how far is near? February 7, 2010 4:48 PM   Subscribe

How big a radius does the "nearby metafilter members" feature cover?

I live in Kingston Ontario. I put my longitude and latitude into my profile to find out about nearby metafilter members, but it says there are none! I find this mildly surprising, and am wondering how far away "nearby" is in this instance.
posted by crazylegs to MetaFilter-Related at 4:48 PM (44 comments total)

Seems pretty big, mine shows 154 starting at 0 miles away up to as far away as almost 40.
posted by floam at 4:57 PM on February 7, 2010


You do realize you put your location as nowhere near Ontario, right?
posted by floam at 4:58 PM on February 7, 2010


I live in Kingston, Ontario, and I have 4 MeFites nearby. Where the hell are you?

(I'm kidding. The MeFites nearby aren't super active. If it's a meetup you want your best bet is Toronto or Ottawa. Sucks, I know; sorry.)
posted by Phire at 5:00 PM on February 7, 2010


You forgot the negative.

44.23, -76.48

instead of 44.23, 76.48
posted by hal_c_on at 5:01 PM on February 7, 2010


Although I may be wrong if there's a Kingston, Ontario in Kazakhistan.
posted by hal_c_on at 5:02 PM on February 7, 2010 [6 favorites]


You want 44.23, -76.48. You have +44.23, +76.48.
posted by pompomtom at 5:02 PM on February 7, 2010


I can close this up, right? Anyone want to get in some nice swearing or some assholish comments before its closed up?
posted by hal_c_on at 5:05 PM on February 7, 2010


Duh. Sorry.
posted by crazylegs at 5:10 PM on February 7, 2010


Anyone want to get in some nice swearing or some assholish comments before its closed up?

Fuck Haiti.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 5:14 PM on February 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Ooh, since we're on this topic, I've been wishing there were an easy way to look these things up without changing your profile location. I might be moving to Cardiff (Wales) or York (England) soon, and I've been mildly curious about who and how many MeFites are in those areas. But obviously I've been too lazy to find the long/lat for both of those places and plug them into my profile and screen snapshot the results. I figured there might be a less clunky way. Any ideas? If not, I'll just get around to it when I get more curious. And at the same time, bored.
posted by iamkimiam at 5:15 PM on February 7, 2010


I had loaded up the Metafilter KML layer to answer crazylegs' question, and was browsing it for a little while after the problem was solved, when I noticed a large cluster of users in central Asia. Coordinates error? The profiles located there didn't seem to have any geographic data at all. Perhaps the cabal is in fact Kyrgyzstani.

On preview: iamkimiam, you can see this map by downloading the Mefi KML file and loading it in Google Earth. The Google Maps web interface is supposed to be able to handle KML documents, but it says there's no file found at that URL, so you'll have to use the software to view it.
posted by Rhaomi at 5:20 PM on February 7, 2010


well iamkimiam, you can download the Google Earth kml file and zoom around anywhere you want.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 5:21 PM on February 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Awesome, awesome, awesome! Thanks, this is going to be super fun for at least 20 minutes!
posted by iamkimiam at 5:23 PM on February 7, 2010


Well, it used to be you could view the metafilter KML file directly in google maps but their site now mentions a 3MB limit, and the Metafilter file is currently 3.7MB. But you can still download Google Earth and view the KML file offline.
posted by Rhomboid at 5:27 PM on February 7, 2010


Is there any idea what percent of users actually (correctly) disclose their location? Looking at this KML file and only seeing a few people within a mile of me seems like it could be an order of magnitude off.
posted by floam at 5:29 PM on February 7, 2010


MetaFilter: Can't swing a dead cat on the eastern seaboard without hitting one of us.
posted by DU at 5:38 PM on February 7, 2010


Yeah, there's nobody listed near me, either.
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 6:00 PM on February 7, 2010


So alone.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:01 PM on February 7, 2010


Well, it used to be you could view the metafilter KML file directly in google maps but their site now mentions a 3MB limit, and the Metafilter file is currently 3.7MB. But you can still download Google Earth and view the KML file offline.

It's only like 200KB compressed. I turned it into a kmz and now it seems to work.
posted by floam at 6:03 PM on February 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


how far is near?

Could I just piggyback onto crazylegs' question and ask how soon is now? Because I am human and I need to be loved, just like everybody else does.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 6:17 PM on February 7, 2010 [8 favorites]


Can I just take this opportunity to piggyback onto Horace's question and ask, how down is da bottom? 'Cause, she hit the floor, next thing you know...Shawty got low low low low low low low low...
posted by iamkimiam at 6:27 PM on February 7, 2010


I'd like to just quickly piggyback onto iamkimiam's question to mention that this is the first time I've been on the Internet.

such a nerd
posted by DU at 6:42 PM on February 7, 2010


The lookup linked in the profile settings routinely fails to include the minus sign. Since it's not obvious when the numbers come back that it's reflects a place halfway 'round the globe, lots of people have incorrect settings and don't realize it.
posted by julen at 6:46 PM on February 7, 2010


I'll just jump on top of DU, who is on top of iamkimiam, who is on top of Rumpole, and request that a couple of more, preferably small, people jump on top of me, then we can all audition for Cirque du Soleil and live happily ever after within the same big radius.
posted by crazylegs at 6:47 PM on February 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm typing this comment with a wiimote. I don't know why. It's taking friggin' forever and I can't find the dang semicolon.

