Downloading links I've favorited? May 16, 2011 8:50 AM   Subscribe

Is there a way to strip links from comments and posts I've favorited (for uploading into delicious or similar)? I tend to use favorites as bookmarks, but now I have thousands of favorites and no way to organize them.
posted by desjardins to Feature Requests at 8:50 AM (39 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

Would a bookmarks file work? It'd give you the MetaFilter links for things you've favorited. Bookmarks services like delicious and pinboard accept this format for importing.
posted by pb (staff) at 9:13 AM on May 16, 2011 [3 favorites]

So the short answer is "No there isn't" but the longer answer is "That seems like a thing that we could build pretty easily." How do you feel about the posts' and comments' associated tags? Would you want all the favorites form the subsites in one big file?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:20 AM on May 16, 2011 [7 favorites]

oh hell yes please. :D
posted by iamkimiam at 9:37 AM on May 16, 2011 [4 favorites]

This would be so incredibly awesome.
posted by DWRoelands at 10:04 AM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

It'd be nice if the post/comment tags were associated, but not strictly necessary, and they'd be really misleading in some cases (example: I favorited this comment, which has nothing to do with the tags bored, hospital, legless, etc). But that's my problem, not yours.

And yes, pb, a bookmarks file would be just peachy.
posted by desjardins at 10:18 AM on May 16, 2011

ok, I'm picturing a bookmarks file that includes all posts and comments. The posts will have tags, the comments won't. And they'll be separated within the file by subsite. I'll mock up an example and post here for comments.
posted by pb (staff) at 10:24 AM on May 16, 2011 [4 favorites]

That would be awesome! Thank you, pb!
posted by zarq at 10:40 AM on May 16, 2011

posted by box at 11:13 AM on May 16, 2011

I'm not sure exactly how to use this, but if there is some way to make sense of my favorites that would be dope.
posted by cashman at 11:34 AM on May 16, 2011

Its going to have ice cream too, right? Because fuck that if theres no ice cream with our awesome new bookmark file.
posted by shothotbot at 11:43 AM on May 16, 2011

I realized my wording might have been a little vague, so I want to be very clear before pb does too much work on something I wasn't asking for.

I'm looking for a file of only the links contained within the posts and comments I've favorited, i.e.

Feedfliks Coming Soon to Streaming list. With dates!
Malcolm Gladwell's New Yorker archive

I'm not asking for a file of links TO the comments and posts I've favorited, e.g.

You can get yourself Fujitsu ScanSnap, it will save a lot of your time....
If you want to learn SQL...

Upon reading my OP, I just wasn't sure that was clear.
posted by desjardins at 12:12 PM on May 16, 2011

Sorry desjardins, that's not going to be possible. MetaFilter is made up of user-contributed HTML and we don't validate it in any way. Scraping that HTML for links is going to be a bigger hassle than we want to take on.

We're happy to provide a bookmark file that includes the MetaFilter links. That would be a good starting point for someone who does want to scrape the HTML to extract links.
posted by pb (staff) at 12:15 PM on May 16, 2011

If I had any clue how to do the scraping, I'd be all over that, but I don't want you to waste your time. Does shothotbot still get ice cream? I kinda feel bad for getting his hopes up.
posted by desjardins at 12:32 PM on May 16, 2011

And then a "delete all" capability for the favorites once they have been exported.
posted by terrapin at 12:38 PM on May 16, 2011

And then a "delete all" capability for the favorites once they have been exported.


I'll remember you, come the revolution.
posted by quin at 1:30 PM on May 16, 2011 [7 favorites]

I over-use the Favorite button like it's the Like button on Facebook or the upvote button on Reddit, so I decided to start adding links to my most-favorite Favorites on my profile page. I haven't gotten far enough yet to need categories but once I do I figure I'll just break them out into separate bullet lists. This probably won't work for someone who has thousands of Favorites they want to organize but if just you want to keep track of a few dozen awesome posts and comments that you refer to again and again, that could be handy.
posted by Jacqueline at 3:17 PM on May 16, 2011

Hey, pb, even though desjardins wasn't asking for a bookmark file of all their favorites, I personally would love one.
posted by saveyoursanity at 3:31 PM on May 16, 2011

Me, too, on still finding the bookmarks file as pb described it of value. Though desjardins' idea was also rad.
posted by safetyfork at 3:37 PM on May 16, 2011

ok, here's a test bookmarks file that includes my favorites. Take a look and see if you think that looks ok.

