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Connection news working and faster

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1timspalding
Jun 9, 2008, 7:11pm Top

I may do a blog post about this later. The news is that Connection News is once again fully working and much faster. (That's good for you. I did it also because faster means lower stress for the servers.)

Check it out:
http://www.librarything.com/connect

Connection news is in my mind the best feature on LT nobody uses. I want to make it better, used more. I have some more ideas about speed increases.

My ears are wide-open generally.

2DaynaRT
Jun 9, 2008, 7:12pm Top

the best feature on LT nobody uses

I used it daily until it stopped working.

3_Zoe_
Edited: Jun 9, 2008, 7:22pm Top

Date read. I've said it a million times, from the time when Connection News was first created. I don't care nearly as much about what books people have catalogued as I do about what books people have read.

A more complicated improvement would be to let us create more groups of people, so that we didn't have to choose only between friends, interesting libraries, or watch list.

4_Zoe_
Jun 9, 2008, 7:28pm Top

Also, page links at the bottom. It's inconvenient having to scroll back up to get to the next page.

5jmnlman
Jun 9, 2008, 8:26pm Top

Tim I'm still getting this for the Connections: Who has it? part of a work page.

Fatal error: Call to undefined function valueofwork() in /var/www/html/inc_userconnections.php on line 227

6Thrin
Jun 9, 2008, 8:33pm Top

Thanks Tim. I use Connection News nearly every day.
I agree with #4 - Zoe's suggestion re page links at the bottom of each page.

7Talbin
Jun 9, 2008, 8:44pm Top

A problem and a question.

Problem: On my profile, it says the first user listed under my weighted users with your books shares 82/320 (user = lilys30acres). However, when I go to that user's library, it says that we share 6 books. After browsing this user's library, 6 looks about right. The other users under weighted look right.

Question: What does "recent" mean?

8surly
Jun 9, 2008, 9:37pm Top

To make this even better:
1. Add next page/previous page function. It is a tad annoying, having reached the bottom of a page, to scroll back to the top of the current page in order to select the next page.
2. Returning from a selected entry. At present, once an 'Interesting libraries', 'Your friends', or 'Private watch list' entry is selected, using back arrow always takes you to the first page of the 'Interesting libraries' list rather than just back to the particular list and page you were on when you selected the entry in the first place. If I'm on the fourth page of 'Interesting libraries', I do not want to return to the first page of 'Your friends'.

9lilithcat
Jun 9, 2008, 10:11pm Top

> 1

Connection news is in my mind the best feature on LT nobody uses.

My lack of use of this feature has nothing to do with speed. It just doesn't hold much interest for me.

10SqueakyChu
Jun 9, 2008, 10:37pm Top

I'm not interested in this feature either. If I want reviews or ratings, I'd rather see them from the entire LT membership rather than from the motley crew that makes up my friends, interesting libraries, and watched libraries. If new books are added, I'd rather see them in real time - like the feature that used to be here on LT eons ago.

11timspalding
Jun 9, 2008, 11:26pm Top

Update: Connection News reviews-finding should not be faster. I moved something from the db to memory.

>10 SqueakyChu:

Coming back very soon.

I was wondering if there should be a similar feed for recent reviews.

I'm interested that you are more interested in reviews from strangers than your friends and users you've identified as interesting. Why?

12timspalding
Jun 10, 2008, 12:30am Top

>4ff.

Thanks. I added a second nav area on bottom when there are more than 3 books/reviews/ratings.

13SilentInAWay
Edited: Jun 10, 2008, 1:19am Top

Very nice.

This is a feature that I do use almost daily (to track books added to interesting libraries, primarily).

If you were to add the ability to track books read by friends, interesting libraries, etc., I would definitely use that feature. I realize that most members don't fill in their reading dates -- it would still be useful to view books for those that do.

14SilentInAWay
Jun 10, 2008, 1:23am Top

I should add that this afternoon, it took about a minute and a half to load this page for my interesting libraries. With this speed-up, it took several seconds to load the page the first time that I invoked it; for all subsequent loads, however, it has taken about a second. Wow!

