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As mentioned previously, we are renaming the Favorites feature to Bookmarks. This allows us to both match how it's currently used more closely and communicate what to expect from it better.

Some more background behind this:

  • The name "favorites" can be interpreted as giving implicit approval of the post.
  • In our user research related to the Question Follow project, we found that a significant portion of users used Favorites really as a way to record items of interest that they wanted to return to later (but definitely not necessarily because they like or approved of the post).
  • The new name reflects more accurately the way that the tool is used (and removes confusion that many users had about the term Favorite and what it implies).
  • This change was made in the context of our work done on the Question Following project, stemming from the research and preparation that was done for that project (many of the original proposals in the Community for Follow attempted to tie it in to Favorites/Bookmarks).

If you're already using this feature, you should expect no changes beyond the naming and the icon. If you've never used it... well, it's got a different name now.

Here is the comparison of the old vs new UI on question pages:

enter image description here

In user profiles, the tab has been renamed to "Bookmarks" but is in the same location and has the same functionality as before.

We've also added a new search operator: inbookmarks. It replaces the existing infavorites operator in the search help pages and output, but both will be accepted and produce the same results.

Questions? Comments? Bug reports? Feel free to leave an answer here.

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    Only one question: why????? (rhetorical). – Bacco May 7 at 19:53
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    Who prioritizes these changes with regard to the work done on SO? There are literally thousands of open bugs and feature requests that should be looked at, yet pointless, superficial changes like this are given developer time and priority. Why? – j08691 May 7 at 19:57
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    Great. I'd like to bookmark a problem rather than favourite or frindzone it. The contents are QnA not articles, images and other similar things. In my opinion, the word bookmark is more suitable than favourite. – Optimus Prime May 7 at 19:59
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    @j08691 according to the link: "to more accurately represent user expectations and usage". I can't avoid to imagine a crowd with banners demanding this. – Bacco May 7 at 20:00
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    @Bacco The name "favorites" denotes implicit approval of the post. In our user research related to the Question Follow project, we found that a significant portion of users used Favorites really as a way to record items of interest that they wanted to return to later (but definitely not necessarily because they like or approved of the post). The new name reflects more accurately the way that the tool is used (and removes confusion that many users had about the term Favorite and what it implies). – Yaakov Ellis May 7 at 20:00
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    @YaakovEllis I can agree with the motivation, I'm just tired of the strange priorities. – Bacco May 7 at 20:01
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    @j08691 Our Community Product team prioritizes changes. This change is not stand-alone, rather it was made as part of our work on Question Following, stemming from the research and preparation that was done for that project (many of the original proposals in the Community for Follow attempted to tie it in to Favorites/Bookmarks). – Yaakov Ellis May 7 at 20:02
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    So, in other words, "we found a thing we could easily improve while we were working on a big project, and we went ahead and did so"? Sounds good to me. Thanks. – nitsua60 May 7 at 20:03
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    @nitsua60 exactly – Yaakov Ellis May 7 at 20:04
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    @Bacco this announcement lacks effort - it would be much easier to understand if it was accompanied with links to prior posts at various metas pointing to folks confused by old name and / or asking to change it (it would look even cooler if all these posts were retagged status-completed - this would make this change look much better, like classical low-effort/high-demand thing). I recall seeing quite a bunch of such posts but at this point I don't feel inclined to invest effort into finding them – gnat May 7 at 20:28
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    I assume the internals also have not changed so this will still be recorded in SEDE in the Votes table as votetypeid = 5 ? – rene May 7 at 20:34
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    @rene Correct, there are no changes to vote types. – Adam Lear May 7 at 20:53
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    I don't really understand why this change was prioritized, either. I don't hate it, but my reaction is a strong "meh". I couldn't care less whether it is called "favorites" or "bookmarks". But I do want to specifically call out and thank you for the thought put into this change. In particular, the fact that you retained the star glyph previously used for "favorite" on the "bookmark" icon. And the fact that you are retaining the infavorites operator for backwards compatibility. And the fact that you've made this as minimal of an impact as possible by keeping all the same positions, etc. – Cody Gray May 7 at 22:41
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    Yes! Finally! No more explaining the "favorites" that aren't meant to be a sign of users "liking" a question. This was misinterpreted so many times and led to many discussions, on here and in comments. Thanks for the change! – Tufkamt May 8 at 3:22
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    Will also rename the badge "Favorite Question" to "Bookmark Question"? – Pandya May 8 at 8:33

11 Answers 11

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According to What tags exist by default on child metas?, there is a default [favorites] tag on all ~170 child metas in the network, e.g. on Meta Stack Overflow but also on the newest private beta site. To give you an idea how often it is used in practice, see this SEDE query.

