Beating dead ponies December 23, 2008 9:13 AM   Subscribe

There are x MetaFilter links to this post...

...where x is a number and an HREF to a page listing the posts that link to this post. In my mind, this would include links within the comments section, too, but if that's too much of an issue, links in the actual post would still be an improvement.

Not sure how doable this is within this architecture, but it might be kind of a fun feature. Frequently, I'll see old stuff popping up here or there and wonder, "Now why is this suddenly getting attention again? Did somebody link to it?" With this feature we could follow the breadcrumbs and keep stale converations going almost indefinitely!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson to Feature Requests at 9:13 AM (26 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

I think what you are asking for is a way to figure out what inside MeFi is linking to what else inside MeFi, yes? Like an internal trackback feature. It's a neat idea, I wonder how tough it would be to implement.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:18 AM on December 23, 2008


where x is a number and an HREF to a page listing the posts that link to this post.

huh? How about showing a real example? I'm not sure what exactly you're asking for.

You want referrers listed on the page and/or comprehensive stats (like they now give on flickr for every photo) for any post on the site? Or just MetaTalk? Or something else entirely?
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:19 AM on December 23, 2008


Frequently, I'll see old stuff popping up here or therein my Recent Favorites tab

FTFY.
posted by grouse at 9:20 AM on December 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


As an example matt, this thread from 2004 showed up in popular favorites a few days ago thanks to this recent MetaTalk thread. I think IRFH just wants to know why an old thread hits MeFi consciousness again if he didn't see the MeTa thread.

It's possible, but we're running into the link indexing problem again. We don't store links as separate discrete entities here, we store big blobs of text that sometimes happen to have links in them. So it's not easy to find and expose patterns like these. It's also not impossible because we can search through text to find links, and we could build an index of links to make link-based features like these easier to build.
posted by pb (staff) at 9:28 AM on December 23, 2008


jessamyn has it. Internal trackback. It could be done at several different levels, of course, but for example if a new post has a "previously" link to an older post, then the older post would also get its "Linked by" number incremented, and clicking on the Linked by would take you to a page that lists all of the links to it within MetaFilter, including the new one. If this could also be done for links within comment threads, that would be super-bonus cool. You'd probably still want to do it at the post level (meaning I'm not asking for "This comment was linked by" just "This post was linked by"), but it just seemed like it might be a cool feature.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:36 AM on December 23, 2008


On lack of preview, pb has it exactly. Not sure if it's worth as much trouble as it sounds like it could be, but maybe it is if people would be interested in it. Just an idea to think about. Thanks!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:39 AM on December 23, 2008


Snowed in and bored in Seattle-ish, Flo?
posted by Cranberry at 9:54 AM on December 23, 2008


Google's link: operator will do some of that work: pages that link to post 37386. I couldn't make the query combine link: and other query operators (inurl: or site:) to restrict results specifically to Metafilter or a Mefi subsite, so it's of limited use if a post gets attention from outside Mefi.
posted by ardgedee at 9:54 AM on December 23, 2008


ah, man that would be awesome. i've been noticing random years old comments of mine occassionally getting favorited and whatnot and having no idea why.
posted by shmegegge at 9:57 AM on December 23, 2008


Official feature notwithstanding, I find that using the mefi search engine to search on a thread id number (or comment id number) tracks this stuff down pretty well.

Here's a list of cases where people have linked to thread 37386, ferexample.

There's a chance of false positives, of course, but it's a pretty solid method.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:14 AM on December 23, 2008 [4 favorites]


Every once in a while, long-dormant friends call me for no apparent reason.
Could we enlarge this internal trackback and make it external, so I can figure out why this happens?
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:35 AM on December 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'd like this feature.
posted by iamkimiam at 10:37 AM on December 23, 2008


Cranberry: Indeed!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:40 AM on December 23, 2008


The interesting thing about your method, cortex, is that it doesn't work if you use the entire URL. Using just the post or comment number, though, does return the desired results.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:53 AM on December 23, 2008


(The answer to your unspoken question is that two of your comments were in my list of "underappreciated comments of 2008")
posted by Greg Nog at 10:57 AM on December 23, 2008


Greg Nog, thank you. I have been laughing and favoriting for a while now.
posted by iamkimiam at 11:05 AM on December 23, 2008


ardgedee: "Google's link: operator will do some of that work"

Why do it that way, when you could just use MeFi's own search? This mostly works, but there are some false positives. If we bribe him, maybe pb could make a "only show results with matches in html" hidden argument, and then someone could GreaseMonkey this. This is kind of the way that MetaFilter Why Favorited works.
posted by Plutor at 11:11 AM on December 23, 2008


The interesting thing about your method, cortex, is that it doesn't work if you use the entire URL. Using just the post or comment number, though, does return the desired results.

Yeah, that's because the search engine parses out some punctuation when its tokenizing the search input, which leaves you with crazy mushed together things when you throw a url in there.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:16 AM on December 23, 2008


*muted trombone*
Sorry I pretty much exactly said the same thing as you, cortex.
posted by Plutor at 11:19 AM on December 23, 2008


the search engine parses out some punctuation

We do that to make the most of SQL Server Full Text Search which I'm pretty sure was written by people who hate searching. A new full text search engine is on my wish list for 2009.
posted by pb (staff) at 11:29 AM on December 23, 2008


PUBLISH OR PERISH COMES TO METAFILTER
posted by GuyZero at 11:53 AM on December 23, 2008


Would the list include all the user-activity pages?
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 2:12 PM on December 23, 2008


Ooh, can we get an Impact Factor computed and displayed on our user pages?

yes I am kidding
posted by hattifattener at 2:36 PM on December 23, 2008


pb, check out Lucene/Nutch/Hadoop if you haven't already.
posted by sdodd at 8:37 PM on December 23, 2008


pb, also Solr.
posted by sdodd at 8:40 PM on December 23, 2008


cortex : I find that using the mefi search engine to search on a thread id number (or comment id number) tracks this stuff down pretty well.

Suddenly seeing something something from April pop up in my recent favorites, I tried this technique for the first time and I can attest to the fact that it did indeed work perfectly for finding out where the link to it had come from.
posted by quin at 2:23 PM on December 24, 2008


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