Moodlog – measuring mood with text queries

February 17, 2009

Moodlog.pngAlex Chaffee posted the following comment to my recent piece about how to measure mood, and I am taking the liberty of reposting to the main page here. Alex has built a mood measurement app that he seeks comments on. I encourage you to take a few minutes and look at his work; this is the kind of thing we envisioned in building QS, that self-trackers with the skills to develop their own systems would be able to get helpful comments from peers, so that their instruments would be more useful both to themselves and to others.

(At the end of his comment, not copied here, Alex points us to the work of Margaret E. Morris, whose mood phone app has been mentioned in QS. Her work is indeed relevant to this topic. Look for more about it soon.)


now Happy Factor asks only about happiness. Asking a constrained
question such as “how happy are you” is only useful in the context of
other data… But think about if the question were unconstrained: “what
emotion are you experiencing right now?” Suddenly, the descriptive
landscape our mood becomes accessible.”

Guess what! You’ve just described Moodlog, a web application project
I’ve had on my back burner for a year and a half now. I recently broke
my leg so I’ve had time to finish it up to the point of bare minimum
functionality. It’s very rough, the UI is a wireframe, and it has
virtually no analytic tools, but it does the following:

  • Asks you “How do you feel?” via email, text, or web, on a daily schedule you can configure.
  • Records the first couple of words as your mood, plus an optional comment (maybe I should rename the field “context”)
  • Lets you customize the frequency and schedule of the reminders (“feelers”)
  • Works correctly across time zones (I hope)

Appropriately enough, I have no good words to describe the emotions
I’m feeling right now. Excited? Anxious? Insecure? Proud? Hopeful? I’d
love to open this up to the QS community (which I’ve just discovered)
but I’m nervous about the flood of suggestions and criticism…

Ah, what the heck. Come visit at
and tell me what you think. If you like the idea but it’s not good
enough for you to use yet, let me know and I’ll let you know when new
versions come along.

The next area of emphasis is on the whole mechanism of inputting a
mood, offering a bit more guidance than mere freeform text, but still
preserving the “anything goes” style. I’ve got some neat ideas, but
I’ll save them for another day…


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