What a tangled web we weave March 16, 2011 11:53 AM   Subscribe

yourcelf's snazzy new GraphFi bookmarklet makes catching up with long threads a breeze.

Just bookmark the link and click on it while reading any thread on any Metafilter subsite. It will generate a sidebar showing the number of favorites for each comment (as a bar graph) and the relationship between comments and replies (as a web of curved lines). Mouse over any favorite bar and you'll get a pop-up square showing the comment (without leaving your place in the thread); click on the bar to jump to that comment. You'll also see an [X replies] link in the byline of each comment -- click that and you'll get another pop-up showing ever later comment that replied to it. It's little more than eye candy on regular threads, but quite useful for browsing ones that have reached 1000+ comments by the time you reach them. Very handy!

And the GraphFi bookmarklet is just one tool in the suite of scripts featured in yourcelf's Projects post -- there's also ImgurReddit (which shows all Imgur image links in-line), CraigsMap (which maps Craigslist apartment listings), and JaxyChan (a resource-intensive script that pulls up new 4chan posts in real time). You can view the source code for all these scripts at GitHub.
posted by Rhaomi to MetaFilter-Related at 11:53 AM (70 comments total) 44 users marked this as a favorite

On non-preview, bookmarking that particular link might not work (Javascript is hard). The script definitely works if you acquire it from yourcelf's site, though.
posted by Rhaomi at 11:54 AM on March 16, 2011


Yeah, we filter JavaScript from links for security reasons. I removed the link, just grab it from the site instead.
posted by pb (staff) at 11:56 AM on March 16, 2011


Warning: it can take a while for the mega-threads, like the first Japan Earthquake/Tsunami thread (now with 3,000+ comments). It runs the complete length of the page, or at least it does in Firefox 3.6 (running on Win7). But when it loads: awesome!
posted by filthy light thief at 12:12 PM on March 16, 2011


You'll also see an [X replies] link in the byline of each comment -- click that and you'll get another pop-up showing ever later comment that replied to it.

Nice! I've been thinking about doing a thing like that myself for a couple years now but keep not getting around to it; I'll have to go take a look at how yourcelf's implementation works, I'm curious if he had any clever ideas that improve on my notion.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:17 PM on March 16, 2011


This is indistinguishable from magic, and I love it unrepentently.
posted by DWRoelands at 12:19 PM on March 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


that's very cool.
posted by modernnomad at 12:23 PM on March 16, 2011


Doesn't seem to work in IE9-release :(
posted by yeoz at 12:40 PM on March 16, 2011


Addendum to my earlier comment: for the really long threads, the GraphFi bar stretches beyond the length of one screen, while for shorter threads (like Activity “adverse to the interests of the university”?, which currently has 96 comments), the GraphFi bar is only as long as a single screen, though the page with comments is a number of screens long (17 "page down" button hits on my current view).

And the "replies" feature ... fantastic! I didn't notice the "inline" display of replies feature before.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:41 PM on March 16, 2011


[this is so fucking cool]
posted by defenestration at 12:42 PM on March 16, 2011


I added this to the short Bookmarklets wiki page on the unofficial MeFi wiki. If anyone knows more, please add them (or MeMail me and I'll add them on your behalf).
posted by filthy light thief at 1:05 PM on March 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is now the only useful bookmarklet in my folder with the other ones being that Katamari bookmarklet and that Kick-Ass one.
posted by Deflagro at 1:25 PM on March 16, 2011


It took me a bit to figure out the crazy UI, but I really like the [x replies] UI bit. It's kind of cool, adding some order to the chaos, without forcing people to have to do threaded replies which I hate. Might be something we someday try to implement, if we could ever figure out the logic to do it.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 1:36 PM on March 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't know what's happening, I'm more than a little scared, but I'm finding myself incredibly aroused.

