Flagged! April 26, 2020 8:39 AM   Subscribe

Am I the only person who keeps accidentally almost flagging posts instead of favoriting them?

The UI for adding favorites vs flags is a bit confusing, and if I'm not the only one who finds it so, maybe we could make it clearer. The current UI strongly implies that clicking the ! is how you favorite a post:

[add to activity] [add to favorites] 3 users marked this as a favorite [!]

I've been on metafilter for umpty years and I still keep trying to favorite things by clicking that exclamation point, instead of going back to [add to favorites].

This could be clarified by changing the order, but even more so by using [Flag post] instead of just a [!] - as below:

3 users marked this as a favorite [add to favorites] [add to activity] [Flag post]

(If it's just me, I'll probably get used to it in another 10 years or so...)
posted by invincible summer to Bugs at 8:39 AM (27 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

It's probably not just you and I definitely remember at least one MeTalk about this specifically, and I think (?) the consensus was that it's not a big enough problem to wrangle a change.
posted by cooker girl at 9:08 AM on April 26 [1 favorite]


It's come up in a few metatalks, so you're not alone. It sounds like previously it's been more a matter of them being too close together and tapping the wrong one.
posted by Margalo Epps at 9:09 AM on April 26 [3 favorites]


I do it all the time. Especially on the front page.
posted by terrapin at 12:34 PM on April 26 [1 favorite]


If Metafilter ever wanted to tinker with its UI, I think the below-text 'bar' for posts and comments would be a candidate.
posted by WCityMike at 1:04 PM on April 26 [1 favorite]


I know what to press, but the combination of small phone screens and fat fingers means I do often flag posts I wanted to favourite. Or I click on view favourites, like anyone cares who else has favourited somebody else’s post.

So yep, move things a bit further apart please.
posted by tinkletown at 2:40 PM on April 26 [7 favorites]


I think this is a slightly different question to what we have had before- before we talked about the [+] and the [!] Being too close together.
Lots of discussion about how those symbols are a cherished part of the culture.

Yes, I agree that the current post UI (vs comment UI) implies that ! Means add to favorites.
posted by freethefeet at 3:30 PM on April 26


(and if I remember the two symbols were spaced a bit further for comments on mobile as a result of the discussion.)
posted by freethefeet at 3:31 PM on April 26


You are definitely not alone.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 7:38 PM on April 26 [2 favorites]


To me, ! = something is amiss; + = plus, something positive, something to add.
posted by cooker girl at 11:21 AM on April 27 [3 favorites]


I agree, cooker girl, but there is no + in the current post add to favourite UI
[remove from activity] [add to favorites] 1 user marked this as a favorite [!]

That's when a post is open, (and you've commented in it, adding to the activity) but on the main page under a post there is:
2 comments (2 new) +
posted by freethefeet at 4:45 PM on April 27


I don't think I've had this problem, but, just for the sake of consistency I feel like it should be turned to [flag post].
posted by General Malaise at 7:28 PM on April 27 [4 favorites]


(it's also an extremely small click target)
posted by General Malaise at 7:29 PM on April 27 [3 favorites]


I don't think I've had this problem either, but... out of curiosity does the site register a flag when the [! ] is clicked but no 'reason' is selected, or if you cancel the action?
posted by sm1tten at 8:09 PM on April 27 [1 favorite]


Nope. A flag only registers if you pick an option from the drop-down. If you pick "flag with note," you need to also choose "Add Note". (A curiosity: you can choose "Add Note" even if you've left the note-text area blank; in that case the flag shows up in the flag queue annotated as "other".)
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:27 PM on April 27 [3 favorites]


I came into this sympathetic but now just think the whole UI is adorable and wouldn't change a thing.
posted by aspersioncast at 10:09 PM on April 27 [1 favorite]


I have never had this problem but I think UI clarity is a good thing, especially in light of previous discussions about lowering the barrier to entry for new members into the culture of the community.

I cast my vote in favor of changing [!] to [flag !] in the footer-bar below both posts and comments. Likewise I'd endorse changing [+] to [favorite +] in the footer-bar below comments. I think the advantages for both are improved clarity and easier click targets, both for mobile and for any users that may have difficulty with fine motor control on a mouse. A disadvantage is that the "[+] [!]" string is very characteristic of the Metafilter user experience at this point, but that's basically just another way of saying "it's traditional," which I don't think is a strong enough reason to counter the advantages.

In short, I endorse for a post the following style:
posted by invincible summer to Bugs at 11:39 (15 comments total) [add to activity] [add to favorites] 1 user marked this as a favorite [flag !]
and for a comment the following:
posted by aspersioncast at 1:09 on April 28 [favorite +] [flag !]
posted by aspersioncast at 1:09 on April 28 [1 favorite -] [flagged]
Or alternatively, unify the styles of the post and comment footers, but I don't have a specific opinion on that.
posted by biogeo at 12:13 AM on April 28 [2 favorites]


I do it SO often. It's embarrassing.
posted by rednikki at 12:40 AM on April 28 [2 favorites]


I know browser alerts are usually frowned upon, but flagging is a big enough deal that maybe we should consider popping an alert that confirms "do you want to flag this comment for $reason?" The current UI lends itself to choosing the wrong reason and there's no undo button.

That doesn't fix the "+ and ! are too small" issue, which I agree is also a thing. It's rare for me to accidentally hit the ! when I'm trying to favorite, but + is so small I wrote a userscript to fix it: https://greasyfork.org/en/scripts/388452-metafilter-embiggen-favorite-plus-minus-sign. But that only works for people using a browser that supports Greasemonkey or Tampermonkey, leaving out users of mobile Chrome and mobile Safari.

Chrome on Android seems to do a pretty good job of realizing that you are going for the + and hitting it even when you barely miss, but Firefox on Android and Safari on iOS demand a level of precision that I don't have.
posted by Tehhund at 6:04 AM on April 28 [2 favorites]


As someone who uses a trackball for accessibility reasons (RSI in wrists), the link in the + and ! are way way way too small.
posted by telophase at 8:17 AM on April 29 [5 favorites]


> Likewise I'd endorse changing [+] to [favorite +] in the footer-bar below comments.

Right now you can skim and pick out comments with existing favorites. Your proposal would make that harder.
posted by sebastienbailard at 3:11 PM on April 29 [1 favorite]


Looking at the OP's original suggestion, what about just knocking [Flag post] down to the next line?

Like so:

3 users marked this as a favorite [add to favorites] [add to activity]
[Flag post]


It puts a bit of screen real estate between them on a left-right axis.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:40 PM on April 29


[❗]
posted by clavdivs at 8:27 PM on April 29 [2 favorites]


It happens to me more on mobile than on my main screen, but yes, it does happen.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:22 PM on April 30 [1 favorite]


Unicode is a thing now. Why are we still using [!] instead of [🏴]?
posted by flabdablet at 12:01 PM on May 1 [1 favorite]


Yeah that's come up in discussion before flabdablet, I believe consensus at the time was to stick with !
posted by freethefeet at 3:10 PM on May 1


(Of course consensus can change over time with changing members!) Personally I prefer the [!]
posted by freethefeet at 3:10 PM on May 1


As I understand it, icons and emojis make reading very difficult for people with visual disabilities. In fact, I keep meaning to start a thread here about headlines that are made up of nothing but emojis. Because that’s a nightmare visually even for some of us without a visual disability. There’s also been a request that people never use the tiny type for the same reason. There’s never been an official call on that and people continue to use both things. Sorry for the derail, I just needed to get that out. No, OP. You are not the only one. I do it too and often.
posted by Bella Donna at 3:25 AM on May 6


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