Meetup notifications in Profile? October 27, 2010 7:13 PM   Subscribe

My Pony would like to meet other Ponies.

I was setting up a meetup, and it wasn't until I memailed several members that they were even aware of it (some of them hadn't visited IRL yet). While there is the sidebar in MeTa, and visiting IRL tells you about meetups in your area, a lot of people just don't visit here or IRL all that often.

Would it be possible to add the 'meetup in your area' notification to the user profile page? If possible, desirable? Just a little notice under the users close to you section? Or would that break Metafilter?
posted by Ghidorah to Feature Requests at 7:13 PM (113 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

Aren't there multiple ways to subscribe to new IRL events? RSS? ical? gcal?
posted by terrapin at 7:20 PM on October 27, 2010


He sounds like a ponygamist.
posted by gman at 7:22 PM on October 27, 2010


Have you met noni the pony?
posted by hal_c_on at 7:22 PM on October 27, 2010


I think this is a very good idea. I rarely check IRL, but would be interested in local meetups (I don't check it as I haven't introduced it into my mefi habits yet).
posted by a womble is an active kind of sloth at 7:25 PM on October 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


I think the thing is, there are varying levels of participation in MetaFilter. Some people only read Ask, others only read the Blue, a small subset of both of those read the Grey, and some of those read the White. By the time you're at the IRL level, it's an ever-narrowing pyramid of userbase that even knows it exists, let alone wants to engage with it.

I've tried to get interest in an Eastern WA meetup going once through the Grey (a while ago) and once through MeMail (once the radius of "nearby user" expanded enough to let me see people in my general region). Both times, it was met with a resounding "meh", and most of the people I was trying to get involved simply don't do much on the site.

I think you just have to post your IRL meetup proposal and take your chances. If people aren't involved enough with MeFi to actually pay attention to such things, they likely aren't going to be involved enough to be checking their profile page very often, either. Both ways, they won't know about your intended event.
posted by hippybear at 7:26 PM on October 27, 2010


terrapin, would those work for geographical notifications? I don't really use any of those, and I guess the pony request is for people who (like me) don't do a lot more than click on links and make comments. Kind of a 'hey, you live in this area. Did you know there's a meetup? Click here to find out more' kind of notification.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:28 PM on October 27, 2010


hippybear, the thing is, a lot of the people who responded to the spate of memails I sent out didn't know about IRL or see the meetup are actually long-time users, and people who've gone to meetups in the past. I don't doubt that there are a lot of people who'd meh, I think there might be a decent chunk of members who'd see it and maybe give a meetup a try where they might not do so otherwise.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:30 PM on October 27, 2010


Well, post your meetup proposal to IRL, get busy with the MeMail, and make it happen. If they're people who are involved regularly with the site, they'll be glad for the meetup. But if they aren't involved already, if they aren't already reading the Grey daily (which is where things like IRL were announced), I don't know if they'd be involved enough for a real life meetup.
posted by hippybear at 7:37 PM on October 27, 2010


I would love a little box to check in my profile that says "Bug me when there's a meet up in $geographical_area!" This little box would be optional. Then when the IRL post goes up, it flips a magical lever that bugs all the box checkers.

In Austin we've got a somewhat steady core of users who meet up every few months, and plenty of people miss out because they've been offline for a few days, online but missed it, etc.

I second this pony.
posted by fontophilic at 7:37 PM on October 27, 2010 [15 favorites]


Is the profile page the place to put it, though? I never go to my profile page either.
posted by XMLicious at 7:37 PM on October 27, 2010


Yeah, I had the exact same problem when organizing a meetup.
posted by nomadicink at 7:37 PM on October 27, 2010


This is an excellent pony, a very pretty pony, a very helpful pony for those not technically inclined enough to sign up for an RSS feed yet love MeFites.
posted by Blasdelb at 7:38 PM on October 27, 2010


I would love a little box to check in my profile that says "Bug me when there's a meet up in $geographical_area!" This little box would be optional. Then when the IRL post goes up, it flips a magical lever that bugs all the box checkers.

