Advanced search with the ability to save preset streams.

J Jakob Public Seen by 127

As Diaspora grow, and I follow more and more people and hashtags the stream gets long and complicated, clogged with the same re-shares. Sometimes it would be nice to have all the anarchism and the geeky stuff out of the stream and just look at eg. the more cultural things, and I don't think that the aspect or hashtags do this alone.

I propose a kind of "advanced search" with the ability to save presets.

A lot of search parameters could be thought up, and a lot could be added along the way, also more complicated stuff like optional algorithms combining the parameters in complex ways, for example not showing re-shares that has already been shown by another person in your aspects. But basically like this: http://www.imdb.com/search/title

Examples could be:
number of comments
number of likes
last updated

This could be used for finding old posts, but I think it would also be very helpful if you could make your own preset streams the same way you have aspects and hashtags.

These preset streams could be available in the left bar together with aspects and hashtags, and the search page itself could, like the contacts page be called from the right corner.

I know that this is not done in a day, but in the long run we might need to have some sorting in the stream, and this would be a simple do it yourself algorithm controlled by the user and not forced upon anybody if they like the wild chronological stream.

I translate Diaspora to Danish but am not a coder.

Tried to find a duplicate but couldn't. This is a bit similar but less radical:


AlexB Sat 4 Oct 2014 12:11PM

I believe this is relevant too: https://www.loomio.org/d/R3zBvnfc/improving-and-expanding-hashtags-usability

I think implementing this is a really important feature, both in search and in the left-hand menu (i.e. what you call preset streams).

Some further thoughts:
- In search, all the parameters you list could be useful.

  • In the left-hand menu, I think all one needs is the ability to combine hashtags together (i.e. to follow posts with #france AND #politics), and the ability to combine users with hashtags (i.e. follow posts from @Jakob on #Denmark).

  • Currently, clicking on the "followed tags" label feels like being taken to a new stream, and clicking on one of your followed tags feels like being taken further to a new stream. It would be great -- as you suggest -- if when one clicks on them, they feel more like a filter on the stream than a link to a new substream. And (as in the previous bullet point) if one could have several selected at once -- so although I follow 20 tags I could get the stream to display only posts with tags #football, #vegetables, #coffee and then decide I also want to hear about #bread, but not about #football, so deselect the latter and select the former and the stream automatically reflects that. (and so on for aspects...)

Diaspora's functionality would be (even more) incredible if you could do these things.


Jakob Sat 4 Oct 2014 12:31PM

You are right that is indeed relevant :)

My idea was that the left-hand menu should only contain these presets - this would be close to aspects which is also managed beforehand on the contact page. In many ways it would not be much different from aspects, only it would be wildly customizable.

  • Yes, by clicking a hashtag or an aspect what you see on screen is actually a new stream. So in many ways this will not feel different from the current ui.

Ivan Gabriel Morén Sun 5 Oct 2014 7:20PM

I really love the idea of using custom streams as a central concept in diaspora. :)


aj Wed 8 Oct 2014 8:12AM

really like the idea of being able to build custom streams with filters and matching criteria

although check box filters for liked/commented in the activity stream (and reshares in the the post stream) would probably stand a better chance of actually getting coded


AlexB Wed 8 Oct 2014 8:21AM

Yes! "check-box filters" was the phrase I was looking for. We already have it for "My aspects" so should be straight-forward for hashtags as well as for liked/commented.


Jakob Wed 8 Oct 2014 8:53AM

With the current size and activity of Diaspora simple filters will indeed do. I guess that splitting "My activity" in likes and commented, is actually already a first step.

This proposal was not meant as a we-need-this-now feature proposal, but as a long term discussion. When Diaspora grow though we will need some kind of algorithm to sort in the stream, and this should of course be user-controlled. The combination of things already in the database like timestamp, aspect, tag etc. could take us a long way.

P.S. I wrote " the left-hand menu should only contain these presets". I still would keep the "My activity", "aspects" and "#tag". (My activity with a check-box option).


[deactivated account] Fri 12 Dec 2014 7:46PM

Sorry to BUMP this, but you haven't reached any conclusion whatsoever :-) I think it would be more productive on Loomio to end a thread with "Contribution needed" or "X/ Y is working on this feature", otherwise we're just wasting our time and we can converse on diaspora* or on Diaspora Forum, not necessarily here (I agree with @goob on this). That's just my 2 pennies. Long time discussions are just bla-bla, threads get buried and nobody cares to re-open them, except for a bloody naive enthusiast pseudo-philosopher like me ;)


[deactivated account] Fri 12 Dec 2014 8:23PM

People just know that contribs are needed and task attribution are made on github. ;)
Again : Loomio is only about to discuss ideas, not task schedule ;)


[deactivated account] Fri 12 Dec 2014 9:00PM

@augier while I agree with u, we do need to reach conclusions and send references to how the proposals were 'implemented'. That's what I mean by 'transparency' among others ;) I do hope I made myself clear.


[deactivated account] Fri 12 Dec 2014 9:02PM

@augier while I agree with u, we do need to reach conclusions and send references to how the proposals were ‘implemented’.

I understand but I said : this is not the place to do that, the appropriate place is on github ;)


[deactivated account] Fri 12 Dec 2014 9:07PM

I thought I made myself clear. I didn't, sorry for being vague. I said we need a link to github or a reference that the feature was taken into account.


