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Is it a bad idea to allow multiple ways to show approval for an item? Take a look at some of the following examples:


Stackexchange

stackexchange

You can vote up or mark-as-the-answer to approve of a user's response. Why is voting up/down still enabled even after marking a response as the answer? If it's already the answer, how is it possible that I would disapprove of it by voting it down? Should I both vote up and mark it as the answer or just mark it as the answer? These are the questions that race through my mind when using this UI control. Don't get me wrong - I think Stackexchange benefits from both methods, but just not both on the same response.


Youtube

Youtube

You can both like a video and store it in your favorites to show approval for a video. If I store it as a favorite, I presumably must also like it. But Youtube still gives me an option to hit the like button after already favoriting it. When should I do both or just one? Why does Youtube even have 2 options? Favorites are useful for reminiscing about old videos that you've seen, but liking is useless for the viewer. I suppose liking helps Youtube's ranking algorithm, but wouldn't removing the like feature and relying solely on the favorite count suffice?

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I'd like to address your question about why you can vote up/down an answer after it's accepted. Take for example a question where a person asks why he gets a warning on compiling. The first answer might say, disable warnings. Which would remove the warning. The asker might even accept it as an answer. It's still a bad answer and needs to get (down)votes. –  johnny Mar 25 '11 at 19:31
    
I see the need for the community to use both voting and answer-marking, but I don't see the need for the question asker to use both. This is my UI concern. –  JoJo Mar 27 '11 at 3:37
    
Ah, I see your point. However I feel that it's better that the GUI is consistent. I feel it would add complexity for both the asker and the programmer if it were to work different ways depending on if you asked the question or somebody else. –  johnny Mar 27 '11 at 15:44
    
When i ask questions, i like to upvote answers that I respect the effort that went into it, or the alternative views. So as an asker it allows me to reward all people taking the effort of replying, and giving a valuable reply. –  nathanvda Mar 30 '11 at 6:34

1 Answer 1

up vote 2 down vote accepted

First, the main reason for which you have votes in stackexchange's sites is because that's the way to rate users. Secondly, the mark as answer and the vote up/down, both respond to different actions. The "mark as answer" shows that that is the specific answer that solved the question, however you can have other really good (or bad) answers that don't quite solve your problem and so you need to rate them too.

As for youtube... if you had to mark as favorite every video you liked, your list would get really long and you might even stop "liking"... and thus this two actions solve two different problems.

So your answer would be: "no" you should not have multiple items that perform the SAME task. But it is admissible to have different means to perform similar, yet different in essence, actions.

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You addressed the need for marking one response as the answer and voting on another answer, but did not address why any particular person would require both actions on the same response. As for your Youtube statement: why use the like button if it does nothing but help Youtube's ranking algorithm? How does the like button help the user if it's just an idempotent function of the favorite button? –  JoJo Mar 27 '11 at 3:40
    
Let's take youtube example's again. You can have a reallllyyyy baaaaaaadd video and favorite it. You didn't favorite it for liking it, au contraire (although that makes a little bit less sence in stack overflow) so that would be a reason for one single user to still be able to like/dislike a video even after he favorited-it :p. –  PedroC88 Mar 28 '11 at 2:23

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