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Is there any way to favorite/bookmark an answer?

This is migrated from a suggestion I made at UserVoice.

Often times I am not interested in the question so much as I am the answer. Unfortunately, the only site option for bookmarking an optimal answer is to bookmark the question. This leaves you having to remember that no the question wasn't that great, but there's an answer in here worth a million. It'd be nice to be able to favorite an answer allowing you to jump immediately to the answer that was much more valuable than the question. I understand that I can bookmark the answers link using my browser but it seems being able to favorite the answer within the site's ecosystem is useful.

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marked as duplicate by ЯegDwight, Toon Krijthe, animuson, McCannot, Martijn Pieters Nov 14 '12 at 15:23

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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I don't think it is a dupe in that the other is a question of how while I am suggesting it should be possible. –  ahsteele Jul 5 '09 at 19:48
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I was just about to ask for this myself :) –  warren Sep 7 '09 at 1:56
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Can someone add the word star, as in "Mark/Star Answer as Favorite", e.g. ? I was about to ask the same question, as I did not find this one through the "answer star" simple search. –  Bahbar Nov 5 '09 at 9:04
    
@Bahbar I updated the question to reflect your suggestion. –  ahsteele Nov 6 '09 at 22:40
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One more thing is that favorating a question for bookmarking a great answer gives badge (reputation) to the asker when the question might not be that great. But the answer is worth a million, so the answerer should be the one who earn reputation –  iSid Apr 29 '10 at 7:25
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I'm a relatively new member on stackoverflow.com and to be quite honest one of the primary reasons that proned me to registering was exactly that feature, it'd be quite awesome to be able to build an archive (and even categorize) selected answers/questions for later referal. I was rather surprised when I found out you can't so I really hope that's a feature we'll see relatively soon. ~george –  NetSkay Sep 22 '10 at 19:27
    
Also the person who's answer we liked, should get points for that. –  Dave Jul 29 '11 at 2:01
    
@Dave: No, it could well happen that I favorite an answer because it's so misleading that I want to have a closer look at it later. –  Hendrik Vogt Sep 29 '11 at 8:50
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Any chance of this being implemented someday? Like, now? –  minitech Feb 25 '12 at 19:57
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Yeah, when is this going to be implemented? I am going to have to start putting links to my favorite answers on my blog anyway, so why is this not in place 2 years after the question was asked? –  iND Apr 27 '12 at 16:17
    
yes.it's what I'm searching. –  benhuan Nov 19 '12 at 8:57
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I could not find the reason why this feature request got rejected... –  user202311 Dec 6 '12 at 8:22
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Why is this closed as an exact duplicate? asking if it is possible to bookmark an answer is completely different from asking for an implementation where people can get credit for an answer. Also, does anyone really want to have a huge folder of bookmarked answers? –  aug Dec 19 '12 at 10:22
    
Er, we're closing this as a duplicate, and the question linked to is a duplicate... –  Ian Carroll May 15 '13 at 22:09

9 Answers 9

up vote -21 down vote accepted

Unfortunately, the only site option for bookmarking an optimal answer is to bookmark the question.

There are plenty of easy ways to to bookmark an answer in your browser:

  • right-click the link item under the question

  • select "bookmark this link"

    bookmark right click menu

If your browser does not have "bookmark" as a right-click option:

  • right-click the link item under the question

  • select "open in new tab"

  • in the new tab, click the bookmark function in your browser (this is usually a little star icon near the address bar)

    bookmark star in address bar of browser

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52  
What's the point of favoriting questions then, if you can do the same thing with them (eg: use the browser's bookmark functionality)? We want this feature so we don't have to sync browser bookmarks. –  NullUserException อ_อ Sep 29 '11 at 0:11
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I see you prefer vanilla to chocolate. I'm a chocolate man myself. –  Jeff Atwood Sep 29 '11 at 0:13
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What does that even mean? I find it strange that Stack Overflow natively supports the ability to mark questions as favorites even though you yourself have said that the great answers are far more important. Questions are merely the sand that produces the pearl. –  Chris Frederick Sep 29 '11 at 1:02
    
We believe existing in-browser bookmarking tools are sufficient for this case. Considering the average stack overflow question has maybe 3 answers, tops, the distinction between "I favorite this question" and "I favorite this answer" is minimal. Allowing favoriting answers would also make the interface noisier, and implicitly encourage questions with lots of answers. This isn't going to happen, so either come to terms with the decision, or find another site on the internet that's more to your liking. –  Jeff Atwood Sep 29 '11 at 1:53
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I strongly agree with the noisier interface part, but I fail to see how this would encourage questions with lots of answers. –  NullUserException อ_อ Sep 29 '11 at 2:51
    
