Most Favorited Comments September 17, 2010 6:21 AM   Subscribe

Can we have a Popular Comments tab like the Popular Favorites one?

The Popular Favorites tab lists the posts that got the most favorites on a subsite. Very nice, and it would be neat to have the same for comments.

The generic Popular Favorites page does list popular comments across all sites. So it kind of does the job, but it has a weird layout and is such a short list that most of it is MeFi stuff. That seems more like a leftover page than being really worthwhile.
posted by smackfu to Feature Requests at 6:21 AM (25 comments total)

This is a great idea; I totally agree. I like looking on the sidebar for popular comments, but very very few comments make it up there. And I agree that the Popular Favorites page doesn't really fit the bill.
posted by yawper at 6:35 AM on September 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I like this idea.
posted by yeti at 6:38 AM on September 17, 2010


Previously.

I agree with this comment from that thread:
Favorites for posts may help to produce better posts. Favorites of all time for comments just leads in a race to the glib and snarky bottom.
Cortex elaborates on this point.

(Google is your friend.)
posted by John Cohen at 6:39 AM on September 17, 2010


To be honest, I don't care about most popular MetaFilter comments. I just want most popular AskMe comments, since they are awesome.
posted by smackfu at 6:44 AM on September 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's especially important not to have this for AskMe comments, since those are the ones that most need to stay serious and on-topic rather than clamoring for attention. There's already too much effort put into trying to have the thread-winning one-liner or the barely related novella-in-a-comment. Anything that would encourage this is something I'm against.
posted by John Cohen at 7:08 AM on September 17, 2010


Why do you put such little faith in the members here?
posted by smackfu at 7:19 AM on September 17, 2010


Do you really not think that creating a new feature that draws attention to certain kinds of comments would incentivize users to make those kinds of comments more frequently?

I'm supposed to have "faith" that this won't happen? Sorry, but no.

This is a website. It's a website with thousands of users. It is one of my favorite websites. But it is not my religion. I don't have "faith" in the users of this website or any website. I could make a long list of problematic tendencies on Metafilter, and one of them is overly attention-seeking comments (I've been guilty of this myself plenty of times), and the feature you're recommending would exacerbate this.
posted by John Cohen at 7:41 AM on September 17, 2010


You do see that there is already a list of most favorited comments, right?
posted by smackfu at 7:46 AM on September 17, 2010


Cortex elaborates on this point.

And as an argument about how emergent systems can work and why I'm not particularly jazzed about the idea myself, I'm okay with what I wrote there. That said, I wrote then that I didn't think the feature would be the end of the world either if we did implement it, and if anything my opinion has gotten a little more moderate in the ensuing couple of years.

Fundamentally, I do have a lot of faith in this community. We are going to have people acting badly sometimes, but I think most of the bad behavior we actually see is more along the lines of specific people being crappy (because of a bad day/week/month/year, because they feel like stirring the shit, because they're a driveby who doesn't understand the place, etc) than with people collectively being crappy.

So while we definitely think about how systemic effects can be a problem with stuff, it's not an end-all be-all trump card in how we look at this stuff. Practically speaking, I have my abstract reservations about the idea still but I don't personally see this as one of things that is practically likely to cause actual problems, at least certainly not problems out of scale with whatever fundamental problems might come with the existence of the favorites system in the first place.

That's just my opinion at this point, though. Matt and Jess may feel differently.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:47 AM on September 17, 2010


You do see that there is already a list of most favorited comments, right?

But you yourself said it's not very useful!
posted by John Cohen at 8:13 AM on September 17, 2010


Do you really not think that creating a new feature that draws attention to certain kinds of comments would incentivize users to make those kinds of comments more frequently?

I don't think most people making glib one-liners or tangential novel-in-a-comment are doing so with an eye toward "Aw dang, maybe this'll put me on The List!" I don't see a "popular comments" changing the tone of the site very much, no.
posted by Greg Nog at 8:13 AM on September 17, 2010


Do you really not think that creating a new feature that draws attention to certain kinds of comments would incentivize users to make those kinds of comments more frequently?

You mean the well thought out and well written ones? Yes, we wouldn't want that.

On the other-hand, a page like that would result in favorite-inflation, with the top tier comments getting even more favorites, leaving all my ramblings in the gutter.
posted by blue_beetle at 8:15 AM on September 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think that's why those pages don't have the [+] button now. You have to click through to add a favorite.
posted by smackfu at 8:16 AM on September 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I can't see adding this for AskMe without adding it sidewide, just for consistency's sake. And adding it in AskMe I don't think would be a problem, but adding it sitewide would be. I'm feeling a little bit like we've been a little favorites-centric lately and personally I think adding more favorite-tools is not the right way for the site to go, but I'm not 100% against it.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:27 AM on September 17, 2010


I really like browsing the "Popular Favorites" page; it lets me know if something interesting might have been said in a thread I otherwise wouldn't have checked out. But I also share smackfu's displeasure at its shortness. If I had my druthers, I'd be able to keep on clicking through to additional pages of comments and posts with progressively less favorites.

