Otis Chandler Otis's Comments (member since Apr 18, 2007)

Otis's comments from the Goodreads Feedback group.

(showing 21-40 of 4,172)

Star Ratings (68 new)
Oct 23, 2013 07:04PM

1 Hey I'm allowed to change my mind right? :)

And yes, we still currently aren't planning to do half stars. Choice paralyzes.
Oct 23, 2013 07:02PM

1 It's still a good idea. Will try to see if there isn't also a 4 year old development ticket I can add a nudge to :)
Oct 02, 2013 12:17AM

1 Having some database issues. Hopefully will be back soon. Sorry for the inconvenience!
Jul 11, 2013 03:22PM

1 Thanks so much for the feedback everyone. Some really good stuff here. We'll circle back with all this and see what we want to do. In general it came through loud and clear that the more details section is already cluttered and this just makes it worse. We'll take a look at it.

Vicky wrote: "I think the 2nd one looks much cleaner and it allows the all/add/combine links to be more prominent, they get a bit lost in the middle there. "

Good point!
Jul 10, 2013 02:23PM

1 what is wrong with working with/improving the settings table already in the database, Otis?

Nothing! Just trying to get a gauge of demand for this kind of feature. Wasn't even trying to get into how to build the feature.
Jul 08, 2013 10:47AM

1 Given that since the last Amazon hiatus, http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31... remains screwed up; I'd advise GR to tread very, very, very carefully on ANY data import/export.

We will be! But importing Amazon meta-data has nothing to do with this thread. This is about importing books to a members shelves.

Mrs Joseph: Not sure where your post went. Feel free to repost. If it was about security issues from daisy-chaining accounts, that is a valid concern. But let me assure you that Amazon's information security department is second to none, and that they are very involved in making sure this is done very safely.
Jul 08, 2013 09:54AM

1 I connected with the people who make http://www.placingliterature.com/ - and it seems pretty cool from an initial glance. This is something I've always wanted us to have, but have never prioritized it because I've never been sure how useful it would be.

What do you all think of it? How or why would you use something like this?
Jul 08, 2013 09:49AM

1 I understand that Goodreads was purchased by Amazon. Therefore, I have been waiting expectantly to see it integrated with our Amazon purchased books library. When will this happen?

We are working on it. Turns out there is a lot of complicated backend stuff to do to make it happen securely.

Many of us hope this never happens. It's actually possible to purchase books, elsewhere, for instance, and then there is the public library.

To those concerned about this, please note that this has nothing to do with selling books. It will not affect where you purchase books or our book purchase links.

It would only be a feature built for convenience of Amazon customers to let them easily import books they have purchased from Amazon into the Goodreads shelves. As with all our features, we will design it so you are in control of what you share. If there is any automatic importing, you will opt into that and know about it. We will work with you all to design the details when we get there.

I also wanted to reiterate something we said around the acquisition, but from reading this thread, it seems there is still some questions around. I will put it in bold to show how important this is to me and our team:

Goodreads has always been and will always be a place for readers of all types. We are a place for readers of physical books, digital books (all platforms), audio books (all platforms) and more to come and share what they've read, discuss it with their friends and the community, and then find their next book to read.
May 22, 2013 11:58AM

1 Hi Everyone,

Grab a cup of your favorite beverage and settle in as this is a long post!

Thanks for all the comments you've given us on the Amazon announcement. The passion and wide-ranging topics shared in the feedback forum proved once again that this is an amazing and engaged community of readers!

To make life easier for you, we've pulled together all the key questions and answers that came up and we're sharing them here for quick reference.

One comment before we dig into the questions--a common misconception coming out of this is that Goodreads might somehow turn into a place only for people who read on Kindles. Nothing could be further from the truth! Whether you read library books, listen to audiobooks, read paperbacks, read on your preferred e-reading device or a combination of any of these or other reading formats, Goodreads is - and will continue to be - for all readers. If you think about it, this not only makes sense for our members, it also makes sense for our business. It would be foolish to limit our focus just to people who read on Kindles.

And now for the questions:

What happens to my reviews? Will I still control where they appear? Will they start appearing on Amazon?

