A long-overdue favorites-related pony January 31, 2010 6:37 AM   Subscribe

If you were ever looking for an easy way to export your favorites (and tags!) to your bookmarking service or browser of choice, here you go!

So, way back when, someone asked about handy ways to export favourites; being the keener that I am, I offered to create a solution. But, being the scatterbrained procrastinator I am, I promptly forgot to do anything about it until KokuRyu unearthed that thread and asked me about my progress a few months ago. Of course, I promptly forgot about doing anything with it until this week (sorry again), when I really needed to procrastinate, so I finally coded up a web app. I apologize in advance for its lack of sexiness.

Anything you need to know about using Metafilter Bookmarker is on the app page. I've only tested it on Safari 4 and FF 3, and with del.icio.us' bulk upload service, so I can't vouch for how it will work elsewhere. Please let me know what works and what doesn't, though.
posted by thisjax to MetaFilter-Related at 6:37 AM (53 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

I was going to say that you're sure to put a load on the MeFi server by screen scraping all those pages and pages of thousands of favorites that some people seem to have, until I realized that you're only collecting post favorites and not comment favorites so it's a lot less to wade through. Still, all of the required info is in the infodump so that might be a more polite way to do this; the only downside there is that it's generated weekly.
posted by Rhomboid at 7:29 AM on January 31, 2010


Traceback (most recent call last):
File "/base/python_lib/versions/1/google/appengine/ext/webapp/__init__.py", line 509, in __call__
handler.post(*groups)
File "/base/data/home/apps/metabookmarker/1.339556925117448118/metabookmarker.py", line 79, in post
favs = Favourites.Favourites(int(self.request.get('usernumber')), site)
ValueError: invalid literal for int() with base 10: 'obscure reference'
posted by Obscure Reference at 7:38 AM on January 31, 2010


Thanks for that; I've been thinking about combining the MetaFilter faves with my Firefox ones, and using this will be a big help.

Any plans to do a 'comment favorites' version in the future?
posted by Hardcore Poser at 7:56 AM on January 31, 2010


"Enter a valid MeFi usernumber (it doesn't have to be your own):"

Thats not cool.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:08 AM on January 31, 2010


This threatens to destabilize the fragile detente between us and the Evil Empire of favorite-haters.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:18 AM on January 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


why, Brandon? I can see your favorites anyway; they're public info. Maybe I'm really interested in what you've favorited since I think we have common interests.
posted by desjardins at 8:19 AM on January 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


I think it's very cool. I doubt I'll ever use it, but I'm glad it exists.
posted by blue_beetle at 8:54 AM on January 31, 2010


It looks like you put a lot of neat work into this, but: isn't Rhomboid right? The way you've built it, way, if more than a small number of people do it, it seems like you'll be putting at least a moderate load on the server - I have no idea about servers this scale, someone else (hopefully pb) will have to weigh in here. Whereas, if you do this using the infodump, you could theoretically have the whole program be just a text-parsing script, picking out the favorited posts (and even comments) and recomposing URLs for them - seems like that'd be a lot easier. I dunno...
posted by koeselitz at 9:48 AM on January 31, 2010


way
posted by koeselitz at 9:50 AM on January 31, 2010


I can see your favorites anyway; they're public info. Maybe I'm really interested in what you've favorited since I think we have common interests.

Then shoot me an email saying "Hey, I'll really interested in what you've favorited and tagged, I think we have common interests, you mind if i download that data and compare?" Then I'd say "Oh hey, desjardins, we've shot the shit a bit, I know you, yeah sure, go ahead" I like having control of my data, even in the small ways, just 'cause the freaks come out at night and on the internet, it's always nighttime somewhere.

I'm not in love with everyone being to see all of everyone's favorites, being able to mark a few things private would be nice, but it's not a deal breaker

To be clear, I'm not against anyone being able to download their own data or there being an option to allow other people you explicitly allow to download some of your data. I'm against not being asked whether it's ok for some of my data, no matter how trivial it is, being made readily accessible by a person other than me. Obviously this isn't the end of the world and somehow I'll manage to survive, but I do take issue with some one I don't know just letting my information be free, so to speak. I'm sure the best of intentions are meant, but you know how that can go.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:56 AM on January 31, 2010


hee, I like your last tag
posted by koeselitz at 10:00 AM on January 31, 2010


Brandon Blatcher: “Thats not cool.”

desjardins: “why, Brandon? I can see your favorites anyway; they're public info. Maybe I'm really interested in what you've favorited since I think we have common interests.”

