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Feature request: Random favorite button
July 16, 2013 3:16 PM   Subscribe

I would love to have a "random" button that is restricted only to my list of favorite posts. Is this feasible?

I have a.. large.. number of favorite posts that I intend to go back through and read someday. A random button might make me slightly more likely to actually read these posts. If it can't be implemented, can we at least bicker about it for a while?
posted by sacrifix to Feature Requests at 3:16 PM (94 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

oooh i would ride this pony.
posted by ifjuly at 3:26 PM on July 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is a fabulous idea.
posted by cashman at 3:29 PM on July 16, 2013


Thanks for the suggestion. We'll discuss it.

Can you simulate this feature now? You could visit your list your favorites, choose a page number from the bottom at random, and then click blindly? It's not as fancy as having a computer choose one for you, but it might bring up some past favorites that you weren't expecting.
posted by pb (staff) at 3:32 PM on July 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


That's what I currently do, yes. Thanks for taking it into consideration!
posted by sacrifix at 3:36 PM on July 16, 2013


This is a pretty good idea.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:42 PM on July 16, 2013


Another option might be a little Perl script to go through the Favorites export file that you can get in Preferences. Someone better than me at Perl could probably use Netscape::Bookmarks to whip this up in a few minutes.
posted by pb (staff) at 3:46 PM on July 16, 2013


I bet this could be achieved using the built-in RSS feeds and Greasemonkey.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 4:02 PM on July 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


*wanders over from the tits car crash and breathes in sweet wholesome fresh air*

This is a cool little idea, I like it a lot.
Please can we have a shiny new button? We'll take ever such good care of it.
posted by billiebee at 4:03 PM on July 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


I love this idea. Yes, please.
posted by heyho at 4:14 PM on July 16, 2013


For fun, here's a way to do it on the command line. Download the Favorites file from the bottom of the Preferences page and rename it to something simple like favs.html. Open up Terminal on a Mac (sorry Windows folks) and type this:

head -$((${RANDOM} % `wc -l < favs.html` + 1)) favs.html | tail -1 | sed -E 's/.*HREF="([^"]*)".*/\1/g'

It will return a random URL from the file. Copy that URL and paste into your browser.
posted by pb (staff) at 4:26 PM on July 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


"...wanders over from the tits car crash..."

I read that and, for some reason, could only think of this....

yes, my true age is about 14...
posted by HuronBob at 4:40 PM on July 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ok, I think I got the basics to work using Tempermonkey (Greasemonkey for Chrome). I'm assuming people want a shiny Random Fav button on all pages?
posted by Foci for Analysis at 5:21 PM on July 16, 2013


Here you go, HuronBoob.
posted by maryr at 5:27 PM on July 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


I mean HuronNob.
posted by maryr at 5:27 PM on July 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Maybe just on my individual favorites page?
posted by sacrifix at 5:27 PM on July 16, 2013


I mean Bob. Really. You'reonBob.
posted by maryr at 5:28 PM on July 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


Hm.
posted by maryr at 5:28 PM on July 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


(But for reals, don't search "tits car" without safe search on. It's what you're expecting.)
posted by maryr at 5:28 PM on July 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Here it is: Random Metafilter Favorite Post.

You need Greasemonkey or Tampermonkey for the script to work.

To use it, visit the URL below (bookmark it) to be redirected to a random favorited post:
Random Mefi Favorite

This is my first Gresemonkey code ever and I haven't really tested it so let me know how it works. Will probably release a less ugly version that doesn't depend on a 404 URL (lol).
posted by Foci for Analysis at 5:51 PM on July 16, 2013 [6 favorites]


Not what I expected from the title of the post.

I would love a feature (turned on from preferences of course) that would randomly favorite 10 comments/posts per day. Would confuse the hell out of people.
posted by special-k at 7:22 PM on July 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Meh. Update didn't work.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 7:30 PM on July 16, 2013


Look at me spamming this thread.

