Where’s the buzz?

I was doing some research on VNC yesterday when I stumbled upon this URL in Sourceforge. It’s a list of the projects on Sourceforge sorted by activity. This link shows a couple of other interesting views including total number of downloads, activity for the last week or all time… Yum. Hot pipin’ buzz.

Why do I love this data? Same reason that I use Google, it shows me the data prioritized by people who have (hopefully) no other motivation than to find data which is useful. When I look at Sourceforge list, I see a fascinating list of the types of open source projects that people want: instant messaging, CRM, tools (Python, JBoss)… it’s a gold mine of zeitgeist. If I was a venture capitalist, I’d keep a close eye on this list because I would suggest that a project with a huge amount of activity is one which is addressing a key deficiency in the marketplace… translation: there is demand which means there is money to be made.

Discovering this list reminded me a set of buzz criteria I’ve been stewing on for months. For any site like Sourceforge, I’d like to have easy access to the following views of information:

1) Most popular — For some given set of entities, show me what has been viewed/downloaded the most in the past week and over all time.

2) Buzz worthy — Show me the entities whose popularity has drastically moved upward (or downward) in the past week and over all time.

3) Favorites — Allow me to say, I care about this entity so that I can sort the list and only see my favorites. Also, tell me when anything changes in my favorites.

This doesn’t just apply to sites which offer downloads, it also applies to meta-weblogs (like syndic8, technorati), portal sites like Yahoo (which already have much of the criteria I describe), and other large databases of publicly accessible data that I’m certain I’m forgetting.

Again, much of this is already available in various ways… all I’m suggesting is that there be a standard so I know that when I go to, say, a popular OS X file download site, I can easily figure out where the hell the buzz is.