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I was surprised to see this book I had never heard of, The Elephant Tree, had been included on the lists 1001 Books to Read Before You Die, the Guardian's 1000 Books Everyone Must Read, 501 Must-Read Books, and 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime, as well as 40 other LibraryThing lists. Wow, that book must be really something. I checked out the author, who had one other book to his name. Lo and behold, it too appeared on all four of these lists, plus 40-some others.
Huh, what can be the explanation for this remarkable achievement? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Were you able to find who's been adding the book to the lists, so we can report them for it?
There are four consistent usernames associated with these and other books that have been wrongly added to these lists. I can drop a note to Loranne.
Perhaps I'm a cynic, but it seems odd to me that all of a sudden there are several new reviews of that book, after no activity for a few years.
And all from brand-new members!
However, I'm sure there's an innocent explanation . . .
I'm on it (or rather, will be soon, once I get State of the Thing out. Thanks for the note!
Funnily enough I had exactly the same cynical reaction...
Hmmm. There are any number of recent joiners who have added 10/11/12/14 books, and they seem to appear on each others' 'Members with xxx books' lists.
>1 sturlington: I was kinda curious of your criteria for the Top Rated books, for some of them to be on there. Do you have a threshold to be able to boot a few? :)
>11 gilroy: Oh, yes, have not looked at that one in some time. I believe I was trying to locate books with more than just a few owners that had an average rating of 4.25 (or in the neighborhood). Of course, ratings change. :-) And also, other people added to the list as well. Although, scrolling down, the first several books come close to that requirement.
You can thumbs down any book you like, but you can't remove a book if someone else has added it.
It's also happening with this book: https://www.librarything.com/work/19256069/summary
See this thread, message #241 and 242: https://www.librarything.com/topic/232034#5983438
>13 norabelle414: I've found several other books that are getting similar treatment. Although seeing that book added to the best contemporary literary fiction list made me chortle.
Very interesting, thanks for highlighting this. It's also interesting looking at all the recent members who have added that particular book. They each have about 10 books and have rated it highly. Very suspicious behavior.
>13 norabelle414: Thanks for directing me here. I've sent Loranne a message, thinking these new members are sock puppets. Somebody doesn't have enough to do, eh?
The author of The Elephant Tree just joined LibraryThing at the beginning of this month. Hmmm.
see members who own his books
Here are some more:
Let me guess... All of these are self published authors that are getting this treatment? Or are they all from the same imprint?
ETA: Further research shows these to be POD books. (Hybrid publishers as they call themselves. As an author who's done his research, the authors of these books are getting taken. But that's another thread.) Multiple publishers, but all appear to have similar talking points in their websites. Can't find enough links to make them the same.
Some more that I've noticed:
I spotted these because they were all recently added to some lists I look at frequently and seemed to be unrelated or only tangentially related to the list topic (science fiction classics, anyone?). Needless to say, this is annoying, but for lists that are based on actual lists of books and people are legitimately working their way through, like the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die, it renders the LibraryThing list basically useless.
On a list that only has a limited set of legitimate entries, you can select the answer "you" to the question "Who can add books?" to prevent inappropriate entries, can't you? Is the problem that these limited sets are too large for one person to manage?
>23 cpg: Probably, the original creator of the list didn't want to shut people out if they had a legitimate reason to add a book to the list. But that is certainly an option.
Hi there. I think I can answer some of your issues here. I recently moved over to LibraryThing and have been advocating it to my Twitter followers as well. With currently 132k Twitter followers some have now joined LT and I would expect will continue to do so. There may not have been much activity with my books on here as I was previously unaware of the site. If you take a look on Goodreads you'll see my books have been rated between 15k -20k times each.
Many of my followers are authors of small press or independently published titles, so I expect some of them have also just become aware of the site and in turn tweeted to their own followers.
>26 RichardRonald: Are you or your followers adding books to lists where they clearly don't belong? That reduces the value of lists for everyone.
It's like people who throw trash out the windows of their cars. whatever else they do in life, they can't redeem themselves from this useless destruction. yeah, it's extreme, but I can't find anything positive in it.
I haven't added books to any lists. I've yet to look at them other than when I received a message about being on the dark fiction list.
