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Proposed etiquette rule

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1timspalding
Edited: Feb 26, 2008, 11:26pm Top

After reading a lot of threads recently, I'd like to propose the following. I want to hear objections, but I feel very strongly about it, so I'm putting it out right at the start that I am probably not going to change my mind.

"Asking others to change their catalog is bad LibraryThing etiquette."

Exceptions can be made when you're messaging a member of this group. Otherwise, it's bad form.

Obviously, I understand why others don't feel this way. I'm not attacking anyone. But I want this practice to stop. Most LibraryThing users are not here for that sort of interaction. It can really get up people's noses. If there is a problem, LibraryThing needs to solve it technically--by giving members a way to override how LT calculates things, or give it a way to mark ratty data or etc. But telling users to change their catalog is bad form.

Going once...

2nperrin
Feb 26, 2008, 11:39pm Top

I am so mixed on this right now. These controversial things at night when I am cranky...

I am fine with it in practice, since I never bother asking people to make changes.

But in principle, I do think it's a little off to have like, one rule on the entire site about "the right way to use LT," and that rule is "don't complain when other people's bad data are screwing up the site for everyone." I mean, if we can fix that technically, that's great, but as a combiner I tend to view these people as antisocial jerks who shouldn't be reaping the benefits of everyone else's work. "I can do whatever I want, it's my library!" If you want to edit all your titles to be joke versions of real titles, good for you, but I hope you end up with all your stuff orphaned.

On a practical level again, do you really think people will be less upset to find we've marked their data as ratty or quarantined it or whatever? "Who are you to judge me and my catalogue!"

3Anneli
Feb 27, 2008, 12:00am Top

>1 timspalding:

Asking others to change their catalog is bad LibraryThing etiquette

If there are people who get angry or feel insulted by this, then this rule is good. It is simple (non-ambiguous) and easy to follow.

If there is a problem, LibraryThing needs to solve it technically--by giving members a way to override how LT calculates things, or give it a way to mark ratty data or etc.

How is this implemented? Ratty data should be corrected.

4melannen
Edited: Feb 27, 2008, 1:31am Top

I ... really dislike this proposal.

There are going to be some people who get offended at any thing, and there are going to be some people posting messages who get the tone wrong, but I really think such a custom would do more harm than good.

The best use of messaging is to talk about the person's library. If you're not allowed to ask them to change, are you allowed to at least point out a mistake? How about ask them about their cataloging methods? Woud saying "Hey, that's an odd edition - is Fu Bar really the illustrator?" count as asking them to change? Even if you were just sincerely curious? How about if you were only pretending to be sincerely curious but really wanted them to change it?

At some point it just comes down to tone and politeness, which LT has pretty strict etiquette about already (as the internet goes, anyway.) It seems to be accepted to use private messages to mention things like that, too, which is part of politeness. If people aren't here for the sort of interaction that involves *talking about their libraries*, they can turn comments off.

Or does it really just come down to "you can say anything you like, as long as it's a compliment"? It seems like it would eventually come down to that, anyway. I've been in communities that had those sorts of etiquette rules - believe me, we don't want to go there.

(Not to mention the site owner's ongoing promotion of self-moderation of the community rather than setting out specific rules! This kind of rule seems a little too close to "community management" for his approval, since we've worked out a pretty standard etiquette already.)

Not that I wouldn't have a joygasm if we did get a way to override user data!

5timspalding
Feb 27, 2008, 1:56am Top

But in principle, I do think it's a little off to have like, one rule on the entire site about "the right way to use LT," and that rule is "don't complain when other people's bad data are screwing up the site for everyone." I mean, if we can fix that technically, that's great, but as a combiner I tend to view these people as antisocial jerks who shouldn't be reaping the benefits of everyone else's work. "I can do whatever I want, it's my library!" If you want to edit all your titles to be joke versions of real titles, good for you, but I hope you end up with all your stuff orphaned.

So, first, ARE these people antisocial jerks? This isn't a rhetorical question. I assume that most of the problems are either LT's bad parsing, the data provider's fault or a slip of the keyboard. Am I wrong? You mention a type that—I agree—is pretty bad: people who insert joke titles.

Now, it is certainly true that ONE type of data is explicitly frowned upon—members who rig up a PERL script to dump some crap Excel database into LT. That happened once and so I added the rule about not adding things to LT automatically.

Let me step back then and ask: "Why are there problems?"

6osunale
Feb 27, 2008, 2:30am Top

Asking others to change their catalog is bad LibraryThing etiquette

I actually agree quite strongly with this proposal: I have never asked another person to change their data and wouldn't really think it appropriate for someone to ask me to change mine. That said, I'm not opposed to members pointing out mistakes to me, and would definitely appreciate it. While both tactics (expressly asking data to be changed and simply noting that there are mistakes) serve the same purpose, the latter, less demanding position, implies that you're leaving the choice what to do with the information up to the person who's data it is. Ultimately, it's just a matter of general politeness.

"I mean, if we can fix that technically, that's great, but as a combiner I tend to view these people as antisocial jerks who shouldn't be reaping the benefits of everyone else's work."

I think this is wrong attitude: not everyone has actually joined this site for social reasons. I know I didn't. My primary interest was (and still is) cataloging my own collection the way I want it. Of course we do have the real insert-joke-titles jerks, but let's face it: these probably aren't the people that are going to pay attention to suggestions anyway.

7timspalding
Feb 27, 2008, 2:41am Top

Okay, there's a difference between a-social and anti-social. If someone wants to catalog all by themself, fine. If someone wants to bent the system to catalog books that don't exist, pens they have or dirty jokes--didn't someone rename their books to be dirty puns on the original title like "A good man is hard all the time" instead of "A good man is hard to find"?--that's different.

Bad sentence structure. Go to bed Tim.

8melannen
Feb 27, 2008, 3:23am Top

People aren't antisocial just because they have bad data. (I'm sure I still have lots of bad data in the parts of my library I haven't done much with since intial entry.)

People who have bad data and then get offended at any suggestion that their data aren't absolutely perfect in every way or any attempt to start a conversation about their methods - that's antisocial!

Asocial is people with private libaries or at least comments turned off.

If you're making your library public to the whole world, then you ought to be expecting at least a little social contact.

(I ought to be in bed, but I swore I'd finish this early review I owe first...)

9ryn_books
Feb 27, 2008, 4:30am Top

My thoughts - There's been times I've privately messaged someone and asked them if the information in their catalogue was correct
ie, when amazon records had some books by Hunter S. Thompson as by a Romance writer also named something Thompson.

I was careful to point out that the data was from amazon and said that if they wanted their book to join up with the others, the easiest method for them was to edit their data if they thought it was incorrect themselves...
I had some null responses, but overall the replies I received were appreciative. Again - it comes down to the message and the fact that I DID take the time to personalise it to the person receiving it.

I understand why someone would be annoyed at having to change their data to benefit 'the collective'. Some people simply don't find that a compelling reason to edit their data. That's why I've never positioned my messages as a benefit to LT -the benefit was to the member if they chose.

I've viewed all members as being part of the LT community. Like all communities, some people volunteer to do more than others. Others don't due to their own priorities. That's not wrong, just their priorities.

I think the work done by the volunteers who've chose to work on combining has created a real synergy in making LT more informative. Especially in the absence of any other tools apart from 'combine' and the discussion fora where members have swapped opinions and ideas on how to go about things.

I think that implementing such a policy now of "don't message anyone who has bad data as they might be offended" without giving us any other tools to fix things ....that's addressing the symptom, not the cause.

Personally, I think that policy from what appears to be a few complaints will cause more frustration and quite frankly - seems a real kick in the teeth to a group of people who on the whole have worked to collectively and rationally build a catalogue of information beyond their personal bookshelves.

That's my thoughts. Of course, if that's the policy then of course I'll follow it. But it seems to make LT a lot unfriendlier than when I first joined...

10reading_fox
Feb 27, 2008, 6:11am Top

I have done os once or twice and I've been asked about my data once or twice.

I think it is a tone issue - which, granted, is difficult to covey in written text across multi-cultural boundaries

IF you could fix the technical issues so that we could do the combining - sort out the ISBN combining? combine "No author" works etc then maybe we wouldn't need to ask?

Essentially ratty data makes LT look bigger -more works more authors - than it is.

If people don't care about their ratty data, then there is no need for them to edit it - but asking about another's catalog is one of the key social aspects to LT. If one wants a personal record, there are standalone PC lists which probably work better or a least faster than LT.

The suggestion of a "form" combiners request note, may help aliviate "tone" issues in some requests. Anybody any skill on the wiki to write it?

Agree nearly all errors are poor original data source, or typing, sometmies LT parsing. None of which is the users fault as such.

11skittles
Feb 27, 2008, 6:43am Top

Tim, one of the problems with the data in member libraries being "incorrect" comes from one of the sources... maybe more, but mainly one source. (that also depends upon one's definition of correct data... which can vary)

my suggestion/query: do we, in LT, have enough data to be a source ourselves?

could we have LT as a source? we used to be able to add a book from an entry in another member's library & I would like to see that available again.

I'm not sure if LT whether LT has to pay, or receives monetary compensation from amazon and I'm not proposing we sever connection with them.... but can we rely a little less on their data?

No data source is without its weaknesses, but I think we are large enough to use our own data.

Regarding works with multiple members that have incorrect data "floating to the top": I've spent enough time separating & re-combining books so that the "correct" author/title in listed as the predominant work to know how much work it is... when separating by ISBN is available, that "job" will be easier & "corrections" to the WORK title will be simpler. Hopefully that will be available soon.... and yes, I know separating by ISBN will not solve all problems, since many many books do not have an ISBN.

Thank you.

12abbottthomas
Feb 27, 2008, 7:00am Top

I would like to say that I agree with #9 almost to the letter. I think it is a shame to have rules which bar a class of communication rather than simply try to limit offensive material.