Brandon Blatcher: “Then shoot me an email saying "Hey, I'll really interested in what you've favorited and tagged, I think we have common interests, you mind if i download that data and compare?" Then I'd say "Oh hey, desjardins, we've shot the shit a bit, I know you, yeah sure, go ahead" I like having control of my data, even in the small ways, just 'cause the freaks come out at night and on the internet, it's always nighttime somewhere.

I'm not in love with everyone being to see all of everyone's favorites, being able to mark a few things private would be nice, but it's not a deal breaker

To be clear, I'm not against anyone being able to download their own data or there being an option to allow other people you explicitly allow to download some of your data. I'm against not being asked whether it's ok for some of my data, no matter how trivial it is, being made readily accessible by a person other than me. Obviously this isn't the end of the world and somehow I'll manage to survive, but I do take issue with some one I don't know just letting my information be free, so to speak. I'm sure the best of intentions are meant, but you know how that can go.”


This is only tangentially related, but it occurs to me that there's a fundamental difference between posts/comments and favorites here: all favorites aren't © their original authors.
posted by koeselitz at 10:08 AM on January 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Me no speak-ee code. What does this mean?
Traceback (most recent call last):
File "/base/python_lib/versions/1/google/appengine/ext/webapp/__init__.py", line 509, in __call__
handler.post(*groups)
File "/base/data/home/apps/metabookmarker/1.339560339374716030/metabookmarker.py", line 80, in post
html += favs.create_bookmark_file()
File "/base/data/home/apps/metabookmarker/1.339560339374716030/Favourites.py", line 133, in create_bookmark_file
for tag in tag_list:
File "/base/python_lib/versions/1/google/appengine/ext/db/__init__.py", line 1527, in __iter__
return self.run()
File "/base/python_lib/versions/1/google/appengine/ext/db/__init__.py", line 2072, in run
query_run = self._proto_query.Run(*self._args, **self._kwds)
File "/base/python_lib/versions/1/google/appengine/ext/gql/__init__.py", line 654, in Run
it = bind_results.Run()
File "/base/python_lib/versions/1/google/appengine/api/datastore.py", line 997, in Run
return self._Run()
File "/base/python_lib/versions/1/google/appengine/api/datastore.py", line 1016, in _Run
raise _ToDatastoreError(err)
Timeout
posted by jason's_planet at 10:25 AM on January 31, 2010


For the record, Brandon, I don't think our mefi interests overlap all that much so I'm not intending to download your favorites. I haven't tried this program at all actually. However, again they're already public information and you've never had control of them. If you want to control them, bookmark them either to your browser or to delicious and mark them private. If you want private favorites on mefi, that's another meta, but given all the general kerfluffle over favorites, I would not hold your breath.
posted by desjardins at 10:41 AM on January 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Enter a valid MeFi usernumber (it doesn't have to be your own):"

Thats not cool.


If it matters, it looks like thisjax removed the "(it doesn't have to be your own)" from the app.

Though personally I agree with desjardins, the data is completely public and it doesn't really matter whether I use this app to see your favorites or if I click on your name and see them that way. If you're that concerned about your data than you should be using a private bookmarking tool.
posted by kylej at 10:48 AM on January 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


omg kylej favorited this post... I bet he's a FONT NERD. Or a BURRITO FREAK.

You really should have made those private, dude.
posted by desjardins at 11:01 AM on January 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


It would be nice if you could choose to only export post favorites and not comment favorites. I wouldn't mind having bookmarks for all the AskMes that I bookmarked over the years and never came back to. But I really have no desire to sift through hundreds of "salient points" from silly arguments that I could give a crap about anymore.
posted by Afroblanco at 11:04 AM on January 31, 2010


I was going to say that you're sure to put a load on the MeFi server by screen scraping all those pages and pages of thousands of favorites that some people seem to have, until I realized that you're only collecting post favorites and not comment favorites so it's a lot less to wade through.

