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Project Ocelot social changes: An introduction

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1timspalding
Edited: Jul 6, 2007, 1:35pm Top

So, we're working on a number of feature changes—we hope to release many of them early next week, with a clear path to the rest. I want to lay them out here.

Please read: We want feedback, but I also want people to understand that describing features isn't the same as using them. Change is scary, but I ask you to keep an open mind and put some trust in our motives.

Our motives are clear. We are absolutely commited to KEEPING THE BOOK CONNECTIONS PRIMARY. We are NOT becoming "just another social network." Not at all. I founded this site on book data and the connections between books and book lovers. I am uninterested in social networking per se—social networking without content. I am only interested in social networking if it deepens connections ABOUT something. We are not, and will never be MySpace.

Lastly, we can't please everyone. Every major change we've made has upset some members—from adding Amazon searching, to groups, to Talk. But every major change has also seen the site grow in size and interestingness for most members. We aren't going to be like the father and son with the donkey in Aesop. As I recall it, they take everyone's advice and end up carying their donkey over a bridge because someone says it's tired, but the donkey slips and drowns. (I took seven years of Greek but I'm actually remembering that from a children's version!)

We are aiming to solve the following problems:

1. The moment we made it possible to make public contacts, MOST new contacts were public. But our current one-way no-notice contacts are not working. They are both not social enough, because users don't know when they've been contacted, and too social, because users can become "contacts" of someone without their knowledge or permission, and they can't stop people from becoming their "contacts" without making their whole library private.

2. Members have no way of keeping up with people on LibraryThing, except member by member. I can't keep up with the books my friends are reading, or follow new books in my favorite classics libraries. I can only keep up with the reveiws people are writing about the books I already have. That's interesting, but it's not everything.

3. Members are connected in all sorts of ways OUTSIDE LibraryThing—the "also ons" have all sorts of connections between members on LJ or Last.fm or whatever, but VERY few of these connections are also on LibraryThing. In many case, members are unaware that their friends are even ON LibraryThing. They're not sharing a love of books. They're reading their bowling books alone, as it were.

All of these problems are or key off problems identified by members—a lack of privacy controls, confusion over what "contacts" is and does, bafflement that LibraryThing lacks the sort of features that have become common on the web.

In brief, the functionality will:

1. Allow "real" friends (friend requests require the other person to accept it). Members will be able to disable friend requests, member-by-member or generally.

2. Allow "interesting libraries," which is a one-way pointer, and "private watch list," which is a private one-way pointer.

3. Allow you to follow recent ratings and reviews of your friends and the libraries you find interesting.

4. Allow for modulated privacy—not just totally private or totally public, but private books, and controls to allow friends to see your library.

5. A page for much more detailed information on what you share with users—books, favorite authors, etc.—and what's been going on recently that might be of interest.

6. A rather cool use of "also on" to help members link up their identities more closely.

This is a lot to swallow, I know. It has been a massive project for Altay and me, and parts are still very much up in the air or only on the horizon. But the undergirding is there.

I'm going to post a few other messages, asking for specific advice.


PS: "Project Ocelot" is a joke name. It comes from the idea that Apple's OS X version—"Panther" and "Tiger"—will have, if they continue the principle, to include OS X Ocelot. It has no other meaning, and in fact I've posted to Twitter about Project Ocelot meaning different things at different times.

2readafew
Jul 6, 2007, 2:08pm Top

I had to go away for half an hour after reading this and expected a long list of responses.

I don't see any of them as absolutely 'necessary' but I think they will ALL be USEFUL and I expect I will be using them.

Can't wait!

3_Zoe_
Jul 6, 2007, 2:10pm Top

I'm also surprised there aren't more responses.

Maybe it's because everything here seems good and fairly non-controversial.

4MerryMary
Jul 6, 2007, 2:11pm Top

Also: people would rather complain about icons!!

5_Zoe_
Jul 6, 2007, 2:12pm Top

Well, that's because the proposed icons are bad!

6MikeBriggs
Jul 6, 2007, 2:14pm Top

Yes, I agree. Do not see anything to fear here :)

7MerryMary
Jul 6, 2007, 2:14pm Top

I like Tim's icons best, but I do understand his sanity concerns. :-)

8MikeBriggs
Jul 6, 2007, 2:16pm Top

I'm confused. Was there mention of icons in the message before it was edited?

9MerryMary
Jul 6, 2007, 2:18pm Top

Look for another thread called "Project Ocelot social changes: Icons?" Tim says it takes him too long to design icons and the process interfers with his mental health!

10hailelib
Jul 6, 2007, 2:18pm Top

Mike, there's a separate message about icons and proposed changes that we are referencing here.

11Katissima
Jul 6, 2007, 2:21pm Top

I'm excited about the new changes (especially as concerned with privacy). Any idea when we might get to start playing with them?

12MikeBriggs
Jul 6, 2007, 2:21pm Top

Yes, I know :) I've commented in that thread. Was just wondering why this one was filling up with talk about icons, and thought maybe there was something I had missed. The first message does say it was edited :)

13timspalding
Jul 6, 2007, 2:25pm Top

Privacy? We're not changing privacy. We're changing piracy. Arrr!

14kelsey
Jul 6, 2007, 2:25pm Top

huzzah!

15MikeBriggs
Jul 6, 2007, 2:27pm Top

Yes, and we must each search out and Steal this book. Because, hey, we are all pirates now.

16sabreuse
Jul 6, 2007, 2:28pm Top

Oh, fine, but I'm not giving up the sword and the swishy hat!

17readafew
Jul 6, 2007, 2:30pm Top

Wow that changed fast, It's getting a little attention now!

18timspalding
Jul 6, 2007, 2:31pm Top

But none on the features. Anyway, it hasn't yet gotten the "I'm leaving and taking my ball with me" response I anticipated.

19readafew
Jul 6, 2007, 2:36pm Top

No news is good news?

20LolaWalser
Jul 6, 2007, 2:40pm Top

5. A page for much more detailed information on what you share with users—books, favorite authors, etc.—and what's been going on recently that might be of interest.

Any chance this might include other user's network?

21timspalding
Jul 6, 2007, 2:41pm Top

>Any chance this might include other user's network?

I'm not sure. What would you want? Shared friends, maybe. I'm not sure "books your friends' friends are reading" is that attractive.

22Katissima
Jul 6, 2007, 2:48pm Top


2. Members have no way of keeping up with people on LibraryThing, except member by member. I can't keep up with the books my friends are reading, or follow new books in my favorite classics libraries. I can only keep up with the reveiws people are writing about the books I already have. That's interesting, but it's not everything.

(This is great! Way to keep the book connections primary, Tim!)

3. Members are connected in all sorts of ways OUTSIDE LibraryThing—the "also ons" have all sorts of connections between members on LJ or Last.fm or whatever, but VERY few of these connections are also on LibraryThing. In many case, members are unaware that their friends are even ON LibraryThing. They're not sharing a love of books. They're reading their bowling books alone, as it were.

(Don't really understand how this is going to work, but sounds very nice!)