Also, there is no I in Kazakhstan.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:12 PM on February 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


40 miles, 4 MeFites, or $5, same as in town.
posted by iamkimiam at 7:15 PM on February 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I had loaded up the Metafilter KML layer to answer crazylegs' question, and was browsing it for a little while after the problem was solved, when I noticed a large cluster of users in central Asia. Coordinates error? The profiles located there didn't seem to have any geographic data at all. Perhaps the cabal is in fact Kyrgyzstani.

I'm guessing its Canadians who screwed up on one of their coordinates in decimal form...eh?
posted by hal_c_on at 7:59 PM on February 7, 2010


I'll just jump on top of DU, who is on top of iamkimiam, who is on top of Rumpole, and request that a couple of more, preferably small, people jump on top of me,

I am always on top.
posted by The Whelk at 8:57 PM on February 7, 2010


You're our very own Yertle.
posted by ocherdraco at 9:10 PM on February 7, 2010


There's nobody listed near me but (M)assholes.
posted by Eideteker at 10:05 PM on February 7, 2010


I live in Metafilter City, although the Wikipedia article still calls it by the former name "New York". Most of the people I randomly swear at on the street are Mefites!
posted by planet at 11:58 PM on February 7, 2010


How about a pony? When users enter their coordinates, can some sort of look-up be done that points out what the nearest city/town is? That way, users that are surprised to find that they live near Bishkek or Almaty can add the "-" sign.
posted by jonesor at 1:50 AM on February 8, 2010


Or they could just click on the link on their profile, and get a full colour map with the whole region...
posted by pompomtom at 2:20 AM on February 8, 2010


Or they could just click on the link on their profile, and get a full colour map with the whole region…

I think it's a reasonable user interface issue to look at. How often are people asked to provide their location in longitude and latitude coordinates? It's clear a lot of people are messing it up and don't notice. It seems to me it'd make even more since just to give people the option of entering an actual street address and have it figure things out, with the lat/long as just a fallback for the occasional guy that wants to show he lives at the south pole.
posted by floam at 3:27 AM on February 8, 2010


Is there any idea what percent of users actually (correctly) disclose their location? Looking at this KML file and only seeing a few people within a mile of me seems like it could be an order of magnitude off.
posted by floam


Many people will put themselves right at the center of the city rather than their actual street address, for privacy reasons I assume. And some just choose nearby landmarks.

In the London view for example, one user claims to live at Buckingham palace.
posted by vacapinta at 4:24 AM on February 8, 2010


(Shh, vacapinta, she's trying to keep it quiet. I mean, it started with a bookmobile, but her thirst for knowledge just really has no bounds now, and where else is she going to get honest answers?)
posted by ocherdraco at 5:21 AM on February 8, 2010


Please expand my "metafilter users near me" radius to 600 light-years. kthanxbye
posted by Ironmouth at 11:22 AM on February 8, 2010


In the London view for example, one user claims to live at Buckingham palace.

Pretty sure they lowered the banhammer down on Prince Charles after he got all fighty in that architecture thread in '08.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:24 AM on February 8, 2010


floam : Is there any idea what percent of users actually (correctly) disclose their location?

I have a dedicated satellite tasked with providing anyone one curious with my real-time location on the planet.

This might be government mandated for undisclosed, so-called "crimes against humanity, nature, and the physical world" which I may or may not have allegedly committed.

I really couldn't say. But my location should be pretty much dead on.
posted by quin at 12:30 PM on February 8, 2010


I totally read that phrase as "nerdy metafilter members" and was both insulted and thinking that the radius would have to be pretty damn big at the same time.
posted by yhbc at 1:14 PM on February 8, 2010


While we're at it, how about an option to have the distances to nearby users displayed in kilometres for those of us who live in the 21st Century?
posted by Miss Otis' Egrets at 5:47 PM on February 8, 2010


Late, late somewhat related update: an internal discussion developed out of this thread and we added new way to look up and set your physical location if you'd like to do that. You can still enter a lon/lat directly into your preferences, but you can also click the 'Try This Lookup' link and get a fairly new internal tool for finding your lon/lat here. If you find a match you can have this page set your lon/lat.

We're hoping that will help limit the number of people who show up in Kazakhstan by mistake.
posted by pb (staff) at 11:55 AM on March 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Just a usability note: I entered a city and state name, and the location that came up was in the right ballpark but obviously not exactly correct so I thought I could zoom and pan to get the map centered on the desired location, but after clicking the "Set Location" button it still used the original location and not where I had chosen. But I guess for most purposes that's good enough and it does eliminate the Kazakhstan problem.
posted by Rhomboid at 12:18 PM on March 3, 2010


Yeah, there's no way to use the map to select a location. You can't move the markers around. But that's something we can look into for another version.

Your best bet for now would be to try entering a full address if the markers don't quite end up where you want them the first time around.
posted by pb (staff) at 12:20 PM on March 3, 2010


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