Ooops, looks like I spoke too soon.
posted by Afroblanco at 11:06 AM on January 31, 2010


MetaFilter: silly arguments that I could give a crap about anymore.
posted by Joe Beese at 11:14 AM on January 31, 2010


Just now:

Error: Server Error
The server encountered an error and could not complete your request.

If the problem persists, please report your problem and mention this error message and the query that caused it.

posted by jason's_planet at 11:33 AM on January 31, 2010


I don't have times to to address everyone's concerns right this minute, but I just wanted to point out that I removed that bit that concerned Brandon Blatcher. I just wanted to say that I wasn't at all trying to promote infringement of privacy. The way I see it, your MeFi favourites are necessarily public, so they aren't much different from any other public link list you've curated. I could easily copy and paste the source of anyone's favourites pages and save links that way; I'm not sure what else I'm supposed to say here.

Rhomboid/Koeselitz: I initially had a reason for scraping rather than using the infodump: back when I first thought of this (and when rmm first asked), I wanted to eventually provide support for using the front page text for each post as a post's "description" in del.icio.us or gnolia, and the only way to get at that is through screen scraping. Because I'm not doing anything with the del.icio.us API now, that point's largely moot. I wanted to do a purely infodump-based solution, but then the infodump went away for a while and even though it's back, it doesn't address the issue of data freshness. If the server load turns out too be too much of a problem, it's pretty easy to upload the post title data and switch this over to an infodump-only app.
posted by thisjax at 11:54 AM on January 31, 2010


I'm against not being asked whether it's ok for some of my data, no matter how trivial it is, being made readily accessible by a person other than me.

Umm, even if thisjax's app never existed, all this data and much more is in the infodump for anyone to download and sort through. And even if that didn't exist, it's still public as you can view it on the site; you don't even need to be a logged-on member.
posted by Rhomboid at 12:09 PM on January 31, 2010


Umm, even if thisjax's app never existed, all this data and much more is in the infodump for anyone to download and sort through.

Exactly. This is so not something to get upset about, the horse has well and truly left the building, there isn't even anything re privacy left to debate here.
posted by shelleycat at 12:16 PM on January 31, 2010


I just wanted to point out that I removed that bit that concerned Brandon Blatcher.

You monster! I loved that bit!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:36 PM on January 31, 2010


I, too, would love to use this but am merely getting the "trackback" error.
posted by MikeHarris at 12:40 PM on January 31, 2010


Great functionality. But unfortunately my favourites are more than the server can handle.
posted by jouke at 1:02 PM on January 31, 2010


Umm, even if thisjax's app never existed, all this data and much more is in the infodump for anyone to download and sort through.

Sure and I don't think I've ever objected to the infodump, because of the impression that it's for interesting stats about the site and not grabbing someone's data and using it elsewhere.

The issue here, for me, was having a ready made tool to grab all that info, being encouraged to grab others info (which has been addressed, thank thisjaz)and then taking that info into delicious and the like. Just seems to me that if I want that info to be shared for others to take and use for personal benefit, however trivial that benefit it, that there should be an explicit preference to allow that or limit users to grab their own data.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:12 PM on January 31, 2010


That's an oddly formatted file - oh, Delicious lets you bulk upload that file, though tags might not work. (I can't log in to test it right now.) The last time a similar question came up, a CSV file was the preferred format, though I wasn't sure how the tags would be included.

The Infodump was updated yesterday, & using its weekly output might keep your app stable.
posted by Pronoiac at 2:03 PM on January 31, 2010


Just seems to me that if I want that info to be shared for others to take and use for personal benefit, however trivial that benefit it, that there should be an explicit preference to allow that or limit users to grab their own data.

I want to point out that the exported favourites aren't tagged with your username. I don't know if that makes you more comfortable, though.

I don't feel like beating this to a bloody pulp, but if the possibility of anyone using your public metafilter data (even if it's not directly linked to you) bothers you this much, just ask cortex to munge your ID in the infodump.