You might want to notify your friends that inserting books into lists where they obviously don't belong is NOT good advertising, as it convinces discerning readers that the book is poison, and can't make it on its own merits.
Notice: We've detected a spam issue with some of the material here. We are working on it. (It's going to take a little time to suss it out. But crime doesn't pay, people.)
DavidFerrers, author of Swap also joined this month, and his book has been added by 103/ nope now 105 new members in the past weeks.
And added to 24 lists.
The author in >26 RichardRonald: tweeted a specific link to a LibraryThing list, which I'm guessing is how all of these people found out about the list feature on LT because it's not a particularly visible feature unless you know where to look.
To be fair, it looks like most of the list spam is being instigated by just three or four users. (Many others are up-thumbing the works but there's no evidence they are the ones who added the books to the lists)
>37 sturlington: Yeah, I know. But I thought I would point out that none of the authors who have joined recently are actually the people adding their books to lists.
Member author uclasny has one book listed since joining Jan. 2015, which has suddenly become a favorite of over a hundred new members.
Author T L Henry joined LT this week, and though she hasn't added her books to her own account, 52 other new members have, and added one to 27 lists.
Thanks for the links, everyone. We're still working on it, though I've got a good handle on the scope of the issue now. We should have things taken care of tomorrow, if not sooner.
What I find rather interesting about this one https://www.librarything.com/work/19256069/members is that the vast majority of the "members" who have added it have a member name with either 2 numbers and then a presumed first name last name, or the first name last name and then the 2 numbers. That's an awful lot of people with a similar pattern for a member name. I know a lot of members on LT and none of them have member names like that. :-)
Just popping by to say we're still working—Tim was out at ACRL the latter part of last week, so we didn't get a chance to coordinate just yet. Thanks for your patience!
Yeah, I can't promise this gets handled today. But the fish are in the barrel.
>46 timspalding: So we're talking dynamite, not fishing pole or pop cap gun?
>46 timspalding: That it's being handled at all is terrific--no rush. LT is the one site I visit regularly that has not been decimated by gobs of spam, ads, and trolls, and that's a major reason why I love this site.
Hi. I'm just checking back in on this thread again. So am I to think I shouldn't recommend LibraryThing to any more of my followers? The pinned Tweet I posted a while back has been seen by over 100k people now, the understanding that many of them would like the site and sign up for themselves. I'd previously never heard of the place until someone sent me a message about it, but this sounds like you aren't welcoming new members. That's fine if that is the case, I'm happy to remove the Tweet and send them to Goodreads instead. This does seem rather bizarre though. I completely get that you wouldn't want books added to lists they don't belong on, but other than that I'm not sure what the issue would be.
>51 RichardRonald: Wow. You clearly don't understand what is being said here. They are simply asking you and your followers not to add your books to other people's recommended read lists. That doesn't at all say anything about not welcoming new members.
Goodreads now prohibits authors from adding books to lists to prevent the list pollution mentioned here. Unfortunately, that doesn't keep their friends and followers from adding books indiscriminately.
>51 RichardRonald: No, that's not what's being said.
What's being said is that this place is not like Amazon and GoodReads. It doesn't need to be gamed, worked, or in any way twisted to make books seem like they're from a top tier writer. Sock puppetry is against the terms of service and is what we think we're seeing.
We're here for cataloging and discussing, not selling books. If all they're looking for is a place to sell, this is not a good choice.
>51 RichardRonald: Any of your followers are welcome on LibraryThing as long as they follow the terms of service, which prohibit misusing site features and using LibraryThing for advertising. (https://www.librarything.com/privacy#terms)
Your book was added to the "Dark Fiction" list by several accounts that are adding lots of books (yours and others) to dozens of lists that they do not belong on, so maybe don't pin that tweet.
If lots of your followers are authors, maybe they would appreciate a tweet directing them to "How Authors Can Use LibraryThing" (http://www.librarything.com/about_authors.php) or the group "Hobnob with Authors" (http://www.librarything.com/groups/hobnobwithauthors) where they can talk to other authors about their books.
My favorite spam account:
The picture is literally of a dead guy.
But we can't see that account because it's been suspended!
I must say that's one of the best obits I've ever read.
* Loranne is marking a large number of accounts as spam.
