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Analysis of Message Boards
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ThreadMill README File

* What ThreadMill Is

- ThreadMill is a software framework for processing and visualizing message-board post data.

- When it is run on message-board data, it generates a database of statistics on the posts at the board, forum, and thread level.

- When the application server is started, it dynamically generates html pages describing the boards, forums, and threads.

- It is implemented as a set of Ruby scripts and Haml templates.

* What Is Required to Run ThreadMill

- ThreadMill requires a Ruby interpreter along with the following gems:


- ThreadMill requires read and write access on an instance of MongoDB.

- ThreadMill requires that the user provide message data as a Mongo collection.

- Each record in the collection must contain the following fields:

	[name]				[type]				[description]

	_id					BSON:ObjectID		Mongo native document id
    author_id			string
    author_name			string
    board_id			int
    board_name			string
    board_url			string
    forum_id			string
    forum_name			string
    is_op				int					whether post is the first in the thread
    thread_id			string
    thread_title      	string
    thread_url			string
    timestamp			int					epoch seconds value for timestamp

- Further, ThreadMill will add this additional field to each document in the collection

	is_processed		int					whether threadmill has processed this post

* How to Run ThreadMill

- Depending on the local Ruby implementation, it may be necessary to change the interpreter path that is specified on the first line of these files:


- Set the HOST, PORT, MESSAGE_DATABASE, and MESSAGE_COLLECTION constants in process_batch.rb and reset_threadmill.rb so that they point to the Mongo collection of message board posts that is to be processed.

- If this is the first time any data has been processed, reset_threadmill.rb should be run to create various indices.

- To process the data, run process_batch.rb.  Set the value of MAX_CHUNK_SIZE to something that gives acceptable performance and rerun the script until all of the source data has been processed as judged by the console output.

- In a system where new source data updates are occurring, process_batch.rb can be run on some schedule so that the ThreadMill collections of board, forum, and thread statistics stay up to date with the source data.

- To see the statistics on all the messages that have been processed, start the application server by running sinatra_routes.rb and pointing the browser at http://localhost:4567.

- To reset (delete all documents from) the board, forum, and thread collections, run reset_threadmill.rb.

* Directory Structure and File Descriptions

- The folder for this release contains this README file along with two sub directories, bin and sinatra.  

- The bin subdirectory contains the Ruby code necessary to process a source message database and maintain the ThreadMill database.  

- The sinatra subdirectory contains the code to visualize board, forum, and thread statistics in the ThreadMill database.  

- The sinatra_routes.rb file defines the how various urls are processed in ThreadMill; run it to start the server and view the results in a browser pointed to http://localhost:4567.  

- The files in the /sinatra/public subdirectory are static content for the html index page.  

- The files under the /sinatra/views subdirectory are Haml templates that describe how to format the board, forum, and thread statistics.

* Project Sponsor

- This project is being sponsored on GitHub by the Social Media Research Foundation (

* Project Developers

- ThreadMill was initially developed by Bruce Woodson ( from Morningside Analytics (

* License

- This project is being released under the BSD license.

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