LT2 design drafts 2.0

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LT2 design drafts 2.0

Edited: Dec 11, 2019, 2:12pm

Here are some recent mockups of the LT2 progress. It's been slowed by other projects/bugs/holidays/russian bots/etc. but progress and evolution is continual.

Note: the design is continuing to evolve. What you see is in no way guaranteed to be the finished product. In fact, I can guarantee that it's likely NOT what the finished product will be. In fact the finished product will continue to change even after it is released. That's how we roll.

Do not threaten to leave the site if the third pixel on the left isn't a particular shade of chartreuse or you don't like the radius of a particular curve on an image. I don't believe you anyway.

As you can see, the full-desktop version of the page content is going to change very little. Navigation on the left, content in the middle, bonus content on the right side. Same as it is on the site now.

Note: the right side content is just filler. Eventually it will contain much of the same content from current work, author, etc. pages.

When the site gets small for mobile screens it necessitates content layout changes.
* First, the bonus content on the right side moves. The "action area" with the buttons moves to the bottom of the top section (this might vary based on the particular page type). The rest of the bonus content will move to the bottom of the regular content.
* Next, if the screen is even smaller the left side navigation must be removed. Since we use the left-side navigation as a kind of page-type selector it is turned into a selector at the top of the page. We tried many different variations on this element and a menu is the best solution at this device size—so far.
I've also reorganized the tabs since the last version: removing the "search" tab and including the global search box above the tabs.
* You'll also note that the top navigation changes slightly at other breakpoints to give itself more room for content.

As for overall content, the fonts are smaller than in the last iteration. The main cover image is also smaller, due to feedback from you. Some colors have been changed. The subnav has been tweaked. And about a thousand other small modifications.

Now that we've reached a threshold of design on the main navigation elements I can now start working through the details of content styling. What h1, h2, etc look like. How big should text be in each circumstance that it's used. What lists, buttons, etc. look like. All of that is kind of 25% done so far just so that I could get not-ugly content on the page. One of the goals is to have a consistent look for the site across all pages.

Also, there's a ton of infrastructure work that needs to be done before I can even attempt to throw this on a working page. I've been working on that but I'm not done yet. The issues mostly revolve around the antiquated—albeit very fast—way in which we build/render pages for LT.

Anyway, here are some screenshots from this morning...
(click each to see full-size version)

1. Fullscreen

2. Smaller screen

3. Mobile screens

4. Global menu sample

5. Page-level menu

6. These sections can be folded up using the arrows on the right, just like the current work page sections.

7. Right-nav content moved to the bottom of the main content in mobile views.

Bonus: here's a video showing the mobile version in action.

Dec 11, 2019, 2:18pm

Ooh, and also: ahh!

This is looking really nice, Chris.

It is a little difficult to see the grey up arrows and dividers in the mobile view where they're most important. I'm not sure if it's a side-effect of the size and pngness, but could you increase the contrast a bit for accessibility in the next interation?

Dec 11, 2019, 2:38pm

Thank you very much for sharing this process. I'm not sure I understand the arrangement and placement of page-level menu items. The "explore" tab seems to be a mish-mash of stuff, but I guess it is now, too, so I'll get used to it eventually.

Dec 11, 2019, 2:58pm

>2 keristars: Thanks for the comments. And yeah, they are a little light in these versions. They get darker when you collapse the section though, meant to fade into the background when you're seeing the content and be more obvious when the content is hidden.

>3 reconditereader: Page-level items are what are normally on the left-side of work pages, author pages, or even the Talk pages. It's a level of navigation that, frankly, I wish we could engineer/design around and not need anymore. Unfortunately, that's not going to happen in this iteration as it would mean a catastrophic change in the design and use of the site. With that decision it means that I have to find a way to show that level of navigation (navigation within a page or context) and I already have a main nav and a sub nav in the top section. Adding a third level of navigation is terrible but it's a necessity in this case.

Dec 11, 2019, 3:49pm

>4 conceptDawg: I always value the work that you folks do, especially considering how few of you there actually are...

Before this is set in stone (although I may be too late), could we move the tags down, and make reviews a closed menu that has to be opened up to see them? I've often found it disturbing to see a review of a book I'm considering (I tend to prefer reading those *after* I've read a book). Yes, I know they're currently visible, but I'm hoping you'll make it slightly harder to see. I understand my request is a pony, and it may end up in the same pasture as others, but putting my two cents in, just the same.

On the other hand...Tags are often personal, and have little meaning to anyone other than the originator (I use "glass cabinet" often, for example). Tags can be entertaining, but don't impart the same information as review or recommendations. Which page is the top screen most like? Here's the page from a Harlan Ellison book I don't own:

Is that the page that is meant to replace? I'm sure I have more comments, but that's a start.

(Yes, I know that the Tag entry is near the top of the page in the old style; doesn't mean I wouldn't like it to drop down, and I'm sure someone else will say that I'm wrong...wouldn't be the first time, and won't be the last).

Edited: Dec 11, 2019, 4:05pm

>5 Lyndatrue: Reviews on the work page can currently be set to be open or closed. Just click on the triangle. ▸Member reviews is closed. ▾Member reviews is open. The setting is probably held in cookies, but if you allow LT to have cookies, and you close the reviews on one work page they should be closed in all other work pages until you change it or wipe the cookies.

You can also move the modules around. (reorder modules at the bottom of the page). Somehow I doubt that the new design will take away these features.

Dec 11, 2019, 4:04pm

>6 MarthaJeanne: That's usually true, but sometimes it doesn't hold. On the other hand, I'm speaking of the design on the first image above, and that doesn't have one of those handy little arrow things on Tags or Recommendations or Reviews. :-{

Dec 11, 2019, 4:05pm

>5 Lyndatrue: You can currently close reviews by clicking on the arrow in the header. The reviews remain closed from book to book until you click again to open the section.

I see arrows on the full view of Design 2.0.

>1 conceptDawg: Will we have that amount of control in the mobile version?

