Tuesday, May 16, 2006

An open source, eBay-inspired, Q&A resource for each loan listing -- with GreaseMonkey, Q&A is integrated into prosper.com loan listing pages

Many Prosper users have long wished for an eBay-style Q&A on each loan page, where lenders could ask borrowers questions about their loans.

I provide an open source solution to the problem at

where further details are available.

Without GreaseMonkey, functionality is still present via bookmarklet, but integration of Q&A with prosper loan pages is drastically reduced.


An incomplete summary:


1.Use this wiki to interact with borrowers and lenders and group leaders on loans.
Shortcut to a loan commentary page:
(insert appropriate loan number in place of YYYY)

2.If you use Mozilla, download Greasemonkey, and the script below, and every person w/the script will be able to view the same wiki page for each loan, inserted into PAGE OF EACH PROSPER LOAN THAT YOU VIEW ON PROSPER.COM.

Please note the following disclaimers:

1.The beauty of this system is also its weakness -- only a few people are verified so far on this system, and anyone can make edits to almost any page. This will hopefully change with time, but MUST be remembered.

2.People can post whatever they want, but others can equally easily restore older versions of pages by clicking on history.

3.Just because you see someone post something, doesn't mean it is true -- unfortunately, anonymity is a vilely empowering experience for some souls.

4.My suggestion for verification in the early days: If you, as a lender, borrower, or group leader, register for this wiki:

a)use your prosper.com username
b)put a comment in your official prosper.com profile stating your username here is in fact yours.

Many Prosper users have long wished for a eBay-style Q&A on each loan page, where lenders could ask borrowers questions about their loans. This wiki's purpose is to serve as an open source solution to address this shortcoming. (Emphasis on low-maintenance models here.)
Wikipedia on wiki’s:
A wiki enables documents to be written collectively using only a web browser. A single page in a wiki is referred to as a "wiki page", whilst the entire body of pages, which are usually highly interconnected via hyperlinks, is "the wiki"; in effect, a wiki is a very simple, easy-to-use user-maintained database for searching information.
A defining characteristic of wiki technology is the ease with which pages can be created and updated. Generally, there is no review before modifications are accepted. Most wikis are open to the general public without the need to register any user account.
The advantage to using a wiki is that editing is a cinch, and anyone can ask questions and post comments. This could also be a powerful potential disadvantage, but for the fact that any changes made to the loan commentary are clearly visible, public, and reversible as well, and older sets of unmodified comments are equally easy to access.

Whenever possible, edit as a registered user rather than a guest, to make everyone’s lives easier.

So, for instance, go to
http://prosperlenders.wikispaces.com/10028 to see if a page already exists for that listing (or choose any listing number you like). If it exists, you'll be able to edit it. If nothing's there, go ahead and edit it.

Shortcut to a loan commentary page:
(insert appropriate loan number in place of YYYY)

I’ll offer templates later on, but I’m just playing w/this for now – feel free to give me comments, or start editing/creating loan commentary pages.
There are 2 implementations of the same concept:

A.Version 1.0 of my open source, eBay-style Q&A section on loan listings, for people who don't want to install Mozilla, GreaseMonkey, and a new script:

Open the link below in a new window:

and follow the instructions specified therein.

B.Version 2.0
The really cool version:
Actually adds the prior Q&A to the bottom of each loan page that you view within the Prosper website, so you don’t even have to leave prosper.com to view it.

All software is presented as is, with no implied warranty/liability. Use at your own risk.

For the following scripts, you might need to change your browser. It's worth it, trust us. Here are the instructions for getting started:

  1. Use Mozilla Firefox as a browser (I've tested older versions, 1.0.7 works)
  1. Download GreaseMonkey (0.5.3 should work)

Once you install GreaseMonkey, you will need to close and then restart Firefox. Once this is done, open any of the files in the list below.

A bar will appear at the top of the screen, indicating that you've found a valid GreaseMonkey script.


Click 'Install' to install.

Note: GreaseMonkey is a very powerful tool. Be careful with the scripts you download/install. If you have any questions about the legitimacy of the script, confirm with author first.

  • 05/10/06:
This script adds a Wiki "comment" page directly to the user, group, or listing pages that you view on prosper.com. - cellardoor, norcal_cct. See a sample snapshot here.

I can be reached at addy.JPGabout this new wiki and prosper hack.

Please note that hack, in this context, does not connote or denote any form of illegal or TOS-violating behavior; rather, I also refer to as a hack, borrowers' use of their profiles, which were alterable, to complement their listings, which were inalterable short of withdrawal and relisting, as a stand in for the eBay-style Q&A so direly lacking.

Read more!