[1,000,000 favorites+][!] May 26, 2010 10:59 AM   Subscribe

Very small idea regarding favorites.

Currently, if a comment has favorites and you hover over it, the tooltip says, "x users have marked this as a favorite." What if the tooltip included the names of the people who favorited it, when favorites were under a certain number? So instead, it would say, "the following users favorited this comment: person a, person b, person c." I suppose clicking could be a deliberate degree of separation to make this a non-important issue, but if someone is hovering to get the information, they would probably click to get it, as well, which would save on page calls. If the number of favorites was too large to make the tooltip reasonably sized, it could revert back to the former behavior, or append something like "...person c, +56 others."
posted by SpacemanStix to Feature Requests at 10:59 AM (67 comments total)

ATTACK OF THE PONIES WEEK CONTINUES, STAY TUNED
posted by Think_Long at 11:04 AM on May 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


This appears to be a solution in search of a problem.
posted by dnesan at 11:06 AM on May 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Not so much a solution to a problem as a feature request.
posted by SpacemanStix at 11:09 AM on May 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


Currently, if a comment has favorites

Man, I turned that option off so fast I'd forgotten it even existed.
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:09 AM on May 26, 2010


You do realise, if you click on the "has favorites" link, it already shows you a list of who favourited and when, just as it does if you have favourite counts visible?
posted by Electric Dragon at 11:13 AM on May 26, 2010


which would save on page calls.

It'd save us from the load of some number of clicks through to list-of-favoriters pages, but it'd cost us a little extra computation and load for every single thread pageload ever.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:16 AM on May 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


Could it be an on-demand AJAXy thing, ie, not a pre-rendered list, but a call to render that list?

Note: I have no dog in this pony.
posted by dirtdirt at 11:24 AM on May 26, 2010


Do not want.
posted by smackfu at 11:24 AM on May 26, 2010


Oh, just the tooltip. Then I change my vote to "do not care".
posted by smackfu at 11:25 AM on May 26, 2010


I too thought of the same pony a while back! But then imaginary cortex appeared over my shoulder and said something like special-k, dude, you know we're not going to do this right?

I abandoned my quest for the pony and instead attacked a bag of pirate's booty. mmm, pirate's booty.


It's true. Imaginary cortex and imaginary Jessamyn stop me from doing many bad things here on Mefi. Their influence on me is inversely proportional to my BAC.
posted by special-k at 11:29 AM on May 26, 2010 [5 favorites]


Note: I have no dog in this pony.

Inside of a pony it's too dark to read.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 11:29 AM on May 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


but it'd cost us a little extra computation and load for every single thread pageload ever

Yeah, that's a good point.

I think I'll take my pony out back and put him down now.
posted by SpacemanStix at 11:30 AM on May 26, 2010


As a workaround, we could all memail you every time we favorite a comment in a thread with comment ID as the subject. Then all you have to do is sort by subject and voila!

However since there is no sort option in memail, you may want to post another thread for that pony.
posted by special-k at 11:34 AM on May 26, 2010


Send me an email when you implement a feature that shows you who is going to favorite a comment BEFORE they do. Then I'll be interested.

Interested like a fox.
posted by blue_beetle at 11:35 AM on May 26, 2010


I have been thinking about this too -- I hate the extra page-load, especially on long threads -- but of course realize that cortex is right about the increased load time/weight on every thread ever.

Maybe there is a greasemonkey-ish ajaxy solution like dirtdirt says? (not volunteering.)
posted by librarina at 11:41 AM on May 26, 2010


I hate the extra page-load, especially on long threads

Do you mean in terms of clicking through to the favorites list and then going back to the (long) thread and having to reload that? Personally I just middle-click an x favorites link to pop it open in a new tab and never leave the original thread.

I middle click an awful lot of things, actually, but part of that is doing mod stuff on the fly.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:51 AM on May 26, 2010


Interested like a fox.