Recommended!
posted by quin at 1:47 PM on March 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is great. Thank you!
posted by proj at 1:52 PM on March 16, 2011


Metafilter: I don't know what's happening, I'm more than a little scared, but ...

(aw, screw it)

This bookmarklet is awesome.
posted by Tin Man at 1:56 PM on March 16, 2011


Golly, this is tremendously interesting.
posted by Greg Nog at 2:06 PM on March 16, 2011


This is the future of Metafilter.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:08 PM on March 16, 2011


It would be even cooler if it could render longer comments in a smaller size.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:10 PM on March 16, 2011


The dominating use for this is scanning through the zingers in meta threads.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 2:17 PM on March 16, 2011


The *only* thing that could make this more awesome is the ability to scroll it independently of the page it's on.
posted by stoneweaver at 2:28 PM on March 16, 2011


really cool!
posted by milestogo at 2:41 PM on March 16, 2011


Hmm, what am I doing wrong? I dragged the link that says '→ GraphFi ← ' to my bookmarks bar, but all it does when I click is take me to the page where the link is. Firefox 3.6.15/Chrome 10.0.648.133 on XP, if that matters.

I feel stupid, oh so stupid ...
posted by dg at 2:42 PM on March 16, 2011


So fucking awesome. A+++
posted by special-k at 2:44 PM on March 16, 2011


The dominating use for this is scanning through the zingers in meta threads.

THAT'S WHAT PENIS SAID
posted by Greg Nog at 2:45 PM on March 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


You need to have scripts turned on for the page. I initially had the same trouble. It's tirl.org that you need to allow.
posted by stoneweaver at 2:55 PM on March 16, 2011


I'm loving it.
posted by QuarterlyProphet at 3:02 PM on March 16, 2011


You need to have scripts turned on for the page. I initially had the same trouble. It's tirl.org that you need to allow.
Turns out that tirl.org is blocked at work. At least now I know why, so thanks for the pointer.
posted by dg at 3:08 PM on March 16, 2011


Took me a second to figure out what was what (reading the directions sure helped! Doh!), and I AM IN LOVE.
posted by rtha at 3:27 PM on March 16, 2011


Doesn't seem to work in IE9-release :(

Apologies. I hadn't had it to test it. I'll have to spin up a VM to debug.
posted by yourcelf at 4:37 PM on March 16, 2011


This is rather awesome.
posted by cj_ at 4:41 PM on March 16, 2011


Holy wow! I love this. Thank you.
posted by patheral at 5:25 PM on March 16, 2011


I think yourcelf just earned one of those gold stars. This is awesome.
posted by azpenguin at 5:35 PM on March 16, 2011


my god it's full of stars
posted by Ian A.T. at 6:18 PM on March 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is so awesome I am going to contact the author of it with a job offer.

As soon as we have customers.
posted by odinsdream at 6:50 PM on March 16, 2011


And money.
posted by odinsdream at 6:50 PM on March 16, 2011


This is brilliant.

Thank you, yourcelf!
posted by ChrisR at 7:15 PM on March 16, 2011


I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE this.

So much.
posted by lollusc at 7:23 PM on March 16, 2011


I have visions of this meager graphics program I had on my trs-80. on tape. Awesome.
posted by cashman at 7:48 PM on March 16, 2011


This shit is fucking awesome. The future of metafilter is right.
posted by cashman at 7:50 PM on March 16, 2011


Clearly, I am a dunderhead, as I don't understand how this works, or what it does, at all. But you guys make it sound so cool that I will keep trying to figure it out UNTIL I WIND UP IN A DITCH WITH MY HEAD CUT OFF.
posted by tzikeh at 7:52 PM on March 16, 2011


And the "replies" feature ... fantastic! I didn't notice the "inline" display of replies feature before.

Nothing to add, I just wanted to light up in an orange arc.
posted by pickinganameismuchharderthanihadanticipated at 8:01 PM on March 16, 2011


Nothing to add, I just wanted to light up in an orange arc.