I have lived long enough and dealt with a sufficiently wide range of people to recognise that any group of 366,000 will inevitably include some rude, self-opinionated, offensive folk but unless they are actually throwing things over my fence it makes most sense to me to ignore them.

13jimroberts
Edited: Feb 27, 2008, 7:10am Top

I summarised part of my attitude in another thread yesterday:
#28: "... it can be difficult to set the right tone."

Because of this, I don't think a single form of message would really work. If you're writing to someone who's been a member for two days, a rather detailed explanation of what you would like to see changed and also exactly how to do it and why is appropriate. For somebody who's been a member for two years, that would be patronising: what she saw as a patronising tone was part of lucytartan's objection to requests for correction.

As Osbaldistone said, make the request polite and compliance clearly optional. But benefit to the LT community needn't in many, I think most, cases be your main argument: stress the benefit to the user himself.

To some points raised here:

It is rather impolite to tell a stranger that his data is crap, we should word requests carefully.

If I see a catalog which looks like the work of an antisocial jerk, I won't bother messaging . I won't bother trying to combine his books with what seem to be the correct works, either. In overwhelmingly most cases, his bad data won't mess things up, except perhaps use of the ISBN of some other book.

I don't usually make my messages private. In these messages I'm not insulting anybody, or doing anything else I object to the world seeing

The profiles of people who have been pointing out mistakes show lots of short messages of thanks, very few complaints.

14nperrin
Feb 27, 2008, 7:45am Top

So, first, ARE these people antisocial jerks? This isn't a rhetorical question. I assume that most of the problems are either LT's bad parsing, the data provider's fault or a slip of the keyboard. Am I wrong? You mention a type that—I agree—is pretty bad: people who insert joke titles.

It depends on the situation. The people with the joke titles, yes they are antisocial jerks. People with bad data who come back with, "well I don't care about the social functions of LT, I never use them," sound like they are copping out--they still get all those social benefits and I'm sure the vast majority of them benefit from the work of combiners without realizing it. Laziness can be antisocial too; I don't want my neighbors to throw garbage all over their lawn--or even stop mowing it. This is a fundamental problem with having social data, at least until we have the ability to put up some tall fences.

Of course, getting rid of Amazon as a source would probably help. I wish we had never had it; I remember being stunned when I first realized other people were using it even when the LoC had their edition. But we can't get rid of it if you want to minimize the amount of searching and manual entering people have to do. Unfortunately, as with many other things, the quick and easy way often ends up looking sloppy.

15lilithcat
Feb 27, 2008, 9:00am Top

> 13

. If you're writing to someone who's been a member for two days, a rather detailed explanation of what you would like to see changed and also exactly how to do it and why is appropriate.

The problem with this are the phrases "what you {the messager} would like to see changed" and "why it is appropriate". Newbie or oldie, a message, no matter how polite, telling me that someone else wanted me to make changes in my catalogue would set off my contrary nature. And, let's face it, what you and I consider "appropriate" may be two entirely different things, so for me to tell you "do this because I think it's appropriate" is just plain wrong.

There is a tremendous difference between "I want you to change this" or "You ought to change this" and "I noticed that your catalogue entry for Ulysses had the title in the author field and vice versa, and wanted to let you know in case you'd missed the error."

> 14

getting rid of Amazon as a source would probably help.

I'm not so sure. Even I, who curses Amazon frequently, often resort to using it. LOC often does not have my edition, particularly if it is a later or paperback edition. My next move is usually CLIO or ILCSO, but if those fail, I'm stuck with Amazon. Yes, I could do manual entries, but I have to tell you that when I am entering that box of books from a book sale, that's not likely to happen!

16nperrin
Feb 27, 2008, 9:14am Top

15: That's why I don't really think turning amazon off is a feasible alternative. But this is an active decision to get quantity over quality and it has consequences. I use Amazon too when I can't get my edition elsewhere, but I edit almost every single field afterwards. Amazon is easy which means more users which means more junk, and while I personally would prefer fewer users with richer data that is neither the site's consensus opinion nor its business model. (Of course, I would also like to chop off the hand of anyone entering wrong editions, but I don't think that would help pay for the site either...)

Using LT as a source would not be that helpful when the whole problem under discussion is bad data in LT, as well.

17jimroberts
Edited: Feb 27, 2008, 9:48am Top

#15: lilithcat '... for me to tell you "do this because I think it's appropriate" is just plain wrong.'

As Osbaldistone and I said in that thread, compliance should be clearly optional. My actual practice is more like your example ""I noticed that your catalogue entry ... let you know in case you'd missed the error."

Here is a recent message I sent:
Hi, you have called one of your books Let's choose executioners by Sara Woods. I guess that's one of the ones you have read but no longer own and you've misremembered the title, which should be Let's choose executors. I've combined the two titles, but you would probably prefer to have it right. But if you'd rather have things the way they were, let me know and I'll uncombine them.

posted by jimroberts at 9:15 am (EST) on Feb 15, 2008 | delete

Would you have objected to that? It's polite and non-demanding, and it shows that I took the trouble to read her profile before imposing my opinion on her.

(Oops, typo corrected.)

18DaynaRT
Feb 27, 2008, 9:58am Top

I'm of mixed feelings about this issue. I like the data in my catalog to be correct, but at the same time, I heavily edit every entry so that the information displayed is in the style that I like.

I've never received a message about my data that I can remember, and I've only once left a comment for another member about something in their library. And I only did so because I "knew" that person from Talk and was reasonably sure they wouldn't mind my doing so.

Basically, people can choose to ignore comments left for them, or even turn off commenting. I'm not really fond of a rule stating that one shouldn't contact other members about the data that makes the site what it is.

19jjwilson61
Feb 27, 2008, 10:08am Top

Marking other people's data may be insulting, but if you could mark your own data as good, after checking it carefully of course, then it could be used as a source. The option should be at the bottom of the edit screen so that people don't just casually set it when they enter their books. It would also be good for people who are going through their libraries cleaning up their data to know what's been checked already.

(This isn't my original idea as I read it somewhere on here before.)

20christiguc
Feb 27, 2008, 10:20am Top

I always check to see which groups (if any) the person is in. If they aren't in any groups, I figure that they probably don't care for the social interaction and don't message them. If I can easily combine the book without messaging someone, I won't message them. In fact, I've only had to send out a couple of private messages.

I think it comes down to tone and, as others have said above, pointing out how change is optional and can help the user.

The last message I sent out:

Hi. I was just cleaning up the Robert Harris author page and noticed that you have a book (Zwarte zondag) on his page. Zwarte zondag is actually by Thomas Harris--a translation of Black Sunday. If you want to have it combined with the other copies (for recommendations, similar libraries, reviews, etc), you can change the author. No pressure--your library can be entered however you want it. I just wanted to let you know in case you didn't know about the author.

And I completely agree with everything ryn_books said in #9.

21lilithcat
Feb 27, 2008, 10:48am Top

> 17

Would you have objected to that?

No, I think the way you actually phrased your message is very different from the way it sounded in post #13!

22jimroberts
Feb 27, 2008, 10:56am Top

#21:
I should have said "what you suggest be changed" rather than "what you would like to see changed", since it is closer to what I was trying to say.

23rebeccanyc
Feb 27, 2008, 11:13am Top

Coming to this late, so I'll mostly be repeating what's been said. I haven't been doing a lot of combining/separating lately, but when I did, I occasionally sent polite notes to people and made them private. I would say about half the people thanked me, and half ignored me, but nobody took offense (or at least nobody told me he or she had taken offense).

So I believe it comes down to tone, as many others have said, and that it would be wrong to prohibit this kind of note overall just because some people may not be polite enough or some people overreact.

24dcmdale
Edited: Feb 27, 2008, 12:08pm Top

"Asking others to change their catalog is bad LibraryThing etiquette."

I completely agree with Tim on this one. The reason that we want people to change their catalog is a function of how LT works and it would be better to identify problems and to mature how LT works.

I am going to guess that most users of LT just want a place to keep track of their books. This means that they don't really care much about the impact that data they they enter has on the overall system and many of them don't even really care about the quality of the data as long as they have got a basic list of what is in their library and who the authors are. For many of them, the concept of a "work" is more of a pain than a help--especially if the combining is wrong. While I appreciate the social aspects of LT and have a librarian's impulse to fix bad data, I think that it is wrong from both a business and politeness perspective to ask other users to clean up their data so that a "work" displays cleanly in someone else's catalog.

From my perspective, I would like to see "Common Knowledge" evolve into the authoritative record for a work. For works that have no common knowledge, existing or improved algorithms give the default value. (One suggestion for improvement would be to give greater weight to records imported from major libraries than to Amazon--even if more users imported their record from Amazon. I want and active LCCN in the common knowledge that overrides Amazon).

I think that the implication of "Common Knowledge as LT Authority Record" would be that CK needs to clearly map to traditional library data fields. I agree with the LT business philosophy that "everyone is a librarian," but I think that if CK become the authority record, that there needs to be: 1. The ability to attach a discussion thread to the CK so that differences of opinion can be expressed and decisions recorded. 2. The ability to "babysit" (as opposed to "own") records that one cares about (that is, one should be able to sign up for notices that someone has changed a record). 3. The ability of LT staff to lock a record if a dispute gets too hot. 4. A social mechanism to capture the cataloging rule decisions to inform future discussions. 5. The ability for users to conform, on a field-by-field basis, their catalog to the authority record at import or edit.

Tim is going to hate me for this one, but both the ability to properly catalog a "work" and the ability to properly catalog that "object this is on my shelf," points to the need for an "Edition" object. Assuming that the business direction of LT is to move into the real library space, libraries are not going to be happy with the fact that a "work" does not describe what is on their shelf, even if they can override for a particular copy. This will be especially true if they are intentionally keeping several editions. Of course, I can hear library catalogers screaming about the "everyone is a librarian" rule too.

