, 2009 [5 favorites]


Sweet, delicious Snoopy Snowclones. I prefer all of my iced confections be served with tiny snow shovels.
posted by jerseygirl at 9:07 PM on March 10, 2009


Im new
Should I care about "favorites"?
I guess others do
A simple explaination please. Today's my first big day \
Thanks
posted by Palmerpoodles at 9:08 PM on March 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


*facepalm*
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:10 PM on March 10, 2009


What I can't stand is the ones that SOUND GOOD. the psuedo-profundities that take up 3 paragraphs, get on the sidebar and get like 150 favorites. They tend to support a popular viewpoint, like "the modern world is too noisy" or "things are so much worse now than 100 years ago." They're well-written, grammatical and clever.

I'm the one who sidebars most of the stuff. I mostly look at things that get a lot of "fantastic" flags and not at favorites. Here are the sidebar archives. Can you find three sidebar links in the past year that fit your criteria? I'm not saying you may not be right about the favorites, but I don't think the sideblog does that.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:11 PM on March 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Palmerpoodles, "favorites" (the little + you see next to every post or comment on the site) are one of two things: they are either a way for you to "bookmark" things that interest you, or ways of showing your approval for a post or comment. They are not something you should "care" about, exactly, but they are useful.
posted by turgid dahlia at 9:11 PM on March 10, 2009


I didn't realize the sidebar was that old.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:12 PM on March 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


In another thread somebody mentioned choco-tacos, and taters.

A tater tot taco would be kind of good I think, with some melted cheddar and jack some salsa verde, sour cream and some bacon. Just saying.
posted by jonmc at 9:12 PM on March 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Are favorites meant to be a revenue generating tool by directing lurkers to the 'Popular Favorites' links?

My Metafilter favorites bring me $310913.22 every fiscal year. You wouldn't want to take my yacht and houseboy away from me, would you? *makes frowny face*
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:12 PM on March 10, 2009


And for the record, my beef with favorites has nothing to do with the snark premium.

I just generally find it infuriating when I'm in a debate thread, and I start to see the little [x favorites] next to peoples' names. To me, it encourages a bandwagon effect, which I've always thought to be the worst sort of argument.

The sad part is that most people probably don't even mean it that way. They're just clicking the + sign because they agree with the speaker and want to lend their support. Or maybe they like how the speaker phrased their thoughts. Or maybe, just maybe they want to come back to it later for whatever reason. (although this idea is kind of laughable if you look at the comments that get the most favorites in a debate thread)

But the fact is that the favoriting system lends undue credence to majority opinions, and that is why I dislike it.

However, you can certainly make the case that I shouldn't be bothering with internet debates to begin with; that there are better uses for my time then getting all bent out of shape over some narrow disagreement with someone who I'll never know. And the more time I spend online, the more I come around to this way of thinking.
posted by Afroblanco at 9:12 PM on March 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Seriously though, for those of you who feel obligated to whine about favorites, get a fucking life.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:14 PM on March 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


Here are the sidebar archives.

I have searched in vain for a link to that -- which I've never seen mentioned before -- I dunno how many times in past couple of years. Thanks.

Of course now I can't remember why I was looking. If it's not already there and I'm stupider than I think (which is almost certain, I admit), could that maybe get added to the FAQ pretty please?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:16 PM on March 10, 2009


next to peoples' names should read next to peoples' comments
posted by Afroblanco at 9:16 PM on March 10, 2009


I have searched in vain for a link to that

We redid the sideblog posting mechanism when we moved to the new server and there's now a nice link at the bottom of the sideblog on the main page -- I don't remember if it was there before but it's there now. Thank pb, he's Mister Awesome with this stuff.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:17 PM on March 10, 2009


Cool. I didn't notice the change. Better idea than an FAQ entry, anyway!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:19 PM on March 10, 2009


(Well... entropy, I suppose, eventually, assuming the astroids miss us. But I digress...)

The asteroids are an expression of entropy. Ditto the sun's expansion into a red giant which will consume the planet in a firey plasma death (actually we won't have any surface water on this planet in a billion years regardless).
posted by Ryvar at 9:25 PM on March 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't like favorites either, and I think they pull people's posting style in the direction of more one-liners and class-clowning and less substance. It's very clear to me that a significant portion of users intentionally use the site in a way they expect will maximize favorites. If that's not clear to others, that's fine, but I see it every day here.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 9:27 PM on March 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


But asteroids are a revenue generating tool for interplanetary space truckers.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:27 PM on March 10, 2009


It's very clear to me that a significant portion of users intentionally use the site in a way they expect will maximize favorites. If that's not clear to others, that's fine, but I see it every day here.

Ok, so give me one example. I'm curious to see where people draw the line between someone making a valuable contribution to a post or question and someone making a less-than-valuable contribution to a post or question in hopes that they will get a lot of favorites. I don't see how you adequately could tell the difference without being inside someone's head to see how they decide to participate in the community.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:34 PM on March 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ok, so give me one example. I'm curious to see where people draw the line between someone making a valuable contribution to a post or question and someone making a less-than-valuable contribution to a post or question in hopes that they will get a lot of favorites. I don't see how you adequately could tell the difference without being inside someone's head to see how they decide to participate in the community.

Yeah, I can't give you one example. You may not have had the same experience as I have, but every time I open a thread I see much more clowning--especially from people new to a thread, but late in its lifespan.

No way to tell for sure, but I see it and it makes me wonder what good favorites are doing that bookmarks couldn't do without the same side-effects.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 9:36 PM on March 10, 2009


Here's the rub: experience, wit and insight can be shared just as well without being rewarded for it. Why prop up a system that encourages the glib, the snowclone, the snarky meme at the same time?

I love those things. That's basically why I read the blue and the grey.
posted by Netzapper at 9:46 PM on March 10, 2009


jessamyn: I'm the one who sidebars most of the stuff.

Pony time! Could the Y in "You tell me what they have in common" (second link from the top) please be linkified? It's really wacking out my OCD.
posted by niles at 9:51 PM on March 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Look sidr, if you're pissed about not having enough favorites, just fulminate a lot against the evil Republicans, bible thumpers, and Jews Zionists while sounding as hysterical as possible and generally pretending to be a victim of some sort. You don't even have to be on topic, just shit it out in any random thread and watch the favorites roll in.
posted by Krrrlson at 9:52 PM on March 10, 2009 [1 favorite]




I'm curious to see where people draw the line between someone making a valuable contribution to a post or question and someone making a less-than-valuable contribution to a post or question in hopes that they will get a lot of favorites.

Based on my admittedly unscientific analysis, the best, fastest way to accrue favorites is to post high-quality FPPs every day. I can live with that.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:53 PM on March 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


Sidr's pretty new, so it makes sense he hasn't got an affinity for favorites yet. That doesn't come until your first high-scoring post or comment, your first taste of the great game.

Let him feel the rush of sweet, sweet approval from racking up some favorites and you'll see. He'll be asking the mods to add a damn leaderboard to the sidebar.
posted by EatTheWeak at 9:54 PM on March 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


niles: all set.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:55 PM on March 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


If we get rid of favorites, it kills off the [+][!] t-shirt before it even gets a chance to live!

(where are those shrts, anyways?)
posted by NikitaNikita at 10:02 PM on March 10, 2009


Yes, late-thread clowning must be stopped. This approval seeking behavior is clearly caused by favorites, despite copious examples of pre-favorites clowning. Well, maybe not caused by favorites, but certainly there is lot more of it since favorites began, and this can in no way be attributed to the fact that there are also a lot more people on MetaFilter since favorites began and more content on MetaFilter for people to respond to. So please, people: Stop giving positive feedback to each other! Do not encourage shenanigans and populist tripe! The Internet is serious business. Actually - maybe we should just get rid of comments altogether. I just can't seem to ignore the existence of words I don't care for.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:05 PM on March 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


There's such a fine line between early-thread and late-thread clowning.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:06 PM on March 10, 2009


I think favorites are particularly helpful in a debate setting, because they are a way that others can show support of a particular point of view without cluttering up the flow with lots of "Yeah, what she said!"

It's nice to see how the audience is responding, it's nice to give someone a little pat on the back for good work. It's what humans do.

Metafilter is done in public, why shouldn't we give each other the tiny compliment of a favorite?
posted by MythMaker at 10:10 PM on March 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


When I favorite a comment, it usually means that I agree with it and think it bears repeating. But I don't actually repeat it, or rephrase it in a slightly different way, I just favorite it. It makes me feel as if I'm "participating" in some way, but not adding redundant comments to the thread. (Once in a while I'll favorite a comment I find interesting but with which I disagree, just so I have some hope of being able to find it again.)

I wish there were favorites, anti-favorites, and bookmarks. Not much chance of that, I guess.

MetaFilter is what it is. Some things about it are wonderful. Some things about it really suck. There's not much consensus about which things are which. It could be a lot worse. I think that continually dicking around with it is a lot more likely to make it significantly worse than it is to make it significantly better. If the powers that be want to take that as a compliment, I won't object.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 10:10 PM on March 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


This can be remedied. Here's an alternative: make my favorites visible only to me.

Didn't they tell you? All of this is only visible to you. I can't see you in your underwear at all from here.




GET THOSE FUCKING SPIDERS OUT OF MY HEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAD!
posted by nola at 10:14 PM on March 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Favoriting this post for the soul-crushing irony.
posted by cgomez at 10:15 PM on March 10, 2009


late-thread clowning

If that's a concern then maybe also we should also create some kind of circular-shaped game involving horrible repercussions for the last threadjizz on a post?
posted by ob at 10:19 PM on March 10, 2009


It makes me feel as if I'm "participating" in some way, but not adding redundant comments to the thread.

or risking anything.
posted by Afroblanco at 10:19 PM on March 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I can't give you one example. You may not have had the same experience as I have, but every time I open a thread I see much more clowning--especially from people new to a thread, but late in its lifespan.

What? You can't give an example but you see it every day? Have you considered that maybe that means it's all in your head?

Also, I generally see less clowning late in threads, because most people have moved on. Only the people really interested in talking stay late, and comments late in threads which aren't super active tend to get fewer favorites, again, because people have moved on.

The exception to the above statement is here in MeTa, where once whatever the OP is whining about has been thoroughly put to rest, people like to joke around some. God forbid.
posted by Caduceus at 10:20 PM on March 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


If that's a concern then maybe also we should also create some kind of circular-shaped game involving horrible repercussions for the last threadjizz on a post?

You just earned yourself a favourite for using threadjizz in a grammatically coherent fashion, mister.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:24 PM on March 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


I can't see risking anything if there's no possibility of reward.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 10:25 PM on March 10, 2009


Comments on my posts are composed of: snark, discussion, and sometimes remarks on the post itself, whereas favorites tell me directly that someone actually found the post interesting. Though I do think I can tell when a post is going to be good, direct confirmation makes me that much more likely to make subsequent posts.

Or is this mainly about comment favorites?
posted by parudox at 10:27 PM on March 10, 2009


I can't see risking anything if there's no possibility of reward.

People did it all the time before favorites. Perhaps not everybody needs to see a favorite number at the end of their comment to feel rewarded.
posted by Afroblanco at 10:29 PM on March 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's not about risk or not. Is there risk to applaud a particular line? Think of it more like applause.

Sometimes we discuss, sometimes we observe, and both are valid ways of participating.
posted by MythMaker at 10:30 PM on March 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


/\ looong thread, probably about pancakes now.

"...the popular favorites page..."

The what now?
posted by Catch at 10:40 PM on March 10, 2009


People did it all the time before favorites. Perhaps not everybody needs to see a favorite number at the end of their comment to feel rewarded.

Here's one of the things that really sucks about MetaFilter—idiots who reply to a comment as if it said whatever they're currently hallucinating, instead of what it actually said.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 10:41 PM on March 10, 2009


I also believe favoritism is killing mefi.

[NOT FAVORITIST]
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:42 PM on March 10, 2009


If it helps, think of all the favs in deleted threads as killed with knives and swords and sharks. With frickin lasers.

also,

Flag and move on.
posted by nomisxid at 10:43 PM on March 10, 2009


the glib, the snowclone, the snarky meme

sidr, were you actually invoking snowclones? Because that's kind of awesome but I am curious as to why you gotta front. There are far worse things that could happen than people bothering to actually instantiate structured templates with novel contents in order to make a joke, favorites bedamned.

It beats the hell out of "lol faggot", that's for sure.

Yeah, as much as I dislike the favorites system, they're pretty much here to stay. mathowie likes them, and it seems like just as many users hate them as love them.

Users who have assigned favorites number in the thousands. It's possible that some majority fraction of them did so only despite grudging dislike, but I'd say that's mighty unlikely given the lack of guns pointed at heads during the favoriting process. I'm going to put the smart money on a hell of a lot of people casually approving of or liking favorites.

Maybe you're using "love" as some intentionally strict counter to hate and suggesting that the number of people who lose their shit over their dislike of favorites is equal to the number of people who would like to marry favorites and spend a two week honeymoon having fantastic newlywed human/favorite sex. Is that what you were going for?
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:43 PM on March 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


And, to be polite, I don't know really who you are. You've been a member since last April but really only active in the last month and suddenly you're in MeTa convinced you know what is ruining the site and as near as I can tell, you've never even participated in this part of the site before.

Ah jessamyn, et tu. There are ways of participating in Mefi that are less verbose than others. This (and other commenters upthread speaking of my usernumber) strikes me as a curious 'I-got-here-first-so-I-clearly-know-more-about-it-than-you' pose to strike. How about addressing what a few others have said in the thread: (to paraphrase Joseph): (favorites) pull people's posting style in the direction of more one-liners and class-clowning and less substance.

Yes, Mefi is thriving and there is more content to sift through than ever before, sure. But since when did quantity become an excuse to gloss over quality?
posted by sidr at 10:45 PM on March 10, 2009


Wow, see, I barely even notice the favorites. You seem to be choosing to let them bother you. I bet you can get over it.
posted by iguanapolitico at 10:47 PM on March 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


I bought my favorites a ring and tickets to a Caribbean cruise but they didn't acquiesce to my amorous advances.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:47 PM on March 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wow, see, I barely even notice the favorites. You seem to be choosing to let them bother you. I bet you can get over it.

iguana: the favorites are skewing the 'Popular Favorites' pages. This leads more users to posting what they believe will garner them similar views, similar favorites.

