How do I get more favourites and best answers? May 3, 2019 4:06 PM   Subscribe

When I comment on Ask MetaFilter , I do the best I can to give helpful advice to the poster, but my comments hardly ever attract many favourites and are almost never selected as best answer or endorsed by other posters. What do I have to do to get more favourites and best answers?
posted by EatMyHat to Etiquette/Policy at 4:06 PM (115 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

At the risk of answering a different question from what was asked, the most effective way to solve the problem of being disappointed in one's number of favorites is to try to care less about one's number of favorites. (Towards that end, you seem to get a similar number of favorites as I do, and I've never thought that I got an unusually low number of them.)
posted by dfan at 4:20 PM on May 3 [25 favorites]


I think that trying to get favorites is not a great way to engage with this site. There are probably some ways that you can post to get a lot of favorites, but they're not always the best or most-thoughtful comments. I think that you should aim to get something out of your participation in this site, and if you also get favorites, then that's a nice bonus.

One way to get a lot of favorites, though, is to make a lot of front-page posts on the blue. If you want to rack up favorites, maybe resolve to post a couple of times a week about things that interest you. That's also a good way to contribute to the site, so it's a win for everyone.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:07 PM on May 3 [16 favorites]


Say less, listen more.
posted by Stanczyk at 5:12 PM on May 3 [14 favorites]


I recommend changing your settings so that favorites aren’t visible. I enjoy it more that way!

As for getting favorites, work on your writing so it’s as concise as possible. Short, direct sentences with some punch.
posted by sallybrown at 5:12 PM on May 3 [7 favorites]


If you really want best answers you need to answer questions that have a definite answer. "What song is this?", "How do you change a brake light in a 1984 Toyota Corolla?", "What movie am I thinking of?"

Answers in relationship and similar questions, "best answer" often comes down to providing the answer that the OP wanted to hear, or the answer that best aligns to their way of thinking. There's usually not a "right" answer or even a "best" answer, even if one might be marked as such.

As others have said, just focus on being interesting and honest in your answers and don't worry about what ultimately comes down to a number on a screen or a highlighted answer.
posted by bondcliff at 5:24 PM on May 3 [6 favorites]


Focusing on your number of favourites isn't good for your peace of mind, or productive, because you have no control over how many favourites you get and they ultimately don't mean much anyway. This question bemuses me a little, in much the same way as a recentish AskMe question from a woman asking how to cope with the feeling of becoming invisible in her forties bemused me. I'm a woman in my forties and I don't feel invisible, despite being *very* isolated, because I never think about whether people are looking at me: I'm too busy doing the things I want and need to do. I also remember another comment/question from someone who complained that he posted things he found interesting to his Facebook page and hardly got any likes or comments compared to those garnered by those on his friends list, who posted nice pictures of their kids or vacations. Again, as a childless person who can't afford to travel at all, I don't compare the number of likes or comments I get with those of my friends who post about their cute kids or wonderful trips, or try to compete with them in any way. I post what I think is interesting or funny and worth sharing, and I'm happy, and am often surprised or even delighted, with whatever real engagement I get in response.

Performing seals get lots of applause, but do you want to be a performing seal or a person genuinely engaging with others? Quality is so much more important than quantity. I'd rather help spark worthwhile conversations than get thousands of likes. Focus on connecting with others by really listening to what they say and by writing the best and most thoughtful content you can in response, and you'll be both more at ease with yourself and a better contributor for it.
posted by orange swan at 5:39 PM on May 3 [27 favorites]


You're a really good AskMe commenter!

I think getting favorites is almost chance:

- Being the first answerer gets more attention, regardless of the quality;

- Answering honestly on an emotional topic;

- Really reading the room before chiming in;

- Using good grammar and punctuation;

- Only answering questions where you have knowledge or can refer to such.

That's just my experience. I love getting favorites, but in the moment, while I'm commenting, I never think of favorites, I look at favorites as feedback to what I said, do people agree with me, more like that. I often read threads and forget to hit favorite, you can never assume that people are not liking your comment, and if you get 1 or 2, many more have read it. Don't sweat it.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 5:58 PM on May 3 [23 favorites]


I answer at least one or two AskMe's a day and I hardly ever get a best answer. I wouldn't let that one get to you at all. I know when I ask a question I almost never mark a best answer, and when I do I always feel bad about leaving the other folks out. Oh well!

In terms of favorites, if you would like to get your favorite count up, I really understand wanting to feel like your contributions are resonating with the group. I looked at your answers and they seemed fine, so none of this is a commentary on that, just things that I think about when I'm answering a question in case it helps. I think about the question and try to put myself in the asker's point of view. Then I think, what can I bring to this that no one else has mentioned so far? Is there some angle or solution that I can see that no one has pointed out yet? Everybody has their own unique story & experiences that they bring to reading a question and everyone has that special something that only they can provide. But sometimes I have to really think about it for a bit.
posted by bleep at 6:35 PM on May 3 [4 favorites]


I would just take it to mean you have a unique voice, and to enjoy that. Favorites are interesting but not markers of...well, who knows, maybe they are but it's best not to think about those things.

You are answering the question to help the person based on your experiences/knowledge/opinion and that's your contribution, that's what (I think) the site is for.

Although I guess if you want favorites you need to state what may become a common opinion or answer early, and/or say something that many people here find particularly funny, interesting, or relevant, or that resonates with them for some reason. But I don't think that's the point- the point is to contribute your unique voice/perspective to the best of your ability.
posted by bquarters at 6:38 PM on May 3 [3 favorites]


That's not the point.
posted by Miko at 7:21 PM on May 3 [13 favorites]


1. It's not the point, I agree, and also
2. After having had several accounts here, I have experienced how being well-known and well-established in the community tends to mean your comments are favorited more. It looks like you've been here many years, but don't have a ton of comments. You may just want to comment more (when you have relevant info!), and favorite other people's comments more, and generally just participate more. You might get a better feel for the site that way, leading to more favorites -- or even if you don't get more favorites, participating more is worthwhile on its own, which may lead you to care less about favorites.
posted by lazuli at 7:27 PM on May 3 [10 favorites]


Well to actually answer (got nuth'n for ask) but a short pithy comment very near the top is reasonably effective.
posted by sammyo at 9:10 PM on May 3 [1 favorite]


@Miko : says who ? It’s important to me and I don’t see anything wrong with that!
posted by EatMyHat at 9:32 PM on May 3 [6 favorites]


While favorites can certainly lead to feeling that one's responses are better being appreciated then if there's no direct response at all to what you say, chasing favorites probably isn't the right way to think about getting that feedback. Looking to get favorites by comparing your responses to others seems like it's a path to making your responses sound more like others, which makes them less likely to get noticed for not being roughly the same.

