Be Your Own Annoyance (on Facebook Quizzes)

Facebook has it’s own ups and downs, including sometimes funny and (most of the time)  really annoying quizzes.

I don’t know if the quizzes in Finnish are more annoying than the ones in English, still annoying.

And know what?

I take those quizzes. I don’t know why. I hate them.

The Finnish ones are full of spelling mistakes (yhdys sana for example).
Results all either fucked up or just plain stupid.

And know what?

I still take them.

Because it’s so thrilling to see if I’m “a True Finn” or wheter my co-worker does the same things I do this summer. Or is my political view what I believe it to be?

Or the quizz about my military rank? What’s with it? My rank is what my rank is – and I certainly know what it is.

Be Your Own Annoyance

And you know what? I won’t complain more, I’ll just do a quiz of my own.

It seems, according to small empirical test, that the hip app for quizz -making is “Make Your Own Quizz” (link leads to Inside Facebook’s app-page). According to app itself:

“Making a Quiz has never been easier! Making a Facebook app has never been so fast! Make your own quizzes and turn them into your own real Facebook applications!”

Jolly good.

Ok, Iäll just go to app  at FB and make a quiz.

make a quiz-application on facebook

Above is a screenshot about the first page, fugly highlights by me. First highlight is the language – I want my quizz to be in Finnish. Second one is picture, it actually says “This is very important! It will make your quiz more popular!“.

So, I have to have a picture.

I chose one about stairs at Pispala and named my quiz to “Kuinka korkealle pääset Pispalan portaissa” (how high can you reach?).

Next page was about the results, screen grab below:

Make A Quiz on Facebook, results page.

Make A Quiz on Facebook, results page.

Typed some results, put on some images.

My images, however, were too big. The “useful” error message stated “2MThe uploaded file exceeds the maximum file size of %1 bytes.“. Perhaps someone should’ve told about the file size limit earlier?

Anyhoo, downsized the pics manually, tried to upload them.

Kaboom!

Everything gone.

Oh well, another try, luckily not from scratch.

Then the actual questions!

I just basically make something up as everyone does.

Make A Quiz On Facebook - questions page

Make A Quiz On Facebook - questions page

After setting up the questions, a new app for the quiz:

Setting up the application for my Quiz

Setting up the application for my Quiz

And voila, there it is (after just one step – I won’t paste that here).

My own little quiz, whee. (Find it out for yourselves if you fancy).

Conclusions and pondering

  • Making ones own quiz isn’t that hard. That’s certainly the reason for all the annoying quizzes!
  • Result (of the quiz) can be something totally different than the maker intended as the answers and outcomes are connected in my opinion in somehow awkward way.
  • Quizzes can be used to influence people and their opinions
  • Quizzes can be used as part of marketing

All in all, quizzes are here to stay (although really, really annoying), so why not use them?

Custom Feeds.

Feed43 is a site where one can create RSS Feeds from web sites (without ready made feeds).

I’ve used it a few times, works quite fine after you get the logic.

Why am I writing this? Well, this one particular site got a redesign, too. Broke the feed, of course, provides no feeds whatsoever. Complained about the thing, message was that if I please could fix the feed! (As the RSS -feature would cost that particular nonprofit org some 30 euros/month or so…)

Oh well, this might be a good moment to write down what has to be done in order to get the feed running, again!

Ok, first surf to Feed43 (open the feedable site in another window).

Either login in to access your old feeds or just create a new one. (I’ll use my own account here).

Type in the source page’s address (this should be the page you want to feed). Don’t forget the encoding (here in Finland mostly ISO-8859-1)!

Define extraction rules.

  • {%} is the (global) selection rule (select the whole html-document for processing with the wildcard {%})
  • {*} is the whatever -operator
  • item rule is the rule for feed items.

Global search pattern for this case:

{*}<table class=”NewsSummaryContent SummaryContent”>{%}</table>{*}

Pattern states that:

  • first we don’t care what comes before <table class=”NewsSummaryContent … as all the news are located there, hence the {*}
  • <table class=”NewsSummaryContent SummaryContent”>{%}</table> tells the parser that we are interested in the contents of that particular table, we’ll type {%}
  • and last but not the least, we don’t care about the rest: {*}

If everything works fine, you should get all the news in the clipped data -section.

Item rules are a bit tricky, depending on the source html. In this case the html is shitty at best, so the work is not nice at all (tables are used for layout and so on.).

Anyway…

The main idea is to find repeating patterns of items for the news. For example title, date, excerpt and url.

For this case the html looks like this:

<tr>
<td>
<p class=”odd”><a href=”http://www.example.fi/kaikki_uutiset/?x137352=147144“>Just some title</a>
<span class=”pvm”>(3.6.2008)</span></p><div class=”ingressi”>This is the excerpt.</div></td>
</tr>

and the item rule like this:

<tr>{*}<a href=”{%}”>{%}</a>{*}<span class=”pvm”>{%}</span>{*}<div class=”ingressi”>{%}</div>{*}</tr>

Could be better and more optimized, but who cares? I certainly know I don’t…

Anyway, when writing the item rules you can always check the result from the “Clipped data” -view, which is nice.

Next step is to define output format, titles for the feed and so on. After setting those, the interesting part begins – RSS Item properties.
Select the correct template tag (marked with {%1}, {%2} and so on) and type it in the right input field (in my case title is number two and three as I want to include the date, too. I type {%2}{%3})

And voila: there it is, the feed, fixed.

Now just figure out a good url and send it to everyone you know…

Tips:

  • Be patient, the item rules are sometimes tricky
  • Set up an account if you want to control your feeds – otherwise anyone can edit them.

Good luck with feeding!