Lurkers (who do not have posting privileges) probably form the majority of people who read Mefi. The skewed Popular Favorites pages are self reinforcing snark and vitriol.

Why not put this to a poll? Replace favorites with private bookmarks, and make the Popular Favorites pages show a combination of posts with high page views and high PageRanks on Google.

And adipocere: think about it. What would you rather have? One week of tests, or a better Mefi overall?

Is this really so unclear? I'm not being snarky!
posted by sidr at 10:52 PM on March 10, 2009


There are ways of participating in Mefi that are less verbose than others.

kill them
posted by Balonious Assault at 10:54 PM on March 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


But since when did quantity become an excuse to gloss over quality?

Well, in practical terms, it does make controlling and sorting for it a little more difficult. You know what would be helpful? Some way for every site member to point out, in a way everyone can see, the posts and comments they like best.
posted by EatTheWeak at 10:56 PM on March 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


There are far worse things that could happen than people bothering to actually instantiate structured templates with novel contents in order to make a joke

Either cortex is drunk or I am, because I have no idea what the hell that means.

It is also possible that we are both drunk, come to think of it.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:56 PM on March 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


'Participation' at Mefi seems to be regarded as being verbose and an active poster + a low usernumber. This is seen as sufficient grounds to contemplate about how the site works and what's right or wrong about it.

This is baffling. A low usernumber does not immediately mean unfamiliarity with the way the site works. Neither does being an infrequent poster. Not everything needs to be commented on; I like keeping to myself. This does not mean I do not fathom the mechanics of this website or am less qualified than a user with a lower number.

I tried to ignore the earlier posters who attempted negating what I had to say by using these arguments. But then jessamyn comes along and says something similar. Dunno. A little disappointing.
posted by sidr at 10:59 PM on March 10, 2009


BitterOldPunk: he's talking about juxtapositions of in-jokes like "your bacon bacon so I baconed it" and so forth.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:59 PM on March 10, 2009


Ah jessamyn, et tu.

Um... quoi? Unless you are either A) genuinely stunned that Jessamyn has betrayed you in some way, or B) subtly threatening her with the bitter, bitter taste of rancid favorites turning to ashes in her own mouth some dark and terrible day down the road [lightning flashes], methinks thou art letting thine drama get the best of thee, sweet noob.

Alarum.

Exeunt.
posted by scody at 11:00 PM on March 10, 2009 [10 favorites]


sidr, relax man. People just post links here so mathowie can pay for his mortgage. Side benefit is we have a mostly decent place to shoot the shit.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:00 PM on March 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Also ...

think about it. What would you rather have? One week of tests, or a better Mefi overall?

This notion of yours about a favorite-free "test week" seems unrealistic. Aside from the flood of confused emails and threads that would results, the mods would also be on the hook to pull out the favoriting system, store everyone's personal selection of favorites (only a few thousand members), whip up a whole private bookmarking system, graft it onto the site, then make a decision which is certain to be divisive at the end of the whole ordeal, and then either reinstate favorites or make private bookmarks permanent.

Doesn't that sound like a lot of server resets for your hunch?
posted by EatTheWeak at 11:03 PM on March 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Sidr, just because you only had 27 favorites is no reason to ruin it for the rest of Metafilter.
posted by BrnP84 at 11:03 PM on March 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


I tried to ignore the earlier posters who attempted negating what I had to say by using these arguments. But then jessamyn comes along and says something similar. Dunno. A little disappointing.

After posting onclusory argument followed by evading requests for evidence to support it you're going to go all Formal Logic on us? Really?

Also, note there's a difference between saying "You have a high user-number, therefore you're wrong" and "You're wrong, but you might lack perspective because you're new around here."

The former is ad hominem, the latter is not.

posted by toomuchpete at 11:06 PM on March 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


Empirical test: Favorite this and let's all watch Metafilter die. Or not.
posted by iamkimiam at 11:06 PM on March 10, 2009


This... strikes me as a curious 'I-got-here-first-so-I-clearly-know-more-about-it-than-you' pose to strike.

But the people who have been here (and participating here) for many years clearly do know more about it than you. Especially the people who have been around long enough to know what the site was like before favorites were around: it didn't have a significantly

Basically, we don't need to run a week-long test to know what the site was like without favorites. We already had a seven-year-long test to do that.

I'm not being snarky!

No, you're being obtuse.
posted by grouse at 11:07 PM on March 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


Is this really so unclear?

No, you're not unclear. It's just that many of us think you're wrong. I like favorites. I find them a useful way to interact with the site. My contact activity sidebar points out good comments by people whose comments I enjoy in threads I might not otherwise have read. I find them a useful way to lend support to comments I agree with, am touched by, or am amused by. I like the fact that I can interact with a thread even if I don't have anything substantial to say, of if everything I would have had to say has already been said.

And finally, your idea for a popular page sounds complicated to implement and not really a particularly accurate way of actually judging what users on the site like. I don't want to sound too terribly elitist here, but I don't care about what lurkers think. They haven't paid their five bucks, so I see no reason for them to have an effect on the popular favorites page.

There might be some good arguments against favorites, but I don't find any of yours convincing.

On preview, I've yet to see anyone talk about user numbers in a way other than tongue-in-cheek, with the exception of pointing out when recently signed up people immediately start running around in MeTa and demonstrating that they don't really know the way the community works.

Short version: stop acting like a noob, and you won't be treated like one.
posted by Caduceus at 11:07 PM on March 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


I meant to say "...it didn't have a significantly lower amount of vitriol"
posted by grouse at 11:08 PM on March 10, 2009


When you proffer a drastic redesign to fit your personal preferences while evincing broad consequences without any evidence, people will tend to judge your fitness to make such declaration based on what they have at hand. Experience is an easy thing to question when you provide nothing else on which to judge your proposal.
posted by team lowkey at 11:11 PM on March 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


I can't speak for the rest of the community, but I find favorites incredibly useful and would hate to see them go.

There is, of course, the bookmarking function, which works well enough. I have on more than on occasion revisited my favorites list to laugh at jokes long forgotten, or to share an interesting comment with a friend I thought might appreciate it. This would still be possible with hidden favorites, naturally, but that's not the extent of their usefulness.

I'm subscribed to the major Mefi subsites through Google Reader. I see Every. Single. Post. (or at least the ones that sound interesting from the headline+first few sentences). Given the site's output, it is impossible to read the discussions for each of these. There's just too much content.

So in this case favorites serve as an excellent filter. Highly-favorited comments tend to stand out, so it's pretty simple to scroll through and scan for double- or triple-digit scores. They're also good measures of FPP quality -- I'll reconsider skipping a post I might not normally have read when I see it has a high favorite count (for instance). If such a reliable metric of quality and popularity were taken away, I guarantee you I would read the site less. Much less.

But the favorites also keep me commenting. It's tough to say that without sounding crass, but it's true. When I first signed up I wasn't really sure of the tenor of the community, compared to other sites I'd seen in the past. But after a few weeks I noticed that my longer, more creative, more involved comments consistently got a lot of favorites versus the matter-of-fact one-offs. This encouraged me to put more effort into my comments, and to write more out-of-the-box things than I might have thought appropriate at first. They helped me acclimate myself to what the community appreciated, and improved my contributions as a result.

So you can complain about how favorites are detrimental to the community all you want. But I'm sorry if your vague handwaving just doesn't seem as compelling as the very real impact it would have on my reading and posting habits, and those of others who use favorites the same way.
posted by Rhaomi at 11:11 PM on March 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


Actually, I feel like I should respond to the favorites-haterz in a less sarcastic and more serious manner.

I can only assume that I am exactly the kind of Mefite described above with such distaste, since my "clowning" to "substantive" ratio approaches infinity. So I feel qualified to provide at least this data point in rebuttal: If you take away favorites, I will not suddenly shut up. This is who I am, and I will not go away just because you have a different vision of what you think MetaFilter should be like. If Matt or the community at large decides to go in a different direction, that's one thing, but I see no evidence that this is the case.

In fact, it's the potential evidence to the contrary that is at question, here, isn't it? Either your assertion that heavy favoriting of lighthearted commenting promotes lighthearted commenting is true - in which case the community at large apparently disagrees with your vision, and to some extent approves of lighthearted commenting as a valid form of discourse, here - or your assertion that heavy favoriting of lighthearted commenting promotes lighthearted commenting is false - in which case, well, you're wrong about the cause, and the community at large still apparently disagrees with your vision. Either way, people here more or less conform to the community norms because they are the community norms, not because those norms are expressed with a plus sign rather than through additional positive comments downthread.

We don't post what we post for the favorites. We post what we post for the sex.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:15 PM on March 10, 2009 [7 favorites]


We don't post what we post for the favorites. We post what we post for the sex.

Man, I really am doing it wrong.
posted by Caduceus at 11:19 PM on March 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


If you take away favorites, I will not suddenly shut up. This is who I am, and I will not go away just because you have a different vision of what you think MetaFilter should be like.

This is so true. If the favorites system truly is some sort of popularity contest, than the things that get a lot of favorites are the things that are popular with those users who use favorites. If it is consistently the content of the items getting a lot of favorites that bothers you, then it is possible this is not the community for you. Not because the community hates you, but because you hate the community.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:20 PM on March 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Favorites are mostly given to feel good comments, often in the hundreds. The problem with favorites is that they fall short of a general rating system by implying something subjectively meaningful or special. Many excellent comments would probably attract some other kind of rating more than a favorite mark if there was one. Snark probably does get more favorites than most highly constructive comments, on average, but these are usually due to people voting with their favorites, by attaching them to a negative comment, because there is no other way to dis-favorite something without posting.
posted by Brian B. at 11:24 PM on March 10, 2009


I was going to say this reminds me of Aesop's Dog in the Manger, but when I looked it up, the dog just barked and snapped at the ox and chased him away. The way I remember it, the dog urinated on the hay, ruining it for both the ox and himself. Maybe I read Aesop's Ribald Fables or something. I don't know. I guess the point I'm trying to make is it's fun to whiz in the hay, unless that hay is the favorite system. Or maybe it's don't let the oxen eat your favorites, unless it's a talking ox, and then you could sell it for a lot of money and you probably wouldn't care if you didn't have many favorites.
posted by Bernt Pancreas at 11:33 PM on March 10, 2009


damn, i turn my back for about an hour & already more than 130 comments have been posted in this certain goldmine of cheap & easy favourites!

and according to the law of favourite whoring, the chances of hitting a jackpot with a pithy one-liner decreases dramatically in relation to distance from the top of the thread, according to the formula dFdT = C^(n-1)T-fT/n^2-n where:

F=no of favourites gained for oneself
T=time since posting
C=no of comments already made
f=total no of favourites already allocated

*note: formula might not be mathematically accurate
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:39 PM on March 10, 2009


To add a little more context to what I said before: When I first joined, most of my comments were very... earnest. By which I mean they were bland, ordinary, vanilla. Not unhelpful, but not interesting, either.

The first time I got inspired to write something off-the-wall, something that demanded some effort, I did it with a lot of trepidation. When I got done typing I actually waffled a bit on whether or not to click "post". Would it look weird? Would it seem like I was an attention whore or trying too hard? But I ended up posting it anyway.

And it got 35 favorites! That was far and beyond anything I'd gotten before (never more than 5). After that, I was bolder with my comments, confident that Mefi was the kind of place where quirky and creative writing was valued.

If it hadn't been for that initial positive reinforcement, I might have remained pretty low-key in what I had to say. I mean, apart from the favorites, nobody referred to my comment afterward. Nobody Memailed me or gave me scrumptious cookie. The favorites were the only sign that people liked what I wrote, a stamp of approval from the community saying that it was a good and worthwhile thing to contribute.

So favorites might encourage some people to be more vehement in their snark, but it encouraged me to be more creative, and that's probably true for a lot of other people, too.
posted by Rhaomi at 11:41 PM on March 10, 2009 [9 favorites]


Kwine's Metafilter Postulate: If you find yourself on the opposite side of any given position from either jessamyn or cortex, immediately pause and reconsider your position.
posted by Kwine at 12:09 AM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


A low usernumber does not immediately mean unfamiliarity with the way the site works. Neither does being an infrequent poster.

You know what does signify noobness? Posting this thread. This issue has been discussed many times before.

And although an infrequent poster may be familiar with the community, the community cannot be familiar with an infrequent poster. So when you show up and say "please kill favorites", we assume you're just a clueless noob.
posted by ryanrs at 12:28 AM on March 11, 2009


Call-outs are killing MeTa. Please kill call-outs.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:43 AM on March 11, 2009


"Help Metafilter heal"

Metafilter has herpes, it can never heal (or love)....
posted by lattiboy at 12:49 AM on March 11, 2009


Who put extra fucktard pills in the Metatalk today?
posted by bardic at 12:52 AM on March 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


Also, fuck that jazz! I wish we had negs! Think how many times you've been reading an otherwise interesting thread and down come two or three catty little assholes that get into some hair-splitting, bullshit, pedantic disagreement and start quoting whole passages from the first thing they could google to make the other guy look wrong. Seriously. Negs. Think about it........
posted by lattiboy at 12:58 AM on March 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


I actually do think favorites have degraded the quality of discussion here, since it changes the motivation for making comments. On the other hand, I like getting favorites. So I'm kind of torn.
posted by delmoi at 1:03 AM on March 11, 2009 [4 favorites]


We don't post what we post for the favorites. We post what we post for the sex.
Man, I really am doing it wrong.

You don't need favourites to have sex with yourself. Well, I don't, anyway.
posted by dg at 1:11 AM on March 11, 2009


This strikes me as a curious 'I-got-here-first-so-I-clearly-know-more-about-it-than-you' pose to strike.

Huh. Struck me as an "I'm a moderator and who the fuck are you?" pose to strike.