This pony has sparkles and rainbows. I would check the box. I'm much more likely to notice I have a new MeMail than I am to remember to look at IRL every few days, and I've just plain missed a couple. 25 miles sounds about right?
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:47 PM on October 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


It's a fine pony, indeed, but not as good as My Little Pony.™
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:52 PM on October 27, 2010


Or is this a unicorn, maybe a unicorn named charlie?
posted by TheBones at 7:58 PM on October 27, 2010


I don't have any other threads I want to participate in right now, so let me please share that I am tipsy wheeeeeEEEEEE!
posted by Admiral Haddock at 8:00 PM on October 27, 2010


terrapin, would those work for geographical notifications?

Yes, they do. If go to the listing of meetups for your city, there are RSS and iCal links at the top which are specific to that city.
posted by enn at 8:05 PM on October 27, 2010


If it's an opt in system, perhaps the member could choose the radius from, say, 25, 50, or 100 miles? Or some other number? And maybe a memail rather than a profile page widget, if people don't look at their profile all that often? This Pony is open to suggestions, and very flexible.
posted by Ghidorah at 8:06 PM on October 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


ya know, this is a good idea... i seldom check irl, there's just so much to do and so little time... (or, I just friggin' forget) a memail about a meetup within x number of miles would be great! Or move the meetups back to meta...
posted by HuronBob at 8:14 PM on October 27, 2010


We really, really don't like sending out email. I'm guessing that's because we tend to be web people more than email people, and we use tools like newsreaders and calendars to notify us about things and we have those set up and ready to use. When I sign up for a service that sends out email whenever someone clicks a button I personally get annoyed quickly. So we always err on the side of no emails or limited emails.

We offer lots of ways to stay in touch at IRL, and I can't see us sending more email. But we could talk about what it would look like. Would you be notified of proposed events? Confirmed events? Just meetups, or every type of event? If the details change, do we send out another email? Do we send the email as soon as it's posted, or at some point before the event date?
posted by pb (staff) at 8:14 PM on October 27, 2010


Maybe instead of email it could be a little gizmo in the upper-right corner of the screen by your "Welcome back [username]" greeting? Like, next to the MeMail envelope, maybe a little globe icon (or something) could appear to let you know there's a proposed meetup in your area, which you would click through to IRL.

I don't know that putting a notification in our profiles would be the best way to do it, unless other people are more in the habit of actually looking at their profile pages than I am (which, hey, I dunno).
posted by Gator at 8:24 PM on October 27, 2010 [9 favorites]


I see your point pb. Maybe, as Gator suggested, a little widget, probably on 'proposed meetup' notice? It's hard to confirm a meetup if you don't know who's interested, so maybe the notice help to bump up awareness as a way to gauge interest.
posted by Ghidorah at 8:32 PM on October 27, 2010


I had forgotten that there was the option to forward Memail to a regular email address, so that ups the noise concern.

Just meetups, or every type of event?

Just meetups -- events/performances would get really noisy and pepsi-bluesy.

If the details change, do we send out another email?

No, once you're aware the meetup existed, I think you'd know to check for changes, updates if you were actively planning on going. Just one, notifying the existence of the event.

Do we send the email as soon as it's posted, or at some point before the event date?

It seems like it'd make sense to send the notification as soon as the location was set, and leave it at that. The setting of the location itself could automatically trigger the notification to those opted in within the defined geographical radius?
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:33 PM on October 27, 2010


Maybe instead of email it could be a little gizmo in the upper-right corner of the screen

I sort of love this idea. Like you can check a box with a few sliders in your profile [events near me, meetups only near me and a regulator for how far is "near"] and then a little globe can pop up somewhere innocuous if there's a new meetup and once you click through it goes away. I do like the notification option [somehow] for those of us in pretty-rare meetup land.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:34 PM on October 27, 2010 [17 favorites]


Yes! I would love an opt-in regional alert that shows up on my Mefi front page and indicates a local meetup is happening.
posted by redsparkler at 8:34 PM on October 27, 2010


Yeah seconding gator. Just a globe with "n" upcoming meetups in your area or something next to the "n" memails in your box would be good. I barely notice the mrmail notification anyway so I wouldn't bother anyone.
posted by doublehappy at 8:35 PM on October 27, 2010


I've only just leaned to type so please forgot me.
posted by doublehappy at 8:37 PM on October 27, 2010


I think a single email about a proposed event would be the answer... after that it's up to the individual to follow the trail of the proposed-site set-finalized process..

