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What's on your infodump wishlist?
April 14, 2011 11:49 AM   Subscribe

I'm a geek in need of a spare-time project. I love metafilter, and numbers can make me kinda giddy at times, so the infodump sounds like a great place to start. Plus, this pony reminded me that I've been meaning to do something for a while. I just lack ideas.

So, is there anything you think I should do with the infodump (programmatically speaking!) that hasn't already been done? I have mad php and mysql skillz, my css and js are passable, but I'm hoping to use this an an excuse to finally really learn python and maybe even have demonstrable publicly available code to show to future employers (I'll put everything on github). I also have a ton of other skills that might be useful, but you don't need my resume.

I'm not promising to get anything done in a timely fashion or even at all, but every good thing starts from an idea...
posted by cgg to MetaFilter-Related at 11:49 AM (135 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

Using all the books and movies a user has ever mentioned, recommend more books and movies they would like (confidence > 90%) that they haven't previously mentioned.
posted by DU at 12:06 PM on April 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


Aside from whatever fresh brainstorms come up in this thread, one thing you could do to look for rainy day ideas is check out previous datawankery threads and see if there's any Ooh, Neat ideas that nobody ever got around to testing.

Also, I've made a bunch of word frequency data available as of fairly recently at the over here, if that's something you feel like playing with.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:10 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Don't know if it's been done, but how about frequency tables for all the URLs in posts and/or comments?
posted by blue_beetle at 12:11 PM on April 14, 2011


I sort of wanted to divide users in "time classes" by signup time, and then look at who was responsible for the most activity, over the life of the site.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 12:13 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


And by "time" I mean "date".
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 12:15 PM on April 14, 2011


I would like to know how many sockpuppets I have.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:17 PM on April 14, 2011 [13 favorites]


Are you looking for ideas about specific analyses to do with the Infodump, or ideas for Infodump analysis tools that you could create and make available (along broadly similar lines as the Infodumpster)?
posted by FishBike at 12:18 PM on April 14, 2011


Speaking of previous datawankery threads, you could try setting up a page like the Infodumpster that can generate custom stat reports like this automatically. FishBike is generous, but he's not a machine, people!
posted by Rhaomi at 12:18 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I would like to know how many sockpuppets I have.

26!
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:20 PM on April 14, 2011 [15 favorites]


he's not a machine, people

Well, he's half machine. Hey, FishBike - Which half of you is a fish?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:21 PM on April 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


26!

Sweet mother of babby!!! I really need to take up a cheaper hobby. Like gambling.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:24 PM on April 14, 2011


Which half of you is a fish?

Neither! I'm a bicycle designed for a fish to ride.
posted by FishBike at 12:24 PM on April 14, 2011 [8 favorites]


Well then you are a machine! Carry on, then.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:25 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


So to speak.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:25 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


A lot of infodump ink has been spilled over superlatives -- longest posts, shortest posts, users with the most comments/posts/faves etc. -- lets see some "average" stuff.

I'm not a statistician, so don't gore me over the difference between mean & average, but what does the "most typical" metafilter user look like? Is there one user in particular who represents the exact middle of the curve as far as posting/commenting/favorites/favoriting averages?

Who & what is smack dab in the middle?
posted by Devils Rancher at 12:26 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


26!

403,291,461,126,605,635,584,000,000? Holy mother of God.
posted by randomname25 at 12:29 PM on April 14, 2011 [25 favorites]


Gerry Rafferty.
posted by ardgedee at 12:29 PM on April 14, 2011


FishBike: "Which half of you is a fish?

Neither! I'm a bicycle designed for a fish to ride.
"

Pffft. I need one of those like a... um...

I see what you did there.
posted by Splunge at 12:32 PM on April 14, 2011


What on earth does one do with 26 sockpuppets?! I can't even find a use for one.
posted by Melismata at 12:35 PM on April 14, 2011


Same shit, different name.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:37 PM on April 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


26!

How many of those were after the $5 sign-ups? If you've contributed more than $50 in membership revenue, you should get a plaque or something.
posted by amyms at 12:39 PM on April 14, 2011


How many of those were after the $5 sign-ups?

All of them.

