Pony: Option to hide "Favorited by Others" on profile? June 12, 2019 10:31 PM   Subscribe

I am trying to cut social-media-style dopamine hits out of my life as much as I can, and I have noticed myself checking in more than I'd prefer on my "Favorited by Others" count, and clicking through to see what comments I've made that are getting lots of favorites. I'd rather not do this, but it's a longstanding habit at this point, and it's been surprisingly difficult to kick it. Would it be possible to add a preference to hide the count and link?

I was thinking about just writing a Chrome extension to do this for me at some unspecified future date when I get around to it, but given that we do have other favorites-related preferences, and given that I think I may well not be the only Mefite who'd use this preference if it existed, and also given that I sure *hope* it'd be a one-line sort of change, I figured I may as well ask if others think it'd be worth adding, and whether it's a possibility. Or, better yet, maybe this is already implemented and I just haven't found it.
posted by potrzebie to Feature Requests at 10:31 PM (54 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

Heh, I so utterly misread your request that I left a helpfully pointless comment that I've then immediately deleted in embarrassment. It's been a long week.

So, I don't think this is a profile pref we've discussed before; I guess I am curious to hear if it's something multiple folks would find value in, because at this level of fine tuning it is the sort of thing I would tend to recommend solving with a script if there's not a groundswell of "oh man I've always wanted that too" filtering up, but I'm happy to have folks talk about it.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:38 PM on June 12, 2019

Yeah, I've been thinking about posting this for...a longish time...and felt kinda embarrassed to even ask about it cause it's definitely something I could just take care of myself. But I think there's growing awareness these days that these sorts of "yay, your Number Of Popularity went up, bask in the warm glow" interactions with websites can be addictive for many, so I reckoned I may as well see if this was something other people might also find helpful before I went ahead and rolled my own.
posted by potrzebie at 10:49 PM on June 12, 2019 [6 favorites]

I've done this a lot so yes, supported.
posted by solarion at 11:14 PM on June 12, 2019 [1 favorite]

This is something I should—and probably would—use.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 11:21 PM on June 12, 2019 [1 favorite]

Many years ago after I made a similar comment in MeTa, a helpful member by the name of curious.jp whipped up a greasemonkey/tampermonkey script that does exactly this. At the time, I got permission from curious.jp to share the script and as I'm not sure it's available anywhere else, here is the raw .js file. It still works.


thanks curious.jp!
posted by Lorin at 12:32 AM on June 13, 2019 [4 favorites]

Does any iOS browser support scripts?
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 1:38 AM on June 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

I would definitely consider doing this if it was an option.
posted by sallybrown at 3:57 AM on June 13, 2019

I probably should do this, because my obsession with my favourites count borders on unhealthy, but even if it was an option, I probably wouldn't because my obsession with my favourites count borders on unhealthy.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:30 AM on June 13, 2019 [9 favorites]

I would also like this, for the exact same reasons as the OP. I'd prefer a site-wide solution rather than an extension, because I view the site on different browsers on different machines, but mostly on my phone. Realistically, if it's going to involve Greasemonkey or whatever, the costs of running the script across all the machines I read Metafilter on will outweigh the benefits, and so I'm not likely to actually do it.
posted by kevinbelt at 7:30 AM on June 13, 2019 [4 favorites]

Heh, jacquilynne, that's the other reason it took me so long to ask..."would I even leave that preference on??? Could I???" But, that felt like a really bad, unhealthy reason not to give it a shot :)
posted by potrzebie at 7:46 AM on June 13, 2019 [2 favorites]

Yeah, as much as I try to not look, I definitely am always curious how a post was received. I would use it.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 8:00 AM on June 13, 2019

I wouldn't use this because I would not be willing to risk losing the substantial discount my favorite count is getting me off the rent for this cushy apartment.

posted by flabdablet at 8:29 AM on June 13, 2019 [5 favorites]

+1 for me too


did i favorite my own thing

better go check

so meta
posted by lalochezia at 10:10 AM on June 13, 2019 [9 favorites]

I'm guessing someone besides me has been reading Cal Newport's "Digital Minimalism," which talks about how the "like" button is what made Facebook so addictive and how it was in fact designed to make it addictive, turning our phones into slot machines.
I'd use it.
posted by FencingGal at 10:49 AM on June 13, 2019 [2 favorites]

I think this would be a great option to have built in to profile preferences.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 11:43 AM on June 13, 2019

if anyone doesn’t want their favourites I’ll take em #itsoktobeneedy
posted by billiebee at 11:52 AM on June 13, 2019 [10 favorites]

on June 13 [735 favorite+]

posted by clavdivs at 12:02 PM on June 13, 2019

I support it with a "hide from everyone" "hide from others" "hide from me" selection.
posted by dobbs at 12:39 PM on June 13, 2019 [7 favorites]

Yes please.
posted by roger ackroyd at 12:45 PM on June 13, 2019

I'd rather be able to do this with the websites that are designed to play games with the dopamine cookie - Twitter is egregious is popping notification when it looks like your cursor is approaching the logout button.