Dec 11, 2019, 4:07pm

>6 MarthaJeanne: I am looking right now at the first image above, and I don't see arrows.

Dec 11, 2019, 4:09pm

We cross-posted.

>7 Lyndatrue: The arrows are on the right-hand side in the first image.

>6 MarthaJeanne: Is the setting held in cookies? That would explain why it wouldn't hold for some members. Hmmm.

As a counter-request, I prefer to read reviews before the book and don't like them being far down the page.

Dec 11, 2019, 4:09pm

Dec 11, 2019, 4:11pm

>10 aspirit: I'm not sure, but it would make sense.

Dec 11, 2019, 4:11pm

>1 conceptDawg: What is going to happen when we click on the cover? Currently it takes you back to the work main page, and if you want to see a larger view of the cover image you have to click on the teeny tiny magnifying glass. It would be nice if, at least in mobile if not everywhere, clicking on the cover image takes you to the larger cover image.

Dec 11, 2019, 4:23pm

I think all the screenshots are great. I really like the way it looks. I was messing around with the site on my phone at a bookstore the other day and really wishing we had the new design already.

Although for the record, if you use chartreuse anywhere on the site, I will leave. :)

Edited: Dec 11, 2019, 4:46pm

>11 MarthaJeanne: I stared at that image (number 6) for three or four minutes, and suddenly realized that there was the little character "^" after the end paragraph of each. It's very dim in those images, and my eyes are old. I was looking for the tiny image as it appears on the current page. I hope that single character is not going to supplant the current arrows, and that it's just a place holder.

Now that I've found them in #6, I can also find them in #1. Thank you both (you, and aspirit) for your help. Also, don't get old.

>1 conceptDawg: I almost forgot to add that chartreuse is always an unacceptable color, and would make me want to leave as well.

>14 casvelyn: Thanks for the reminder. :-}

Edited: Dec 11, 2019, 4:49pm

8> Currently, the mobile version retains the ability to open/close the sections the same way as the desktop size. No plans to change that.

As for the ordering, in the current version of the site all of the sections can be reordered by you. I'm not 100% positive we're going to keep that feature but it's very likely (just don't want to commit to it at this point).
EDIT: Oh, I see that we removed that feature out at some point. We DID have that feature. In that case I can't comment yet on the ability to reorder sections. It's something that we've talked about again though.

>13 norabelle414: My plan is that clicking on the cover just gives you the enlarged version of the cover.

>14 casvelyn: I don't believe you.

Dec 11, 2019, 4:47pm

BTW, don't miss the little video at the bottom of the post.

Edited: Dec 11, 2019, 5:21pm

>14 casvelyn: Dang it. Oh well, >15 Lyndatrue:, I tried. (For the record, I won’t leave over it but chartreuse truly is a vile color.)

Actually, I’ve been here so long, there’s no way I’m leaving short of an eviction notice.

ETA: Further nitpicky color commentary: I really like the shade of blue on the left nav menu in fullscreen.

Dec 11, 2019, 5:20pm

Generally looks good. I agree with >13 norabelle414: that clicking on the cover should bring about a larger version of the image so am glad to hear that’s the plan going forward (I’ve been on this site for years and years and *still* make that error).

But I do still h.a.t.e. the combination of brown, red and beige (with a hint of green). It’s a horrendous combination. Will it make me leave LT? No, of course not, it it’ll make the experience much less pleasant on the eyes.

Edited: Dec 11, 2019, 6:00pm

>15 Lyndatrue: One of my life goals is to get old. Well, older.

>15 Lyndatrue: and >18 casvelyn: I once designed a database with chartreuse and eggplant. Now, years later, I finally understand why one of my coworkers on that job hated me! Although, she couldn't have stood something about the colors then. Jeesh....

conceptDawg, thanks for the images, explanations, and quick responses!

Dec 11, 2019, 5:48pm

>19 PawsforThought: Just for the record there is no green in the "beige" color. None at all. It's very close to grey with a little bit of yellow (based on the numerical color values). If you're seeing green then it might be unpleasant but it probably means you have an incorrectly calibrated screen (or eyes). :)

>20 aspirit: Not Tim. Yet. He'll be along shortly. No doubt about that.

Dec 11, 2019, 5:52pm

I think these look marvelous, really. The colors are lovely to me and I think the problem of what to do with the various links is handled elegantly on the smaller screens.

The only thing I would wish for is a mockup of what a book page would look like for a book that's in my library. Will it still have the box at the top that contains the editable fields tags, collections, etc?

Dec 11, 2019, 6:00pm

>21 conceptDawg: Yikes. Wrote the wrong name while on the move. Thank you for all of your work.

Edited: Dec 11, 2019, 6:19pm

"Do not threaten to leave the site if the third pixel on the left isn't a particular shade of chartreuse or you don't like the radius of a particular curve on an image. I don't believe you anyway."

Ummm wow, I hope that's meant as a joke?

Where did "Edit your book / Change cover" on the left-hand side go? Those are the two links I use most on the book page.

Dec 11, 2019, 6:37pm

>21 conceptDawg: I definitely have badly calibrated eyes, but not where colours are concerned. Perfect colour vision. And 've looked at three different computer screens and one ipad - same colour on all of them. And the beige does look greenish, no matter what the numeric values are. Might be the combination with the red that is making it look green (not to mention the closeness between yellow and light green).

Dec 11, 2019, 8:31pm

I use the large version now and plan to continue to use it. As far as the smart phone version goes, as long as I can search, see the author, title, year and personal comments I'm fine. I'll look at the small samples and the video when I'm on a larger monitor. . . blind? well a bit with these glasses!

Dec 11, 2019, 10:31pm

>22 rosalita: That section will continue to be at the top, above the general "work" level data. Same as before. We're trying to change as little as possible about the layout of content on the site. Mostly it's all the bells and whistles that surround the content that are changing.

Dec 11, 2019, 11:23pm

This is beautiful and I almost shed a tear. Can we have it for Christmas please? I've been so very good! ;)

Dec 12, 2019, 7:10am

Looks great!