All of these problems are or key off problems identified by members—a lack of privacy controls, confusion over what "contacts" is and does, bafflement that LibraryThing lacks the sort of features that have become common on the web.

(I've started to wonder about privacy on LT, as I have been playing around with Facebook. I've heard complaints that Facebook's privacy settings are so complicated that people can't use them, but I think it is great to have complex privacy controls. I think most people fall somewhere in between the binary states of "I want to share no information" and "I want to share all information." As a user of a service, I am becoming more and more of the opinion that I should be able to control my data and how much of it I display.)

In brief, the functionality will:

1. Allow "real" friends (friend requests require the other person to accept it). Members will be able to disable friend requests, member-by-member or generally.

(Can't someone come up with some other term than "friend." It just seems so juvenile! I mean Tim, I am going to be heart broken if you don't want to be my "friend." I'm just saying up front...*grin*)

2. Allow "interesting libraries," which is a one-way pointer, and "private watch list," which is a private one-way pointer.

(Library spy! The icon for this should clearly be some shifty looking guy with dark glasses and a hat.)

3. Allow you to follow recent ratings and reviews of your friends and the libraries you find interesting.

4. Allow for modulated privacy—not just totally private or totally public, but private books, and controls to allow friends to see your library.

(see above)

23LolaWalser
Jul 6, 2007, 2:50pm Top

I'm not sure. What would you want?

The ability to view other user's shared books network, like before.

24sabreuse
Jul 6, 2007, 2:55pm Top

These features are just the kind of thing I was hoping for when contacts first came in -- although I'm not sure I see the point in having both a watchlist and interesting libraries.

I haven't used the contacts feature much (at least not since the moment I jumped on the button to make my watchlist public) because it doesn't do anything. I have a ton of livejournal friends because my friends page is an easy way to keep up with all of their blogs, as well as being a handy RSS aggregator, as well as the list giving me very fine-grained privacy controls.

(Similarly, I give things star ratings on Amazon a lot because there's an immediate effect on the quality of my recommendations. I've hardly used them at all here because they, umm, add to a green bar on a bar chart...?)

It sounds like Ocelot is the kind of contacts feature that could really add to the LT experience. And I can also see the point of keeping a separate bookmark list. But two bookmark lists that don't really do anything just seems to muddy the waters.

But mostly I wasn't talking much about the features because, hey, pirates!

25lilithcat
Jul 6, 2007, 2:57pm Top

> 18

it hasn't yet gotten the "I'm leaving and taking my ball with me" response I anticipated.

Well, it's no skin off my nose if people want to socialize! Perhaps the lack of a sniffy response is because those of us who don't see those things as a necessary (or even important) part of this site also don't have any objection if they exist for others, as long as it doesn't affect our use of the site.

Even if we would rather see improved cataloguing functionality. ;-))

26timspalding
Jul 6, 2007, 3:03pm Top

>Katissima

Lovers, maybe?

>The ability to view other user's shared books network, like before.

Ah, I see. Yes, as said, I think that's coming back sooner rather than later. It might be on this page, however, not on every profile every time you hit it.

>I haven't used the contacts feature much (at least not since the moment I jumped on the button to make my watchlist public) because it doesn't do anything

Exactly.

>It sounds like Ocelot is the kind of contacts feature that could really add to the LT experience. And I can also see the point of keeping a separate bookmark list. But two bookmark lists that don't really do anything just seems to muddy the waters.

The point is, one is you publically saying "check this out." The user can know that you think that. The other is you marking library as interesting while still maintaining your anonymity. Obviously, they map to the current public contacts and private watchlist.

> ;-))

Is that a double chin? A turtleneck?

27infiniteletters
Jul 6, 2007, 3:13pm Top

"Ah, I see. Yes, as said, I think that's coming back sooner rather than later. It might be on this page, however, not on every profile every time you hit it."

Just add a link so we can see it from the profile. That's all I want (for that part). ;)

28Katissima
Jul 6, 2007, 3:16pm Top

I didn't mean juvenile in quite that way!

29sabreuse
Edited: Jul 6, 2007, 3:23pm Top

>The point is, one is you publically saying "check this out." The user can know that you think that. The other is you marking library as interesting while still maintaining your anonymity. Obviously, they map to the current public contacts and private watchlist.

Yeah, I understand the distinction you're making -- but I'm not sure the functional difference between the two features is great enough to risk confusing the mental map of what this does vs. what that does, not to mention further cluttering the ever-growing menus/icon lists in profiles.

30LolaWalser
Jul 6, 2007, 3:25pm Top

I think that's coming back sooner rather than later.

moderately cautious "yay!"

31myshelves
Jul 6, 2007, 3:34pm Top

I'm with Katissima on the "friends" thing.

I'm not really unsociable, and I do like (some) people. But I nearly threw up when I got a message saying "X has listed you as his friend on ___.com! If you are X's friend, click here."

I don't object to the idea of connections, but it has been a long time since I left high school, and I have no desire to go back.

Members will be able to disable friend requests, member-by-member or generally.

Oh, great. We already have people throwing tantrums about being blocked.

How about: "Add to your LT network"?

32Katissima
Jul 6, 2007, 3:55pm Top

I'm glad someone agrees with me! I think something with thingamabrarian it...

Thingamabrarian x wants to add you their contact list!

Of course, then people would be up in arms about the use of their as a single neutral pronoun :) You just can't please all the thingamabrarians all the time!

(I'm in favor of anything that has the word "thingamabrarian" in it.)

Tim, did you really think "project ocelot" wasn't going to go over well?

33myshelves
Jul 6, 2007, 4:05pm Top

I'm glad someone agrees with me!

Oh yes. I keep picturing an icon with "BFF. "

"They killed Kenny!"

34DaynaRT
Jul 6, 2007, 4:10pm Top

PS: "Project Ocelot" is a joke name

Looking at the Twitter archives...

librarythingtim
*Working on Project Lemur. 08:43 PM May 14, 2007
*Wait, I need a cat name. Project Tabby? 08:46 PM May 14, 2007

Gewurztraminer (that's me)
*librarythingtim - Project Ocelot 08:32 PM May 14, 2007

Now, should I ask for royalties or is a flat fee the better way to go? :)

35ExVivre
Jul 6, 2007, 4:12pm Top

Put me down for a "Yay! Features!" I don't know if I'd use half of them, but I won't know 'til I've tried.

As for "friends," I don't care if it's kept or not, but I'll point out it's used generically enough that it'll have a lower learning curve for new users.

36sabreuse
Jul 6, 2007, 4:13pm Top

>34 DaynaRT:, Always go for the percentage.

37Katissima
Jul 6, 2007, 4:14pm Top

This is what it should say in the manner of MySpace talk:

OMG! Myshelves, Katissima SO wants to be your BFF!!! xxooxxxoo ♥

38Katissima
Jul 6, 2007, 4:14pm Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

39infiniteletters
Jul 6, 2007, 4:26pm Top

Seconds 35.

40_Zoe_
Jul 6, 2007, 4:31pm Top

I agree that friends is the most easily-understandable for the new user, and I don't have a problem with the word at all.

41infiniteletters
Jul 6, 2007, 4:37pm Top

Now if it was Best Friends Forever or the mock myspace speak in 37... *steeples fingers* Things would happen. And not good things.