For most of this, it would be a couple of e/mails a year..and if its an opt in situation, then nobody should have anything to complain about...
posted by HuronBob at 8:43 PM on October 27, 2010


This should be the same place that it tells you when your contacts post things, etc. I can't think of any reason that isn't a good place for it unless it's hard to implement or slow to run.
posted by aubilenon at 8:45 PM on October 27, 2010


This sort of begs the question since it requires already being contacts with meetup regulars, but I usually see posts to IRL because it shows up in my Contact Activity sidebar.
posted by carsonb at 8:48 PM on October 27, 2010


I think IRL is a great idea for A) large markets and B) events other than meetups.

I wish (still) that meetups hadn't been kicked from the gray, they made a nice break from the waah my post/comment was deleted posts.
posted by edgeways at 8:52 PM on October 27, 2010 [8 favorites]


I propose a beer stein as the little pop-up icon....

I agree with the desire to not send email, but I think if this was an opt-in choice in the profile, say, then it would be acceptable.
posted by Rumple at 8:52 PM on October 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm just love the fact there's a member here named Dr. Zira. I don't know how I've missed that all these years.
posted by marxchivist at 8:52 PM on October 27, 2010


I'm in the no-email camp, but would love the little MeMailesque alert in the upper right. This pony is pretty!
posted by catlet at 8:59 PM on October 27, 2010


Yes! I love the idea of a little globe on my screen telling me that other people want to get together and drink near me. This is a marvelous pony! Run fast, pony!
posted by stoneweaver at 9:00 PM on October 27, 2010


The globe is nice, but don't a lot of meet ups tend to involve beer? Beer stein, please.
posted by Ghidorah at 9:03 PM on October 27, 2010


Some sort of notification would be great. There aren't ever meetups where I live, so there's no reason to check IRL. But, if there were to be a meetup, I'd like to know about it! And a variable radius would be nice. 400 miles or so should do it.
posted by leahwrenn at 9:05 PM on October 27, 2010


Clearly, someone needs to develop the Globe-Stein.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:08 PM on October 27, 2010


I just grabbed a little "group" icon, but I was seeing it as something like this, mockupwise. Would be purely opt-in, and there would be some sort of slider to make sure NYC people didn't get swamped but people like me could be alerted to meetups within a 50-mile radius, maybe.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:09 PM on October 27, 2010


We already have a profile preference to define "nearby" in miles, so that should work for this notification. What should happen when you click the globe/group/stein?
posted by pb (staff) at 9:16 PM on October 27, 2010


I was seeing it as something like this, mockupwise.

Except for the icon, which I kinda thought was Darth Vader at first, that's exactly what I was picturing. I also thought there might be a number next to it, a la the way MeMail notification works.

If it's opt-in, will people actually use it? So many people don't use many of the existing tools for MetaFilter because they aren't aware of them, don't read MeTa, or forget that they're there, or whatever.
posted by Gator at 9:20 PM on October 27, 2010


As one of the people affected by the proposed meetup that prompted this pony, I have to join in the chorus of 'yes, please!'. I had no idea it was going on until Ghidorah sent me a message. It's all I can do keeping up with parsing the blue most days, so to have a little icon up there in the corner (or just a simple MeMail notification, which would serve the same function), would be a 'good thing'.
posted by woodblock100 at 9:23 PM on October 27, 2010


What should happen when you click the globe/group/stein?

This is where it gets a little fuzzy for me, because I have no idea what IRL looks like to someone who actually has (a) a real location set in their profile and (b) actually lives in a place where meetups occur nearby. From previous threads I sort of gather that there's something on IRL that lets you see what meetups or whatever are occurring "near you" based on your profile location? Or was that a pony that never happened?

