Paul Crowley (ciphergoth) wrote in trustmetrics,
Paul Crowley

TrustFlow FAQ

Updated 2006-04-10: this is about the old version of TrustFlow, which is no longer in operation. See the FAQ for the new version.

Frequently asked questions about TrustFlow for LiveJournal. Please note that I will be very rude to anyone who asks a question answered here so please read carefully before posting.

It doesn't work for me !

It doesn't work for me - it keeps saying it's overloaded
That's because it's overloaded. I'm sorry, there's nothing I can do about it - you'll just have to keep trying.
But it works consistently for my friend!
That's because once it's worked out the list for your friend, it keeps the results for several hours so it doesn't have to re-do the calculation.
It says I have no friends listed, but I have very many!
If you have enough friends listed, LiveJournal doesn't put them on your friends page directly. If that happens, my script won't pick them up - it'll treat it as though you have no friends. I don't plan to fix this (a) because it's work, and (b) because such people will load the computer too much. Sorry.
I get an error!
Please read the error carefully before telling me about it. If the error is "it's overloaded", see above. Otherwise, please quote the error exactly - otherwise how can I do anything about it?

What is it, anyway?

What do the results mean?
TrustFlow is making a guess at who is "near" your friends list; who might be on it, but isn't. It does this by looking at your friends list, and the friends list of your friends, and so on.
Is this based on who reads my journal, or interests, or what?
No. TrustFlow looks only at who is on whose friends list to make the determination; no other information is taken into account. In particular, it doesn't know anything about whose journals you are actually reading, or who is reading your journal, except what friends lists tell you.
Are the people listed in any order?
Yes; the first person listed is "closest".
How exactly does it determine who to list?
A description of the algorithm appeared earlier in this journal.
It doesn't work at all - it lists my worst enemy first!
That means it's working. That person is someone quite close to your circle of friends, who you would list except that you've deliberately decided not to. It can't tell that you don't like them; all it can tell is that they are close enough to your circle of friends that you would list them if you didn't feel that way.
It's almost a copy of the friends list of one of my friends!
Does that person have relatively few friends listed? They get extra influence on who it lists as a result.

Use the source, Luke!

Is source code available?
Source code is linked from here.
Can I make a mirror?
Please do, and please publicise it here - thanks! Note that you'll need a Unix system, and you'll need to be something of a Perl hacker to make it go. Also you may get more hits than you expect. However, I'll be glad to help you set it up.
You could improve the algorithm if you...
Feel free to pick up the code and play with it. For me LJ is only an example dataset, so I'm not interested in LJ-specific tweaks. I also want to be able to prove good things about it, like attack resistance, so any changes have to be meet that criterion. Finally the algorithm is conceptually very simple, and I'm keen to keep it that way.

Irritations and niggles

It lists deleted journals and communities without marking them as such
You're right, and this should be fixed. However I shan't make time to fix it now. If you want to fix it, let me know, and I'll discuss what a clean fix might look like. It's not too hard but there are issues.
I changed my friends list but it hasn't taken the change into account
It can take up to 30 hours to take these changes into account. Sorry!
Can you make it work for DeadJournal/uJournal/etc?
I'm having enough trouble supporting LJ users. However, it would be pretty easy for someone to make a mirror that worked on DJ or whatever.</strong>

Please feel free to post any questions not already answered here - thanks!

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