@Chris See this. –  NullUserException อ_อ Sep 29 '11 at 2:55
    
@JeffAtwood Ah, okay. My objection definitely isn't as strong as I phrased it; to the contrary, I very much agree with the Stack Exchange philosophy and thus try to better understand the rationale for decisions that seem arbitrary to me at times. Thanks for the clarification. –  Chris Frederick Sep 29 '11 at 5:11
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The huge advantage of favorites is that I can use them on any computer - and I happen to switch computers a lot, so bookmarks are not that helpful. –  Hendrik Vogt Sep 29 '11 at 8:53
    
@hendrik chrome syncs all bookmarks for me on all computers automatically. –  Jeff Atwood Sep 29 '11 at 8:56
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@Jeff: Ah, thanks, that's a good point. Although I find it kind of frightening ... I don't really want google to know my bookmarks. –  Hendrik Vogt Sep 29 '11 at 8:58
    
@JeffAtwood I added a new answer that explains my understanding of the motivation for only allowing questions to be marked as favorites. If I'm missing anything or have made an incorrect assumption, feel free to let me know! –  Chris Frederick Oct 1 '11 at 5:41

This isn't possible right now, but I think it would be a great feature. Often the answer you'd like to favorite isn't a great answer to the question, but is something that interests you.

ask.metafilter.com is a great example of a site that functions this way, and it works very well there. Completely unobtrusive, but quite intuitive and very useful.

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as you can see on ask.metafilter.com/197167/… metafilter does not have voting. So in our case, simply vote for the answer that works best for you. If metafilter had both voting and favorites, this might be a more compelling example. –  Jeff Atwood Sep 29 '11 at 10:12
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@JeffAtwood How should I then come back to an interesting/useful answer (that wasn't the "best" answer, according to the asker)? I went to my profile, but the only info about my votes (that I see) is something that shows how many votes I've cast: cl.ly/AWtV –  tnorthcutt Sep 29 '11 at 14:51
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When is this going to be implemented? –  iND Apr 27 '12 at 16:14

Please, please, please - I have found some answers which were only tangential to the question but which are something I want to save for later. I use the favorites similar to the way I use the briefcase on SQLServerCentral.com - articles I want to save for later reference for code snippets I might want to add to a library or something.

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3  
For what it's worth, you could always use a program like Evernote to clip and store stuff you find worthwhile: evernote.com –  Jared Harley Dec 24 '09 at 15:19

It seems that I'm becoming less ready to mark a question as "favorite" anymore, because what I really wanted to do was mark an answer as the favorite.

And it can also be the case that up-voting a particular answer doesn't suffice to erase confusion, because you may have up-voted more than one answer under the question.

There probably should be categories for Favorite Answers, Favorite Questions, and Favorite Comments. When you go to your profile and go to Favorites, these lists would be presented in separate views, partly because their data structures would not be identical. For instance, a list of your favorite answers might include the first few lines of the answer.

I'm inclined to believe that by not offering a user the ability to categorize their "favorites" in these sub-categories, it ends up being more work for a person to remember why they made the Question their favorite to begin with (when it wasn't even the question, but an answer or a comment that they really thought was important). It becomes too much mental strain, and so you start asking yourself if it's really worth it to mark any question as a favorite.

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4  
I think the favorite comments is asking a bit too much, but I too would like a favorite answers option. I see no reason why questions couldn't also have a star below the downvote. –  M. Tibbits Jul 26 '11 at 0:29
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Yes, having a favorite comments may be asking too much, but I imagine there are occasions when a person has entered a meaningful hyperlink in a Comment, and marking such a Comment as a Favorite would be beneficial. –  mg1075 Jul 27 '11 at 23:03
    
True, but you could simply favorite the question. –  M. Tibbits Jul 27 '11 at 23:41
    
Agreed; if we go worst-case scenario, though, what if the Comment you care about is way down the list and nested in one of those "Show [number] more comments" tags? –  mg1075 Jul 27 '11 at 23:52
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And I've just come across a Comment today that I would like to star as a Favorite, and that even if I had been able to star the Answer as a Favorite, I wonder if I would remember it's one out of the many small comments that was really important, and not just the Answer. –  mg1075 Jul 28 '11 at 17:30

This would definitely be a great feature. Nine times out of ten I'm marking a question as a favorite only because I like one of its answers. I often cringe when I do this for a question that I found to be poorly-worded, because it seems to be sending the message that I like the question, which is often not true. I think that Ismail explained this best by saying

One more thing is that favorating [sic] a question for bookmarking a great answer gives badge (reputation) to the asker when the question might not be that great. But the answer is worth a million, so the answerer should be the one who earn reputation

(Badges and reputation and not equivalent, but you get the idea.)