Florian Staudacher Fri 12 Dec 2014 9:10PM

The most important thing is not to get discouraged by the seeming lack of movement ;) Most of us are people who are still students or working full-time, so we don't have the power to direct any sizeable amount of resources to the project.
But we do it anyway and love to see diaspora* develop and grow over time.
So keep up your enthusiasm and see where you can be a part of this project, even if it's reviving old threads you think are important :P


[deactivated account] Sat 13 Dec 2014 7:26AM

Hey @florianstaudacher , first and foremost congrats for all the good work you're doing up here, I read that on the blog! I'm very enthusiastic to see people like you dedicating their time for the community and fighting to respect their choices. I hope you'll continue the same in the future ;)


[deactivated account] Sat 13 Dec 2014 8:41AM

I've been invited here by Jakob and I can only say that it's great to see a consensus on this. (I had started a discussion here : /posts/96709590644e0132b28c00259069449e ). I wonder if we can make a mockup of what we're hoping to get. This would help to further promote the idea.

I also think that the filtering of information will work in part collaboratively. Boolean searches of tags and even plain text, check-box filters, would be excellent, but, with "number of comments; number of likes", I think that we are touching on a notion that is the general feeling of the community about a topic that you're searching.

I think that the community could organize around what I've called #metatags, which would help navigate tags, and would be the work of the community (or more precisely of communities). Somebody told me it's a bit like wikipedia; I like the analogy : what word searches can't do, what popularity filtering can only suggest, the collective aggregation of data can do. In a sense, it's a bit like recording the results of a good search on diaspora, to share with others. But again, this is not directly related to the suggestions here. I just thought it would give perspective and inspire, hopefully. One plus of this approach is that is already feasible :)


Jakob Sat 13 Dec 2014 12:08PM

@riderplus - I think that this proposal should be discussed slowly taking into account that right now other more fundamental things are more important. Right now I have about 350 persons that I follow on Diaspora, some post a lot, some not at all. But I am still able to navigate the linear stream without getting completely confused. I am an artist and before I quit Facebook I had about 1500 facebook-friends, most of them from the Danish, Scandinavian and German art community. Diaspora is not there yet, and that gives us some time to think up a good solution to how we can construct a stream (or multiple) that would both give you complete control as user, that would at least make it possible to avoid herd-behaviour (number of likes, re-shares, and comments as search parameters does exactly that,) and still make the stream navigable.

Lets not rush this, we have time to do it right, and my proposal could definitely be improved. The next step would be I guess to make some image mock-ups and concept documents, detailing how this should be done. Everybody with a text-editor can do that. I will try when I have a little bit more time. It could also be of help if all the similar thread was found and the suggestions compared with this, also a job anybody could do.

@Perig Gouanvic - this is a bit besides the topic here. But I did try to make posts where I collected other posts that had common subject and that I found interesting. I only did it a couple of times but it could be a good way to point your fellow users to discussions that they would else miss. I guess it is about always using the same tag #Disporadiscussion #interestingdiscussions or other. I write you on Diaspora :)


Flaburgan Tue 26 Jan 2016 5:22PM

I had this idea in mind for a very long time and it is in my opinion a killer feature for diaspora*, even if it's not something breaking new.

The problem we have to deal with is the relevance of the content which is displayed to the user. Most of the posts in my global stream don't interest me. Aspects is cool, but people talk about many different subject so we can't rely on that. Tags are nice. Tags are the answer to this problem. But tags can be spammed. Tags are sometime used to talk about an opposed topic.

Many use cases can be extracted from this observation. The solution to all? Queries / advanced search.

As a user, I should be able to create an advanced search (query) to focus exactly to the content I want.

The query is a boolean expression. The entity could be users and tags, eventually aspects. The query could look like (@fla && #diaspora) || (@goob && !#linux).
This query would return the posts written by Fla and containing the hashtag #diaspora and the posts written by goob and not containing #linux. This defines a new custom "stream".

The user should then be able to pin the query in the left nav bar as an interesting stream, quickly available.

Of course, it would be even better if we can manage other type of data than user and tags, for example, aspects, or even already existing streams such as "every public posts", "mentions" or "my activity".

I don't feel like we should add a start / end date though. This is done by scrolling the stream. To be able to jump to a date in the stream would be an awesome feature but it should be done in the stream as a navigation feature, not when the query is created.


Creak Wed 27 Jan 2016 1:43PM

You know my point of view on that: I think it's too complex. It would definitely please the advanced users, but the others wouldn't consider D* superior just because of that feature.

I take for example the filter feature in GMail. Did you now you could use simple regexps in there? It's definitely useful (and I use it), but Google knows very well that even if they were bringing this feature to the mass, no one would care because it's just too complex.

I think D* could deal with a better re-thinking of the existing features.

TL;DR: yeah, why not, but I don't think it is that important


Flaburgan Wed 27 Jan 2016 2:04PM

Once you have something which contains only things that interest you, then you can do a lot of interesting things, like choose it as the default home page, or subscribe to receive email notifications on new posts.

How we allow users to define custom streams is an important point, and boolean expression is not the solution for a non-geek user, but to have custom stream is the goal and I really think we should go there. If we have to imagine a new interface for a non-geeky user experience then let's go, this is not something which should stop us.


Jakob Thu 28 Jan 2016 6:57AM

I definitely imagined this with a GUI. In its most simple form it would take a screen like the one for administrating aspects, and a roll-down menu like the ones for mentions, aspects, tags etc in the left hand side of the main screen.
I really do think that this would be an important feature. People talks a lot about the unpredictable weirdness of the Facebook stream, and a feature that makes you control this would be a major selling point for Diaspora.

...and thanks for taking this up again :)


Frode Lindeijer Mon 7 Mar 2016 4:47PM

gmusicbrowser has a Filter edition window that does exactly that and may be inspirational. It allows for conditions to be combined and inverted to create automatic playlists without code.