15SqueakyChu
Edited: Jun 10, 2008, 1:32am Top

--> 11

I'm interested that you are more interested in reviews from strangers than your friends and users you've identified as interesting. Why?

It's because the people whom I've marked as friends are not necessarily people whose libraries I find interesting. Some are just people who seem interesting to me for a variety of reasons that have nothing to do with reading (for example, places they live, their travels, hobbies, etc.).

Some are people I know from other groups (such as Bookcrossing). I know these people either through fora or in real life.

In the beginning of the Connections feature, I marked the libraries I found interesting. After having talked to people on the fora, I found it wasn't their *libraries* that were interesting, but the people themselves. Sometimes our book tastes matched, but at other times they clashed rather harshly.

Some people whom I've met in real life from groups such as LT and BookCrossing are people whose reading tastes are vastly different than my own.

As far as reviews, I'm simply more interested in unbiased reviews of books, not who the author of the book review is. I often don't even notice who the author of a book review is because I'm scanning the content. I don't read full reviews because too much about a book is usually revealed. It makes no difference to me who writes a review. It's nice if I recognize the name of the author, but that's not so important to me.

Far more interesting to me would be a "Hot Review of the Day" (perhaps one that got several thumbs up the previous day) or a feed of books as they are being entered (as I noted above).

I'll give you a real life example. Of the books that are posted there now, I've met in person two people who've listed a total of 14 newly entered books. None of those 14 book are ones I'd be interested in reading. It was for that reason, that I glanced at this feature before and didn't return to it.

I also don't need a list of star ratings by tons of people. More to my taste are discussions on the fora of what people think of individual books. I also like the average star rating on each work page and do consult that figure often.

Hope this helps you to understand my perspective. Don't be disappointed, though. I'm sure others find this feature exciting. Different strokes...

ETA: I just amended my friends (etc.) list to see if I like the Connections results any better in the future. I'll give it a second chance.

16timspalding
Jun 10, 2008, 1:52am Top

>15 SqueakyChu:

Very interesting. Thanks for laying it out.

Update: Should be *slightly* faster again, but the difference may not be noticeable.

17reading_fox
Jun 10, 2008, 4:26am Top

I would make far more use of it if it was a connection between me and those users who had recently read the same books as I have.

I hadn't found the connection news reviews. I may periodically check this as interesting.

While your on a friends/interesting libraries bug fixing kick any chance of adding interesting libraries to the Local Your connections tab.

18vaneska
Jun 10, 2008, 4:56am Top

Thank you thank you. I love Connection News. Also hear hear to >8 surly:

19markbarnes
Jun 10, 2008, 7:02am Top

This would be great if I had any friends on LT (I do have friends, just not here!!). If, on the other hand, LT was on Facebook…

20SqueakyChu
Edited: Jun 10, 2008, 8:17am Top

One idea for how to make this feature more useful to me would be to base the reviews etc. on Connections on the "affinities" that LT no longer has. I understand that the reason we no longer have it is because of its too great a demand on processing power. The affinities took into consideration those people at LT whose books were most similar to my own. In fact, the affinities became the basis of my "friending" a few LT members.
In theory, that is what should be driving the Connections News, but my "friends" list became contaminated with real friends whose reading tastes were not my own!

This is not a complaint. There certainly is enough to occupy my time at LT without ever giving Connections a glance. :)

21countrylife
Edited: Dec 4, 2008, 12:01pm Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

22timspalding
Jun 10, 2008, 10:33am Top

Update: "Recently added books" is now faster, again.

>20 SqueakyChu: "One idea for how to make this feature more useful to me would be to base the reviews etc. on Connections on the "affinities" that LT no longer has."

That's the group "Top 50 Similar Libraries." (Incidentally, that's now the same list as on the profile; for a while they were slightly different.) In theory I could make it top 10, top 15, top 1000—whatever. Fifty seems a reasonable compromise giving you a feel for your "neighborhood," without swamping you.