Anyways, another update that adds a Random Favorite link on your profile page. The previous method of visiting metafilter.com/random-favorite no longer works. Probably buggy so please report bugs.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 7:48 PM on July 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


You're cool.
posted by sacrifix at 8:31 PM on July 16, 2013


It seems to only pull from recent favorites. I clicked it a bunch of times and didn't get anything past my 11th favorite.
posted by sacrifix at 10:47 PM on July 16, 2013


Yeah, seems like the RSS feeds has a limit on how many favorites it indexes. Unless the limit is increased I'm afraid there's not much I can do about it. Another approach would be to use the favorites html page but that's more complex and resource intensive coding because the favorites can be spread over so many pages. Let me see what I can do about it.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 11:08 PM on July 16, 2013


pb and mods: would it be ok to modify the script to fetch the favorites page in order to get the 50 latest favorites?
posted by Foci for Analysis at 11:57 PM on July 16, 2013


Like this good idea yay things!
posted by windykites at 12:32 AM on July 17, 2013


We could just go low tech and throw a dart at the screen.

I would love a feature (turned on from preferences of course) that would randomly favorite 10 comments/posts per day. Would confuse the hell out of people.

I wouldn't be confused. I know my comments are pure gold.
posted by arcticseal at 12:37 AM on July 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


I love this idea! I hope you will consider adding it as a feature for reals. I would be a total klutz at trying to use things like Greasemonkey and Perl.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 1:57 AM on July 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Joining the chorus of likes for this idea. In fact, it's inspiring a little poem...

i want my favorites randomized
all mixed up, like, however
i'd read them sometimes, randomly
would i get bored? no, never!
i'd laugh and cry again, oh yes
revisiting old friends
would i unfavorite some of them?
i might... it all depends.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:05 AM on July 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


I might actually go back and look at favorited posts now and then if we had something like this.
posted by pracowity at 5:27 AM on July 17, 2013


I might actually go back and look at favorited posts now and then

i might actually go back, and look now and then
that comment on Coltrane, that post about Zen
but I favorited Delmoi? God, what was I thinking?
there's one explanation: I must've been drinking
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:34 AM on July 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Even a stopped clock...

Just kidding, he's right on often enough.
posted by readery at 5:49 AM on July 17, 2013


This is a commendably splendid notion.
posted by Wordshore at 9:12 AM on July 17, 2013


I really really like this idea!
posted by Greg Nog at 9:19 AM on July 17, 2013


Foci for Analysis, at least you're spamming the thread productively. Heh.
posted by maryr at 9:24 AM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Had I but time enough and will,
I'd pare my favorites down to nil,
but having done it, I'd upset
too many whom I've never met:
It's bad to give offense, they say.
I'll leave it for another day.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 9:33 AM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


ok, here it is! Drag this link to your browser bookmarks toolbar:

MeFi Rnd Fav

Click that link and you'll be whisked away to a random favorite past. Repeat.
posted by pb (staff) at 10:02 AM on July 17, 2013 [91 favorites]


My first click took me to HD pics from the ISS.

This pony is wonderful.
posted by arcticseal at 10:45 AM on July 17, 2013


This is awesome.
posted by donajo at 10:52 AM on July 17, 2013


Outstanding!
posted by exogenous at 10:53 AM on July 17, 2013


Oh, neat! It's only posts, not comments? Is it possible to do another one for comments?

Regardless, this bookmarklet is very cool!
posted by Greg Nog at 11:14 AM on July 17, 2013


Oh, neat! It's only posts, not comments? Is it possible to do another one for comments?

Definitely neat! And I second being excited about the possibility of one for comments.
posted by cashman at 11:20 AM on July 17, 2013


I have favorited so many comments that a comments version would be a perennial delight.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 11:27 AM on July 17, 2013


Is it only random MeFi posts? It keeps pulling up cool posts I need to get around to finishing, but I haven't seen any of my AskMeFi favorites yet. I'd like to see those in the mix as well.
posted by Arbac at 11:35 AM on July 17, 2013


Ask posts are in the mix. You probably just haven't had one come up yet.
posted by pb (staff) at 11:36 AM on July 17, 2013


I just added two new options to Random Favorite. You can add ?comments or ?all to the end of the URL to specify if you want a random comment or either one.

If you specify all (let's call this the wildcard option), the script will randomly choose either posts or comments and then make its random selection from your favorites.