25timspalding
Feb 27, 2008, 12:24pm Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

26timspalding
Feb 27, 2008, 12:24pm Top

Tim is going to hate me for this one, but both the ability to properly catalog a "work" and the ability to properly catalog that "object this is on my shelf," points to the need for an "Edition" object.

No no. I think that's a good idea. I don't want editions to be the "end" of it—I think "works" are valuable. But they deserve to be in there. It's complex and wiggly, but it's something to work toward.

27dcmdale
Edited: Feb 27, 2008, 12:43pm Top

Absolutely... the individuals' records may attach to an edition which must attach to a work. An individuals' record must attach either to a work or an edition.

I think that much like "series," a "edition" object solves a lot of cataloging problems and potential disputes. It just complicates your object model. ;-)

28lorax
Feb 27, 2008, 12:45pm Top

I have to say that I'm not really fond of this, for a couple reasons.

Either the person with the bad data wants it to be bad, doesn't want it to be bad, or doesn't care.

If they want it to be bad, frankly I don't want to see it, and I really don't like seeing it on works pages. There's a private user who has edited *every single title* in their library to have "Bxxxxxx" in front, where the "x"s are digits. (This library wasn't private a few weeks ago when I first noticed the issue and posted a comment not to ask them to change it, but to explain that it might be behind their missing a lot of "connections" and asking if they had a reason for using the title field rather than tags for whatever they were representing with the numbers.)

If they want bad titles, that's none of my business. But the problem is that these versions show up on works pages, and in a few cases -- since apparently the data they edited was library data -- the crap title actually DOMINATES the work title, and to my mind that's completely unacceptable. If messaging the users is inappropriate, then I think we need some sort of flagging mechanism to isolate bad data in a sandbox so the title doesn't show up as a separate title under "Debris" and most importantly doesn't ever dominate the work title.

If the user doesn't want the data to be bad or doesn't care, is there really any harm in saying something like "You may be surprised that you're the only person with a copy of this very popular book; that's because you have it listed under the wrong author. If this isn't intentional, you may find that changing it improves your connections with other libraries". Is that really so terrible? When I've left messages like this they've always been private and I've always tried to keep the emphasis on the benefit to the person I'm talking to, rather than to LT as a whole.

29_Zoe_
Feb 27, 2008, 12:50pm Top

"Asking others to change their catalog is bad LibraryThing etiquette."

Yes, I strongly agree. Pointing out an error and saying that they might want to change it for their own benefit is one thing, but asking someone to change their catalogue just for someone else's benefit is extremely annoying.

I'm still bitter about a private message I got in about my first month on LT, asking me to make a change to my catalogue because someone else didn't like it. I had been cataloguing at an extremely rapid pace, taking photographs of my books rather than bringing every book to the computer, so when it came to manual entry of 100-year-old textbooks I was restricted to the information visible on the spine. Therefore, I committed the terrible offense of entering an author by last name only. It made no difference to me, since I wasn't going to search out other books by that author (and when I later entered the full name there were no other books to see anyway), but my book was contaminating the author page of a cartoonist who goes only by that single name, and I quickly received a message asking me to fix it. I was so new to the site that I could barely understand what the problem was, and I was just pissed off that someone else would complain about my data. It was not a friendly welcome.

I reread the message now and didn't find it nearly as offensive; the wording is polite, but there's still no mention of it being beneficial to me. Being asked to make a change when I didn't fully understand why the current data was a problem just did not make me happy.

30tardis
Feb 27, 2008, 1:05pm Top

What does one do when the information is massively wrong? I'm not talking about typos or different forms of author names. Go look at Enid Blyton's author page - there is a problem with data import or data entry or SOMETHING which is assigning her as the author of many people's books. If it was my book, I'd want to know that my Dick Francis books are assigned to Enid Blyton. I've been posting messages about this (I've done all the wrong titles up to D except the ones from private libraries where I can't identify the affected user), and have had no feedback either pro or con or any sign that anyone is fixing their data.

31collsers
Feb 27, 2008, 1:17pm Top

I strongly support this new "etiquette."

I just can't say I've ever really understood people's reasons for asking others to change their data. Yes, it can make author and work pages a little neater, a little more accurate. But it doesn't change the data of your individual library. If you just genuinely enjoy combining (as I do), there is plenty of combining available to be done without having to bother people. So the data is not perfect--blame Tim, blame Amazon, blame the limitations of technology, but don't blame individual users.

Also, no matter how nicely you think your request is wording, someone will interpret it as being condescending, totalitarian, rude, or worse, especially with the rising numbers of international users. It's hard enough to interpret tone on the internet if it's in your native language.

32sarahemmm
Feb 27, 2008, 1:30pm Top

I stand by the original point I was trying to make in the other thread: not everyone has the ability/empathy/interest to word a message in a way which is not likely to cause offence -- cf some of the comments in this thread!

It sounds as if several people have had success in letting people know, in a clear and informative way, that their data is wrong, and how it would be valuable to correct it.

Jim, I wasn't trying to say that there should be one single 'fill in the blanks' format. But if there were one or several suggested formats to use, surely that would be helpful to those of us (I include myself) who don't always manage to make their point well.

Please feel free to try out any messages on me: I know there are several issues in my library!

33mvrdrk
Feb 27, 2008, 1:36pm Top

I guess there are complaints about this that combiners are not seeing, but Tim is.

I think it's fine to call it bad form. I don't see how it can be prevented or policed over the entire LT community, but if the combiner's group supports it as a social interaction norm the number of messages asking other people to change their data should drop quite a bit.

And then we will have yet more new things to pester LT about solving or fixing. Yea!

34sarahemmm
Feb 27, 2008, 1:37pm Top

Another thought:

#19 Marking other people's data may be insulting, but if you could mark your own data as good, after checking it carefully of course, then it could be used as a source. The option should be at the bottom of the edit screen so that people don't just casually set it when they enter their books. It would also be good for people who are going through their libraries cleaning up their data to know what's been checked already.

(This isn't my original idea as I read it somewhere on here before.)


How about a system of flags, similar to that used for reviews? If 3 (or whatever) people agree that a book is correct, then it can be accepted as accurate. Or do it the other way round: its not accurate if three people flag it as wrong.

My 2c...

35lorax
Feb 27, 2008, 1:45pm Top

#19, in keeping with the "positive feedback only" philosophy of review thumbs-ups, how about letting people flag other people's data as good? I think letting people flag their own data as good creates more problems than it solves -- what if the user who changed all their titles to start with things like "B070909:" decided to thusly flag their data? I think the "three people flag it as wrong and it is no longer considered for work title, etc." is the best option, but I can see where any negative flagging might be considered insulting.

36Existanai
Edited: Feb 27, 2008, 2:03pm Top

This is like kicking the people you are asking for help in the teeth because you can't figure out what you want help with.

I don't care to be spending hours correcting other people's mistakes and asking strangers to do "me" the favour of changing their entries so that "everyone" will benefit. But I have done it because - as I assumed - there was an interest in clean, reliable information on the site that was collectively useful.

If you want to avoid such delicate entanglements, then make the system more reliable and user-friendly. If you don't expect data to be reliable, don't make everyone work towards it and then blame them for using the few natural means available to them. If you want good data AND you want people to work on it for you and for themselves AND you want them to ignore everything that doesn't allow them to resolve the problems then it's possible - only possible - you need to rethink what you want and how to get there.

37DromJohn
Feb 27, 2008, 2:17pm Top

I'll sadly follow the rule even if I don't agree that corrections are bad etiquette. On the contrary, I find it responsible. I have requested changes often and have received many polite replies which have turned into conversations and one turned into a Group. In fact, back in the days when I was aggressively seeking author pictures, a couple of authors requested that I'd "clean up" their pages, which turned into correction posts.

The catalogs are the reason for LT. Discussion of the catalogs is the most important social function. Correcting catalogs is valuable.

From comments on my profile page (about half public), the words "thanks" and "appreciated" sums up the response.

Oh, well. Them were the days.

38abbottthomas
Feb 27, 2008, 2:30pm Top

>30 tardis: I have been entering a lot of rather obscure old Penguin books recently - normally from Amazon as I usually find the edition I want there - and I have noticed many, many alternatives with Enid Blyton as the author. So, presumably an Amazon bug?? But why?

39HoldenCarver
Feb 27, 2008, 2:35pm Top

I understand the rule, and I understand why Tim would choose to create and enforce it if he's getting complaints through other alleys.

I think, semantically speaking, there's a difference between "Asking others to change their catalogue" and "Asking someone if there is an error in a catalogue entry or not", and I appreciate the latter as I've had other people catch errors I've missed (it's very hard for me to catch every error, given the size of my library).

To that end, I think I'll put a note on my profile to that extent. Though if Tim judges my doing so to be going against the spirit of the rule, I'll remove it.

40RobertMosher
Feb 27, 2008, 2:37pm Top

Interesting that this would generate so much apparent heat - I've been contacted once, early on in my LT career, and it was suggested with generous explanation why the sender proposed I make a change in my catalog. It made sense to me to make the change - no big deal.

Robert A. Mosher

41DromJohn
Edited: Feb 27, 2008, 2:52pm Top

>40 RobertMosher: An Album of American Battle Art with still only three of us.

(edited) That's three books, originally with two copies with different authors and one without an author. 1947, so it's pre-ISBN.

Any suggestions how to combine them without contacting the other catalogs?

42lorax
Feb 27, 2008, 3:13pm Top

>39 HoldenCarver: I think, semantically speaking, there's a difference between "Asking others to change their catalogue" and "Asking someone if there is an error in a catalogue entry or not"

That's a very good point. Tim, how would you feel about people phrasing it in the latter fashion, e.g. "I notice you have title XXX by author YYY; is that supposed to be by author ZZZ, or is there another book by the same title by author YYY?" Are you seeing objections to that sort of phrasing as well?

It wouldn't solve the "deliberately screwing up the data" issue, but neither does flat out asking why they're doing that, so that's a moot point.