>1 conceptDawg: Do not threaten to leave the site if the third pixel on the left isn't a particular shade of chartreuse or you don't like the radius of a particular curve on an image. I don't believe you anyway.

Its funny because it's true.

Dec 12, 2019, 7:29am

>27 conceptDawg: Thanks, Chris! Sounds good to me. Make it so!

Dec 12, 2019, 10:36am

>28 leahbird: Definitely not for Christmas but I am working feverishly on it.

Dec 12, 2019, 10:57am

I think the best indication of the success of the design is that the most creative, complex and tricky parts--exactly how the navigation works at the different sizes--is drawing relatively little commentary. As design is not supposed to make you think, or jolt you into anything, this is a good sign.

Dec 12, 2019, 11:52am

I think it is looking pretty good.

I assume the tabs are going to be links and be differently sized (based on usage) as currently.
Also a book can be in multiple series.

Is there a mockup showing both? I think the tags should be fine. But multiple series might make the page look odd. I have seen some books which have 12 or so lines of series (which I disagree with*).

* See old discussions at and

Edited: Dec 12, 2019, 12:42pm

>32 timspalding: I had a question about where the edit and change cover links had gone....

And to be honest, I don't like it. It looks like Goodreads, and if I wanted to use Goodreads, I would go there. But that train seems to have left the station, and most people don't seem to have a problem with it, so. But I think once the rollout happens, there's going to be a lot of questions from people who haven't been following along with these posts.

Dec 12, 2019, 12:47pm

>33 andyl: I assume the tabs are going to be links and be differently sized (based on usage) as currently.
Not sure what you're saying here. Maybe the "tabs" term is throwing me off, or "usage."

Also a book can be in multiple series.
Yep. Won't be a problem.

Dec 12, 2019, 1:44pm

conceptDawg (#35):

I think there's a typo in the part of #33 that you quoted, and that "tabs" should be "tags".

Dec 12, 2019, 3:05pm

>36 lorax: Ah..that makes more sense in that context.
Then, yes. The content of the page isn't really going to change much other than the styling around it. Tag clouds will still exist, CK, related works, etc.

Edited: Dec 12, 2019, 4:38pm

I'm feeling much more positive overall with the new screenshots. I was mostly ok with the general idea of the design in the first place, I just like a little more density than seems to be common, but these feel a lot better in that regard.

Just a couple of questions: in the global menu under "more" (4th screenshot) there is small, light text there. Is that supposed to be a description of what to find or are those intended to be links? They look very strange to me, and I would actually argue for larger text there and definitely darker.

I do wish I could see what it would look like on my screen, as the 'full screen' is not very, on my monitor. Are the right and left columns fixed and the middle variable, or is the middle fixed as well?

(e.g. looking at the mockup on my screen:

ETA: Another question: if I turn a phone landscape, would I see the "mobile" version or the "small screen" version? That is, would I get the side menu?

Dec 12, 2019, 6:38pm

>38 macsbrains: Is that supposed to be a description of what to find or are those intended to be links?
That's just something I'm playing with at the moment. It's a hint as to what's to be found in the "More" page since "more" is something of a catch-all. I really hate the idea of "more" but it's where we are right now.

Are the right and left columns fixed?
The page acts pretty much exactly as it does on the current LT. All of the sections scroll when you scroll the page.

I'm working furiously to get a working page finished. No promises for a release date yet.

if I turn a phone landscape, would I see the "mobile" version?
That depends on the width of your window/screen when you turn it. On my phone (iPhone 11 Max) I get the "desktop" version with only the right nav hidden.

One of the great things is that with LT2 we will no longer have a desktop and /m versions of the site that exist separately. When you load the site on your device you'll just see the most appropriate display for that size screen.

BTW, we still intend to have the native iOS/Android LTApp as that enables us to do things that are still problematic on the web (scanning, image editing, etc.) and, frankly, we need the presence of a native app if nothing else.

But as LT2 matures maybe we'll rethink that position. I don't know.

Dec 13, 2019, 7:41am

I noted a button that says "Add to ..."
Is that for adding books to lists? Or will additional functionality be bubbling in the background for future advances?

Dec 13, 2019, 10:48am

>40 gilroy: The idea behind that button is that it can be used to add a book to various places, which will be presented in a popup. Collections, possibly lists. We'll see. It's not really fleshed out yet. That'll be part of the Add Books rework.

Dec 13, 2019, 1:18pm

>41 conceptDawg:

Intriguing idea, a dynamic "add to" button in place of separate "hardcoded" buttons for the separate functionality needed for collections and lists. Certainly more intuitive, though potentially a bit confusing -- for example, someone who is not aware of lists might be surprised to be confronted with a choice when trying to add a title to their collection. On the other hand, just as much an opportunity to dispel confusion and educate users by providing a consistent interface.

Edited: Dec 17, 2019, 11:02am

I'm liking the look of the redesign so far. Good work conceptDawg.

A suggestion about Conversations

For me "Conversations" is the biggest missed opportunity for LT.

Let's say I've just finished reading a book, and liked it/hated it. I want to nip over to LibraryThing, mark the book as read, give it a rating, maybe write a review - and then I want to see what others thought, any recent news or opinions about it, chat about the book with people who've also read it recently, etc.

This is not what LT currently does. "Conversations" is a link to a page full mainly of "75 Books Challenge for 2019: RANDOMUSER" threads, which is approaching r/WebDesignGore territory. I might be alone in this, but I have no interest in reading through random "75 Books" threads to see if the owner happens to have said something interesting about a book I've read.

If you compare the way that RateYourMusic handles this (for example: Their "Work Page" aggregates all user reviews (same as LT), links to any ongoing forum discussions (sort of the same as LT), and has a little chatbox on the side for any throwaway album chatter (not the same).

There's two possible solutions:

1. Change the way the forum works. Rather than having a forum full of "75 Books Challenge for 2019: RANDOMUSER's thread", instead peg conversations more closely to works. This would require the creation of a separate space for people to make their own lists, threads, etc.

