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metafilter data analysis
March 5, 2009 5:41 PM   Subscribe

Has anyone done any interesting analysis of metafilter data? I'd like to see average posts/day, average comments/post over time, for starters. But I bet there are many more interesting/pointless questions to be answered beyond that.
posted by flotson to Feature Requests at 5:41 PM (68 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

DDTMFA
posted by Sys Rq at 5:47 PM on March 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Shouldn't that be DTMFDA?
posted by dersins at 5:49 PM on March 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


Yes. Yes, they have.
posted by Eideteker at 5:54 PM on March 5, 2009


Hey, what happened to the infodump? I the whole thing!
posted by GuyZero at 5:57 PM on March 5, 2009


Does this count?
posted by dead cousin ted at 6:01 PM on March 5, 2009


d'oh! datainfodump.

IDTMFA, dammit!
posted by Sys Rq at 6:05 PM on March 5, 2009


i was just messing around and I accidentally the whole thing!

YEAH like the whole infodump LOL
posted by GuyZero at 6:08 PM on March 5, 2009


Many, many times, yes. Cruise the Metatalk archives or try some searches.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:10 PM on March 5, 2009


The infodump is now borked, btw.
posted by dead cousin ted at 6:11 PM on March 5, 2009


flotson, are you familiar with some guy named cortex who hangs around herabouts?
posted by ardgedee at 6:17 PM on March 5, 2009


What about this?
posted by Sailormom at 6:31 PM on March 5, 2009


Is this something I'd have to have a MetaTalk to know anything about?
posted by chinston at 6:32 PM on March 5, 2009


when you the the data, can you look up how often "anal" and "interesting" have both been used as tags for a single post?
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:44 PM on March 5, 2009


There's some interesting stuff over at metafiltr.com/research.
posted by carsonb at 6:52 PM on March 5, 2009


There are also some really, really old monthly site usage stats listed here. There may be more floating around the metafilter.com/trash directory.
posted by carsonb at 6:55 PM on March 5, 2009


Has anyone done any interesting analysis of metafilter data?

Honestly though how interesting could it be? If you're genuinely interested in something like that, you are either studying it or already do it as a profession. In which case, take a cooking class or something, Jesus.
posted by turgid dahlia at 7:06 PM on March 5, 2009


100% of MeFi users use the internet!
posted by grapefruitmoon at 7:34 PM on March 5, 2009


48% shouldn't eat it!
posted by turgid dahlia at 7:35 PM on March 5, 2009


Huh... amberglow has been gone for over a year now and he's still third on the contribution index.
posted by Kattullus at 7:46 PM on March 5, 2009


Please send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to cortex, MetaFilter Network LLC, 1301 NE Hwy 99W #109 McMinnville, OR 97128. In return, he will send you a cocktail napkin with the facts you need written in his own hand with a rapidograph.
posted by lukemeister at 7:51 PM on March 5, 2009


99% should DTMFA, 82% might have Aspergers, and approximately 50% have above average IQs for the site.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:51 PM on March 5, 2009


Huh... amberglow has been gone for over a year now and he's still third on the contribution index.

I had been labouring under the understanding that that index is broken and had been abandoned. Apparently not?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:59 PM on March 5, 2009


Honestly though how interesting could it be?

Well! I never...
posted by Meta Filter at 8:08 PM on March 5, 2009


100% of MeFi users use the internet!

Not me. All my post and comments are done via smoke signals. I've destroyed an entire old growth forest for your entertainment. I hope you're happy.
posted by jonmc at 8:10 PM on March 5, 2009


I had been labouring under the understanding that that index is broken and had been abandoned. Apparently not?

I'm pretty sure that thing is indeed broken and abandoned. If it's still up and running then that's news to me.
posted by dead cousin ted at 8:41 PM on March 5, 2009


I'm totally down with the data analysis, though I've been pretty distractable about getting any done lately. But yeah, beyond the stuff folks have pointed out, if you have a specific analysis idea feel free to drop me a line or just hash it out in here and I'll consider trying to make it happen.

There's also the infodump, a great big pile of pre-processed data about site activity we started making available a while back, but...

The infodump is now borked, btw.

Yeah, it's down for the time being. However, there are certainly old copies hanging around. I'll see if I can't get a copy tossed up somewhere in the mean time, too.

Honestly though how interesting could it be? If you're genuinely interested in something like that, you are either studying it or already do it as a profession.