So... hyper focused for about ten or fifteen seconds, and then distracted by the first butterfly or shiny that catches your eye?
posted by quin at 11:54 AM on May 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


lol @ gui user. this is easy to do on the mefi command line interface, using flurble, though you might have to sudo -voodoo -udu apt-get-install flurble TRUNK-DEV\ LATEST\ STABLE 0xdfa63afd6aa7210 into an MFS partition with the latest drivers, then ed config.h and when that's done, go to your profile page and type make pants. I usually bind this to my seventh mouse button.
posted by fleacircus at 11:56 AM on May 26, 2010 [8 favorites]


I never use any kind of mouse-over feature, so I would rather not have this pony (since it would affect me only in that each page would take slightly longer to load, as cortex explained).
posted by Jaltcoh at 12:02 PM on May 26, 2010


Not interested, I can always click through to see those who are of a like mind. Surely the ponies are busy down t'pit?
posted by arcticseal at 12:05 PM on May 26, 2010


This would be awesome as a greasemonkey script, esp. if we could set the threshold. Is that possible?
posted by iamkimiam at 12:22 PM on May 26, 2010


This would be awesome as a greasemonkey script, esp. if we could set the threshold. Is that possible?

The difficulty is that the required information isn't present on the page itself, so a greasemonkey script can't just go find it within the code or the content and display it in another manner.

Instead, it would have to do the equivalent of clicking on every favorite count on every comment in the thread, load the "Favorites on comment X" page behind the scenes, grab the list of favorites from it, and stuff the first few names into the tooltip.

I wouldn't call that technically impossible, just very impractical, and it would be a hell of a load on the server if anybody managed to do it. For example if you were to read one of those epic 1,000-comment threads where half the comments have been favorited... that's 500 extra page loads triggered by reading that page just once.
posted by FishBike at 1:06 PM on May 26, 2010


Instead, it would have to do the equivalent of clicking on every favorite count on every comment in the thread

Nah, with a reasonably quick connection and MetaFilter servers on good behavior, a script could load a comment's favorites on demand with the mouse hover and get decent results. Simple to implement, really, someone will probably do it.

There are already sites which load info on demand on hover, so it's not breaking new ground.
posted by mdevore at 1:13 PM on May 26, 2010


This would indeed save time and mouse clicks in the "What the hell, who would favorite ... oh, that jerk." scenario.
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 1:41 PM on May 26, 2010


I want a Hover Pony.
posted by iamabot at 1:58 PM on May 26, 2010


This would indeed save time and mouse clicks in the "What the hell, who would favorite ... oh, that jerk." scenario.

Speaking of... I have a couple Favorites Ponies to request:
1. When someone favorites a snarky comment, then unfavorites it after other people comment in-thread about how it was a really shitty thing to say, I'd like to have a pony that poops on their keyboard.
2. When I favorite a comment and find that the other favoriters are BIG JERKS, I'd like to have a pony that poops on everyone's keyboard.
posted by Balonious Assault at 2:00 PM on May 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


then ed config.h and when that's done

Well, ed is the standard text editor after all.
posted by Rhomboid at 2:26 PM on May 26, 2010



Speaking of... I have a couple Favorites Ponies to request:
1. When someone favorites a snarky comment, then unfavorites it after other people comment in-thread about how it was a really shitty thing to say, I'd like to have a pony that poops on their keyboard.
2. When I favorite a comment and find that the other favoriters are BIG JERKS, I'd like to have a pony that poops on everyone's keyboard.


A single pony could probably be trained for both functions.
posted by grobstein at 2:41 PM on May 26, 2010


I want a Hover Pony.

I thought Hoover was the name of the monster?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:13 PM on May 26, 2010


Favourites were a damned awful idea in the first place, and this idea only serves to make them worse. Also, get off my lawn!
posted by five fresh fish at 5:24 PM on May 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Favorite five fresh fish's comment if you hate favorite curmudgeons!

Favorite this post if you pity it for the fact that it's the second post ever on metafilter and has no favorites as of this writing!

Favorite this comment if you think pie is delicious!

Does anyone read the text down here? Favorite a random FPP if you do!
posted by Riki tiki at 6:39 PM on May 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


If it’s just a thing to do on hover, maybe interclue does it and formats it nicely? (can’t try it right now)
posted by Tobu at 7:31 PM on May 26, 2010


Favorite this post if you pity it for the fact that it's the second post ever on metafilter and has no favorites as of this writing!

Aw, I think it is super sweet that jessamyn went and favorited it (yes I checked because that is how I roll); it sounds silly, but I like that (at least in my mind) she felt sorry for it and though "poor little post! Well, I'm a moderator, I have a responsibility!" and then put on her Cape of Modding and favorited it and the post felt all better. Hooray!
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 8:18 PM on May 26, 2010


cortex: "Do you mean in terms of clicking through to the favorites list and then going back to the (long) thread and having to reload that? Personally I just middle-click an x favorites link to pop it open in a new tab and never leave the original thread."