* I'll be marking around a dozen authors with the "Stanek mark." (See http://www.librarything.com/author/stanekrobert) This mark--only used once before--is not in itself an accusation of an author's fault, but of our inability to separate false data from any true data that might exist.
* Loranne's hand list is limited, although long. I'll be working on marking more accounts as spam, and, with that, improved spam-spotting techniques to keep up with the latest tricks the spammers are employing.
* RichardRonald. I don't think this is the right site for you, and invite you to leave, together with any real readers you have here. I cannot, of course, prove that you made, or paid someone to make, all the fake accounts that added your books. But the pattern of fakery is clear as day and is, quite simply, dominant for the books you wrote. Goodbye.
Ah. Sorry. Loranne acted fast. The account used the guy's picture. I'm glad his relatives aren't going to stumble on someone creating an account with his picture, three years after he died, in order to pump up the online reviews for their book.
Marks added to authors. I reserve the right to add more or, in theory, remove some. They aren't added to works yet, because some are split authors and the current mechanism isn't split-aware yet. So, more work later.
It's a little odd (and maybe a tip-off) to see "a LibraryThing Author, an author who lists their personal library on LibraryThing" with no books cataloged.
>60 timspalding: I've said it before, but it can't be said often enough. Thank you for being the straight arrow fellow that you are, and for providing us all this pleasant home. You improved my day, today. XXOO
Oh, he completely understands. He's just making a passive-aggressive threat; "Let me promote myself on LT by having my friends add books to inappropriate lists, or I'll tell my "100K followers" not to join LT."
That's worse than spam. I don't like, but get, an author trying to pump up reviews. But using a dead guy's image is just disgusting.
No doubt not intentional--some automatic program picked it up, perhaps from another site, like a Facebook profile, although tineye gave that as the only place online with it. Still, it brings home the nastiness of this sort of thing. Real people are surely behind lots of the fake pictures added in this recently batch of spammers. (Adding pictures is fairly new. It takes time, and previous spammers haven't been that into it.)
>66 timspalding: Yeah, credit where it's due (? I guess?), they were pretty clever.
>64 lorax: 100k followers, all of whom are entirely real, because nobody ever bulk-bought twitter followers to make themselves look more popular.
On an unrelated note, I'm sure his books are actually very good - after all he has lots of 5 star Amazon reviews from people who felt so strongly that they haven't reviewed anyone else's books before or since.
So once those profiles are removed, their book ratings won't count, right? I noticed that many used the same titles of good books as cover for their activity and consistently rated them poorly.
>72 2wonderY: Bingo. That's exactly right. In fact, their copies won't even exist on LT anymore, much less their ratings. I'm in the midst of Early Reviewers spreadsheets today, so I won't get them all knocked out today—might take me through the end of the week, given how many there are.
I truly miss the days when one could only get an author account if x number of books had been cataloged.
Passive aggressive? I only became aware of this site a couple of weeks ago, and the only recommendation I have made is the pinned Tweet I previously posted for your perusal. Whatever. This is my last post on the matter. There aren't enough hours in the day for whatever the issue is here.
>77 timspalding: Is that what happened in the olden days? At least my library and my spouse's were legit before we got our author badges.
If someone's willing to create dozens of fake accounts, complete with profile pics and 8-12 random popular books to get some illusory standing, they're willing to import 1,000 bogus books for it.
More generally, I don't think author status should require having a large library in LT. Large libraries aren't the only way to interact with the site. A minimum would scare people off, pointlessly.
Once the accounts have been marked as spam, will their votes on the lists be automatically removed?
I did a bunch of work on this tonight, using a new detection algorithm I wrote. It fingered all of them and, blessedly, hasn't found any others I'm sure of yet. But it's still running. Then I'll kill accounts.
I don't think author status should require having a large library in LT.
I find it extraordinarily odd that there are authors who join LT to advertise their books in the forums, and yet cannot be bothered to catalog any books at all, not even the one their pushing.
It's very strange.
What's so strange about it? They're interested in advertising and not in cataloguing, which is hardly unusual. They're different from spammers who bump into a discussion of knitting to advertise penile enlargement only in choosing their targets with a bit more thought.
But often their book isn't on LT, so it would make sense to have at least their own entry.