42Morphidae
Jul 6, 2007, 5:01pm Top

I don't mind friends either - just not "peeps." Ugh. I signed up for some software then almost immediately canceled my account because they used that word.

43SqueakyChu
Edited: Jul 6, 2007, 5:08pm Top

I like Katissima's wording "library spy" instead of "interesting libraries". It's short and to the point. ;-)

44SilentInAWay
Edited: Jul 6, 2007, 9:41pm Top

Referring back to your original message, Tim:

In Problem 2, you speak of a desire to follow new books in my favorite classics libraries. Does this mean that you will be adding a list of "books recently added by your friends / interesting libraries" or are you imagining some other way of solving this problem -- in your functionality list, you only speak of following recent ratings and reviews (#3). I too would love it if there were an easy way to track new book additions for specific members. Will there be a page specifically dedicated to information about friends and libraries and interests?

Your functionality list describes a page for much more detailed information on what you share with users—books, favorite authors, etc. (#5). From your description, I am assuming that this "connections" page would describe relationships with any non-private libraries (not just those that are listed as my friends or libraries of interest). There are, of course, many cool lists you could put on a page like this, such as

-- a list of members who have recently read books recently read by you (based on the Ended date, when entered). This has been requested several times, I think.
-- a list of members who have similar interests (based on tags and subjects), but completely different libraries (based on works). As I have stated elsewhere, there are few joys greater than finding a library that reflects similar tastes, but has completely different books!

I know that there is a separate discussion of collections, but I would just like to chime in and request the ability to invoke this new connections page based on subsets of my library -- ideally, based on any filter that I can apply when viewing books in the catalog window (tagged books, search results, shared books, etc.).

45LolaWalser
Edited: Jul 6, 2007, 6:25pm Top

I too would love it if there were an easy way to track new book additions for specific members.

This is already possible if you view/sort the catalogues by "entry date" (and then most recent). (There's also the view in the RSS feed box on the profiles.)

What I would like is the ability to see which of MY newly added books are shared with someone without having to go through the entire list of shared books.

ETA: Yes, this used to be possible back when we had network surfing, at least for the users on your weighted/raw lists.

46timspalding
Jul 6, 2007, 6:35pm Top

>In Problem 2, you speak of a desire to follow new books in my favorite classics libraries. Does this mean that you will be adding a list of "books recently added by your friends / interesting libraries" or are you imagining some other way of solving this problem -- in your functionality list, you only speak of following recent ratings and reviews (#3).

Yes.

>I too would love it if there were an easy way to track new book additions for specific members. Will there be a page specifically dedicated to information about friends and libraries and interests?

I think so. Clearly there will be an RSS feed, but I want a page that's easy to take in quickly.

>There are, of course, many cool lists you could put on a page like this...

I like your ideas. But I don't think adding "ending dates" will EVER be even a decent-minority thing. Entry and when you rate/star is solid. Entry dates are fiddly.

>a list of members who have similar interests (based on tags and subjects), but completely diffent libraries (based on works). As I have stated elsewhere, there are few joys greater than finding a library that reflects similar tastes, but has completely different books!

This is interesting, but can also expose with tags. Users can share lots of books tagged "classics" and "leather."

>ETA: Yes, this used to be possible back when we had network surfing, at least for the users on your weighted/raw lists.

Really? It didn't compare users against your recent books—only ALL your books.

47MikeBriggs
Jul 6, 2007, 6:43pm Top

re: "I like your ideas. But I don't think adding "ending dates" will EVER be even a decent-minority thing. Entry and when you rate/star is solid. Entry dates are fiddly."

Please do not ever remove the date fields :) (starting/ending)

48LolaWalser
Edited: Jul 6, 2007, 6:52pm Top

Really? It didn't compare users against your recent books—only ALL your books.

I have to explain this using finger puppets.

Assume users A and B, who appear(ed) on each other's shared books lists (weighted or raw). Their shared books used to be viewable in parentheses as (some number/ some number) on both profiles.

Clicking on the parentheses on one or the other profile displayed their shared books collection by either A's or B's most recently added.

Now we can't do that.

So, for example, if I add a bunch of books, and a few are shared with another user, I can't tell which books these are without reading the entire list of our shared books. Now when I click on the sole remaining shared books parenthesis (on my own profile), OR if I click on "see the books you share" on the other user's catalogue, I get the same listing--that user's most recently added.

edited for, I hope, more clarity

49nperrin
Jul 6, 2007, 6:53pm Top

But I don't think adding "ending dates" will EVER be even a decent-minority thing.

People might use them if they were more functional...like if we had a timeline, or the feature suggested by SilentInAWay in 41.

50ssd7
Jul 6, 2007, 7:11pm Top

This all sounds awesome to me. I can't wait for more social features.

51branadain
Edited: Jul 6, 2007, 7:49pm Top

Re: 49

I didn't even realize there was an ending date field, but I would certainly use it if it generated a longterm timeline of what I've read.

52ioet
Jul 6, 2007, 8:10pm Top

I agree with 49 and 51 - it's always interesting to know what people have been reading recently, and the easier this can be done, the better.

53hailelib
Jul 6, 2007, 8:58pm Top

I read a lot of pieces and do a lot of rereading so I simply don't bother with those date fields. How many members actually fill them in?

54VisibleGhost
Jul 6, 2007, 9:09pm Top

I don't think the proposed changes are harmful. As for me?

*imagine neat lone wolf icon*
VisibleGhost is a LT lone wolf. All entreaties, bribes and invitations to become your 'friend/contact/buddy' will be ignored, not out of malice but with stolid indifference so VisibleGhost can continue the pursuit of a solitary, sometimes lonely, but peaceful and quiet journey to discover if there really is a dog or not.

55SilentInAWay
Jul 6, 2007, 9:45pm Top

45> This is already possible if you view/sort the catalogues by "entry date"

That's how I do it now too -- I was just hoping for a less work-intensive way to do this (I'm assuming that the number of libraries that I follow will grow over time).

56timspalding
Jul 6, 2007, 10:02pm Top

The trick with watching libraries is that there are two ways things enter, en masse and in some rough cronological order of reading. The former tends to happen first, and is a firehose.

57SilentInAWay
Edited: Jul 6, 2007, 10:08pm Top

46> I don't think adding "ending dates" will EVER be even a decent-minority thing. Entry and when you rate/star is solid. Entry dates are fiddly.

Interesting...I would have said the opposite--that ending dates are solid, if underused, and that entry dates and star rating dates are shaky.

Ending dates can tell you who has recently read the same books that you have. Entry dates would tell you who has recently catalogued the same books that you have--not even remotely as interesting, in my opinion. It wouldn't even tell as anything about when the book was bought (e.g., midnight on July 21), since someone might not get around to cataloguing it until later.

I didn't even know that LT keeps track of when you rate/star a book? I suppose that's useful if you rate the book close to the time that you finish reading it. I suspect that many members rate previously-read books as they enter them into their catalogs, however.