2. Retain "Conversations" as a link to relevant forum posts - but add a "chatbox" function to the main page of each work - to allow for community conversations linked to that work

Dec 17, 2019, 11:21am

>43 sometimeunderwater:

Chatbox - urgh no.

The problem has arisen because of the proliferation of the challenge groups and the 'Conversations' lists all those threads where the work has appeared as a Touchstone. Maybe it should be restricted to those threads where the work appears in the About box. But I don't know how much the About feature in Talk is used.

Edited: Dec 17, 2019, 11:58am

>43 sometimeunderwater: There are two ways to mark things.

Yes, most of the links to touchstones are not very interesting, and sometimes hard to find. This is because touchstones are mostly used to get from a message to the work. This is very useful, and it makes sense to be able to follow them the other way, too.

However, topics can be listed as being 'about' a work or author, and these are more what you want. Disadvantage: they only exist if a) someone has decided to post a topic about the work, and b) has made the extra effort to add the 'about'. I have often added the 'about' when it seemed reasonable and wasn't already done. You could try starting a conversation yourself. Even if there is no immediate answer, you might get one in a few weeks if somebody else wants to discuss it when they finish reading it.

Or, if you know in advance that you will want to discuss a book, you could try to get a group together to read it at the same time. However, even this doesn't often create a lot of conversation. And if it does, if there are no touchstones or abouts, (or even entered copies) the discussion may not be easy to find.

Dec 17, 2019, 12:05pm

>43 sometimeunderwater: There have been arguments before against having chat boxes, throw away comments, and responses to reviews before. Just wish I could search for them. But I'll definitely stand at a no for all those ideas.

Dec 17, 2019, 2:21pm

This is a topic I want to work on.

FWIW, I had an odd idea recently. The big problem with book discussion is that there are a lot of books, and a lot of posts. I want "about" to work, but even with it, opening up about a book is a fool's errand, unless it is very popular. What if we gave every book, or every book with more than 100 members, a day of the year—its discussion day—and then told members which of their books were up for discussion in the next week, or whatever. Members would indicate their interest in talking about it, and if more than one member did so, a topic would be automatically created and messages sent to the members who expressed interest.

Edited: Dec 17, 2019, 2:47pm

Would we be able to opt out of those messages?. I have entered nearly 4000 books with over 100 members. So there would be an average of over 10 books a day. I am not really interested in discussing them. Not even the ones I read recently and enjoyed. Certainly not the ones I started and didn't finish 10 years ago, never mind my husband's thrillers that I haven't even tried to read. I don't want all those messages flooding my profile comments.

Dec 17, 2019, 2:49pm

>48 MarthaJeanne:

Yep I think that is a problem - that kind of thing doesn't scale for people with a lot of books.

Dec 17, 2019, 4:12pm

>48 MarthaJeanne:

Yeah, there would be somewhere you could see what books were coming up.

Messages would only come if you clicked you want to discuss them.

Dec 18, 2019, 5:53am

My use of the word "chatbox" has obviously touched on an unpopular nerve. Perhaps I should've chosen a better term.

To be clear, I'm not talking about "throwaway comments". I'm talking about LT enabling more relevant conversations. Based on how I use the site, I'm suggesting that should be pegged more closely to Work pages. Once finishing a book I will navigate to the Work page anyway (for rating, etc) and would engage in a conversation if one was there - but I won't hunt through a forum on the off-chance. Maybe I'm an outlier.

FWIW, I do think some function for replying to reviews would be useful. Not necessarily in-line or direct-to-user - but if someone says something worthy of comment, why not enable it?

Dec 18, 2019, 8:46am

>51 sometimeunderwater: Um, because there has been a running debate to NOT have such a feature since 2009

(And that links to a longer thread of over 500 posts itself...)

Dec 18, 2019, 10:21am

>51 sometimeunderwater: why not enable it?

It might make some people decide not to add reviews.

Again, If you think your comment is important enough, you can write your own review or start a topic about the book.

Dec 18, 2019, 10:46am

>51 sometimeunderwater: Once finishing a book I will navigate to the Work page anyway (for rating, etc) and would engage in a conversation if one was there

It's already there under Conversations in the right-hand tab. If someone has marked a thread as About that work, it would show up there above the more numerous Mentions. When Abouts were originally added several of us argued for a dedicated thread per book linked to from the Work page, but Tim liked the About idea better.

Dec 18, 2019, 8:03pm

>50 timspalding: That sounds kind of interesting? I'm with MarthaJeanne, though, in that I would have about ten a week coming through (though that does give me fairly good odds of at least one a week I'd have something to say about.) If you do it, please let us filter by collection, though!

Dec 18, 2019, 8:22pm

>51 sometimeunderwater: >53 MarthaJeanne: I would be less inclined to add reviews if people could disagree with me directly. I'm not looking for a discussion when I write them. I just want to put my feelings on the page. I do like reading other people's reviews to see if they agree or disagree with me, but there is enough confrontation in my life without having it spill over into LT, which is my refuge.

Dec 18, 2019, 9:17pm

>56 krazy4katz: Let me just say amen to this.

It's a review. If I wanted to have a conversation about a particular book, there's any number of places on LT devoted to doing so. I appreciate others reviews, but I don't usually look at them as anything intended to lead to a conversation (although I've voted up some that were well-written, or that made salient points).

Dec 18, 2019, 11:17pm

>56 krazy4katz:

I know some members have wanted review commenting, but I wanted to create that sort of refuge, and I don't think we can change it at this point.

Dec 19, 2019, 3:07am

>57 Lyndatrue: Amen to your amen :-)

Dec 19, 2019, 5:29am

>56 krazy4katz: >57 Lyndatrue: That's my thoughts much better stated.

Dec 19, 2019, 5:35am

I've participated in several group reads where the discussion tended to be limited to

I finished chapter 16 last night and I'm still enjoying the book.

I didn't get any more read because my dog was sick.