I (sort of) appreciate your concern, but I'm leaving this issue well alone until/unless a mod comes in here and tells me that this isn't fair use of Metafilter data.

Pronoiac, tags work because they're implemented as nested folders; these days, the bulk upload tool takes a well-formed Netscape bookmark file rather than CSV.
posted by thisjax at 2:10 PM on January 31, 2010


thisjax: Pronoiac, tags work because they're implemented as nested folders; these days, the bulk upload tool takes a well-formed Netscape bookmark file rather than CSV.

I meant, for personal perusal, CSV was preferred, not for Delicious uploading.
posted by Pronoiac at 2:17 PM on January 31, 2010


I want to point out that the exported favourites aren't tagged with your username. I don't know if that makes you more comfortable, though.

Sure, but if you're doing it for a specific user, than you know who it is.

Overall, it isn't a huge concern, but it makes me pause.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:19 PM on January 31, 2010


the data is completely public and it doesn't really matter whether I use this app

Ammonia and iodine are everywhere, so it doesn't really matter if I build a little nitrogen triiodide factory.
posted by flabdablet at 2:54 PM on January 31, 2010


I encourage the use of chemistry equivalencies as rejoinders.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:01 PM on January 31, 2010


Look, you're either part of the solution, or you're part of the precipitate.
posted by Pronoiac at 3:22 PM on January 31, 2010 [7 favorites]


thisjax: ... if the possibility of anyone using your public metafilter data (even if it's not directly linked to you) bothers you this much, just ask cortex to munge your ID in the infodump.

If you took user names instead of numbers, & used the Infodump instead of scraping, this would block any analysis of munged users. That sounds good to me.
posted by Pronoiac at 3:25 PM on January 31, 2010


I'm usually too busy checking all the posts & comments where Brandon mentions "wife" to poke around in his favourites too much.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:33 PM on January 31, 2010


Metafilter paper: you're either part of the solution, or you're part of the precipitate.
posted by flabdablet at 3:33 PM on January 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yes, that's the true litmus test.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:56 PM on January 31, 2010


Acid what you did there.
posted by flabdablet at 4:20 PM on January 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, it was quite a basic pun.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:38 PM on January 31, 2010


Thisjax, I got all excited about this app and then I got the same error message as obscure reference.

Thoughts?
posted by lunasol at 4:46 PM on January 31, 2010


Whatever is wrong, I'm sure thisjax alkaline it up soon.
posted by flabdablet at 5:18 PM on January 31, 2010


All my favourites belong to everyone.
posted by Duke999R at 5:21 PM on January 31, 2010


Ignore flabdablet; he's just trying to get a reaction.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:01 PM on January 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


UbuRoivas may pretend to be neutral, but he's really just a stirrer.
posted by flabdablet at 7:24 PM on January 31, 2010


Brandon doesn't like sticky beakers.
posted by flabdablet at 8:21 PM on January 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sometimes I think sulphur smells like a fart.

Is this... this is how you do it, right?
posted by koeselitz at 10:31 PM on January 31, 2010


something something Angstrom
posted by Rhomboid at 10:43 PM on January 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Unit pickers should get a life.
posted by flabdablet at 1:19 AM on February 1, 2010


So I favorited something today after saving my favorites yesterday. Do I have to go through the whole process again to update my saves?
posted by Obscure Reference at 5:45 AM on February 1, 2010


Brandon Blatcher: "
The issue here, for me, was having a ready made tool to grab all that info
"

Just in this isn't universally known, this is already doable with ease. No need for a custom app:
* http://www.metafilter.com/favorites/{UID}.
* http://www.metafilter.com/favorites/{UID}/comments/.

Substitute in my UID if you like. I'm relatively new here, but I think it's been like this for as long as I've been here.
posted by pwnguin at 9:11 PM on February 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think it's the 'ready made tool to grab' part he has a problem with.
posted by gman at 9:15 PM on February 1, 2010


pwnguin: Of course those pages are there, but there's no quick export function, hence why someone wanted the app in the first place. That's kind of the point.

Obscure Reference: Unfortunately, yes.
posted by thisjax at 9:45 PM on February 1, 2010


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