Fuck yea, I am now aroused.
posted by pickinganameismuchharderthanihadanticipated at 8:02 PM on March 16, 2011


Nothing to add, I just wanted to light up in an orange arc.
Fuck yea, I am now aroused.


This is so hot, and I'm just playing with myself.
posted by pickinganameismuchharderthanihadanticipated at 8:03 PM on March 16, 2011


The thread aspect works for me, but it never does anything but a jig over on the left-hand side. I'm using Mozilla Firefox.
posted by aniola at 8:18 PM on March 16, 2011


The Wisconsin thread is visual poetry.
posted by cashman at 8:22 PM on March 16, 2011


aniola, could you let me know what version of Firefox and what operating system? I've got a small list of bugs started.
posted by yourcelf at 8:29 PM on March 16, 2011


youcelf, this is the work of genius.
posted by arcticseal at 10:29 PM on March 16, 2011


yourcelf [smacks forehead], guy does something spectacular and I can't even spell his name properly.
posted by arcticseal at 10:38 PM on March 16, 2011


truly beautiful. it has some "mystery meat" aspects, but they're strangely enjoyable. those arcs - ach! joy!
posted by batmonkey at 2:02 AM on March 17, 2011


Man, I shudder to think how you guys will react if you're ever alone in a room with a naked woman.
posted by jbickers at 5:14 AM on March 17, 2011


I'm in wuv.
posted by ocherdraco at 5:20 AM on March 17, 2011


Hey, I wonder if some of the greasemonkey scripts could be rigged up as bookmarklets, too? Hmm...
posted by ocherdraco at 5:20 AM on March 17, 2011


Man, I shudder to think how you guys will react if you're ever alone in a room with a naked woman.

Haha yeah geeks r dumb amirite bro?
posted by odinsdream at 5:40 AM on March 17, 2011


This is great, but I want it on all the time. HAOW?
posted by DU at 5:58 AM on March 17, 2011


This is great, but I want it on all the time.

This.
posted by cashman at 7:33 AM on March 17, 2011


Dear GraphFi, Will you haz my babies?
posted by special-k at 8:03 AM on March 17, 2011


Very impressive work -- though the inline "load more comments" feature plays merry hell with it; all the [x replies] links get duplicated each time you load more comments.

(As long as I'm nitpicking at an awesome thing which is awesome, a separate version which just does the inline pseudo-threading, and leaves out the sidebar with the bargraphs and fancy curved lines, would also be nice.)
posted by ook at 10:32 AM on March 17, 2011


Nice work.
posted by safetyfork at 1:32 PM on March 17, 2011


Man, I shudder to think how you guys will react if you're ever alone in a room with a naked woman.
posted by jbickers at 7:14 AM on March 17 [+] [!]


Wouldn't phase me none.
posted by patheral at 1:44 PM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is really amazing... I'm not sure what ie9's deal is, but it doesn't like any of my bookmarklets; or extensions, either.
posted by stratastar at 5:18 PM on March 17, 2011


I'm not sure what ie9's deal is, but it doesn't like any of my bookmarklets; or extensions, either.

Not sure about your other bookmarklets, but it seems the issue for this one is that IE9 is very picky about its doctypes. So it looks like supporting IE9 right now isn't possible.

Though it supports them, it refuses to enable features like canvas if the page isn't a strict or HTML5 doctype (MeFi renders in "quirks" mode currently – and that's not something you can sanely change on-the-fly).

the inline "load more comments" feature plays merry hell with it; all the [x replies] links get duplicated each time you load more comments.

I just fix to that... If you clear your browser's cache, it should work as expected now.

a separate version which just does the inline pseudo-threading, and leaves out the sidebar with the bargraphs and fancy curved lines, would also be nice

Good idea – and that could be made to work with IE9, if the issues with background color inheritance could be fixed. I'm not gonna get to it right away; I'm swamped at work. :)

This is great, but I want it on all the time.