I'd rather have useful information based on underused features than questionable information based on heavily used features. As nperrin pointed out, ending dates might become more popular if they could be used for something more than sorting a catalog (which, incidentally, is fun to do -- I love seeing what I was reading 5, 10, 20 years ago). In addition to a "who else read what you just read" list, a graph could appear on the fun statistics page (like the ones on the right). Also, it would be helpful if there were a fast and easy way to set this field to today's date for any given book (with a minimum of navigation).

I don't mean to go on about this -- it's nowhere near the top of my LT wish list -- but I do imagine that this would be somewhat useful to a relatively large number of members.

58SilentInAWay
Jul 6, 2007, 10:15pm Top

>56 timspalding:

Ah, I'm beginning to see one difference in the way we are thinking, Tim. Although I'm still "firehosing" in my existing library (although my efforts are losing pressure over time), I also enter other books as I buy them (not as I read them). For me, LT is documenting my physical library, the books that I have sitting on shelves and in boxes, read or unread. Occasionally I read a book immediately after buying it, but this is the exception rather than the rule. So, for me at least, entry date will probably never reflect when I read a book.

59myshelves
Jul 6, 2007, 10:25pm Top

I might use those date fields if they didn't require day, month, year. I actually know in what year I read some of my books. (A number of them even have the year penciled in.) But I think it would look pretty strange to show that I read 150 books on Jan 1, 1988, even assuming that I didn't have a hangover. I've never cared about the exact date on which I started or finished a book (often the same day anyway), and still don't.

60SilentInAWay
Jul 6, 2007, 10:30pm Top

I do that too -- although I usually know (or can guess) the month.

61_Zoe_
Jul 6, 2007, 11:38pm Top

I don't think adding "ending dates" will EVER be even a decent-minority thing.

Well, as other people have said before me, more people would use it if it had more functionality. I think it would be amazing to be able to see who had recently read a given book.

I also enter other books as I buy them (not as I read them).

So do I, and the two dates usually aren't even close.

62Katissima
Jul 7, 2007, 1:20am Top

Since I reread books all the time (and I find as I get older I reread even more than I used to, as I am pickier about what I will spend time reading), I would need to be able to put in multiple begin/end dates for a book. A time line would be a great "gee whiz" feature though. Since my library does reflect books that I have read (not necessarily that I own), I am convinced that it would be much more impressive if I could indicate how I read every Anne McCaffrey book ten times when I was 15 or every Georgette Heyer five times when I was 21 or every Lord Peter Book half a dozen times when I was 25...etc.!

63Noisy
Edited: Jul 7, 2007, 5:25am Top

Of all the proposed ideas on this page (including the meaningless new social networking features), providing new functionality around the start/end dates sounds by far the most exciting. Here's my proposal for the profile page:

Library movements in the last days
Acquired

Started

Finished

Offered

Disposed

64edwinbcn
Jul 7, 2007, 6:57am Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

65_Zoe_
Jul 7, 2007, 7:28am Top

I've only been keeping track of date read since I got LT about a year ago, and I haven't reread any books in that time, but when I do I plan to just enter another copy.

66Bookmarque
Jul 7, 2007, 8:32am Top

#53 - I read a lot of pieces and do a lot of rereading so I simply don't bother with those date fields. How many members actually fill them in?

I do although I wish they had more usability than just sorting by date read. A timeline is good as is the ability to see when others had read or are reading a particular book. This feature would be especially handy when scoping a potential book to read as many who have read it did so long ago, or didn't record a review, etc. If I knew that the tastes & sensibilities of a particular user were similar to my own, that would make their thumbs up or down even more valuable.

67oregonobsessionz
Jul 7, 2007, 8:53am Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

68oregonobsessionz
Jul 7, 2007, 8:54am Top

I don’t care much about all the social friendly stuff, as long as we still have private watch lists. I do watch a few libraries privately. These people have interesting books, but they are not active in talk, and I suspect they would regard a ‘friend” invite with at least as much horror/dismay/aversion as I would. Maybe VisibleGhost’s lone wolf icon should be one of the options.

I agree with SilentInAWay regarding the use of entry dates vs. ending dates. I am near the end of the “fire hose” stage of data entry. After noticing that some titles (that I know I have) do not appear in my LT catalog, I went searching for boxes in the garage. I can’t imagine why other Thingamabrarians would want to know that I recently cataloged some books that I haven’t even seen in the past 10 years.

Myshelves has a very good point about the lack of fuzzy dates. I have entered exact acquisition, start, and completion dates for books I have acquired and/or read since joining LT, but the year alone would have been adequate. For anything prior to 2007, I have no idea of the actual date read (or acquired, unless I left the receipt in the book). I can guess the years for those I read immediately after purchase, but these are exceptions. I used tags for these, because I was not able enter just the year in the end date.

Like LolaWalser, I miss the “Users With Your {their} Books” list on other users’ profiles more than I had expected. If it came to a choice between getting back UWYB, or having all of these new social things, I would definitely vote for the return of UWYB.

One other thing…private books are mentioned, but nothing was said about private comments. I hope that is still in the works.

69BTRIPP
Edited: Jul 7, 2007, 9:05am Top

I find this "date read" thing amusing ... my first reaction is "how silly!" until I realize that my WHOLE library is organized on "date read". I guess I just have a problem with filling in those boxes on the work-edit.php page (just like how I aggressively rate books on Amazon and NEVER rate books on L.T.).

As it is, the ONLY tagging I use involves "date read" (or, in my tag scheme "finished"), and shelf position ("filed"), the latter being equivalent to the former for the latter half of my library (as I've been in the habit of shelving my books in the order read for well over a decade). I'm then able to sort on the tag field and have my L.T. collection show up exactly in the order it appears on my shelves, making it very easy for me to locate any given book.

70lilithcat
Jul 7, 2007, 9:46am Top

The only date I need is "date acquired".

Far more useful than dates would be "where acquired" and "cost".

71lilithcat
Jul 7, 2007, 9:47am Top

> 63

What do you mean by "offered" and "disposed"?

72bluetyson
Jul 7, 2007, 9:51am Top

Sounds reasonable.

Project Ocelot? Hope you aren't doing this in a Catwoman outfit!

:)

73rebeccanyc
Jul 7, 2007, 10:21am Top

#58, Ditto about entry date reflecting either when I initially entered my library or when I bought a book -- no relationship to when I read the book (or whether I have read it at all). I don't use the other date fields (start, finish) and probably won't. But I say this just to point out that different people use LT differently, and thus some of the "statistics" may be less meaningful than they appear.

But to go back to Tim's original post, I must say I expected to be horrified from his initial caveats, but everything he proposed seems fine to me. I would love a word other than "friends" though!

And I second whoever it was who hoped this attention to social features would not distract LT too much from improving cataloging features (especially, from my point of view, multiple "authors" and better ways to separate authors with the same name than disambiguation notices).

74Noisy
Jul 7, 2007, 10:37am Top

>71 lilithcat:

This idea is from a month or two ago, and with a memory like mine, the meaning I'm now offering is probably different to what I originally had in mind.

I think that "Offered" is for when a book is made available for swapping, and "Disposed" is for when it leaves your 'physical' library by being swapped or sold. I think these ideas probably came about when people were asking for more swapping functionality in LT.