If you don't comment, other people don't know who you are. It just means that you need to go the extra yard in explaining why you think your complaint is valid. I'm sure nobody meant to offend you, it's just that your post was a bit devoid of context.

I usually favourite comments I agree with but don't want to post an annoying "ditto". Sometimes I favourite things that are just awesome. I hardly ever use them as bookmarks.

Other people do it differently. That's cool. It is what it is to you.

When I get to a thread late and it's already got a bajillion comments, I use other people's favourites to pick out the highlights, working backwards and forwards from them. It's a really effective way of catching up quickly.
posted by robcorr at 1:26 AM on March 11, 2009


Electric Wizard. (See, the thread wasn't a total waste!)

It was just last week, wasn't it? That this was hashed out over 200+ comments... it's just a dumb suggestion at this point. And I don't agree about favorites doing damage to the quality of the discourse. I think they would be better called "Strawberry-Cream Kisses" or perhaps "Tahitian Vanilla Sea Spray" and better still "Stalking my Neighbors through the Park in the Springtime" but hey, variety is the spice of life, amirite?

Now go to bed and dream.
posted by From Bklyn at 1:40 AM on March 11, 2009


Also, if you don't like the Popular Favourites page, you could just not read it. I wasn't even aware of its existance until this thread. My eyes must somehow just skim over that part.

I actually do think favorites have degraded the quality of discussion here, since it changes the motivation for making comments.

You think? I find it impossible to predict which comments of mine will get favourited and which won't. If you really did pursue favourites as an objective, I bet you'd rapidly get very frustrated. Also, given how snarky people here are, you'd need to be pretty sophisticated about it, because we'd spot an attention whore pretty quickly and start calling them out and giving them a hard time.

My guess is that they make no difference at all to what people post.

I do think Krrrlson has a point. I tend to get the most favourites for posting banal, obvious expressions of my left-wing sympathies. However, I don't post that shit to try and get favourites -- I post that stuff because it's what I actually believe, and I'm sure the same is true for everyone else who posts similar stuff.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:47 AM on March 11, 2009 [4 favorites]


posted by lattiboy Also, fuck that jazz! I wish we had negs! . . . Seriously. Negs. Think about it

We could call them, "Hates". Or "Peeves". Like so:


Who put extra fucktard pills in the Metatalk today?
pösted by bardic at 12:52 AM on March 11 [1 favorite +] [3 hates - ] [!]


And then, we can rename the site "Digg."
posted by mattdidthat at 2:03 AM on March 11, 2009


little help, matt: love the new pony, but i can't add a hate to bardic's comment above. do i need to enable javascript or something?
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:29 AM on March 11, 2009


posted by sidr I'm not here to be preachy or snarky. Help Mefi heal.

Indeed, yes. Help MeFi heal--by not posting preachy, asinine, and stridently absurd MetaTalk threads in which you demand the removal of features because people don't behave the way you think they should.
posted by mattdidthat at 3:38 AM on March 11, 2009


A low usernumber does not immediately mean unfamiliarity with the way the site works.

Isn't this statement backwards?
posted by gman at 4:11 AM on March 11, 2009


Well, all I can say is that favourites are such an ingrained part of how I use the site that I would really, really, really not like to see them go, especially based on such a thin argument.

I use them navigationally, to mark things I want to come back to, track threads I'm not participating in and generally make things navigable. If anything, they're the backbone to my personal MeFi archives.

I also use them to indicate that I've really enjoyed someone's contribution, whether it's a one-line snarkbomb or a deeply heartfelt and shattering personal story. I've seen both and favourited both.

The argument over whether they've 'degraded' the conversation is a bit of an unknowable one. Assuming there was any objective measure of the 'quality' of all the words typed into MeFi, you'd need to do some serious number-crunching to figure out if it's had any material effect on who says what, how they say it and what they tend to say.

Undoubtedly, people have posted zingers. But they did that before favourites. If they are posting a zinger with the express intention of garnering favourites, well, y'know, all power to them. It's not like you can spend them. But zingers and one liners are part of MeFi, for better or worse. I enjoy some, think others are dumb.

Undoubtedly also, as Rhaomi noted above, people have been encouraged to write thoughtful, creative and downright awesome contributions to the site by a few initial favourites. Favourites are wonderfully non-specific in their function, and I think that's their strength. A favourite can mean approval, or it can mean you wrote some incredibly obscure and technical answer on an AskMe that people want to come back to.

Put it this way, I frequently find myself, on other more traditionally structured forums that I frequent, looking for the little [+], and get mildly ticked when I realise that other sites don't have the awesome combined navigational/approval mechanism that MeFi does.

So, sidr, I'd have to say that you have not thought enough about how other people use and think about favourites, and your opinion on the negative effect they have on MeFi as a whole is entirely subjective, unsupported by any examples and based on something that you, personally, find annoying. You're basically expecting an entire community of users (with, what, 10 - 20,000 active users?) to give up a heavily used and multi-purpose feature because of your opinion?

No.
posted by Happy Dave at 4:41 AM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


A low usernumber does not immediately mean unfamiliarity with the way the site works.

Isn't this statement backwards?


"works site the way the with unfamiliarity mean immediately not does usernumber low a"

hm, no.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:45 AM on March 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


I dislike favorites, so I use them only to mark things I want to come back to later. I'd be pretty happy to see them go away, since I do think they serve as a popularity scorecard for many folks. Then again, I think flagging is generally lame and I think the site is over-edited, so I guess I'm just an old curmudgeon. Doesn't mean I don't love the site, though.
posted by MrMoonPie at 4:52 AM on March 11, 2009


I don't know if favorites have changed the site, because when I signed up favorites were already here. But I do know that I like favorites in general and they are one of the reasons I've continued to contribute to the site.

I'll concede that they probably have encouraged me to post funny joke comments, but only in the same sense that real life interaction does. When say something funny in front of my friends, they laugh or smile or give at least some kind of reaction. On a normal forum, it's hard to tell if anyone appreciated the joke at all unless someone posts an annoying quote + lol comment. As someone said above, how much people laugh/favorite isn't always a good measure of how funny a joke is, but it's nice to get some feedback.

And it applies to more than just jokes, too. I tend to say things in comments that I think are interesting, or funny, or related to the topic in some way, rather than saying things that I think will cause an argument or make someone feel the need to reply directly to what I've said. Without favorites, this tends to feel like talking into a void, because most of the time there's no evidence that anyone even read my comment. With favorites, it's more obvious that yes, people are reading my comments and some of the feel the same way/enjoyed hearing what I had to say/thought my observation was funny.
posted by burnmp3s at 5:03 AM on March 11, 2009


How about addressing what a few others have said in the thread: (to paraphrase Joseph): (favorites) pull people's posting style in the direction of more one-liners and class-clowning and less substance.

It's already been adressed. Multiple times. You have not provided any evidence to support your assertion, and it is not one which is self-evident, at least to many people here. Stating over and over again that MeFi has become more vitriolic since the introduction of favorites, without providing any evidence, is not going to convince anyone who is not already convinced.

What would you rather have? One week of tests, or a better Mefi overall?

And you still have not addressed how you propose to measure whether MeFi becomes less vitriolic in your "week of tests." You realize what happens if there's no means to measure that, don't you? We have a week without favorites, and at the end, the favorite-haters say, "see, MeFi is less vitriolic" and the favorite-supporters say "no it's not, it's just as vitriolic as it was before" "is not" "is too" "is not" "is too" and nothing has been resolved.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 5:03 AM on March 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


I think my favorite thing about the Favoriting system is how it's exposed interesting people to me. If I see that someone's favorited something I've written, I tend to wonder if they agree with what I've said, if they now hate me and are just keeping track, if they're reading something into my comment that I maybe didn't intend, or if they're just tehloki.

So I click through to the person's profile, maybe look at their flickr photos or recent twitter comments, sort of wander down the little hallways of the internet and poke around. For me, it's a nice way to learn more about other people on the site.
posted by Greg Nog at 5:31 AM on March 11, 2009 [6 favorites]


I can't see that having favourites has made much difference in the quality of the site. They haven't made much difference to me, either. I don't use the number of favourites to decide what I'll read. I don't use them to show approval. I use them as bookmarks so I can find material for later reference. And I don't put much stock in the favourites I receive. A post I spent 2 to 3 hours writing will get 8 favourites, while some throwaway joke will get 46. Popularity does not equal excellence. So I'm kind of surprised that people care enough about this for it to be an issue and for this thread to get so many comments. But then everyone reads and uses MeFi in a different way.
posted by orange swan at 5:57 AM on March 11, 2009


the favorites are skewing the 'Popular Favorites' pages.

Is this a joke, or am I still really undercaffeinated? How can favorites skew that page? Favorites are the whole point of the page - to track what gets favorited by lots of people.

Measure by page view instead? So that 5K+ Sarah Palin fpp from last summer would probably be close to Most Popular Evar because it had to have gotten a zillion page views, but so what?

Ah, fuck it. I'm going to go favorite more coffee.
posted by rtha at 6:10 AM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Did Greg Nog just encourage people to expose themselves?
posted by steef at 6:25 AM on March 11, 2009


the favorites are skewing the 'Popular Favorites' pages. This leads more users to posting what they believe will garner them similar views, similar favorites

Huh. Wait, what?

I tried to ignore the earlier posters who attempted negating what I had to say by using these arguments. But then jessamyn comes along and says something similar. Dunno. A little disappointing.

Instead of ignoring hundreds of comments disagreeing with your dramatic claims about this feature causing some sort of harm, you may wish to consider that you're incorrect.
posted by desuetude at 6:37 AM on March 11, 2009


Dude. Seriously. Do you think snark just came along when the MetaFilter Central Planning Committee introduced favorites in aught-four (or whenever it happened)? Do you realize that the first ever post to the sacred bleu was about people putting cats in scanners? Do you realize that there's a whole world out there for you to explore? Look, the world is going to gobble you up and break your heart, but it's still the best game going.

Look, I think it's great that people care. This is a fun place, and there are many smart and interesting people here. Meatbomb is here as well. But it need not be devoid of one-liners and verbal playfulness to be high-quality or "serious". I read the threads I'm interested in, and comment as appropriate (or inappropriate; eg, boobies). It doesn't matter who favorites what, I like the bits I like. Occasionally I'll favorite something, but many many great posts and comments I don't favorite. It's OK! Have fun.
posted by Mister_A at 6:41 AM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


MythMaker : It's not about risk or not. Is there risk to applaud a particular line?

It's not about applause. It's about favorites being a built-in bandwagon argument. When people go through a debate thread and favorite the arguments they like without adding their own opinion, I think it's a bit passive-aggressive. It allows people to gang up on the minority opinion without running the risk of being flamed themselves.

People always talk about how horrible life would be without favorites, and how the site would be positively deluged with "me too" responses. Well, I actually remember what the site was like without favorites, and yes, you would see a few "what X said," but it never came close to overpowering a thread. They were pretty easy to ignore, actually.

cortex : Users who have assigned favorites number in the thousands. It's possible that some majority fraction of them did so only despite grudging dislike, but I'd say that's mighty unlikely given the lack of guns pointed at heads during the favoriting process

I don't think that "number of people who've used the system" equates to "number of people who like the system." I'd imagine that most people (especially most casual users) just use it because it's there. My guess is that most have never even considered the system's overall effect on the site.

So yeah, I was mainly going on threads like this where the system is discussed. And generally, it looks like the system has about as many ardent supporters as it has empassioned detractors.

I guess it doesn't help that a lot of detractors use overblown language like "OMG IT'S KILLING THE SITE!" I don't think it's killing the site at all. I just think it distorts certain discussions, particularly debate threads, in favor of majority opinions.
posted by Afroblanco at 6:58 AM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


I post snark and vitriol because that's the kind of woman I am. I post heartwarming stories about the nice man who took care of my Oma for favorites.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:03 AM on March 11, 2009


Metatalk: The Empassioning.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:11 AM on March 11, 2009


I think it's a bit passive-aggressive. It allows people to gang up on the minority opinion without running the risk of being flamed themselves.

This is not the case. People who favorite a comment are sometimes included in a flame against that comment.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:13 AM on March 11, 2009


I like favorites cuz it seems to bug those people that I don't mind seeing bugged.
posted by Stynxno at 7:17 AM on March 11, 2009


They were pretty easy to ignore, actually.

If it bugs you, you could do the same with favorites, which are easier to ignore.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:22 AM on March 11, 2009


If it bugs you, you could do the same with favorites, which are easier to ignore.

And that's what I do, generally. But that doesn't mean I like the system any more for it.

And actually, now that I think about it, you still see a fair amount of "what X said" comments, even though we have a favorites system. In fact, I don't even think the number of such comments has decreased since the system was implemented.
posted by Afroblanco at 7:30 AM on March 11, 2009


YO DAWG WE NOTICED YOU LOVE SNOWCLONES SO WE PUT A CLONE IN THE SNOW SO YOU CAN CLONE WHEN IT SNOWS
posted by slogger at 7:33 AM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


posted by jacquilynne It's about favorites being a built-in bandwagon argument. When people go through a debate thread and favorite the arguments they like without adding their own opinion, I think it's a bit passive-aggressive. It allows people to gang up on the minority opinion without running the risk of being flamed themselves.

Anyone who assigns that degree of importance to favorites needs a therapist.
posted by mattdidthat at 7:35 AM on March 11, 2009


And actually, now that I think about it

I don't mean any disrespect, but it seems like the justifications for your opinion (and others') keep changing, because there is, in reality, so little evidence to back it.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:38 AM on March 11, 2009


Okay, so we're clear: Group A gets the fire arrows and Group B gets the acid arrows. Understood?

So I click through to the person's profile, maybe look at their flickr photos or recent twitter comments, sort of wander down the little hallways of the internet and poke around. For me, it's a nice way to learn more about other people on the site.

Holy crap, this is exactly what I do while telling myself, "This isn't creepy, I'm not stalking, It's public information! This is a totally valid use of my time!."

Actually, constantly assuring myself that this is a totally valid use of my time is what I do all the time.
posted by The Whelk at 7:39 AM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


I didn't say that.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:39 AM on March 11, 2009


posted by jacquilynne Afroblanco

Oops! Sorry, jacquilynne!
posted by mattdidthat at 7:43 AM on March 11, 2009


If it bugs you, you could do the same with favorites, which are easier to ignore.