>83 AndreasJ: If you had two and they were enlarged to be long enough, maybe you could knit with them?
There's plenty of species with hooked penises, so maybe their mistake is to advertise to humans?
It's strange because often it means that there are no copies of the book on LT. You'd think they'd want it here for people to see!
>88 lilithcat: I'd say that is just their misunderstanding of the site. They only think advertise.
There's plenty of species with hooked penises, so maybe their mistake is to advertise to humans?
This is the best "LibraryThing Without Context" quote ever.
Yay! I'm seeing profiles disappear.
What about all these private members:
This must be new! Is this part of the battle against the sock puppets?
>95 Collectorator: See >58 timspalding: * I'll be marking around a dozen authors with the "Stanek mark." (See http://www.librarything.com/author/stanekrobert) This mark--only used once before--is not in itself an accusation of an author's fault, but of our inability to separate false data from any true data that might exist.
I don't know. I guess.
It seems like there ought to be a better name for it? carry on...
>101 timspalding: What bug? If you're referring to the to and fro between Collectorator and me, then it's hardly a bug that I split an author after you'd applied the mark. I wouldn't expect that you'd let a general thingamabrarian re-allocate the mark to one author or another after a split; that would open a path to finessing the system. It seems adequate that the mark stays at the top level, even if it delivers a small amount of collateral damage.
>102 Noisy: I disagree. If there are two completely unconnected authors who happen to share the same name, one should not have their author page on LT hidden due to the bad behavior of the other (or, as seems to have been the case, bad behavior of a promotion company, on behalf of the author).
Noisy wasn't saying the mark shouldn't be applied to the correct author, but that when a user splits a marked author, the user shouldn't be allowed to decide which author gets the mark. If a user could do that, the nefarious author could split his own page, put his own books and info on (1), and move the mark to (2).
It's not a bug that the mark is currently on the disambiguation page. But it should indeed be moved to the appropriate author - by a staff member.
I don't know how you would then prevent the nefarious author from moving everything to a different split. Perhaps once a split is marked, the books on that split could be permanently assigned to the split, with no way for a normal user to move them.
>104 r.orrison: Oh, yes. I do think that's probably the right approach here. I'm sorry, I misunderstood.
An author that seems to meet the Stanek criteria:
It's not a bug that the mark is currently on the disambiguation page. But it should indeed be moved to the appropriate author - by a staff member.
We should assign it to the right sub-author. Either way, it shouldn't percolate to the splits.
I think the relevant distinction is not "sub-author" versus "split" but singular vs. plural - having the mark be assigned to all splits is clearly sub-optimal.
>108 r.orrison: "What's a sub-author, if not a split?"
Jules Verne, Tom Clancy, etc.
>106 2wonderY: Yeah, he was on my original list that should get that mark. Suspect Tim's still finishing that up.
>104 r.orrison: Thanks for stepping in to clarify. I think the needed mark is that the spamming is in regard to the work(s) (although the obvious benefit is to the author). To that end, marking should ONLY be in relation to the works and not the author. (Stanek is a different case.)
>107 timspalding: To that end, I'd only apply the mark to pages with the work appearing on them, and I'd change the wording from :
"Extensive spam activity on behalf of this work and/or author have rendered it impossible to present accurate or representative information. To discourage further promotion, this page is only visible to logged-in members, with this warning."
"Extensive spam activity on behalf of one or more works on this page have rendered it impossible to present accurate or representative information. To discourage further promotion, this page is only visible to logged-in members, with this warning."
In that way, unaffected authors that have been split (as in the 'other' Gary Stone - http://www.librarything.com/author/stonegary-1) would not have the mark showing.
>106 2wonderY: From the look of it, when you were having the discussion after he first arrived a year ago, he seemed like a real person (although obviously in it for self-promotion). (It's only a guess, but) the recent spamming is possibly associated with a publishing outfit, and if so, the individual authors may not have initiated the activity. If my assumption is correct, I'd only apply the mark to the author page and not the user page.
The various authors are all fingering an outfit called "Celtic Book Promotions." How much they knew about it is anyone's guess.