43jimroberts
Feb 27, 2008, 3:28pm Top

# 36: existanai
Who are you talking to?

#37: DromJohn
I agree with all you say.
"The catalogs are the reason for LT. Discussion of the catalogs is the most important social function. Correcting catalogs is valuable." As I see it, we are here in a social enterprise in which we help each other get accurate information (if that's what someone wants) into their catalogs, and talk about our books, and also about our problems with the site.
Tim's decision to kill 'add from user catalog' was already a negative step from this point of view. If he goes on to ban suggestions for catalog changes, further than just the Terms of Service "be polite injunction", that will be another bad step.

There are already measures available to those who don't want our interference: private account, block messages, block messages from individual users.

#38: abbottthomas
I use Amazon a lot for the same reason: I'm more likely to find an edition that matches mine there than in a library. But I know I can't really trust Amazon, so I click the pencil to check, either straightaway, or after entering a few related books.

#32: sarahemmm
"Please feel free to try out any messages on me: I know there are several issues in my library!"
Thanks! I've set you a message.

44drbubbles
Feb 27, 2008, 3:54pm Top

Everyone in this group manifestly cares about the quality of LT data. You all put time into cleaning it up. But it may be that, with 2+ million users, the combining problems are only at the tail of the distribution. In which case, it's simply not efficient for Tim to fix them, or provide users with the means to, at this point.

Tim's got the business model on his side: you're paid up. There's no loss to him if committed users become dissatisfied.

What I'm getting at is, Tim just may not care. (Note that he didn't start this thread for debate: he came to this Group in particular to let you know that the foot will be coming down.) It may be far more important to him that new users not be scared away or turned off, than that LT data are fraying for lack of maintenance tools.

If this is so, one hopes that Tim will at least keep an eye on the data problems. I don't know the extent of them, but certainly you think they're still manageable. There's going to come a point, though, and such points are almost always reached sooner than one expects, when the data problems are going to be just too extensive and too interwoven for even you. I doubt the proportion of LTers willing to make the kind of efforts you have will ever increase; actually, I would expect it to decrease.

So if I were you, I'd want to know whether Tim valued my efforts enough to invest any LT resources in them, and if so, how much.

45Romanus
Feb 27, 2008, 6:26pm Top

I concur with fleela: "I'm not really fond of a rule stating that one shouldn't contact other members about the data that makes the site what it is."

LibraryThing defines itself as “an online service to help people catalog their books easily,” adding that “because everyone catalogs together, LibraryThing also connects people with the same books, comes up with suggestions for what to read next, and so forth.” So, it seems to me that the cataloging function is the fundamental function of the site – fundamental in the sense that it is the first step for the further interaction of the members. Therefore, shouldn’t we try to keep the cataloging data as correct as possible? Not only benefits the site, but it also – even primarily – benefits me: I get a good catalog and, based on it, I am able to interact with others.

I think that it would be a pity to absolutely ban a type of communication that is useful to and appreciated by many of us, only because some particular users are offensive and others far too touchy. In a community of this size, there are always going to be people who are anti-social, or who cannot manage to be polite, or who get offended at anything…

Ultimately, I think it is just a matter of general politeness, in tone and words, and (to stress the politeness) of keeping such messages private. If somebody dislikes this kind of “interference,” he/she already has the means of avoiding it – private libraries, blocking members, disabling comments, etc.

46quartzite
Feb 27, 2008, 6:48pm Top

I have only very rarely contacted some about their data, and then I usually point what a think is a possible error, but have never directly asked them to change something. I have not had any response suggesting someone felt offended. It is not clear to me, Tim, if your proposed rule covers such messages.

I don't think it wrong to ask that members not tell or ask others to change their data, but I think members should be be allowed to point out apparent catalog discrepancies in public catalogs.

47PaulFoley
Feb 27, 2008, 6:53pm Top

Also, no matter how nicely you think your request is wording, someone will interpret it as being condescending, totalitarian, rude, or worse, especially with the rising numbers of international users. It's hard enough to interpret tone on the internet if it's in your native language.

Tough. People should grow thicker skin. Or stay off the Internet.

48stephmo
Edited: Feb 27, 2008, 8:22pm Top

I'm not a huge fan of writing notes to correct data. I did a few, heard nothing back and was paranoid about whether or not I'd made someone feel bad for a while.

At the same time, I'd like to fix this:
http://www.librarything.com/work/2598/book/21485250
and this...
http://www.librarything.com/work/607457

I TOTALLY get why they're doing this, really I do! I have more than my fair share of anthologies because Stephen King has a story in them. And while I'd like for there to be a way to show up on the Stephen King page, it just pains me to see this book adrift from its 154 brothers...

I absolutely don't want to e-mail either one and say, "hey, either change the author to 'Various' or the editor so we can combine it" because I know both like to see all the books they have wholly or partially by Stephen King.

But this is the part where I wish there was a way to keep both of us happy (like a super-secret force-combining that leaves the author and title data alone, but combines them properly).

Edit: to correct that horrid, horrid apostrophe!

49barney67
Feb 27, 2008, 8:18pm Top

I agree with Tim in post #1.

I've never felt the compulsion to change someone else's catalog. Nor have I ever been asked to change mine.

50hailelib
Feb 27, 2008, 8:26pm Top

The couple of times I've been asked the change made sense so I did it.

51Existanai
Feb 27, 2008, 8:56pm Top

# 43: jimroberts

I was addressing Tim.

It annoys me that yet another poorly-thought out implementation on LT is left to the user to sort out, and the user is then wagged a finger at for taking initiative.

I think Tim should first take a good look at what is wrong with the system, and use the many suggestions above to implement something more consistent and user-friendly and less vague and tangled.

52kathrynnd
Edited: Feb 27, 2008, 9:00pm Top

msg 48 I don't know what to say.....

I am so glad that Tim recently fixed it so that the work pages of books in my library that I entered from library sources show the author and title at the top of the work page based on the MARC data. This means that when I look at the book information pages (social icon, book card, book detail, main page) from my library, books without authors do not have an author, books with multiple authors ( or various authors) have only one author listed, etc. It is only when I look at the work detail page that I see the 'democratic' author. I can live with that. Thank you Tim.

Example: the touchstone for Village walks in Britain will take you a book apparently by Automobile Association/Ordnance Survey. What a garbage author name (my opinion, yours may vary). As mentioned above, when I go to look at this book in my library I don't see that.

53stephmo
Edited: Feb 27, 2008, 10:06pm Top

>52 kathrynnd: I tossed Various out there only because that's what the ISBN-entry pulls in - that's what CueCat said! I am able to update to the editor and still keep it combined...it's those entering the author as Stephen King that breaks things (and I'm even on the old form, so I don't even have him listed as an additional author).

But really, a method for combining the two works so the folks that listed Stephen King as the author saw another 150+ members with their book would be neat.

I know that it shouldn't be super-simple to do that kind of thing, lest Green Eggs and Ham somehow be combined with How Green Was My Valley by a rogue combiner that feels all things green should be combined...

But there should be a way!

54timspalding
Edited: Feb 27, 2008, 11:30pm Top

If you want to avoid such delicate entanglements, then make the system more reliable and user-friendly.

Yes. I accept that blame. It's what I'm saying: blame LT more for the inability to screen out certain data, and users less.

I think, semantically speaking, there's a difference between "Asking others to change their catalogue" and "Asking someone if there is an error in a catalogue entry or not"

That's a good point. I have a lot more sympathy for the second of the two, and I can see how the first could be skillfully rephrased as the second, defusing potential tension.

Tim's got the business model on his side: you're paid up. There's no loss to him if committed users become dissatisfied.

No, totally wrote. Even if I were motivated as you suggest--in which case the hours I spent on Talk are pretty stupidly spent--paid users are the people who spread LT.

Tough. People should grow thicker skin. Or stay off the Internet.

LibraryThing is to many a *haven* on an otherwise vapid and crass internet. Many LibraryThing members love the site because the "social networking" is all about ideas and imagination, and not about cute photos, because in contrast to the usual swill of lower-case non-English we host conversations of remarkable maturity and depth. We aim for a kinder, gentler, more humane and more intellectual take on social networking. "Stay off the internet" is not, I think, up to that standard.

55lampbane
Feb 27, 2008, 11:14pm Top

It's hard for me to bring new arguments to this discussion, as I think both sides have been explained pretty well, so I can only give you my opinion:

If I have spinach stuck in my teeth, I'd rather someone tell me so I can clean it off rather than having people do the "polite" thing and say nothing, so that I end up walking around with this ugly thing on my teeth that people will stare at until I finally notice it myself. It's not polite. I actually think it's quite inconsiderate.

Bad data can be like that. Maybe sometimes the person doesn't care or did it on purpose. While others will actually try to fix it and might even be grateful. But if we don't at least let the person know something might be amiss, then we're removing the choice.

56lucytartan
Feb 27, 2008, 11:43pm Top

I would welcome Tim's proposal.

Like _Zoe_ I catalogued my books fast, way back in the first months of LT, and I depended largely on Amazon since of the few sources available then it was the most comprehensive for my purposes. Even so it took almost a week to enter them all.

I catalogued my books for my own convenience. I put a lot of effort into the tags and not much into getting the correct data. Having the catalogue has been incredibly useful to me. Nevertheless I suspect my catalogue is about 70% wrong, because if I'd tried to make sure it reflected the exact editions I own - Australian printings, quite often, of widely published titles, with many antipodean quirks) it would take months to fix. And I don't care to fix it because it serves my purposes fine as it is.

Just on the making comments private part. When you do this you can't see how many other comments of the same type the person has already received. I've had upwards of thirty emails to my gmail address on this topic. It's too much.

If the data from Amazon is causing problems, blame Amazon or get them to fix it or whatever.