But I paid in pennies.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:40 PM on April 14, 2011


How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?
posted by Curious Artificer at 12:53 PM on April 14, 2011


What on earth does one do with 26 sockpuppets?! I can't even find a use for one.
posted by Melismata


I've found them useful in AskMetaFilter.
posted by GiveWell at 12:56 PM on April 14, 2011 [11 favorites]


Regarding the word frequency data Cortex mentioned up yonder, I think it'd be neat to make something that harnesses the magic smoke inside computers to show how frequency of given words has changed on metafilter over time. So you could see the rise and fall of "wingnut/moonbat" and the like, whether graphed out or whatever. For extra super fanciness, do it in the form of a word cloud, likewise changing over time at user-defined intervals. If you could have that on my desk tomorrow, that'd be great. Super, thanks.
posted by Drastic at 12:57 PM on April 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


cortex: thanks, I hadn't seen that yet!
FishBike: either/or. Or, in a perfect world, a tool that could make all the weird requests possible...
posted by cgg at 1:01 PM on April 14, 2011


the magic smoke inside computers behind the keyboard
posted by desjardins at 1:13 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Regarding the word frequency data Cortex mentioned up yonder, I think it'd be neat to make something that harnesses the magic smoke inside computers to show how frequency of given words has changed on metafilter over time.

I did something a little bit like this with the tag data, looking at the tags associated with the most comments, and most favorites, by month over the history of the site. So rather than starting with a keyword up front, the point was to uncover the most favorited and most talked-about ones.

Something like that could be done with the word frequency data. What were we actually talking about the most each month? But you would have to do something like subtract out the average frequency of each word over the history of the site so you don't end up with just a list of the most frequently-used English words.

FishBike: either/or. Or, in a perfect world, a tool that could make all the weird requests possible...

Yeah, I have thought it'd be neat to have some kind of graphical query assembly tool where you can drag table names onto a workspace, select join conditions (where there's more than one that makes sense), selection criteria, sort criteria, calculations... but there are a lot of implementation challenges with such a thing.

Also I suck at anything UI-related. What do you mean you don't want to interact with the server by stripping the insulation off your network cable and tapping the wires against the terminals of a 9-volt battery?
posted by FishBike at 1:19 PM on April 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


DU: Using all the books and movies a user has ever mentioned, recommend more books and movies they would like (confidence > 90%) that they haven't previously mentioned.

You mean to trump the success made in the Netflix Prize? (May I suggest utilizing the 100 best movies you've never heard of?)
posted by filthy light thief at 1:25 PM on April 14, 2011


FishBike: What do you mean you don't want to interact with the server by stripping the insulation off your network cable and tapping the wires against the terminals of a 9-volt battery?

You mean you actually speak in raw computer language? Whoa.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:26 PM on April 14, 2011


If you make it look pretty, the MeFi mag will run it.
posted by klangklangston at 1:29 PM on April 14, 2011


Analyze a user's posting history and create sparkline-sized charts where the X axis is the hour of day and the Y axis is the average number of posts from that user during that hour period. Create a greasemonkey script to add these charts to the "posted by" line right after the timestamp.
posted by odinsdream at 1:37 PM on April 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Determine when is the optimal time to post a question to AskMe.
posted by desjardins at 1:46 PM on April 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


I continue to hold out hope that one day someone will use their magical infodump-related datawankery talents to solve, definitively and for all time, the Great Taters Mystery.
posted by amyms at 2:06 PM on April 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Since it doesn't look like Matt will ever get around to migrating Metafilter over to Vbulletin or phpBB, write a greasemonkey script or userstyles that gives everyone an avatar, a large image-laden signature field, and labels them with some kind of ranking classification based on posting history/activity.
posted by milkrate at 2:07 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


the Great Taters Mystery.

Now is as good a time to mention this as any. I got an email a while back from the gal who posted that anon thread. I've paraphrased a little bit but not much.
The "taters" thing was, I guess, kind of like a code word my husband used "porn". He was emailing me from work the day I asked the question and didn't want his IT department flagging his email for any reason. His wife (me) was having a what we now know was a panic attack so he did everything he could at the time to help me. He actually wrote the response to the question, and I stupidly just copy and pasted it from his email he sent to me. I was in such a panic that I didn't even really read it over before I sent it to the mods. I see now that some of the more condescending answers were removed from the OP - I appreciate that. It was really hard for me to watch a community I respect (and still do) take an issue of mine and lulz all over one stupid aspect of it, especially when I *desperately* needed help. Every time I read the site and someone brings it up, it's like we've opened that wound all over again, and I get to again experience all of the
LOL-LOOK-AT-THAT-RAGING-NUTBAG comments that were so hurtful.