Responses that seem to get more notice are those that speak to something singular the person is bringing to the conversation. You can't force this since that can lead to going off topic or not answering the question being asked, but when there is a question or post that speaks to something you know about or have had an interesting experience with those responses will get more notice.

Having a different take than what seems to be the general consensus can do that as well if it's a legitimate one, but it can also just as easily spark disagreement if that take isn't as solid as one might think, which can be daunting and feel very unfavority in a way that can feel as unpleasant for the notice as a favorite feels good. That's why chasing favorites for their own sake isn't as useful as just saying what you know, experience, and believe in your own voice.
posted by gusottertrout at 9:53 PM on May 3 [1 favorite]


"Best" answers are really unpredictable, IMO, not least because a lot of people just don't seem to use it regularly or at all. There was a MetaTalk thread very recently asking folks how or if they chose to mark best answers, and there were a pretty wide variety of responses. And that thread was pretty sparsely commented in, so who knows how the majority of MeFites actually approach marking Best Answers.

Sure it can help to answer more factual questions, but I've done plenty of that with no best answer marked - or even provided 110% factual information on a question related to my career or hobbies, based on training, knowledge, and hard-won experience, and as far as I can tell the Asker marked some early half-assed guess as "Best" and paid no more attention to the thread.

OTOH, I've definitely gotten some surprise "bests" where I'm being more vague but apparently something in my rambles sparked a light bulb moment in the Asker's brain, and they went "A-HA!" Did I provide a slightly different perspective? Did a metaphor or analogy I used suddenly make everything click? Beats the heck outta me, and I'll probably never know. For all I know it was one little part of my answer that the Asker thought was just fantastic, and they ignored the rest.

IOW, looking to get more best answers is maybe a little akin to looking to control or manage other people's feelings and reactions - you can't really do it. Marking Best Answers isn't any kind of requirement, folks may avoid doing it for a wide variety of reasons, none of us can really force, nudge, or cajole Askers into deciding which answers are Best and marking same. I just take any Best Answers I get as a sort of lagniappe, a little something extra - it's nice to have my Staggering Genius and Most Excellent Correctness In All Things publicly acknowledged and all, but I don't count on it happening or aim for it.
posted by soundguy99 at 10:57 PM on May 3 [11 favorites]


You don’t have a ton of favorites, sure, but you haven’t yet given out many favorites either...

Favorites are free! Favorite early and often when you see comments that resonate with you. Patterns will emerge. The more favorites you give, the more people will begin to recognize you and therefore become more likely to favorite you back when they see your comments out in the wild.

I’m pretty sure most of my favorites these days are simply from my familiar mefi friendlies just saying hello.
posted by mochapickle at 11:11 PM on May 3 [21 favorites]


I've had a lot of success with bribery.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:19 PM on May 3 [22 favorites]


You bribe with intensely researched poll data, Chrysostom.
posted by Drumhellz at 12:20 AM on May 4 [9 favorites]


It’s important to me and I don’t see anything wrong with that!

You're trying to get validation from a bunch of strangers who will likely never meet nor really know you, and you'll never meet nor really know either. It's a poor substitute from the warmth and fulfillment that comes from true person-to-person connections. You're better off investing your time and energy into those than trying to figure out how you can cultivate an empty substitute.
posted by schroedinger at 6:22 AM on May 4 [12 favorites]


The garnering of favorites/best answers seems to be a combination of timing, recognition, and whim. And providing good answers. I’d like to be a ‘super’ answerer who garners lots of favorites and best answers but I’m not that pithy or clever. So I tend to the realm of things I know. Not every pearl of wisdom I am able to impart is rewarded for its brilliance but you know it’s like that in life too. So you take pleasure in being able to give - way more rewarding.
posted by From Bklyn at 6:41 AM on May 4 [4 favorites]


My technique is to find funny things on Twitter and copy and paste them as comments.
posted by octothorpe at 6:56 AM on May 4 [4 favorites]


@Miko : says who ? It’s important to me and I don’t see anything wrong with that!

Just as an aside, the @ isn't a convention here and doesn't do anything to notify the user - so you can just use the person's username, and if they're still reading, they'll see it. But to the topic: at least for its first decade or so, the general ethos on Ask was one of helpfulness. This helped to maintain and increase the quality of responses, as ones that were just jokey or sought to dump on the Asker were deleted. If helpfulness is the purpose, then favorites and bests really are not the point. It's not a game in which scores matter; what matters is the intent and action aimed toward helpfulness.

Add to that the total uncontrollability and idiosincrasy of the use of bests and favorites, and what you have is essentially a bunch of noise. There are closed-ended questions which one answer definitively answers, and even those are not marked "best" with any regularity. Then you have users who mark every answer "best," saying "they were all helpful!" It's a fairly meaningless measure.

If you care about Ask and participating in it, probably the best way to approach it is to offer your sincere advice in the interest of being helpful. That's the only reward it really has. Chasing favorites is a great way to spiral down a competitive ramp of either mimicking others or trying very hard to stand out through some sort of visibility tactic - favorite-seeking like that has already had a bit of a noticeably deleterious impact on the site. Let's not make that worse. If there is some psychological or social reward you think favorites would bring you that you're not presently getting, what is that thing? Perhaps defining better how you want to be a seen and valued contributor to the community could get you some feedback that goes beyond these metrics of mixed utility.
posted by Miko at 7:18 AM on May 4 [38 favorites]


Say less, listen more.

This is good life advice for how to learn and grow, but if you want to get rewarded for producing content the solution is probably to produce more content. I'm reminded of Darius Kazemi's description of his artistic method as essentially buying a lottery tickets. Most of his projects satisfied him, some were really popular and got him acclaim.
posted by Going To Maine at 7:22 AM on May 4 [3 favorites]


It’s OK. Sometimes I feel the same way! You’re not alone. Not every comment gets best answered or favorited a lot, but most every comment has got to help someone. (For example I’ve been once again trolling for recipes here. I don’t favorite every single comment that was helpful, but maybe I should!) What you’ve written here has helped someone.
Being best answered is maybe something to be proud of, but not necessarily so for heavily favorited comments. Sometimes these are mean and snappy to the OP, super unhelpful, and favorited because other folks agree with the comment and/or because of a knee jerk need to see people being told off.
Other times, who knows? Their thumb slipped? Everyone is asleep during the time zone I commented? Mine is the eleventy billionth out of eleventy billionth and oneth comment?
If you put your all into it, it is your contribution and you should be proud.
posted by sacchan at 7:24 AM on May 4 [2 favorites]


Short-ish, direct, confident, early in-thread, and be willing to disagree with the general flow of the thread. Try not to say anything directly in response to other askers. Don't be too harsh. If there's something left out of the question that you need to answer it, say so, and say why it matters.

This generally will get you (relatively) more favorites. Funny enough, being really kind and reassuring to the asker doesn't actually get too many favorites even though it's the right thing to do much of the time; I think it's because it's boring to other people as you're really not talking to them? So sometimes getting favorites is not related to doing the right thing.

