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List Pollution

Talk about LibraryThing

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Mar 20, 2:52pm Top

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)_/¯

Mar 20, 2:56pm Top

Were you able to find who's been adding the book to the lists, so we can report them for it?

Mar 20, 2:59pm Top

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.

Mar 20, 3:27pm Top

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 . . .

Mar 20, 3:44pm Top

It also got a lot better since the earlier reviews were written.

Mar 20, 11:16pm Top

I'm on it (or rather, will be soon, once I get State of the Thing out. Thanks for the note!

Mar 21, 1:03am Top

>4 lilithcat:

Funnily enough I had exactly the same cynical reaction...

Mar 21, 9:06am Top

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.

Mar 21, 11:55am Top

>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? :)

Mar 21, 1:23pm Top

>9 gilroy: Not sure what you're referring to. A list?

Mar 21, 2:16pm Top

>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.

Mar 22, 2:56pm Top

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

Mar 22, 3:00pm Top

>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.

Mar 22, 3:06pm Top

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.

Mar 22, 3:16pm Top

>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?

Mar 22, 3:24pm Top

The author of The Elephant Tree just joined LibraryThing at the beginning of this month. Hmmm.

see members who own his books

Patterns anyone?

Edited: Mar 22, 3:45pm Top

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.

Mar 22, 3:54pm Top

>19 gilroy: I checked for that. Some are self-published and some are from a wide variety of very small publishers.

>20 sturlington: Yeah, it's pretty easy to tell what doesn't belong on the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die list.

Mar 22, 3:55pm Top

>21 norabelle414: Yeah, note my added research comment.

Mar 22, 4:05pm Top

>20 sturlington:

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?

Mar 22, 4:10pm Top

>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.

Mar 22, 5:51pm Top

>23 cpg: Some of the lists pre-date that option, and others probably wanted to benefit from crowd-sourcing as >24 norabelle414: says. Up till now, I've seen one or two cases of authors adding their own book to a list or two, but nothing as widespread as this, so it didn't seem to be a problem.

Mar 23, 9:41am Top

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.


Mar 23, 10:03am Top

>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.

Mar 23, 10:04am Top

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.

Mar 23, 10:17am Top

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.

Mar 23, 11:55am Top

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.

Edited: Mar 23, 1:18pm Top

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.)

Edited: Mar 23, 1:30pm Top

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.


Edited: Mar 23, 1:46pm Top

Lin_Wilder, joined this month and has added 10 books written by self. Two titles have been added multiple times by other new members and added to lots of lists.


Mar 23, 1:54pm Top

>33 2wonderY: Lin_Wilder, joined this month ...

Author of Secrets to Email Marketing!

Mar 23, 2:03pm Top

blueprinttowealth joined in February. All of a sudden 108 new members have added his book, Blueprint to Wealth, and added it to 23 lists

Mar 23, 2:31pm Top

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)

Mar 23, 3:01pm Top

>36 norabelle414: This is being investigated by LT staff.

Mar 23, 3:20pm Top

>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.

Mar 23, 3:22pm Top

>38 norabelle414: Sock puppetry.

Mar 23, 3:34pm Top

Member author uclasny has one book listed since joining Jan. 2015, which has suddenly become a favorite of over a hundred new members.


Mar 23, 3:47pm Top

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.

Mar 23, 4:16pm Top

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.

Mar 23, 4:23pm Top

>42 lorannen: Thank you.

Mar 24, 12:30pm Top

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. :-)

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