Could conceivably be done with a greasemonkey script...
posted by yourcelf at 6:54 PM on March 17, 2011


I tried to mess around in the Internet Options > Security Options; settings to get bookmarklets enabled but I don't think it helped (there's an option for bookmarklets in there)...

The irony of how IE has had opaque "security settings" options since forever, while remaining the number one way for people to get malwared...
posted by stratastar at 9:12 PM on March 17, 2011


Really cool; I haven't figured out the utility of the reply arc graph yet (aside from eye-candy) but I'm sure there's some use-case for it. The favorite bar graph is very nice; my only suggestion would be to have a little column of squares at the base of the bars, as the way comments without favorites aren't represented in the graph strikes me as a bit odd, and makes them un-clickable if you wanted to navigate to them.

Also I very much don't like the red drop shadow on on the comments, it clashes with the subdued-yness* of MeFi's design in my opinion, and has a strange uneven behavior at the corners (at least in Safari; if I remember correctly this is a known issue w/ Safari's implementation of css drop-shadows.). Now I'm all done with complaints about this very cool tool.


*I suspect the OED won't be adding that any time soon.
posted by brightghost at 10:26 PM on March 18, 2011


I was having the same problem as aniola, in both Firefox 3 and 4. But I just loaded a new profile with Firefox 4, and it works. So, one of my add-ons must be interfering.
posted by mad bomber what bombs at midnight at 8:34 AM on March 19, 2011


I figured out my problem (and probably aniola's). It doesn't work if your MeFi preferences are set to not show the number of favorites. I had it set to show just "has favorites".

In retrospect, that's completely obvious. And I probably didn't need to spend an hour playing with Firebug, but doing so sure was fun.
posted by mad bomber what bombs at midnight at 9:20 AM on March 19, 2011


Hey, that fixed it! And yes, firebug was fun.
posted by aniola at 6:06 PM on March 19, 2011


I wonder how Graphfi will change the way people talk on MetaFilter. My guess is that if it goes popular, then folks will be quoting each other more often, which might make for a bit of visual clutter.

but it's still neat!
posted by aniola at 6:08 PM on March 19, 2011


(For the bug record, the one I use shows hearts and asterisks instead of favorites.)
posted by aniola at 6:09 PM on March 19, 2011


I haven't figured out the utility of the reply arc graph yet

Two things I've used it for: it points out controversial comments really quickly, and it points out "collector" comments. If you see something with few favorites and many replies, it's probably something that raised some ire. If you see a comment with lots of arcs leading into it, it's probably one of those comments that quotes or responds to everyone all at once.

the way comments without favorites aren't represented in the graph strikes me as a bit odd, and makes them un-clickable if you wanted to navigate to them

You should be able to click to navigate to a comment regardless of whether there are favorites to make a visible bar. Do you not get that behavior? If not, could you send me some debugging info (browser, OS, etc)?

I very much don't like the red drop shadow on on the comments

Yeah, it's probably overly garish, esp. on the blue where it clashes more. When I get a moment (or if any other web devy folks are so inclined) I'll entertain other UI ideas. It was the first thing I tried.

It doesn't work if your MeFi preferences are set to not show the number of favorites. I had it set to show just "has favorites"

Aha! Probably worth detecting that and not failing hard. I'll add a new bug report.
posted by yourcelf at 6:17 PM on March 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


You should be able to click to navigate to a comment regardless of whether there are favorites to make a visible bar. Do you not get that behavior? If not, could you send me some debugging info (browser, OS, etc)?

You're right, not sure why I was thinking it didn't work that way. As for the shadow, I think it could be replaced with just a simple grey border or an old-school 1-2px drop shadow and be just as effective; the content is already popping into existence over the page and being scrolled to center, so it doesn't really demand any more visual emphasis than that, I'd think.
posted by brightghost at 12:59 AM on March 20, 2011


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