When do I make my comments and posts?
August 16, 2013 6:53 AM   Subscribe

I was thinking about this last night: has anyone made a tool that aggregates and visualizes when comments are made by a given user? I think it would really cool to look at an interactive time series graph, to see over a given time period if I am posting more between 10 PM and 11 PM vs 10 AM and 11 AM between MM/DD/YYYY and MM/DD/YYYY. Perhaps it would be weird to look at other people's profiles like that, but it would sure be fun to look at my own profile in that view.
posted by oceanjesse to Feature Requests at 6:53 AM (28 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Ooooh I think cortex made a thing once that was like "When are the mods sleeping" that had some little heartbeat-like graphs of when we made the most posts/comments. Don't recall more than that but I bet he can drag that up.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:55 AM on August 16, 2013


This would be awesome, but please never ever ever let my employer see it. TIA.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:59 AM on August 16, 2013 [27 favorites]


Heh, yeah, I remember doing that once upon a time as well. Or at least I remember it happening; my memory is not as clear on whether it was me or a fellow datawanker using the Infodump files.

Of which, the good news is that it's totally doable with those public files, doesn't have to be a mod-built tool. You'd just be doing some tallying up and graphing of points over time, I suppose.

What might be interesting on that front would be looking at e.g. what my and Jess' mefi activity looked like five years ago (when it was basically just us and Matt covering the site best we could all day every day) vs today (when we have a 24/7 team and proper work shifts) and see how much that has or hasn't driven changes in on-site timing.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:21 AM on August 16, 2013


You can export your own comments, and they have timestamps. A quick and dirty way to just get the timestamps is to grep for something that looks like one in the comments file:

egrep "^[0-9]{4}-[0-9]{2}-[0-9]{2} [0-9]{2}:[0-9]{2}:[0-9]{2}" my-mefi-comments.txt > comments.csv

You can then import this into your data analysis tool of choice. In Microsoft Excel, you can go to cell B1, add the formula =HOUR(A1) and fill down to just get the hours. You could then make a histogram of this ("How to use the Histogram tool in Excel").
posted by grouse at 7:27 AM on August 16, 2013 [9 favorites]


*checks*
*roots around a little*
*itches*
*contemplates*

NOPE

No lint in here.
posted by carsonb at 7:27 AM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


grouse, you answered my question impeccably. Thanks.

Now if only I could cross-correlate my favorites...
posted by oceanjesse at 7:52 AM on August 16, 2013


Now, when is the best time for me to post my self-link sex tape to ensure maximum uptime before deletion?
posted by planetesimal at 8:13 AM on August 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


I know the answer to that, but I think the real question is "How long before you beg us to take it down?"
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:22 AM on August 16, 2013 [14 favorites]


"self-link sex tape" ....whassamatta, couldn't find anyone to star in it with you?

i kid, i kid
posted by softlord at 8:22 AM on August 16, 2013


softlord: "self-link sex tape" ....whassamatta, couldn't find anyone to star in it with you?

Come on, take this kind of beef to the already open Rap Battle Thread. Yup, I said Rap Battle Thread.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:42 AM on August 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


Now, when is the best time for me to post my self-link sex tape to ensure maximum uptime before deletion?

If it's going to have better cinematography and a more handsome orangutan than last time, then definitely prime-time in the Eastern Time Zone.

If you're gonna keep phoning it in, then whenever.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:51 AM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


In the very unlikely event that this became a site feature, I think it would be best to make it something that only the user could access for themselves, instead of everyone's stats becoming public to everyone else. I'm sure a lot of people are most active from 9-5 in their local time zone. Those people probably don't want their employers to have that information in a gift basket.
posted by double block and bleed at 9:11 AM on August 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


Their employer probably has access to their browsing history, though.
posted by planetesimal at 9:13 AM on August 16, 2013


We would absolutely not consider making this a public thing ever, just to be clear about that.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:17 AM on August 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


"self-link sex tape" ....whassamatta, couldn't find anyone to star in it with you?


I think an even more appropriate insult for this situation. would be that "you couldn't find anyone to watch it."
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:25 AM on August 16, 2013


planetesimal: "Their employer probably has access to their browsing history, though."

Each of us is accountable for our own online behavior. I'm trying to say that no one should ever be presented with an easy-to-understand graph created by Metafilter as documentation for a corrective or exit interview. Let each employer do their own work. Anything beyond that is outside Metafilter's control.

jessamyn: "We would absolutely not consider making this a public thing ever, just to be clear about that."