And here are links suitable for dragging to your bookmarks toolbar:

MeFi Rnd Fav Com

MeFi Rnd Fav Wild
posted by pb (staff) at 11:48 AM on July 17, 2013 [44 favorites]


This pony will have my children.
posted by The Deej at 11:51 AM on July 17, 2013


You are the best. I see Music is in there too because I got sent to this, which I hadn't listened to since 2007. I'm riding this pony into the sunset.
posted by cashman at 11:52 AM on July 17, 2013


AWESOME YES
posted by Greg Nog at 12:18 PM on July 17, 2013


pb: MAY YOUR LIFE BE FILLED WITH FREE BEERS, GENERATION UPON GENERATION, UNTIL THE END OF TIME
posted by Doleful Creature at 12:25 PM on July 17, 2013


love this so much! thank you pb. always making dreams come true and whatnot.
posted by ifjuly at 12:32 PM on July 17, 2013


i knew someday favoriting like my life depended on it would pay off.
posted by ifjuly at 12:33 PM on July 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yay!

Not to be pushing it or anything, but I'm mostly on my phone. Can there be an actual clicky button? (Sorry to get technical.) If not its ok, I can just favourite your comment pb and follow the links. And then wait for it to ironically pop up one day.
posted by billiebee at 12:47 PM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


This. Is. Fantastic.

As I'm clicky-clicky-clicking along on this, I notice that I favorite a lot of comments about accordions, Prince, and dancing.
posted by elmer benson at 12:52 PM on July 17, 2013


billiebee, can you add bookmarks on your phone? Add a bookmark for any random page, edit the bookmark, and change the URL to:

http://www.metafilter.com/contribute/random-favorite

And change the title to something catchy.
posted by pb (staff) at 1:07 PM on July 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


Holy Moly! Awesomeness. Good Dog, man, that is some quick and cool coding!
posted by marienbad at 1:10 PM on July 17, 2013


I feel like I just popped some tags 'cause this is fucking awesome. Thanks, pb!
posted by Mooski at 1:52 PM on July 17, 2013


Oh this sucks I liked it better the other way.
posted by Mister_A at 2:15 PM on July 17, 2013


cuz now addicted
posted by Mister_A at 2:15 PM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


pb you're a legend!
posted by ellieBOA at 2:24 PM on July 17, 2013


I love this more than Buster Bluth loves juice.
posted by altopower at 3:19 PM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


oh man, now I'll never unfavorite anything cause take that you wrong person aaaahahaha

ah, memories
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 3:49 PM on July 17, 2013


basically you just invented stumbleupon for for Metafilter

I feel like I'm in an idealized version of 2005

hats off to you good fellow
posted by Doleful Creature at 5:14 PM on July 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


I just went down wormhole 20257. This is wild, man!
posted by Mister_A at 5:59 PM on July 17, 2013


Haha, my first try transported me back in time to SquidLog, Day 10.
posted by oulipian at 8:29 PM on July 17, 2013


Fantastic idea sacrifix and thanks to Foci and pb for working on it quickly. A lovely pony shall feast upon the finest of pony foods and get lots of brushes.
posted by lazaruslong at 8:49 PM on July 17, 2013


Cheers pb! I appreciate the lovely time I'm about to have randomising.
(My boss, not so much...)
posted by billiebee at 2:51 AM on July 18, 2013


This is honestly the best thing to happen to favorites since favorites.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:35 AM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


If you want access to it across browsers, you could put the link(s) in your Profile page. That's what I'm doing!
posted by Rock Steady at 7:37 AM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


And this is maybe embarrassingly solipsistic, but if it is a simple matter, might we have a link to get a random thing of ours that others have favorited?
posted by Rock Steady at 7:49 AM on July 18, 2013


It's not as simple as flipping a switch, no, and there's extra overhead involved with any new feature. Let's enjoy the current randomness for a while and think about adding more down the road.
posted by pb (staff) at 8:05 AM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Favorite" has never seemed like a more appropriate word because I still love all the posts I have come across. The system works!
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:06 AM on July 18, 2013


pb: It's not as simple as flipping a switch, no, and there's extra overhead involved with any new feature. Let's enjoy the current randomness for a while and think about adding more down the road.