Also, having other people recognize you probably helps. I'm ahead of you on that one but you can probably improve by favoriting a lot of other people / vocally agreeing with them by name.

I don't get a lot of best answers, so can't help with that!
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 7:53 AM on May 4 [2 favorites]


Oh and being in the wrong time zone kinda screws you. A lot of it is just when you comment and how many people are reading it.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 7:59 AM on May 4 [2 favorites]


most every comment has got to help someone

That's a good way to look at AskMe -- some of my favorite answers, and the ones I find helpful on other people's questions, don't get marked as best answers by the askers.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:04 AM on May 4 [10 favorites]


I'll second the recommendation to set your comment favorites style to "Hide Favorites." You can still check your favorites by going to your profile page, but they're not in your face all the time. It has made a huge difference to my state of mind.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:09 AM on May 4 [3 favorites]


If you look at this recent Metatalk about why people favorite things, you'll see it's all over the map. While some people do favorite as affirmation, as many or more only favorite comments that they would want to search for in the future -- a story they'd want to be able to find again, really useful links, a recipe they want to try. I think aiming to get the latter kind of a bit pie in the sky. They're nice to get but crazy making to figure out why you didn't get them.
posted by Margalo Epps at 8:15 AM on May 4 [4 favorites]


EatMyHat: It’s important to me and I don’t see anything wrong with that!

If it makes you unhappy, then that's what is wrong with that.
If it doesn't, carry on.
posted by Too-Ticky at 8:54 AM on May 4 [7 favorites]


I have left over 2800 answers on askme and that's where I primarily interact with the site. I feel like I get a more than average amount of best answers and usually an answer will get a one or two favorites with the occasional few dozen. But I'm also a jerk who uses favorites very sparingly myself - according to some sloppy math I've given one favorite for every dozen I've received. I only favorite an answer if I think it's a) right b) pointing out something really important that's gone unnoticed by previous commenters c) goddamned hilarious or containing incredibly useful information. But apart from my smug assumption that of course I'm right if I'm answering an askme, I feel like my answers don't usually fulfill my favoriting criteria.

Usually the answers I leave that I feel like get the most favorites are ones that are kind. Something that expresses empathy, either towards the asker or imploring the asker to feel empathy for another person involved in their question. I try to be accommodating and speak directly to the asker. When I talk about food in askme I always try to point out possible ways to change techniques or ingredients to suit different people's needs even if that wasn't stated in the question. If I have a specific product in mind I try to find a link. I try to break my long answers up into shorter paragraphs than I naturally write them.

I always make sure to read the question's full text and try to account for caveats they've included. The amount of people who seemingly don't read full questions and end up suggesting things the asker has ruled out under a cut always baffles me, and I think this contributes to my answers sometimes getting marked best.

These days I try a lot harder to not chime in on questions where I don't actually have anything useful to add. I used to answer a lot of human relations questions but I keep that urge to myself more and more because it always seems to boil down to "think about the other person more. think about yourself more. don't be hurtful to either." And like, that's gotten old and there are a lot of people better suited to writing in voices that help askers understand that in their own ways than me.

I do like it when I get a bunch of favorites. But it's not something I agonize about. Sometimes when someone's answer gets marked best and their answer is totally wrong like omg I get a little pouty if my comment is like, right there and like, so totally right and this person is soooo gonna mess up their life/cat's name/shoe choice for this special occasion/dinner recipe. But it fades. I guess in conclusion I just try to be nice, and also fairly verbose without repeating myself, and when it strikes favorite gold I let myself feel warm about it.
posted by Mizu at 9:26 AM on May 4 [11 favorites]


Consistently end every comment with "And Carthage must be destroyed"
posted by Greg Nog at 11:11 AM on May 4 [33 favorites]


I'm not a huge favorite-getter, but I like it even though I try not to equate number of favorites with any quality metric. Some correlations I seem to notice, both good and bad:

- Closer to the top. This comment, for instance, is probably repeating what someone else already said to more or less extent and that first comment will get the favorite, plus, some people have quit reading already.

- Added value. Although I've said the same thing essentially as someone else, I try to explain what makes my comment different, a slightly different angle, and why it's not just "me too".

- Acknowledge that you've read the above comments. People like to see that you noticed and appreciated their comment, and will probably favorite yours if you say so.

- Personal touch. Anecdotal evidence is not the greatest logical proof, but it's what makes you you and it's more interesting to read.

- Clever snark. Probably not a great thing to strive for, because when it fails it fails spectacularly. But well-timed pithy snark gets a lot of favorites, it's just a fact.

- Tribal favorites. Pick a side on a contentious topic and most of the people on that same side will favorite yours as a "vote" for that side. Also not something I try to do on purpose.

- Explanation. Not just the correct answer, but why it's correct and how you know. I favorite a lot of comments even though I have no opinion, just because I learned something.

You know what I like more than total number of favorites? Winning the thread for someone. Sometimes I look at who favorited mine, and I see that they only favorited one comment in the thread and it was mine. That +1 feels better than a big number of "yeah, that was good too."
posted by ctmf at 11:42 AM on May 4 [5 favorites]


Sometimes I remind myself that a favorite could also mean "look at this dumbass" to keep it in perspective.
posted by ctmf at 11:45 AM on May 4 [20 favorites]


Something else to keep in mind: anonymous question-askers never award best answers (I think it isn’t possible) and many relationship questions are anonymous. So, if relationship questions are the sorts of questions you like to answer, then your chances for a best answer go way down.
posted by colfax at 11:45 AM on May 4 [1 favorite]


Sometimes I remind myself that a favorite could also mean "look at this dumbass" to keep it in perspective.

omg, you just favorited me!
posted by mochapickle at 11:57 AM on May 4 [23 favorites]


I just did it again! Hmm, the mystery deepens!

I forgot playful humor. I love that, and general screwing around gets a lot of my favorites. Confession: I even like the old Metafilter: (tagline) gag.
posted by ctmf at 12:01 PM on May 4 [6 favorites]


Although, you were specifically asking about AskMe, and general screwing around is probably not a good strategy there. More likely to get deleted than favorited.
posted by ctmf at 12:02 PM on May 4


So, let's actually look at your stats. Counting all your posts and comments across the site, you've got 284 post/comments that could be favorited. You have garnered 861 favorites from others. That's a ratio of 3.03 per post/comment. Mine is 1.38 and I think I get a reasonable number of faves. Miko, who says this is not what it's about but who is very prolific here and gets lots of favorites, has 89,592 favorites on 26,483 post/comments, for a ratio of 3.38. The user with the most favorites on comments is zachlipton, who has 366,366 favorites across 18,652 post/comments (mostly MeFi comments, not AskMe), for a ratio of 19.64. But really, there are probably fewer than 100 users with ratios above 4 or 5. An infodump adept could confirm or correct that.

