What do favorites mean on Metafilter? June 6, 2021 9:28 PM   Subscribe

I always assumed that favoriting a post or a comment on this site is similar to "liking" on other platforms. To signal approval or sympathy. But it also has a sort of bookmarking functionality, doesn't it? Which seems to imply a more neutral function. How is the favorite button intended to be used, and how do people here actually use it? And do you notice things like favorite counts on people's profiles? Does that influence your opinion of them?
posted by Zumbador to Etiquette/Policy at 9:28 PM (48 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

as I've noted before, I wish instead of favoriting something here, we "noted" it -- maybe with an option to filter that note (because I liked it - because I hated it - because I want to come back to it at some point).

And do you notice things like favorite counts on people's profiles? Does that influence your opinion of them?

posted by philip-random at 10:30 PM on June 6, 2021 [2 favorites]

I generally use it just like a bookmark, and it is really nice how the adjacent comments tag gives a running precis of what's in that thread.

Not too interested in favourite counts (too much like keeping score), but who has favourited, now that is interesting, even if they didn't comment as it implies like-minds/similar tastes/knowledges.

'approval or sympathy' sometimes yeh; it just seems like noise to add my 2 cents if I've got nothing meaningful to contribute.
posted by unearthed at 12:41 AM on June 7, 2021 [2 favorites]

It's a like when someone does it to me, and a bookmark when I do it to someone else.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 4:44 AM on June 7, 2021 [26 favorites]

I favorite stuff that was well said. Partially as a "Hey that was well said" and partially as a bookmark.

I've turned off the display of favorites, so I have no idea what comments received favorites. This is mentally soothing, as constantly being aware of what crowd of people think about a comment was just taxing

I do somewhat track what favorites people have given me, as a curiosity and vague barometer of what the crowd is thinking of my comments.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:17 AM on June 7, 2021 [2 favorites]

I try to use to mark excellent comments that I may want to come back to.

However, I have my settings so that it only shows "has favourites" rather than the exact number, because I don't care to know the numbers.
posted by Braeburn at 6:08 AM on June 7, 2021 [1 favorite]

I use favorites to bookmark posts that I want to go back to in the future. But for comments, I use them to indicate liking/agreeing/plus-oneing the sentiment.
posted by kimberussell at 6:21 AM on June 7, 2021 [13 favorites]

Types of comments I favorite...
1. Those that I agree with
2. Those that that are funny
3. Comments that I want to come back and read later, because they contain a link or suggestion that I want to explore when I have time
4. A comment at the end of a busy thread so I can find my place later (mod notes are good for this because they're not going to be deleted)
5. Comments about Minnesota, because I always give favorites to Minnesota.

Every once in a while I go thru and un-favorite comments, mostly type 3 that I have explored already, or type 4 that are superseded by a later place-marker comment. That's it. I've also kind of agonized about how to use that little +, having a system works for me.
posted by Gray Duck at 6:36 AM on June 7, 2021 [4 favorites]

When I mark a favourite, it is a bookmark. When I receive a favourite from someone else, it is a vote for my general awesomeness.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:28 AM on June 7, 2021 [12 favorites]

When they send out the catalog next November I'm hoping I have enough favorites to buy the x-ray spex and the cool popup tent.
posted by bondcliff at 8:14 AM on June 7, 2021 [8 favorites]

If you got a favorite from me consider it a "Good job with this comment, thank you."
posted by bleep at 8:42 AM on June 7, 2021 [8 favorites]

Also I consider it a co-sign. Like yes I also think this.
posted by bleep at 8:43 AM on June 7, 2021 [12 favorites]

On at least one occasion, I asked the mods to remove a comment of mine specifically on the grounds of who had favorited it. (The people who were favoriting it indicated that it was probably going to be offensive to a different group of people, and, consequently, that I had badly misunderstood something about the topic and shouldn't be commenting about it.)

My favorites on your comment generally mean that I agree with the ideas and/or that they were expressed exceptionally well. Long ago, I occasionally meant to bookmark for later reference, but it turns out that I never ever actually went back and looked at them again, so I stopped trying.
posted by Spathe Cadet at 8:46 AM on June 7, 2021 [3 favorites]

On Ask, I often favorite a comment that says what I might have said (usually better) and then only comment myself if I have additional opinions or information to share.