As for metafilter, as long as there's a way to see them after y'all done tweaking it, I'm cool with whatever.

I keep favourites on blind anyway, so the profile count is the only way to see if I did indeed receive any

but metafilter's not designed to grab your dopamine receptors and demonstrate you hijacked more of my bandwidth than the fb app internal metrics

I'd ask the OP if they're doing the same on other sites, particularly social media, and whether the addiction was picked up there and transferred over here
posted by hugbucket at 1:47 PM on June 13, 2019 [2 favorites]

I can only speak for myself, not the OP, but I get the same sensation checking my favorite count here as I do going to see who liked my Instagram post.
posted by sallybrown at 1:54 PM on June 13, 2019 [3 favorites]

I am slightly more obsessed with my MeFi favourites counts than with Facebook favourites because Facebook doesn't provide a total of all my favourites across time. But yeah, the little mental pick-me-up is the same in both cases.
posted by jacquilynne at 2:14 PM on June 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

Likewise not speaking for Op, just myself, but it's absolutely behavior learned from other sites. I was on FB for ten years before joining here; they primed me.

I actually think Metafilter is pretty good about stuff like this. You have to actually look for the favorited by others count, instead of having an alert. But once you know it's there, you can't help yourself.
posted by kevinbelt at 2:15 PM on June 13, 2019 [2 favorites]

I don't use any of the "big" social media sites anymore, for this and many other reasons. I completely believe that the fave count wasn't intended to be addictive in this way, and should be clear that I don't ascribe any nefarious "this'll hook 'em" intent to anyone. Nonetheless, I find I am using it that way, and I'd rather not.
posted by potrzebie at 2:16 PM on June 13, 2019 [4 favorites]

I do not find this request objectionable, but it's probably not a preference I would set.

I would feel weird about the in-thread suggestion of : a "hide from everyone" "hide from others" "hide from me" selection.
posted by crush at 3:37 PM on June 13, 2019 [2 favorites]

I'm doing the same "favorite/heart/like" purge and I would love this option

posted by French Fry at 3:39 PM on June 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

I would never use this but I think it's an excellent idea to have it as an option, especially baked into the website. I think it sends a good message about the complicated relationship metafilter has to favorites and how folks use them differently and that it's all okay.
posted by Mizu at 4:35 PM on June 13, 2019 [2 favorites]

I would feel weird about the in-thread suggestion of : a "hide from everyone" "hide from others" "hide from me" selection.

I thought this was suggesting that users be able to set a preference on their profile: hide my favorited posts and comments from everyone, hide my favorited posts and comments from others but let me see them, hide my favorited posts and comments from me but let others see them. Similar to how there are other things that one can set as visible or not on the profile level.
posted by Lexica at 4:43 PM on June 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

I also like the me/others/everybody idea.

If you use a blocker like uBlock Origin, you can hide the number and nothing else by adding the following to the "My Filters" settings, or use the element picker and hover over your very large number and then press Preview, and then if it worked, Create:


(I recognize that many browsing scenarios don't support perfect products like uBlock Origin.)
posted by sylvanshine at 6:47 PM on June 13, 2019 [5 favorites]

Alternatively put the 'Favorited by Others' count on the front page so we can get our dopamine hit with less clicking.
posted by um at 8:33 PM on June 13, 2019 [3 favorites]

I'd like this please.

One problem with the uBlock Origin solution---and perhaps other scripty solutions---is that the favorite count is briefly visible when you load the page. On my laptop, at least. If you have quick eyes or just can't resist refreshing the page, you can see your favorite count after all. Which is why I stopped trying to hide it with a script thing.
posted by fleacircus at 1:38 AM on June 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

How about instead of a profile option that has to be set on or off, you just round the number of favourites to the nearest hundred, thus reducing the desire to check the number so often?

For new users with less than say 500 favourites you could display the actual number and then start rounding once they pass that.
posted by Lanark at 3:39 AM on June 14, 2019 [2 favorites]

The problem with making a distinction between "hide from others" and "hide from me" is that then you have an easy workaround of logging out or switching to a different browser to see the number, it also just seems over complicated.
posted by Lanark at 3:45 AM on June 14, 2019

Seems like this might be an unpopular opinion, but I would actively dislike this change. Not so much for myself (I too probably check my favorite count more than is ideal for my mental health) but for looking at others' profiles. When I'm poking around a stranger's profile, I often find it useful to look at their recently favorited and most favorited posts/comments as the quickest way to see "What is this person about?" (and to get the best, or at least most popular version of them).