So I would say you're doing fine, relax.
posted by beagle at 12:49 PM on May 4 [27 favorites]


What do I have to do to get more favourites and best answers?

One of the ways is to reinforce the smokers preferred answer, even (especially) if it's a bad idea.
"best answers" are a mighty rough proxy for actual quality

Some of my favorite askme threads are the ones where someone's like "should I put my dick on the hot stovetop?" and 99% of the answerers are like "no, please don't do that, you will burn your dick" and the one that gets best answer is like "OP, you DESERVE to put your dick on the stove, I believe in you"
posted by Greg Nog at 7:43 on March 28, 2015
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:53 PM on May 4 [28 favorites]


*askers
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:03 PM on May 4 [7 favorites]


Favorites: Smoke 'em if you got 'em.
posted by Alterscape at 1:43 PM on May 4 [10 favorites]


Gonna double down on Miko's wisdom. Metafilter is a community and a collective mind--it's not about likes or favorites or thumbs down or whatever online completely fake popularity the kids are searching for these days.

It's sincere and so so smart and caring and I would be mightily put off if I sensed people were giving carefully worded answers in order to get more favorites. I want truth, not popularity seeking.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 1:44 PM on May 4 [5 favorites]


*dick smokers
posted by villanelles at dawn at 1:45 PM on May 4 [6 favorites]


It's sincere and so so smart and caring and I would be mightily put off if I sensed people were giving carefully worded answers in order to get more favorites. I want truth, not popularity seeking.

Yeah, but there are things that might increase positive feedback without affecting the truth value of a given answer. If someone wants some positive community feedback and to feel welcomed and appreciated, then, you know. No skin off my back :)
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 1:51 PM on May 4 [2 favorites]


posted by villanelles at dawn

g a s p
posted by poffin boffin at 3:03 PM on May 4 [8 favorites]


posted by poffin boffin

o m g
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 3:09 PM on May 4 [12 favorites]


Switch to the Unanswered tab and answer the ones you know or know how to find the answer to. They're going to be harder questions, not the fluffy stuff everyone thinks they know about, but maybe you'll be the one who knows how to fix a framitz for a 1967 convertible.
posted by pracowity at 3:40 PM on May 4 [5 favorites]


@Miko I don’t see what harm I was doing putting an @ in front of your name....

Guys I think the angle about : favourites/best answers are not the best metric to rely on has been covered. Grateful if you could just focus on answering the question.
posted by EatMyHat at 3:51 PM on May 4 [1 favorite]


People tend to find it inimical to friendly community conversation here to speak AT someone rather than WITH someone, hence the dislike of the @ usage. Deliberately doing it again when someone asked you not to refer to them in that way is like... unnecessarily aggro and weird?
posted by poffin boffin at 4:04 PM on May 4 [21 favorites]


@Poffin boffin - I just don’t accept that this usage is problematic. I don’t think it means I’m talking AT them not WITH them. I’m not interested in what convention is on the site. I don’t see why Miko would criticise me for use of a single character....
posted by EatMyHat at 4:19 PM on May 4 [1 favorite]


I’m not interested in what convention is on the site.

Which might be one of the reasons for less favorites...
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 4:22 PM on May 4 [74 favorites]


oh yeah this looks like a great path towards getting more faves bro
posted by poffin boffin at 4:23 PM on May 4 [42 favorites]


oh no someone doesn't care for a convention burn them
posted by lalex at 4:25 PM on May 4 [1 favorite]


Just looking briefly through your history, if you want more favorites, write more answers. I'm seeing two or three answers a week? It's a numbers game, the more answers you write, the more favorites/best answers you'll get.

Unlike most of the internet, longer comments are valued here. Most of your comments are very brief. A thoughtful couple of paragraphs shows you've put effort in; a one-sentence reply has to be either very good or funny to get any kind of interaction.

As you do both of these things, your name will start to be recognized, which will put people in mind to favorite your posts more as well.

This comment has started to feel gross as I typed it, like I'm explaining how to be an "influencer."

I think what you might be looking for is some sort of feedback to say whether the advice/answer you gave was actually helpful. Sometimes you'll get that feedback, often you won't.
posted by JDHarper at 4:26 PM on May 4 [5 favorites]


"I just don’t accept that this usage is problematic. I don’t think it means I’m talking AT them not WITH them. I’m not interested in what convention is on the site. "

If you want to @ people, that's fine and up to you, but there's a long history on the site of the site culture strenuously disliking that usage to the point that we've had metatalks about it. In general people won't jump on you if you do it once in a thread, but they may point it out; continuing to do it after it's pointed out may well be read as hostile.

It is relevant in that if you're interested in getting more favorites (which I'm ambivalent about as a goal, but I understand many people do seek that), understanding site culture and conventions would help you communicate better with other members.
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 4:28 PM on May 4 [43 favorites]


This whole thing is like a reductio ad absurdum argument against favorites.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 4:29 PM on May 4 [8 favorites]


Having and demonstrating an understanding of community norms is a big factor in community connection. Your initial question felt to me like you were asking how to get tokens of approval here and lots of folks have covered participation very well and in good faith.

While favorites mean many things to different people, the number of contributors here who enjoy being antagonized is...slim.

I originally was going to recommend vulnerability. Answer the questions and comment on posts that connect with your gut level knowledge of the world. Share who you are at your deepest core and that will resonate with readers.

On preview of your attitude toward long held tendencies in single character use, I’m going to very strongly recommend vulnerability. It’s hard to want a place where anything flies that also provides a sense of connection. Getting the recognition you want here requires participating along the lines of the way things are set up. Not in lockstep. Not thoughtlessly. It will also help you to note the person offering you advice about @ has the highest ratio of favorites.

Metafilter has been formed and continues to be shaped by people who deeply deeply care about making and keeping this a healthy ecosystem. Telling us you won’t refer to us in ways that we prefer is...not endearing.

Flies. Honey. Etc. Be who you are, be kind and generous. Be willing to be wrong and learn and grow. Most of all, listen. Show us that’s you hear us.

Also, as was mentioned above, more comments makes for a greater range of potential favorites. So being present in more conversations will help with the favorites count, and the aforementioned thoughtfulness will help with the ratio.
posted by bilabial at 4:33 PM on May 4 [17 favorites]


I get why people don't like the @ thing (I mean, I don't, but I accept it) but OP already seems to feel like a bit of a outsider and was very vulnerable by writing this question so maybe we can move on from that
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 4:38 PM on May 4 [11 favorites]


Insisting on the @ makes EatMyHat's question seem entitled and even faintly petulant — not the wished-for effect, surely.
posted by jamjam at 5:12 PM on May 4 [8 favorites]


I think the suggestions to answer early and often are probably going to be the most effective. Though I'm not a high favorite getter myself, so I don't have a ton of wisdom to impart.