Hi! Welcome to earth. There are people here who manage to take an interest in subjects for which you personally can muster no intellectual curiosity. No biggie, but please avoid standing on our lawns.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:08 PM on March 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've destroyed an entire old growth forest for your entertainment.

i guess a pack of marlboros a day isn't enough for some people
posted by pyramid termite at 9:11 PM on March 5, 2009


Well, I have no idea about the contribution index but the comments and posts is mostly right, only lagging by a few days. The rootpage for it says it was updated March 3rd. I don't know if it's newly updated and wasn't working before or not.
posted by Kattullus at 9:12 PM on March 5, 2009


I'm pretty sure that thing is indeed broken and abandoned.

i checked my no of comments and it's actually fairly up to date

i don't have a fucking life, do i?
posted by pyramid termite at 9:15 PM on March 5, 2009


I don't think it's broken. The data is updated.
posted by tellurian at 9:17 PM on March 5, 2009


Well, jaden is still an active member, I suppose we could ask him about the index and whether it's gone wonky or whether it's still doing what it's supposed to.
posted by Kattullus at 9:29 PM on March 5, 2009


cortex--

I think what brought this up originally was that I want to test my perception that the average number of comments per FPP has decreased.

Beyond that, I'm generally curious if there are any notable trends in posting and commenting behavior over time, or cyclically. Do people tend to post or comment more (or less) on a particular day of the week? In the winter?

What does the graph of the growth of the user base look like? The graph of # unique posters per month? Average site-membership duration of monthly posters? etc.

Thus I'd be very interested in this infodump of which you speak. I'm sure I'd think of many more interesting and possibly pointless questions to answer once I had the data in front of me. I don't know if all this sounds nefarious and markety but I assure you my interest is purely intellectual. I spend most of my work days poking around at data in a rudimentary way, and I find such things wholesome and stimulating. I like to make spreadsheets.
posted by flotson at 10:40 PM on March 5, 2009


yes, please bring back the infodump. I will give you a pink baby dolphin?
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 10:49 PM on March 5, 2009


Search for "infodump" on the wiki for some analyses, directions, & Excel caveats. I can post the October files I think. The server they were on has some 64-bit Windows Perl problem, according to a recent MeTa post.
posted by Pronoiac at 10:57 PM on March 5, 2009


"written in his own hand with a rapidograph."

Man, every set of rapidographs I've owned has been totally hamstrung by the fact that they're a pain in the ass to maintain. Like, fucking cleaning 'em? Forget it.
posted by klangklangston at 11:56 PM on March 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


Joe Beese has 2000+ favourites in his, precisely, 100 days with us. I thought we had something special. Stop favouriting around, slut!
posted by gman at 5:00 AM on March 6, 2009


I think what brought this up originally was that I want to test my perception that the average number of comments per FPP has decreased.


2003 24.90238639
2004 26.40664007
2005 35.75131674
2006 40.44101422
2007 40.48873334
2008 43.08753606

While average comments on blue have increased, I looked at Askme a few months back, and I remember that average answers to Askme have decreased.
posted by rakish_yet_centered at 5:35 AM on March 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't know if all this sounds nefarious and markety but I assure you my interest is purely intellectual.

No, no, you're a man after my own heart.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:28 AM on March 6, 2009


I've destroyed an entire old growth forest for your entertainment.

And here I thought it was all for my education and edification, jonmc. Man, you're so shallow.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:05 AM on March 6, 2009


CORTEX! COVER YOUR HEART! COVER YOUR HEART!
posted by SpiffyRob at 7:39 AM on March 6, 2009


I had been labouring under the understanding that that index is broken and had been abandoned. Apparently not?

Apparently not, since the recently arrived and loquacious (no relation to MeFi's Own loquacious) Joe Beese has a comfortable hold on the #1 spot. And I'm greatly relieved to see I've fallen out of the top ten; all that time it was broken, whenever someone linked to it I'd see myself at #7 and think "LURK MOAR." (Yes, my brain has a caps lock.)
posted by languagehat at 7:40 AM on March 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Here is a mirror of the infodump data as of January 1st.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:40 AM on March 6, 2009


I'm greatly relieved to see I've fallen out of the top ten...

Dammit, and I see I'm still in the top ten... I gotta stop commenting so much.






D'oh!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:48 AM on March 6, 2009


cortex, the links on that mirror appear to be broken.

If you break a mirror on the internet, do you still get seven years bad luck?
posted by ocherdraco at 8:22 AM on March 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Doh! I am a silly goose. Permissions fixed, should work fine now.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:25 AM on March 6, 2009


My god, I'm number 8 in contributions?!

Guys. I think I may have a problem.
posted by The Whelk at 10:06 AM on March 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Just updated my Metafilter stats, except for the user growth which is still borked.
posted by waxpancake at 10:09 AM on March 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Do people tend to post or comment more (or less) on a particular day of the week?