Jeff may have declined this feature in June 2010, but he never gave a reason for doing so. A year later, I definitely think that this proposal would be worth reconsidering (especially given the fact that it has amassed over a hundred votes by now and has been marked as a favorite over 25 times).

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A badge is not the same thing as reputation... –  Cody Gray Jul 29 '11 at 0:56

I think this would be great to be implemented. I liked this answer so much, that I bookmarked it in Firefox, but it would be great if you could 'favorite' answers as well. I like this answer better than the accepted answer.

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I used to be of the opinion that we should be allowed to mark answers as favorites, but I've since had a chance of heart. The reason for this is subtle, but important.

Until now, I had been conflating Stack Overflow's "Favorite" feature with the Bookmark feature in Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome. This is understandable and perhaps even natural given the fact that "favorites" in Stack Overflow use the same icon—a star—as bookmarks in Firefox and Chrome. There is a critical distinction in functionality between these, though.

Favorites in Stack Overflow are used to subscribe to notifications of a question's activity (edits and new answers), but bookmarks in Firefox and Chrome are simply used as placeholders for information on the World Wide Web.

In other words, I've been using Stack Overflow's favorites incorrectly.

On further reflection, this does make sense: there's no reason for Stack Overflow to duplicate the functionality of browser bookmarks. Instead, favorites allow you to be notified of updates to a question as if it was your own. This is something that browser bookmarks can not do and is helpful for keeping track of questions other than your own. (Technically speaking, this could also be achieved through RSS feeds, but Jeff has said that he doesn't think RSS has a very interesting or useful future.)

Viewed in this way, it really does seem silly to subscribe to notifications for changes to answers, which have much less activity than the questions themselves. Furthermore, despite the fact that questions are merely the sand that produces the pearl, questions and answers are generally treated as two complementary parts of the whole, and splitting them apart would leave out the "Q" in "Q&A."

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I would like to have "answer bookmarks" inside SO, so I would have them available on every machine. –  S.L. Barth Nov 4 '11 at 14:55
    
@S.L.Barth check out Xmarks –  The Unhandled Exception Dec 8 '11 at 20:19
    
@TheUnhandledException Thanks, I've looked at it. But I'd like something inside the SO ecosystem, so I could also use it on (for example) the computers of my clients. I guess the best alternative is to make a web-page with my favorite answers. –  S.L. Barth Dec 8 '11 at 21:06
    
@S.L.Barth Or, you could use the "About Me" section of your profile. I've seen many others do that. (In fact. that could be a useful userscript...) –  The Unhandled Exception Dec 8 '11 at 21:30
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@ChrisFrederick, this is not what the aggregating feature of SO is about. For example, what is useful about knowing who commented on your answer? This is simply quick access to information that I need to know about. Likewise, a favorite answer would still lead me to the Q and A, but the A is the only part I really value . . . so why prevent quick access to the most valuable info? In another way, no one cares that Louis Pastuer was trying to solve a contamination question in NY? Today we only care that his discovery is in use. –  iND Apr 27 '12 at 16:13
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@Chris Frederick, I see your point, but I agree with What S.L. Barth says above. If I mark a question as a favorite in StackOverflow, then I can see if it I log in to StackOverflow and go to my favorites. If I mark a question as a browser bookmark then (a) it's only in that browser (not other browsers); (b) it's mixed in with all my other bookmarks, unless I do bookmark maintenance. Having the favorite in StackOverflow instead of in my bookmarks makes it portable to any browser, PC, device, etc. This is far more convenient. –  Kyralessa Sep 12 '12 at 20:12
    
It is not silly to be interested in updates of a specific answer rather than a general question. Why I can be notified of updates to a question as if it was my own but not to an answer as if it was my own? –  user Mar 3 at 21:25

It should be noted that the purpose of visitors to the SE sites is to seek answers, not questions. The question asked is merely an impetus to a quality answer. It is the answers that supply the valuable information in the SE network.

I personally enjoy answering other peoples' questions, but I would not be here if the goal of the site was question-focused as opposed to answer-focused. Thus, marking a good answer is more important than marking a good question.

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I think the great answer should be either the accepted one of with a high vote count.

If you "favorite" the question, you could instantaneously see the accepted answer.

If you favorite question is not in the top voted then I guess it deserves being bookmarked by traditional methods.

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The argument is that sometimes an answer will be given that does not answer the question (and will thus not get upvoted or accepted), but happens to provide some bit of information, or an idea, etc. that someone may want to remember. If they could mark the answer as a favorite, they could easily come back to it later (by going to their favorites page in their profile). –  tnorthcutt Sep 23 '09 at 2:13
    
@tnorthcutt could not have stated it better myself. :) –  ahsteele Sep 23 '09 at 3:54

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