This was the number one concern that came up. Here's the answer: you created the content so you own the copyright to your reviews. Forever.

Our Terms of Service grant us the ability to use the reviews posted on Goodreads but you have control over where they appear. We provide you with the option to say that your reviews should only appear on Goodreads, or alternatively, that it's OK for them to be shared on other sites like Google and libraries. You will continue to have this level of control over your reviews.

Bottom line: you have control in deciding if your reviews appear on other sites, including Amazon.

Editing of reviews - can Goodreads or Amazon edit my reviews? Delete them without asking?

Nothing has changed when it comes to reviews. Your reviews are yours and we value the frank and honest opinions of all our members. That's what makes Goodreads different and special. (And yes, you can continue to swear if that's important to you, include images, etc.)

Our policy has been and will continue to be that we never edit a member's review. In some cases - where the review has broken our guidelines - we will delete the review, just as we have in the past.

There is one situation - and again this has been our policy for a long time - where we might use part of your review without showing the whole review. Sometimes, an author or publisher will ask to use a snippet of a book review in an advertisement outside of Goodreads or on a book's back cover. Rather than include the full review, they will use a line or two. This is similar to what you see in ads for movies. We always check with the members who wrote the reviews before granting permission. If an author or a publisher wants to use an excerpt of a book review in an ad on Goodreads, our team will review the ad and we permit this without checking with the reviewer as members are already sharing this content on Goodreads. These are policies that we already had in place and they have not changed.

Will sales targets or sponsorships now influence how reviews appear on the book page and which book recommendations I see on the site?

From the very beginning of Goodreads, we have always had a very firm policy about ensuring that editorial content on the site is never influenced by advertising. This isn't changing.

We'll also continue to show reviews in the same order as before:

* Reviews by your friends (people you know and trust)
* Reviews by people whose reviews you have chosen to follow (people whose opinion and taste in books you trust)
* Reviews from the Goodreads community, sorted by our proprietary algorithm.

As for recommendations, our proprietary algorithms analyze 20 billion data points to come up with personalized book recommendations. Advertising is not part of this process and won't be in the future.

Will all of our activity on Goodreads become "advertising fodder" for Amazon?

If you are asking whether we will offer advertising on Goodreads targeted to different members based on their reading preferences, we have been offering that as a service to readers and advertisers for years!

Publishers and authors are able to buy ads on Goodreads that reach readers of certain books and genres to promote their upcoming books. So, if you're a fan of Lee Child, you might see ads for a new thriller by a debut author. Movie studios have done the same thing to promote movies based on books. We are planning on continuing to offer this option to advertisers.

Will Amazon book meta-data now be brought back to Goodreads? If yes, how does this impact the Goodreads database? Can librarians overwrite the data if necessary? Will we only be using Amazon data moving forward?

The good news is that Amazon data will be coming back. We will get back the KDP data, and a ton of international data. This will allow us to improve our catalog with respect to international editions, and we're planning to develop better librarian tools for this.

Our goal at Goodreads is to have a database of all books ever printed in any language across all time. Goodreads librarians have been a big part of maintaining this database, and that won't change. So yes, librarians will still be able to correct any data that is wrong. We will also continue to import data from other sources as we see fit, such as ONIX data from publishers.

Also, we will continue to show the different e-book editions and will not make Kindle the only e-book edition. (Again, we are a place for all readers, not just Kindle readers.)

Did you know that you would sell Goodreads to Amazon when Amazon pulled their data off the site last January? Did librarians do all that work for nothing?

No, we were not in negotiations with Amazon about an acquisition last year. I know there were a lot of mixed emotions going around on this board about this. We greatly appreciate all the work librarians have done in terms of improving our catalog for the use of the greater community, both in general and revolving around repairing the catalog last year. Does this mean your work was for nothing? No. You helped save lots of other members' data from being destroyed.

Will we have to log in to Goodreads with an Amazon account moving forward?

If it makes sense for our members to offer it as an option - just as they can currently sign in with their Facebook account - then we will look at introducing it. But we will continue to always offer a direct Goodreads sign in.

Will Amazon make changes to the rules on how groups operate on Goodreads? In particular, will moderators have to change their policies about authors if they have them?