I think that Afroblanco is getting at is that in debate threads favorites can function in the same way that a negative version favorites would work if they were enabled. So for example when sidr asks "How about trying this out for one week?" and a "How about no?" reply gets favorites, it's similar to if people could vote sidr's comment down directly. In that way, people are able to pile-on without adding anything to the discussion in the same way that everyone can downmod or thumbs down unpopular comments in other forums.

I can see that point of view, but to me it doesn't seem to be that big of a deal, because a favorited zinger isn't that much different from an unfavorited zinger, and unpopular opinions don't lose any visibility from the favoriting system. To me the positives of being able to express a "me too" opinion in an easy and relatively unobtrusive way outweigh the negatives of explicitly marking popular opinions as popular.
posted by burnmp3s at 7:43 AM on March 11, 2009


Blazecock Pileon, your .... rabid .... support of favorites is a little scary, bordering on surreal. I mean, it's one thing to agree or disagree with the system, but I've seen you get seriously worked up over this. I know you have sort of a mercurial personality, so I don't really want to get into it with you. But seriously - I sometimes get the feeling that you don't really have a whole lot going on in your life besides your 8800 favorites.
posted by Afroblanco at 7:46 AM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Way to ad-hom Afroblanco.
posted by Happy Dave at 7:48 AM on March 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


Blazecock Pileon, your .... rabid .... support of favorites is a little scary, bordering on surreal

I don't know. I see you in these threads a lot more than I participate in them.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:48 AM on March 11, 2009


Since when did quantity become an excuse to gloss over quality?

I don't think this has happened. Can you point out a golden age of MetaFilter where links were better and conversation more awesome?

Of all the things that could kill MetaFilter, I don't think favourites rate.
posted by chunking express at 7:48 AM on March 11, 2009


I refuse to listen to a complaint about favorites from someone who only got 41 in a little under a year. What a loser!
posted by Ironmouth at 7:50 AM on March 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


posted by Afroblanco I just think it distorts certain discussions, particularly debate threads, in favor of majority opinions.

Please explain how and show us where, exactly, discussions have been "distorted."
posted by mattdidthat at 7:51 AM on March 11, 2009


I mean, it's one thing to agree or disagree with the system, but I've seen you get seriously worked up over this.

You've got 13 comments in this thread alone, each expressing your really serious Metafilter-is-doomed argument, whereas I only have maybe two or three where I'm really expressing much of any opinion, as opposed to just clowning around.

Maybe you should take a look in the mirror before you go into these threads.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:52 AM on March 11, 2009


It allows people to gang up on the minority opinion without running the risk of being flamed themselves.

Its a lot better than 100 comments with "I agree" in them.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:52 AM on March 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I dunno Blazecock, I guess I've just seen you get really mad about it, and I've thought that it was a little weird. Or maybe you aren't really mad about it, but you just come off that way.
posted by Afroblanco at 8:05 AM on March 11, 2009


Also, a white background would be more professional.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 7:52 PM on March 10 [7 favorites +] [!]


Everyone is always asking for a white background. Is this a snarky inside-joke that shows up in every thread where some mefi member has a new flashy feature request, or do people really not know about the plain theme?

Go edit your profile (http://www.metafilter.com/contribute/customize.cfm#profile) and choose the plain theme.
posted by trueluk at 8:06 AM on March 11, 2009


Is this a snarky inside-joke

Yes.
posted by burnmp3s at 8:07 AM on March 11, 2009


you just come off that way

oh god go away you tedious bore
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:10 AM on March 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


It allows people to gang up on the minority opinion without running the risk of being flamed themselves.

I think this is giving far, far too much influence to small-font numeric marks in a comment's byline. I understand the thrust of your argument here, and it's something I think about too, but I think you would be hard-pressed to come up with a less oppressive form of band-wagoning than a quiet favoriting. A greater number of explicit me-too shout-alongs (complete with heat-of-the-moment sparkles of shittiness and nastiness that can show up in that context when folks are feeling some pique) would be much worse, and if favorites mitigate that I can't see that as anything but a positive step.

If it's a question of disliking bandwagonism in general, I'm right there with you, but I think that's a much different and much more complex problem than one of visible favorites.

I guess it doesn't help that a lot of detractors use overblown language like "OMG IT'S KILLING THE SITE!"

Yeah, and that's part of why my calculus tends to focus more on like vs. dislike or approve vs. disapprove. When it comes down to love vs. hate, we're talking about the riled up extremists on a given subject. Tempers flare, people overstate their cases out of anger or stridency or whatever, and the idea that a feature/situation is either terrible or wonderful starts to seem like the question that supposed to be relevant, rather than whether it works pretty well or not, is a livable compromise on the balance or not.

And, again, a lot of people just casually using the feature without complaint may not qualify as liking it (or at least not like liking it), but it does suggest an absence of widespread distaste. It's just working pretty well for a few thousand people. Eh.

And Blazecock Pileon and Afroblanco: speaking of tempers flaring and sparkles of nastiness, it'd be great if you could cool it or take it to email if you really need to keep going at each other. That's kinda going double for you at this point, BP. The whole publicly-telling-people-who-disagree-with-you-to-go-away thing is reaching schtick levels lately, and it'd be great if you could cut it out in general.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:13 AM on March 11, 2009 [4 favorites]


Its a lot better than 100 comments with "I agree" in them.

I agree.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:14 AM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


I also agree with what cortex said.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:15 AM on March 11, 2009

Its a lot better than 100 comments with "I agree" in them.
See, I disagree with that statement. When I write "I agree," there's a clear statement of my opinion, uneditable, undeletable, permanent. I can be called on it, asked to defend it. On the other hand, if I just click on the little favorites button, I can always weasel out, saying I was just marking the comment for later reference, or I can delete the favorite altogether. Plus, my name isn't right there in the thread--another user has to take positive action to see who has favorited a comment.

I don't think favorites are killing metafilter or anything, but I don't see them as a 100% fantastic A+++ feature, either.
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:16 AM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Is this over now? Can we go on with our lives, mine which is devoid of everything apart from my secret plan to take down MeFi by favouriting every comment by Jonmc? Shit, did I say that out loud?
posted by ob at 8:18 AM on March 11, 2009


And Blazecock Pileon and Afroblanco: speaking of tempers flaring and sparkles of nastiness, it'd be great if you could cool it or take it to email if you really need to keep going at each other.

I'll repeat that I haven't done anything out of scope here, and my response to a pretty out-of-left-field offensive comment has been pretty measured. If people can cool it with the aspersions I'm happy with that.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:20 AM on March 11, 2009


Here's an idea: Afroblanco - you ignore favourites, and BP - you ignore Afroblanco.

Oh, and dude, saying, "I know you have sort of a mercurial personality, so I don't really want to get into it with you." And then following that with "But seriously - I sometimes get the feeling that you don't really have a whole lot going on in your life besides your 8800 favorites." is all sorts of fucked up.
posted by gman at 8:20 AM on March 11, 2009 [5 favorites]


cortex- I see where you're coming from on the subject of favorites, but I respectfully disagree. The system kinda gets under my skin, but that's probably just an indication that I should stay out of the debate threads. [ like this one! :) ]

And apologies to all for taking public my perplexity with BP. I suppose email is better for that kind of thing.
posted by Afroblanco at 8:22 AM on March 11, 2009


This (and other commenters upthread speaking of my usernumber) strikes me as a curious 'I-got-here-first-so-I-clearly-know-more-about-it-than-you' pose to strike. How about addressing what a few others have said in the thread: (to paraphrase Joseph): (favorites) pull people's posting style in the direction of more one-liners and class-clowning and less substance.

Actually, and I was trying to put this in the nicest way possible, I just don't know who you are and I work here and I'm on the site for hours every day. In fact your usernumber is lower than your participation would suggest in terms of how long you've "been here". And again there's nothing wrong with this, but yeah participation does mean participation. Reading is not participation, it is reading.

And I'd addressed the subject of your comments which is to say "I am not seeing the effect you're seeing would you care to point out some examples?" I don't mean to be all old school about it but as someone who has been here for eight years and has seen the site in pre-favorites and post-favorites configurations I don't notice a lot of difference. That may be because I'm not looking in the right place so if you'd like to point me there, please do.

Maybe we can get cortex to run a query looking for one-liners pre and post-favorites and see if there's been an uptick. I think it's difficult to figure out what community norms are a result of a tiny community becoming pretty large and what are the result of other factors. And again I'm not saying that what you are saying is not happening, I'm saying I am not seeing it.

Your MeTa question called favorites toxic and implied that we keep them as a way to make money. We addressed this directly -- no we don't do it to make money, and there are thousands of people who use the tool not meaning that it's NOT toxic but implying that it has utility for people. You don't like them and that's fine. It's a feature you can ignore and not use. If it is having a negative effect on the site -- an assertion people are not convinced of and something you seem to not want to give any examples of -- then we'd look more seriously into site-wde changed. MeFi is a big boat and it's difficult to steer and it's run by a very small set of people who rely on the community to sort of help us out. Making one week "just to see" changes is really not something we do here as a matter of course and I think the reason people are pointing to your relative newness on the site is because you don't seem to know this.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:24 AM on March 11, 2009 [7 favorites]


A low usernumber does not immediately mean unfamiliarity with the way the site works.

No, it doesn't. On the other hand, walking into metatalk and demanding a revision of an entire piece of site functionality because you don't like it demonstrates pretty clearly that you don't really know how the site works at all. On top of that, you've said that mefi was less snarky before favorites were added, which is demonstrably untrue. If anything, mefi is less snarky these days, though I hesitate to say why for fear of conflating corellation with causality.

So, when people point out your usernumber, it's not because having a higher usernumber automatically means you're clueless. They're doing it because you've demonstrated, quite capably, in other ways that you don't have any idea what you're talking about. Pointing out your usernumber is another way of saying "chill out and hang around the site more before you go around telling everyone how it should work because (and this bears repeating) you clearly don't know what you're talking about."

Also, for what it's worth, I fundamentally disagree with the idea that snark and vitriol are what earn the most favorites. If you notice a bunch of comments in a thread getting 2 favorites, while some quick one-off snark gets 25, just remember that 25 favorites is nothing. Pastabagel, if I recall correctly, has these two comments that earned 500 favorites each simply because they were gargantuan, brilliant, hysterically funny and insightful bits of writing. One of them was this remarkably earnest defense of Mr. Rogers, of all things. What really earns favorites are very simply incredible and well thought out comments. If you don't see them as often as you see snark and one-liners, it's because being that thoughtful and eloquent is really hard, and most people can't do it, myself included.

So yeah, chill out, noob. you're wrong and the reason you're wrong is that you don't have any idea what you're talking about.
posted by shmegegge at 8:27 AM on March 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm still trying to find the large number of clownish or vitriol-and-snark-filled favorites on the Popular Favorites page.

sidr: There are ways of participating in Mefi that are less verbose than others.

And favorites is one of those ways.

I use favorites for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, I agree with the comment enough to click the + when I don't have anything to add with my own comment. Sometimes, I disagree, and I want to revisit it at a later date to see if I still do. Sometimes, a comment makes me laugh, cry, or have some other emotional reaction, and I want to go back to it some other time. Sometimes, it's something I want to look up further on the internet or share with my friends, because it's relevant to something we have been discussing. Sometimes, it's just a bookmark in a long thread so I can find where I was more easily, and it gets deleted when I return. Sometimes, it's just because something is so outrageously weird, hilarious, or goofy I can't resist filing it in my favorites to run across another day.

I almost never notice the favorites numbers on posts or comments, until I click the + myself. Even then, might not notice. I use them for my personal reasons, and don't care how others are using them or how many favorites something has received. That number doesn't change my reasons for clicking the + or not clicking the +, if I feel like it, and it certainly doesn't compel to comment/post any differently in order to receive favorites. I don't care if I get favorites or not. For all I know, the person could be using favorites to keep track of the most stupid things s/he has ever read on Metafilter ... or it might just be a bookmark.

And, as someone said earlier, we don't need a week test of Metafilter without favorites. We had years of Metafilter without them, and to me, it seems like Metafilter is the same as it used to be filled with good posts, bad posts, vitriol, snark, intelligence, wit, and the occasionally outright buffoonery. I like it like that, and I hardly think allowing people to mark things as favorites for their own personal reasons, whatever they may be, is going to bring about the downfall of Metafilter.

Sorry so long. Too much caffeine.
posted by Orb at 8:44 AM on March 11, 2009


We just had a discussion about favorites in the ook thread, and Matt said he was willing to give some thought about what to do about them. That gave me hope.

However, favorites are here to stay; the battle against them has definitely been lost. They add something useful to the site, and that's incontrovertible. But they also detract in certain ways (I would have thought that's incontrovertible too, but I guess not). It doesn't seem impossible to change some features that would keep most of the good and get rid of some of the bad. One suggestion I liked was simply removing the "number of favorites" tallies from user pages. Pretty much all of the functionality of favorites would be retained, and it wouldn't be as rewarding for users to spam the site with a bunch of memes and one-liners that get two or three favorites. I'm not even sure why that tally is there, actually.
posted by painquale at 8:45 AM on March 11, 2009


You spell favourites wrong.
posted by rocket88 at 8:46 AM on March 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


Hey ev'rybody, wha'd I miss?
posted by klangklangston at 8:47 AM on March 11, 2009


What she said.
posted by yeti at 8:58 AM on March 11, 2009


If anything, mefi is less snarky these days, though I hesitate to say why for fear of conflating corellation with causality.

Obama?
posted by yeti at 9:02 AM on March 11, 2009


the psuedo-profundities that take up 3 paragraphs, get on the sidebar and get like 150 favorites. They tend to support a popular viewpoint, like "the modern world is too noisy" or "things are so much worse now than 100 years ago." They're well-written, grammatical and clever.

Everything about them is really good. Except they're WRONG. Read with any intellectual rigor, they just don't hold up.


