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Livejournal interests suggestion meme!

Based on the lj interests lists of those who share my more unusual interests, the interests suggestion meme thinks I might be interested in
1. writing score: 36
2. books score: 31
3. music score: 27
4. harry potter score: 24
5. anime score: 20
6. poetry score: 20
7. cats score: 19
8. monty python score: 18
9. movies score: 17
10. chocolate score: 17
11. terry pratchett score: 17
12. drawing score: 15
13. dragons score: 15
14. love score: 15
15. fantasy score: 14
16. comedy score: 12
17. dogs score: 11
18. manga score: 11
19. photography score: 11
20. tori amos score: 11

Type your username here to find out what interests it suggests for you.

coded by ixwin
Find out more

What is this?

It's a way of identifying livejournal interests you don't currently have listed, but which you might be interested in, based on what other users have listed.


Basically just for fun. But I hope it might also point some people towards interests (e.g. authors, bands) which they haven't come across but have a good chance of liking.

How does it work?

In everyday language

It finds your unusual interests (those which are shared by fewer than 20 other users), and identifies the users who share those interests and what interests they list.

Then it gives each interest listed by those users a score which is based on both the number of users sharing your unusual interests who list it, and the number of your interests which they share. For example a score of 2 could arise from 2 people listing this who each share 1 of your unusual interests, or from 1 person listing this who shares 2 of your unusual interests.

It then prints a list of the twenty highest-scoring interests on this basis (excluding the ones already on your interests list).

In technical terms

It's a perl script, which works off info provided by livejournal at


for user foo and interest bar.

A copy of the script can be found here. Feel free to modify it, whatever, but obviously credit would be nice if you do.

Why 20 interests?

Just trying to find a balance between ensuring most people would have some listed, and not making the processing time too long.

It doesn't work for me!

That could be because
a) All of the things you list as interests are also listed as interests by 20 or more other users OR
b) All of your interests are unique OR
c) There is a problem with the server e.g. too many other people trying to use the meme OR
d) You don't have any interests listed

It suggests really common, boring interests for me like 'music' and 'movies' and 'computers'

Well, a lot of people have those listed, so it's unsurprising they'll come up. If you'd like to run a version of the meme that filters out really common interests ouwiyaru has produced an adapted version of the meme here. At time of writing a Popularity Ceiling of 100000 will knock out the top 30 most common lj interests, and one of 25000 will knock out the top 300 or so.

Have you written any other memes?

Nothing that works off livejournal data, but I did write the Mystic Pig


Jul. 7th, 2004 07:11 am (UTC)
Of course, I'm interested in things I don't list (mostly bands that are going to be common). It just occurred to me that this throws off the results in two ways: not only is, say, celibacy (which fascinates me intellectually but isn't something I'd likely want to do on purpose) eligible to be listed in the results, but if it were rare, people who list it would contribute to interests' scores less than they otherwise would -- possibly even to the extent of altering the composition of the top 20.

Also, some of the things I list are shorthand for "being the kind of person who would list X." I think "competititve sausage racing" falls in that category.

Hm. I may have to join blog_sociology just to promote and discuss this (with your permission, of course).

If I might offer some constructive criticism: It might be more meaningful -- not that it isn't meaningful now -- if more weight were given to number of common interests. Intuitively, I'm more likely to share an interest with someone whom I already share three interests with than with three people I only share one interest with each (although if it's the same interest ... we have too many things for me to keep track of). As it is now, an interest shared by one person who lists "ethical culture" and one person who lists "jewish geography" and one person who lists "stand-up philosophy" (to take three of my less common interests) gets the same three points as one listed by one person who lists all three, and I think I have more of an affinity with that one person than with the first three combined.
Jul. 7th, 2004 07:27 am (UTC)
Ooh, Jewish geography! Good thought, I'm definitely interested in that, I can't think why I never listed it before!
Jul. 7th, 2004 08:49 am (UTC)
Feel free to promote/discuss this wherever you like. For me half (actually probably more like 90%) of the fun of doing something like this is seeing it spread and watching people's reactions and responses. It's only sitting on a small server in a friend's garage, though, so I hope people will be forgiving if it's not superfast or always up.

As to the weighting, you're probably right. I just went for the simplest option, and as it seemed to give sufficiently varied and interesting answers, left it at that. If there's sufficient interest, I suppose I could produce an "experimenter's version" which allowed the user to enter a weighting factor as you describe, and also to specify the number of users who could list an interest before it stopped counting as 'unusual' and then they could investigate what impact those things had on the results.
Jul. 7th, 2004 09:16 am (UTC)
Hmmm... I definitely second the weighting for users that have common interests, as some of those things are only moderately interesting.

cooking, writing, camping, harry potter, photography, friends, coffee, sewing, radiohead, travel, rain, sushi, swimming, jazz, theatre, dreams, monty python, hiking, dancing, french

What about a script that goes through and pulls out the interests that only one (or a few) person lists, or the interests that the most people list? *curious*
Jul. 7th, 2004 11:16 am (UTC)
Well, the overall most popular interests are listed at

(I thought of using this as a filter on my results, but again decided it was better to keep things simple)
Jul. 7th, 2004 11:20 am (UTC)
Granted. Twould be interesting if your script looked at the 20 interests and marked the ones that were popular, but that's yet more processing time.
Jul. 7th, 2004 11:55 am (UTC)
Looking through the suggested interests, I'd definitely prefer the option for a popularity filter. All of them are on the "highly popular" list. :)
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