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If I starred something as interesting, would I unstar it as interesting or as uninteresting?

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When you decide to "unstar" something, means it's not interesting for you anymore, so "unstar as boring". –  user8568 May 27 '11 at 8:37
    
Related. –  user8568 May 27 '11 at 8:45
    
to star because it's stellar; to unstar because it's non-stellar? :) –  Paul Amerigo Pajo May 27 '11 at 9:16
    
Exactly. I'm asking whether the latter sentence should be "unstar as stellar" or "unstar as non-stellar". –  user4727 May 27 '11 at 9:20
    
This question is not without its pitfalls, or lack thereof. –  JeffSahol May 27 '11 at 18:01

5 Answers 5

up vote 10 down vote accepted

If I read "unstar as uninteresting," I would understand something was before starred as uninteresting; in the same way, I would understand "undelete as spam" as the opposite operation of "delete as spam."

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This question is too vague. Even the "right" answer you've selected is wrong in many common contexts.

Since "star" isn't actually a verb, most of the answers here make assumptions about what context you might be in that would prompt you to pretend that "star" is a verb.

I assume that the OP is referring to the way star icons are commonly used on the internet to flag content as "bookmarked" or a "favourite" in various contexts, both privately and publicly.

The answer to your question would be different (and obvious) depending on the mechanics of the particular star system that you are describing.

Some examples..

  1. You visit a site where you have two star icons that can be clicked on, one is accepted by the community to literally mean "interesting" and one means "uninteresting", along the lines of the up/down vote system used here on the stack exchange. In this situation, you can do all of the following:

    • "star as interesting" = clicking the star that signifies interest
    • "unstar as interesting" = clicking the star that signifies interest a second time, returning it to its default state
    • "star as uninteresting" = same as the first option, but on the "bad" star
    • "unstar as uninteresting" = same as the second option, but on the "bad" star
  2. you visit a site that has a single star icon per item of content. Clicking the icon causes the user to be notified of future updates to that content. It is assumed that humans don't subscribe to content they don't find interesting. By counting the number of subscribers, we have a metric of "interestingness" of each item of content.

    End users think "this is interesting, i like this" and not in terms of subscription functionality, so the star icon has become a common way to prompt the user to subscribe to content, especially when the "interestingness" metric is designed to be public.

    in this case, "star as interesting" is an informal way of saying "star as it is interesting". You could then "unstar as uninteresting", to mean "unstar as it is uninteresting", but this is not the same as the literal meaning of "unstar as uninteresting" where you are removing a star that signifies "uninteresting" presented in the context of situation 1.

    You could theoretically "unstar as interesting", but it would be an illogical thing to do, unless you are a person who likes to subscribe only to uninteresting content.

  3. You visit a site that has a 5-star style rating system. You can choose to "star" something as "boring, uninteresting, neutral, interesting, great".

    in this case, you can either have a null value, or "no answer", or a number of stars. You can both "star as interesting" or "star as uninteresting" but the site does not allow you to remove your vote once cast, so you can never "unstar" anything "as interesting" or "as uninteresting".

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If you allow for a distinction between uninteresting and not interested, you should probably "unstar - not interesting". It's not that you are calling it uninteresting, you are just changing your mind about calling it interesting.

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I guess, "unstar" doesn't need clarifications such as "as interesting" or "as uninteresting" cause when you unstar something means you want to remove it from your favorite list. it can be interesting, uninteresting, boring or whatever.

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I understand what you're getting at. You are asking whether it should be (unstar) (as uninteresting) or (un(star as interesting)). Since the adverb as XXX modifies the verb here (and the verb being unstar), it would be unstar as uninteresting.

This, of course, is assuming that the verb to unstar itself is acceptable.

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+1: (un(star as interesting))= (unstar as uninteresting)= (unstar as boring). –  user8568 May 27 '11 at 8:49
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I follow the logic of this answer, but is this really how the language works? Language doesn't follow formal logic rules, such that a strict adherence to logic will often get you into trouble. My intuition is that, in a context where it is clear that you had something starred as interesting which you are unstarring, both sentences would be interpreted in the same way. Nobody would understand you to mean "I am unstarring this because it is interesting". Also, consider phrases like (so-and-so) has been defrocked as a minister. –  Kosmonaut May 27 '11 at 13:16
    
@Kosmonaut: I would also like to know how the language actually works. However, that both alternatives are understood does not mean that it doesn't matter. A lot of silly expressions and spellings would be understood. –  user4727 May 27 '11 at 13:23
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@Tim: What I mean is not that it would be understood in the way that someone could figure out a speech error, I mean that both ways have their own logic, people construct sentences in both ways, and they are nearly always unambiguous in their interpretation. But most importantly, in the absence of a prescriptive rule or stance on the part of Standard English, a person's logical reasoning doesn't necessarily tell a person what is actually right. If my suggestion is true — that both would be used without problem — that would be how the language actually works. –  Kosmonaut May 27 '11 at 13:24

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