57timspalding
Feb 27, 2008, 11:50pm Top

I'd love to get together everything that's known about contacting Amazon--what they'll fix and won't. I know members have done it. I would have thought asking Amazon to change data would be like petitioning the World Bank to replace the receipt paper in an ATM machine. But apparently I'm wrong.

58apple2e
Feb 28, 2008, 3:52am Top

I have got Amazon.co.uk to change two things (I cannot ask Amazon as I cannot login and as I have never actually bought anything from them I cannot authenticate myself using my credit card details...).

One was an author spelling correction: R.J. Piniero -> R.J. Pineiro
The other was a title: The Greenwich Roget's Thesaurus (Creatures of the wild) -> Roget's Thesaurus

I must admit however to have failed in getting them to change the cover picture of ASIN 0862881625 (Roget's Thesaurus) which is still showing a Bear...

To report the problems I just clicked on the "Would you like to update product info or give feedback on images? (We'll ask you to sign in so we can get back to you)" links.

59reading_fox
Feb 28, 2008, 4:28am Top

A suggestion I made at the "Changes to Add Books" thread: To help get better data to start with, thereby reducing the amount of combining required, and messages however phrased - would be to make the title and author directly editable at the Add books stage. Maybe even with a prompt "Are you sure this is correct? edit it"

60christiguc
Feb 28, 2008, 12:42pm Top

I'm trying to put my finger on exactly what it is about this proposed rule that I find extremely offensive. I mean, I don't like to take offense. :) This same group has another discussion thread where this exact issue is mentioned (here) where we come up with the same thoughts and ideas (e.g., the tone matters, perhaps a format example, telling to change v. informing of an error); the difference is that here we are reacting to a rule change--Tim says he's basically already made up his mind.

As far as I know, talk and messaging here is basically not rule-bound by a monitor as of now. Interactions are unsupervised saved for a few rules--be nice, no unsolicited advertising. And I think it comes down to that I would like to know why this type of communication (from this group in particular since the rule was stated on this forum) is being added to the "bad etiquette" list.

Perhaps if Tim gave us a rough number of how many people have been 1) complaining to LT staff about this practice and 2) are offended to such a degree that goes above blocking messages from the messenger. Since, for the most part, each person here has only sent out a few messages (I think I've sent five), most of these people who get multiple messages are not getting them from a large number of combiners, so each blocking comments from one or two users would solve the problem for them. Or is this because Tim thinks it bad etiquette even if LT hasn't heard from many outraged members?

Is it being said that this rule need to be adopted "for the good of the community" irrespective of whether this communication is logically different from others because many people are getting so seriously affronted or annoyed? Or is there a distinction that makes this type of communication from this group of people a separate class from other types of communication on this site--a reason why it should be controlled/proscribed?

People are always going to find something to be offended with on the internet. If you look at some of the groups here on LT, you can probably find smoething to offend everyone. I think the people in this group are some of the ones least likely to be turned off or leave LT, so perhaps that is why this group is being told some actions are "bad form"--Tim can impose this rule, we might get offended, but we'll just continue doing what we've been doing (except not messaging people about data mistakes, of course). True. But I think that's another reason why I find it particularly offensive; I can't think of a reason why this rule should be applied to these kinds of messages here and not to other kinds elsewhere except for the fact that they can.

If the other thread cited above had simply been steered in a direction to lead to a group consensus of informing of mistake v. telling to change data, that would be completely different. And, to me, that's where it was going before it got sidetracked to combining volumes. It's not that the changed rule will even really affect me--as I said, I have sent out about five messages (informing of mistakes, not asking to change) and got thanked for each one. However, the way the change was presented, a rule imposed on this group and this communication, is, as ryn_books said above, "a real kick in the teeth" for people who are, as a general rule, very conscious of the importance of community and others.

61christiguc
Feb 28, 2008, 12:43pm Top

Wow--I didn't mean for my rant to be that long. I guess that goes to show that anyone can be offended by tone and etiquette form online. :)

62timspalding
Feb 28, 2008, 5:34pm Top

I hear you on me dictating how people should talk. That's not cool. I just really worry about very different conceptions of what LT is about. If you're convinced LT is a social catalog first and foremost, you'll feel little compunction telling others to do this and that. But many members just don't see it that way. "Clean up your room" is loaded even when it comes from your mom.

63abbottthomas
Feb 28, 2008, 8:42pm Top

I try very hard to get things right when I enter a book, usually from Amazon. I pick an entry with the right publisher and date and then, as often as not, edit author and title, even if just means removing a surplus full stop. Well, OK, this probably says something about my position on the OCD spectrum. However, if I get something wrong which impinges on other data I would actually be glad to be told about it and have the opportunity to change it. This suggested rule would prevent that happening. Pity!

64Margalioth
Feb 28, 2008, 9:42pm Top

>63 abbottthomas: I think my position on the OCD spectrum is similar to yours (I'm one of those people who would love to be dumped onto the edit page with every book entered, since I always check all the fields -- I'm particularly obsessive about the 'original language' field for some reason -- and no, Tim, I'm NOT actually advocating that for LT, I know most normal people wouldn't want it to work that way). I think I've only received one or two messages asking me to change some data, but I'd be grateful to anyone who let me know about such things -- certainly not offended.

(I'm cringing as I write this... but... maybe there could be somewhere on our profile page where we could indicate if we felt strongly about this one way or the other (or just either an opt-in or an opt-out to people feeling welcome to message us about such things)?)

65lucytartan
Feb 28, 2008, 9:47pm Top

Well, I DID post a message on my profile page requesting at least a less patronising tone to these messages, if they had to continue. One of the message-senders then wrote to say I had made a mistake by posting it on my own profile and I should have written it privately on his.

66christiguc
Feb 28, 2008, 9:50pm Top

>65 lucytartan: -- how many different people have messaged you about an error in your library?

67christiguc
Feb 28, 2008, 10:34pm Top

>62 timspalding: I understand your motivation behind this. And, for the most part, I agree with much of what you say even if I think it was approached the wrong way.

That being said, :) I feel very strongly that this is an inappropriate instance for a rule--especially one "given down" by LT staff.

Some people are having a harder time getting the tone down in messages, and I bet they know who they are because they have been getting nasty messages in return. Perhaps a group discussion of what is the best way to message people (or decide when someone should be messaged) about their data might lead to some broad group-constructed guidelines.

There is no way to get around the fact that LT serves different functions for different people. If you want to choose one as dominant, that's your prerogative even if we all vocally disagree with you. I would suggest that LT can serve functions for everyone if the simple preexisting rule of communication--"be nice"--is followed. I believe most here do want to be nice but just aren't able to come across as such in messages. That just means this group should continue the discussion on the other thread about tone and message composition.

68Lman
Edited: Feb 29, 2008, 4:15am Top

I really don't understand the premise behind this position of yours Tim, especially when you have removed a much-loved, much-used function of the 'add' button so the incorrect data is not added, again and again. But in this instance, when all people are trying to do is the same thing, it becomes an etiquette no-no.

Now you all will probably come up with differences between the two - and I am sure there are; BUT the basic idea behind them seems to be in the same direction as far as I am concerned: a clean, correct database!

When I first joined LibraryThing, in order to sort my series, and in my absolute ignorance (no librarian blood in me), I put all my authors in with a number after their name to sort my books in my desired order. I was quite horrified when I was informed (by a friend and member) that I was corrupting the database with this and I should use tags. So I spent quite a long time "cleaning" it all up. I was surprised that I didn't receive any comments informing me of this. I wouldn't have minded becoming more informed...

So I think there needs to be a way to keep ALL members happy, and as one of the assets (and advertising) of this site is "its an easy, library-quality catalog", to quote the home page, surely polite expressions to do that should be considered and allowed; or another solution offered, if not.

(Edited to 'clean up' grammar and spelling!)

69andyl
Feb 29, 2008, 4:37am Top

#67

Perhaps a group discussion of what is the best way to message people (or decide when someone should be messaged) about their data might lead to some broad group-constructed guidelines.

That's fine but how do we know that the worst offenders are members of this group?

70christiguc
Feb 29, 2008, 11:59am Top

>69 andyl:

I'm not saying they are. But Tim apparently thinks so--this "rule" is targeted to this group. And even if the "worst offenders" are not of this group, I still think there are some things that are helpful to remember in writing a message--phrasing as an optional adjustment, mentioning the benefits to the user instead of how the current data is hurting "the community", etc. And I think everyone here wants to be nice (e.g., msg 32). I think people who haven't gotten friendly reactions might want suggestions from people whose messages have worked.

The option of a group discussion of possibilities and tips was offered as a suggested substitute to Tim's initial restrictive "rule" for this group. It would address his and others' stated reservations about how people of this group have been messaging.

71timspalding
Feb 29, 2008, 2:58pm Top

Some points:

*Handed down or not, many people agree strongly with me. I think that number would be much higher if I "handed down" this in a venue other than a group devoted to fixing work problems.
*So, can anyone suggest a rule that's more limited than the one I proposed? Certainly SOME "fix your crap" messages are already against the LT terms, which ask people to be nice.
*Pace 68, the + sign you want back was a MAIN SOURCE of problems. Users would add a book then change only part of the entry—the part they cared about.

72_Zoe_
Edited: Feb 29, 2008, 3:06pm Top

+ sign you want back was a MAIN SOURCE of problems.

Maybe from the work page, but it should still be possible to add a book from someone else's catalogue.

Also, why are people less likely to add, say, multiple books by the same author from the add books page, and then change only the title?

73kathrynnd
Edited: Feb 29, 2008, 4:12pm Top

71 *So, can anyone suggest a rule that's more limited than the one I proposed?

The few people I've approached directly had serious, what appeared to be unintentional, errors in otherwise complete manual enties. I thought they might like to know. I did not ask them to change their data. Would this still be considered OK LibraryThing etiquette?

If we can't approach the users it would help if LT could fix it so (1) wrong combinations resulting from these errors can be separated by ISBN from a clump on the debris page and (2) books with author or title errors that at one time could be combined by ISBN can again be so.