At first I thought the globe should just click straight through to the main IRL page, and that would probably work just fine, but if there's something or some page on IRL where a person can see what specific happenings are near them, then it should click through to that.
posted by Gator at 9:27 PM on October 27, 2010


When there is an upcoming IRL event in my area, I would like to be shown a widget of some kind, preferably in a bright, noticeable color, on the front page of Metafilter (or on whatever page I happen to link to when I first visit the site after the event in question has been scheduled). This widget will alert me to the event and provide me with an opportunity to link through to the relevant IRL page to read more about it, and will only show up once for each event that is scheduled near me.

In the best of all possible worlds, this widget will be subject to two User Preferences settings:

(1) Enable One-Time Web Notifications For New IRL Events Happening Near Me (defaults to off, since we hate change)

(2) I Want To Be Notified About Events Happening Within ___ [Miles / Kilometers] Of Me (defaults to 30 miles; tops out at 100)
posted by killdevil at 9:33 PM on October 27, 2010


if there's something or some page on IRL where a person can see what specific happenings are near them

Maybe going to the mail IRL page with the "meetups near me" list having some sort of NEW indicator that goes away once you click through? I always like the way MeFi generally does the "9 answers (3 new)" sort of thing. So might it be possible to do that with the little sidebar "meetups near me" list. Just an indicator, something pretty basic. And again, even though I have my location in my profile, there's almost never anything going on here, so I'd defer to someone who has things on the meetups near me list to think about what might work.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:34 PM on October 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


but if there's something or some page on IRL where a person can see what specific happenings are near them

There is this sort of thing: http://irl.metafilter.com/go/us/ny/new-york which I fund when I just went looking for the nearest equivalent to waht happens when you click on the new memail link. It should go there.
posted by tallus at 9:39 PM on October 27, 2010


That all sounds reasonable. Maybe a new page that shows nearby meetups on its own would work too.

My only hesitation with adding anything to the header is that any database lookup we do has to happen on every pageview. So the lookup we do to check mefi mail is the most frequently run query for the entire site. Luckily that query is very straightforward. But calculating distance based on longitude/latitude is not as straightforward. And even if there are very rarely meetups near you, we still have to do the math on every pageview to determine if their are in fact no meetups near you. That can add serious time to every page you view here at the site.

So we could do things like check for nearby meetups at the start of every session (similar to the fuzzy x new counts for comments). That could take some of the sting out of it, but it means you'd miss instant notification.

Another thing we could do is move it to Contact Activity. That's already an expensive process and this would make it more expensive, but at least it only runs on the MeFi front page. Anyway, something to consider as we're discussing.
posted by pb (staff) at 9:43 PM on October 27, 2010


I think this'd work best at the beginning of a new MeFi browsing session. So not at every pageview, but once when you're loading the site after a few hours of MeFi abstinence.
posted by killdevil at 9:48 PM on October 27, 2010


I think the fuzzy would be enough. I mean, meetups are generally planned a bit in advance, so immediate notification is probably not strictly necessary, really.
posted by stoneweaver at 9:49 PM on October 27, 2010


Yeah this could seriously do the query once per day and I think it would be totally functional for almost everyone.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:51 PM on October 27, 2010


Oh and on second thought, let's allow the user to configure this feature to search out to 200 miles / 300 kilometers or thereabouts, since those of us in relatively isolated spots won't usually turn anything up if we're limited to a 100-mile radius...
posted by killdevil at 9:55 PM on October 27, 2010


meetups are generally planned a bit in advance, so immediate notification is probably not strictly necessary, really.

Good point. I'd say go with that. It'd be more noticeable (and fun!) than just sticking it in Contact Activity.
posted by Gator at 9:56 PM on October 27, 2010


Hey pb, if people are having trouble getting content noticed, just whip up a content aggregation page, that displays the top two or three posts from each MeFi section in little modules, customized to each user's preferences including location, and make each little module have drag and drop and rounded corners? We could call it my.metafilter.com.

when you are done reading the above paragraph, you may commence to bludgeoning me to death with your keyboard
posted by davejay at 9:57 PM on October 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


our first globe

not only that but when an actual event is occuring, have an extra feature like a small glowing indictor.
posted by clavdivs at 10:01 PM on October 27, 2010


Getting in line for the bludgeoning, I was actually just wondering earlier today why there isn't a MyMefi feature on the Blue like the MyAsk tab for AskMe. Of course, MetaFilter's main page doesn't move anywhere near as fast as AskMe's, but still...
posted by Gator at 10:03 PM on October 27, 2010


What should happen when you click the globe/group/stein?

