Would you visit an Internet resource that outlined every relevant and useful quantified self website?

I am a JavaScript Developer, and I’m interested in building a resource that documents (makes available) every relevant and useful website connected to the quantified self community. I would offer this, for free and without ads, to (1) demonstrate the presence of and (2) help organize the QS movement/phenomenon.

I have experience with doing this kind of thing, but before I adventure out a build something, I’d like to see if there is interest.

If you are interested, I encourage you to comment and share your thoughts.

Thank you for your time.

I’ve found https://github.com/woop/awesome-quantified-self a very useful one.

3 Likes

That looks like an excellent resource. What tools listed therein have you found to be the most useful?

Check out Interest Resources section in my post.

In a short, my list is
blogs: Gwern Branwen, Herman de Vries, Measured.me, Seth Roberts, Plews & Prof, beepb00p.
Andrew Flatt twitter for HRV
QuantifiedScientist & Michael Lustgarten youtube channels

1 Like

@bretbernhoft I’m curious what functionality or unique aspects you’d include in your resource? I’m also curious about what metric you’d use to determine if each item is “relevant and useful”? (For example, the “Awsome” list uses the metric of it being subjectively awesome to the list maintainers, from what I’ve read).

The reason I ask is that I’ve built personal lists of similar resources in the past for my own research purposes and considered publishing them but I didn’t because of a combination of existing lists, available search tools (Google, Apple Store, Google Play, YouTube, Reddit, etc.) and of course the time it takes to keep the information up to date.

I do think if it’s done right, it could be useful for a fairly small audience. If you move ahead and I can be of any help, do let me know.

Thank you for taking the time to leave this feedback. I appreciate your comments.

In terms of functionality, I’d be developing the website using JavaScript, so that would include any kind of onscreen interactivity, as well as working with available/relevant Web APIs. Ideally this website will be a single page application that can feature all available information in one space, without forcing the user to navigate to additional pages to find what they’re looking for. Perhaps a search feature would be useful?

Regarding my criteria for deciding what to include within the list, those are standards I’d love help creating. There are so many variables to consider before officially adding one website or another to this resource. How would you discern what to feature and what not to?

I’m a Web Developer who is looking for a side project to help demonstrate my skills, including building something that is genuinely useful for a community of people. This website might be just what I’ve been looking to create.

Depending where you get your source data from, checks and balances may already have been done that you could draft off of. For example, the Apple App Store has some guidelines that must be met for apps to be posted. Google Play has les stringent standards. Personally, I’m on the fence with using public ranking systems for this sort of content - it’s a small community with a lot of smaller developers and there’s a potential for grey-hat gaming of a public ranking system in such a small space.

One-page solutions that get very long may irk a lot of mobile users where the increased scroll factor becomes very annoying/cumbersome. So a simple top-of-the-page search and/or filter function would be very useful if the volume of resources is large.

Hi @bretbernhoft — I can tell you what my fantasy is. We have over 1000 entries in our project database (Filemaker), with about 500 (so far) that have been reviewed and found to be genuine show&tell talks, and over 430 that have been transcribed and published. Steven Jonas was pretty careful in designing the database, and there is some metadata associated with each project. We have a publishing pipeline that makes most of them available on the web: Show & Tell Projects Archive - Quantified Self. This is a potentially very useful resource. But here’s what’s broken/inadequate:

  1. Individuals projects are not editable by the creators. It seems like if people could edit their own projects, there would be an incentive to improve, correct typos, add links. We don’t have the resources to do this. It stretched us quite a bit just to get them transcribed and published! I wish they could be edited by the people whose projects they were.

  2. How about people being able ADD projects to the archive without having to give a talk at a QS meeting, have us video, edit, and transcribe it. Of course there are a lot of blogs now where people are posting their projects. I try to stay alert to good stuff coming out and post about it or tweet a link from the QS Twitter account. But if there were a way to add these to the Show&Tell archive then they would be easily findable and organized. We don’t need the post or video or whatever to be hosted on the QS site, obviously. What’s important is the meta-data, being able to find this work in the context of the larger community, so you could search on, say HRV, and see a list of self-research projects. What we CAN do is just what we do here on the forum: light moderation, silently deleting spam and abuse, and trying to connect ideas and people.

Does any of this sound worthwhile to you? (Or @dreeds ??)