Example: http://www.librarything.com/work/764744

ETA: poor example as this one does not have an ISBN, but I've noticed other books with same ISBNs that no longer come up as suggested combination.

At a minimum could it be possible to put the disambiguation notice in CK at the top of the work page?

74lorax
Edited: Feb 29, 2008, 4:11pm Top

>71 timspalding:, unfortunately anything more limited is also a lot wordy.

As a first stab, I'd suggest something like

If you think there is a problem with another users' data (wrong author, bad title, etc.) that might be an error either on their part or on the part of the source they added from, any comments on the users' profile should phrase it as a question or an observation about the potential error and leave the issue of whether they wish to change it up to them. Any mention of the benefit of changing it should be limited to a benefit to the user doing the changing, not to you or to LibraryThing as a whole.

Bad: "You have 1984 listed as '1984 by George Orwell' by Enid Blyton. Please fix this."

Good: "I noticed you have 1984 listed as '1984 by George Orwell' by Enid Blyton. Amazon's had some strange behavior lately producing results like this, and I wanted to make sure you knew about it so you could change it if you wanted your copy of 1984 to be connected with the rest of them on LibraryThing. Thanks!"

75melannen
Feb 29, 2008, 4:32pm Top

> 71:

Okay, having been quiet and listening awhile, I've shifted away from my initial kneejerk reaction. You and others here have convinced me that it might not be a bad idea to try to take "Asking people to change data" out of the basic combiner's toolkit. I can see how having people come to your catalog and ask you to change things in order to make /their/ lives easier might be annoying or confusing to some people, especially ones who just catalog and don't follow any conversations.

So I would be okay with saying it's bad form to ask people to change their data so that you can combine, and especially to stop advising beginning combiners to do it the first time they run in to a problem, which does happen fairly often here.

But if we just happen to notice that someone has a mistake in their catalog, it should always be good etiquette to let them know that they have an error showing and they might want to fix it. And if a new user seems to be using author and title fields in an unusual way, it should always be good etiquette to make sure they're aware that other parts of LT will be more useful if they have more standard data. Even if we did just happen to notice the problem while combining.

It would also probably be a good idea to open a non-confrontational dialog either here, elsewhere in Talk, or on the Wiki, aiming for consensus advice on the best ways to let people know about catalog problems, since the set of "compulsive catalogers" is not necessarily the same as the set of "people with effortless social grace," (despite what browsing Talk threads might make one believe!)

(Also, it would be nice if we got some better combining/separating tools to do some of the things the messages help with...)

76amberwitch
Feb 29, 2008, 5:26pm Top

I'm coming late to the discussion, but I read the first many messages of people disagreeing with Tim, and just wanted to agree wholeheartedly with his first post.
I would consider it incredible rude to be asked to change my data because they interfered with the collective work. I've encountered a few works that were messed up because of faulty data from a few members, and yes, it is annoying, but I would never ask them to change their data.

77infiniteletters
Feb 29, 2008, 5:54pm Top

Okay
*a lot of people are saying "Don't ask people to change data"
*some people are saying "I mind being asked"
*some other people are saying "I don't mind being asked"

Tim said in the original post above: "If there is a problem, LibraryThing needs to solve it technically--by giving members a way to override how LT calculates things, or give it a way to mark ratty data or etc. But telling users to change their catalog is bad form."

What about redirecting this discussion to the technical side?

Perhaps there could be a flag with a certain threshold for bad data, or to move info from 1 author page to another page, or to force combine 2 different books?

78abbottthomas
Feb 29, 2008, 6:33pm Top

I think that I would rather changes in my entered data being made by me, with polite advice, rather than just happening. Am I a control freak?

79infiniteletters
Feb 29, 2008, 6:46pm Top

78: No one else can change your data. The discussion is what to do with incorrect book data for combining (Homer writing an HTML book, etc)

80lorax
Feb 29, 2008, 7:06pm Top

What about redirecting this discussion to the technical side?

That's an excellent idea. I think we've reached the point of diminishing returns on the social side.

From a technical standpoint, what I personally would like (which might well be quite difficult -- this is a "in my dream world" scenario) to see is this:

* Individual user data remains sacrosanct. Nothing changes what the user sees as the title, author, etc. of their own books in their own catalog.

* The display title for "Books you share with XXX" is either the main work title OR the title of your copy, NOT that of the other person.

* Some sort of flagging mechanism can be used to mark data as "bad". This would have the effect of:
- The titles and authors thus flagged are excluded from any "majority rules" calculation. This would prevent the "Edgar Allan POE" situation.
- For a more drastic scenario the versions of titles or authors are by default excluded from view in the works page. Here I am thinking primarily of things like this:

http://www.librarything.com/search_works.php?q=B070909

If someone wants to use the title field rather than somewhere else to keep that date information, I guess that's their prerogative, but I'd rather not have to see it every time I go to do some cleanup.

81stephmo
Feb 29, 2008, 7:24pm Top

>78 abbottthomas: If I'm not mistaken, I think the technical aspect would allow your data to stay the same but still have it connected socially...

At least the way I read it is, "rather than potentially offend a member, why not look for technical ways to solve this so we give individuals complete control over their libraries while still showing connections?"

82_Zoe_
Feb 29, 2008, 8:44pm Top

The display title for "Books you share with XXX" is either the main work title OR the title of your copy, NOT that of the other person.

I like seeing the other person's title.

83lorax
Feb 29, 2008, 8:55pm Top

>82 _Zoe_:: Mind if I ask why?

In the cases where it's different from mine or the works title, it's very frequently CRAP. Rarely it's a translation, which I agree is interesting, but far more often it's something like the d*#($&)@#@) "B070907: Real Book Title Goes Here" or an all-caps title from an Amazon reseller.

84shmjay
Feb 29, 2008, 8:58pm Top

This is what I would like to be able to do:

1. See a book with wrong data, such as 1984 by Jane Austen.

2. Take a linking/tying tool, and link this book to what I presume is the correct book: 1984 by George Orwell. The physical equivalent would be as if I had some yarn or string and I took the book in its place on the wrong shelf, tied some string around it, and tied the other end of the string to a copy of 1984 by George Orwell.

3. This wrong book would also appear in the combining lists under Orwell.

4. There might even be a message / flag that would appear on a persons profile: "You have 1984 by Jane Austen. This may be an error. Did you mean 1984 by George Orwell? {link to the book so they can change the data}, or {Cut string} so they can leave the data as is."

5. Perhaps LT can compare the two books and if the ISBN for "1984 by Jane Austen" matches one of the ISBNs in one of the library catalogue records in the Debris, the message can be stronger, such as "This is very likely an error".

(And yes, I know that ISBNs are not always unique.)

At no time would I have to contact any person. At no point would any data be touched by me. But right now the only way of correcting data is to ask someone else to change their data.

85shmjay
Feb 29, 2008, 9:18pm Top

A real-life example:

See "Silencio de los inocentes" at the bottom of

http://www.librarything.com/combine.php?author=harristhomasa

I suspect this is another Thomas Harris.

86christiguc
Feb 29, 2008, 9:29pm Top

>85 shmjay:

Thomas Harris' Silence of the Lambs has a Spanish version published as Silencio de los inocentes.

87timspalding
Feb 29, 2008, 9:41pm Top

Wait wait. Let's not put the technical in this thread. By message 80, most users have stopped reading, believe me.

Look, let's start a new thread on the technical fixes.

For this topic, I still feel strongly that I'd like to consider it bad form. Many others agree with me. But a few thing I'm dictating and are angry about that. So, fine. Let's just write some guidelines up. I propose that the guidelines be something along the lines of:

*Remember that LibraryThing is used for many different reasons. The way you use and enjoy the site is not necessarily the way others do.
*Be sensitive to how the member is using LibraryThing. Approach members who show no interest in the social side more cautiously.
*Try to provide helpful information and ask questions rather than dictating.
*If the user indicates displeasure at the request, let it drop.
*When in doubt, raise the issue in the Combiners! group before sending a message.

How's that?

88_Zoe_
Feb 29, 2008, 9:42pm Top

Mind if I ask why?

It feels somehow fake to see only my titles. If someone leaves in bad titles from amazon, that's what's in their catalogue, and I don't want to pretend otherwise.

Even if translations were the only concern, I think they're important enough to justify showing the other person's titles, regardless of how infrequently you actually come across them.

89timspalding
Feb 29, 2008, 9:52pm Top

>88 _Zoe_:

I agree with Zoe.

(Can I get a witness?)

90sabreuse
Feb 29, 2008, 9:56pm Top

Just this once...

91shmjay
Feb 29, 2008, 10:18pm Top

> 86 I know, but it was put under Thomas A. Harris, the psychologist who wrote I'm OK, you're OK.

92shmjay
Feb 29, 2008, 10:30pm Top

P.S. Will the new thread also be in Combiners?

93DaynaRT
Feb 29, 2008, 10:48pm Top

>89 timspalding:
Preach it, brotha.

94melannen
Feb 29, 2008, 10:52pm Top

>> 89 : I'll witness.
I like getting that little glimpse at the other user's catalog instead of just an echo of my own back.

Also, your new proposed ettiquette sounds pretty much like what I would have considered common courtesy and common sense anyway, so I am fully in support of it.

95Avron
Feb 29, 2008, 11:31pm Top

80 lorax and others
Re: * The display title for "Books you share with XXX" is either the main work title OR the title of your copy, NOT that of the other person.
I would also like to see the title of my copy used (main work would be no more use to me than the other person's title), that way books in a series would sort the way I want them to. I'm currently using the workaround of swapping usernames in the URI/URL.
A link on that page to do so automatically would be helpful though (and I expect, writing with no programming experience, reasonably simple to program) even if not particularly useful to others.

As to the original topic, I think the ability to advise other users they may have incorrect data is important. I have personally sent no more than half a dozen messages about 'errors' I've seen but the replies I did get were polite. (One user did thank me and then make their library private though, I don't know if the two are related.)
I can see how other users would take issue with that form/topic of communication though.