I kind of envisioned that it would take you to the IRL page, which has the sidebar at the top showing "Meetups Near You." Of course, clicking on IRL could do that, too. Wait, I think I need some beer.

I'm totally unaware of the massive behind the scenes work involved (although I picture pb chained to something like this, minus the Rammstein), but perhaps just a globe, no numbers attached, until the meetup goes away? I know for Chicago and New York (and probably San Francisco) that would mean the globe is always there, but, well, more noise is part of life in the big city, right?
posted by Ghidorah at 10:19 PM on October 27, 2010


Well, and those people could just uncheck the option to have it run the query. If this is going to optional, it's probably not going to be employed by people in those big cities. Just sayin'.
posted by stoneweaver at 10:53 PM on October 27, 2010


As long as we can put whatever beverage we want in the beer stein... :)

But this pony is super cool.
posted by bardophile at 11:34 PM on October 27, 2010


Just move to Chicago. They have eleventeen meetups every month, you're bound to make a few!

In all seriousness though, I wholeheartedly support the gloce idea. I would like it to have the (1 new) like MeMail does, because as with many things that don't change, we don't tend to notice them after a while.
posted by IndigoRain at 11:34 PM on October 27, 2010


So we could do things like check for nearby meetups at the start of every session (similar to the fuzzy x new counts for comments). That could take some of the sting out of it, but it means you'd miss instant notification.

One idea: could you just store a flag on the member record that gets set when the meetup gets arranged? Then it's a simple enough query at login/pageload/daygrain time, as the heavy lifting just gets done when the meetup is arranged?

This would mean that people who had subscribed to this sort of notification would miss out on meetups that had been organised before they subscribed, but that's a pretty small price.

NB: I did miss notification of a meetup (that I couldn't go to anyway, so whatever) because of this issue too.
posted by pompomtom at 1:05 AM on October 28, 2010


Hey I quoted the wrong bit. Shows how much attention I'm paying... the heavy lifting I'm referring to is, of course, the geographical part..
posted by pompomtom at 1:11 AM on October 28, 2010


pb: I never noticed the
Nearby is : miles. (Sets distance to use for nearby events and users.)
setting in the profile. Cool.

But I just upped it to 500 miles to see if I'd finally have some neighbors and... they're all a 500-kilometer ferry ride away in Sweden, so I increased the number to see if I could find anyone in, for example, Berlin or Warsaw, and it didn't show any additional neighbors. Is there an upper limit on that setting?
posted by pracowity at 3:20 AM on October 28, 2010


But calculating distance based on longitude/latitude is not as straightforward. And even if there are very rarely meetups near you, we still have to do the math on every pageview to determine if their are in fact no meetups near you.

Seems to me that caching the distances in a table with distanceID, userID, meetupID and distance fields should work quite well. You'd do the math as you add rows to that table, which would happen on session setup and meetup creation. Rows would get deleted as meetups pass and at session teardown; the table should then stay quite small. And a single query against that table alone would tell you whether the current user has any meetups within any distance you like.
posted by flabdablet at 3:32 AM on October 28, 2010


Just move to Chicago. They have eleventeen meetups every month, you're bound to make a few!

This is true. We also had a meetup thread that ended up getting 1351 comments.
posted by shakespeherian at 5:27 AM on October 28, 2010


I like this pony. I would like to be alerted on the off chance there's a meetup anywhere near me in Cork, and I'd be more inclined to organise one if I knew there was more of a chance that the handful people around me here would know when it was happening.

I'm assuming the folks in NYC would simply opt out of this alert system, unless they really like meetups.

I would set the alert for a proposed meetup only, I think, and remove the icon when someone says they are going, not going, or dismisses the event. I would definitely enable this feature only for MeFi meetups, though.
posted by DarlingBri at 5:40 AM on October 28, 2010


This convinced me to actually, y'know, SET MY LOCATION in my profile. I didn't want to put it on my actual street address, so I just put down my town. And um, it's really bizarrely close to where I live. I mean, if you went to that spot, you could walk to my house and stalk me pretty quickly.