I've particularly wanted this when there are active threads about some flat-out terrible and easily-maligned social issues, like, say, some gay politican naysaying gay marriage. In such a thread, people making interesting arguments, elegantly correct moral stances, or simple bon mots will garner like 200 favorites each. This then shifts the whole Popular Favorites page; on another day, a cute story about a kitty who likes to swim, appearing in a different thread and garnering something like 45 favorites, would have appeared in the Popular Favorites page. But because of the intensity of the hypothetical gay-marriage thread, I miss the story about the kitty.

tldr give me stories about nice kitties
posted by Greg Nog at 8:29 AM on September 17, 2010


I can't see adding this for AskMe without adding it sidewide, just for consistency's sake.

I was actually surprised to see there was a Popular Favorites tab in MetaTalk. That seems like a not great idea.
posted by smackfu at 8:32 AM on September 17, 2010


Do you really not think that creating a new feature that draws attention to certain kinds of comments would incentivize users to make those kinds of comments more frequently?

You mean the well thought out and well written ones? Yes, we wouldn't want that.


"Well written" is actually not sufficient to be a good answer in AskMe. Unfortunately, there seems to be an idea that you can win a thread by having the longest, most tangential story.
posted by John Cohen at 8:33 AM on September 17, 2010


Unfortunately, there seems to be an idea that you can win a thread by having the longest, most tangential story.

Do you see this a lot on AskMe? Can you flag them when you see them? If we see people who are participating in this sort of stuff often [i.e. telling long self-involved stories and just barely answering the question] we'll talk to them.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:41 AM on September 17, 2010


The easiest way to see the best/most favorited comments is to add Greg Nog as a contact.
posted by phunniemee at 9:58 AM on September 17, 2010


If I had my druthers, I'd be able to keep on clicking through to additional pages of comments and posts with progressively less favorites.

I like this idea. Stuff drops off the page pretty quickly, and sometimes I have to actually, you know, do work. And then I miss out on kitties and other important things.
posted by grapesaresour at 12:17 PM on September 17, 2010


Yeah, I would like that pony too. I'm always disappointed when I get to the end of the page and the link isn't to previous page, but to another page that shows the same stuff.
posted by smackfu at 12:30 PM on September 17, 2010


The easiest way to see the best/most favorited comments is to add Greg Nog as a contact.

I have long since collapsed my "Contact Activity" in the sidebar, since it was pretty much only ever one long paean to the brilliance of Astro Zombie. Oh look, Astro Zombie had a comment with 40 favorites on MetaFilter. Astro Zombie had a comment with 27 favorites in Ask MetaFilter. Astro Zombie posted a link with 52 favorites to MetaFilter. Astro Zombie had a comment with 98 favorites on MetaFilter. OKAY ASTRO ZOMBIE IS AWESOME I GET IT ALREADY.

I thought I would love it if this feature were implemented, but on the other hand the MetaTalk section would probably be deeply depressing, so maybe not.
posted by Gator at 1:47 PM on September 17, 2010


Do you really not think that creating a new feature that draws attention to certain kinds of comments would incentivize users to make those kinds of comments more frequently?

I'm supposed to have "faith" that this won't happen? Sorry, but no...I don't have "faith" in the users of this website or any website.
posted by John Cohen


Not an attack, just a thought:

Individual posters who participate in attention seeking can only be supported by the much broader based community that would support them by "favoriting" these comments. I understand not trusting individuals, but extending that to the whole community of readers and potential "favoriters" seems...disappointing. It should also be said (and has been said many times) that people favorite for a number of reasons. I favorite to mark comments that I want to return to, or to indicate a commenter that I think might have additional things to say across other parts of the site. Either way, my decisions are based on what I find value in. It may be different than what you find value in. If a lot of people find value in it, that might be a good reason (for me anyway) to check it out. As with the whole site...if I don't think I'm interested, I simply dont have to use that part of the site or read that post/comment.

Also, hey, favorites are favorites. It reflects what people really like or find a connection with. That other people had a reason to favorite something doesn't imply that the commentor was trying to "win" Metafilter. People that try to win Metafilter end up making crap, transparent comments mostly and are not around long enough to have a lasting negative impact.

Just my opinion.
posted by nickjadlowe at 2:12 PM on September 17, 2010


Maybe linked from this page we could also have this, this and this?

You'd have to sort of hunt it down and/or subscribe to the RSS but the people who wanted it could have it. I'd probably check it out now and then - I like different data views of the site a lot.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:03 PM on September 17, 2010


What's that word for the idea that observing something changes it? Favourites exaggerate traits and trends ... And over time the entire site becomes a communist lovefest. I've seen it happen.
posted by doublehappy at 5:07 PM on September 17, 2010


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