I wouldn't be here without the swift kick in the ass I got from the people who sincerely wanted to help a raging nutbag (me) that day. I am so, so thankful for those people who wanted to help.
So, um, problem solved? It would be nice if people could maybe politely let this one drop. I know that's likely not possible, but knowing it's a bit of a sore spot for the woman who originally asked the question could maybe help that along.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:11 PM on April 14, 2011 [221 favorites]


HOLY CRAP! So taters is porn. Huh. Thanks, OP!
posted by Greg Nog at 2:17 PM on April 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Finally, I can sleep at night.
posted by desjardins at 2:19 PM on April 14, 2011


Well, I certainly didn't see that revelation coming when I clicked on this thread.
posted by auto-correct at 2:20 PM on April 14, 2011 [9 favorites]


Yeah the OP memailed me about a month ago deleting the AskMe thread which is sort of a source of bad feeling for her and I said that it was probably going to attract more attention if we removed it but said I'd add this update when it seemed like a good idea to encourage people to maybe start dialing it down some.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:25 PM on April 14, 2011


Wow. Okay.

Mystery solved.

Thanks, Jessamyn.
posted by zarq at 2:31 PM on April 14, 2011


HOLY CRAP! So taters is porn. Huh. Thanks, OP!

And Rosebud is a sled....
posted by Confess, Fletch at 2:39 PM on April 14, 2011


Yes, but what kind of porn?
posted by Burhanistan at 2:40 PM on April 14, 2011


Burhanistan: "Yes, but what kind of porn?"

Let it go
posted by zarq at 2:41 PM on April 14, 2011 [7 favorites]


That is both an unsurprising and unsatisfying answer to the taters question. Sigh.
posted by rtha at 2:42 PM on April 14, 2011


And Rosebud is a sled....

"I don’t think any porn can explain a man’s life. No, I guess yaoi-diaries.biz is just a piece in a jigsaw puzzle... a missing piece."
posted by Greg Nog at 3:00 PM on April 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


Arduino. Arduino. Arduino.

Improve your life through arduino.
posted by hal_c_on at 3:01 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


The "taters" thing was, I guess, kind of like a code word my husband used "porn".

Now "hardcore taters" and "softcore taters" makes sense.

Let it go

That's a strange kind of porn.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:11 PM on April 14, 2011


I know that's likely not possible, but knowing it's a bit of a sore spot for the woman who originally asked the question could maybe help that along.

Wait a minute! You guys were using that word to make this person feel bad?!? I never understood it, and didn't care...I just thought it was some kind of "please hope me" (which i guess is making fun of somebody's english) code for "we're all in the metafilter gang, watch out".

But you guys were just being dicks to someone who complained about their boss. Sure she was kinda snoopy, but I think its because of a lack of information and know-how, not because she had a malicious intention.

You guys really should be ashamed of yourselves. I can take the heat from you guys now, but not everybody is in your clique, and not everybody feels comfortable with being made fun of when they come for your advice.

Actually, every time I see that from now on, I'm gonna call you out on it cuz I can't distinguish that from saying something just to make someone feel bad.
posted by hal_c_on at 3:11 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Actually, every time I see that from now on, I'm gonna call you out on it cuz I can't distinguish that from saying something just to make someone feel bad.

