Hawaiʻi's Technology Community

Feeds in social networks provide users a sense of motion and activity on a social networking site. Facebook's redesign made a user's home page simply an activity feed for that person. Ning also boasts an activity feed but it is not as sophisticated as Facebook's.

Last night I created an event on TechHui. Because Ning doesn't provide you a preview option before publishing, I had to edit the event several times before it looked right. But in the Ning activity feed logged each and every edit. I think there were five or six of them. Facebook is smart enough to remove multiple log entries in the feed that look redundant in a short window of time.

The web application that I write also has an activity feed. Right now only administrators have access to these activity logs. I might make them published to the general user. However, to make them more palatable to the normal user, they should somehow be "massaged" to remove redundant logs.

Does anyone have advice on best how to do this? My idea is to set a cronjob to run every minute to select the recent non-redundant logs and insert them into a secondary table which is used only to display logs to general users. But what if a edits the same record five times in five minutes there would still be five logs. Ideas?

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Replies to This Discussion

My logs are in a database. I was thinking about a cronjob which would call a script to do a consolidation job. Some consolidation can't be done with a single SELECT DISTINCT query. For example, in Facebook, sometimes the feed will say: five of your friends changed their profile pic. I'm sure that wasn't accomplished with a single query. My guess is that to reduce database load to generate the feed each page load is that they do a cronjob to call a script to do it periodically. Perhaps the result is saved in another database table. Perhaps it is saved in some flat file somewhere which is refreshed every cronjob. I notice that the Facebook newsfeed doesn't allow you to go back in history beyond that first page. Also on Ning, the the latest activity feed widget only shows the last four items. Even the if you click on the RSS feed it only shows you maybe 20 items.
This is definitely an issue with Ning. They need to do a better job of activity log folding, especially with regard to events. Ning would also benefit from a "Minor Change" check box that can be checked to make a silent change. Confluence has this feature and we will definitely be incorporating it into ooi.
How about a 'draft' checkbox; when it's checked (which is the default), only the creator can see it. When it's unchecked, everyone sees it. Only non-draft items are added to the feed. There's also no need to log saves as draft, so the log is a non-issue. You'll have to find a way to remind them that they have drafts waiting to be published so they don't hang around forever.

This could obviously turn into a support issue, so the draft checkbox needs to be very prominent. Maybe a bright background on draft messages to make them really stand out?
Hmm, I came here thinking this was about how users output redundant data across twitter/plurk/friendfeed/flavor_of_the_week_social_site.

Any interest in the sub-topic?



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