If the concern is nefarious gamification, would simply adding an option to remove the count (numbers go up!) from the main profile page be a good compromise?
posted by firechicago at 4:55 AM on June 14, 2019

Enthusiastically supported.
posted by holborne at 6:15 AM on June 14, 2019

If you use Stylus or some other userstyle-enabler, you can use
a[href="https://www.metafilter.com/activity/249788/favorited/] { display: none }
posted by farlukar at 7:05 AM on June 14, 2019

I propose we keep the number, but hide the page showing you what was actually favourited, and introduce a random delay of up to a month to incoming favourites, thus rendering it impossible t— wait, "decrease" the urge? Wow I really misread this assignment.
posted by lucidium at 7:17 AM on June 14, 2019 [3 favorites]

oh man I've always wanted that too
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:24 AM on June 14, 2019

(I’d also change so that when a comment or post was favorited you would see at most only the number of times, not the identity of the user who did so)

If you take away the ability to see who favourited a post, I would rather the entire feature just become private bookmarking with nothing visible to anyone other than the favouriter. If I write a good answer on AskMe and other posters that I particularly respect favourite it, that's meaningful to me. If I make a post and it picks up some Favourites, I like to look at other things that person has favourited to see if there's anything else I want to look at. Take away the information from favourites and they become nothing but a number. I'll still obsess over them, but they will be even less valuable and even more pointless obsession.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:47 AM on June 14, 2019 [4 favorites]

If you take away the ability to see who favourited a post, I would rather the entire feature just become private bookmarking with nothing visible to anyone other than the favouriter

What jacquilynne said. Thank you.
posted by terrapin at 10:56 AM on June 14, 2019

To be clear: we're not considering removing existing favoriting functionality. The idea that came up here was giving individual users an additional tool to control their personal exposure to some of that, and spitballing in that neighborhood seems like a good use of this, but fundamental changes/reductions of the favorites system are definitely outside the scope of anything in here.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:19 AM on June 14, 2019 [3 favorites]

cortex, one area where it strikes me that favourites create a skew based on the userbase's response to content via favouriting or flagging, is how content shows up in popular and top categories of the site. Relooking at that from the pov of broadening the variety of content showing up there may also make a difference to the other stuff y'all talking about. Else the majority's preferences show up on top etcetera, rinse repeat, invisible and unheard etc
posted by hugbucket at 11:58 AM on June 14, 2019

I don't use Facebook or any of that stuff, and I've definitely found myself leaving this site for months at a time because I was looking at my own favorites count reflexively. Another vote for yes please.
posted by davejay at 7:02 PM on June 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

I propose all members are ranked by favorites on a scoreboard with live updates, with columns for;
Last Hour
Last Day
Last Week
Last Month
Last Year
All Time

This should be the first thing you see when you log in.
posted by bongo_x at 9:04 PM on June 14, 2019 [5 favorites]

Metafilter: play to win or go home /s (and you can sortof play that game on the infodumpster, but I wouldn’t really recommend it)

I sometimes worry about favorites a bit more than I like, but that’s an opportunity to work on my self control. I like to see my favorites for a few healthy reasons too: knowing when what I say is appreciated vs hearing the proverbial crickets lets me know what is working for people. Also seeing who favorites me (and who I favorite) has helped me make more personal connections than I would otherwise.

So sure, offer the option to hide if it’s not too hard, but I also want to recall the genuinely good parts of seeing each others’s favorites and by whom, etc.
posted by SaltySalticid at 10:39 AM on June 15, 2019 [2 favorites]

I would use and appreciate this option.
posted by Miko at 8:29 AM on June 16, 2019

I would like this as well.

you have an easy workaround of logging out or switching to a different browser to see the number,

I have the "Minimal profile for non-members?" option checked on my profile, so that (along with nearly all of my profile) is already not visible to me when logged out.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:49 PM on June 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

Somewhat related to what hugbucket said, this thread has got me thinking about how my relationship with the site improved when I turned off favorites being visible in threads. It dramatically reduced the anger I felt at people because I assume it's one person being terrible rather than one person being terrible and a whole host of people agreeing with them (yes, insert lecture about how favorites aren't agreement here). It improved my experience of the site, but also just kind of papered over the problems.
posted by hoyland at 4:01 AM on June 17, 2019 [2 favorites]

Just got a favorite for a contrarian film comment, it reassured me that while I was probably wrong, it was worth expressing. MiFi is in many ways a conversation, often not right/fair/perfect and occasionally resorts to textual fisticuffs but the favs are part of the conversation, a bit like a nod, wink or smile from that grouchy uncle sitting quietly in the corner.

Perhaps like the casinos giving out gamblers anon 800 numbers the mods should sponsor therapeutic advice for our local commentorial addicts that take favs too seriously.
posted by sammyo at 5:50 PM on June 17, 2019

How would other people declining to see their own favorites affect your use of the site, in your estimation? Or is your comment just a fancy way of telling us to “lighten up”?
posted by holborne at 1:07 PM on June 19, 2019

Profile preferences are more accessible than scripts. Due to the dopamine hit factor, I think that it would be responsible to implement the option to hide "favorited by others" as a profile preference setting.
posted by aniola at 1:30 PM on June 22, 2019

Just wanted to pop back in before the thread closes with a pretty please. With a pink cherry on top.
posted by aniola at 12:30 PM on July 6, 2019

Yep, wanted to likewise say it seems like there's enough interest in the proposal for us to put it on the pile for future work. Lot of other stuff going on right now so I don't have a timeline, but I appreciate the thoughts on it and we'll see what we can do.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:34 PM on July 6, 2019

Thanks cortex!
posted by potrzebie at 8:17 PM on July 10, 2019

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