Oh, dear, I hope he's feeling better now.

Edited: Dec 19, 2019, 8:08am

>58 timspalding:

How about this:

Add system support for review comments and add a “Comments are Invited” flag to be set when the review is created. The default would be “off” to maintain the current state - no comments allowed. As an enhancement, the creator of the review could be allowed to change the flag post creation.

Dec 19, 2019, 9:28am

Is it considered bad style to comment on others' reviews in your own? I see that sometimes, and have done it myself at least once.

Dec 19, 2019, 9:58am

>63 AndreasJ: I have been known to refer to other reviews in my review. I also have PM'd reviewers once or twice.

I don't think it's bad form if it is only done on very rare occasions, if there is more to the review than just contradicting the other review. In the case of your link, that might be an important thing for another reader to know, although I would probably not mention a name.

If another member makes a PM comment that is confrontational, it is easy enough to just block them, which solves the problem for the future. The times I wrote it was on the lines of 'Thank you for your review. I really needed to know that it wasn't just me!'

Edited: Dec 19, 2019, 10:08am

>63 AndreasJ: yes. Other than coming off as a bit rude (generally -- though I'm amused by the example), commenting on another's review also has the problem of referring to text that can change at any time. LT members can edit or remove reviews without notice for any reason. Then the comment no longer makes sense.

A review can be written to address what's in another review while still referring entirely to the work.

Dec 19, 2019, 10:02am

I had one experience with an author of an Early Reviewer book I received. He challenged everything a said in my review and wouldn't let it go. I did block him. Having that kind of confrontation in a Talk thread would be awful.

Dec 19, 2019, 10:36am

If people aren't prepared to accept anything but raves about their writing, they shouldn't publish books. I suspect it might have been better in a talk thread - because most LT members would support you and say they aren't interested in reading books by someone who behaves like that.

Dec 19, 2019, 11:18am

>66 2wonderY: If they did it in a talk thread, this could still be something the writing community has dubbed the "Authors Big Mistake." Some say that all publicity is good. Others, not so much...

Seasoned writers advocate don't read reviews or your work. Or if you are going to read them, walk away and let things clear. But DO NOT ENGAGE... The younger writers just don't...

Dec 19, 2019, 11:19am

Is it considered bad style to comment on others' reviews in your own? I see that sometimes, and have done it myself at least once.

It's not against the TOS, so that's where my "official" opinion ends.

My unofficial opinion is that it's good and healthy in general, but can be done wrongly. Don't be weird. Don't be mean. First, I wouldn't name a member by name--say "I disagree with reviews that call the book 'dumb as a rock.'" Second, I would paraphrase or quote a few words, but not quote extensively. You need that reference, because people can't be expected to go read something else before reading your thing, and, as stated above, reviews can change. But the review should be your review, not a review of someone else's review, and using others words extensively smacks of obsession. That's really the top thing for me. It's fine to sit your review in a context, but don't be weird or mean about it.

Dec 19, 2019, 11:24am

>68 gilroy: ... have agents and editors to tell them what sort of behaviour makes marketing sense because they are self-published.

Dec 19, 2019, 1:06pm

>70 MarthaJeanne: Yet they claim to have mentors who should be telling them the same things.
Then again, they may follow Anne Rice.

Dec 19, 2019, 4:18pm

>61 MarthaJeanne: I'm not sure if this was meant as a comment on Tim's suggestion, but if so, yes, I agree. I have been in too many read-along/book club/etc. things where almost nothing is actually said about the book, or there are just stilted answers to discussion questions that would fit into a classroom of bored 12-year-olds. It's fine if what you need is an excuse to socialize, not great for actually talking about books.

Something more like, "Here is a chance to talk about this book you have already read, and also to work on its CK and combining and covers etc, and a reminder to review it" would be a lot more interesting than a "you should read this book so you can talk about it next week."

Dec 19, 2019, 5:02pm

>72 melannen: I appreciate some of the groups here because I can share my enthusiasms about authors, illustrators and particular books.
It's partly a way for me to journal my impressions, record particularly good quotes, etc. And my favorite groups have members who have read some of the same things and have the same passions.

For example, in the Gardens and Books group, I went on a Michael Pollan rant for a while -

Dec 19, 2019, 5:12pm

Just throwing my 2 cents into the "comment on reviews' ring. Please don't let that happen. I'm not part of any groups even here on LT because I don't do well with groups of people. Opening up my reviews to comment by others makes me a part of a group that I can't opt out of without leaving LT itself.

People want to comment on reviews, go over to devilreads...

Dec 19, 2019, 6:55pm

>72 melannen: Not really about Tim's suggestion, but in general about book discussions on LT. It doesn't seem to be something that most of us are here for, or are very good at. Even in a topic that is supposed to be for people who committed to reading a certain book, there is often very little discussion about the book.

But then, LT isn't so much a book site, as a book cataloguing site. Now the nitpicking aspects of how books could/should be catalogued and what to do about it - that we are good at discussing.

Edited: Dec 20, 2019, 12:45am

When I reference another review in my own, I am very vague. I might say something like “Unlike some reviewers, I found … etc.” Of course if there are only 1 or 2 reviews, I don’t do that. I just give my review.

Dec 20, 2019, 9:33am

The 'comments on reviews' issue ... I don't like them because authors nowadays are repeatedly badly behaved and every month or two, on Twitter, on Goodreads, on Facebook, there is yet another author (big and small ... it's not just the less well-known ones) that has taken personal umbrage with some opinion someone has expressed about one of their books. It's a sad thing to say but it's not the discussion with members that would put me off open comments, it's the authors themselves.

Dec 20, 2019, 11:30am

>75 MarthaJeanne: Yeah, there are a few places on here where book discussion does seem to happen, well but sporadically, but it doesn't seem to happen a lot naturally, which is kind of a shame. (Of course it doesn't help that if there's a post about a book in Book Talk, 80% chance it belongs it What's That Book and 10% chance it's author spam, sigh, so the people who do try to actually start discussion threads get no eyes.) But a structured way to bring people who have actually read a book all to the same thread at the same time might actually do something interesting? (Especially if it also brought in cataloging-stuff like, say, cleaning up combining and CK for it.)