We have no plans to change the policies for groups. Groups are an important part of the Goodreads community and group moderators will continue to have the power to run their groups according to what works best for them and their group members. (Of course, they will still have to meet our Terms of Service.) We do recommend that moderators continue to give guidance to authors on how their groups want to interact with them. It's helpful for both sides.

Will Amazon have access to my Goodreads data?

Yes, as a subsidiary of Amazon, we can share data as appropriate under our privacy policies. How does this impact you? Primarily in two ways:

* Amazon and Goodreads could use the data to look for ways to offer you a better service on one or both sites. For example, by providing you with personalized advertising based on your reading tastes (similar to the advertising we already have on Goodreads).
* Amazon and Goodreads could analyze the data to see what kinds of new features or services might be useful on one or both sites.

Will you still offer links to retailers beyond Amazon?

We have no plans to remove them. And you always have the freedom to choose where to buy your books.

By the way, many of our advertisers will often include a link towards a particular retailer in their ads. Our advertisers' ability to choose the retailer they'd like their ad to point to is not something we plan to change.

Will Goodreads now be more focused on being a site for authors?

We love having authors on Goodreads. But, we are a site that's focused on readers first. If there is a choice between what is best for readers and what is best for authors, we will always err on the side of readers. It's right there in how we describe ourselves: "the largest site for readers and book recommendations."

On the other hand, lots of readers love to have direct interaction with their favorite authors and we're happy to provide a platform for that to happen.

For new authors looking to establish themselves and build awareness of their books, we'll continue to educate them on the best way to interact on Goodreads. It's a learning process and our key advice will always be: first and foremost, be a reader on Goodreads.

When will the acquisition close?

The deal is closed.

That's it for now. We'll continue to keep you updated via the Feedback Forum and on the Goodreads blog as we have more to share.

We're making this a static post, so if you have questions or comments on this, please start another thread. We'll be keeping an eye out, and if we see more questions that should be added to the FAQ, we'll update this post.

Thanks again for all the feedback - and looking forward to making Goodreads even better with your help.


May 22, 2013 11:42AM

1 What annoys me most is GR's insistence that the to-read shelf is primarily for books you don't own

The to-read shelf is really meant to be just a state - it has nothing to do with ownership - it just means that the book is one that you want to read but haven't yet. But it seems some people have been using to to represent books they own and want to read? Is that the cause of dislike for the change?

We've always believed in building a flexible system that people can customize to their needs, which is why we have custom exclusive shelves in the first place, and I encourage people to build "own" or "wishlist" or any other shelf that will help them manage ownership.

Related question: Do we need to build ownership into the shelf management better?

Are you saying that GR users didn't understand "add to my shelves"?

Yes. Many people didn't understand the value of why they should build shelves. Not everyone on the site is a "cataloger" who wants to build out a rich set of shelves - some people just want to use Goodreads to find good books to read. This probably doesn't apply to anybody in this group as we are all power users, but to the average member, the newer button better explains the value of Goodreads. People see it and say "Oh on this site I can find books to read and keep them in a to-read list". It's just more intuitive. And that's what our testing showed us.

Yes, he's saying he thinks we are a bunch of 2-year olds who are unable to understand simple language.

I purposely don't comment a lot on negativity. And I encourage criticism and honesty in this group as that's essential to getting to the heart of the issues we discuss. But please, keep it nice and constructive - comments like that aren't helpful. I know not everyone likes change, but sometimes when it's for the better of the whole group, it's good to do.

How about a tutorial for new users?

Yeah, we have considered this many times. But I'm fundamentally of the believe that a well designed product should just be intuitive, and shouldn't need an explanation. Think of Apple products - they don't even need a manual anymore, you just start using them and it's all apparent how they work. If people have ideas for how to make things explain themselves as you go, I'm all ears.
May 21, 2013 11:53AM

1 Thanks guys. Love the rants :)

We are trying to make improvements to make everything more consistent. And the button has said "Want to Read" for some time, and we've found in our usability testing and metrics that people understand and use the button a lot more with that language.