Instead of having all ♦ moderators manually renaming that tag, can this be done networkwide? And it'd be good to update the template (if you didn't already do this, of course – I have no way to check).

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    The old tag name on meta sites should probably also be made a synonym of the new one. – V2Blast May 8 at 7:02
15

,

Great, thanks!

I always dislike those "My question got two favorites and three downvotes" questions on Meta. This should hopefully stop those.

I also like that what I'm using it for is not portrayed inaccurately; a lot of my favorites aren't actually questions that I find useful. Most of them are actually just questions I want to get back to so I can vote to close or delete them.

While you're changing the search tips, please feel free to document code:, too.

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    I added :code to the help page on English sites, but we'll need to get translations done before that can be fully called completed. – Adam Lear May 7 at 22:37
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    "My question got two favorites and three downvotes" This. I've had to explain numerous times in comments & chat that getting Favorited isn't necessarily a good sign. I'm sure that plenty of us with delete vote privilege use it to bookmark stuff we want to delete. – PM 2Ring May 7 at 23:01
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Please update the Help Center article How do I search?, section User Operators. It has an entry which still refers to favorites:

infavorites:mine (or any user id) returns only questions that you (or the user whose id you entered) have favorited.

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  • does the infavorites search parameter still work? If yes then they should wait to update the Help Center. That being said, most of the Help Center is woefully out of date. – TylerH May 7 at 20:28
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    The question says both will continue to work, but there's no reason not to mention the new operator. Or to end that sentence with 'have favorited'. – Glorfindel May 7 at 20:30
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The item is visible while logged out, and clicking on it gives me an error asking me to login. However, there is no tooltip for me when logged out while only hovering on the item rather than clicking on it.

I could understand you might want to show off to guests that a question has been bookmarked a lot, but a tooltip should show up on hover if it's going to be visible; we should not have to click to see what the icon is.

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    As a matter of fact, why not make the bookmark link for logged-out users a prompt to actually save the page as a browser bookmark? – TylerH May 7 at 20:09
9

/

On questions:

The tooltip still points to favorites...

Enter image description here

On my profile:

The menu points to favorites. The tooltip has the same problem:

Enter image description here

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    The non-English sites are always a few days behind when it comes to translations. – Glorfindel May 7 at 20:22
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    I make the translations ;) somehow, I expect the english text there... – gbianchi May 7 at 20:23
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    I should've mentioned that in the post... we have a new feature in our translation engine that allows us to keep the old translations until new ones are ready and we're trying it out on this feature. So instead of showing random English strings, you can see the old copy until the new one is ready. We'll... probably need a new process here to notify folks that translations are needed. – Adam Lear May 7 at 20:23
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    Niceeeeee but we need a way to know what string should we translate, instead of trying to find all of them randomly... I like the idea :) – gbianchi May 7 at 20:23
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    @AdamLear and it didn't work for the word bookmarks on the title ;) – gbianchi May 7 at 20:25
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    @gbianchi We can only do fallbacks for strings where the parameters don't change either. I thought that title one matched enough, but apparently not. And I agree about string discovery. For now, I pinged Nicolas internally to help coordinate the translations, but we definitely need to come up with some tools there. – Adam Lear May 7 at 21:46
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    @AdamLear a ping to Traducir database would be a blast! can we work out something like that (even leaving out Gervasio if he has no time?) – gbianchi May 7 at 21:56
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    Good that you take this into consideration, @AdamLear! Marking the strings as 'urgent' in traducir.win would also help, and then switching to the new string just once it has a translation. – fedorqui 'SO stop harming' May 8 at 9:09
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The API documentation still refers to favorites, e.g.

It's worth keeping the old methods so that existing scripts and apps don't break, but it would be nice to have new /users/{ids}/bookmarks and /me/bookmarks routes in addition. The same holds for the favorited and favorite_count fields of the question object.

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    Heh. I had the changes ready and forgot to build API to production. 🤷‍♂️ – Adam Lear May 7 at 21:44
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    hmm... methinks @AdamLear leaves changes unbuilt so as to be demonstratively responsive when Glorfindel predictably finds omission.... (he he he) – nitsua60 May 8 at 2:00
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    @nitsua60 Must you give away all my secrets? – Adam Lear May 8 at 16:27
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Search with inbookmarks:mine without registering any bookmarks, all the questions will be hit. I think in this case the results should be displayed with "no results".

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/

Is there any further development planned on this feature? We recently got this feature request over on the Physics meta, later posted here, which is largely covered by these MSO-then-MSE threads:

The ability to search has been standard for some time, and the ability to bookmark answers is largely taken over by the follow functionality, but the ability to categorize and organize bookmarks (standard in any browser) definitely sounds useful to me.