Yeah, I was going to explain that further but then thought maybe that would be overkill on such a minor subject. I do mean the scenario you describe, with going to the favorites list then back to the long thread. I often open in a new tab but then I lose the original thread -- short attention span, multitasking, plus dozens of tabs open at once = if I leave the tab before I'm done with it and close it, I might not get back to it for days.

I realize this is my own wacky use case, and not something you need to accommodate.

And now that I have typed this out, I see that it is indeed overkill. But you asked! So I shall hit "Post" anyway.
posted by librarina at 8:49 PM on May 26, 2010


It sounds like maybe you're using the default tab opening order in which new tabs appear at the end/right of the list. I find that really annoying and I use an extension (assuming Fx here) that lets you customize the tab opening order so that new tabs appear just to the right of the current tab in the order. That way when you open something in a new tab it's just one over from the current one which keeps related tabs grouped together and you don't have that experience of orphaned stuff.

Also, consider shift-middle click which opens it in a new tab and selects that tab. When you're done reading, hit Ctrl-W to close the tab and you're back at the tab you started with without ever having to flip. (Or at least that's how I have it setup now if it's not the default.)
posted by Rhomboid at 9:00 PM on May 26, 2010


I love that *neither* my nor riki tiki's posts are favourited.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:24 PM on May 26, 2010


As of that writing. Apparently jessamyn favourited and unfavourited it.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:25 PM on May 26, 2010


What? I never unfavorite things unless I marked them "save for podcast" and then use them in the podcast, or I favorite them instead of deleting them by accident [the links, they are so tiny]. I was going to favorite your comment, but I could not remember if you are one of those people who enjoy such needling, so I erred on the side of no needling.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:30 PM on May 26, 2010


pie is fucking delicious you fuckers
posted by Riki tiki at 10:17 PM on May 26, 2010


Hover craft is full of zeal.
posted by pracowity at 11:40 PM on May 26, 2010


Wouldn't it be awesome if there was a comment with 1,000,000 favorites?
posted by biochemist at 4:30 AM on May 27, 2010


ATTACK OF THE PONIES WEEK CONTINUES, STAY TUNED

Did anyone else get a very distinct image of this as a true crime pulp comic cover?

It's just a bunch of Ponies holed up in a warehouse snorting blow with tommy guns everywhere and cards and money and Pony-vamps.*


The Ten Cent Plague needs more pictures.
posted by edbles at 5:24 AM on May 27, 2010


And so people still don't think that favorites are a popularity contest, huh?

I would be so happy if they didn't exist for public viewing. Even turning them off doesn't stop people constantly talking about them. See previous thread just slightly before this one.
posted by terrapin at 6:21 AM on May 27, 2010


And so people still don't think that favorites are a popularity contest, huh?

I can see how some people would feel that way, but it can also be about making deeper social connections, not just popularity. Knowing who you agree with can be a nonverbal part of the ongoing discussion.
posted by SpacemanStix at 6:41 AM on May 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


And so people still don't think that favorites are a popularity contest, huh?

Although it's not the intent, I do agree it's a side-effect to some extent.

As a bookmarking system, I think the mechanism works pretty well, though of course there are ways it could be improved for that purpose.

As a method of finding good stuff on the site, I also think the mechanism works pretty well for that. Every time we do one of these lists of most-favorited things, we turn up a bunch of generally really good stuff. The pages built into the site that generate such lists also turn up generally really good stuff.

Favorites have to be visible in at least some way for that to work, in the sense that they're not a total secret, though they don't necessarily have to be visible right in the thread itself.
posted by FishBike at 6:54 AM on May 27, 2010


just fyi for people who might be interested, this was already asked by yours truly in 2006, and again in 2007.

Some people like the idea, most people hate on it. I'd still like to see it, but I don't think it will ever happen.
posted by kev23f at 8:48 AM on May 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I do not have a computer now and I have to read MeFi on my Blackberry and it does not let me mrk things as favorites because it says Javascript blah blah and I do to have java enables and allowed and like that and I reallly want to fave the thing about the hovercraft and I can't and also my screen is scratched or something so I can't see what I am typing and basically I want cortex or someone to make this site work better for my blakcberry ok? Thanks.
posted by The otter lady at 9:05 AM on May 27, 2010


just fyi for people who might be interested, this was already asked by yours truly in 2006, and again in 2007.

Thanks for posting that. I didn't now it had been asked previously.