It might make sense to *not* include the super-most-popular books that everything's already been said about, and limit it to, idk, books with 300-3000 owners or something like that? It might pull out books that aren't likely to get discussion spontaneously but that people do feel strongly about. (And it would still include a LOT of books.)

Edited: Dec 31, 2019, 12:57pm

>47 timspalding:

I like the root idea here: part random spotlight on specific books, part catch-all discussion of a book in all its layered existence, not often captured in either Talk or in a standalone review. I do acknowledge the concerns about how it works for those with sizable collections.

I wonder if the "day of the year" functionality could be blended with an archived, dedicated space for such discussion. As I see it, the calendar function creates a semi-synchronous event (not really synchronous, since like Talk users can drop in when they want, as opposed to a live online chat), which could drive a valuable level of attention. But just as useful is the standard asynchronous conversation in which a considered discussion occurs as interested parties find and add to the ongoing discussion, which is available to all at any time.

As I understand Tim's original proposal, the "archive" is simply a Topic in Talk, automatically generated. That works fine, but also useful would be a means for collecting the various things already written about the book, as both a common starting point and spark for further discussion. Ideas:
- links to a selection of reviews with the most stars
- links to reviews with both high and low ratings (perhaps styled "pro & con")
- links or display of some of the CK items contributed ("x characters listed for this book", "y places listed for this book")
- links or summary of published reviews identified by LTers (e.g. "LTers listed x published reviews for this title")
- summary of book's inclusion in Early Reviewers
- summary of some stats from the site (common tags, number of LTers who entered it, etc)
- automatic About summary so (some) previous mentions in Talk are easily found

It could easily be overwhelming. But the opportunity to consolidate or assay the rich dataset already there for many titles could set this apart from just another Topic with an opening thread saying "Anyone want to discuss?".

Edited: Dec 31, 2019, 11:02am

>78 melannen: But a structured way to bring people who have actually read a book all to the same thread at the same time might actually do something interesting? (Especially if it also brought in cataloging-stuff like, say, cleaning up combining and CK for it.)

I like the idea of bringing in projects for a book, such as identifying that no characters have been entered in CK or other cataloguing. Or even quotes, we've often wondered how to use quotes: a selection could be seeded in the Topic's opening thread.

Also agree that focusing on less popular books could be great. I love HP personally but don't see the need for LT to attempt to start another Pottermore discussion.

Apr 30, 2020, 6:56am

Oh dear - please don't change the basics of organizing and tagging too very much. My 80-something mother loves tagging and organizing her books on LT and big changes will really throw her for a loop. She is working on it right now, having moved houses and weeded her books recently.

Apr 30, 2020, 12:34pm

>81 porchreader: I'm a bit younger than your mother and even though I worked in this crazy computer business for 40 years, it doesn't take much to get me off "my feed" when running an application. So make the changes minor and logical. Signed the "electronic luddite".

Apr 30, 2020, 1:00pm

Most of the changes for LT2 will be "outside" the content. meaning the top-level menus, overall site organization (we're working on making it"I'll just put this new feature here!"), and overall style.

The content within the page will be changing very little. That's actually the big challenge with the redesign. It's like replacing the wing on an airplane while it's flying.

Apr 30, 2020, 1:59pm

>83 conceptDawg: With a biplane, that would be possible. And now if you would like to buy a bridge . . .

May 20, 2020, 2:50pm

Just checking in on this again to give an update.

Tim and I are working full time to finish a major update to a current LT feature. Our aim is to release that on Monday (May 24, 2020) but I'm not going to guarantee that. We're in the final stretch but things get very fluid in the final stretch of software releases.

All that to say that I haven't been working on LT2 full time in quite a while. That being said I have been sneaking in work on it continuously. And this new feature that we are releasing is going to be LT2-ready out of the box (which contributed to my slower work on it since I was, in effect, developing two versions of the UI for the project and have had to make sure neither stepped on the toes of the other).

This past week I updated the entire Groups section of the site to use LT2, along with various visual upgrades and tweaks to make small improvements as I convert it over. Previously I had finished the entire Talk section (although it needs a few more aesthetic tweaks to get it over the finish line).

Just a quick update, but development should speed up when we finish the current project.

May 20, 2020, 4:29pm

Both the update to the current feature and the progress on LT2 are great to hear.

Oddly in this quarantine, I'm spending more time on screens yet less time on LT. Even small bits of good news are welcome in such circumstances.

May 20, 2020, 5:19pm

>85 conceptDawg:
Much appreciated, thanks!

May 21, 2020, 10:49am

Our aim is to release that on Monday (May 24, 2020)

Really? Monday of a holiday weekend? I know that time is currently meaningless since it's, as always, Blursday the 337th of Smarch, but that still seems an odd choice for a major release.

May 21, 2020, 11:37am

(anyone want to point out that Sunday is the 24 and Monday is the 25th?)

May 21, 2020, 11:38am

Excellent news - well done!

May 21, 2020, 12:20pm

Sorry, read the calendar wrong (and forgot that it's a US holiday too). Quarantine workdays all kind of run together. But let's just say early next week.

Edited: May 22, 2020, 9:17am

>91 conceptDawg:
So, less than two weeks? ;)

May 22, 2020, 10:14am

Heh. Yeah. We're hoping so. If it's two weeks then Tim or I will have murdered the other one.

May 23, 2020, 3:47pm

>93 conceptDawg: Hey, our very own Murder Mystery! I claim dibs on writing the cozy mystery series based on this event...

May 25, 2020, 2:28am

>94 BookstoogeLT: Definitely won't be Colonel Mustard in the kitchen with the lead pipe - I'm fairly sure he's old enough to be in a risk group and using a lead pipe means standing much too close for social distancing.

May 26, 2020, 2:08pm

Tim will murder me in the Office with "Wrongly Indented Code."