Is anything like that on the drawing board?

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    Further development is always possible, but nothing specific is planned for the time being. Question Follow itself is a pretty big upheaval to the status quo (and overlaps greatly with the way that many people used Favorites/Bookmarks: as a ToDo list of items to check later). So before potentially adding more things like what you are suggesting, we are probably going to sit back and observe how folks are using the new features for a bit (and in the meantime, we have a completely full pipeline of things in development). Your feedback is still appreciated. Hopefully in the future. – Yaakov Ellis May 8 at 10:23
  • @YaakovEllis Thanks for the feedback -- indeed taking a step back and evaluating sounds prudent after this change. I'm not personally very invested in any of this, but I do see that there is a fair amount of expressed interest in the existing threads, so this does sound like something that should go on the future-facing side of the project board. – E.P. May 8 at 14:57
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One small bug is that when, from the Activity page, you click on the Bookmarks tab, the order of entries shown may be different than what you had used before. This is because the tab on your profile now seems to always be initially set to Votes regardless of what you had before. For example, for me, I had it set to Activity beforehand on this site, Mathematics, MathOverflow and Mathematics Educators.

Here is what it looked like on the Mathematics site before I changed the right side tab for the display order:

Bookmarks showing entries in Votes order

Note this is a one-time issue only, with my suspicion being they're using a new setting field to store this value that wasn't initialized from the previous field value, since changing the tab to use does cause the system to remember this and keep it that way in the future.

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  • Couldn't reproduce on my side. – Kodos Johnson May 7 at 20:44
  • @KodosJohnson I checked another site, Mathematics Educators, where I had the tab set to Activity where it now shows as Votes instead. Perhaps it only happens for when the tab was set to Activity. I'll update my answer to make this clear. What did you have your tab set at previously and which is still being shown now? – John Omielan May 7 at 20:48
  • ah, I only checked that it is preserving new changes. I don't know what it was set to before the change. Maybe as part of the deployment they had to clear the setting or something? – Kodos Johnson May 7 at 20:55
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    @KodosJohnson I'm sorry I didn't make it clear initially. The system does preserve the changes, which is why I called it a small bug. Instead of clearing a setting, I believe that instead of clearing a field, it's more likely they used a new setting field which wasn't initialized from the previous value. I've updated my answer to make it clear the issue is just a one-time one. – John Omielan May 7 at 21:00
  • MathOverflow is the only exception to the rule (the last section)... – P.Mort. - forgot Clay Shirky_q May 7 at 21:57
  • @P.Mort.-forgotClayShirky_q I'm sorry I misunderstood your original message before you edited it. I've now changed "Math Overflow" to the correct "MathOverflow". Thanks for pointing this out. – John Omielan May 7 at 22:10
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    Argh, you're right - the way we stored this preference was based on the name of the tab, so that broke. The impact is pretty minor, though, and attempting a backfill now would be tricky (since some folks could have two competing values, if nothing else), so I'm going to status-decline here, but.. I do apologize for the inconvenience, and I appreciate the report. – Adam Lear May 7 at 22:20
  • @AdamLear You're welcome for the report and thanks for confirming this issue. I agree it's a minor problem and that backfilling now is not worthwhile. – John Omielan May 7 at 22:23
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The English tooltip is:

Bookmark this question.

No other [non-sentence] tooltip ends in a period. Please remove it!

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The name "bookmark" now heavily implies that it's a feature users use for themselves, not for the community. It now makes even more sense for the list of bookmarks of users to be private than public, like it still is currently. Can you please implement this?

You can just make it all private, or at least make it private by default with a setting to make it public (in case someone wants to publish their bookmarks for whatever reason). Making it private would mean that nobody else (except maybe diamond moderators?) can access this info through the site or data explorer API.

This has been already a feature request, see: Can there be an option to keep your list of favourites private? for the discussion on why it should be private. Also, even if you keep it public (or public by default) please make it obvious that it's public, since users wrongly presume it's private (clicking on a bookmark button is very different from publishing a post or comment). See my answer at that question for details on why and how this can be made more explicit.

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    Coincidentally this feature request was marked as [status-review] around the same time as your answer. So here's hoping it gets implemented soon. – Kodos Johnson May 18 at 20:18
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    @Kodos no coincidence. The developer saw this answer, read the request and decided it's worth reviewing. – Shadow Wizard Wearing Mask May 18 at 20:36
  • @KodosJohnson And the reason it's not a coincidence is probably the new follow feature! :-) – geekley May 18 at 20:40

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