96mvrdrk
Edited: Mar 1, 2008, 2:46am Top

I agree with 82. My why is that I have the book, I know what my copy of the book is, I want to see Their Book.

Oh and very often, their book is incorrectly combined with my book, so if I see a title I don't recognize, I know I have some uncombining to so. If I only see my books, I have to go check every link to see if it's really the same book, and that's a multi step process.

>87 timspalding: Yes. But I thought that was what you meant all along. Can we put those guidelines in the group blurb until people get used to it?

97abbottthomas
Mar 1, 2008, 8:26am Top

>87 timspalding: That solves any difficulty for me. I'll shut up now ;-)

98QueenOfDenmark
Mar 1, 2008, 9:04am Top

This is what I want and get from Library Thing.

I found Library Thing from a comment by Joe Hill on his website and came to have a look. I was seduced by the offer of a free 200 book library and got addicted very quickly and joined as a lifetime member as soon as finances allowed.

At first my main actions on here were to list my books and every time the amount of books went up significantly I felt very proud to own them and have read them. I was more concerned about getting the right title and author, slightly less so about having the right cover etc. I wanted to give them ratings and hope to eventually review every single book. Since I have more than 1000 on here now, that might take me some time. I also want to keep a list of when and where those books are bought and put this in my tags, so I can see them quickly and without effort.

I can understand why other people want all the data to be exactly as they think it should be and for everyone who lists a book to get every bit of their listing right but my own needs here are more relaxed. I want a list of my books and if it comes up with the blue cover instead of the red one, well, it's okay, I still have that book and it's still listed.

I then moved into the social side of LT and found it to be very friendly. I know that LT is not meant to be like Myspace or whatever and I wouldn't want it to be. Having been on those sort of social sites I have actually found them to be very unfriendly and image focused. There seems to be an "it's all about me" side. They also seem a bit pointless to me but again other people seem to enjoy them and nobody's making me join.

Not so here on Library Thing. People here have a comman interest, they actually seem to enjoy talking to each other and there is a lovely mix of ages, gender, nationality etc that I just haven't found anywhere else. I've found some lovely people on here that I like to talk to, about books and other things. Because of those people I have found books that I wouldn't normally have come across. I've gotten a lot out of Library Thing and it's pretty much the only reason that I log on to the internet each day.

So if somebody told me to change something I would respond to their tone quite stongly. Because I am relaxed about my own needs from my catalogue I would probably be happy to change something that may be a mistake but not by somebody whose tone screamed "Hey Idiot, Fix This." I liked the Lorax's suggestion earlier, "Amazon have been getting this wrong, you might not have noticed but until Amazon can fix their mistake I thought you might want to know about it so you can fix it if you want in your catalogue." I'd be glad to make that sort of change for a person who was polite about asking.

Maybe the answer would be to make a thread for a book when a problem is noticed, called something like "Amazon errors affecting cataloging of 1984" so people who have that book listed can check their listing and make amendments without feeling singled out.

99andyl
Edited: Mar 1, 2008, 3:25pm Top

#98

I seriously doubt that most people read these fora. It would be ideal if we could come up with a technical fix - but I am holding off on thinking seriously about it for a few days to give Tim some breathing space.

I think that Tim's revised etiquette rules in msg #87 are a lot more moderate than his initial post and one I think no-one disagrees with.

Oh and I don't really like "Amazon have been getting this wrong, you might not have noticed but until Amazon can fix their mistake I thought you might want to know about it so you can fix it if you want in your catalogue." as it implies that as soon as Amazon fix their mistake it will be fixed in the user's catalogue but the tone is fine.

100shmjay
Mar 1, 2008, 6:49pm Top

I like to combine, and having correct data makes LT's recommendations more accurate and makes it a better tool for librarians.

Let me just say that the book referred to in 85 would not be one I would contact people to ask them to fix their data, because 1. I own no books by the author, so it doesn't matter to me; 2. I have no idea how to ask someone this in Spanish. French, yes.

101lorax
Mar 2, 2008, 5:39pm Top

>88 _Zoe_:, etc.

Clearly I'm in the minority, and I'm not going to try to argue the point any more.

I do want to clarify, though, that I'm not talking about what you see when you look at someone else's catalog, but about what you see when you look at the "books shared". Those books are, by definition, in my catalog too.

102PaulFoley
Mar 2, 2008, 6:43pm Top

It's a bit confusing when you look at "books you share with X" and see books that you don't recognize because the publisher changed the title to something completely different (the only one I can think of now: James Patterson's Cradle and All shows up on some people's catalogues as Virgin). But yesterday I happened across a profile that claimed I shared two books, one of which was something called Bodie Bride by Isabel Whitfield. I've never heard of either the book or the author, but clicking to the work page shows it's been combined with The Complete Works of Shakespeare (and I can't figure out how to separate it). If I'd been shown the book in my library instead of the other, I wouldn't have known it was wrong.

103skittles
Mar 2, 2008, 7:43pm Top

Bodie Bride is now separated from the Complete Works of William Shakespeare... and there's a disambiguation notice requesting that it not be combined with any other books until it is fixed.

104timspalding
Mar 2, 2008, 8:27pm Top

Nice work.

105stephmo
Mar 2, 2008, 9:44pm Top

Tim,

Would there be a way for users to click on a work link that says something along the lines of "This book has more owners!" or "This isn't my book!" and somehow post to the Combiners! group for review.

Skittles, in particular, has been particularly helpful with these things - seeing items that aren't easily pulled apart or put together. There are others that are equally good (I'm just the lowbie that can make the debris page work occasionally after clicking on "see work").

I was just thinking if these could either be automatic posts or somehow a page with a "review" status of some sort, a lot of issues could be solved without e-mailing individuals to ask them to correct their data. I guess I'm saying that's a way low-skill combiners could get to the high-skill combiners and those who are no-skill combiners could alert folks to data issues.

Heck, if someone entered a report that said "I'm sure more people own this book, can you help?" report, then an e-mail would be totally appropriate - since they were asking and all...

Just spit-balling...

106timspalding
Mar 2, 2008, 9:47pm Top

Riffing off the intent of that...

It might be good for me to put together a feed of singletons--works with a single member--that show up for a popular author. If a new work appears from Mark Twain, for example, it ain't a new work.

107skittles
Mar 2, 2008, 10:50pm Top

Tim, you would get a lot of singleton books that don't have an ISBN, have misspelled titles, have non-English titles, etcetera. There are also a lot of books that don't get combined because the "authors" are different (again, usually misspelled)

An "unseparate" would be nice... such as for Bodie Bride. Two members have the Bodie Bride book, the third member has the Complete Works of Shakespeare. I cannot separate Shakespeare from the Brides... somewhere they were combined & there isn't a ISBN for the Shakespeare book, although there is for the Brides.

Let's not get the Combiner Community started about those multiple title combining messes that take a few DAYS to fix because someone "accidentally" combined a group of books...... not to give anyone ideas, but think of the mess that would happen if someone combined ALL of the Harry Potter titles together??

An UNDO combining button would be WONDERFUL!!! Accidents do happen!!

108kathrynnd
Mar 2, 2008, 10:52pm Top

OK then what? There is an 1899 singleton copy of Joan of Arc by Mark Twain right now. It can't be combined by ISBN on the debris page and the combine/separate page is so big it won't load (at least using FF on my computer).

Great idea though. I just don't think it will work for authors with multi editions and translations spanning over a century.

109skittles
Mar 2, 2008, 11:03pm Top

kathrynnd, I just went to the author page & combined two singleton Joan of Arc, one set of two combined & the other 300+ copies. I didn't see one labeled as 1899 in the title... hopefully I've got it... if not, let me know where the 1899 copy is.

CTRL-F is my friend!! (the firefox version)

Back to the Mark Twain page to clean up some more "stuff"....

110kathrynnd
Mar 2, 2008, 11:21pm Top

An "unseparate" would be nice.

Yes! It is only one copy of Bodie Bride, the one with ISBN 0263790878 entered from amazon.co.uk that is tangled ( hashed?) with William Shakespeare yet the debris page lists 3 copies with this title. Does this mean the three books are inseparable? The Bodie Bride ( ISBN 0373287402) owned by two other members listed on the Isabel Whitfield author page as a separate work is not a problem.

111skittles
Mar 2, 2008, 11:32pm Top

I checked the three LTers listed & their libraries... two had Bodie Bride & the third had Shakespeare... but I didn't look for another listing for Bodie Bride... just the one with Shakespeare.

I'm not going to PM the Shakespeare-owning member or the Bride-owning members. They will see it eventually. The best way to fix this would be to remove the "offending" books & re-enter them.

Yes, the two Brides & Shakespeare are un-separate-able by me.

112Aquila
Mar 3, 2008, 12:24am Top

Late to the party.

I'm thinskined and anitsocial. I usually get upset really easily when people contact me out of the blue or correct me but surprisingly I've not felt that way about receiving comments about problematic records in my catalogue. But I totally get why people could. It hasn't stopped me doing it though.

When I noticed the number of works wrongly attributed to Enid Blyton jump from 5 to over 70 I privately messaged around 50 people to say that I thought that a bad data import source meant they had book x by y mistakenly being listed as being by Enid Blyton, and that they could fix it by editing the Author field in the book record. I had quite a lot of replies from people saying "thanks and I've fixed it" over the next little while. No one seemed at all put out. Now it's entirely possible that some people were very annoyed by my messages but ignored them, or even fired off messages to Tim and Co. demanding to have their messages turned off or me flogged or somesuch. And I'd also presume some people haven't logged in since then and have no idea I messaged them, some read the message, were irritated, and ignored it, and some read the message and didn't understand it.

One consequence of the wrong author thing is that the person with the book can't see that others have copies of the book. Maybe they don't care, but it seems a pity. I look forward to better ways of fixing works. I don't know how I feel about Tim's proposed rule.