Less on weekends, Sundays especially. It's almost as if people make with the MetaFilter instead of, like, doing their jobs or something. That, or they take the whole Sabbath thing really seriously.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:21 AM on March 6, 2009


Okay, thanks to pb, I updated the user stats too.
posted by waxpancake at 12:28 PM on March 6, 2009


Wow, waxpancake, it's kind of amazing how consistent the user growth has been the last few years, as well as the total number of posts.
posted by dersins at 1:00 PM on March 6, 2009


Andy, you rock man.
posted by CRM114 at 1:04 PM on March 6, 2009


That big bump in user growth in Feb. corresponds more or less perfectly to The Slate Influx, btw.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:04 PM on March 6, 2009


What about the huge bumps in 2001 and 2004? What happened then?
posted by ocherdraco at 1:08 PM on March 6, 2009


2004 was the Grand $5 Reopening; signups had been more or less closed for a while (check out all those zeroes in the runup), and on November 18th, 2004, the gates were flung wide for anybody with a savbuck on 'em. A lot of pent-up signups in that next couple of months.

I'm not sure what all the spikes in 2001 were; I wasn't paying close attention to the site at the time. I'm guessing it's more or less when Metafilter started to really flash over into being a Thing, and probably represents in that sense a major turning point in the transition of the userbase from Bloggy People to a more general audience. (Note: wild-ass speculation, generalization.)

The September 2001 spike seems pretty self-explanatory, though.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:17 PM on March 6, 2009


If anybody needs something hedged or qualified, let me know, because I'm apparently more or less bursting with "more or less"es.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:18 PM on March 6, 2009


Some checking against the spikes in 2001:

April 11th saw crippling traffic thanks to a feature in Brill's Content (ask Matt how much he likes the picture they used of him for the cover of that month's issue!).

March 2001 seems to just be weirdly spiky all month long, no one big event, and I didn't see anything obvious in a (very quick) skim of the metatalk archives for that month.

On May 14th, 2001, the Brill's Content article hit the web, I guess, triggering another wave of signups.

Notes:

- brillscontent.com is now just a domain camping page. Sad.
- May, 2001 metatalk thread discussing whether Mefi has, at 8,000 users, gotten too big.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:27 PM on March 6, 2009


"Read The Fucking Thread, cortex" update: Matt claims in the April thread that the traffic was, in fact, mostly 5k signups—mefi acted as a sort of shared-account host for participants in the 5k challenge, such that signing up for the latter meant getting an account here by default. So that probably wasn't so much the Brill's thing (though it probably played a part).
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:30 PM on March 6, 2009


- May, 2001 metatalk thread discussing whether Mefi has, at 8,000 users, gotten too big.

- September 2001 metatalk comment by Matt where he he says "everyday I think about shutting down the site" because it's grown too big.
posted by dersins at 1:32 PM on March 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Not totally sure what's up with the December 19th-and-on spike in 2001. Possibly from this writeup?

(Also, what?)

Also not sure what's up with the beginning of August, 2002, but here's a thread about being new to mefi just for the heck of it.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:45 PM on March 6, 2009


Cortex, your detailed analysis is making my little nerdling heart go all atwitter. If you were at the New York meetup tonight, I'd buy you a drink.
posted by ocherdraco at 1:53 PM on March 6, 2009


at least half the members in that thread about being new to mefi are completely unfamiliar to me.

it's a bit like wandering through an old cemetery and thinking "hm, those names must have meant something to somebody once..."
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:53 PM on March 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


I once wandered through an old cemetery and found a headstone that said "Batman, Jr." on it.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:03 PM on March 6, 2009


well, it would give the game away if it included "Bruce Wayne Jr", wouldn't it?
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:08 PM on March 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Thanks, Andy -- you're excellent.
posted by gleuschk at 2:19 PM on March 6, 2009


2004 was the Grand $5 Reopening

LOL n00bz

posted by languagehat at 2:48 PM on March 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


note to self: when starting a community, do not assign users meaningful numeric identifiers

signed 0c6d7c00
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 4:11 PM on March 6, 2009


Heh. That was me! I joined Aug 3, 2002. I remember there was a serious discussion around chez Gravy concerning the sign-up "donation." If I remember it was something more than $5.00, could it have been $15.00? I just remember missing the free sign-up window lottery for weeks and getting frustrated and announcing that I would pay whatever. Whatever I did pay was a ridiculously small token for all the hundreds of hours of enjoyment. I have laughed until the tears ran down my face reading MetaTalk more often than I can remember.

I love this:
Nothing more than common sense will help the newbies: keep watching. Read more than you write. Comment (in threads) more than you post (on the front page). Breathe before you rant. Email a more experienced member who you admire for advice. Don't take the bait. Give yourself the one-hour time-out. Take note of member's self-conflagrations. Look back at old threads, find frequent posters, and see why and how they left. And remember, no can see if you're laughing when you type that questionable joke, so it better be funny.

For those of you who are, like myself, without common sense, do as I do: observe the earth people and mimic.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 6:51 PM on August 2, 2002
As my husband has noted a kazillion times, we do take ourselves seriously.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:23 PM on March 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Thanks to all for providing raw data, fun facts, and disabusing me of erroneous unevidenced perceptions. Downloading data files now. Will return if interesting findings.
posted by flotson at 12:16 PM on March 8, 2009


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