Thanks everyone for not berating me too badly, considering it's probably a tired topic.
posted by SpacemanStix at 9:38 AM on May 27, 2010


Some people like the idea, most people hate on it. I'd still like to see it, but I don't think it will ever happen.

Wow, four years is a long time to wait. I was pretty sure someone would volunteer a script here; it's a common practice.

Alright, since there's a demonstrated long-term desire by multiple people, I'll write you a script, unless turns out much harder than I think or something important comes up (always a possibility). I do agree that site favorites are poorly implemented, badly abused, overly rationalized, and high favorite counts are often a negative indicator of a good post. But, I'm not the Supreme Grande Arbiter of what people like, and everybody makes their own way through life and MetaFilter posts. You want a tool, I'll give you a tool.

And if anyone wants to volunteer to test it, or even volunteer to beat me to the finish line, that'd be just great.
posted by mdevore at 9:39 AM on May 27, 2010


[...] unless turns out much harder than I think [..]

It's turning out to be harder than I thought, anyway, because the "Favorites on comment X" page doesn't return valid XML apparently, so it looks to require using something like regular expressions on the responseText to get the list of favoriters.

On the other hand, there is a strong possibility I'm doing it wrong, not having done this before.
posted by FishBike at 10:10 AM on May 27, 2010


so it looks to require using something like regular expressions on the responseText to get the list of favoriters

Hmm, I would say that I have used regular expressions to parse web pages and their associated information a fair amount in the past, but I recall a MetaFilter thread where several people absolutely insisted that such a feat was impossible. It was a rather interesting debate of a theory vs. practice, wherein programmers' practice was discounted even when it worked.

Not to rake the dying embers of a controversy....in fact, I probably should start coding and lay low, now.
posted by mdevore at 10:23 AM on May 27, 2010


"I do agree that site favorites are poorly implemented, badly abused, overly rationalized, and high favorite counts are often a negative indicator of a good post."

They work just fine for me!

As far as the popularity contest bit...with all of my heart and soul, I can adamantly say that my interest in seeing what other people like (including what other people like about me) trumps any aspirations I may have about being top dog around here or anywhere. There are many people like this...genuinely curious people who have no desire to be famous, popular, or most-favorited. I just want to talk. And hear what you all have to say. And what does it for you, out of the literally millions of choices.
posted by iamkimiam at 10:27 AM on May 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


Not to rake the dying embers of a controversy

vi > emacs
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:29 AM on May 27, 2010


[...] but I recall a MetaFilter thread where several people absolutely insisted that such a feat was impossible.

I had understood the argument to be, not that it's impossible to do at all, but that's it's impossible to do it in a way that produces correct results 100% of the time. Especially given a) pages with content contributed by users, a subset of whom are b) devious bastards.

But for a proof-of-concept thing such as this, acting on a page with fairly well-defined content, why not? The only user-contributed content there is the user names, so as long nobody registers the equivalent of little Bobby Tables it shouldn't be too horrendous, I guess.
posted by FishBike at 10:30 AM on May 27, 2010


OK, I got a proof of concept mouse-hover-load-favorites-page-on-demand thing working. I'll clean it up, make the popup display actually useful, and should be good to go. Tonight, maybe tomorrow? Depends on my ambition pulses and monsters that may lurk ahead.
posted by mdevore at 11:56 AM on May 27, 2010


Went smoother than I thought. Done.

Caveats first: The Greasemonkey script is a quick write, minimalist and butt-ugly inside and out, but users can either modify the script to suit themselves or ask me to make reasonable global changes. I could never do design and layout worth a damn. Also, due to inconsistencies in how MetaFilter is laid out, it doesn't show favorite users for a post, just comments. If that's a real problem, you'll have to gripe at me to change it. Won't be trivial, but it ain't climbing Everest either.

Also doesn't work if you're not a registered user because of the inconsistent MetaFilter structure. Could probably support unregistered too, if and when the Mozilla add-ons site comes back up to allow downloading the DOM inspector for my Mac and see what internal goofiness MetaFilter is posting for unregistered people. No, I won't sign out of my main machine just to poke around its guts.

As this a trial release, the script is not posted anywhere but here: http://www.devoresoftware.com/gm/hoo/HowlsOfOutrage.user.js

Tested successfully on Mac and XP, too lazy to test on Linux. I was sorely tempted to improperly use regular expressions to make it work, but they aren't needed and I just managed to avoid the temptation.

