I'm thinking of something like Gource that could be applied to the Stack Exchange family of sites. What do you think?


5 Answers 5


In the same spirit as amelvin's answer, except this time we're pulling data from the API, so we can ignore all the cruft like 'tag' and 'ago', here's a few interesting ones (Hover for description):

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Any other suggestions for this is of course welcome

  • 2
    "programmers" "ever" use "gas" and "station" in comments a lot?
    – YOU
    Mar 20, 2011 at 17:01
  • @YOU The raw data for that one: jsfiddle.net/rkV6Q/2 The word 'gas' appeared 7 times, which is pretty high considering that we're talking about comment's text here
    – Yi Jiang
    Mar 20, 2011 at 17:08
  • Any chance you can upload a script that does this? This is sweet.
    – ripper234
    Mar 21, 2011 at 8:12
  • 4
    On the second cloud you can clearly read "please" "make" "things" "work". :-) Mar 21, 2011 at 11:28
  • 1
    Have I just not had enough coffee yet, or are c# and .net missing from the 'tags' tag cloud??
    – AakashM
    Mar 21, 2011 at 11:40
  • 1
    @AakashM Punctuations are stripped, so C# would became C (though C is also gone because of the 'ignore common words' option I think), while .Net become Net I think. In retrospect I think I should rerun the thing with both option off
    – Yi Jiang
    Mar 21, 2011 at 12:49
  • Try the "advanced" interface, which lets you use arbitrary strings (such as C#). Mar 21, 2011 at 13:44

TagOverflow, with code and description on GitHub.

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See posts:


Since Gource is by default for commit logs, I ran Gource on the SO log, but even with playing around with the options, I can't get it to give me something decently short. Rather than do the entire commit history, here's a 2-minute clip of the last month:


Here's a screenshot - the branches are directories and the leaves are files. In the video, it also shows people flying around representing the users doing the commits.

Gource still image of SO log

Ok, so this is all well and good, but not really about the site topic. (; I originally thought (read: didn't bother to check) that their custom log format could be used for visualizing tags - which is why I started to fool around with it at all.

If you want to use Gource to visualize something other than the supported log formats, there is a pipe ('|') delimited custom log format option:

  • timestamp - A unix timestamp of when the update occured.
  • username - The name of the user who made the update.
  • type - initial for the update type - (A)dded, (M)odified or (D)eleted.
  • file - Path of the file updated.
  • colour - A colour for the file in hex (FFFFFF) format. Optional.

Example: 1275543595|andrew|A|src/main.cpp


Given that log format, I'm not sure I see Gource itself being a good fit for this.

  • What does each blob represent?
    – ChrisF Mod
    Mar 20, 2011 at 18:20
  • @ChrisF, branches are directories, leaves are files. Mar 20, 2011 at 18:33
  • Can you upload a video snippet?
    – ripper234
    Mar 21, 2011 at 8:11
  • @ripper234, will do tomorrow. Mar 21, 2011 at 8:40
  • I wonder if this kind of representation can be applied to tags, where a tag is a node and a line goes to other tags used on the same post, and where the intensity of the line is the number of times the two linked tags are used together. Mar 21, 2011 at 12:30
  • @ripper234, video uploaded! Mar 21, 2011 at 23:23
  • @Rebecca - what log did you run this on, btw? The video isn't satisfying enough (thanks for uploading though!), I'd like to run Gource myself.
    – ripper234
    Mar 22, 2011 at 0:20
  • @ThomasOwens, see my edit regarding their log format and tying this into tags. Mar 22, 2011 at 0:22
  • You should play with the Gource's options a bit - it's more fun when you can see names of the main modules/folders, and committers.
    – ripper234
    Mar 22, 2011 at 7:14
  • @ripper234, those are on by default - I did play with them to turn them off! Wayyyyy too busy with them on. Mar 22, 2011 at 14:28

I think a Wordle does something interesting along these lines - cutting and pasting the current SO front page text (probably not the best implementation) creates:

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Or even this Tagxedo visualization: enter image description here


It would be nice to have something like this Icons of the Web poster, but then with user accounts in stead of icons, and scaled by different variables e.g. reputation (off course), number of answers, number of questions, ...

Icons of the Web Scaled by Alexa reach

  • 8
    Cool! I tried this on SO, this is the result: goo.gl/mNCEq
    – Agos
    Mar 21, 2011 at 12:07

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