(I, personally, couldn't imagine of disposing a book: I still know that four of MY books are out there - sitting on someone else's shelves.)

75SqueakyChu
Jul 7, 2007, 12:12pm Top

I think "offered" is somewhat confusing. Offered to whom? To a specific person? To anyone who requests it? To a swap site?

"Disposed" sounds bad. It sounds as if the book had been tossed in the trash. I can't think of another word, though. Perhaps "withdrawn" or "removed"? By the way, my county uses "disposed" for any property no longer belonging to a business. So, perhaps, that is a good term after all (if you like taxing entities)!

76SqueakyChu
Jul 7, 2007, 12:14pm Top

I have a question about "date read".

I often have more than one copy of the same book as I like to give away duplicates to other BookCrossers. Do I put the same dates read for both copies of the book or just for the copy which I actually read?

Your thoughts?

77nperrin
Jul 7, 2007, 12:30pm Top

By the way, my county uses "disposed" for any property no longer belonging to a business. So, perhaps, that is a good term after all (if you like taxing entities)!

This is exactly how I interpreted the original mention - I edit financial accounting literature, so this is definitely what "disposed" means for me. I actually like the term for this purpose, because it encompasses just about any way you'd stop owning something. That said, I'm not sure I would care enough for this to be a date field...if it was, I would definitely use it though.

78nnii
Jul 7, 2007, 1:27pm Top

Someone who is being watched on a private watchlist may have an interest in a display that shows a private user has marked their library. That gives the user the information to decide whether they like how exposed their collection is to attention.

79AngelaB86
Jul 7, 2007, 2:04pm Top

"Someone who is being watched on a private watchlist may have an interest in a display that shows a private user has marked their library."

They have a feature on www.43things.com where you can subscribe to someone, and your profile will tell you how many people are subscribed to you, but it's completely anonymous. I really like it, something like that on LT would be cool.

80_Zoe_
Jul 7, 2007, 7:05pm Top

That gives the user the information to decide whether they like how exposed their collection is to attention.

I think they should already be aware of what it means for a library to be public. It would be irritating to add someone to your watchlist, only to have them get a notification about it and immediately make their library private.

81nnii
Edited: Jul 7, 2007, 8:08pm Top

Irritating to you. To them, it's irritating that you would watch over the collection they have public either because (1) it's the default or (2) they didn't think anyone would be in a position to be notified what books they're adding when. Think of it as the difference between being incidentally seen while standing in a public plaza and having someone standing before you staring at you in a public plaza. This is a question of the acceptable degree of privacy, and that varies a great deal among people.

I just wanted to add that I really disagree with Zoe's philosophy that priority goes to the person who wants information about another--definitely not, the priority goes to the person who is giving up information about themselves to others. If the site went in Zoe's direction, it would be much less attractive. Edit again: on that note, people should have a profile option to not permit them to be added to others' watchlists.

82myshelves
Jul 7, 2007, 9:28pm Top

The catalogs, the tags, the talk, are all being picked up by the busy little Google spiders. You can't get much more public than that. Even some of the "private" stuff gets picked up; I've seen on google how I tagged books, and recently spotted one of my reviews.

83_Zoe_
Jul 7, 2007, 10:25pm Top

Well, I really disagree with the concept of babying people who use the internet ignorantly. I think people need to realize that anything they put online in a public place is available for everyone to see. The onus should be on the user to protect their own information; otherwise they're just forming bad habits that could actually harm them when it really matters.

I think a more suitable analogy is someone who dresses provocatively in public, and then complains and tries to cover up when they catch someone looking.

84timspalding
Edited: Jul 7, 2007, 10:37pm Top

Catching up.

>dates

I'm not dismissing it, but working on entry dates is not high on my list of new features. I want to start with a few things that make the social aspect "work." And there are already possibilities, probably starting with recent reviews.

>One other thing…private books are mentioned, but nothing was said about private comments. I hope that is still in the works.

You can leave private comments now, but I'll be adding a "friends only" comments option. >They have a feature on www.43things.com where you can subscribe to someone, and your profile will tell you how many people are subscribed to you, but it's completely anonymous. I really like it, something like that on LT would be cool.

Hmm...

>I just wanted to add that I really disagree with Zoe's philosophy that priority goes to the person who wants information about another--definitely not, the priority goes to the person who is giving up information about themselves to others. If the site went in Zoe's direction, it would be much less attractive. Edit again: on that note, people should have a profile option to not permit them to be added to others' watchlists.

I'm going to have to disagree with this. You can already get an RSS feed of users' new reviews, books, etc. You can combine the RSS feeds if you want to, through third-party services like Yahoo Tubes. And you can get it all by watching their pages. If a library is public, allowing people to slice and dice how they see it is a service, not an invasion.

85myshelves
Jul 7, 2007, 10:46pm Top

Tim,

I think oregonobsessionz was talking about a private field in one's catalog for comments, notes, whatever. Wasn't that supposed to be coming very soon?

86nnii
Edited: Jul 7, 2007, 11:51pm Top

Ick, Internet. I think information services such as this should be designed in such a way as to offer much more control over personal information, but yes, I guess this is a trivial disagreement given accepted practice and what's already possible.

87infiniteletters
Jul 7, 2007, 11:59pm Top

nnii: that would be known as a "private library", or keeping it offline. Most of the point of LibraryThing is the personal connections.

88DaynaRT
Jul 8, 2007, 12:04am Top

Most of the point of LibraryThing is the personal connections.

I have to disagree. Books trump people. At least that's why and how I use LT.

89infiniteletters
Edited: Jul 8, 2007, 12:13am Top

fleela: I was meaning the parts about who shares your books, how popular your books are, etc.

LT is not all about Groups and Talk, or watchlists, but they're still useful.

90nnii
Edited: Jul 8, 2007, 12:20am Top

infiniteletters, making a library private is all but quitting, and I like having my library open to viewers other than, say, Googlebot. It's nothing special to ask for some differentiation. But if Tim isn't considering it, then I think this is just getting the thread off-topic, so...

91VisibleGhost
Jul 8, 2007, 12:26am Top

#86 Info on the internet is now measured in trillions of pieces of data. With billions more added daily. Some of it will show up on Google and other places Sure it's out there but how many people can a dedicated stalker stalk? The stuff on LT is buried among the trillions and trillions of other things cached on the net in one place or another. I'm sure the NSA has stored the whole site and every thing ever posted here in one or more of their databases but odds of a real live human reading just a fraction of it is very remote. Our libraries are 'lost' in a vast sea of internet generated information. Sure, anyone can pick up a cyber-stalker but one can also pick up a real world stalker just by going to the grocery store. Just don't list your Gutenberg Bible on LT if you don't want the world to know you have one. BTW, really rare books are inventoried, censused and tracked by ownership and have been for a long time. If one wants to know who owns them and when they bought and what they paid for them the info is out there. Look through American Book Prices Current for an example.

92timspalding
Jul 8, 2007, 12:48am Top

>Private comments

Ah. Sorry. I had private profile comments on the brain.