I probably should disable my ability to see how many favorites people have given me since I keep track of them a little too closely.
posted by Lawn Beaver at 8:49 AM on June 7, 2021 [4 favorites]

It might mean I agree with you. It might mean I disagree with you. It might mean I think you’re the funniest thing since the invention of banana peels, or it could be that I was flagging you and my finger slipped.

In conclusion, this is all a distraction from the real issue: favorite as a verb.
posted by betweenthebars at 9:20 AM on June 7, 2021 [3 favorites]

When I have an emotional reaction to something in a comment, I often favorite it as my way of saying "I agree with you 100%"

But those favorites tend to get deleted when I do a periodic favorite purge.

The favorites I keep are usually information ones, where I want to remind myself of facts or links I think I might need in the future.
posted by wittgenstein at 9:25 AM on June 7, 2021 [1 favorite]

I favourite for both reasons and only keep track of what comments of mine are getting them to see how far Tehhund has advanced in the archive (another three months and Biden will be president in his world and he'll just start whipping ahead. He might even be able to catch up to real time before the midterm elections). I've been pondering that maybe we should ease off or eliminate the favourites per day restriction.
posted by Mitheral at 10:25 AM on June 7, 2021 [4 favorites]

I favorite posts as bookmarks and comments because they're interesting. I will definitely favorite a comment I disagree with (within limits, of course) if I think it's well-put anyway.
posted by praemunire at 10:27 AM on June 7, 2021 [2 favorites]

95% of my faves are bookmarks, 5% are like "hell yeah"
posted by windbox at 11:36 AM on June 7, 2021

I use favorites as bookmarks mostly for useful information or the hilarity of the post or comment. When depressed, I often go back through my favorites and get some laughs until I feel better. Occasionally, they are used in appreciation of a well phrased remark. I don't usually make any judgement about how many favorites something has. I cherish each and every favorite that is bestowed on one of my comments. They give me a happee and make me kindly disposed toward the giver. Wanna be my friend? favorite me. (That's how I was inspired to enspousenate many of my spices)
posted by a humble nudibranch at 11:55 AM on June 7, 2021 [7 favorites]

I use them to say “I’ve noticed this.” Often that means agreement but not always.
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:24 PM on June 7, 2021 [3 favorites]

All of the above. I like to favorite frequently, particularly in lively threads where there's a lively community buzz going. It's free and it makes me happy. I often favorite comments as a way of saying hi to people I've been in contact with through memail or various offline exchanges, or who often end up gravitating to the same threads. I like to favorite comments from new or infrequent commenters and I'm trying to do that more often.

I rarely unfavorite and I do my best to avoid it, usually because I worry that a commenter would notice the change in their numbers and feel less welcome. I'm not sure that this ever happens or if anyone would actually notice, but just in case.
posted by mochapickle at 12:26 PM on June 7, 2021 [2 favorites]

Also, I take screenshots when I notice my favorite count is a palindrome or a run of numbers. It’s dumb but fun.
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:28 PM on June 7, 2021 [7 favorites]

If I favourite a post it is usually being used as a bookmark. Same for a comment with a link in it. If I favourite a post without a link then it is similar to a "like" although sometimes when I'm giving a favourite to something bad/sad I'm more expressing support or solidarity than "liking" but these are the tools we have.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 1:12 PM on June 7, 2021

When I favorite a comment, I generally mean it as either agreement, appreciation or sometimes just as an "I hear you". Favorited posts are often done as a bookmark (which generally doubles as appreciation, as I mostly want to come back to things I found interesting.)

I don't tend to change my opinion of someone based on the numbers of favorites they have. I do, however, tend to think well of others who favorite me :D
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 1:30 PM on June 7, 2021 [1 favorite]

It’s dumb but fun.