With the exception of the sidebar, which is usually pretty darn fun and interesting, I agree wholeheartedly, I call them 'This.' comments - if you see a big freaking chunk of text multiple paragraphs long, scroll past it and see if it's followed soon after by a 'This.' If so, you can completely ignore the huge text-chunk without worrying that you're missing out on something good.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:02 AM on March 11, 2009


Wow, too bad I' so late here. Anyway, we've discussed this many times before.

So how about a nice big cup of shut the fuck up sidr. Really. Shut up. And read every previous discussion on the topic while you're shutting up.
posted by GuyZero at 9:23 AM on March 11, 2009


Favorites are making Mefi a popularity contest, encouraging snark and vitriol.

That is hilarious. Favourites are really encouraging absurdist comedy.
posted by juiceCake at 9:27 AM on March 11, 2009


i've never used the recent favorites page. am i doing something wrong?
posted by spinturtle at 9:28 AM on March 11, 2009


Really?

...

Really?
posted by owtytrof at 9:46 AM on March 11, 2009


palmcorder_yajna : Did anyone else think, on first read, that this whole post was going to turn out to be an attempt to launch "snowclone" as the new "tater"?

I was actually kind of sad to see that the word had an actual definition.


Did you know that mefites have 29 different words for snowclone, but only one word for tater?

Also, leave favorites the hell alone, they never hurt anyone.

Well, except that one time, but they were drunk and they didn't think the flare gun was loaded.
posted by quin at 9:50 AM on March 11, 2009


Many have said it already: this debate has been done had. I held forth on the topic here, over 18 months ago.

I more or less stand by my position. The main difference I've noted, and I am by no means an old-timer, is between folks who participated before and those who came after--and it's no knock on post favorite participators, many or most of whom bring tons more to the community than drive-bys like me. Understandably, however, people who did not participate before favorites think of them as a fundamental, that they necessarily do and always have driven participation. This is clearly untrue.

Nevertheless, and without providing examples*, I think it's fair to say that favoriteseeking behavior, which is different for different participants, has become a part of the culture here. This doesn't mean that it has fundamentally altered the site. Example: the number of Jeremiad, four horsemen, END IS NEAR MeTa posts has been more or less constant through time. Now some of them are about favorites.

* This is just an observation. It may be dead wrong. To link to examples of what I consider favoriteseeking will also amount to me calling out particular members and particular comments. I really don't want to get into it, and I have no wish to point an accusatory finger for no good reason.
posted by kosem at 9:53 AM on March 11, 2009


I think the contention that favorites enable some kind of tyranny of the majority is not only wrong but close to the exact opposite of what they do. I think without favorites, more people would jump in an actually express their majority opinions in the thread. By keeping some of those people out of the thread, it actually gives the minority view greater visibility because it's surrounded by fewer other comments arguing the other side.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:54 AM on March 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


sidr: Listen to shmegegge, for he is wise.

Awesome comment fables slurp up favourites far more than the easy and quick snarks. Brood X, The Wheel In My Mind, and The End of AskMe are my personal faves.
posted by CKmtl at 10:04 AM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Can we just take it as read that I want to favourite everything jessamyn ever posts in future, even if I happen to sometimes forget to click on my mouse and do the actual deed?

When I finally achieve my plan to be Supreme Ruler of all Mankind, and I start to implement the programme for World Peace via to genetically engineered humanoids, it's Jessamyn's DNA I'm coming after for the reasonableness quotient.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:08 AM on March 11, 2009


Or alternatively, I could refrain from posting comments like that last one, and do something like, oh, I dunno, favourite her last comment instead?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:11 AM on March 11, 2009


sidr's post reminds me of what Lrrr of Omicron Persei 8 said about "Friends":

This is ancient earth's most foolish program. why does Ross, the largest friend, not simply eat the other five?
posted by found missing at 10:15 AM on March 11, 2009 [4 favorites]


We can probably stop piling on sidr now.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:23 AM on March 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


I've always felt that one of the strengths of MetaFilter is that it lacks most of the complicated doodads found in other online message boards: no threaded discussions, no avatars, no sigs, no karma system or visible "ranking" based on number of comments or any of that nonsense. We just have a conversation on a topic, just like grown-up people do.

The favorites feature is a step away from that.

I doubt its effect on the quality of discussion could be measured, there are way too many other variables for us to meaningfully compare pre-favorites mefi with today. My dislike of the feature is based mostly on my own personal reaction to it; I feel disproportionately good when one of my comments gets a lot of favorites, or irritated when something I think should've gotten favorites didn't. I sometimes catch myself choosing to post jokey crap I otherwise wouldn't because I expect it will get favorited.

In other words, I'm a total karma whore. I know it's bad but it feels so good. (The "best answer" thing in AskMe pushes exactly the same buttons.)

So, just as a recovering alcoholic might prefer not to keep the family-size jug of wild turkey in the cupboard, I'd prefer it if we didn't have the favorites feature (or better if it were private, visible only to the favorite-er, because that would eliminate the (to my mind) negative karma aspect and make it act more like a bookmarking-for-later-enjoyment feature, which is genuinely useful.)

I know that's never ever going to happen, so my preference is a completely moot point. And I see from the discussion here that for some people the feature has the opposite effect, it pushes them to improve their commentary. So, awesome.

There is, of course, the greasemonkey solution (which if I were using firefox as my primary browser I would use, and then succumb to temptation and reload every single page with it disabled, just in case.) This won't correct whatever unmeasurable effect the feature has on the community as a whole, but if you have more self-control than I do it might correct whatever effect the feature has on you.
posted by ook at 10:30 AM on March 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


Wow, thanks for pointing out the existence of the Popular Favorites page. I never would have noticed it if you hadn't started this thread!
posted by decathecting at 10:56 AM on March 11, 2009


If anything, mefi is less snarky these days, though I hesitate to say why

As goes the stock market, so goes the snark market.
posted by jerseygirl at 11:07 AM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


I can't read all this, I've got a book to edit. Can someone let me know if there's a flameout, so I can favorite it? Thanks!
posted by languagehat at 11:15 AM on March 11, 2009


Can someone let me know if there's a flameout, so I can favorite it? Thanks!

FUCK YOU AND THE HAT YOU RODE IN UNDER.

HTH. HAND.
posted by GuyZero at 11:22 AM on March 11, 2009


snark + market = Snarket Index.

I like favorites. I use them to archive posts or comments that I found myself continually searching for ... for content, humor or nostalgia.

I thought the addition of favorites and the subtraction of the image tag (but I do miss me some pissing Elephantidae) was a typographical bias that has proven both an increase in the general community discourse and a decrease in bunnies humping balloons. I am compelled to call that a dip in the Snarket Index, not a rise.
posted by YoBananaBoy at 11:31 AM on March 11, 2009


I almost got caught by the favorite fever, that desire to get more favorites by posting the best comments. When I first joined, I'd obsessively review my favorite count, then check to see how other comments were doing around my favored comments. I anguished over my words, hoping to get the approval of mysterious people somewhere on the internet.

Then I realized it was dumb. Some items I gave the [+] to were items which amused me, or were insightful, or were something in a discussion thread that I agreed with. Pressing [+] could mean laughter, approval, or simply ditto. And everyone has their own reasons for doing so. Why court this approval, when I could just use the site for the reason I joined - to join in interesting discussions, commenting on fascinating stories and enjoying what others have found and made.

Sometimes I skim threads when I just want a quick distraction or a summary of how the comments have gone from the first post, and I'll look at the favorites. I see a lot of 1, 2 or 3 favorites, a few higher, and then a sparse few with 10+ and above. Most of the quick snark gets a few favorites, same for the memes. But anyone can do that, so few will really favorite those things. It's the really detailed posts, amazing true stories, or the creative fables thrown into the otherwise moderately interesting comments that stand out.

Favorites draw out the interesting points. Sure, items on the Popular Favorites page and the sideblog will get even more favorites than your comments and posts stranded in the obscurity of everthing else, but there isn't any snark or vitriol on those. The sideblog is hand picked for a variety of reasons, and the Favorites Page has a single one-liner. Some comments are snarky, but they relate to the topic at hand. Others are personal stories. In short: this newbie likes the system, and thinks your concerns are mis-placed.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:31 AM on March 11, 2009


My favorites are killing Me
Don't you know I still believe
posted by klangklangston at 11:49 AM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Killing me(fi) softly with his faves
posted by scody at 11:54 AM on March 11, 2009


Metatalk! HA!

MORE LIKE 'MEH'TATALK! AMIRITE?
posted by eyeballkid at 11:55 AM on March 11, 2009


sidr,

I agree with you and pretty much everyone else who has criticized favorites in this thread. They would be better named 'Validations'. Favoriting of comments lends itself to a zero-sum game view of discussion. It goes hand-in-hand with the idiotic comment, "X wins the thread". People generally don't need to be encouraged to pander towards the majority. I suppose the counter argument is that for many the attraction is less the sharing and discussion of links and more on the aspects that increase a sense of community, e.g. MeMail, MeetUps, Links to [users] and favorites. And that has merit as well. This isn't an either/or distinction, it's a gradient. The consensus seems to favor features that encourage community and if that adds to the snark, well for some, that's practically a bonus.

And more to the point, this has been gone over many times already and the arguments against have been presented in some detail. If you do a search in MetaTalk you will find many such threads in the last few years. Since they weren't been taken out following those discussions, they are likely here to stay. At the very least, the opposing case will need to add a new angle or two in order to be persuasive.
posted by BigSky at 11:59 AM on March 11, 2009


I like how the "favorites are BAD" talk continues in this thread without a speck of evidence to show us how this is the case.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:09 PM on March 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


What Marisa Stole said.
posted by found missing at 12:13 PM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't think I've ever seen anyone say "X wins the thread" or the equivalent in a non-jokey thread.
posted by Caduceus at 12:15 PM on March 11, 2009


Favoritism is killing Mefi.

You know, you say that as if we don't WANT to kill Mefi. We've been trying for years, working silently to bring down the server, but that rascal Mathowie keeps upgrading and upgrading. Over the years we've attacked JRun, but he pushed us back. When he opened signups we grabbed all the user accounts we could for sock puppets, so he switched to a 32-bit integer for user numbers. He gave us favorites, and we tried to overload the system. Ever move is countered, every fire quenched. One day you'll see, one day we'll favorite a comment so hard that it will destroy Mefi forever, and we will all go outside and enjoy the sunshine that we have long since abandoned.
posted by blue_beetle at 12:30 PM on March 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


without a speck of evidence to show us how this is the case

Well, I tried.
posted by ook at 12:34 PM on March 11, 2009


...couldn't possibly revisit all of them, nor would they plan to.

Actually, to date I've taken a big giant tour through my favorites once, when I was laid up for a day with illness and there was nothing else to do. I have an upcoming surgery as well, and plan to wade through them again (I barely scratched the surface last time.)
posted by davejay at 12:54 PM on March 11, 2009


This conversation is pointless and you should all feel ashamed for having it for the thirty-seventh time.

Welcome to the internet, me.
posted by dersins at 12:57 PM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well, I tried.

I didn't see anything in your last comment, evidence-wise, except that it's a doodad and you can't control yourself with said doodad. The fact that you can't stop whoring (your word) for favorites really isn't a testament against the system.

I don't say this to be mean or anything, it just bothers me in a similar way to some of the AA grads I've encountered who have a "I had a problem controlling my alcohol usage, therefore YOU must have a problem too!"...
posted by rollbiz at 1:15 PM on March 11, 2009


blue_beetle has revealed the secret mission of the cabal!

We will destroy MeFi and replace it with TimeCube stuff.
posted by Mister_A at 1:16 PM on March 11, 2009


Everytime the favourites discussion comes up, and it's come up a good 3-4 times in the time that I've been here (not too long), I'm really perplexed about the arguments that people bring forth in support of getting rid of favourites.

It creates a bandwagon effect that didn't used to exist.
I tend to think that this is a function of the vast expansion of MeFi's userbase. Maybe the reason that there wasn't a lot of "me too!" in previous threads was simply because there wasn't a very active userbase. Metafilter's gotten huge. Even with favourites offering people an easy way to say "me too!" without cluttering up the thread, there are still a lot of comments that essentially reiterate the same thing. People who feel strongly about a subject will offer their opinion. People are prefer non-verbose methods of participation will favourite.

It creates a perverse incentive to post non-thoughtful comments.
I have two things to say about this idea. One has been brought up, in the sense that the people who enjoy light-hearted clowning around aren't going to stop just because there is no longer visible approval.

Two, to a certain extent I actually think favourites encourages more thoughtfulness. As Rhaomi pointed out above, having positive feedback on something you spent a long time on is an incredibly powerful feeling. Ideally, we would do what we do here on MeFi even without explicits pats on the back, but it's definitely nice to be acknowledged. When a comment that I spent half an hour crafting gets the "best-answer" mark, or a favourite or two (regardless of how other people use favourites), it means the time I put into my contribution meant something to someone else. Precisely because MeFi has very little methods of direct interaction otherwise (no threading, MeMail was introduced fairly recently), I think that mark of community recognition is important. Why would you participate in something that doesn't care if you're around?

I personally really like the favourites feature. I think it'd be neat if your favourites post page could have a tag cloud of the tags on those posts, and thereby facilitate the sorting mechanism (and I've brought it up in MeTa before). Further, I think the argument that "no one who's given thousands of comments will ever go back and check" is a bit disingenuous. I've given thousands of favourites, the vast majority of them to comments. I went into them just a couple of days ago to find a comment about the five love languages, and got caught up for a good hour or two skimming some truly excellent threads I'd forgotten about.

I can see why some people wouldn't like it, though I disagree with the thought process that resulted in those conclusions, but even so I think the benefits outweigh the costs.
posted by Phire at 1:56 PM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


The thing I really like about favorites is, when someone links to something cool in a comment, it's easy to find when I get home–if I favorite it.
posted by Mister_A at 1:57 PM on March 11, 2009


Much of the time, people aren't favoriting the comment or post itself. They're favoriting the username who posted it.

So . . . if you've established a reputation as a wit, as a MetaTalk Personality, the favorites will come to you much more easily than they will to people who are lower on the totem pole.