>Most of the point of LibraryThing is the personal connections.
>I have to disagree. Books trump people. At least that's why and how I use LT.

Both are right. The community is arrayed along a spectrum, from pure cataloging to pure socializing. People tend to move to the latter over time, but it's a partial and gradual shift. We hope to improve the social aspect somewhat, without casting aside the basis on which all the socializing takes place—books and book data.

There's a middle-point too. Much of the interaction of non-social based on social data. Browsing other's lbiraries, tags, recommendations, etc. They would be impossible without the social system, but nobody needs to talk to nobody.

>I'm sure the NSA has stored the whole site...

I sincerely doubt. Spidering activity of that scale would be noticed. Only two or three companies and the Internet Archive even try to index everything. I'd wager money they're not giving the NSA that data.

93VisibleGhost
Jul 8, 2007, 1:19am Top

*LT Headquarters door*

Knock Knock.

Who's there?

Your friendly NSA operative.

Whatya want?

We've been hearing a lot of hoo-haw about a subversive site corrupting the minds and thoughts of our young and old. Books are and have been an insidous negative influence on government's ability to pull the wool over the citizen's eyes. A whole site dedicated to books sounds ominous. Any comments?

94ryn_books
Jul 8, 2007, 1:26am Top

>Private comments

The ability to have private catalog comments would be useful to me. Private books less so, but I understand how important this feature is to others.

So, if a "Book" is marked private - therefore every field in our catalogues for that book is private, including the comment. Yes?

I think it would be too complex to have both 'private books' and later 'private comments' on public books. Too hard to manage.
So why not make the private books the only "Private Item" feature?

From the start, let people know that it's their private comment/private book/private review feature, and that if used, any field used for this book is de facto not visible to other viewers when they see the catalogue or look at the work etc. Other wise it's too hard for people managing their catalogues.

Also - can there be a visual clue? ie, if my private books were clearly shown in my catalogue viewing (eg, tint the whole catalogue line pale blue or something) - then I can tell at a glance which books can't be seen by others and turn on/turn off with one check box.
If that's not possible to colour, can the (assumed) privacy check box be available as an option to add to the styles, and also simple-sortable, Yes/No style to organise them. (ie, NOT like the current comments field).

When the by-item privacy is provided, I know of some private library users who'd happily turn off their private library, and provide the bulk of their books to the general view again.

Looking forward to seeing this the private books feature, however it works, and how it links to "and controls to allow friends to see your library".

Interesting stuff.

95timspalding
Jul 8, 2007, 1:34am Top

>ryn

Thanks. Very good points. Actually, private books is coming first. Once I nail down everything, private books will be completely opaque to others.

Friend controls are tricky. Book data comes out in all sorts of places. It can't be joining through a list of friends everywhere on everyone. It has to be only visible when you're actually IN their catalog. It's going to take some work on the margins (ie., libraries in groups).

Your color suggestion is a good one. It raises the whole problem with all these booleans people want. Having views that show X OR Y isn't hard. Showing them both, and indicating that's what's going on, is hard.

96ryn_books
Jul 8, 2007, 1:56am Top

Thanks Tim. Actually extending that suggestion, it would be good to have BOTH the colour AND the ability to sort on it.
Recently at work I got handed a 2,500 row excel file to work with where the nice person had coloured the rows of interest.. but there was no Yes/No column of why the colour was there for me to filter the rows on to do my analysis. Ouch.

97Heather19
Jul 8, 2007, 1:59am Top

While admitting that I've only skimmed over this thread, I read the OP and have to add my "oh, that sounds great!", also with a "don't know how much it'll affect me since I basically don't care much about socializing here, but I still like it!".

98jjwilson61
Jul 8, 2007, 2:18am Top

>94 ryn_books: At least one user has stated that if they had private catalog comments that they would change their library from private to public. I don't think it would be too complicated to have both.

99r.orrison
Edited: Jul 8, 2007, 3:25am Top

I've just skimmed through this thread, and have only a couple comments:

I use LibraryThing to catalog my books, the social features are secondary. I'd prefer to see the features in the collections topic implemented first.

Privacy: Assume anything you put on the internet is public. Assume it's archived forever. Assume Google can find it. If you want it private, don't put it on a publicly accessible server. If I objected to other people seeing what was in my library, I would use a database on my own PC. (Private comments would be nice, I would use them for things that I don't think are of interest to others. Nothing like "First edition, appraised at $10,000.")

The thing that first attracted me to LibraryThing as a way of cataloging my books was the suggestions based on shared libraries, though that was quickly swamped by books that I'd already read (borrowed from family members or libraries). So I had to add those books to my library... which brings me back to collections.

100myshelves
Edited: Jul 8, 2007, 8:34am Top

Wait a minute! :-) I said that I'd switch from private to public if we had a private comment or notes field. Using a private books option where I want to record private notes would keep a large part of my library private!

I think it would be too complex to have both 'private books' and later 'private comments' on public books ... Other wise it's too hard for people managing their catalogues

Give me a break! Let's say that one field for every book is designated "Private Notes."
People who can read should be able to figure that out, and use it or not as they see fit.

101myshelves
Jul 8, 2007, 8:36am Top

Gosh, an optional preview function would sure be helpful for us non-html people who keep screwing up on the . :-)

102enthymeme
Jul 8, 2007, 8:52am Top

"Friends."

I thought this wasn't myspace? That's quite myspacey if you asked me. Scrap it please . . .

103ryn_books
Jul 8, 2007, 9:11am Top

re >100 myshelves:
the comment I wrote earlier of " I think it would be too complex to have both 'private books' and later 'private comments' on public books ... Other wise it's too hard for people managing their catalogues"

I wasn't meaning complex to choose which field to enter the comment. I agree that would be easy to figure out.

I thought it would be more complex to manage for someone looking at their own catalogue.
I imagined looking at my catalogue (with current display options) if it had both public and private books, plus some public-books-with-private comments.
And wondered how the status of each on-off could be visually communicated so that I accidentally didn't write a private comment in a public field (or vice versa if it was a work I'd intended for others to see).

It would be extra steps if I had to extra-click each work to remind myself what privacy setting that book or comment was when I'd entered it 6 months previously... that's why I thought in the long run it'd be more simple to keep the privacy setting by item, rather than by field.

I do like the idea of private comments, just didn't want the act of using that feature decrease the usability of managing my entire catalogue.

However you're absolutely right in that it's a choice on whether anyone uses any of these new features or not.

104myshelves
Edited: Jul 8, 2007, 9:25am Top

#103

You'd have Comments, and you'd also have "Private notes." All entries in "Private Notes" would be ... ta da ... Private. :-) You could show either or both or neither in your preferred catalog view.

105_Zoe_
Jul 8, 2007, 10:40am Top

I agree with myshelves that it would be easy to handle private comments if there were a separate field for them. There would be no extra clicking; you could just show the "private comments" field in your catalogue, along with the regular comments.

106myshelves
Jul 8, 2007, 11:21am Top

I think "Private Notes" might be better than having 2 "Comments" fields, to avoid confusion for those making entries in haste.

Is this "doable"? I thought Tim had said (to the user who nearly had a heart attack on learning that all Comments aren't private) that it was imminent.

