I wasn't surprised to find that the most upvoted question on Stack Overflow had only 5,452 favorites.
"Big number," one might think. Think again. This number is fractional to the amount of views the question has gotten, which is 475,893.
That means that of the 475,893 unique users that visited the question, only 1.1% of them actually favorited the question.
I did some broader research and tested this with averages of nine questions of varying vote and view counts.
The average number of views of these nine questions is 89,448.89, and the average number of users who favorited the question is 644.12.
This means that only 0.7% of the population of users that browse questions actually uses the favorites feature.
In light of this (small) study, I think the favorites feature is obsolete and impractical now. Jeff Atwood recently confirmed that favoriting a question will subscribe you to notifications about new answers and edits to existing answers, but that feature has been inactive for almost two months. Is it safe to doubt the return of this feature, given Jeff's current absence?
Why don't we just get rid of it? I doubt that the relatively small amount of people that use it will be very concerned if it goes away, and since it's not being used by the majority of the population, why keep it at all?
I personally use the feature rarely. I have one question favorited on Meta and one on SO. (Pretty sure it's the same across all my accounts).
What do you guys think? What's the next step? Do we ignore it or take steps forward?
EDIT: Let me clarify. I am a supporter of the favorites feature but feel that it is just lacking in several aspects. From simple observation it's somewhat apparent that there is no real attention towards the improvement of this feature on the part of the main programmers behind the sites. I'm open to having a userscript that accomplishes this—this way, the people that want the feature get it, and the people that don't don't need to worry about it. And the beauty of it would be that anyone could change their mind at any time.