Your favorite count reflects your public profile on MetaFilter more than it reflects the quality of your contributions. Quality is not unimportant. If you projected a strong persona and wrote semi-literate youtube-ese, your count would still be low.
posted by jason's_planet at 1:59 PM on March 11, 2009


And apologies to all for taking public my perplexity with BP. I suppose email is better for that kind of thing.

Email is better for unprovoked mean-spirited ad hominem insults? Er, you might want to rethink the actual issue at work there, Afroblanco.
posted by mediareport at 2:04 PM on March 11, 2009


200 + comments. I'm always scratching my head as to why the moderators keep them open for so long. My guess is that sometimes we all need a spot to collectively vent upon for some form of stress relief. I believe that the question as to why favorites will not, in fact, be 'killed'. On the other hand there's a nice dialog going on about the actual nature of posting, participating, and being favored, so that's nice.

I guess I answered my own quesion, unless there is another reason?
posted by hellojed at 2:07 PM on March 11, 2009


I had roasted potatoes with rosemary and basil for dinner last night. Now that's a favorite!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:10 PM on March 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


Email is better for unprovoked mean-spirited ad hominem insults? Er, you might want to rethink the actual issue at work there, Afroblanco.

Hey, you don't have to go home, but you can't stay here.
posted by GuyZero at 2:24 PM on March 11, 2009


So . . . if you've established a reputation as a wit, as a MetaTalk Personality, the favorites will come to you much more easily than they will to people who are lower on the totem pole.

Your favorite count reflects your public profile on MetaFilter more than it reflects the quality of your contributions. Quality is not unimportant. If you projected a strong persona and wrote semi-literate youtube-ese, your count would still be low.


Wha? No, that I do not believe - maybe that's hat everyone is bitching about when they bitch about favorites, but no, I don't think that's the case in the majority of situations. I have no way of backing this statement up. I can tell you that the coffee I buy at Marcello (this Pizza/Italian goods store near me) (They've got some 'house blend' that is just so) and the coffee I love from Oslo (in Brooklyn) are both pretty comparable and great. The Illy I buy at the local market just is not as good. And, I drive better than my wife.
posted by From Bklyn at 2:24 PM on March 11, 2009


I'm always scratching my head as to why the moderators keep them open for so long.

It's meant to be a revenue generating tool by something something something.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:27 PM on March 11, 2009 [4 favorites]


I would just like to take this opportunity to say that I am so conditioned to having favourites that I now want to +1 things that people say in real life. I will actually stick my finger out a wee bit and do this, puzzling my conversation partners.
posted by By The Grace of God at 2:36 PM on March 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


Much of the time, people aren't favoriting the comment or post itself. They're favoriting the username who posted it. So . . . if you've established a reputation as a wit, as a MetaTalk Personality, the favorites will come to you much more easily than they will to people who are lower on the totem pole. Your favorite count reflects your public profile on MetaFilter more than it reflects the quality of your contributions.

I don't think that's entirely true- you're missing a piece of it, which is how active a user is. Active users get more favorites, not because they're more "well-known", they're just the ones who are around. I contact over 200 Metafilter members and my Contact Activity sidebar is nothing but favorites activity, so I see how things go. Those users who are more active get more favorites more often- but I've seen plenty of things from less active or less well-known people get lots of favorites. I don't think there's a totem pole so much as a level of general awareness that comes from being around.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:39 PM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


I would just like to take this opportunity to say that I am so conditioned to having favourites that I now want to +1 things that people say in real life.

I find myself doing this exact same thing on other forums I frequent. I'll see an intelligent, funny or interesting comment and think, "Aw damn, favorited!", and find no such button there. So instead I'll say "LOL" or "GG" or "Yes" or "I agree" or "Well said".
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:51 PM on March 11, 2009


I know I'm late, but...

'I-got-here-first-so-I-clearly-know-more-about-it-than-you' pose to strike.

Um. Have you not been here long enough to know that jessamyn is a mod? Of COURSE she knows more than you! She WORKS here! It's her JOB to know more about it than you do! Usernumbers, number of favorites, any other numerical data aside - if you don't know WHO the mods are, mayhaps you ought not to be publicly casting aspersions on their work and their "revenue generating schemes."

I'm not supposed to tell, but jessamyn gets a dollar anytime someone writes "DTMFA." That was one dollar right there. AskMe is a giant ponzi scheme.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:05 PM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Much of the time, people aren't favoriting the comment or post itself. They're favoriting the username who posted it.

Wait, how do you know this? It's not true at all for me. I am aware of the larger personalities here, have some opinions about their opinions, but none of that matters when I click the little plus sign. I am favoriting the comment or post itself.
posted by neroli at 3:21 PM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't agree with the idea that most people don't favourite the comment itself. I'd say I spend a significant amount of time on MeFi, but when I see a username, I only have a vague sense of "hey, that looks familiar, they post a lot" rather than an actual idea of what their stances are, unless they're very outspoken and axe-grindy or I've had some personal interaction with them in the past.

The number of active users on Metafilter is big enough that I think it's a bit ridiculous to say that the average MeFites plays at favouritism. At best, I'd say there's maybe a tendency to favourite something that already has a lot of favourites, even if the comment didn't strike you as that brilliant. But singling out individual usernames?

Plus, the comment structure at MeFi is such that you see the comment first, and then the username in smaller text. It really places an emphasis on the content, and not the author of the comments, which I think is a good thing. If you're checking who posted a comment before reading the comment, well, that's a different story entirely.
posted by Phire at 3:26 PM on March 11, 2009


I think that every time you click the + it should play a sound file of Whoopi Goldberg exclaiming "You go, girl!"

And every time you flag something as "noise" or "derail" it should play Jack Benny snapping "Now cut that out!"

Also, from now on, every Friday should be Bring Your Kitty to MetaFilter Day.
posted by Atom Eyes at 3:34 PM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


"It's meant to be a revenue generating tool by something something something."

It cost $273 to make this comment, so if y'all could just favorite it a couple of times to help me defray that…
posted by klangklangston at 3:35 PM on March 11, 2009


"I contact over 200 Metafilter members and my Contact Activity sidebar is nothing but favorites activity, so I see how things go."

Seriously? Damn. I hope you never decide to use your powers for evil.
posted by klangklangston at 3:37 PM on March 11, 2009


I'm using favorites entirely for charitable purposes. Every time you favorite one of my comments, a list of people who have pledged make a contribution to the Human Fund. Won't you please think of the children?
posted by found missing at 3:39 PM on March 11, 2009


Also, from now on, every Friday should be Bring Your Kitty to MetaFilter Day.

I thought that was Caturday!
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:42 PM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


You heartless bastards.
posted by found missing at 3:42 PM on March 11, 2009


Already taken, found missing.
posted by netbros at 3:49 PM on March 11, 2009


Here's the [ + ][ ! ] shirt, as seen here.
posted by mattdidthat at 3:55 PM on March 11, 2009


Please don't confuse being favorited with being popular. That's madness.

I think I earned my favorites, & I'm surprised when I get recognized by name.
posted by Pronoiac at 4:40 PM on March 11, 2009


Here's the [ + ][ ! ] shirt, as seen here.

Those shirts are a great idea in theory, but a total boyzone in execution, not unlike Metafilter itself.

What? I thought we were done talking about how favorites are destroying Metafilter, and could move on to how sexism is destroying Metafilter.
posted by donnagirl at 4:47 PM on March 11, 2009


Favorites are always trying to get Metafilter to stay out late and party when it should be home studying.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:07 PM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Favorites feed my child, put a roof over my head, paid... for... these... shoes! How dare you, sir; I say, how dare you?!

...what, I can't cash these in?

.....Yes, these shoes are made of bacon.
posted by not_on_display at 6:09 PM on March 11, 2009


I've never really minded favorites, although the other day I did see that someone favorited ThePinkSuperhero's dot in an obit thread, for Christ's sake. That kind of made me gag.
posted by adamdschneider at 6:18 PM on March 11, 2009


They make me think of "the network" in Verizon commercials. Every time you see a comment with favorites, it's like a silent group of users standing by in support of it.
posted by adamdschneider at 6:21 PM on March 11, 2009


I've never really minded favorites, although the other day I did see that someone favorited ThePinkSuperhero's dot in an obit thread, for Christ's sake.

Hurm
.
posted by Bookhouse at 6:34 PM on March 11, 2009


yikes
posted by found missing at 6:50 PM on March 11, 2009


Bookhouse, that might be the weirdest and possibly most disturbing thing I've seen on metafilter.
posted by rtha at 6:52 PM on March 11, 2009


Further illumination.
posted by Rhaomi at 6:55 PM on March 11, 2009


Backstory.
posted by dersins at 6:56 PM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Would the jury please disregard my "yikes"
posted by found missing at 6:58 PM on March 11, 2009


Okay, whew. It's just weird, not disturbing. Thanks for the backstory.
posted by rtha at 7:02 PM on March 11, 2009


There are no other MetaFilter members nearby, sorry.

I sincerely hope that's because he's in the Kingston Pen, and not near his students.
posted by gman at 7:12 PM on March 11, 2009


Fuck you. In this dire economy I count on the quarterly residuals from my favorites for my whiskey money. And if I don't get my whiskey money I don't get my whiskey. Which mean I am sober. Which means I beat my children because they remind me of my failures and they go to bed hungry.

YOU ARE TAKING THE FOOD OUT MY BABBIES MOUTHS ...via my unnecessary sobriety.
posted by tkchrist at 7:53 PM on March 11, 2009


Are you beating your children so hard that they can't chew or swallow? Because dude, stop beating them about the head & neck. Stick with the stomach.

Or, I suppose, are you beating your children so hard that they vomit up the food they'd eaten? Because dude, stop beating them about the stomach. Stick with the head & neck.
posted by Lemurrhea at 8:04 PM on March 11, 2009


YOU ARE TAKING THE FOOD OUT MY BABBIES MOUTHS

Food pre-chewed by babbies contains special enzymes that make it magicallyfuckindelicious. All serious gourmands (or as they are know in America, gluttonous slobs) know this.
posted by jonmc at 8:14 PM on March 11, 2009


Since I stopped cutting, favorites are the only thing that make me feel alive.

Please don't take them away from me.
posted by Evangeline at 8:17 PM on March 11, 2009 [4 favorites]


Or, I suppose, are you beating your children so hard that they vomit up the food they'd eaten? Because dude, stop beating them about the stomach. Stick with the head & neck.

Well see when I'm sober I get ahead of myself and send them to their rooms without supper and THEN attempt beat them. But often they have scampered off in obedience to my former order that they go to their rooms without supper and I am left swatting at the air.

When I'm drunk I'm lulled into loving them. Then I pass out on the couch peaceful like whilst they rifle through my pockets and steal my quarterly favorites residual monies to go buy candy with it. The little ragamuffins.
posted by tkchrist at 8:31 PM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


"I had a problem controlling my alcohol usage, therefore YOU must have a problem too!"...

I never meant to suggest you did. I meant to suggest sidr did.

Erm, with the favorites, I mean. He can drink whatever he wants for all I care.
posted by ook at 8:34 PM on March 11, 2009


okay! i accept my follies, ziegfield and otherwise. favorites are here to stay! might as well embrace them ya?

one final finale request: can we shut this thread when the number of comments reaches a power of three and/or four? 343 is up next.
posted by sidr at 8:57 PM on March 11, 2009


The next number that has as factors only powers of 3 and/or 4 is 324 = (34 * 4).
But let's just let it die organically.
posted by Lemurrhea at 9:09 PM on March 11, 2009


Yeah, like a beached whale.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:37 PM on March 11, 2009


Longboat is loooooonnnnng.

*dodges*
posted by Phire at 9:42 PM on March 11, 2009


Seems like someone should devise some GMO fly larvae that could reduce a beached whale carcass to bones in 24 hours.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:48 PM on March 11, 2009


If you hollowed out a beached whale, it could make a pretty decent longboat.

Well, any whale, I suppose. But it seems easier on a beach than in the water.
posted by Lemurrhea at 9:49 PM on March 11, 2009


NO DON'T KILL FAVORITES DON'T LISTEN TO HIM HE WILL ONLY HURT YOU
posted by tehloki at 10:16 PM on March 11, 2009 [10 favorites]


Also it pleases me that I am occasionally discussed in MetaTalk. Statistical outliers ahoy!
posted by tehloki at 10:17 PM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


All-Stars of the Clever Riposte
"What point there might be to someone putting all his creative sweat into a 1,700-word exegesis on the cultural status of Bonobo apes, which a few hundred strangers might read, can be partially explained by a writer’s desire to be recognized within an online community, Mr. Poe said. On MetaFilter, readers can mark other users’ comments as a favorite, and commenters derive pride from how many times they have been “favorited,” he said."
My emphasis.
posted by tellurian at 10:37 PM on March 11, 2009


Goddamnit, I'm sick of this. When do we get to burn an effigy?
posted by Afroblanco at 10:38 PM on March 11, 2009


Why stop at one effigy when we can burn 2000 effigies?
posted by grouse at 10:58 PM on March 11, 2009


one final finale request: can we shut this thread

AH HA HA HA HA HA.

Nice try, noob. No, we will not turn off the snark. We're not done yet.
posted by ryanrs at 11:49 PM on March 11, 2009


312 comments and no mention of the moon fulla irrational moonjuice beaming down?

NOOBS.

*strips naked, lights the couch on fire and runs howling into the brush*
posted by loquacious at 1:20 AM on March 12, 2009


All this "noob" talk reminds me of my time at McDonald's.

Like any workplace staffed mostly by teenagers and the adults who sign their paychecks, new people went through an initiation of sorts. They were "jumped in", only without all that punching and kicking. Instead, they were sent on a sesame seed run.

The trick was to wait until a rush (preferably, a dinner rush, which were more hectic and lasted longer). All four registers manned, eight deep at the counter, ten or more cars in the drive thru. All the grill monkeys running around, bumping into and sliding past each other to get food cooked, wrapped and bagged in one big sweaty, greasy, polyblend-clad mosh pit. That was when you ran up into the new guy, seemingly in a panic, and bark, "We're almost out of sesame seeds! Run down to the basement and get some more sesame seeds. Now! Go!" So the new guy would scamper down into the basement, frantically rooting through shelves for the sesame seeds, and would eventually come back up empty-handed.