23timspalding
Jun 10, 2008, 11:30am Top

Update: Connection news now keeps track of "newness" of the information. So if you check it on Tuesday, then again on Wednesday, only items added since Tuesday will be marked as "NEW!"

I'd like to precalculate the newness for the various groups—so you onl check the groups and people that have new stuff—but that's going to be a little harder to do fast.

24fyrefly98
Jun 10, 2008, 12:25pm Top

Ideally, I would LOVE to have RSS feeds available for each of the subsets - reviews, in particular.

Failing that, is there a way either to get perma-links to each of the subsets that I could bookmark, or else to have it remember what we were looking at last time? My friends are people I've met in real life, but they don't have particularly interesting and active accounts, so what I really want is a way to see the new reviews of people on my watchlist without having to go through 3 or 4 click-and-loads.

25alwright1
Jun 10, 2008, 2:37pm Top

I would love RSS feeds, as well. :)

26DaynaRT
Jun 10, 2008, 2:39pm Top

LT needs more RSS available just in general. Please, Mr. Tim!

27rebeccanyc
Jun 10, 2008, 4:38pm Top

I don't know if this is intentional, but when I click on an individual friend or interesting library, I only get one page of titles. I seem to remember getting several (not sure how many) pages, starting with the most recent, in the past.

It would be great to have more pages, but if this change is what's making Connection News faster to load, I'll go with speed.

28dara85
Jun 10, 2008, 8:58pm Top

I use connections often and when I see an interesting book I click on it and like to read the review or description. When I come back to Connections I wish it would return to where I was instead of going back to the first page of friends. That's my only complaint with it. I have put several books on my to be read list by using it.

Thanks for the great job!

29surly
Jun 10, 2008, 9:11pm Top

Ditto!

30christiguc
Jun 10, 2008, 10:37pm Top

>28 dara85:,29 Until there is a fix for that, you can right click and open the book information in a new tab. (That's what I do.)

31surly
Jun 13, 2008, 6:01pm Top

The listing of who has it amongst your friends, interesting and private libraries seems to allow only one member to be displayed despite however many actually have it. These will usually all display on the type 50 libraries listing however.

32SqueakyChu
Edited: Jun 14, 2008, 10:59am Top

Follow-up to my own post # 20.

I went back to re-evaluate Connection News. It seems to have the greatest relevance for me with the "50 similar libraries". Okay. I'll start using that page now...

The "50 similar libraries" works in the same way that affinities did. I can use those suggestions (with the highest star ratings) for future reads. I see that I did not give that page a full chance because I never made it down to "50 similar libraries" in the past.

The other feeds I would look at simply out of curiosity, but not that often. They're interesting to see, though. I'll admit that. :)

Thanks, Tim.

33SqueakyChu
Edited: Jun 14, 2008, 11:01am Top

Could we each have the option of "setting" the default for this feature?

In other words, I'd like the "50 similar libraries" to open on my screen right away instead of the "friends" option.

34timspalding
Jun 14, 2008, 11:18am Top

Right now, it picks the first on the list that's not empty. I'll look into it.

35SqueakyChu
Edited: Jun 14, 2008, 11:43am Top

Thanks!

Could we also have a "set by" first option?

With that, I could opt to have the "star rating" of the "50 similar libraries" pop up first - as that is the way *I* would most likely use this feature.

I would guess that if the options on Connections News could be set in such a way that the page itself would be more interesting and helpful, thereby used more often. That would also eliminate a lot of unnecessary load time.

Come to think of it, the multiple click-throughs and load times were probably the reasons I never became more familiar with this page in the first place. It is pretty fast today, though!

ETA: I like the "new" highlight. It really pops out, making this page more "fun" - my overall personal goal for LT. :)

36_Zoe_
Jun 14, 2008, 1:28pm Top

Rather than adding in preferences, could it just remember what we were at last and take us directly to that the next time?

37tomroper
Jun 16, 2008, 6:40am Top

Can I add my voice to those asking for RSS feeds from Connections News? I like Connections News very much, and to be reminded when something's changed there would be very valuable

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