May 26, 2020, 2:37pm

Hmmn. Is that a blunt instrument or an edged weapon?

May 26, 2020, 4:15pm

Serrated edge maybe?

May 26, 2020, 8:08pm

> 96 > Tim will murder me in the Office with "Wrongly Indented Code."

Beware the cast Object.

Jun 24, 2020, 11:42pm

I'm bumping this up because I have a video to show you.
I've been crazy busy with Tim building the new Series feature that recently debuted. But now that we've rolled that out and all of the bugs are Tim's fault I can move on and continue working on LT2 in earnest.
Now, I don't have the four main pages (home, catalog, work, author) done yet but catalog and work pages are both in some states of completion—just not ready to show yet.

There are a lot of pages throughout the site that are pretty easy to port over to LT2 now that we've laid the groundwork for it. Here's a sampling of the site in action running on our dev server. FWIW, I tend to work in LT2 a lot these days and all of my Talk correspondence happens via the LT2 interface, so it's definitely more than just a facade at this point. Once I uploaded the video and watched it I realized that I failed to show an actual Talk post and editing, etc. but that all works too.

We don't allow embedded iframes/videos in Talk (because we're civilized), so here's a link:

Note: It may be low res for a few minutes until YouTube finishes processing it.

I'll try and get a version uploaded that shows what it looks like at mobile sizes.

Jun 24, 2020, 11:55pm

Jun 25, 2020, 12:17am

Here's the site at a more mobile-device friendly size. Mostly just Talk.

As you can see when I scroll to the bottom of the Talk post in the video there are still some details that aren't quite right in some views but things are progressing. And I haven't changed the LT1 talk post colors for LT2 yet, that'll come.

Jun 25, 2020, 12:46am

>102 conceptDawg: Salmon2? :-)

Jun 25, 2020, 7:51am

>103 bnielsen: A color to aspire to.

Jun 25, 2020, 10:10am

Appreciate you taking the time to upload these. Working in it daily, I imagine it can be easy to forget that everyone else doesn't see what you're seeing!

Looks both clean and functional, I especially noted the Community pages.

Jun 25, 2020, 12:05pm

Saw this flash by, and I'm really, really hoping it's an oversight, because it's frightening if not:

I realize that if that situation HAS changed since May 2018 you are not allowed to say so, but if it has not you really should update the date.

Jun 25, 2020, 1:17pm

>106 lorax: it definitely has not changed - the status or the date on that page ;) I'll work on updating that shortly, thanks for the reminder.

Jun 29, 2020, 12:17pm

this looks really nice. I'm currently watching one of my favourite sites elsewhere implode due to a really badly handled "update" (triggering seizures, I kid you not) and it was completely sprung on the users. This is awesome that you're showing what you have and taking comments etc.

Jun 30, 2020, 3:57pm

>102 conceptDawg: I cannot stress enough how happy this video just made me! My phone has hated LT forever and I cannot wait to be able to read Talk posts whenever I feel like it. Bless you!

Jun 30, 2020, 7:01pm

I'm glad that it's going in the right direction for many of you. I know whatever we do it won't be loved by everybody and that's kind of ok. It's the nature of design. But seeing so many positive posts is energizing!

Edited: Jul 27, 2020, 11:19pm

This message has been deleted by its author.

Aug 29, 2020, 2:20pm

A RSI suggestion I just made - I don't know when LT2 will hit Stats/Memes, but that page could use some work.

Specifically, I had been confused by the apparently missing Review Date charts - until I realized that I was scrolling past the minor text header that differentiated them from the Entry Date charts. I suggested (among other possibilities) that a chart by year for each category, with a link to click to expand it (on that page or jumping to a subpage) to displaying by month would be easier to generate as well as easier to see.

Aug 29, 2020, 3:48pm

Yes. Stats/Memes is due for a big rework. We're going to be reworking all the various charts.
That may come sooner than most other LT2 stuff too.

Aug 31, 2020, 5:41am

Oh good. I love those pages, but they do get confusing at times.

Aug 31, 2020, 8:08am

conceptDawg (#113)

We're going to be reworking all the various charts.

Including, dare I hope, the nearly-useless author nationality one? See here for a long-running thread clamoring for adding some actual information here (lists of which authors correspond to what countries at a minimum, and a map at best; my example of a map is here).

Aug 31, 2020, 9:24pm

>113 conceptDawg:
Oh god yes! More charts and visualisations, please.

>115 lorax:
Yes, this one in particular.

Sep 1, 2020, 2:56am

>115 lorax: Soþlice.

Sep 1, 2020, 3:18am

>113 conceptDawg: And please don't forget timeline ( and many more...).

Sep 7, 2020, 12:18am

My collections are finally arriving at my retirement place and I was faced with cataloging 15,000 or so volumes mostly still in boxes. Some of the collections I had acquired but never touched the volumes. After trying Koha, MarcEdit and a number of user antagonistic cataloging programs and before tossing it all, I hit upon LibraryThing. A dream come true for user friendly cataloging. In a week I have cataloged with cover photos 2045 volumes I have never seen, yet. It was great but I need to warn you I was taught the first time you use something keep good notes because you will take things for granted the next time. By volume 2045 I had a list, the nits of which I will share in another post.

Many times I'd find a book already on LibraryThing but be forced to use mostly Amazon to start my record over from scratch. Not only wasn't the first returned search item not the best match but it often didn't find things that dropping the same search into Google then found on Amazon. I frequently found cover photos with Google also on Amazon and the errors in the scraped Amazon data well it caused my OCD nature many edits.

Then I realized what I really wanted, LT2 to be the repository for the best cloud sourced and curated catalog records. After all this is an amazing group of passionate catalogers. Why can't we all contribute to a perfect Master catalog record for each book and start our personal Add Book search with Library Things Master Catalog. Simply linking the master record to the individual members collection. I see it as a hierarchy the Master Record, maybe editions next and finally a Holding/Item record (handles duplicates too) that would point back to the Master Record and query the user about the correct edition. Only the holding record with its pointer back to the master/edition records would be tied to a member.

