Green checkmark showing that a question has best answers by anyone in September 24, 2010 6:35 AM   Subscribe

Tiny pony request. On the AskMe front page, a question has a green checkmark next to it if any of the answers has been marked "best answer." If you look at your own history of AskMe coments, there's a green checkmark next to any of your AskMe answers that was marked "best answer." In that same history of your AskMe comments, why not have a green checkmark next to the title of any question in which there have been "best answers" by anyone else?

For instance, I commented in the thread about foodies on a budget, and there are best answers, none of which were by me. So, in my history of AskMe comments, the thread title -- "How do two foodies survive on a budget?" -- would have a green checkmark next to it.

This would serve the same function as the green checkmark on the front page: "Oh, I wonder what the best answers to that question are." If anything, it's probably more useful in the history of your AskMe comments. I'll usually check there to see if any of my comments have been marked "best answer" lately. But I'd also find it useful to know that one of those questions had best answers by anyone, since I'm often curious to know how the OP felt about the answers (not just mine) after I've commented in an AskMe thread.
posted by John Cohen to Feature Requests at 6:35 AM (57 comments total)

I forgot to finish the heading! Of course, it should say "...in your AskMe comment history."
posted by John Cohen at 6:36 AM on September 24, 2010


I... I... I have nothing silly to say here. I quite like this idea. If it would be easy to implement, I'd value it too.
posted by .kobayashi. at 7:05 AM on September 24, 2010


This pony is so earnest, so forthright, and such a simple, clean, good idea.

A little snark just died within me. I need to be alone.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:11 AM on September 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


> A little snark just died within me. I need to be alone.

It's probably just intestinal gas. You'll be fine in no time!
posted by Burhanistan at 7:14 AM on September 24, 2010


Your face is intestinal gas!

oh god what's happening to me
posted by shakespeherian at 7:15 AM on September 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Would you like to say anything about the tags on this post, shakespeherian?
posted by thoughtless at 7:21 AM on September 24, 2010


Well the great use of the in tag led me back to read all the tags on this post, which was sort of like an animatronic-filled theme park Journey Through Time.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:24 AM on September 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


But why would I care about anyone else?!
posted by nomadicink at 7:24 AM on September 24, 2010


5 yard penalty for misuse of the tagging facility. Repeat 1st down.
posted by FishBike at 7:35 AM on September 24, 2010


Well the great use of the in tag led me back to read all the tags on this post, which was sort of like an animatronic-filled theme park Journey Through Time.

That's weird, since I didn't enter any tags. It took the thing I thought was going to be the heading (but wasn't!) and turned each word into a tag. I have no idea how that happened.
posted by John Cohen at 7:37 AM on September 24, 2010


[Tags now rectified.]
posted by John Cohen at 7:39 AM on September 24, 2010


a question has a green checkmark next to it if any of the answers has been marked "best answer."

Huh. I always thought that green check meant that the asker had marked it resolved. I never made the correlation between that and the best answer check on individual comments. HOORAY NEW KNOWLEDGE.
posted by elizardbits at 7:40 AM on September 24, 2010


Perhaps a blue checkmark for questions where the best answer also has the most favorites in the comments.

And a red checkmark for questions where the best answer does not have the most favorites.

Plaid could be for mods who make the best answer.

Orange would be for best answers without favorites.

Brown would be reserved for screwing with color-blind people.
posted by blue_beetle at 7:48 AM on September 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


This is actually pretty funny, John Cohen, because I meant to mark the answer in which you linked to "which foods are less important to buy organic than others" as one of the best, but I didn't see it when marking the first time around. Sorry about that, and good idea. Pony request win!
posted by two lights above the sea at 7:51 AM on September 24, 2010


Something Stack Exchange does that I like is to encourage askers to mark an answer as 'accepted' if it was helpful, and you get an indication of your acceptance percentage on your profile. A higher percentage means you are probably better at asking clear questions with actual answers, and you go out of your way to make sure the person who answered you gets recognized. So yeah, more to encourage askers to mark best answers in a thread would be cool.
posted by Space Coyote at 7:51 AM on September 24, 2010


We don't include an image next to a title anywhere else on the site, and I'm not sure that's an obvious way to indicate that a question has best answers. It's not technically difficult, but we'd need to find a way to add that information so it's clear/uncluttered.
posted by pb (staff) at 8:21 AM on September 24, 2010


Maybe a better way to phrase the questions I have about this: is the information useful enough for the trade-off in clarity on that page? Or can we find a way to display the information so the trade-off isn't as painful?
posted by pb (staff) at 8:34 AM on September 24, 2010


The answer to your pony is "neigh"
posted by Rumple at 9:03 AM on September 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


is it the best answer?
posted by clavdivs at 10:02 AM on September 24, 2010


its the whinnying answer
posted by Rumple at 10:55 AM on September 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


This is a good idea. Of course, I'm a best-answer whore.
posted by infinitewindow at 10:55 AM on September 24, 2010


This pony reminds me of one I've been thinking about, but too chickenshit to ask for:

Is there any way we can get a tally of our own AskMe answers marked Best Answer in our profiles, underneath "Favorited by Others"?

