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How do you fetch a friend history (of people that have been unfriended)? [Dec. 20th, 2004|09:44 am]
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I was looking at these two quizzes, the LJ stalker one and the friend-o-meter one. It seems they fetch the names of people I have friended in the past. Some of the people listed have never commented in my journal and aren't mentioned anywhere in it, leading me to believe this somehow fetches a friending history. How does it do it?


[User Picture]From: chris21718
2004-12-20 10:12 pm (UTC)
There may be a simple explanation for this...

The program they're using may have a cache of friend relationships that hasn't been updated in quite a while. I notice that several friend who I've unfriended long ago, or who have changed names, are listed, while recent additions to my friend list are not.
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[User Picture]From: fbartho
2004-12-20 10:17 pm (UTC)
if a friend's cache is how they do it though, then I'm scared... (not really, but.) because the list of people that it fetches are only from when I first got a livejournal a year ago, the first 8 or so people, and at the time I did not do memes, so unless someelse had had them cache my friends list, then they must have crawled it on their own... which I thought was not allowed...
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[User Picture]From: chris21718
2004-12-20 10:22 pm (UTC)
It's possible for anyone on the web to grab your friend list by retrieving the URL


if they know your username. All they have to do is parse the HTML. There may be a more direct way.

The can pick a small set of people and get their friend lists and "recursively" apply the technique until they have many people's friend lists cached, but only for the instant in time at which they did it.

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[User Picture]From: chris21718
2004-12-20 10:28 pm (UTC)
Just want to add that I'm not saying that anyone should do this, but am simply saying that it could be done. If they see a lot of user info requests coming from the same place in a short period of time, they might shut off access from the IP address.

A Perl script that did the above would probably put a serious load on their systems if it did the requests as quickly as it could, and would not be appreciated.

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[User Picture]From: marksmith
2004-12-20 10:56 pm (UTC)

In order for them to know who you friended a long time ago they would have to crawl data looking for users and then do it repeatedly to maintain a database of changes.

I know there are several tools out there that show you friending history. They don't catch things that happen really quick, but generally they pick up on changes within a month or so.

Anyway, for more information on what is and isn't allowed, please see our handy page about this very matter.
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[User Picture]From: chris21718
2004-12-21 12:05 am (UTC)
Thanks for that information. I haven't written any "bots", but figured that the rules for them would be based on "common sense" and "politeness".

The only program I've considered writing was a program to cache my LJ entries in a local directory for indexing purposes. It would only need to pull posts I'd made that are newer than the latest post in the cache.

I created a concordance-style index for my journal, but the post-gathering was done by hand and is not automated. I'd like to automate it evenutally, though.

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[User Picture]From: rrm3
2005-03-18 01:25 am (UTC)
Do you maintain this page? The link to the example client is, um, broken I think.
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[User Picture]From: marksmith
2005-03-18 01:27 am (UTC)
...what example client where?
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[User Picture]From: rrm3
2005-03-19 01:42 am (UTC)
on livejournal.com/bots, which you link to in a comment above, the example client, er, user-agent is http://fooland.com/ljtoy.html; bob@fooland.com. If you load up fooland.com/ljtoy.html, you will see that Tim is not happy.
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[User Picture]From: marksmith
2005-03-19 01:47 am (UTC)
That's pretty rad. :)

Oh well! Can't please everybody, I guess. He should capitalize on it and put something there that'll bring him profit! That or goatse. Teach users not to follow example links.
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