107_Zoe_
Edited: Jul 8, 2007, 12:26pm Top

I thought so too, especially when he realized that lack of a private comments field was the only thing keeping some libraries private.

I'd actually prefer both fields to have a name including "comments", though, because I think the distinction between "comments" and "private comments" is more intuitive than that between "comments" and "private notes".

108infiniteletters
Jul 8, 2007, 12:27pm Top

I don't see any harm in having both Private Books & Private Comment features. Color or icons could distinguish them...

109myshelves
Jul 8, 2007, 12:36pm Top

#107,

Yeah. I'd been spending time cleaning up my catalog, expecting visitors soon. Oh well. Maybe some day.

110timspalding
Jul 8, 2007, 2:53pm Top

I need to clear something up with private comments. I'm down with the idea in theory, and yes, I am still committed to it. But I worry that it will confuse people. Review, public comments, private comments—it's just too many choices for most people, particularly coming to the site for the first time.

I don't think it's a coincidence that no other site has anything other than reviews. LibraryThing wants to do more—our members can handle it—but the thought of three fields all with different meanings... well, it just repells me in some way.

111nperrin
Jul 8, 2007, 3:14pm Top

110>

Would it be any less repellent if this was kept in the "Other Fields" part of the edit page so you wouldn't see it unless you wanted to? No other site has anything other than reviews for the same reason that most of them don't let you edit book info, search anything but amazon, or combine editions into "works" - because they are way, way less powerful, and thus way, way less useful, than LT.

PS-I would have thought three fields with the same meaning would be worse!

112_Zoe_
Jul 8, 2007, 4:11pm Top

I don't think it would be a problem for members coming to the site for the first time. At first glance, they would still only see the fields in the default catalogue view.

1139days
Jul 8, 2007, 4:22pm Top

I don't think it's a coincidence that no other site has anything other than reviews

Actually, anobii has a private notes feature, margin notes, per-book privating, and a bunch of other features others are asking for here (marking books as read, unread, loaned, condition notes, the ability to choose from tags you've already used, etc.).

Since LT seems like a bigger and better operation, I can't see why they can do it and LT can't.

114myshelves
Jul 8, 2007, 4:44pm Top

Judging from the large number of bizarre titles and author names ones sees while combining, a large % of people never use the edit page.

115oregonobsessionz
Jul 8, 2007, 7:21pm Top

>100 myshelves: myshelves

Wait a minute! :-) I said that I'd switch from private to public if we had a private comment or notes field. Using a private books option where I want to record private notes would keep a large part of my library private!

Same here. If it came to a choice between "private books" and "private comments", I would prefer the latter.

116timspalding
Jul 8, 2007, 8:31pm Top

True A does have those features. They miss some others—a lot of others I think are important—but I like them best when it comes to features. I hoped to work with them, but they won't answer our email, and then engaged in rapid, automatic scraping of our pages so that people could move their data over without even exporting and importing it.

I'm also annoyed about their Italian catalog—the reason why they've done well in Italy. They must have scraped it from bookstores, since it's not library data and there are no license notices anywhere on the site, such as one of the data providers would require. We've looked into the license situation with Italian data and there is no free source. I suppose its a risk they're wiling to take. Who would try suing a small Chinese company over a data license?

Finally, in case you're interested, they say they have a little over 1 million books, but when we do sampling (# on LT vs # on A), they appear to have far fewer, apparently because the majority of their books are in Chinese.

117SilentInAWay
Edited: Jul 8, 2007, 8:51pm Top

I just paid a quick visit to aNobii and clicked on one of the sample books on their home page -- The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman (here's the page that displayed).

aNobii listed the book as being owned by 25 members.

LT has 3038 copies.

I didn't bother looking any deeper.

1189days
Edited: Jul 8, 2007, 9:01pm Top

#116

True, aNobii is no LT. Not even close.

However (and I say this knowing that no member here will ever concede any advantage), aNobii does have one thing on LT: they listen to what members are asking for and then implement those changes promptly. It's pretty cool.

But, yeah, their social aspects are lacking. I think that for those people who are only looking for the cataloging aspect, aNobii propably has the upper hand. That is, if you don't mind entering a lot of books manually.

ETA: It does appear that aNobii is working on the social aspects. Not well, but there's effort.

119adrienne
Jul 9, 2007, 12:31am Top

Yeah, i HATE aNobii's interface, frankly, and what Tim says about their large-scale screenscraping just makes them bug me even more now that i know it. I won't be using them. But 9days has a good point.

I've been getting progressively more and more aggravated with LT's new focus on social-social-social -- oh, and selling the data to libraries and (soon) publishers -- to the exclusion of the cataloging features we've been promised for ages now. It seems like LT's business model has shifted to capitalizing on lots of free labor, and they've stopped caring about those of us who want to enter our books CORRECTLY.

Speaking of which -- Tim, why are the four sites listed as being run by you on the About page all seemingly spam domains?

120timspalding
Edited: Jul 9, 2007, 1:07am Top

> they listen to what members are asking for

As opposed to here.

So, all this discussion on Anobii, in which the developers are involved. It's happening, um, where? They blog about a new feature once or twice a month, get a few comments. Almost all their groups are in Chinese, or Italian. Their improvement group's last message? Three DAYS ago.

> looking for the cataloging aspect, aNobii propably has the upper hand.

Right, if you prefer to get your data from Amazon or to enter it all by hand, they're great.

> Spam domains

I need to deal with getting them back online.

> Cataloging

I'm sorry you feel this way. Cataloging is certainly the basis of what we do. LibraryThing is a very small company, dealing with more than ten times the volume of traffic and data as other companies, none of whom even pretend to get decent data although, as 9days notes, you can enter it by hand into some sites. I urge you to try these complaints at Shelfari. They don't appear to do any of the things you'd be interested in, and they have $1 million dollars from Amazon.

We need to revisit our data model, to deal with a bunch of changes. We have, however recentl secured—that is, licensed—access to the British Library and a large number of other libraries.

121adrienne
Jul 9, 2007, 3:35am Top

Tim,

Data is good. The thing is, none of the British library data, or any other licensing stuff, helps me (or a bunch of other people) until we can enter *multiple authors*. I'm just flatly not interested in having to mis-enter and tag every damn anthology and multiple-author work i own and then go back and deal with them AGAIN later.

Shelfari sucks -- what's your point? I don't see anyone around here being likely to argue with you on that one. :) But we know YOU guys can do BETTER. There's a "small improvements" thread -- which no member of the LT staff ever commented in, at all. Sure, you can't necessarily implement all that, but it might be nice to at least let people know you're listening.

LT follows *your* vision. And that's reasonable -- it's *your* company. But i don't think i'm alone in being REALLY disappointed at the overwhelming developer attention the "social" crap is getting when features i consider basic to being able to catalog my books keep getting shoved further and further to the back of the line.

