Day 8 - mfqp, mfqp-source, Alison from Pretty Little Liars

SATURDAY! Ah, the weekend is here. I am not terribly excited about the weekend, as much as I am about the fact that it is FINALLY here. The last week was mid-terms, and then three days of project work and classes and the routine sinking back in. So, a bit hectic, huh.

Today, I will talk about this project that I have been working on for about 10 months now. It’s called mfqp-source. It’s related to mfqp.

So, mfqp is a previous year question paper search platform. It was built by @amrav. mfqp-source is a way to crowd source question papers from the students who are giving exams in IIT Kharagpur, and get it online, so that people in the future can look at those papers and prepare a little bit better then they actually would have in case they didn’t have the papers. Also, it’s just easier to prepare for an exam here, if you know what kind of questions are asked.

mfqp-source was started by Vivek Aithal, and I took it up as a pet project of mine because I loved the idea and wanted to work with something like this: It’s challenging because people don’t behave like you want them to, it required structure because that’s the only way we could sift through the hundreds of email we were sure to recieve, and it would involve writing scripts that would work with Gmail and some cloud hosting platform to host the crowd-sourced papers. So, I took it up.

I have been working on it for the past two semesters, and we have gotten a lot of papers on mfqp. It’s being used by a lot of people on campus as the way to get the question papers! That’s great! In the 2 weeks leading up to the past mid term exam session, there were a total of about 6500 sessions, by about 2700 users. (6583 sessions and 2787 users) I just looked up the figures as I was writing this post, so it’s a surprise for me too, and these figures are pretty good! (on a campus with a total of about 10,000 people which includes technicians, professors, Research Scholars, masters students and bachelors students)

So, that was about the project and the reach. The idea for this project, atleast in the beginning was to provide a live view of the papers that have been contributed by everyone and build some kind of a goal and then work towards that. That became pretty hard, pretty fast. We tried to keep up, but it was just too much work and no one could keep up, so that was eventually dropped, and it just became a project to parse everything that was sent to us, create pdfs, rename it properly and then upload it to drive, and add the link of the file alongwith it’s particulars to MFQP. That was a lot easier to do and I have been keeping up with that.

Hmm, so that was some free material to write about. I read a bit more of All the Missing Girls today. Finally, a little bit more was revealed about Corinne. She’s definitely the alpha-female, loyalty-hungry character that Alison is in Pretty Little Liars (I endured the show for 4 seasons until I got really really really bored with it, I wish I had read the books first though). I don’t know what it is with characters like Alison and books like this.

Books like Girls on Fire (Wasserman), The Girls (Cline), Dark Places (Flynn), all of these books have a similar character, but not exactly her. The main difference being that Corinne and Alison are the leaders of their posse, and they are not charming or charismatic, what they are is irritating. They listen to their (generally not good looking or somehow inferior) friends and rack up the secrets that they have to tell them, and then use those secrets against the very girls that treated them like living Gods. It’s the last part that really pisses me off.

Anyway, it’s rather premature to pass a judgement on Corinne I think. The quote:

You had to keep proving your loyalty to her

that Nicolette says makes it clear that she wasn’t an easy person to be friends with, but I still guess there’s a wee bit of leeway for Corinne to be something like Diondra and less like Alison.

P.S. Sasha Pieterse does an incredible job playing this stupidly irritating character, so maybe the show Alison is as irritating and hateful as she is simply because Pieterse played her so well! I SOOOOO wonder what my thoughts about Alison would have been if only I had read the books first.