I do try to favorite things fairly often, because I'm with you on thinking that a little acknowledgement is rewarding, and I think of it as a small "thanks for making the effort of typing this out!" But there are so many thoughtful/funny/helpful comments on this site, I'm never going to be able to mark every good one. And not everyone uses favorites that way. So I personally just assume a little fleet of ghost favorites floats after most comments, and then try to remember to favorite often myself and be the change I wish to see in the world.
posted by the primroses were over at 5:20 PM on May 4 [5 favorites]


Guys I think the angle about : favourites/best answers are not the best metric to rely on has been covered. Grateful if you could just focus on answering the question.

Ok sure. Conventions here matter. We don't generally get into a back and forth with others, and it's pretty unusual to call people out by name. We take what we need and leave the rest and generally don't pop back in unless it's to clarify something. Generally, we don't use colloqialisms like "guys." We don't argue with other people.

Strong answers are well-written, well thought out, often include relevant anecdotes/evidence and more often, they explain their thinking so we can understand why it's a strong answer. They're often witty or offer a unique perspective. More than just an answer, there are reasons behind the answer. There's conviction behind answers.

Look over some of your answers and think about where you could add detail, evidence, anecdotes. Favorited answers usually do that, and I would not minimize the importance of understanding and accepting the culture here.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 5:30 PM on May 4 [8 favorites]


I get that you’re tired of hearing about why favorites don’t or shouldn’t matter here, but I’m curious, given your lack of interest in some other conventions of this site, whether you’ve considered other places where favorites do matter in a clearer way. I’m not well versed in Reddit but I think favoriting is key there in terms of how comments are viewed when you click on a thread. Just from using google to search for questions, I think Quora may also work this way (ranking answers in order of favorites). If getting favorites feels like positive feedback to you then you may prefer a site where they actually count for something? That might make you care less about getting favorites when you’re participating on Metafilter, where they’re incidental rather than key to the structure of the site?
posted by sallybrown at 6:20 PM on May 4 [8 favorites]


I answered an ask.me recently, gave a pretty reasonable answer, and got a ton of favorites, and I don't really know why. Other times, I have given pithy, thoughtful answers that were neglected, while 3 answers down, somebody says basically the same thing and gets faved.

A favorited comment/answer is more likely to be read, so more likely to get more favorites.

Read the question, then read it again. Whoops, asker said they already tried dilithium so don't suggest that. Reading the question carefully = listening.

Try to be clear. This is non-trivial; we all come with different perceptions.

Favorite answers and comments that you like; why did you favorite that? What resonated?

I like giving advice and answering questions. Favorites are a pleasant indicator of mild appreciation. Best answer is nifty. But I suppose I do it because I like being useful, and it's interesting.
posted by theora55 at 6:31 PM on May 4 [6 favorites]


Also, chrysostom will favorite your comments for money.
posted by theora55 at 6:32 PM on May 4 [18 favorites]


There are two possible questions, and I'm not sure which one is actually being asked. How to increase the number of favorites on comments, or how to write better comments. If it's the latter, that's a tough subject and I'm not sure I'm the right person to answer. If it's the former, though:

-I've noticed that the majority of my most-favorited comments were from the blue, even though I spend much more time on Ask.

-My original posts seem to get more favorites than my comments. Again, posts on the blue do better than Asks.

-Agreeing with Metafilter consensus will usually get you a couple easy favorites. Suggesting that someone see a therapist is rarely looked upon unfavorably. Several of my most-favorited comments are on the moral shortcomings of capitalism, which aligns well with the views of other people here. My comments about more idiosyncratic aspects of my political views are not as popular.

-One thing I noticed about you specifically is that you have a tendency to post comments in your own Asks (and MeTas). Those comments will rarely earn favorites, and, as you've seen, can often rub people the wrong way, which can negatively affect your overall favorite count.
posted by kevinbelt at 9:21 PM on May 4 [5 favorites]


Looking back at some of your answers that did not receive favorites, they were too short of an answer-- just one sentence and they weren't adding any new insight to help the OP. So I would focus on being insightful and helpful while authentically developing your questions. I also noticed that you have been favorited more times by others than you have given out favorites. This is unusually skewed. Most people here regularly engage with the community by favoriting things a lot.

Last thing, I recently answered one of your Asks and I noticed that you were very defensive to many answers. You are even very defensive in this thread where you say you don't care about what conventions are used here. People in this community for the most part care about and respect each other. That's why it rarely gets mean. But your borderline dgaf attitude may rub people the wrong way. I don't know if this is how you are IRL or just online but, again, I would think about how you want to engage in this site so that people genuinely want to help and be helped by you. I'm a longtime reader, and only joined over a year ago, so that's my two cents.
posted by jj's.mama at 8:36 AM on May 5 [24 favorites]


I can tell you a surefire way to avoid getting favourites and best-answer marks:

Use the “surrounded by idiots” approach. Go out of your way to signal that you are smarter than other users, and no one else “gets it.” Get indignant when others contradict you. If someone doesn’t understand something you said, take no time to consider the clarity of your point; instead, jump immediately to the conclusion that they are too shallow to understand you. Expect others to read your comments in good faith, but never assume good faith on behalf of others. Lace your remarks with judgment and contempt.

This is also a guaranteed recipe for loneliness IRL. I see it most among people who are actually fairly smart, but are secretly deeply insecure. They seem to believe behaving this way will somehow impress other people rather than alienating them. When it doesn’t work, they double down. When someone calls them on it, they become defensive. Then they feel even lonelier and the cycle starts again.

I’ve provided a total downer of a counterexample here. Silver lining: there are dozens of useful, positive examples above. Surely at least one might be a “best” answer? Surely your question is “how can I write more useful answers and comments?”, not “why isn’t the rest of the userbase here smart enough to appreciate my brilliance?”

TL;DR: expect more from yourself than you do from others. I promise it will make life less disappointing and frustrating.
posted by armeowda at 11:52 AM on May 5 [28 favorites]


You could always link to a picture of a cool mouse! Who doesn't like seeing a cool mouse? No one! That's why they're making a whole pokemon movie about one! That oughtta rake in the faves: "Regarding your question about how to fold a duvet, I bet you can get the HANG of it!!!!"
posted by Greg Nog at 12:31 PM on May 5 [13 favorites]


internet fraud detective squad, station number 9: I get why people don't like the @ thing (I mean, I don't, but I accept it) but OP already seems to feel like a bit of a outsider and was very vulnerable by writing this question so maybe we can move on from that

I see what you're saying, but I don't think the OP is being particularly vulnerable asking this question, which boils down to "I want more people on MetaFilter to think I'm smart and cool, everyone tell me how to make you validate my existence here!" while at the same time saying "You shouldn't tell me not to do something that MeFites pretty much unanimously agree is not part of the site's culture!"