I was 99.97% sure that this would be the case.
posted by double block and bleed at 11:18 AM on August 16, 2013


I've discovered I've never posted between 12:52 am and 6:09 am and my posting frequency peaks at 10:24am.
posted by RobotHero at 11:20 AM on August 16, 2013


grouse: A quick and dirty way to just get the timestamps is to grep for something that looks like one in the comments file

Can you dumb that down by about 15% for someone that understands the concept of grep but doesn't actually know how to use it?
posted by Rock Steady at 11:30 AM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


If you aren't smart enough/don't have the ability (I'm a bit of both) to grep the file, you can open it in Excel and then sort -- and then delete everything that isn't the date. Which is a lot easier than it sounds

This provides the added horror of seeing all your comments in alphabetical order, which is weirdly unsettling.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:40 PM on August 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


Can you dumb that down by about 15% for someone that understands the concept of grep but doesn't actually know how to use it?

You need some sort of command-line environment with grep in it. I imagine this would work in most Unix or Mac OS X environments (I don't use Mac OS X so I'm not sure). On Windows you would need to install Cygwin or something else that will get you such an environment. Just run that command and it will extract all the timestamps from a file in the current directory named my-mefi-comments.txt and put it in a file named comments.csv.

That said, MCMikeNamara's solution is pretty good.
posted by grouse at 2:10 PM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


On Windows you would need to install Cygwin or something else that will get you such an environment.

Got it. This was the sticking point. I assumed it was built in to Windows but I didn't know how to access it. Thanks to you both. I'll probably just try to manipulate it in Excel, as I'm pretty familiar with that.
posted by Rock Steady at 2:31 PM on August 16, 2013


This got me curious too, so I made a little javascript thing here which will bin your comments into hourly and daily bars. It should come out looking something like this.

I think I've got it displaying in your local time zone properly, but honestly I've just thrown it at Datejs and hoped for the best. It doesn't do anything interactive, and the scale is arbitrary for both graphs, so it's only really useful to get a rough idea of the distribution. Feel free to grab the code if anyone wants to improve it though.
posted by lucidium at 3:47 PM on August 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


I've been wanting to do this for awhile, actually. I'd need my EB comments, too, though.

The result would probably be fairly close to what I can see with other tools.

I've had Google's History (searches) enabled for years now — it has my peak around 10PM and my low at 4AM, and a peak on Monday and a low on Wednesday. Also a peak in April and June but a low in May — don't know what's going on, there. I don't think this is using more than a year's worth of data.

I use Chrome and keep as much history as possible. I recently found the extension "History Trends Unlimited", but you have to go to some trouble to import history older than 90 days. So this has all my web activity back to the last time I did an OS install (hardware upgrade), which was November. It shows a major peak at midnight and a minor peak at 3PM, with an extreme low at 8AM and another low at 10PM. My sleep is very weird and unusual, I may be one of those people who float around the clock, but with a preference for being awake late at night. A peak on Monday and lows on Wednesday and Friday. Google is my most visited site and MetaFilter is my second-most visited site.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:52 PM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thanks for sharing that extension, Ivan. I can't believe how many times I've visited Metafilter (especially Metatalk) in the past three months.
posted by double block and bleed at 9:03 PM on August 16, 2013


lucidium: that is so much better than the crappy little histogram that I made in LibreOffice (which doesn't make creating histograms easy, BTW.)
posted by double block and bleed at 9:07 PM on August 16, 2013


For the first time ever, I have actual legitimate proof that I at least kind of have a life: my posting frequency is far smaller on Friday nights than at any of the same times on other days in the week! (*)

You can also see pretty much exactly when I take my fifteen-minute breaks and lunch hours at work, and also that I pretty much have nothing to say between midnight and 10am even on the weekends. Which, admittedly, I already knew.

(*) It's also possible that I just play more video games in full-screen mode on Friday nights.
posted by SMPA at 12:58 PM on August 17, 2013


Thanks to lucidium, I now know that although it sometimes I feel like there is no time of day I won't write an inane comment, I apparently do actually have enough shame to tone it down between 5 and 7 in the morning.
posted by wierdo at 2:56 PM on August 17, 2013


Link us to a picture of your graph, please!
posted by zscore at 9:49 AM on August 25, 2013


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