The reason I ask is because I often forget to check back to questions I answered to see whether my answer was ultimately helpful to the OP (which, to me, is a better metric in Ask to determine comment value than Favorites.) Seeing the score go up might encourage people to actually, you know, answer the question as asked.
posted by Ouisch at 10:57 AM on September 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Maybe a better way to phrase the questions I have about this: is the information useful enough for the trade-off in clarity on that page? Or can we find a way to display the information so the trade-off isn't as painful?

I don't understand what "the trade-off in clarity on that page" is.

I don't understand why the information wouldn't be useful in your comments history if it's useful on the front page. I would find it more useful in my comments history, since that tells me: "This question you've already answered has a best answer." I already have some level of interest in the question, so the chances that I'd be interested in seeing the best answers are greater than with the average question on the front page.
posted by John Cohen at 11:38 AM on September 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Is there any way we can get a tally of our own AskMe answers marked Best Answer in our profiles, underneath "Favorited by Others"?

You can look at this list of who has the most best answers. If you're on the list, it'll tell you how many you have. Click on the number to see links to all of them.
posted by John Cohen at 11:42 AM on September 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


...yeah, I'm not on that list.

Thanks for pointing it out though...I didn't know it existed.
posted by Ouisch at 12:00 PM on September 24, 2010


The way the question is worded makes me wonder if you haven't discovered Recent Activity yet. By checking RA you can see, all at once: if your answers have been favorited, if your answers have been marked best, if others have responded to your answer, if those answers have been favorited or marked best, if the OP to a long forgotten post makes an update, and so on. Of course it only shows the last 10 comments in any thread, so if more than 9 people have commented after you, your comment won't be shown. But the majority of AskMe threads don't get that many comments, so you usually still see your comment.

Quite frankly, I don't know how anyone can use this site without RA; it would just be too much work randomly checking all the different places where all the above info is summarized.
posted by Rhomboid at 12:13 PM on September 24, 2010


Rhomboid: the point, as I read it, was not to look for your own best answers. The point was to notate whenever a thread in which you participated had best answers marked within it (irrespective of whether they were yours). RA will only show you this if the best answer was one of the last ten comments, yes?
posted by .kobayashi. at 12:24 PM on September 24, 2010


The pony as requested would be useful, but I'd also like to see the best answer checkmark on the Favorited by Others page: i.e., if my comment was marked, the checkmark would show up along with other favorites. It seems redundant to have to look in two places.
posted by catlet at 12:38 PM on September 24, 2010


The way the question is worded makes me wonder if you haven't discovered Recent Activity yet.

I don't see why the way my question is worded would make you wonder that.

I know about Recent Activity. It isn't a reliable way to see whether your answers have been marked "best." For instance, this recent question about whether a diet based on fruit and protein supplements is a good idea has 31 comments and 3 best answers. The question shows up in my Recent Activity with the 10 most recent comments showing. Based on looking at the info in Recent Activity, I would have no idea that there are any best answers, since none of those 3 comments were among the last 10 comments.

Right now, the best way to scan which of your answers have been marked best is not Recent Activity but your personal AskMe comments history, which is why I suggested adding this feature to the comments history.
posted by John Cohen at 12:44 PM on September 24, 2010


the point, as I read it, was not to look for your own best answers.

Yes, that's not what the pony is directly about, but in the process of describing it he did say I'll usually check [AskMe comment history] to see if any of my comments have been marked "best answer" lately, which is precisely the kind of thing that I stopped doing as soon as I discovered RA and realized how much time and effort it would save me.
posted by Rhomboid at 12:47 PM on September 24, 2010


Here's a mockup of what the thing could look like.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 1:04 PM on September 24, 2010


Here's a mockup of what the thing could look like.

I think that looks fine, myself.
posted by FishBike at 1:05 PM on September 24, 2010


One potential disadvantage I can see: if there isn't already an "has-best-answer-p" column in the askme table, it would make the activity queries a bit more expensive.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 1:11 PM on September 24, 2010


Here's a mockup of what the thing could look like.

That looks confusing at first glance. It leaves me wondering why there are some checkmarks next to the title and others next to the [+] symbol. There is no clear meaning there.
posted by nomadicink at 1:14 PM on September 24, 2010


Here's a mockup of what the thing could look like.

Your copy of Chrome has an update ready.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:15 PM on September 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hmm, I always assume that every AskMe will have a "best answer" eventually, even if it takes a week or so.