Chill out. No one did it on purpose, people didn't know. Knock it off with the "you should be ashamed of yourselves" talk which is unhelpful in its own right.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:14 PM on April 14, 2011 [17 favorites]


I sympathize, but really, she could have sent a note to clarify what the meaning was and the issue wouldn't have grown to be such a thing. Christ, the time I wasted asking and emailing around...!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:14 PM on April 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


I can understand why the OP mightn't have fond memories of the whole thing, but perhaps in time she will come to see the humorous angle to the "taters" aspect of it.
posted by Juffo-Wup at 3:20 PM on April 14, 2011


(May I suggest utilizing the 100 best movies you've never heard of?) --- Who are these people who have never heard of Dark Star, Death Race 2000, Foxes, or Glen or Glenda? I don't even consider myself a movie-freak, and I've heard of many of the titles on that list. I demand a refund immediately.
posted by crunchland at 3:20 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Here's one fer ya : AskMe questions with a lot of favorites but very few answers.
posted by Afroblanco at 3:23 PM on April 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Make word clouds (top 25) for each year and graph them all for comparison?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:28 PM on April 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Can you tell me Cortex's password?
posted by crunchland at 3:30 PM on April 14, 2011


Let it go

Come on. I was joking.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:34 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've been playing around with the idea of a favourite based prestige ranking. The value of each favourite could be indexed somehow to the number of favourites the favouriting user has and the length of time the favouriting user has been a member.
e.g. User X makes a comment ("Because one egg is un oeuf!"), and 2 users (Y, and Z) favourite that comment. Y has been a member for 3 years and has 1000 favourites, Z has been a member for 1 year and has 100 favourites. Using a rudimentary MembershipYears x FavouriteCount formula (which I don't like at all), User X would have 3000 + 100 = 3100 prestige from that comment.
Using some more convoluted formulae that takes into account contacts, spouses, time as a member, whatever, and then maybe also accounting for the number of posts and comments, we can finally have what everyone wants from MetaFilter: A simple way of knowing who's better than who.

The next step would be allowing users to pull rank in arguments, but that'd take more than a bit of infodump manipulation I imagine...
posted by doublehappy at 3:56 PM on April 14, 2011


Come on. I was joking.

I said that on here, once.

Once.
posted by hal_c_on at 4:15 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


You guys were using that word to make this person feel bad?!?

i never read the original thread - i thought it was just sillyness and occasionally i've brought it up to be silly - things often take on a life of their own when they're removed from their original context
posted by pyramid termite at 4:23 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I said that on here, once.

Shhh, you're ruining the moment.

Again.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:24 PM on April 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


person: hardcore and softcore taters
community: what? Taters?
person: taters = porn, copied from an e-mail that had to pass a work filter.

That could have solved the issue in like, three seconds.
posted by odinsdream at 4:37 PM on April 14, 2011 [7 favorites]


It would be nice if people could maybe politely let this one drop. I know that's likely not possible, but knowing it's a bit of a sore spot for the woman who originally asked the question could maybe help that along.

Wow, thanks jessamyn (and thanks to the anonymous OP) for the explanation. My hyperbolic references to the agonizing mystery of it all were never intended to cause harm, and I am happy to let it drop.

You guys were using that word to make this person feel bad?!?

No. The taters thing became a "thing" because the use of the word in the context and circumstances of the original AskMe made it an interesting linguistic mystery, which led to a lot of speculation and silliness. We now know that our speculation and silliness made the OP feel bad, and we can let it drop, but extrapolating that into "you guys were using that word to make this person feel bad" is a pretty flawed interpretation of the situation.
posted by amyms at 4:54 PM on April 14, 2011 [7 favorites]


Donnagirl nailed it in the original MeTa thread. I think she deserves a prize.

(The 5 people who favorited her comment get runner up prizes)
posted by auto-correct at 4:55 PM on April 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


Heh, you said runner up.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:57 PM on April 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think I was much happier not knowing what it meant. I'll pretend this never happened.
posted by brundlefly at 5:24 PM on April 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


What's porn, precious?

P-O-R-N!

Mash em, boil em, put them in a stew!

Sorry. I'll see myself out
posted by double block and bleed at 5:32 PM on April 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


I think she deserves a prize.

I do deserve a prize! Could I have a little potato icon by my name? Like jessamyn's star but potato-shaped?

also you said "nailed"
posted by donnagirl at 5:33 PM on April 14, 2011 [16 favorites]


crap, posted to the wrong thread.
posted by Afroblanco at 5:44 PM on April 14, 2011


oops, wait, no. posted to the correct thread. n/m

(my kingdom for an edit window!)
posted by Afroblanco at 5:44 PM on April 14, 2011


Cocculus Indicus.
posted by clavdivs at 6:28 PM on April 14, 2011


I can't believe the answer was that mundane and it took over two years to find out. WTH.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:28 PM on April 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


I do deserve a prize! Could I have a little potato icon by my name? Like jessamyn's star but potato-shaped?