Let me know if it does your deed. If and when people are satisfied, or after a suitable interval of no feedback, the final version will post on userscripts for public consumption and acclaim. Oh, haven't tested it on Chrome, but I will when I get around to it, or someone else could.
posted by mdevore at 1:42 PM on May 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


It works for me (Firefox 3.6.3), mdevore. Thanks!

I see it as the same problem on the Recent Activity page as the one I was working on, though. Specifically, Recent Activity is on www.metafilter.com and the cross-site scripting security prevents it from loading the "Favorites on comment X" page from any other host name (e.g. ask.metafilter.com, metatalk.metafilter.com, etc.).

So from the RA page it'll only work on threads from the blue. It works fine once you actually load threads from any of the sub-sites of course. I couldn't think of a good way around this.
posted by FishBike at 3:32 PM on May 27, 2010


Um, what? Cross-site XMLHttpRequest is Greasemonkey's bread and butter so to speak. There are thousands of scripts that count on this ability, e.g. putting a Rottentomatoes score on a movie's IMDB page.
posted by Rhomboid at 3:47 PM on May 27, 2010


jessamyn, I was referring to this post, which a Pterodactyl claimed you'd favourited. NP.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:48 PM on May 27, 2010


Ah, no, see, Mrs. Pterodacytl was pointing out that jessamyn went and favorited this post, as suggested by Riki tiki here.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:55 PM on May 27, 2010


GM_xmlhttpRequest, not XMLHttpRequest. I didn't mess with Greasemonkey's version because (a) the script was a quick hack of other stuff I had, with very little testing, (b) I wanted it to work with Chrome, possibly with later tweaks to seal the deal, and I'm not sure if Chrome supported the GM_ prefixed version and its cross-domain behavior, and (c) I don't pay much coding attention to Recent Activity and didn't bother to check it in testing.

Minor change of the API call to add the support if desired. Plus, there's at least one bug in there, which allows a user, if they make certain mouse movements, to stack up multiple copies of the users list in the popup box. Welp, that's why it's not a release code script. Still and all, acceptable performance for a 0.0.1, or whatever, version.

Anybody else wants to run with it, be my guest. Otherwise, I'll stay the go-to guy for now.
posted by mdevore at 4:04 PM on May 27, 2010


Chrome support for GM_xmlhttprequest is coming -- bug 18857: "We can make cross-site XMLHttpRequest safe, so we are going to provide it." "[...] the benefit of adding cross-site XMLHttpRequest (limited, of course, by the manifest) to content scripts appears to out-weigh the security costs. [...] we're listening to your feedback and we've changed our plans based on the information presented in this thread.")
posted by Rhomboid at 4:47 PM on May 27, 2010


mdevore, thanks a million for this, I really appreciate it.
posted by kev23f at 1:23 AM on May 28, 2010


Alright, I uploaded a revised script just now (after the kev23f remark I see, so might want to re-d/l there), to the same web address. 3 changes to the script:

1. It uses Greasemonkey's GM_xmlhttpRequest instead of XMLHttpRequest so that you can see the favoriting users on the Recent Activity page, and any other page which pulls info from different subsites.

2. It inhibits the display of multiple lists of the same favorites users that could occur if you wiggle the mouse around while hovering.

3. I spiked the link title so it didn't get in the way of the favorites popup display when a user hovered over the link.

I played around with using the script and Chrome. Looks like Chrome has a broken document.evalute() on individual nodes, or at least it was returning null information on the same pages where Firefox was working. Bah. I could probably make it work by walking each individual node instead of using XPath, but have minimal interest in rewriting the code to work around Chrome's problem or operative difference since it's likely to be fixed in the future.

Think that should do it. Anybody wants more, drop me a mail, or I guess you could post here as long as the topic stays open.
posted by mdevore at 1:40 AM on May 28, 2010


For those of us that use the Professional White Background TM, the pop up text cannot be read. So I modified my copy of the script and changed the background from blue to gray (#CCC).
posted by special-k at 12:11 PM on May 28, 2010


When I favorite a comment and find that the other favoriters are BIG JERKS, I'd like to have a pony that poops on everyone's keyboard.

These sound like very interesting BSG Quorum Cards.
posted by thesmophoron at 5:03 PM on May 29, 2010


No further feedback, so I've uploaded the script to userscripts.org. The release version is slightly cleaned up as far as formatting and standardizing the fonts and colors.
posted by mdevore at 4:55 PM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


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