@Agaricus I took a look at the project archive. it appears to be hosted on a WordPress site. I’m not a WP expert but I do WP development and hosting… and I might have some “facts” about your websites’ infrastructure wrong but here’s my initial take…

Your #1 is tricky because the “standard” way of allowing authors to edit is to create accounts for each project author and tag them as “author” of their project pages which allows you to give them editing privileges of their pages but not other authors’ pages. But you probably don’t want to have ~400 accounts on your WP site (It looks like the forum runs on Discourse but the QS site is WP, so I’m guessing forum accounts aren’t replicated on the main QS site.) And it would be a bunch of work to implement. And you’d need to communicate the login credentials, etc., etc. Alternately, you could offer any author who WANTS to make edits to their project pages the ability to create an account but even that is an ad-hoc solution. What might be more manageable is to programmatically assign every project a unique code that only the devs of the site know and if an author wanted to edit their project pages, you could give them the code. The idea is anyone with the code for a specific project page can edit that page without having to have an account on the site. But, I don’t know of an existing WP plugin to do that. So that option still has a development aspect to it. Sadly, it might be more realistic to create a streamlined workflow for allowing authors to submit edits.

Your #2 is easy in theory - we just create a form where people submit info about their project. The form could have the same structure as the existing show and tell filemaker database structure. Then add a basic workflow for submissions to be reviewed by an editor and “approved/published”. They could be tagged as “external” to distinguish them from the full-on projects/talks hosted on the QS site. But there’s still dev. to be done to make that happen.

To your question of, “Does any of this sound worthwhile?” - I think that’s tough for any one outsider to answer for your #1. If I were consulting, I’d probably ask, do you regularly get people asking for improvements to the content in your show and tell pages? My gut tells me you’re already delivering tremendous value in publishing these projects/talks. Trying to improve them is going to pit you against the 80/20 rule. Lots of time, effort or $ to make marginal improvements across the board.

Your #2 however - I see a fair number of people in the forum asking for opinions and resources on a variety of topics. And I often read your responses that point to various existing resources on QS or elsewhere. ( I know that must take a bunch of your time and I commend you for putting in the time and effort to be so responsive!) So yes, I think your #2 project would be well worthwhile if it resulted in the ability to easily point people to specific “pages” that meet their needs. For example, if someone wanted QS resources/info for sleep apnea, it would be great/useful to reply with a link to a page on QS.com that included QS talks about that topic AND external QS-relevant resources that other people had submitted.

My apologies for the long-winded reply. This is an area that interests me and I’m not sure of how best to improve things for people who want to be proactive at improving things for themselves (and others).

1 Like

These are wise and useful comments. I’m going to take some time to think about them.

that “awesome” list has over a hundred forks. Do not worry so much.

Database of all the devices and apps and data aggregators and how the data flows between them. Unfinished. Needs an interface because the UI so to speak is not really interactive and Github says has issues.

1 Like

Thank you to everyone for all of your responses. I am observing that there is indeed an interest in this project.

I am a self-taught Developer, and have a passion for data and analytics, as well as building dashboards for interacting with that information. Perhaps I will build a less conventional website for this project.

I’m also thinking that a Wiki would be even more effective than simply me gathering all of the data and doing it alone. What are your thoughts on that?

github has wikis… so does reddit

Maybe there are better ways of handling this now, but we tried an openly editable listing of tools some years ago and it immediately attracted all kinds of trash, not just obvious spam but also human-created seemingly reasonable contributions that were messed up in one way or another. Eventually we got tired of editing! Certainly this can be designed better now that we did it, but just so you have the benefit of my experience.

2 Likes

Those are good points. I’ve seen similar user “inputs” on other Wikis I participate in. It is disheartening and does require a good deal of Administration. There are better solutions today (for user/identity management), many of which are FOSS. The technologies (and options) underlying Wikis has also greatly improved over the past decade.

Spam can largely be dealt with, thankfully, through automation.

Spam was a big problem, yes. But another, I would say equally big, was that resource links became outdated and often broken. The bigger, older, and “more successful” the list became, the worse this problem became, because the proportion of fresh links to aged links was smaller. Some kind of freshness/testing/maintenance protocol has to be established, and making this realistic for your own time and commitment could be challenging.

Good reputation could be required to edit the wiki, either from here on the forums or github.

1 Like

Using GitHub is an interesting idea for reputation validation. What sort of metrics would you use, or are even available to use?