This is the best idea I've heard. Ever.
posted by odinsdream at 6:43 PM on April 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well, I certainly didn't see that revelation coming when I clicked on this thread.

See this. This is why I have to read every single thread that comes up.
posted by Durin's Bane at 7:14 PM on April 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


I can take the heat from you guys now

I am confused as to how you see yourself as distinct from the rest of the community, which you see as homogeneous.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:23 PM on April 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


Also, and I could be dead wrong here, but I think it may be a good idea to sidebar Jessamyn's comment with a 'taters solved' link, because God knows not everyone who makes lol-taters jokes is going to read this thread, and I think it's simultaneously 1) of general community interest and 2) a good way to speed up everyone dropping it.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:25 PM on April 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


The meme has been around for two years, there's no strong reason why it should be dropped now.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:37 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Dropped like a hot tater.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:41 PM on April 14, 2011


Now that we know that taters = porn, we can get into further sub-classifications.

Mashed Potatoes = Definitely softcore

Potato Skins = Plenty of skin

Baked Potatoes = Fully dressed

Sweet Potatoes = Totally gay (in a nice way)

French Fries = Gay or straight, very male-member-centric

Steak Fries = Very macho

Curly Fries = Kinky

McDonald's Fries = Generic but still popular

In-N-Out Fries = Do I HAVE to explain this one?

Poutine = Very sloppy

Tater Tots = Barely Legal

Potato Salad = Orgy scene

Potato Soup = Softcore orgy

Au Gratin = Artsy production values but still porn

Potato Chips = What is the equivalent of 'crunchy' in porn?

Mr. Potato Head = Obvious

Hash Browns = this could go several ways; I think I'll back away slowly...
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:11 PM on April 14, 2011 [9 favorites]


I appreciate the update, for sure, Jessamyn.

But really? Just stop using it? The OP should market her ability generate community memes, for chrissake.

Mmph. Grumpy.
posted by mwhybark at 8:16 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Sign of Peckish Mores.

By Comte du Comp.
posted by clavdivs at 8:53 PM on April 14, 2011


cgg, I am sorry I derailed this.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:07 PM on April 14, 2011


A creative aspect to one section of the info dump could be chronologically spacing it by the day. A working title-" On this day: Metafilter".
We lost two soaps today.
posted by clavdivs at 9:26 PM on April 14, 2011


How about a statistical survey displaying AskMetafilter threads that receive at least one "best answer," sorted by category, and further broken down by the day of the week and the time of the day when they were posted. Then maybe, once and for all, we can answer the question that most vexes AskMe users : When is the best time to post a question on a particular topic?
posted by crunchland at 9:36 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I would like to turn my accumulated favorites into candy or sushi or bonghits, depending on my mood. Can you do that?
posted by not_on_display at 10:15 PM on April 14, 2011


This thread is beating a dead meme.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:39 PM on April 14, 2011


It's more of a mashup at this point.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:11 PM on April 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


Then maybe, once and for all, we can answer the question that most vexes AskMe users...

Ideally, with something along the lines of "It was shortly after 3:00 on Friday, September 7th, 2007. You missed it."
posted by Wolfdog at 2:01 AM on April 15, 2011


To answer the original question, I've always been curious about the comments that make it to the popular comments page. I suspect that to gain that kind of popularity they have to meet at least a couple of criteria:

1.) Posted in very active threads that a lot of people want to read and
2.) Posted near the beginning of the thread where the most people will see them (because "does anyone read the posts down here" isn't just a silly mefi meme, but a cold hard truth.)

It would be cool to see that confirmed or refuted by some data.
posted by sambosambo at 2:24 AM on April 15, 2011


Maybe if you could stop this light under the skin of my hand blinking?
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:01 AM on April 15, 2011


You could do an analysis of MetaTalk threads, eg in terms of statistics on whether or not they degenerate into noise, and how many comments before they turn into jokes & other rubbish.