I mean, that's a surefire way not to get favorites....
posted by tzikeh at 1:21 PM on May 5 [12 favorites]


EatMyHat, you have several hundred more favorites than comments, which I think shows an already existing fan base for your contributions. I think that beagle had the right idea. I took time to run the numbers and you have a Favorite/Comment Ratio of 3.017. So what will it take to get you up to that magic 33 1/3 F/C? You need Metafilter Favorite Optimization.

Off the top of my head:
1. When you see a new question on Ask, try taking the subject and googling with keywords such as "best" "extreme" "o-rama" or "wicker man" and using that as your answer.

2. Vote #1 quidnunc kid!

3. Consider a catch phrase/sign off. If you find yourself arguing with someone say "and if I'm wrong I'll eat my hat" and link to a picture of a neat hat. Or just Eat My Hat! and link to a picture of someone eating a hat or to a hat recipe. This place loves recipes.

Profit
posted by ActingTheGoat at 1:58 PM on May 5 [11 favorites]


Spend a little, or even better, a lot of time on the wiki. That will help you understand ActingTheGoat's in-joke(s) and will help you navigate the community more successfully. The wiki can be pretty fun to read.
posted by theora55 at 2:04 PM on May 5 [1 favorite]


@armeowda are you saying that is how I behave on the site at present? Cause I don’t think it is...
posted by EatMyHat at 2:19 PM on May 5


Wow. You're @ it again.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 2:34 PM on May 5 [21 favorites]


I think it's just trolling at this point? Which.
posted by mochapickle at 2:43 PM on May 5 [10 favorites]


I don’t think this is trolling based on past Ask history. EatMyHat, your way of communicating comes across as hostile (which I don’t think you intend) because it reads as inflexible and pessimistic. There are a lot of comments in this thread for you to respond to but you seem to pick the one that can possibly be construed the worst, and then you assume the worst of the person writing it. It might feel fake to focus on the positive, but you should at least try to assume the best of the people using this site.
posted by sallybrown at 2:49 PM on May 5 [17 favorites]


EatMyHat, I believe armeowda is saying that this is how you are coming across, and I think most people in this post probably agree (I know I certainly do). In life, in times when everyone thinks you’re an asshole it’s worth reflecting on why this is before deciding to hold forth on the ways in which you think you’re fine just the way you are.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 3:00 PM on May 5 [6 favorites]


@a box and a stick and a string and a bear I don’t know why you think I’ve done no reflection- that is something that happens in my head not shared with the entire internet. And i would not call it “holding forth” - I’m just letting y’all know my perspective.
posted by EatMyHat at 3:11 PM on May 5


I don't think EatMyHat is trolling, but I think this thread is on the brink of turning into an old timey pile-on with all attendant ugliness.

EatMyHat, I think that this question has hit the intersection of at least a couple of hot button issues around here and would hate to see it become a referendum on a Mefite. Favorites and what they mean and should we have them has been highly contentious since the introduction of favorites.

The @ thing was a huge deal years ago that mostly subsided. Whether or not @ is rude because you are speaking "at" someone or because of anti-making-MeFi-like-twitter or if it isn't at all because that all seems silly but so does @ in the first place I can't say. But poffin boffin gave you her opinion about it and you just told them you didn't care and @'ed her right in the face. That came off as mean and not something that I wanted to favorite.

Being argumentative after asking a question can lead to more argument from others and there are always more of them than you. I think that frequent responses from the asker, particularly when they are disagreeing with a previous answer to their question. Historically in AskMe this can rile up the crowd and reduce favoriting or lead to a lack of goodwill from your potential answerers/favoriters.

On a personal note, I favorited this post instead of just acting the goat.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 3:14 PM on May 5 [13 favorites]


EatMyHat, we know. You feel the way that you feel. This is very clear and not in dispute. I simply think that you telling us how it is (for lack of a better phrase) is a poor way to find a real answer to your question that started this whole discussion.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 3:19 PM on May 5 [3 favorites]


I have to question the sincerity of this plea for feedback, because: (a) virtually all relevant feedback has suggested considering the feelings and perspectives of others, and (b) virtually all such suggestions have been disdainfully dismissed, without regard to the feelings and perspectives of others.

The question was, in effect, how can I get more validation from other users? Even the kindest and gentlest responses upthread were apparently not satisfactorily validating.

This is one of the most self-demonstrating, meta MeTas I’ve ever seen.
posted by armeowda at 3:21 PM on May 5 [17 favorites]


Maybe try not arguing when you don't get what you want to hear.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 3:32 PM on May 5 [3 favorites]


I don’t get it. I asked a genuine question. I received some helpful responses and some which I felt were hostile towards me. I stood up to the hostile ones. Then I get accused of being defensive and telling people how it is and it not being a genuine question etc. What am I supposed to do? Just let the haters go unopposed? This has all become rather personal and some hurtful stuff has been said which I did not expect.
posted by EatMyHat at 3:32 PM on May 5 [1 favorite]


What am I supposed to do? Just let the haters go unopposed?

Yes. Do this.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 3:48 PM on May 5 [46 favorites]


I'm just going to come right out and say that it's possible that the MetaFilter community, regardless of which subsite and its attending subculture (the different colors of backgrounds have their own cultures, it's true), is exactly the wrong place for EatMyHat, and that maybe they will find another website to hang out on.

A lot of things have been said here trying to provide a gentle education in how this community works and interacts with each other, and either EatMyHat is incapable of understanding what has been written or they are willfully not absorbing the things being shared because they feel the site should follow different conventions, despite it being a web community that has been around for 20 years. Which I suspect is longer than EatMyHat has even been online.

It seems we've all been engaging here in good faith, and all EatMyHat wants to do is fight. Either that or be told "oh we're so sorry we should have recognized your genius earlier and now you'll get all the favorites the world can offer now that you've pointed yourself out to us".

Either way, this conversation is becoming increasingly futile, mostly due to participation in bad faith by the OP.
posted by hippybear at 3:49 PM on May 5 [12 favorites]


What am I supposed to do? Just let the haters go unopposed?

It's usually just about the most freeing and emotionally healthy thing to do, in my experience. I'm speaking both just as a person who encounters their fair share of negativity and criticism, deserved and otherwise, and as a moderator on the site: sometimes the urge to clap back isn't gonna serve anything except that little sting of anger or defensive energy. The conversation gets worse, I get more upset, the long-term state of everything goes downhill.

I think you had a core question with this MetaTalk that people can understand and resonate with in a lot of different ways, and the variety of responses and guidance and criticism that's come up reflects that variety. The specific framing isn't how I'd have gone with it, but it's fine to ask and talk about.