I'll allow it.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:12 AM on July 18, 2013


I really like this. NostalgiaFilter.
posted by readery at 8:20 AM on July 18, 2013


So. Much. Linkrot. Digital archaeologists are going to hate us soooooo bad.
posted by Rock Steady at 10:37 AM on July 18, 2013


I just favorited this post, because pbthisissocool. I'm not sure what will happen if the URL decides to serve up this very page as my random favorite, so I'm installing some extra fork-bomb armor on my browser just to be safe.
posted by benito.strauss at 10:44 AM on July 18, 2013


MeFi Rnd Fav Com


I parsed that as "Mefi Fav Rom Com", and was delighted that pb had been able to algorithmically determine how to randomly direct me to posts like this.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 10:55 AM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is an absolutely brilliant solution to the "I'm still sitting here procrastinating but all the active posts I'm following have stalled" problem.
posted by usonian at 12:13 PM on July 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


My life is saved and is over, all at once. Sublime.
posted by snuffleupagus at 1:27 PM on July 19, 2013


This is so awesome that I now need the ability to double-favourite posts, so that when I randomly spin onto a favourite I've forgotten about and is particularly, amazingly awesome, I can double-favourite it to elevate it even higher than all the other favourites.

If we can keep this process going, by about level 14 I think I will have found The One True Post.
posted by penguin pie at 4:04 PM on July 19, 2013 [5 favorites]

This is so awesome that I now need the ability to double-favourite posts, so that when I randomly spin onto a favourite I've forgotten about and is particularly, amazingly awesome, I can double-favourite it to elevate it even higher than all the other favourites.
As I rediscover random old favorites that I really don't want to forget again, I've been posting them to my Pinboard bookmarks so I can at least tag them.
posted by usonian at 4:19 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Any suggestions how to get an icon for this on my iPhone (4) home screen? I can only get them to point to the one destination screen, not random ones.
posted by penguin pie at 3:32 AM on July 20, 2013


Oh, ignore that, I got it! You just gotta be quick and grab it before it redirects. Icon called MeFi Joy now added. I almost can't wait for my long commute! Thanks pb and sacrifix.
posted by penguin pie at 3:38 AM on July 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Magic MeFi, what should I do with my Saturday afternoon"?

*shakes cursor and clicks*

"Where to Read Steve Ditko's "Mr. A"?"

ha uh ok!
posted by rollick at 5:11 AM on July 20, 2013


Penguin pie: go into airplane mode. Click on the link. It will say "no Internet, dummy!" click okay. Then add it to the home screen as usual. (This is in Safari. Not sure if/how to do it with another browser.)
posted by sacrifix at 10:16 AM on July 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Or.. Figure it out yourself 7 hours ago. That also works.
posted by sacrifix at 10:19 AM on July 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


I would like a pony that allows me to view random MeFi comments that have more than 100 favorites. Perhaps it would allow you to adjust for more specific numbers (50+ favs, 200+ favs, 400+ favs, etc).

In general when I click on someone's profile page, I read through some of their most favorited comments.
posted by dgaicun at 6:50 PM on July 20, 2013


Ha ha - your way makes much more sense, sacrifix, rather than trying to perfect the quick-shot finger on the iPhone screen to stop it loading before it redirects.

I do, however, still blame (=thank) you for the fact that I may never talk to anyone again now I've got my head even more burrowed in MeFi than before!
posted by penguin pie at 2:05 AM on July 21, 2013


ok, here it is! Drag this link to your browser bookmarks toolbar:

MeFi Rnd Fav

Click that link and you'll be whisked away to a random favorite past. Repeat.
posted by pb (staff) at 7:02 on July 18 [70 favorites +] [!]


At least 70 users will be confused when they click on that link, and come back to the comment pb just made.
posted by hal_c_on at 5:18 AM on July 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Okay, pb, so where do we send the postcards?
posted by tilde at 6:07 AM on July 25, 2013


In the spirit of this feature you'd send the postcard to a random favorite address.
posted by pb (staff) at 6:14 AM on July 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


Okay, the Midwest Shutin gets it!
posted by tilde at 10:15 AM on July 25, 2013


Click that link and you'll be whisked away to a random favorite past.

Neat! I love pasts!
posted by heyho at 11:00 AM on August 1, 2013


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