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It's not uncommon for (especially new) users to star chat messages which helped solving a specific problem that they were asking, and not an "overly helpful or interesting post for the room".

Should we help clarify the position of chat stars? I'm referring mostly to the hover popup when you hover over the star icon in chat. Something along the lines of:

This post is interesting/helpful. It should appear where everyone in the channel can see it.

Your thoughts?

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Is this a problem? And if it is, can't the chat room owners just clear the stars that aren't particularly interesting? –  Yannis Jan 12 '13 at 11:16
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@Yannis: Not always is there a room owner present. And the newly "spam" stars will push down truly useful content. –  Second Rikudo Jan 12 '13 at 11:19
    
@Yannis: Also, why solve a problem when you can avoid it? –  Second Rikudo Jan 12 '13 at 11:37
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This will come out as a bit bitter (because it is), but I think the root cause for most noob related problems is that noobs don't really read any of our documentation. Your phrasing may be a bit clearer, but it won't really help avoid the problem if people don't read the tooltip in the first place. –  Yannis Jan 12 '13 at 11:40
    
@Yannis: Actually, the tooltip is the one thing that they might read, because it won't be the FAQ for sure, but the tooltip is very short, and right in front of their eyes. –  Second Rikudo Jan 12 '13 at 11:41
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@MadaraUchiha Some (=a lot of) users don't even know/read much more prominent tooltips (appearing on the Main/Meta site), let alone the tooltip for starring in chat. –  Alenanno Jan 12 '13 at 12:05

2 Answers 2

As far as my experience tells me, starred messages are not only "seriously helpful" comments but also funny posts, or totally unrelated posts that still carry some value (serious or not).

So what comments are there to exclude?

The stars are really "democratic" in a way. The community decides what is to be starred and what not. At first there is not a common way of thinking, but in the long term it will become more and more established.

I fail to see the problem and so I can't really think of a solution for a problem that might not exist. If you could mention some examples, that might help.

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I ask in chat about "Do you think Naruto is Awesome?", you answer "Yes" and I star it. "Yes" hardly means anything when out of context, I've also come to see messages like "Shut up" or "Very good" starred. No, it doesn't have to be seriously helpful, but it should be something of value to the room, and not a particular user. Stars != Upvotes. –  Second Rikudo Jan 12 '13 at 11:34
    
Ok, in that case I'd agree with you. A "yes" should be unstarred, but there has never been an actual "how-to" about stars. And sometimes they do work like upvotes. Meta upvotes, though. :P –  Alenanno Jan 12 '13 at 11:35
    
Which is why I am asking to reword that part into something which users would understand, instead of littering the starred list :) –  Second Rikudo Jan 12 '13 at 11:36

I would change the tooltip to something on the lines of:

Star this message as useful/interesting for the transcript. It will be visible to everybody.

I have seen chat stars being used in the same way a star in the main site is used. Probably users think the star on chat has the same purpose, and they are adding a post to a list they only see.
Generally speaking, users that use stars as personal bookmarks are not a problem, but I imagine that in some chat rooms that could be a problem.

I also don't see any harm in adding that note in the tooltip. After all, when you vote to close a question with already 2 closing votes, you are reminded that the question still need 2 users to be closed. ;)
In this case, there is a reason to explain/remind that, as stars on chat are used differently from the main site.

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