But as with Ask MetaFilter, there's a thing where you can ask the community for advice or guidance but you're agreeing in the bargain to hear people's answers, both the ones you like and the ones you don't. We nudge question askers on a regular basis to remember to go ahead and just make use of what's useful in the answers and to not get into "your answer is bad/wrong/etc" interactions with people whose answers they don't like, and I think that's a good strategy to pursue with MetaTalk as well.

So, if you feel you got some helpful answers in there, great! Take them, digest 'em, make whatever use of them you will. If you got some responses you didn't like, that's fine too: put 'em down instead of picking them up, let them be things you don't like that you don't have to do anything with. But getting into it with folks in a tit-for-tat way isn't gonna go well or make anything better, so I'd say, yeah, the thing to do is to take that stuff and just...let it be stuff you don't like, and leave it at that.

At this point I'm not sure there's much to gain in any direction on an EatMyHat-centric vector for this thread, so I'm gonna ask everybody, EatMyHat included, to just sort of stand down on any back-and-forth there. If there's more that folks want to talk about on the general topic, that's fine, but let's collectively depersonalize this whole thing now.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:50 PM on May 5 [37 favorites]


So, now, to depersonalize the whole thing...

I think the best way to get favorites (I can't speak to AskMe which I use infrequently) is to post things that are really cool things you find online. It's easy to get cheap favorites if you're posting OutrageFilter, because MF truly loves to wallow in collective anger about A Thing. But if you want to really do the entire community a favor, posting things that are cool, groovy, unexpected, fun, informational, and otherwise Best Of The Web that don't involve trying to get others to Also Be Mad About This Bad Thing... This is something you can do that will draw attention, help the front page feel less angry, and that people will generally appreciate enough to get favorites.

I don't strive to get favorites. I do use them a bit as a barometer about what I've posted and whether it works for the population at large, but I don't post to get favorites. I post because I want to share a thing, and I hope others enjoy it too.

There is so much to find on the internet; sharing the cool fun stuff is the best that MetaFilter can be.
posted by hippybear at 4:18 PM on May 5 [11 favorites]


What am I supposed to do?
Post a mouse pic, broseph!!!
posted by Greg Nog at 5:36 PM on May 5 [5 favorites]


Wait, favourites are just bookmarks for later, right?
posted by bonehead at 6:13 PM on May 5 [4 favorites]


So I understand getting a little miffed at someone persisting in a convention that sundry interlocutors have called out as contrary to community norms, but also, like, I feel like there's some introspection called for on the part of anyone who's getting legitimately annoyed at the presence in someone else's comment of an 'a' with a circle around it
posted by invitapriore at 7:20 PM on May 5 [4 favorites]


I've introspected long and hard about it years ago, and there are plenty of ways one can do the exact same thing here without that one thing that people don't like.

For example --

invitapriore: this is a response to you.

Sometimes it's also done --

invitapriore: this is a response to you.

Also, I have seen, "So, invitapriore, I might respond to you like this."

I'm sure there are many others.
posted by hippybear at 7:27 PM on May 5 [1 favorite]


I think there’s a pretty major difference between people being miffed about a random @, and being miffed about a user responding to a comment explaining why the @ is suboptimal with a comment using that very same convention. It’s really difficult to read the latter as not being purposefully antagonistic.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 7:41 PM on May 5 [18 favorites]


Thus the ambivalence, but again, imagine getting a little visibly worked up about that mode of address and having someone in the room ask what's bothering you. From one to mortified, how would you rate your emotional reaction to telling them that it's because someone put an at-sign in front of your username?
posted by invitapriore at 7:43 PM on May 5 [2 favorites]


invaprior: I'm sure it is a mystery why people react to certain things. People are all different.
posted by hippybear at 7:45 PM on May 5


For sure, some of them get excessively worked up about blatantly trivial shit, but I don't think it's anyone else's job to humor them!
posted by invitapriore at 7:47 PM on May 5 [1 favorite]


I love your image of a MetaFilter user standing up from their computer, pacing the room, sweeping the hair back from their forehead as they begin to sweat, anxiously back and forth while they try to shake off their physically-manifesting furor over seeing an @.

Loved ones are worried and asking them why. The suggestion is made that maybe an ambulance or at least an Uber needs to be called.

Finally the MeFite goes into their bedroom and punches their pillow a dozen times in a row while shouting someone's username until they are out of breath. They fall over onto the mattress until their breathing is back under control and they go back and sit down and calmly type "we don't actually use the @username convention here. please don't."
posted by hippybear at 7:52 PM on May 5 [13 favorites]


One of my favorite things about this place is how quick users are to accommodate their peers when informed that something ostensibly trivial is making their experience here less pleasant. Like, “oh, I could do [x] instead of [y], be able to express myself just as well, and someone’s day would be a little better? Hell yeah!” is just such a common reaction around here that it made the situation at hand stick out that much more.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 7:54 PM on May 5 [36 favorites]


^^^^ that
posted by hippybear at 7:58 PM on May 5 [1 favorite]


some of them get excessively worked up about blatantly trivial shit

Signed, Person Who Wrote Three Comments About It.
posted by Miko at 9:27 PM on May 5 [20 favorites]


imagine getting a little visibly worked up about that mode of address and having someone in the room ask what's bothering you

lol if u mean me then 01) this fanfic is weird but i support your creative efforts and 02) i don't actually care about someone @ing at me
posted by poffin boffin at 10:58 PM on May 5 [4 favorites]


Without getting into how the @ thing might make some feel, there are good reasons why it isn't used here that go beyond Metafilter existing before twitter so we shouldn't have to take on their conventions dammit.

Metafilter is designed as a community oriented site in a very different way than twitter, where each user's experience of the site is based on their feed. Here each conversation is meant/open to be engaged with by the whole community and understood as such. An @ disrupts that function both by singling out one responder from the others for a one to one exchange that suggests others aren't to be involved with and, more importantly, it makes reading the comments more cumbersome for the community as one has to search for the earlier comment to understand what's being @ed. There are certainly many occasions where one does want to respond to a specific comment, but the best way to do that is to block quote the comment and italicize it so what is being replied to is clear and still open for everyone in the community to engage with.

If it's a thread with many comments @ing becomes difficult even for the one being @ed at since it's easy to forget what one said earlier in a different context if the @ response comes later and you haven't checked the thread for a while. Treating every conversation as if it involves the whole community, which means reading the other comments as well as replying to the thread as a whole also goes to the point of getting more favorites since it makes duplicating comments less likely, gives a better read of the room, and allows the user to quote earlier comments for appreciation and possibly to add further support to an idea rather than treating the conversation as if your thoughts are the most important thing.
posted by gusottertrout at 12:52 AM on May 6 [40 favorites]


and knowing the way these things tend to go, I'll probably find someone else said the same thing earlier and I missed it...
posted by gusottertrout at 1:08 AM on May 6


Actually, gusottertrout, this is the first time someone explained that in a way that made sense to me.
posted by Too-Ticky at 1:28 AM on May 6 [3 favorites]


So, I work at a therapeutic high school for kids who have histories of school avoidance and mental illness. Each and every one of these kids is bright, inquisitive, creative, risk-taking--they're the kind of kids you totally would've wanted to know when you were in high school and hiding in the bathroom/library/Mrs. Peavey's classroom.

