Recently, one of our users on PMSE, a high rep user and a moderator, pointed out that the Twitter and Facebook share links that appeared to the left of questions are no longer present. I vaguely recall Waffles mentioning something to the effect of them being silently removed in a comment he left somewhere, but I've not been able to locate this comment.

If memory serves, I believe the reason for removing these share links may have been because they're perceived as noise. The comment wasn't specific, and I couldn't find any information on the decision leading to their removal.

PMSE currently gets about 2 questions per day on average. These links encourage beta users to easily share questions that they perceive as interesting. The links make it easy to quickly share content with followers.

Without them, one must first click the "link" element, then open a new tab in the browser, login to Twitter or Facebook, then copy and paste a hyperlink into that social network and finally write a description. While I admit this isn't a difficult process, the social media share links made it much easier for someone to share content quickly, especially if one is at work and doesn't want to spend much time on such a task.

Can we reinstate these share links, if not on all beta sites, at least for PMSE? Our plan is to encourage as much sharing of questions as possible to help our site grow. Thank you!

Please note that I'm not referring to the share links that appear when a question is upvoted. Instead, I'm referring to the Twitter and Facebook links that appear below the favorite icon:

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  • 2
    Personally, I want the share links back on all the sites, as per this: meta.stackexchange.com/a/136771/140951
    – casperOne
    Jul 18, 2012 at 12:39
  • The week before removing social media sharing buttons, on the peak traffic day of Jun 13th, PMSE got (wait for it...) 2 hits from social media shares. Count em, 2. A hundred-fold increase wouldn't make this worth doing. Jul 20, 2012 at 21:10
  • @KevinMontrose - We weren't actively promoting the share links then, and unfortunately we cannot promote what isn't there. Our meta is getting some traffic again, and this would be a good time for us to try to promote something like this. So in your opinion, if social media sharing is no longer viable like it was during the time that blog post promoting share links was authored, what is the new way to promote these sites? I'm happy to bring alternatives back to our community, but my understanding was that social media and link sharing was where it's at.
    – jmort253
    Jul 21, 2012 at 1:24
  • 1
    @jmort253 given that the share buttons are/were useless (PMSE isn't unique in low click-throughs, every site that wasn't SO or Programmers got < 100 that day), literally anything else couldn't be worse. Word of mouth, blogging, blog comment dialogs, anything. I'm coming to see as the equivalent of online petitions, accomplishing nothing when used but letting you "feel" like you're helping. We didn't have the data to know this when we first added them, of course. Jul 21, 2012 at 2:20

1 Answer 1


They're BAAAAaack...

share buttons in the share link

Keep in mind that, as Kevin notes, the old ones weren't used and were pretty much just chewing up space. We'll be keeping an eye on the stats for the new ones to see if they fare any better...

  • 4
    Even if they don't, they take up no space now, so hard to argue that they make the main site noisier for no reason. Jul 24, 2012 at 3:02
  • 1
    Whoever was responsible for this, thank you for the 2nd chance! I'll make the announcement in our community and let them know that this is something we need to use or lose! +1
    – jmort253
    Jul 24, 2012 at 3:18
  • @Jeff true, removal isn't terribly important if they don't work. Good to know effectiveness though, just so nobody deludes themselves into thinking sharing actually (reliably) helps a site; assuming they aren't effective, that is. I'm liking my e-petition analogy more and more, the old buttons were literally (and dismissively) the least you could do for your site; statistically non-zero, but only just. Time will tell on this revision. Jul 24, 2012 at 4:30
  • One thing I noticed, whenever Jeff comes to our site and tweets a question, we get a ton of views on that question. Perhaps the problem is that the people tweeting and sharing don't have the same level of followers as someone like Jeff Atwood. Either that or Jeff just has a really good eye for knowing what questions will be popular, and the whole thing is entirely coincidental...
    – jmort253
    Jul 24, 2012 at 5:57

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