I do the same thing! Or sometimes when I'm approaching some round number of favorites, I'll ping my SO and tell him to fave something of mine so he can be the X,000th or whatever. When I favorite posts it's almost always an indication I'm noting it for the podcast (apologies people whose posts I've unfavorited after the podcast) but with comments it's often something I like, agree with, appreciate, notice in an "That's what I would have said but now I don't have to say it" way, or just want to find again.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:47 PM on June 7, 2021 [3 favorites]

Blue, Gray, and FanFare I tend to use the Recent Comments view to see what’s active (after a pass thru the recent posts on the front page). Ask doesn’t have a Recent Answers view, so if I want to keep up with a question I have to either add it as a favorite or add to activity.

I use favorites to indicate approval everywhere except for questions on Ask, where they’re bookmarks.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 2:25 PM on June 7, 2021 [1 favorite]

- I favorite comments and posts inconsistently
- I would like a way to bulk delete my favorites
- Favorites are a dopamine hit and I would like a way to hide favorite counts from view in my profile
posted by aniola at 4:16 PM on June 7, 2021

I favorite comments that ring my bell/are actually super factual IMO/make me happy/I felt someone needed to say but I sure wouldn't have been able to put it that well.

I often wish there was a superfavorite button because some comments have made me feel so lucky to share the same space with some people here.

Other people's favorite counts are not something that influences my opinion of them or that I even notice unless the comment offends me and then I check the favorites.

I am super fond of everyone who has favorited anything I've contributed, as I am constantly looking at my favorite counts for real. I don't know if that's bad, I enjoy it.
posted by RobinofFrocksley at 4:42 PM on June 7, 2021 [7 favorites]

I use favorites to say "I like this", "this is funny", "I agree with this", "you are my friend and I am glad you are saying this" and also sometimes when someone is an asshole to me (very rare, thankfully) I will favorite their comment and in that case the favorite sounds like Tony Soprano going "Ohhhhhhh! The stones on this one!" and then I will silently chuckle to myself.
posted by bondcliff at 5:17 PM on June 7, 2021 [6 favorites]

Tony Soprano going "Ohhhhhhh! The stones on this one!"
Thank you for bringing this imagery into my brain right now I really need it
posted by bleep at 5:30 PM on June 7, 2021 [1 favorite]

Well, I guess I never learned to use this site. I have no clue about using favorites as bookmarks. I just throw them out to encourage dialogue, to say I agree, or I like the content, or I enjoy the cleverness of something. I like getting likes it is a good experience for me.
posted by Oyéah at 7:18 PM on June 7, 2021 [3 favorites]

Personally, I try to avoid favorites, likes, etc., as they can add an unpleasant aspect of gamification to how I see people participating on social media platforms (including this one). Not always, but a lot of the time, and most especially in contentious threads.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 10:52 PM on June 7, 2021 [1 favorite]

I have a lot of soft and loose rules about favorites, but there's one hard and fast one: if I laugh out loud I _must_ click the +.
posted by chavenet at 12:17 PM on June 8, 2021 [7 favorites]

I favorite comments because they're funny, I agree, they told a sad story and I wanted the writer to feel supported, or they contain a link I might want to look at later.

I favorite posts because I want to read something in them at greater leisure later, and/or because I have nothing to say about them but I'm glad they were posted and want the OP to know somebody appreciated their hard work.
posted by joannemerriam at 2:20 PM on June 8, 2021

Mine are usually "I appreciate you saying this" more than "I agree with you". It could be I agree, or it could be I learned something (even a small part of the post/comment, but not the point of it) I didn't know, or it could be I disagree but hadn't considered that, or it was funny, or any number of reasons. I just appreciate that comment being on metafilter for me to read. (Well, all of them really, but especially the ones I favorite.)

Usually that's the case. A small fraction of the time it's "look at this asshole" so future me can be surprised and amused all over again when I'm looking back through old ones.

And I guess they all qualify as bookmarks, because some days I do read back a random selection of my old favorites from years ago. But also not bookmarks because I have no intention to go back to any particular comment on purpose. If I wanted that, I'd make a note to myself on my to-do list.
posted by ctmf at 6:31 PM on June 8, 2021 [1 favorite]

I guess if there’s a blanket meaning to favorites for me, it’s “I don’t want to forget this.” It was funny, or weird, or well-stated, or wrong for interesting reasons. I never favorite just to agree, since I tend to already know the things I agree with.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 5:01 AM on June 9, 2021

For me comment-favourites are almost always "agree", especially to replace a comment from me uselessly saying the same thing or to appreciate when someone makes a really excellent comment. I much prefer reading one comment with 10 favourites over 10 people typing out the exact same thing, and would interpret them the same way (I know this isn't strictly accurate since not everyone uses favourites that way). I have never browsed though my favourite comments.