I wouldn't advise this, really. I'm not home all that often and my cats will just shun you.
posted by sonika at 6:01 AM on October 28, 2010


I mean, if you went to that spot, you could walk to my house and stalk me pretty quickly.

DONE
posted by shakespeherian at 6:16 AM on October 28, 2010


Meanwhile, I'll head over to Chicago to see what's in your fridge...
posted by pracowity at 6:30 AM on October 28, 2010


But calculating distance based on longitude/latitude is not as straightforward.
The Geography datatype and STDistance() would do most of the hard work for you, wouldn't they? I presumed that was how you did the Nearby MeFites thing in the profiles.
Or is it the pageview refresh that's the problem? Flabdablet's solution sounds kind of neat.
posted by SyntacticSugar at 6:37 AM on October 28, 2010


*reads thread properly*
Oh, it is the pageview thing, sorry.
posted by SyntacticSugar at 6:40 AM on October 28, 2010


My location is in the middle of a busy street. You might survive the cars, but you'd never be able to get past the bars and tourists.
posted by nomadicink at 6:48 AM on October 28, 2010


Eggplant puree. And six types of bitters. There's also lots of cheese and some beet greens. That's what's in this fridge in Chicago.
posted by crush-onastick at 7:03 AM on October 28, 2010


I'm six types of bitter that I can't be there for dinner.
posted by pracowity at 7:24 AM on October 28, 2010 [2 favorites]




This convinced me to actually, y'know, SET MY LOCATION in my profile. I didn't want to put it on my actual street address, so I just put down my town. And um, it's really bizarrely close to where I live. I mean, if you went to that spot, you could walk to my house and stalk me pretty quickly.

I did something similar, and then found the dot for my town was right on top of some stranger's house. I would feel back if something happened to them because somebody thought I lived there, so I changed my location to be in a lake instead.

It's still close enough for all the nearby users/nearby meetups stuff to work, and it mean any potential stalker activity will be more easily spotted, because they'll be otherwise inexplicably equipped with a canoe.
posted by FishBike at 7:45 AM on October 28, 2010


I would like people to know when I'm coming to their town so they can properly shower me with the attention that I crave.

I mean seriously, I get that no one lives in western CO, but there's gotta be SOMEONE in Oklahoma City, right? Please don't leave me alone with my coworkers!
posted by backseatpilot at 7:46 AM on October 28, 2010


My location is also in a lake. Maybe we need a "people who live in lakes" meetup, before some of our homes freeze over for the winter.
posted by catlet at 7:51 AM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Maybe you need a "people who live upside down in lakes" meetup after your homes freeze over for the winter. You could play SCUBA hockey.
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:10 AM on October 28, 2010


I mean, if you went to that spot, you could walk to my house and stalk me pretty quickly.

DONE


Great, would you mind doing a quick vaccuuming for me? I won't be home until late! And could you pick up some milk? And maybe some cider?
posted by sonika at 8:28 AM on October 28, 2010


When a pony meets a pony, comin' through the...weeds...

I'd love an IRL notifier too, since I never check IRL because apparently nothing ever happens in FL at all.
posted by galadriel at 8:52 AM on October 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'd prefer that a meet-up in my area show up in my contact activity rather than in the header. I go look at contact activity every once in a while to see what's new, but I tend to miss the little MeMail icon in the header.

backseatpilot, OKC had a meet-up last month. Maybe try contacting some of those guys?
posted by donajo at 9:50 AM on October 28, 2010


yeah flabdablet, this could be a good case for a derived table. At this moment there are 20 proposed meetups and 7 upcoming meetups. We have 8,426 users with a location set which puts the derived table (for today) at 227,502 records. I have reservations about this because there's some overhead with keeping everything in sync.

pracowity, there's no upper limit on the number of miles you can set. I'm guessing there just isn't anyone within the limits you're setting. Try setting the limit higher and higher until you finally get some neighbors. You could also pull up the MeFi KML file in Google Earth to see where your nearest neighbor is.
posted by pb (staff) at 9:58 AM on October 28, 2010