I tried an import at Delicious and found a bug in their system. If the bookmark title contains HTML, that bookmark doesn't import properly. (The title imports as a code bug a la "HTML::Element=HASH(0x9006514)", but the link is fine.) I'm including HTML for comment excerpts because quoting with <em> or <i> is so prevalent. If the main purpose of this file is for importing to Delicious, we might want to axe all HTML to work around their bug. If folks are going to use this file in other ways, I think the HTML is useful info.
posted by pb (staff) at 3:39 PM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

pb, the way your test file is organized would work for the way I use favorites and plan to use this file. I'm going to import to pinboard only the posts I've favorited (I plan to discard the comments altogether). I like how it's broken out into sub site sections. I actually wouldn't mind seeing that in the tags somehow, like having the appropriate subsite included as a tag on each. I could see how other users of this file might not want that though and it's not that important to me to see natively as I can semi-automatically insert that into the file myself before import to Pinboard. But knowing how I use that service I can see myself using the tag cloud to look for something mefi related at times as much as I would look for a specific topic. Thanks again.
posted by safetyfork at 4:38 PM on May 16, 2011

I haven't tested at Pinboard, but Delicious automatically adds a tag based on the heading the bookmark is grouped with. So with this file it uses tags like "Ask_Metafilter_Posts". In fact, if you want to see how this file imported at Delicious, my test account is here.
posted by pb (staff) at 4:42 PM on May 16, 2011

Awesome, Pinboard will probably do that or similar as well. I remember it retained my folder structure as tags in importing which now that I think of it was probably just headings / similarly structured.
posted by safetyfork at 4:50 PM on May 16, 2011

Sorry, I mean: my browser's bookmarks folder structure. I realize that wasn't very clear.
posted by safetyfork at 4:51 PM on May 16, 2011

Yeah, this file format is the same most browsers use to export bookmarks. So it should work the same way.
posted by pb (staff) at 5:03 PM on May 16, 2011

Just hopping in to agree, I'd say that a large percentage of my favorites has to do with "this links to some site that I plan to check again later when I have more time to read/use it." ...So now I'll favorite this thread and return later...
posted by batgrlHG at 7:54 PM on May 16, 2011

If I had any clue how to do the scraping, I'd be all over that, but I don't want you to waste your time

I've used ScraperWiki to grab all the links I've posted to one of my own sites, but the HTML there is pretty uniform (here's a post I wrote about making a basic scraper).

I'm pretty sure it'd be possible to get ScraperWiki to extract all the links from your favourites, and I can sort of see how to do it, but I suspect it'd take someone much cleverer with Python or Ruby than me to actually get it working.

They do have a Request Data page, though, so one of the developers who hang out there might write a favourites links scraper for you if you ask.
posted by jack_mo at 4:40 AM on May 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

That's pretty awesome. Now could you please run it through instapaper and put it on my Nook? Better yet, skip that -- just make me a better, smarter person who has already absorbed all of the linked articles' information and associated insights and connections. kthxbye

But, seriously, that's pretty awesome. Thanks!
posted by Zed at 1:37 PM on May 17, 2011

ok, there's a new option at the bottom of Preferences to Export Your Favorites. Let me know if you run into problems with it.
posted by pb (staff) at 3:20 PM on May 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

Thanks, pb!

Just for background I'm reporting back on pinboard's import. It may have been some error of my own since I did excise all my favorited comments prior but at least for me the values in the tag attribute did not import as tags, but the section headers did: screenshot. I'd be curious if others experienced the same with Pinboard. Other than that it was totally smooth.
posted by safetyfork at 4:54 PM on May 17, 2011

Yeah, looks like a bug with Pinboard to me. I bet if you send that screenshot and an explanation of what you were trying to do to the Pinboard support address or discussion group, maciej can let you know what went wrong. They have contact info on The Pinboard Blog.
posted by pb (staff) at 8:19 AM on May 18, 2011

Woohoo! Thanks, pb.
posted by ocherdraco at 1:19 PM on May 18, 2011

I'm not sure what's being proposed here, but I would find probably find it useful if I could search just my favorited things on Mefi.

As the moment if I really want to be able to find something again, I'll bookmark it with Pinboard in the first place, so I can use the search there.
posted by philipy at 10:10 AM on May 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

philipy, to search your favorites here click 'Favorites' at the top of any page and look for the search form on the right side of the page toward the top.
posted by pb (staff) at 10:14 AM on May 19, 2011

pb, I just tried that out with a few different searches and I'm pretty sure it is searching the whole of Mefi, not just among my favorites.
posted by philipy at 11:50 AM on May 19, 2011

Are you sure? I can search just your favorites. I picked a random word. Erase "car" and try another word in the URL and see what happens.
posted by desjardins at 12:26 PM on May 19, 2011

oops, I did say toward the top. I meant this location, not the very top.
posted by pb (staff) at 1:57 PM on May 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Thanks, pb. That explains it, and it works!
posted by philipy at 2:10 PM on May 19, 2011

Thinking aloud.... For people that want to get all their favorites into Pinboard, there should be some automated means to do it via the Favorites RSS feed.

I just tweeted the Pinboard guy to ask him about this.
posted by philipy at 3:07 PM on May 19, 2011

Thanks pb!
posted by cashman at 8:37 AM on May 20, 2011

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