I favourite posts with the intention of bookmarking them to revisit later but never actually do. I have almost never browsed through my favourite posts.
posted by randomnity at 6:50 AM on June 9, 2021 [1 favorite]

I use them to say “I’ve noticed this.” Often that means agreement but not always.

And, I'd like to add, this is also how I read favorites. Not as agreement but as a sort of "I have seen this." Since a lot of my comments don't garner a lot of responses in the threads, without that sense of "quiet engagement," I would have the sense that no one was reading my comments at all. Similarly posts -- I have posts that receive very few comments but a lot of favorites, which tells me that people appreciate the effort but don't have anything particular to say/time to say it/whatever.
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:51 PM on June 9, 2021 [3 favorites]

I always interpret favorites as agreement/approval. That could be because of the name — “favorites.” My hunch is that a lot of other people have the same interpretation, which makes me think there could be problems if someone sees a problematic comment with favorites and assumes the content of that comment has broad support, when in actuality people could just be bookmarking the comment or otherwise marking it without endorsing its content.

Because of broad social media norms, I think you pretty much have to assume your favorite will be interpreted as approval, unless major efforts are made to break that association sitewide.
posted by delight at 2:47 PM on June 10, 2021 [1 favorite]

I should clarify that my opinion pertains to favorites on comments. I view favorites on posts more neutrally, as expressing interest and/or making something easier to find later.
posted by delight at 2:55 PM on June 10, 2021

I favorite comments that I like or agree with, and specifically don't use them as a bookmark. A separate "bookmark to read later" tag would be great! I have a vague sense that there might already be some way to get this functionality that isn't favorites, though possibly I'm misremembering and actually thinking about favorites. I do sometimes use "Add to activity" as a way of short-term bookmarking front page posts that I don't have time to follow the links on in the moment but want to come back to. But due to the chronological nature of the activity feed, in practical terms that really is only a short-term pseudo-bookmark.
posted by eviemath at 4:21 PM on June 11, 2021

eviemath, I think that browser bookmarks should be able to suffice for that purpose, if you first click the date so it's a permalink to the comment. It does add one step if you have to change bookmark folders, but I think that's the only downside.
posted by sagc at 4:28 PM on June 11, 2021

sagc, I am also familiar with browser bookmarks, yes, and was explicitly stating that a metafilter bookmarking system within metafilter would be of use to me. Sometimes having everything in the same giant database is not as useful, and smaller specialized databases are a better option.
posted by eviemath at 7:27 PM on June 11, 2021 [2 favorites]

Fair enough; I figured some people might not necessarily use the parmalinks.
posted by sagc at 7:33 PM on June 11, 2021

It's a like when someone does it to me, and a bookmark when I do it to someone else.

That's what I do. I rarely mark things as favorites, even though there are many great comments on MetaFilter.

I frequently check how many favorites I've gotten.. Not for a dopamine hit, but as a self-validation that I'm making a positive contribution.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:28 PM on June 17, 2021 [1 favorite]

I favorite posts mostly as an encouraging thank you but also to bookmark them. I too wish it was possible to hide favorite counts on our profile as I would favorite more comments that way.
posted by blue shadows at 8:03 PM on June 19, 2021 [1 favorite]

I favorite comments any time someone says something really well, or something I agree with strongly. I favorite posts in order to be able to go back to them later. I favorite freely because it costs me nothing and I want to give props to people I appreciate.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 1:07 PM on June 20, 2021 [2 favorites]

I wouldn't use a favorites to bookmark something odious. But I would use them if I wanted to bookmark something that wasn't bad but also wouldn't get a favorite if I didn't want to come back to it later. Same goes for likes on twitter
posted by vibratory manner of working at 3:53 PM on June 20, 2021

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