SyntacticSugar, yeah STDistance() looks great if we move to SQL Server 2008.
posted by pb (staff) at 10:57 AM on October 28, 2010


Oh, my bad, thought it was in 2005.
posted by SyntacticSugar at 12:56 PM on October 28, 2010


> We offer lots of ways to stay in touch at IRL

Yeah, but I never go to IRL. I too miss the meetup threads in the gray, but not enough to regularly visit yet another part of the site. Therefore, I support this pony.
posted by languagehat at 2:36 PM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Great, would you mind doing a quick vaccuuming for me? I won't be home until late! And could you pick up some milk? And maybe some cider?

Sure but I don't know that the cider will go well with the rabbit I'm cooking up for you.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:40 PM on October 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yeah, but I never go to IRL.

That's the whole point of the RSS and iCal feeds there. You set it up once and then you're notified via whichever feedreader or calendar you use. If you don't use either of those it doesn't help much, though.
posted by pb (staff) at 3:24 PM on October 28, 2010


I know you guys are down on it, but I like emails, would rarely get them, and they might less of a server load on people? Just one per event would be enough.
posted by smoke at 3:27 PM on October 28, 2010


We have 8,426 users with a location set which puts the derived table (for today) at 227,502 records

I wasn't really thinking of anything that big. The only records that need to exist in the distances table pertain to users with active sessions, which I imagine would typically be way less than 8426. If you add records as you set up user sessions and create new meetups, and delete records as you tear down sessions and expire meetups, the distances table should stay really small and always stay in sync.
posted by flabdablet at 3:59 PM on October 28, 2010


It would need updating on user profile edits as well.
posted by flabdablet at 4:22 PM on October 28, 2010


If we're building it every session, I'm not sure we need the table then. We can just store the count in a session variable.

We currently don't have a "master session" that lives across subsites. We have a session per subsite. So that's another bit of infrastructure we might need for this.
posted by pb (staff) at 4:24 PM on October 28, 2010


...and that's what the table would provide. We've come full circle.
posted by pb (staff) at 4:31 PM on October 28, 2010


catlet: "Maybe we need a "people who live in lakes" meetup"

Sorry, Jessamyn doesn't live in a lake anymore, now she lives in Northwest Indiana. She's my new neighbor!
posted by IndigoRain at 5:02 PM on October 28, 2010


* waves from wherever I am now * Actually my town is now situated fine but, amusingly, a nearby lake I went hiking around a few weeks ago is, in fact somewhere in Indiana now. So strange.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:10 PM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, there might be a surprising number of us that don't really use RSS or iCal. In theory, I love IRL. In practice, I don't go there. I also don't use RSS feeds for anything else, so I'd just be setting one up to be one more thing I would never check. IRL works great for some people, but not at all for other people. I really liked the implementation of it at first where meetups stayed in the gray and other things went there. Now that it's all over there, it's not really as awesome.
posted by stoneweaver at 5:15 PM on October 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Try setting the limit higher and higher until you finally get some neighbors.

I set it for 9999 miles and still get just 11 nearby people, all, I think, in Sweden:
Nearby users: boogieboy (335 miles) mr.marx (342 miles) Iteki (343 miles) uandt (344 miles) pica (345 miles) jan murray (346 miles) livingdots (346 miles) soundofsuburbia (346 miles) pyrex (346 miles) iigloo (346 miles) and 1 others
Is 11 the maximum? Or have I accidentally set the Swede Feed to On?
posted by pracowity at 5:35 PM on October 28, 2010


In theory, I love IRL. In practice, I don't go there.