But I did not know that you can scan your own AskMe comments and see which ones have been marked "best." So that's a neat little nugget of knowledge, thanks!
posted by ErikaB at 1:18 PM on September 24, 2010


I don't understand what "the trade-off in clarity on that page" is.

Well, we use the green checkmark in two ways. If you're looking at a list of posts the checkmark means "this post has at least one best answer". If you're looking at comments, the checkmark means "this comment has been marked as best answer". We never mix those two. So if we use the checkmark to mean both things on a single page, it's confusing without an explicit explanation.

The page doesn't exist in a vacuum, so we'd have to consider adapting that behavior to the rest of the site. It raises questions about why we have that particular behavior in one spot but another. You and I know what the checkmark in the title means because we're here in MeTa discussing it. But we need to consider everyone using the site. So we lose some clarity and consistency if we implement the feature in this particular way.
posted by pb (staff) at 1:25 PM on September 24, 2010


I don't think we lose any clarity. It seems really obvious what is indicated upon viewing the mockup. I can't say anything about consistency, except that it is the hobgoblin of small minds.
posted by emyd at 1:29 PM on September 24, 2010


One thing I can agree lacks clarity: the way Chrome indicates that an update is ready.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 1:34 PM on September 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


The little orange dot next to the wrench icon.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:39 PM on September 24, 2010


That mockup looks great to me, too. Not confusing at all.
posted by two lights above the sea at 1:41 PM on September 24, 2010


I'm gonna mark this thread "most comments by pb ever".

in my head, obviously. Don't want to clutter up the page...
posted by dash_slot- at 2:38 PM on September 24, 2010


> One thing I can agree lacks clarity: the way Chrome indicates that an update is ready.

Yeah, mentioning it in a MetaTalk thread is not optimal. There are probably some Chrome users who don't read MetaTalk.

I hate to say it, because I'm a pony-hater from way back, but I think this pony is... sensible.
posted by languagehat at 2:41 PM on September 24, 2010


There are probably some Chrome users who don't read MetaTalk.

Well, they should.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:42 PM on September 24, 2010


I think it seems obvious to the people reading this thread because we know what it is there for--I think to people who never read this thread, it might be a little confusing. Could we have [Has best answers] or [Has best answers marked] next to the checkbox near the title?
posted by Kimberly at 2:52 PM on September 24, 2010


I would absolutely hate if this feature was added. It clutters up the interface for zero gain, IMO.
posted by nomadicink at 3:00 PM on September 24, 2010


...yeah, I'm not on that list.

You can construct a URL for yourself by tacking your userid on the end like this:

http://mefi.marksmith.org/comments/bested?site=askme&commenter_id=97070
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 3:14 PM on September 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


What about if the check mark was yellow, instead of green or something - less confusing or moreso?
posted by Rumple at 3:16 PM on September 24, 2010


Rumple: something like this? More confusing to me.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 3:42 PM on September 24, 2010


Yes, that's not what the pony is directly about, but in the process of describing it he did say I'll usually check [AskMe comment history] to see if any of my comments have been marked "best answer" lately, which is precisely the kind of thing that I stopped doing as soon as I discovered RA and realized how much time and effort it would save me.

Recent Activity doesn't show all your answers; your comment history does. Recent Activity is really not what I'm asking about.
posted by John Cohen at 3:50 PM on September 24, 2010


It clutters up the interface for zero gain, IMO.

Maybe zero gain for you if you wouldn't use it. But some people would use it. So there would be some gain.
posted by John Cohen at 3:52 PM on September 24, 2010


Monday, Stony Monday -- yes, thanks for the mockup. I agree it looks less clear than I had imagined....
posted by Rumple at 4:59 PM on September 24, 2010


You can look at this list of who has the most best answers. If you're on the list, it'll tell you how many you have. Click on the number to see links to all of them

I had no idea that existed. That was like a little tiny pony treat right there. Thanks!
posted by DarlingBri at 9:04 PM on September 24, 2010


You're welcome!
posted by John Cohen at 9:37 PM on September 24, 2010


Very interesting, CEL, thank you.
posted by Ouisch at 11:00 AM on September 25, 2010


Maybe zero gain for you if you wouldn't use it. But some people would use it. So there would be some gain.

But not for me. In fact, it would be the exact opposite, breaking a useful interface convention for the gain of...what? Seeing what other threads I've commented in have gotten best answers? That doesn't interest me a bit. If anything it seems to take a step down the road of making AskMe a popularity contest of sorts, where Best Answers and favorites become more important than the actual question and resulting thread.
posted by nomadicink at 1:47 PM on September 25, 2010


Second what nomadicink said, and add that if you want to follow up on a thread later, you can favorite it. MeFi favorites, unlike, say, Facebook likes, add the thing to a permanent list of cool stuff that you can get to to review it.
posted by eritain at 5:49 PM on September 25, 2010


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