Of course you don't let it end there. You have to stumble upon to the new guy, breathless, "Well?" And when he says he couldn't find the sesame seeds, you'd act completely flabbergasted. "You shitting me? It's a giant 50 pound bag that says SESAME SEEDS on it in big black letters. Here." Hand him a Large drink cup. "You don't gotta drag the whole thing up, just scoop some seeds out of the bag. Cmon! Hurry! We're out! Gogogo!"

And away he'd run again. Only he usually wouldn't want to come up a second time, after being told the giant bag of sesame seeds was the Most Obvious Thing in the World to find down there. Nor would he want to be hanging out down in the basement during a dinner rush. Invariably, the McDonald's noob would be spotted pacing the basement frantically, an empty Large drink cup in his hand, and told the buns come with the seeds already on them.

Ah, minimum wage.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:35 AM on March 12, 2009 [25 favorites]


Maybe we could get Mechanical Turk to read this thread; just comments and usernames, then have that be the monthly podcast. I'd favorite that.
posted by From Bklyn at 1:35 AM on March 12, 2009


300 comments? damn

I agree with the premise of this post.

I also agree making favorites only visible by the favorite-er would be a simple technological solution.

I think the important question would be for the mods to ask themselves "how does public favoriting improve the site"?

Excellent comments could still be flagged via the flag system, and is already in place. Favorites should be bookmarks to find stuff later. Not a public declaration of approval.

Whenever I favorite something, that is how I use it. I often don't even remember that my favoriting is publicly visible unless this discussion comes up.
posted by Ynoxas at 6:53 AM on March 12, 2009


I think the important question would be for the mods to ask themselves "how does public favoriting improve the site"?

Actually, as it's a well-used, liked, multipurpose site feature, which only some people see (subjectively) any harm in, I think the question is "what objective harm is this causing the site?"

As far as I can see, none.
posted by Happy Dave at 7:32 AM on March 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Excellent comments could still be flagged via the flag system, and is already in place. Favorites should be bookmarks to find stuff later. Not a public declaration of approval.

Oh, and this? Your and sidr's (already revised) opinion. Without any real evidence that it would improve the 'quality' of the site, if that could even be defined. I.e. not a basis for change of an established feature.

Right, I'm off to the favourites tagging thread to read about how we're going to add to the feature that apparently brings some people so much grief.
posted by Happy Dave at 7:36 AM on March 12, 2009


I am an objective and remorseless arbiter of whether this site has gone downhill due to the introduction of favorites in the last nine or so years.

I am incapable of being wrong and I am incapable of lying.*

My verdict is that favoriting has not had a deleterious effect on anything.

This thread may now be closed. Please return to your normal duties.

*Note: May not actually be true. However, check out my usernumber. I've been here for fucking years, man. That's got to count for something.
posted by Jofus at 7:39 AM on March 12, 2009


STFU, n00b.
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:50 AM on March 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


Favorites should be bookmarks to find stuff later.

Out of curiosity, if this is really what they "should" be, why are they called "favorites" and not "bookmarks"?
posted by toomuchpete at 8:51 AM on March 12, 2009


We useta call 'em assless pants, but some of the chaps around here chafed.
posted by Mister_A at 9:14 AM on March 12, 2009


But also look at the favorites of people that show life, or anecdote...

And that's why I favourited jonmc's comment.
posted by gman


Well, since jonmc throws out 10 one liners per thread, you should be running out of favorites very soon. Whatcha gonna do then?
posted by Dennis Murphy at 12:42 PM on March 12, 2009


I like wearing shoes but only when I'm wearing socks. Sandals and Flip-Flops and those weird plastic thingys don't count as shoes. They're footwear. Trees are also great unless you fall out of one, or you cat gets stuck in one or if it falls on your house. Sunshine is great unless you get too much and then you get sunburn and that hurts. Ouch! I like food unless it's yucky, or if I have a tummy ache then I don't want food. Is this thread done yet?
posted by ob at 4:30 PM on March 12, 2009


You want to see some abuse of the favorites system? Watch this shit:

Every time someone favorites one of my comments, I'll favorite any other comment you like, from any user.
posted by Mikey-San at 6:36 PM on March 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


There. I request you favorite this one.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:39 PM on March 12, 2009


Did you have that bookmarked or something?

oh god what have i done
posted by Mikey-San at 7:36 PM on March 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't know what I want you to favorite yet, but I'll keep favoriting your comments as I go along, can you please bank those for me? kthxbye
posted by grouse at 7:41 PM on March 12, 2009


HELLO :D
posted by turgid dahlia at 7:48 PM on March 12, 2009


Seriously though how come my "how many times should I call her?" comment in AskMe is getting so many favourites? Where are they coming from? I refuse to believe people trawl back that far into Ask looking for stuff to help with. I want to know who is responsible!
posted by turgid dahlia at 7:50 PM on March 12, 2009


"contact activity" sidebar on the blue? i think it shows all posts, questions & best answers from contacts, but only shows comments if they pass a certain threshold of favouritedness - i think ten faves might be the rule.

hit that display threshold, and suddenly everybody who has 'contacted' you can see that you've probably made a good or funny comment, whereupon they might pop by to read it.

it's essentially a revenue-generating tool. the idea is that people will fork out for ten sockpuppets in order to project their comments into the extra bonus round feature of rapid favetasticness.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:08 PM on March 12, 2009


But but but, I don't have like 80 contacts.

You'd think with all the revenue being generated around here they could afford a professional wh-...never mind.
posted by turgid dahlia at 8:10 PM on March 12, 2009


you just never let up on that whale masturbation thing, do you? look, a dedicated amateur is always going to do a better job than a pro who's only in it for the money. i have no idea why you refuse to accept that.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:20 PM on March 12, 2009


Yeah, like you'd say no to a handjob if you were lying on a beach.
posted by turgid dahlia at 8:30 PM on March 12, 2009


if i was lying i might say no.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:35 PM on March 12, 2009


Wiseguy.
posted by turgid dahlia at 8:44 PM on March 12, 2009


shows comments if they pass a certain threshold of favouritedness - i think ten faves might be the rule
I think it's 14. So that means an extra $20 (or $30.60 in real money) for the cabal retirement fund.
posted by dg at 8:45 PM on March 12, 2009


Hm - Best Job in the World, so long as we're talking about beaches and hands.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:58 PM on March 12, 2009


I think it's 14.

It's twelve, actually.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:15 PM on March 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


"...coached women for sexually explicit films."

I've never seen anything like that on Seek.
posted by turgid dahlia at 9:22 PM on March 12, 2009


You need a purpose in life, dude.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:25 PM on March 12, 2009


I don't think that's entirely true- you're missing a piece of it, which is how active a user is. Active users get more favorites, not because they're more "well-known", they're just the ones who are around.

Even if the process is not as crude as I'm making it out to be, people aren't evaluating comments and posts purely on the merits. People are still favoriting the username as much as they're favoriting what's actually said.

It's not really that important. But when I read about people who say that they won't read posts that haven't received, say, at least twenty favorites, I think this criticism is worth mentioning.
posted by jason's_planet at 9:59 PM on March 12, 2009


Like yours, which seems to be riding my fucking ass around this website?
posted by turgid dahlia at 10:00 PM on March 12, 2009


Ghod, I've missed it here...
posted by baylink at 10:00 PM on March 12, 2009


uhh that comment meant for burhanistan, not jason's_planet
posted by turgid dahlia at 10:00 PM on March 12, 2009


Turgid dahlia, maybe if you would shit all over the place.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:11 PM on March 12, 2009


oops, would not. Whatever. Shit away, creep.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:11 PM on March 12, 2009


Really Burhanistan this lily-livered smirktastic snarkhattery of yours is becoming a little tiresome. I don't much care that you don't like me or the things I say but you're not exactly the sort of person who keeps their mouth shut or their fingers still unless they've got something cock-blisteringly important to say and further to that you're getting vaguely stalkerish with your snipes because whenever I see your name appearing after mine my first reaction is "oh I wonder what old mate has to say about me now" and in conclusion, I hope your head falls off.
posted by turgid dahlia at 10:16 PM on March 12, 2009


Don't you just love Fridays? I honestly couldn't get through a work week down under if they weren't entirely devoted to drinking beer in the office.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:23 PM on March 12, 2009


oh, and feel the wrath of his bombast!
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:27 PM on March 12, 2009


Even if the process is not as crude as I'm making it out to be, people aren't evaluating comments and posts purely on the merits. People are still favoriting the username as much as they're favoriting what's actually said.

You've said that at least twice now and I still have no idea why you think that. How do you know that that's what's going on? What evidence do you have that what you're saying is true?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:30 PM on March 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


Previous comment was favorited 75% because I agree completely, 25% because, c'mon, it's ThePinkSuperhero, y'know?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:56 PM on March 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


you're getting vaguely stalkerish

MeTa is a small neighborhood, and, like most here, you're a pair of bigmouths. I'm sure one of the mathy people could whip up some sort of probability graph showing that what is often classified as stalkerism is actually just people with too much time on their hands.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:59 PM on March 12, 2009


I wouldn't have faved alvy's comment if it had been made by Mr President Dr Steve Elvis America, because I think that guy's a bit of a dick.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:17 PM on March 12, 2009


Vaguely stalkerish? Uh, whatever this is? It has me making a face. I reject your failed humor and substitute my own. You got puffed up because your "I'm A Knob Lol" MeTa brought out polite silence and soul bumps from whoever can stomach your crudity of tongue and mind or else thinks it strikes a fratboy note we need around here. Since you woke up today you've been EXTRA boorish. I say this with love.

Not really, I'm sorry, wishful thinking.

Don't even think of engaging me in goofy pointed banter during my 90 minute train commute after the last 12 hour day of midterms. SPRNG BREAK WOOOO. I don't banter with you. This is the point beyond banter. You. Boor. The end. Nothing else I need to say. I like the ol' touch o' banter but I prefer users who... know vaginal functions, say. The anal sex humor - is it a cry for help? Yeah, I get to laugh at you forever on that now. That's lurk moar for ya.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:04 AM on March 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


wtf are you talking about? You were all over the place earlier in that thread!
posted by turgid dahlia at 12:42 AM on March 13, 2009


And, y'know, further to that, I know I snipped at you in that vagina thread but I explained it and elaborated (curiously, that was deleted, but I guess you didn't see that, or if you did you've locked into a holding pattern thanks to my original response to you), but yeah, you did break into it with a pretty churlish "guyz r so stoopied!" Male-Answer-Syndrome response, which was fucking unnecessary and I was a bit taken aback by that since I was simply trying to be helpful. So, the gist of it is: you were a bitch, I was an asshole, I apologised, everything got unpublished, and I don't know what you are talking about with this "90 minute train commute after the last 12 hour day of midterms" because you seem to be making the fatal assumption that I give a fuck but I don't and life is tough all over.
posted by turgid dahlia at 12:51 AM on March 13, 2009


Humorless. Guh, when need humor meets cultural references, too often what you get is just a big, embarassing CLUNK. I mean, why can't a Samurai have a mullet? Because that would be too, too infectiously silly? Then your game sucks. Oh, he can, you were just joshing? Well, adding "mullet" actually doesnt mske something funny. That's a swirly, pizzaface.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 6:09 AM on March 13 [2 favorites +] [!]


testing. Need. Need. Oh, Apple. You've forgotten where you came from... Not knowing the word "nerd?!" Woz doesn't work there anymore, I see! Hmm. Need. Need, eh? Perhaps you're just much wiser than I thought.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 6:14 AM on March 13 [+] [!]


This is the stuff I was talking about incidentally. That's just drunken rambling to my eyes and I actually meant it in a nice way, but whatever, you stay in your snit and I'll, I dunno, go mow the lawn or something.
posted by turgid dahlia at 12:56 AM on March 13, 2009


great. now this place has become the home of the bizarre rant.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:52 AM on March 13, 2009


shit, it really has. TPS' bizarre rant in a very recent "best friends" askme is the most weirdass mishmash of projection & strawmannishly treating similes as if they were meant literally that i've seen in decades, if not centuries.

sloppy work all round, from an otherwise very sound askme contributor. one of those comments that has one thinking "well, *obviously* they're drunk as a skunk; why can't everybody see that?!??"
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:15 AM on March 13, 2009


I wish there were a way to vote for the comments I agree with re: who needs to shut up every now and then and who needs to make an effort to take metafilter/themselves a little more/less seriously. But I only have this bookmark button.
posted by Balonious Assault at 7:21 AM on March 13, 2009


i like favorites as a way to mark a particular answer of an askme or blue that i found funny or smart or whatev.

i like Balonius Assault's idea tho!

perhaps a bizarre rant button should be in order....
posted by sio42 at 7:37 AM on March 13, 2009


I think people with more "favorited by others" than comments should be granted special privileges.
posted by diogenes at 7:37 AM on March 13, 2009


diogenes: due to your "favorited by others":comments ratio, you have been selected for special privileges.

in order to claim your privileges, a small processing fee is required. my agent Mr MBOKO NGABOMBOROMBO (son of ex-FINANCE MINSTER of Upper Volta) will be in touch shortly to arrange matters to mutually beneficial conclusion, the Good Lord willing & the creek don't rise.

Yours faithfully,

Lt Col General Admiral the Rt Hon Ubu Roivas

Chief Second Assistant Commissioner to the Secretary of State (in exile)
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:06 AM on March 13, 2009


You've said that at least twice now and I still have no idea why you think that. How do you know that that's what's going on? What evidence do you have that what you're saying is true?

This topic doesn't lend itself so well to empirical observation or evidence-gathering. We're not talking about the outside air temperature in Central Park. We're talking about human communication and human relationships which are by nature deeply subjective. So, no, I can't prove that this particular joke was 20% funnier than that one and would have gotten x favorites if the poster had been at this objectively verifiable spot in the food chain. That's not what I'm arguing.