Yeah, I think this is true for a lot of people. I know Matt was very keen on getting people to actually visit IRL once it was up and running -- the last time I asked a tentative question about possibly adding proposed meetups to the sidebar somehow, he shot me down right quick and said to just visit IRL directly -- but I think this little notification pony would really help encourage people to use IRL more, because they wouldn't have to actually do anything (click an extra tab or futz with RSS or iCal) or remember anything ("hey, I haven't checked IRL in a while, oh crap I missed two meetups and a concert") for it to work.
posted by Gator at 5:37 PM on October 28, 2010


pracowity, sounds like something is broken somewhere. I'll have to get under the hood at some point to find it.
posted by pb (staff) at 6:15 PM on October 28, 2010


Gator, have you seen the list of proposed meetups on the MetaTalk sidebar? We do try to notify people who visit MetaTalk just like we did before.
posted by pb (staff) at 6:19 PM on October 28, 2010


Sorry pb, I was remembering wrong. It wasn't meetups that I had asked about seeing in the sidebar, it was all the other proposed stuff that isn't categorized as "meetup," like performances. Those aren't included in the sidebar because apparently it would take up too much space, but I would hope that if this notification thing comes through, everything would be included.
posted by Gator at 6:27 PM on October 28, 2010


If a distances table covering all locatable users and all meetups didn't immediately strike you as too big to be useful, then you could just let that be an upper bound on the size of the actual distances table and simply not remove rows at session teardown. Removing them at meetup expiry should be enough. Even so, I imagine the table would in practice usually stay a lot smaller than its maximum possible size.

Making the distances table entries more persistent in this way would save you a bit of session setup time too, since the only time you'd need to add rows at session setup would be for users not already present in it. The tradeoff would be that meetup creation would take longer, since there would be more users in the distances table to add rows for - but since meetup creation is way less frequent than session setup, that shouldn't matter.

So, on
  • Meetup creation: add one new distances table row for each user already present in the distances table
  • Meetup expiry: remove all of that meetup's distances table rows
  • Subsite session setup: if user already has at least one row in the distances table, do nothing; else add one new row for each currently active meetup
  • Page view: query distances table for notification candidates
which doesn't look like a lot of extra activity - and it would live update on page change or refresh, for what that's worth.

Please forgive me if I appear to be teaching you to suck eggs; all I'm trying to do is make my own thinking clear.
posted by flabdablet at 7:19 PM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, and on
  • User profile edit: if location was changed or newly specified, update or create that user's distances table rows.
posted by flabdablet at 7:21 PM on October 28, 2010


That's great, flabdablet, thanks for sketching it out. I think that sounds like a good way to offset/distribute the processing that would be required.
posted by pb (staff) at 7:33 PM on October 28, 2010


As someone who uses IRL daily and wishes others would too, I fully support this pony.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:44 PM on October 28, 2010


I would love a pony that appeared to tell me to check IRL.
posted by immlass at 9:37 AM on October 29, 2010


Hey neat, I didn't know about the ical thing until this metatalk thread.
posted by juv3nal at 12:41 PM on October 29, 2010


just as a data point, I find myself with four neighbours, whether I set the distance to 500 miles or 2500.
posted by bardophile at 2:04 PM on October 29, 2010


...Swede Feed...

This is now my nickname for the Ikea cafeteria.
posted by davejay at 2:56 PM on October 29, 2010


pracowity and bardophile, behind the scenes we were doing some limiting of the distance search to keep things snappy. So technically it was only looking for other users within a limited distance, and whether you had 100 miles or 500 miles set it wasn't going past that box. I removed that restriction and things are still snappy. Plus the new nearby preference keeps things limited to some extent anyway, so you should be seeing more accurate numbers based on your preference now.
posted by pb (staff) at 3:24 PM on October 29, 2010


oh, and there is an upper limit. If you're in a mefite-dense area like NYC, you'll only see your 800 closest neighbors even if you have a larger nearby preference set.
posted by pb (staff) at 3:29 PM on October 29, 2010


I definitely support this idea. My area has hardly any MeFite activity, so it's not really worth my time to click over to IRL on a regular basis. I wouldn't want to miss any events that actually did occur.
posted by tdismukes at 3:35 PM on October 29, 2010


I was wondering how I got so many people nearby recently. Did the default setting get upped to 100 miles, or did I reset it myself and forget about it?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 6:59 AM on October 30, 2010


The default setting is 100 miles and we added it within the last month or two. Before that it was based on +5/-5 Lon/Lat degrees. Now you can set it to something more appropriate.
posted by pb (staff) at 10:40 AM on October 30, 2010


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