Having said that, here's a recipe for roast duck breasts with maple syrup vinaigrette:

1. Score the duck breast skin with a sharp knife. Season with salt and pepper, and place, fat-side down, in a frying pan over a medium heat. As the fat begins to heat it will melt and crisp up. Continue to colour the skin for 10-12 mins before turning the duck over and frying for a further 4-5 mins to a pink stage. Remove the duck breasts to one side and keep warm.
2. Meanwhile, boil the maple syrup and simmer until just 2 tbsp are left before removing from the heat and whisking in the sherry vinegar, groundnut and hazelnut oils. Season with salt and pepper.
3. While frying the duck breasts, trim and lightly rinse the wild mushrooms. When the duck is resting, fry the mushrooms in half the butter in a hot pan, seasoning with salt and pepper, until just tender. Heat a separate pan with the remaining butter and add the washed spinach. Season with salt and pepper, allowing the leaves to wilt and soften before draining.
4. To serve, divide the spinach among 4 plates. Cut each breast into 5-6 slices and place on top of the spinach. Top with the pan-fried wild mushrooms, drizzling each with the maple syrup vinaigrette.

posted by UbuRoivas at 4:58 AM on April 15, 2011 [6 favorites]


I shall never eat duck and you can't tempt me. I shall avoid temptation by not reading what you have written after the word recipe.
posted by h00py at 6:52 AM on April 15, 2011


How did you know it's duck if you stopped at "recipe"?
posted by owtytrof at 7:46 AM on April 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


A simple way of knowing who's better than who

May I suggest MetaFilter top trumps?

posted by arcticseal at 7:49 AM on April 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've always been curious about the comments that make it to the popular comments page.

It certainly helps, but I know that I've had a couple of comments that got a billion favorites that were in not-very-active threads.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:52 AM on April 15, 2011


I'm human, damnit!
posted by h00py at 8:29 AM on April 15, 2011


I would like to know the number of relationshipfilter questions where the person signed up to ask one question just to validate his/her position; was ripped a new one by mefites for being totally wrong; and then disabled the account. The guy whose girlfriend wanted him to rub her butt with cream comes to mind.
posted by Melismata at 9:07 AM on April 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


> I do deserve a prize! Could I have a little potato icon by my name? Like jessamyn's star but potato-shaped?

I approve of this!
posted by languagehat at 9:08 AM on April 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


crunchland: Who are these people who have never heard of Dark Star, Death Race 2000, Foxes, or Glen or Glenda? I don't even consider myself a movie-freak, and I've heard of many of the titles on that list. I demand a refund immediately.

But have you heard of all those movies? It's not the list I was initially looking for, but it is a lot better than many out there (Falling Down is your #1? Really?).
posted by filthy light thief at 9:19 AM on April 15, 2011


FLT: for movie poster overlord.

15. Brannigan.

it's not Bullett but better then Banachek and by no means a Colshack.
posted by clavdivs at 9:39 AM on April 15, 2011


To answer the original question, I've always been curious about the comments that make it to the popular comments page. I suspect that to gain that kind of popularity they have to meet at least a couple of criteria:

1.) Posted in very active threads that a lot of people want to read and
2.) Posted near the beginning of the thread where the most people will see them (because "does anyone read the posts down here" isn't just a silly mefi meme, but a cold hard truth.)


Getting on the sidebar helps a lot.
posted by Rhaomi at 10:45 AM on April 15, 2011


The guy whose girlfriend wanted him to rub her butt with cream comes to mind.

Link please.

Wait, no. Please don't.
posted by slogger at 10:53 AM on April 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't know if this is in the infodump (or anywhere, for that matter), but I seem to recall reading that when you make a thread do the sad little fade-out on your Recent Activity page, that thread goes into a little database of threads you've removed?

Rank the Most Removed threads.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:01 AM on April 15, 2011


Yeah, no, there's no data about threads removed from RA in the Infodump. To do that one, somebody with access to the full database would have to be involved.
posted by FishBike at 11:04 AM on April 15, 2011


Link please.

http://ask.metafilter.com/171053/GF-Overreacting
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:25 AM on April 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


It rubs the lotion on its skin, or else it gets no blows again.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:30 AM on April 15, 2011


Brandon Blatcher: "http://ask.metafilter.com/171053/GF-Overreacting"

Maybe he just couldn't get in the mood without hearing the dulcet tones of Carl Kasell.
posted by zarq at 12:05 PM on April 15, 2011


Rank the Most Removed threads.

