"About" now on work pages
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By popular request—and to some degree against my better judgement!—I've added a number of related features, all about the "about" feature in talk.
"About" was conceived as a supplement and replacement for "touchstones" as a way of navigating what conversations were going on about a book. People use touchstones very readily, making books in the course of conversations that are not in any real sense about those books. "About" was designed to serve as a stronger marker—an indication that a thread was really about one or more works or authors. The "Book discussions" area of Talk was then added to showcase Talk topics about books, including your books. Unfortunately, uptake hasn't been as high as could be. Some have suggested it would help if work pages also showed these conversations. So I've gone ahead and done that.
Work page for Dandelion Wine: http://www.librarything.com/work/2460
Conversations page for Dandelion Wine: http://www.librarything.com/work/2460/conversations
The "Current Discussions" box on works that have "About" topics with current messages (ie., in the last 30 days).
The "Conversations" area on work pages can now refer to one of both of "Conversations" (About) or "Mentions" (Touchstones). I regret four terms for two things, but "Abouts" and "Touchstones" are somewhat meaningless in that place. Suggestions appreciated.
Talk page when you click on "Conversations." That is, you go to Talk. Maybe you should go to the Work:Conversations page.
The Work:Conversations page:
* Similar coverage for authors
* Unread counts on the work page. I think I might skip them.
Interesting - I like it! Not sure if it will solve the problem of "about" not being used enough, though.
Thanks for listening, Tim. Who knows, it may not be a top feature of LT. But I know I occasionally seek out discussions for a particular work. I don't really use the Book Discussions feature because I'm not interested in every discussion of every book in my library.
Now to retrain my brain to look for this feature in the future. That's really a more significant aspect of you introducing new features than you might realize.
Not sure if it will solve the problem of "about" not being used enough, though.
Agreed. I have another, similar plan. We'll see what becomes of it.
Who knows, it may not be a top feature of LT.
The upside of this is that the Talk code is quite good—written by me recently and well, not old, crappy and written by someone else. So it was pretty easy to do this part—easier than I thought.
You WOULD roll this out while Zoë and I are out at a meet-up ...
Zoë says: we need a way to follow works we are interested in so that those "abouts" will show up on our talk page
I've added "abouts" to threads as I've seen them come along. I love the feature.
I've been doing that off and on in a couple of groups. I basically work backwards when adding "Abouts".
I've added the "Current discussions" box to author pages. It combines "Abouts" for the author and their books, on the theory that authors are their books.
The work and author situations are not parallel at present, in part because I'm feeling my way toward the best way.
* Work and author pages have "Current discussions" boxes.
* Work pages have a "Conversations" subpage. Author pages do not.
* Work pages have a top-level bars (1) with a "Conversations" or "Mentions" area. Author pages don't. The top-level bar on author pages is already rather full, with events and so forth listed. I'm not sure we have room for conversations.
* The top-level bar for "Conversations" links to a special Talk mode, showing "Abouts" for a given book. There is currently no Author equivalent.
1. I mean this area:
Are the author pages still indexing (or whatever it's called)? Because I'm seeing Abouts that show on the Work page but not the Author page. Palladian for instance.
D'uh, it would help if read more closely. Guess it's time for bed, I obviously need some sleep. ;-)
Any comment about letting us follow individual works/authors so that we see the new Abouted threads automatically in Talk?
I do think there's a point in Abouting older threads, but I don't think you need to do much active encouraging there. In general, I think you're overly focused on active discussions. When I finish a book, I often want to read existing discussions about it, even if they're old, and even if I'm not necessarily going to jump in and participate in all of them.
I don't think showing it at the top for authors is very important.
What about "abouts" for series? Are they going to show up on the series page somewhere?
Aw yeah, this is fantastic! Thanks, Tim! (And Zoe, for nagging on this for so long. ;)
I think lorax actually gets the credit for this one, here. I was off having fun in DC, but I certainly agree with her sentiments :)
Agreed I'm encouraged about this feature! Will also begin retraining myself in my "browsing habits" while on LT, like Zoe I often am motivated to look at discussions of a book or author without any real need to join an active one. When doing that, I tend to mark "abouts" if I notice they weren't already, but don't think there needs to be a push to backfill this.
I'm wondering whether the "problem" is that Abouts aren't being marked in the appropriate threads, or that people just aren't starting individual book discussions in the first place. I suspect it's the latter, which is a more serious issue. I know I've often wanted to talk about a specific aspect of a specific book but just not bothered because there wasn't a good spot for it. Meanwhile, most active book-specific threads that I see do have Abouts marked.
Thanks, Tim! Now off to see if there are any discussions about my current or recent reads....
See, if we had dragged Tim to DC, this would have delayed two days.
I'm liking it so far. Will see what happens.
>25 True, but we wouldn't've been sitting around in the Folger with no computer access when we found out about it. We would've been at our computers frantically commenting on the forum like good little LTers.
Maybe if there were a 'start a conversation/thread about this book' button on the book page itself, things would be easier.
Would it be possible to have this as column in Your Books view? I don't go to individual work pages all that much, but I would use the information if I could set it to show in my Your Books...
On a related note, I'd still like the Conversations previews to come back eventually....
LOVE this. Also agree that it'd be *great* to be able to subscribe to conversations about an author or book and have them show in Talk feeds.
Yeah, I'd think so. 'Subscriptions'. Also in marking some older threads I noticed some marked by series. Is this showing up on series pages?
I'd actually like a way to merge it into my basic Talk view (Groups, Posts, Starred). Eventually there should probably be a way to create our own merged Talk views.
One other possibility, though it might be a bit of a stretch: introduce another colour of star (click once for yellow, and again for blue), and automatically blue-star the threads of books we were following. Then new threads would show up once, but we could easily stop following individual ones if they didn't turn out to be interesting.
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