Looking for people to live with sucks. A Housing group on Facebook is a popular place to do this at UCSC. However, there are two problems.

First, there is no organization. The screenshots below are just of the first three posts I saw but they illustrate the problem pretty well. Posts provide scant information and no photos, and responses are a free-for-all of comments, messages, and sometimes emails.

Second, you have no idea if you would get along with these strangers. Applicants for on-campus housing fill out a questionnaire to be matched with roommates, shown below. These questions do a great job capturing all aspects that could make an unpleasant living situation.


(Partial) solution

In response to those issues, in 2014 I made a publicly-editable spreadsheet for people to find others to live with.

The spreadsheets includes basic information for each person followed by a questionnaire adapted from the on-campus housing application. Conditional formatting visualizes answers and a Google Apps Script automatically flags rows with incomplete information. After each summer, I archive the old sheet and publish a new one. 

Here's a zoomed out view:

Visibility problems

The housing spreadsheet is only useful if there are many entries in it.

For maximum visibility, the spreadsheet should be pinned to the top of the Facebook Housing group. That way people would see the spreadsheet instead of posting to the minimally-useful group.

The current pinned post links to UCSC's Community Rentals Office, which is a useful link to show prominently. I have asked the group administrator and the owner of the pinned post to include my spreadsheet in order to help the most people. They resisted.

Because of limited visibility, the spreadsheet has never reached its full potential.