This is actually a mod-facing list that we have, but we call it "Most Regretted Threads"
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:29 PM on April 15, 2011 [7 favorites]


put the lotion in the basket
posted by clavdivs at 1:41 PM on April 15, 2011


Somehow, I suspect an overlap between "Most Regretted Threads" and "Most Snarktastic Threads", at least for askMe threads.
posted by rmd1023 at 1:46 PM on April 15, 2011


jessamyn: "This is actually a mod-facing list that we have, but we call it "Most Regretted Threads""

Ooooh. Now I wanna see that!

(I understand why you might not want to share with the group, of course. But man, that piques my curiosity!)
posted by zarq at 1:50 PM on April 15, 2011


Yeah the top thing on the list is the Bill Zeller MeTa thread. It's mostly threads that got really long that a lot of people commented on early on.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:00 PM on April 15, 2011


I'm really disappointed about this user's humorlessness about Tatergate. It was a silly mistake, it caught people's imagination, and it blazed there because there seemed to be no way to resolve it. Far be it from me to dictate how anyone should react to X,Y or Z, but personally I can't imagine taking something so innocuous so seriously, or trying to shove the cat back into the bag after this person has waited so long to follow up.
posted by hermitosis at 2:20 PM on April 15, 2011 [7 favorites]


I agree with hermitosis about the use of "taters." I can understand being upset if someone was constantly saying "haha, remember that woman who was really upset about her husband's porn use?" but that is not what is going on here at all. She used a silly word and I would like to continue to use that silly word in completely other contexts that aren't about her initial problem at all.
posted by rmless at 2:28 PM on April 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


We've told you the situation, you're welcome to do what you want about that. I told the user I'd pass on her comments.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:34 PM on April 15, 2011


It's not quite what you're asking, but this thread just below yours is asking an interesting question: are AskMe posts showing up out of order, or is it a psychological effect?

Writing a program in Python that grabs the front page, breaks it into separate posts, stores it in a local database, and then polls at reasonable intervals, adds new posts, and squawks an alarm if it sees something out of order or different would accomplish two things. First, you could exercise a lot of what makes Python cool, because there are good libraries for doing a lot of that stuff (including HTTP requests and parsing, and storing data in one of the various SQL engines), and second, you could absolutely prove whether or not the MeFi community is undergoing a consensual hallucination. Win-win!
posted by Malor at 2:41 PM on April 15, 2011


Getting consensus on Metafilter is tricky.

Hallucinating is not.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:50 PM on April 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


> I'm really disappointed about this user's humorlessness

Yeah, other people's feelings and reactions are so stupid. Why can't everyone just think the way I do, so I could just say whatever pops into my head without worrying about it?
posted by languagehat at 3:18 PM on April 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


This is clearly a case of the good of the many versus the good of the one. Mr. Spock clearly would approve of our tater humor.
posted by Afroblanco at 3:26 PM on April 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


So, is there anything you think I should do with the infodump (programmatically speaking!) that hasn't already been done?

What I want to know is, which users are most linguistically influential? Who are the trendsetters?

You would want to look for rare words that had undergone big spikes in usage, and then find users who had an above-average tendency to be in on the early side of those spikes.
posted by nebulawindphone at 4:08 PM on April 15, 2011 [3 favorites]



> I'm really disappointed about this user's humorlessness

Yeah, other people's feelings and reactions are so stupid. Why can't everyone just think the way I do, so I could just say whatever pops into my head without worrying about it?


I am very disappointed in your feelings of disapointedness.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:51 PM on April 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


So, is there anything you think I should do with the infodump (programmatically speaking!) that hasn't already been done?

How many usernames are taken from Culture ship names?
posted by shothotbot at 7:19 PM on April 15, 2011


Yeah, other people's feelings and reactions are so stupid. Why can't everyone just think the way I do, so I could just say whatever pops into my head without worrying about it?

Is your dismissive reaction to my opinion somehow more worthy than mine to the TaterPoster's? My standards for interacting with people here on MetaFilter are apparently so low that I can't be trusted to figure these details out on my own.
posted by hermitosis at 8:15 PM on April 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


DilberTaters!
posted by Burhanistan at 8:22 PM on April 15, 2011


Are we all hating on taters now?

