is there a way to search for every MeFiter who has posted to Music, but from a particular city? February 22, 2008 11:25 AM   Subscribe

is there a way to search for every MeFiter who has posted to Music, but from a particular city? Seems like if the search terms are not in the post or tagged by the poster, the MeFi search engine doesn't include the user info...

But maybe I'm just missing something. Thanks!
posted by bitterkitten to MetaFilter Music at 11:25 AM (18 comments total)

No there isn't.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:27 AM on February 22, 2008

Wow, that would be damn handy. I don't spend much time in Music, but likely would spend more were this an option.

/my $0.02.
posted by 2or3whiskeysodas at 11:44 AM on February 22, 2008

You know, one thing that would be cool would be to see the list/links of all the mefites that have posted something to music at some point. Sort of like the "archives by date" but instead of having the months having the usernames. Would that be at all possible?

(also, before it comes up, I know you can click usernames and then their posting history to see what they've posted, but there's many people who posted one or two songs a couple years ago, and this would be a quick way of finding them).
posted by micayetoca at 11:56 AM on February 22, 2008

micayetoca, that data's available pretty easily via the Infodump; the file "postdata_music" includes, among other things, the userid of the poster of every song, so sorting through that to get a canonical list would be super easy.

But wait! Why roll your own filter when you can just do a slick little query with null terminated's Infodump-powered Metafilter Data Playground?

Why indeed!

It doesn't address bitterkitten's request—like jessamyn said, there's just no facility for this—but it's something.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:13 PM on February 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

Basically I was asking because the internets are severely lacking a really good search engine type thing for musicians in various cities.... who are worth a darn. While I cannot prove that every Mefite Musician is "worth a darn" :p at least I can hear the material posted by people in my town.

There are of course ways to contact people, craigslist, do myspace searches (ugh), and plow through the "meet other musicians here!" type boards that keep cropping up everywhere, but its all rather haphazard, and well, I like Mefites. : )
posted by bitterkitten at 12:34 PM on February 22, 2008

We've talked a few times about the idea of adding a Gigs or Events function to the site; probably your best hope is for that to eventually happen, since performances would be one of the natural fits for such a thing and location information would be a pretty key feature.

Until then, you're probably just boned unless you're willing to actually go out and cross-reference the folks-who've-posted-to-music data against the location data in the google earth kml file and use your home town as the reference point. (And, actually, if you did do that, you'd have pretty much gotten exactly what you wanted!)
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:52 PM on February 22, 2008

I'm asking mr. null via email whether he could implement a 'location' field in the Data Playground. Seems like that would do the trick, no?
posted by bitterkitten at 1:13 PM on February 22, 2008

Alas, the data playground runs off the data from Infodump; and location info isn't in the infodump. The global availability of location info in the google kml file is kind of a weird exception to the otherwise pretty consistent policy of not dumping custom user profile data en masse—the fact that it takes some attentiveness to mefi's secret backalleys to even know that that info is available is probably the main thing that keeps folks from being really uncomfortable with the kml files existence.

So, in short, I think it'd be kind of weird for null terminated to incorporate location, by that winding path, into the Data Playground, and I'd rather he didn't. Doing some clever one-off calcs for, say, a nonce investigation of musicians in your particular city is one thing, but incorporating the data into a public playground is another entirely.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:47 PM on February 22, 2008

o. It's ok. I didn't realize that was overstepping the bounds of a privacy thing. Either way, he said he probably didn't have time at the moment to parse that out, anyway. ; )
posted by bitterkitten at 2:16 PM on February 22, 2008

The very first thing I did with Music was tried to find out if anyone from NZ has been making and posting music. When I couldn't I wandered away and didn't go back to that part of the site for months. Even now I sometimes wistfully think how much I'd like to find location-specific music. It would be nice to have a specific location tag attached to each song, whether it be country or city or whatever the poster wants to add ('in the bath').
posted by shelleycat at 2:17 PM on February 22, 2008

I plan to keep the playground updated with whatever is on the infodump page. If it gets updated, my data gets updated, if it goes, my data goes, etc.

On another note, will the data be updated periodically?
posted by null terminated at 2:31 PM on February 22, 2008

Yeah, I've got to get off my ass and get the updatery script going, and then it'll be updated on a regular basis, with a nice shiny timestamp at the top of the page noting when it was last run.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:37 PM on February 22, 2008

posted by null terminated at 2:39 PM on February 22, 2008

It just occurred to me. Is there some reason that finding multiple folks that way would be not good? I mean, that's something MeFites can hide (or opt not to give out) in their user profile data, no? Hence only the people opting to tell folks where they really are would show up in the dump anyway.
posted by bitterkitten at 2:52 PM on February 22, 2008

I don't think there's anything fundamentally bad about the idea, no. What I do think is that that informational field was added as an opt-in thing a good while back when the stated intent was to have the data pretty much kept to internal admin-directed use only—in other words, when many people added the data, they were under the impression that almost nothing would be done with it.

So to make it suddenly a lot more available, to make it really searchable and tie location to accounts more broadly across the site, might be volunteering a lot of folks for more than they bargained for. Yes, they could always opt out if they're upset by it, but not upsetting them through the unprompted dissemination of their personal data is probably the better plan.

Which is (and it's funny to me how often I feel like this these days) maybe a pretty conservative approach to the question, but it's also the least likely to leave people feeling like they've had the rug pulled out from under.

For what it's worth, I think the idea is neat, and that a lot of location-based stuff could be quite cool to take advantage of (and we might well end up with a net increase in the proportion of users making that data available), but it's probably something that would be better approached slowly and with a "hey, we're planning feature x" type of thing rather than us just hacking together something like a general location search on a whim.

But that's just my take; Matt and Jessamyn might have different feelings on the subject, and when it comes down to yes/no on site info and feature requests it's kind of Matt's gavel that matters.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:02 PM on February 22, 2008

Groovy. Thx.
posted by bitterkitten at 3:06 PM on February 22, 2008

Yeah I sort of feel like cortex about this. Basically a lot of people filled out the little "WHR R U" box when we were just using it for showing people near you and putting people on a map. That's still a really limited application of it and the big KML file would probably cease to exist if it started getting used for API-ish stuff. One downside to the lack of structure at MeFi is that it's hard to get messages out to people like "we want to give out location information. If you DON'T want this to happen, log in and remove it (or check this box, or whatever) before such and such a time" There's just no way to do that. Some people log in daily and others log in monthly. We've still got tons of people that never verified their email addresses from when we set up the "mail me my password" thingdoo.

So, as much as it might be a nifty feature, there's no useful way we can really make sure it's okay to do something like that in any way that would be more public than it is now unless we set up a completely OTHER way of having people fill out stuff affirmatively from this point forward. That's unlikely to happen. My suggestion is to add musicians you like as "colleagues" or something because my suspicion is that we'll be able to have more useful things to do with favorites in the future. This is based on nothing, not like we're scheming anything, but that's what I'd do in the interim.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:52 PM on February 22, 2008

Speakin' of Infodump updatedom, it's good to go now and will be pretty slick to update going forward. Still need to put together some good documentation on this stuff, though.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:56 AM on February 24, 2008

« Older Cultural Biases In Education   |   How do I hide my boxcutter? Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments