12

I'm not a facebook or twitter user, and this question might be a reflection of that, but I wonder if people like the little share links near every question.

I guess this question will have several parts

  1. Design: do we need to have these ugly (IMHO) icons blatantly located near the "action" (the voting and favorite buttons)?
  2. Do people use these links or are we polluting our retinas for nothing?
  3. How did twitter and facebook get selected? I mean there must be tens, if not hundreds of these things now...why choose two? why these two?
  4. Perhaps a different design? how about a "share" link that opens (upon hover or click) to show a grid of possible social networking sites?
  • 2
    +1, I've wondered about exactly the same. – Hendrik Vogt Dec 9 '10 at 9:15
  • There are good answers to #1, #3, and #4 now, but still nothing for #2! Do the mods have any stats on this? – Peter LeFanu Lumsdaine Dec 10 '10 at 23:10
6

They are there to help to promote the site. Granted, not every user will use them. We chose Facebook and Twitter because they're the two most popular ones. I frequently search Twitter on mentions of the Stackexchange sites. People do use them.

I don't think these two icons are obtrusive. However, I'm open to change the styling of them.

It's hard to imagine that the same audience will appreciate a question like "Does TikZ use the same internal mechanism as PSTricks to produce vector based pdf outputs?", and be able to elaborate on the fine points of, say, dvips and pdflatex differences. It's just not the right kind of media for the stuff we're dealing here, and definitely not the right audience.

I respectfully disagree. When it comes to Twitter, most follow the circle of people who are in the same interest group. Imagine if @textip tweeted a TeX.se question, it'd be beneficial to his 1100+ followers. Also the TeX.se will gain some potentional users too. There are many people on twitter who tweet TeX related things.

Full disclosure: I'm an avid Twitter user. However, it took me a long time to "get" Twitter. All social media sites are what you make of them. When it comes to Twitter, if you find the right people to follow, it's very very beneficial. It may take some follow/unfollow to get to a comfortable point though.

  • 1
    Thanks for the informed answer, Jin. If these links really help SE and TeX.SE, it would be a shame not to have them. However, I would think that their current design clashes with the overall design of the site and I think that they should be changed. I think that they would be better located near the "link", "flag" etc. area and that a more subdued color scheme could hide them for all except the avid twitterers and facebookers (which is what we want, right?) – Yossi Farjoun Dec 9 '10 at 23:20
  • 2
    @Yossi sure, I'm definitely up for that. I'll try to work it in my schedule. I'll keep you updated. – Jin Dec 10 '10 at 6:00
  • btw TeX.se made it on frontpage of Hacker News today! news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1997691 people are tweeting about it too. – Jin Dec 12 '10 at 22:12
9

I hadn't noticed them until now. Personally, I don't like them and wouldn't use them.

  • I hadn't either! I had to go look to see what was being talked about. – TH. Dec 10 '10 at 8:24
  • 2
    +1. I don't use facebook or twitter, so I won't use them. But seeing how I've not noticed them until now, after casting 1000+ upvotes, I don't think they can be said to be obstrusive. – Willie Wong Dec 10 '10 at 13:52
8
  1. Putting these buttons —often called social bookmarking tags, but let's call them syndication bullshit— on everything is current SEO best practice: gathering "organic" links is crucial to any web-centric business, and Twitter and Facebook are two of the most important sites for this.

    They're not very obtrusive. Be thankful that there are no Digg, Reddit, Delicious, Blink List, Stumble Upon, &c., buttons. Stack Exchange is VC funded, and I wonder if there might be more pressure in the future to crank up this aspect. I note that SO doesn't have the buttons.

  2. Good question. I guess some people must do.

  3. The other sites are not as big. Not even close.

  4. That's common. It gives a more complex UI, which the Stack Exchange team don't like.

  • 1
    Yes...these answers are all mostly correct...though I was hoping to arouse more venom :-). I disagree with your answer to #1, I think that they are obtrusive. I'd vote to remove them altogether, or, if they are needed, put them somewhere else, far away from the heart of the matter. put them under the grey links, and make them greyer... – Yossi Farjoun Dec 9 '10 at 14:11
7

Facebook and Twitter are fairly good when you need to share the latest funny picture of your cat, have found an ostensibly hilarious video that you absolutely need to show to everybody, or post an update what you had for breakfast.

It's hard to imagine that the same audience will appreciate a question like "Does TikZ use the same internal mechanism as PSTricks to produce vector based pdf outputs?", and be able to elaborate on the fine points of, say, dvips and pdflatex differences. It's just not the right kind of media for the stuff we're dealing here, and definitely not the right audience. Those might work for other SE sites (can't imagine which, though), but not for us. So, as Will says -- ignore.

For those of LinkedIn persuasion (or other professional networks, local interest groups etc.), question sharing could be beneficial, but SE doesn't support anything like that currently.

Full disclosure: I use both Facebook and Twitter occasionally.

  • I have friends who Google buzzes TeX tips, so I wouldn't say Twitter is out of the question. (Edit: come to think of it, I think they mostly Twitter, it is just that they cross-post to Google buzz...) – Willie Wong Dec 10 '10 at 13:55

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