Jamie's Blog

Ruby developer. CTO. Swimmer. Always trying to write more

boards.ie opens up archive data

boards.ie is opening up their archive of 10 years of discussions as part of an SFI-funded competition. boards.ie has an enormous breadth of discussion and whilst much of it is inane, it’s also a great resource for Irish-specific subjects or even just local product reviews.

So what might I do if days were longer, work was shorter and my mind sharper? I’d look at how things have changed over the decade:

  • What were the most popular subjects? Extract keywords for each year and compare (there’s surely a good visualisation here to show how our subjects/interests have changed over the last 10 years)
  • How did user engagement change? i.e., are there more lurkers today than 10 years ago? Did people have longer or shorter discussions? Are the length of posts different?
  • Has language itself changed? Particularly the use of slang/swear words.
  • Analyse the external links. Of the links posted, what % are still alive and not returning a 404? Have the main sources of information changed? Was everyone linking to ireland.com before they got all subscription on us? Did the Independent take over? And has that changed since the Irish Times gave up on subscriptions (ok, this is only very recently)?

Oh, if only I had a couple of undergrads and some interns!