I am arguing that there are certain informal structures in place here that guarantee that some people are heard more loudly than others and that those structures influence favorite counts as well. (This is a good place to mention a post I did a couple of years ago: The Tyranny of Structurelessness. Brief recap: all groups have structures. Even if you reject structure and hierarchies for political reasons, your group will create informal structures anyway.) There's nothing horrible about this. In fact, it's pretty normal. And it's not entirely unfair, either. Quality still plays a role in how people pick favorites. I just don't think that people should take favorites so seriously because they are, at best, an imperfect guide to the quality of a post or comment.

All of which is a long-winded and pretentious way of saying that I agree with drjimmy11's comment above.
posted by jason's_planet at 1:15 PM on March 13, 2009


"People are still favoriting the username as much as they're favoriting what's actually said. "

I favorite PinkSuperhero's comments because I was a jerk to her once and I feel bad when I watch America's Next Top Model.
posted by klangklangston at 1:26 PM on March 13, 2009


::lol::
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:33 PM on March 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Much of the time, people aren't favoriting the comment or post itself. They're favoriting the username who posted it.

I never do that. I cannot provide evidence that others don't do that as well but you can't provide evidence that they do so in other words, let's make massive generalizations without any ground to stand on.
posted by juiceCake at 7:24 AM on March 14, 2009


Whoo, totally missed how angry this thread got, how quickly. Go go MeTa!
posted by Phire at 11:51 AM on March 14, 2009


This topic doesn't lend itself so well to empirical observation or evidence-gathering. We're not talking about the outside air temperature in Central Park. We're talking about human communication and human relationships which are by nature deeply subjective.

Yes, but even within the fields of human communication and human relationships there are things you can point to, to back up your claim of a dynamic at work, that could lend itself to the subjective judgement of others. In the case of favorites, people just keep saying, "Some comments get favorited because of the user name" without showing anything, subjective or otherwise that indicates that this is the case. Not even some cherry-picked side-by-side comparison (i.e., "OK, look this unfunny comment by Popular User received 30 favorites while this hilarious comment from Unknown Plebe received none!").

So on what is this claim based, then? ESP?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:00 PM on March 14, 2009


So on what is this claim based, then? ESP?

It's based on two and a half years of hanging out here, posting actively and paying attention to the social dynamics at work.

At some point, it occurred to me that the playing field is not entirely level, that some users' statements carry more weight than those of others. Is it really so outrageous to think that the allocation of favorites might reflect this uneven playing field as well?

I'm terribly sorry that I can't offer hard data to back this up, that these two users are equally witty but this guy has a higher rank because of his more reliably liberal politics. But I've still seen this process at work and I think that it is relevant to this particular discussion.

I'm a little surprised at the strong reaction I've gotten here. Do you guys really think the allocation of favorites is a neutral process? Do you think that users' reputation and history play no role in how their comments are received?

And just to repeat myself: [The process is not] entirely unfair, either. Quality still plays a role in how people pick favorites. I just don't think that people should take favorites so seriously because they are, at best, an imperfect guide to the quality of a post or comment.
posted by jason's_planet at 2:18 PM on March 14, 2009


I would argue that people don't really know why they don't like favorites, and that doesn't mean it isn't justified. Perhaps the reasoning is so sound that it is culturally or subjectively elusive, but they don't like the experience of considering their value, as if a corruption, regardless of the incentive to sockpuppet. How many people could identify the subtle issues in a lopsided voting system anyway? I suggest limiting favorites to a statistical range. If people don't like them, they can keep the average low, and vice versa.
posted by Brian B. at 2:22 PM on March 14, 2009


Do you think that users' reputation and history play no role in how their comments are received?

I guess my feeling is that there's no such thing as a "neutral" action here on MeFi, or anywhere. Everything is contextualized by who you are, what you've done, how your day is going, how other people's days are going etc. So in that respect it's not surprising that some people get more favorites than others. I think cortex and I are kidding ourselves if we don't htink that people fave stuff we say because we're mods whether that means they want to remember it, hurl it back at us later or whatever.

I see this response from people sometimes whose commetns we've removed from AskMe "Well soandso's comment was just like mine and you removed mine and not theirs because you like them more!"

My response, generally (besides the "there are no such things as identical comments" angle) is that we don't make moderator decisions based on how much we like someone -- and go to some pains to keep that true actually -- but if someone is not likeable on the site, they'll get flagged more and we'll see their comments more and people will fight with them more. There's a difference between having unlikeable opinions, which should be okay, and presenting them in an unlikable manner which is less okay. Explaining to people that they should call people assholes less and they'll probably see less comments deleted form AskMe, seems to not suffice.

In a texty community like this one, you're really the sum of everything you've ever done here, like it or not. That goes for favoriting as well as all the other social whuffie you get here.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:04 PM on March 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Do you guys really think the allocation of favorites is a neutral process? Do you think that users' reputation and history play no role in how their comments are received?

Like Jessamyn said, I think part of the difficulty with this is that there isn't really ever a neutral context available for this stuff. I think that, certainly, a user's reputation and history plays a role in how all of their on-site behavior is perceived and received, in one way or another, and I'm not so sure that any of the folks questioning the validity of your "people favorite usernames, not comments" assertion would deny that that effect may exist at all in general.

But, for one, there's a huge question of degree here. Granted that user A's past interactions with and readings of user B may somehow color their inclination or disinclination to favorite user B's new comment or post, how significant is that past baggage compared to the actual content and quality of the new contribution?

My position is that I question not the likely existence but the significance of that reputation-whammy among all the other factors involved. Can it have an effect? Probably. Is the net effect something that's significantly skewing aggregate favoriting behavior? I honestly doubt it.

And while I don't think there's anything wrong with speculating about the size of the effect or talking about it, I'd bet that most people who have the same "this is not a sizeable problem" take on it find the assertion a little chafing because it seems like a pretty divisive thing to claim when the effect is likely so small. The assertion sounds a bit like a condemnation or a corruption charge, which is probably way overselling what you meant to suggest but that's sort of the flavor of what it summons up.

Reputation effects I worry about far, far more are the personal grudge matches that boil over into comment behavior (something we see more of than I would like, even if most folks are pretty good about not going there most of the time) or sort of grudgematch-by-proxy stuff where folks with no investment in an old clash will nonetheless pick up on the history of it and attack a user or a reiterate the old point of conflict anyway. My concern over the deleterious effects of that kind of active reputation effect so dwarfs my concern over any suspected subtle whammy in favoriting trends that, again, it can feel a little obnoxious to have the latter pushed out there like it's a real site issue.

Not to say that you were in any way trying to be obnoxious about it; I'm just trying to pin down where the reaction is coming from for me personally and where it might be coming from others as well.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:59 PM on March 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


speaking for myself only, i think i'd be slightly more inclined to fave the exact same comment if it came from somebody i recognise and feel i have a bit of a rapport with, as opposed to a completely unrecognised user. you could think of it as a bit of a friendly pat on the back or something, but that's about the extent of the bias.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:24 PM on March 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's not abnormal to favorite comments by your friends; they can be funnier to you if you know how they're being delivered. There a fun element of "ha ha, you would say that, dude," or "oh, nicely done, kiddo!" going on. With people you don't know by name, even, there's less of a way of knowing if an idea is really extraordinary.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:15 PM on March 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I think we naturally view potentially favourite-worthy comments by people we know in a more positive light, just because we have a bit more context around the comment and less "wonder what that person really means" dialogue going on inside our heads (or between them, if you were born in Tasmania). I don't see that as bias, just that a favourite for someone we know is less effort and we're lazy.
posted by dg at 3:43 AM on March 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


jessamyn: In a texty community like this one, you're really the sum of everything you've ever done here, like it or not. That goes for favoriting as well as all the other social whuffie you get here.

Yeah, I agree.

cortex: But, for one, there's a huge question of degree here. Granted that user A's past interactions with and readings of user B may somehow color their inclination or disinclination to favorite user B's new comment or post, how significant is that past baggage compared to the actual content and quality of the new contribution?

My position is that I question not the likely existence but the significance of that reputation-whammy among all the other factors involved. Can it have an effect? Probably. Is the net effect something that's significantly skewing aggregate favoriting behavior? I honestly doubt it
.

I respectfully disagree. I think it can have a pretty large effect, especially for people who voice unpopular, right-wing politics. But I suspect we're just going to have to agree to disagree. And I can't really think of a formal solution, other than asking members to value everyone equally, which isn't gonna happen any time soon.

cortex:

The assertion sounds a bit like a condemnation or a corruption charge, which is probably way overselling what you meant to suggest but that's sort of the flavor of what it summons up . . . My concern over the deleterious effects of that kind of active reputation effect so dwarfs my concern over any suspected subtle whammy in favoriting trends that, again, it can feel a little obnoxious to have the latter pushed out there like it's a real site issue.


Gee, I'm sorry if it came across as moralizing. That wasn't my intention at all. Just pointing out the favoriting system is imperfect and because of those imperfections, people shouldn't take it so seriously. No moral outrage intended there. None.

But I do appreciate you and Jessamyn taking the time to compose these thoughtful responses. Thanks!
posted by jason's_planet at 3:08 PM on March 15, 2009


Brian B. I suggest limiting favorites to a statistical range. If people don't like them, they can keep the average low, and vice versa.

Not sure if I follow you. Could you elaborate on this?
posted by jason's_planet at 3:10 PM on March 15, 2009


I'm terribly sorry that I can't offer hard data to back this up, that these two users are equally witty but this guy has a higher rank because of his more reliably liberal politics. But I've still seen this process at work and I think that it is relevant to this particular discussion.

I've observed things around here to and I believe that to be utter bullshit, but I'm terribly sorry I can't offer hard data to back that up. We two are of a kind, you and I.
posted by juiceCake at 3:21 PM on March 15, 2009


especially for people who voice unpopular, right-wing politics.

I guess my feeling is "unpopular blogger is unpopular." People favorite people more who are nicer, probably. They favorite people less who are less nice. It's impossible to tell whether people are not getting favorites because of their opinions or because of their approach. My general feeling is that people who stay at MeFi who have very oppositional opinions (and I'm differentiating opinions from say race or class or gender) to the majority of members here get something of value of being around people who don't share their beliefs. Whether this is because they're prostletyzers or because they just like the level of discourse here or because they enjoy being fighty, I don't know and I think we can't know.

Unless favorites are redeemable for cash or beer, who cares if people get more favorites because people know them or for any other reason? I guess this may be my disconnect with the discussion here. People favorite for different reasons and they're all okay. You can favorite for spite for all I care. It's just a little community tic mark. My feeling is that you can't have a favoriting system by definition because once you have created a mechanism to make distinctions between community members that is subjective, you introduce uncertainty and I feel more than anything else this is what people are agitated about at a base level.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:23 PM on March 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


I respectfully disagree. I think it can have a pretty large effect, especially for people who voice unpopular, right-wing politics.

Yeah, again, I think that's both way overvaluing the power of favorites to shape discourse and, specifically, way overvaluing the power of reputation-whammy "friend effects" skew in favorites specifically as a significant issue. I'll take a hundred shades-of-tribalism favorites in a thread in exchange for the absence of an obnoxious loudmouth, any day, for example.

But I suspect we're just going to have to agree to disagree.

Yeah, fair. I don't think it's nuts to postulate the effects you're talking about, but I haven't gotten the same impression from observing this place in action over the last several years, so we're probably going to be stuck at odds on it.

Just pointing out the favoriting system is imperfect and because of those imperfections, people shouldn't take it so seriously.

As one of the people who doesn't take favorites very seriously, I'm right there with you.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:11 PM on March 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


favorites are redeemable for cash or beer

FINALLY!
posted by dersins at 2:12 PM on March 16, 2009


Ironic snark favourites can be redeemed for PBR.

Favourites for comments showing intelligence, discretion & taste are rewarded with Coopers Pale Ale.

Anything to do with plus-sized ladies or dinosaur rock bands can only be redeemed for Budweiser.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:06 PM on March 16, 2009


"Brian B. I suggest limiting favorites to a statistical range. If people don't like them, they can keep the average low, and vice versa."

Not sure if I follow you. Could you elaborate on this?


If the personal limit for giving favorites was based on the average number of favorites, or distribution, then it would be less arbitary and everyone would have input. The way to increase that limit would be to have more people demand it by simply using the feature more.
posted by Brian B. at 4:29 PM on March 16, 2009


...everyone would have input.

How does everyone not have input with the current system? Each person can favorite 100 things a day, and they cannot favorite the same thing more than once. The only requirements for clicking the check to add a favorite to something are being a member of Metafilter, having not used your personal limit of favorites for the day, and not having already favorited whatever it is you want to favorite. Seems to me, everyone (who is a member of Mefi) has equal input on favorites. Some just choose to not use them.
posted by Orb at 10:23 AM on March 17, 2009


How does everyone not have input with the current system?

Specifically, I was referring to input about the favorites policy. Here are some examples of normal distribution (see the second red bar graph). It wouldn't take much imagination to see it used as a limit policy. (If it reflected demand of usage on a daily basis, it would therefore be a function of our collective input.)

Anytime there is a voting or compensation function, there will be issues. Personally, I'm more interested in how people use the function to "second" another poster's opinion, because this isn't anything to do with favorites, but it is disguised so.
posted by Brian B. at 10:10 AM on March 21, 2009


We need a system that can be explained to the average user in about 15 seconds or through a quick email. As much as I think your idea is an interesting one from a policy perspective, it's hell from an enforcement perspective [getting a ton of "how come I could favorite 34 things yesterday but only 31 today??" email is not something I look forward to]. With a big community, experiments in fluctuating limits like this are just not something we could easily implement.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:19 AM on March 21, 2009


tl;dr
Ha. When I read other sights, I am frustrated by being unable to mark favourites. Some favourites get marked by me because I agree, some because I found the remark clever/funny, and some because they offer outstanding insight into the topic. What exactly is wrong with that?

The ones with which I agree, often I am emphatic about it, as in, Oh, finally! Someone said what needed saying!
posted by Goofyy at 11:45 PM on March 25, 2009


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