How should CR be integrated with the date fields, if at all?
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To start, here's a summary of how the CR/date connection was initially supposed to work, from what I understood about it. I had written this for the Collections wiki before CR was disconnected from the date fields:
When you add a book to your Currently Reading collection, a box showing the reading dates pops up. By default, the Start date is set as "today", but this can be changed or deleted. When you remove a book from your Currently Reading collection, the Finished date is set as "today"; again, this can be changed or deleted. Even after you've saved the dates, you can always go back and change or delete them.
If you're only interested in Currently Reading as a collection and don't want to use the dates at all, you can either delete them individually every time the box pops up or select the "do not autofill dates" option on the Collections Manager page. (I don't know whether this option is actually planned, but it seems like something people will want.)
If you're only interested in recording your reading dates and don't want to use the Currently Reading collection, you can still do that too. You can enter the dates in the appropriate catalogue columns or on the Edit Details page without going through the Currently Reading box. Dates entered in this way will still be used in generating your reading timeline.
It's possible to record rereads using Currently Reading. If you already have a pair of start and finish dates and add the book to the Currently Reading collection again, a new set of date fields will appear.
(Here's the part that I think is too complicated and should be changed.)
The Currently Reading feature is very sophisticated. If you enter a stopped date but don't remove the book from the Currently Reading collection, LibraryThing will know that you're just taking a break from the book and aren't actually done reading it. You can add another pair of start and stop dates when you pick up the book again, and LibraryThing will count the whole thing as a single read when it comes to things like the timeline.
I have a hard time believing the UI could do better than it was, keep it simple and be intuitive. If the plan is to have a similar UI available, keep the one we had and have a checkbox that will 'turn off' the pop up when books are added to CR (for those that don't want to deal with it) and a link to a good help page to explain what it does.
I completely agree. I'm not convinced, though, that it was too much for the vast majority of users. I don't remember seeing anyone say it was too much, or too hard, or anything; it seems like someone just decided that the average user is pretty dumb without actually getting any input from the average user.
So, I think it was fine the way it was, with the exception of the in-between reading date complications.
Now that CR is separate from the dates, I'm not sure I'll use it as much. I'm making an effort so far, but really I don't want to bother changing several different fields every time I start or finish a book. It would be much easier if they were connected (and, of course, it might also encourage more people to use the date fields...).
Agreed. Especially since, without the dates, I don't see that it actually *does* much yet. (If you make it do things, people will fill it in!)
I mean, yes, maybe widget on the profile page... but I have one of those using my "currently reading" tag. Top "what's currently being read" list is not particularly interesting to me, especially only the top 10, since I'm unlikely ever to contribute to it. "Who's reading this book now?" could be interesting, but due to the quick turnover many LT-ians have in their CR, it wouldn't be as interesting as the "Who's recently read this?"... which would require dates.
But what else does/could a date-less CR *do*?
...all of which is my way of saying I liked the old way it worked too, and didn't think it was particularly complicated, especially given how much data it could potentially have generated.