The only time you would need to venture into the wild of Amazon, "Uber"cat or LC ... would be to build a new record or when curating the master. Everybody perfecting the master would make it better for all. And we would benefit from each others efforts.

I have two pages of nits but this would be huge and certainly make what we share with libraries all the more valuable. In planning to do this I also would hope you would opt for link data. I would like the catalog to reflect everything I found or missed about my book or the author from a Google edition on to the details of the subject matter of the book.

This would be major,

Sep 7, 2020, 1:49am

>119 wshealy: I must say, I do not think it would ever be possible for a group of unpaid amateur enthusiasts like us to create a catalog that would come close to rivalling British Library of Library of Congress in either scope or quality. That's entirely impossible. Perhaps in a very small and specialised area like the one you seem to be collecting, but then, the number of members interested in participating would probably not be large enough. And you would need to create an online resource that LibraryThing could access.

Sep 7, 2020, 2:38am

>120 anglemark: The last one is not so hard. You can run Koha and set up your own Z39.50 server for it. But getting the content is more of a nightmare, I think. Character set issues, setting up search so it works most of the time, ...

>119 wshealy: Keeping good notes on the house rules is a very good thing. I have a script that helps me find books in my catalogue which don't comply to my rules. Very useful!

Sep 9, 2020, 9:03am

wshealy (#119):

There is no "master". The work record is an abstract notion - Moby Dick by Herman Melville, say. But people don't own an abstract notion, they own a book. With a page count, publication date, publisher, perhaps an ISBN if it's a relatively recent edition. What you find, when you look a book up in a library source, is that full set of information. What you find when you look a book up in LibraryThing is the abstract notion, unless you're looking at a particular catalog. I'm not at all surprised that you're finding error-ridden data in Amazon; for all but current releases, Amazon data is, not to put too fine a point on it, terrible. Use a library source, or Overcat (which is a combination of library sources); use ISBN if you have it, or publication date if your book is older, rather than expecting a particular library to have the same edition you do.

Sep 9, 2020, 9:11am

This user has been removed as spam.

Edited: Sep 9, 2020, 11:07am

>119 wshealy: You and I both own The Great Railway Bazaar

If you look at the book information box at
you will see that there can be no 'master' record. Your copy is Mariner Books (2006). My copy is Penguin, c1975. Your information is WRONG for my copy and vice versa.

Don't use Amazon if you want good information except for really new books that aren't in libraries yet. OverCat is often very helpful in giving you a choice of records, but if you want a really accurate record of YOUR book, you will still compare your book with the information and edit some things.

And, of course, you call us an 'amazing group of passionate catalogers.' Maybe some of us are. But others just want any old record with the right title. Who cares if the ISBN is right or even if the author's name is spelled right?

Me, I want my catalogue to accurately indicate the books on my shelf, or that I have read from somewhere else, but I don't care about measurements or number of pages. I have fun combining, but stop when it no longer feels fun. I am not passionate about it. I don't want it to be a passion.

Sep 9, 2020, 4:21pm

We actually have a version of that scenario running now. It's called OverCat. It resides on LT and is a compilation of records from library sources.

We originally had (and still have) plans to take this data and make a centralized clearinghouse—of sorts—for the book/work data in a structured and branching format. But it's a monumental project that we haven't quite gotten to yet. We definitely plan on reworking Add Books to be more intuitive and in line with what you're thinking though—just without all the bells and whistles. In time.

Sep 9, 2020, 4:23pm

conceptDawg (#125):

wshealy is aware of, and dismissive of, OverCat (which they refer to as "UberCat").

Sep 9, 2020, 4:28pm

Ah. Yes. Well I can't help with that. Seems like a personal problem. :)

Overcat is only stage one of the eventual solution though. We had to start compiling data before we could do anything with it. Again, it's a monumental task once you start getting into the details of it. But it's something that we've talked about many times as a staff.

Sep 9, 2020, 6:07pm

>127 conceptDawg:

I am cheered that the conversations continue, as a staff. I'm here for the long haul.

Sep 16, 2020, 7:07am

Just saw the new Zeitgeist page. I liked being able to look at the top 500 names before. Now there are so few names & the numbers attached to them are so high that it feels like there's no use looking at all. Just dropping in to complain. Otherwise, of course, adoring LT as usual.

Sep 16, 2020, 7:33am

>129 susanbooks: There's both a see more and a show full list buttons to give you a better perspective.

Sep 17, 2020, 3:55pm

>130 gilroy: Thanks! It took me awhile to find it, but you're right, it's there.

Edited: Jan 9, 2021, 2:57pm

>1 conceptDawg: I'm super new to LibraryThing and just transferred all my books from GoodReads. My first impression on the top screen was...chaotic! I think tags definitely need to be personal (my tags should be for my books...I have some weird tags) and not splashed across the screen with everyone else's in small, medium and large fonts. That's distracting!

On the other hand, I LOVE how easy you make it add information and covers to books. Thumbs up!

About the phone app...I don't know about that. Just now getting around it. I don't like that the screen stays so tiny when trying to write a review and you have to try and make the screen larger. I wish it would just resize itself like other apps. Know what I mean?

Anyway, really looking forward to seeing what this LibraryThing is all about....ummm....and I just realized I'm a year late...haha..

Jan 9, 2021, 11:43pm

>132 MissyIvey64: You're still on time. LT 2.0 features are being released in stages and it's an ongoing process.

Welcome aboard

Jan 10, 2021, 7:32pm

>132 MissyIvey64: Welcome aboard! Thanks for the first impressions, they're appreciated.

You mentioned writing your own reviews in the app: we haven't yet mobilized (or "LT2-ified") the book-edit page yet. I suspect when we do it'll be much easier to edit within the app, which currently uses a built-in browser for that type of thing. (Even better, we might allow for direct reviews in the app some day...) Hope this helps!

Jan 10, 2021, 7:40pm

Very nice!