Introducing DesiFilter: for all your Stalking Needs!

And some of you wonder why I sweat engineers…look at what amazing things they do! Hot off our tip-line:

A couple of weeks back, Sree asked SAJA Forum readers to help him see if there were any Desis affected by the Madoff swindle:
As a techie, needing to have humans manually crowdsource the filtering of Desi names out of a long list seemed inefficient.
That’s why I built DesiFilter, a new web tool to help community journalists and obsessive Desi-angle stalkers: (click on “Example 1″, etc. for sample datasets)
It’s pretty simple — just feed it some text, and it’ll go through a list of about 26,000 common South Asian names and highlight possible matches.
South Asian names are super-multicultural. I tried to remove most common Anglo names (otherwise any list of American names would be all false positives), but there’s still substantial overlap with Iranian, Arab, Turkish, and Portuguese names. It may miss Anna John and catch Osama Bin Laden — but it’s still infinitely easier than looking for potentially Desi names by hand.
My goal is for the tool to be part of any obsessive Desi-angle stalker’s toolkit. I’m interested in what you or Sepia readers find with it. I’d love feedback. Thanks.

You want feedback? Boy, you ’bout to get you some feedback, let me tell YOU. ;) I love how it’s an accepted practice to be an “obsessive, Desi-angle stalker”. It’s just so matter-of-fact. And warm and fuzzy– we at SM are not the only ones! Admit it, you totally do it, too. When movie credits roll, and you see a Best Boy named Neel/Jay/Anil Patel/Sen/Singh, you feel a little twinge of recognition…or indigestion. Who told you to get a Large popcorn AND nachos?

Anyway, is this the first time I’ve reprinted an ENTIRE, somewhat lengthy missive to the tip line, verbatim? Why, I think it is. I just don’t have the heart to remove anything. Especially any sentence which allows me to escape freely (muahahaha) while catching Bin Laden. FINALLY! Someone needed to do it and the U.S. sucks at it. Jai Hind! No, wait…Jai Ho! Actually, more like Jai HIM—-> Anirvan.

Of course, if you’re a bibliophile, you already knew him; he’s behind the very respected

…the best resource (online or off) for finding used, rare, and out of print books. The Library of Congress recommends it; both Newsweek and Money magazines called it one of the two best book sites online (the other, in both cases, being [link]

And no, Anirvan didn’t pay me to splort all over your screen with my giddiness over his geekery. I splorted for free! Wait, that sounds awful. My point is, we get dozens, if not hundreds of tips. We rarely have the resources to cover each one. Most of you are aware of this.

I’m sure Anirvan sent in his DesiFilter message, shrugged, and thought “maybe”. He certainly couldn’t have expected that I’d put down my outrageously late dinner of lemon rice and paavaka mezhukkupuratti, pause the DVR and postpone packing for my trip tomorrow, just to publish an effusive endorsement of his efforts. He deserves it, though. It’s not every day that reading a tip makes me go –> :D . Better living through technology, y’all. I’m ’bout it bout ‘it. Let the stalking begin! Wait, that doesn’t sound right, either…

13 thoughts on “Introducing DesiFilter: for all your Stalking Needs!

  1. Ha ! I thought I was the only one that did that at the end of movies. Still on the look out for any Punjabi stuntmen :) So, would this be like a DesiNexus type tool ?

  2. This is great! Now we just have to merge DesiFilter with, say,, and we have ourselves Sepia Des(i)tiny.

    And Anna, if you’re feeling left out, don’t worry, I’m sure the EthiopianFilter would catch you ….

  3. It may miss Anna John and catch Osama Bin Laden

    Now that’s racial profiling we could use.

    Mom wants to know: “bibliophile? That is not a vierd disease, no?” “Did he go to IIT?” “MARRIED?” “Yes? Does he have a younger brother?”

  4. That’s why I built DesiFilter, a new web tool to help community journalists and obsessive Desi-angle stalkers:

    But can it tell me if my crush is Manglik?

  5. I tried putting a few indian names in the filter and it did not catch ‘asdasdasf vijay’

  6. It’ll likely also not catch Stalin Titty. but yea. coole idea. LOL LOL one one 1

  7. Definitely very interestng Idea. I catch myself stalking out desi sounding names on the web a lot of times.

    Feedback: In desifilter\’s Example2, I think it missed \”S R Nathan\” president of Singapore – Indian Tamil origins – Sellapan Ramanathan – surely a desi sounding name.


  8. I am drooling.

    (in my mind I’m thinking back to when I did voter outreach for SAAVY, I’d have to go through name lists one by one to filter desi names out for phone banking and thinking how much easier it would have been to have this list)

  9. Interesting tool…great

    a list of about 26,000 common South Asian names

    Considering the innumerable baby name sites… desi pops & moms who are scratching heads for naming their kids may be rolling their eyes. Can the meaning of the desi names retrieved become desifilter version 2.0 ?