>114 timspalding: You means this bunch: http://www.celtictreepromo.com/ It looks as if their website (with a host based in Slough, UK) has been around for about a year. Not much to be gleaned from the website. There are a couple of threads from people saying they've been approached and offered an 'expensive' service to do the promotion. On that basis, I may roll back and say that the spam marker should be applied to the user page as well. On the other hand, they may have been doing a test against LT to see if their tactics worked, and trying to establish a reputation for successful activity.
Okay, spam-members' contributions removed from lists.
* First, their votes no longer count and names don't appear.
* Second, works added by someone subsequently marked as spam, and not added by anyone else, have been removed.
>120 Noisy: It looks to me like that work still exists. There's still one valid member with it cataloged: https://www.librarything.com/work/19256086/members, and they're the member who has applied that rating.
Note: we didn't completely remove all copies of all of these works. Some of them did have valid copies held by long-time LT members.
>121 lorannen: I see lots and lots of ratings on that book.
4 - 93
4.5 - 13
5 - 24
May just not have caught up yet, but 130 ratings on a book with one member looks strange.
>126 Noisy: Yes, I checked a few of those at random—they all seemed to reflect ratings on actual copies still on LT.
Eh? The first one in >18 norabelle414: has one member and 126 ratings. The others are similar.
>128 Noisy: Oh! I see now. I was looking at the section at the top of the page, and here: https://www.librarything.com/work/19256137/members. Had completely forgotten about the "Rating" box on the right-hand side of the page. Definitely looks like those are still stuck. Sorry for the confusion, and thanks for reporting.
Looking good now. That must have taken quite an effort, Tim; we really appreciate the work to hold back the tide of scum.
Some of these authors are showing up on the Zeitgeist page under "50 top-rated authors (Authors with at least 50 ratings)". Is this just because the Zeigeist doesn't update very frequently?
>136 timspalding: Thanks :-)
I don't think this is related to the original problem on this thread, but this user: https://www.librarything.com/profile/Mario.Johns has been adding all the books by this author: https://www.librarything.com/author/nuitnatasapantovic to several lists including "1001 Books to Read Before You Die"
>137 norabelle414: Ah, I'd missed the lists thing. Prior to that, they hadn't quite crossed the line. Definitely not related to this initial cluster, though. I'm not seeing it in Spam Fighters thread (where was that, bernsad?), but it's probably time to spam them.
In general, new lists spam can go in Spam Fighters. We've got this group taken care of.
>139 lorannen: I don't think it made it as far as Spam Fighters but a very new members was posting about this author a couple of days ago and now I think the member has disappeared from the site or at least removed their copy of one of the books.
Just read this in the logs:
blueprinttowealth saved Gary Stone with "Split the author."
Does this mean the spammer is active on the site or is staff just busy adjusting his account?
I'm sorry I have not kept up with all of what's going on with this issue.
So, we can't say he's a spammer. We can say that there was spam activity around his books. If he was one of the Celtic Tree Promotions people--and I suspect he was--then he should have contacted us, because we're allowing those people to lose the spam marker, if they come clean about the situation. Our feeling is that they were unaware of what was being done on their behalf. (Meanwhile, however, the Celtic Tree Promotions people who continued to lie about it publicly, will never lose the mark.)
>137 norabelle414: >139 lorannen: >142 timspalding: I'd have put this on the spammers group, except we're on the topic here, that I've noticed https://www.librarything.com/author/nuitnatasapantovic is also, or associated with, http://www.librarything.com/profile/Artof4elements, who is "friends" or has as an "interesting library" with other members already squashed/mentioned in this thread for list spam activity. One of the interesting libraries is http://www.librarything.com/profile/elena.trintas who doesn't even have any books cataloged (that must be some "favorite library") but has added faux published reviews, recommendations, etc. to the author/members I've linked.
>143 rybie2: The elena.trintas account was suspended for spam activity at one point, but was reinstated, after I had an email exchange with the member explaining why. I'm guessing they deleted their books recently, as they certainly did have books from that author in their library at one point.
Where are the published reviews you're seeing? I don't see published reviews on any of that author's book pages.
>144 lorannen: You don't see them because I finished off a spammer that was linked to all of this.
ETA: For your reference, it was one of those in Spam with books (the new trick they're trying to keep from being spammified).
(It did make me laugh, though, to see something so close the Jennifer Aniston)
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