But the thing about these kids is because of years of school failures and mental health issues, they generally are not super excellent at appropriate peer relationships.

They all want friends. They all want to be liked. They all want to be popular.

But they don't know how to go about it.

Complicating matters is the school has rolling admissions, so every few weeks we get a new kid. When new kids start we share a standard script about school rules, one of the most important being that kids are not allowed to discuss their programs/hospitalizations in school. It's a big no no. You just can't talk about that.

But every few months we get a kid who disagrees with that rule. They double down, they insist that this rule is stupid.

They tell us that they refuse to follow that rule, and turn and ask who's been to the _____ Program.

The other kids are kind and gentle and reiterate that conversations is just not really done here, and they instead mention all the clubs and activities and tell the kid Book Club is meeting tomorrow and maybe they want to come.

But not all new students want to do it our way. They want to continue doing it their way. Of course, they don't know that their way is alienating every single kid (and staff member) and every single time they continue talking about previous hospitalizations the entire school is collectively murmuring, "Oh please stop already. It may not be a big deal but it's OUR deal. Can you please try to respect that?"

So the new kid ends up alienating everyone and ends up making no friends (teenagers can be a tough crowd). Over time, people forget and if the kid can settle and be cool, kids will hang with them.

But more often than not, the kids who want to be popular and do it by telling the community they don't care about the rules end up leaving the school saying it's not a good fit. And they're right. It wasn't a good fit, but it's because they weren't willing to note the standards and engage appropriately.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 3:01 AM on May 6 [29 favorites]


I kind of feel like the question was answered, a small pile-on was had, and now people are making angry responses to previous comments. Is there any substance left to mine, or is this going to become a free-form GRARfest?
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:45 AM on May 6 [4 favorites]


It's not too free-form since I just had something deleted 🤷
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 6:10 AM on May 6 [5 favorites]


a good way to get favorites is to be greg nog
posted by Kwine at 7:10 AM on May 6 [12 favorites]


This thread got really weird!
I liked the question because it is interesting.

I‘m a fairly prolific AskMe answerer, and use the other sites less frequently. I also enjoy thinking about why commenters react to each other the way they do.
My experience is that comments get liked most when they express something other people have been thinking but haven‘t (managed to) put into words.

A lot of the likes are like a non-verbal „YESSSSS, that‘s exactly it!“ or „wow, I hadn‘t thought of it that way, but so true.“

A lot of likes also reward vulnerability: Like, when a commenter tells a painful story of their past to provide insight for the asker, or invests a lot of emotion into their answer.

So where does that leave you?

1) Post fairly early to increase your chances of being the first to say something that hits a particular nerve.
2) but: post clearly mapped out, precise answers. Good writing skills help. Don‘t be too short. „DTMF“ will never beat „Listen, here is why this person isn‘t worth your time“.
3) Have a clear grasp of what positions the AskMe crowd tends to take. Obviously, we aren‘t a monolith. But if you know there are groups of people who tend to think a certain way about, say, male-female interactions, then it will be easier for you to express for them the things they are likely to want to tell the asker. Note: You can‘t fake this. You’ll sound false. But you can find „your people“ here and post in a way that appeals to them.
4) Use your expertise.
You will never be the top authority on relationships. But you are THE authority on your own experiences. Use them to help people understand their own.
5) be vulnerable. Show that you care. Your urgent desire to help is something that will shine through and that is highly respected in this community.

So that‘s my 2 cents about favourites.
As to „best answers“ I have no idea. I find that often the difference between highly favourited and best answer is hilarious and just goesto show that what AskMe considers a great answer is often the opposite of what the poster wants to hear!
posted by Omnomnom at 7:42 AM on May 6 [13 favorites]


GRAAAAAAAR!!

A good way to get 'best answer' tags is to answer the question bestly. Fuck knows about favourites.
posted by pompomtom at 7:44 AM on May 6 [2 favorites]


Over time, my approach to AskMes as a poster is to favorite any comment which answers my question helpfully and “Best Answer” anything that I might pursue. In this case, the favorite kind of means “I see you responded, thanks,” and the “best answer” means “I’ll try that.” I don’t think that’s the only way posters respond, but some do.
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:08 AM on May 6 [4 favorites]


I dunno, I think the discussion of #AddressingConventions was #helpful.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 8:53 AM on May 6 [4 favorites]


oh boy, a contentious MeTa! here I come to toss off some easy snark for cheap favorites!

[animated gif of Grandpa Simpson entering a room, then immediately leaving it dot gif]
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:28 AM on May 6 [4 favorites]


At the risk of reviving the main issue...

@EatMyHat, I'm someone who was once called out for being helpful in AskMes. I also do get my answers favorited and best-answered. I say that to point out that the people who were telling you not to care about favorites actually were giving you the tools that you're looking for, as paradoxical as that sounds - because I suspect that my own not-caring is what has lead to that happening.

What I mean is - when I post an answer in AskMe, I am 100% thinking only about helping the person I'm talking to. If my answer is favorited, that's nice, but that's not why I'm answering - the reason why i'm answering is because I have an idea that may help someone. And I think that because I'm so genuinely wanting to help, that comes across in how I answer.

It's not a guaranteed measure of success, mind you - there are plenty of answers I've posted that don't get favorited, and one that even got a huge pileon for being sucky. And yeah, it stung when people told me "that answer sucks". But - they were right. I apologized and dropped out instead of fighting them, because my goal was to help someone in the first place, and if I hadn't been helpful then yeah, i was right to be called out.

I appreciate it when people give me favorites and "best answers", but that is NEVER what is in my mind when I'm writing the answer to a question. And I think the fact that I am focused 100% on the question is what leads to better answers.

so all the people who may have been advising you not to care about favorites may have paradoxically been giving you the exact advice you needed to get favorites.

Give it a shot.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:08 AM on May 6 [13 favorites]


As far as what to do if you're getting answers you don't like: when that's happened to me, I've run them past the mods for a sanity check. I had one AskMe (anonymous, don't bother looking) where some of the answers hurt my feelings. I contacted whoever was a mod at that time and got their perspective, which was helpful for me.
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:29 PM on May 6 [1 favorite]


gusottertrout: the best way to do that is to block quote the comment and italicize it so what is being replied to is clear and still open for everyone in the community to engage with

And for people who want to more easily track conversation threads, there are browser bookmarlets like GraphFi (this also can help browse really long threads).

Note: the key feature is that it "graphs" favorites, but if you opt for "has favorites" or "hide favorites," it only links comments.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:18 PM on May 8


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