122andyl
Jul 9, 2007, 4:49am Top

121>

Multiple authors do not cut it when it comes to anthologies. If you see author A and author B on a list of many other names for an anthology how do you know if that is a story by A and a story by B or a story written by A and B together? The only way to correctly solve that is by having a more expressive data model that can cope with works within books - which would also solve a few issues with omnibus editions. It would allow me to find a short story quickly, to review, comment and tag them as well. At the moment a lot of people have entered short stories as books.

Personally if I was running things that is probably one of the things I would concentrate on. However I'm not. Also it is something that no other cataloguing site does.

From a cataloguing pov I still think that LT has the edge - although people hammering their data to fit a model does result in lower quality for the entire LT meta-catalogue.

One of the main issues is that I think Tim has learnt that as the number of people grew and the day-to-day work of running a business grew he could not spend as much time developing as he would wish (hence Altay and John and adverts for more staff). Hopefully we are through that plateau where there was little visible development.

123Morphidae
Edited: Jul 9, 2007, 7:40am Top

You are aware that they are trying to hire a database guru, right? So we can get all our cataloging goodies? Don't knock them for moving LT forward where they can with their current skill set instead of waiting around.

124BTRIPP
Jul 9, 2007, 9:22am Top

Tim ...

In #121 above, adrienne raises a good point regarding "small improvements".

I seem to recall, just a couple of days ago, somebody in some thread had pointed out something somewhere which was not working the way it was supposed to, and you responded with a note that you'd just fixed it and how nice it was to have some small issue that could be crossed off the list, while otherwise being embroiled in Big Scary programming projects.

Perhaps keeping a list of those "small improvement" requests in 36pt tacked up on a wall at LT Central would provide a win-win situation where those little irritations that make users nuts could be addressed by you guys when needing to take a break when temporarily stymied in working on the "Big Stuff"!

To give two examples of long-going "small improvement" issues ... there is the "You have books by Author Name." lacuna on the author pages (which should, of course, read "You have ## books by Author Name.") ... and there are the "abandoned" parts of the Zeitgeist like the "1000 most prolific reviewers" list (on http://www.librarything.com/z_reviews.php which, by the way, still has a "broken" header) that has (judging from my figure there) not been updated since mid-January.

125DaynaRT
Jul 9, 2007, 9:45am Top

Add to #124 - the tag combining pages and the author picture flagging links are still broken.

1269days
Jul 9, 2007, 10:31am Top

Tim,

What I said earlier was *not* an attack on LT. Far from it. I even stated aNobii is no LT. Obviously, I'm here. But, like others, I can see some problems.

Anyhow, as for aNobii. No, it doesn't seem their blog is updated frequently. They take requests through the Contact form. When I first saw aNobii brought up here on LT, I checked it out, and then contacted them about a feature I thought they were lacking. I forgot about the site, went back a week later, and that feature had been implemented.

My point was that, as you mentioned, aNobii is a smaller site that is seriously lacking, yet they give customers the features they want. And they don't charge for membership, and are ad free. I was only wondering why LT can't do this, as it's obviously the bigger, better operation.

127infiniteletters
Jul 9, 2007, 10:57am Top

>why LT can't do this

Are you meaning features or always free accounts? ;) Last I checked, LT was ad-free.

128adrienne
Jul 9, 2007, 11:09am Top

AndyL -- yes, you're correct. I really want THAT set of features badly, too, and regard it as essential in the long-term. I have a LARGE number of omnibus editions and short story anthologies. But in the interim i'd be happy to at least be able to enter a bunch of the stuff with more than one author -- cowritten books and graphic novels (with an author, illustrator, etc.) and at least put the EDITORS of any given short-story anthology all down properly.

129andyl
Jul 9, 2007, 11:13am Top

127>

Also when LT had fewer members Tim was far more responsive to requests. It is typical of many sites that they reach a stable plateau as dealing with business and server scalability issues starts to eat more and more time. It can only be overcome with money for more staff (and that isn't instantaneous).

130VictoriaPL
Jul 9, 2007, 12:30pm Top

Personally, I'd like to see time devoted to creating a 'wishlist' feature over a 'friends' feature. But that's just my two cents. Isn't it nice to have such interest in a Talk thread? At least we know members care about LT or they wouldn't bother giving their input.

131andyl
Jul 9, 2007, 1:11pm Top

I think that Wishlist is coming as well. So be patient.

1329days
Jul 9, 2007, 1:22pm Top

At least we know members care about LT or they wouldn't bother giving their input.

Exactly. If people didn't care, they'd just pack up their library and move on. Constructive criticism should be valued for what it is, and not be taken as an occasion to go on the defensive.

Are you meaning features or always free accounts?

Features. I'm iffy about sites with free membership. That way, when I feel the need to bitch and moan, I remember that I'm a paying customer with a right to complain/suggest.

134Heather19
Jul 9, 2007, 4:29pm Top

I don't check this thread for two days and this is what happens? Wow. Lots to read through. lol

From what I've heard, the wishlist is definitely in the process, so in my mind it is crosses off the "I want/need" llist. I also agree very much with message 123. For the small group of people who run LT, this site is awesome! They pay attention and apologize and explain when things go wrong, they ask our input about new features, etc... The fact that they are trying to hire new workers shows that this place is expanding to the point where they need that, and any slow-down of responses or implemented features is most likely because of that.

I feel like I'm trying too hard to defend LT (the debater/lawyer in me), but basically I'm just putting out my opinion that this is an awesome place and I will wait patiently for any new features to be implemented.

Heather

135timspalding
Jul 9, 2007, 11:34pm Top

>Features. I'm iffy about sites with free membership. That way, when I feel the need to bitch and moan, I remember that I'm a paying customer with a right to complain/suggest.

I agree. I'm sorry to have snapped back there. It can get frustrating.

Anyway, I'm feeling better tonight. We've got a series of nasty problems going on, the worst of which has been the database. Well, we're up on the new database tonight, and while it's still "building cache," it's doing quite well with the load. So, basically, our database troubles are over for now—until the next big growth spurt...

136_Zoe_
Jul 9, 2007, 11:47pm Top

until the next big growth spurt...

When did you say you'd be introducing that Facebook application? ;)

137timspalding
Jul 10, 2007, 11:32am Top

We're working on it. This place is "Facebook central." I'm not actually doing that much, but we've got a developer up from Boston who's working on it. Altay is doing much of the back end. And I'm brainstorming and deciding (like Bush, I'm the "Decider") what to do.

138bocere
Jul 10, 2007, 2:46pm Top

As long as you're rethinking contact lists, it would be nice to have some way to give credit to folks whose books you steal, er, add to your wish list. I suppose that wouldn't be a contact list, but a field on the book ("stolen from the library of ...") - but then it would be nice to have a summary of who one has (recently? most frequently?) been inspired by.

1399days
Jul 10, 2007, 3:37pm Top

I agree. I'm sorry to have snapped back there. It can get frustrating.

It's cool. If I interacted with the community as much as you do, I probably would have snapped a long time ago. I actually think you handle it pretty well, especially when it comes to talking about "competitors".

140_Zoe_
Jul 10, 2007, 8:48pm Top

And I'm brainstorming and deciding (like Bush, I'm the "Decider") what to do.

So the time for user suggestions is past?

141timspalding
Jul 11, 2007, 3:20am Top

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