Having found out it's origin (I missed the original thread); I'm happy to consign it to a dusty closet in favour of a New! Shiny! Buzzword!
posted by arcticseal at 8:30 PM on April 15, 2011


don't be a tater hater!
posted by Rube R. Nekker at 8:48 PM on April 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'd love to see which users still make FPPs or comment on the site who have the lowest user numbers, if that makes sense. Duration of membership correlated to recent activity, or something. I guess some base measure of "active" would have to be set before that kind of data could be listed (like, one comment a year doesn't really count.)
posted by tzikeh at 9:03 PM on April 15, 2011


jessamyn writes "the Great Taters Mystery."

A lot more mundane than I was expecting.
posted by Mitheral at 10:56 PM on April 15, 2011


Good lord, I want to make 20 different comments at once in this thread (mostly having to do with linguistic data analysis using the Infodump, SQL and some questions I have about it all). I think I should walk away for now and think about it. I've been away from MeFi for 6 days and am positively tripping over myself about how much exiting and interesting stuff I've missed.

But until then, I would like to say that I am thankful for the explanation that the OP of the porn thread provided to jessamyn. I find the resolution of the mystery both satisfying and saddening. Part of the ongoing curiosity of it all for me had to do with not knowing *why* we couldn't resolve it...what happened to the OP after that thread? Did she leave the community? Is she biding her time? Was there more to the story? All of those questions have now been answered for me.

But I am sad that the reasons for the ongoing mystery of it all had to do with the pain and suffering of a community member here. I also think that we should respect that. The 'stories' we read here are not solely for our entertainment...they're other people's realities. And not just other people, but people who are part of this community. MeFi's owns. I think if we listen to that, and demonstrate our understanding of the situation as well as the wishes of those involved, then one day we all *can* laugh about it. Together.
posted by iamkimiam at 4:29 AM on April 16, 2011 [8 favorites]


What would be extra amusing would be if the tater OP is aware of the ongoing ARG campaign by Valve to promote the release of Portal 2, which includes things like selling a 'Potato Pack' of discounted games (part of the ARG) and awarding Potatoes to players who complete certain tasks in those aforementioned games.

Earn enough Potatoes and - if I understand it right - Portal 2 unlocks early. Now that's a 'tater for you to chew on.
posted by WalterMitty at 10:00 PM on April 17, 2011


I keep dreaming of a Metafilter-specific version of the Google Books Ngram viewer, so I can see how the usage of various words and phrases has evolved over time on the site(s).

The code isn't that hard, but it's the kind of thing that would need to be run on the full database, so I would need to coordinate with cortex--cortex, if you're interested, let me know.
posted by jjwiseman at 5:36 PM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm certainly interested, yeah. I started in with some very basic ideas about that to build the mefi frequency tables; so far that's only 1-grams and it's being delivered as raw text files without any sort of search UI in front of them, but the basic "pull words out of database, count them" bit is in place.

The thing I need to seriously look at next is the kind of size involved in doing ngrams for n >= 2, since the size of the data explodes at that point. Explodes by how much is the first unanswered question, so I should really give it a shot at some point just to get an upper limit for the size the 2-gram and 3-gram stuff.

Beyond that, putting a nice UI in front of whatever frequency stuff we have that allows searching it and graphing over time is a big item on my todo list with that stuff.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:42 PM on April 19, 2011


The google stats may give a rough idea of how much data to expect: their dataset of 1- through 5-grams is 24 GB compressed and reportedly almost 100 GB when decompressed. So it won't fit in RAM, but it will fit on a hard drive (phew!).

Maybe this is a job for hadoop.

BTW http://aws.amazon.com/articles/5249664154115844 has a neat example of the kind of analysis you can do using n-gram data.
posted by jjwiseman at 6:16 PM on April 19, 2011


Does this mean we'll never see a "taters" section on knowyourmeme.com containing photos of potatoes with suggestive captions? :(
posted by jeffburdges at 12:44 PM on April 25, 2011


I liked taters when they were still underground.
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:15 PM on April 29, 2011


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