Tim, how many noses does it get up? Have many people been complaining? Going offsite and complaining? Turning messaging off because of us? I've not found the discussions in other threads about this that obviously exist, I'll start hunting them out, and I have to admit I've skimread some of this thread, i really should be going home.

113reading_fox
Mar 3, 2008, 6:37am Top

#87 - considerably more moderate than originally!

114collsers
Mar 3, 2008, 8:34am Top

Skittles, were you around that day a new user combined all of Tolkien's works? I think there were at least 10 of us working on putting it back to rights, and it still took several hours.

115skittles
Mar 3, 2008, 8:44am Top

YIKES!! that's what I mean... and I must have missed that one.

It only took several hours?? not days? You have my admiration for all of the work that must have taken.

116collsers
Mar 3, 2008, 9:26am Top

http://www.librarything.com/talktopic.php?topic=13722

Looks like my memory shorted it, and it was an over night effort. Although I'm sure it was days until some of the more obscure translations and such were right.

117skittles
Mar 3, 2008, 9:42am Top

OMG!! That was just before I'd started combining on a regular basis.

and I didn't think about the "non-English" versions of titles that don't use the English alphabet... and that I definitely cannot read. What a pain!!

118abbottthomas
Mar 3, 2008, 10:22am Top

This is beginning to sound like a "d'you remember what it was like the day we took Omaha Beach" kind of conversation. ;-)

119skittles
Mar 3, 2008, 10:26am Top

abbottthomas, of course it is... "old war stories" are the best way of passing lessons on to the "next generation" as it were...

Let's just hope that there won't be any "newer war stories" to pass on...

120lorax
Mar 3, 2008, 1:59pm Top

As long as we're sharing old combining war stories, how about the time someone combined all the works of Pratchett into Night Watch? Or the time someone combined all the works of Anonymous into one huge mess?

121infiniteletters
Mar 3, 2008, 5:14pm Top

There really needs to be a way to move works from Anonymous or Various to their respective authors... (when any apply) :/

122skittles
Mar 3, 2008, 5:31pm Top

but that would be interfering in someone else's book listing... they might "want" it as various... instead of the editor or compiler, etc.

Because it says so on the book cover!!

and it would take too long to enter!!

I don't know who to put in as the author, 15 people wrote this book!! So that's various.

123Heather19
Mar 3, 2008, 7:19pm Top

Okay, I've just joined this group and I admit I just skimmed over most of the posts in this thread, but I have to respond.

I understand that many people on LT catalogue their books for themselves and don't want the social interaction part. I used to BE one of those people, so I certainly understand that. BUT, when one user's data is messing up things for everyone else, why is it a bad thing to drop them a little note explaining what is going on? They may not realize that their ISBN of such-and-such book is wrong, or that they combineded something that shouldn't be combined. If their error is messing up data for a whole bunch of other people, why on earth is it bad to leave them a gentle private message to inform them?

I am in the middle of a HUGE problem, combining/seperating wise, which I have posted about multiple times in the Bug Collectors group and I have gotten no real fixes from. Books are combined, their covers being thrown together, because certain users have incorrect ISBNs. It messes up my catalogue and anyone else's who happens to have those books. WHY is it a bad thing to ask that person to fix their mistake?

If we can fix it behind the scenes, fine. I'm all for that. But if it's a single user's personal data that is making the problem, how can I fix that unless I contact them? Please, if there is another way, tell me.

124skittles
Mar 3, 2008, 7:51pm Top

ok, Heather, the cover you are referring to is a "member uploaded cover". Some one may have accidentally uploaded the cover to that title instead of the title where it was supposed to go. It should not affect your books.

I missed this one, because I didn't see any links or touchstones to the books in your post... just about calvin & hobbes.

I'll explain more in the other thread.

125quartzite
Apr 19, 2008, 1:40pm Top

Okay, a question on etiquette here. I have come across a user who is using the title field on some occasions to make notes for him/herself. These notes then appears as "titles" under the linked author. For example, there is note "author fully updated 3-24-2008" listed as a title with the author Patricia Cornwell. There other notes such as one saying "See also Scott Patterson" listed under another author. This is not a question of some one cataloging their collection "their way" or even linking a a note to a specific title, but of using the system incorrectly. Is it inappropriate to contact this user and ask them not use the title field for notes unconnected to a specific title?

126kathrynnd
Apr 19, 2008, 2:17pm Top

I think this is in LT's court to make the place for notes more noticeable when entering books and in default library views. I personally would not contact this user.

127r.orrison
Apr 19, 2008, 3:49pm Top

It sounds like those are meant to be personal notes about the author, not about any specific book. It's not anything to do with entering books. As far as I can think, there's no good way to do what that user obviously wants to do. (There are no personal author comments, tags, or anything else.)

128kathrynnd
Apr 19, 2008, 4:36pm Top

see /work/5232423 for an example of a comment about the author (among other things) in the title field. The tag for this specific book might fit better in a comments field rather than as a tag I would think. BTW this book is shared with some others. I wouldn't go out of my way to combine them.

129jjwilson61
Apr 19, 2008, 5:47pm Top

But if you did combine it, as long as that other book had more than a few copies, it would be merged with all the books with a correct title and no longer show on the author page with a loopy title.

130infiniteletters
Apr 19, 2008, 7:44pm Top

There's a James Patterson book listed with no title and no ISBN.
http://www.librarything.com/work/5262728/details

Couldn't that be corrected at least?

131quartzite
Apr 19, 2008, 8:16pm Top

no title entries can be a system error rather than entry issue

132nperrin
Apr 19, 2008, 8:23pm Top

131: Is that true even if within the catalogue there is no title? The same user has two entries with no title or author.

133quartzite
Apr 19, 2008, 8:45pm Top

I think there may be a new system error. Just yesterday when I added a new book I saw a book with no title in my list of recently added books. When I checked my catalog there were two entries with basically no information: no title, no author, no date. These entries were not there a few days ago. I am afraid to delete the entries, since I am not sure if they are actual books, and if so what books they are. I thought I would wait a few days and see what happens.

134PaulFoley
Apr 20, 2008, 2:41am Top

There's someone who apparently enters "all his books" as a catch-all title, rather than actually cataloguing the books - that's under James Patterson, too. I don't quite know what the point is of entering nonsense like that (or "12 books", etc., unless it's actually a huge 20,000 page monster omnibus edition, or maybe a boxed set or something), but ... de gustibus

135skittles
Apr 20, 2008, 9:01am Top

there are a few libraries that have similar entries. I would guess that is so they can keep a "free" account & have more than 200 books entered because they've combined single author works into one book..

136PhoenixTerran
Apr 20, 2008, 9:06am Top

135> I would guess that is so they can keep a "free" account & have more than 200 books entered because they've combined single author works into one book.

I've definitely seen something similar to this happening. See http://www.librarything.com/profile/AdorableArlene for an example. Particularly the review for Stranger in a Strange Land http://www.librarything.com/review/22854415

So, I wouldn't be surprised if people are using their accounts as skittles suggests.

137PaulFoley
Apr 20, 2008, 9:29am Top

Well, the "all his books" person had, when I looked, all of 5 or 6 entries in his catalog (each "all his/her books" for different authors), so that's certainly not to get around the 200-books limit :)

138skittles
Apr 20, 2008, 9:33am Top

Paul... not "yet"

or maybe they realized that listing their books with the title as "all his books" was rather self defeating... and not a good use of the site.

139quartzite
Edited: Apr 20, 2008, 5:41pm Top

I see the "all his books" a lot or also things like "Four book by" and also things like that mentioned in message 128 where extraneous information is included along with the title. For some reason these things don't annoy me the way this "author updated on xx/xx/xx" does, perhaps because the former at least refer to actual books, while the latter does not.

140hailelib
Apr 20, 2008, 5:05pm Top

Also, the occasional omnibus will have a title like '3 by author A'.

But the "author updated" stuff is a bit bizarre.

141skittles
Apr 20, 2008, 6:57pm Top

what I "object" to is listings such as:

http://www.librarything.com/work/3313537

http://www.librarything.com/work/3867295

http://www.librarything.com/work/3829433

and yes I know that Ellis Peters and Dick Francis have omnibus editions, but these are just examples of "books" that don't exist as a "set" or edition... just as a way to get around the 200 book "limit" for a free account... (or do they do it just to annoy me?? **heavy sarcasm**)

142Heather19
Apr 21, 2008, 10:47pm Top

Isn't this something that would be abuse/violation of the TOS? I mean, I'm sure there is something in the TOS about not manipulating things to get around paying for an account, so wouldn't that qualify? (TIM??)
This is the kind of thing that REALLY pisses me off, and on some level I understand the whole "let users do what they want" thing, but not when they are clearly doing it to get around rules, or are doing something that messes up data for everyone else! It doesn't seem right to let a few people get away with crap, just to preserve the "user does what they want" thing, at the expense of everyone else (and yes I'm taking it personal, because it messes up MY data too, when people make crap-book works like that, it messes with the author's book list and doesn't properly show who has my books).

143r.orrison
Apr 22, 2008, 2:01am Top

The problem with that is that http://www.librarything.com/work/3313537 is clearly not part of an attempt to get around the rules, since the member who entered it only has 2 books listed. Likewise the member who entered http://www.librarything.com/work/3867295 only has 6 books entered.

On the other hand, the member who entered http://www.librarything.com/work/3829433 is at exactly 200 books, and has quite a few other "complete works" and "books 1-5" type listings.

So we couldn't use that to try to get rid of two of them, but might be able to make a case for the last one.

It does seem really rude.

144andyl
Apr 22, 2008, 4:53am Top

Yes the last one definitely needs to buy a membership and catalogue his library properly or be dealt with by TPTB.

The first two probably need some kindly advice to explain the benefits (both socially and from a catalogue pov) from listing the books individually.

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