If you click that button, generating a story that says "Otis wants to read X" seems reasonable to me. I'm not sure I understand why that language seems juvenile - if anything it seems less techie than saying "marked as to-read". Personally I think it's a neutral change - but I appreciate reading all the feedback so keep it coming.
Apr 13, 2013 08:37AM

1 Ettie wrote: " I imagine they would consider that like New Coke, a needless shift that could spell disaster."

What was wrong with new Coke?

(Joking. I fully realize - don't mess with success!)
Dang. (36 new)
Apr 13, 2013 08:35AM

1 Thanks so much for being patient everyone. We use GoDaddy for DNS hosting and they went down, making it so about 40% of Goodreads users couldn't access Goodreads for much of last night. Very frustrating! We switched now to a more robust DNS service, so this won't happen again.
1 Amazon is the owner, but I'm still the CEO of Goodreads going forward. I assure you their intentions are to let us do what I said above.

And yes, Amazon will be able to help us with a lot of growth.
1 Hey guys,

Great thread - I thank you for starting it. I think most of the things listed are philosophies that have to date made Goodreads a special place, and will continue to make it a special place. Our intention is to grow and improve Goodreads, and keep the things that have made it special.

To be clear, our interest in working with the Amazon is two-fold:

1. To get resources to help grow Goodreads faster, keeping what is special about it, and making it a better and better place for readers (of all platforms), and authors.
2. To build some exciting new Kindle integrations.

We have been clear in all our previous posts to address most of the concerns brought up in post #2. I don't know how to say it clearer, but I will give that some thought. I won't say "things won't change", because we have a lot of exciting improvements planned that we will get to faster now.

> Some posts have been deleted. Might have been by the posters, might have been management. There's no way to know, since nobody's talking.

To be clear, Goodreads staff have not been deleting any posts. A value we've always had here is that we don't censor content (unless it's against our policies - eg porn, etc).
Apr 01, 2013 11:25AM

1 Breaks my heart to see BunWat leave.

I don't know her well enough to know her reasons, but I will just guess she isn't a fan of Amazon. While I don't expect everyone to love this decision, I believe it will be a very good thing for the vast majority of readers, and think Goodreads has a very bright future in front of it. I've had the pleasure of meeting the people at Amazon, and have found them to be good, bookish people that are excited about creating a better future for readers and authors.

One thing I am sure of: I expect to prove to you all over the coming months and years that this will be good for Goodreads, for readers, and for authors.
Apr 01, 2013 11:00AM

1 Abigail wrote: "My concern is as follows: will these images remain, when we integrate with amazon?"

The quick answer is: of course we won't override librarian data! We'd be fools to do so.

The longer answer: Currently, as you stated, we have a priority assigned to each source of data, which determines which data overrides other data. Currently, the list is something like this: member-added data, ONIX data (from publishers), Ingram data, etc. I would expect Amazon data, when it comes back, to be either just above or below Ingram. Which is exactly where it was before we were forced to shut it off.
1 Lisa wrote: "Thanks, Patrick. But I'm confused because isn't Amazon now a partner? But maybe not a partner who will display Goodreads reviews I guess is what you're saying."

I think what you guys are concerned about is if your reviews will appear in other places without you being able to control that. Currently you have full control, and that isn't changing. The way it works now is your reviews appear on Goodreads and on our mobile apps, and various partner sites. You can opt your reviews out of the partner sites if you like. Nothing is changing about this program. If we should consider adding Amazon to the list of partner sites (and currently there are no plans to do so), it would work the same way. I hope that helps!

I'd like to further reiterate that currently we like the way reviews work on Goodreads, and don't think we need to change them. I do think we can improve the ordering of reviews, and we are hiring for a Data Scientist to come and do a lot of complicated math around this.
Mar 28, 2013 05:48PM

1 Hey guys,

Apologies for the slow response - as you might imagine it's been a busy day - but you guys are super important, so I spent the last few hours reading this forum. Here are some answers. I have attempted to answer them honestly, and say how I see things.

> Also, they already own shelfari. What does it mean when they want to own both?
> Great its Shelfari all over again.

Shelfari was a totally different story. It was six people, and my understanding is Amazon has used it for the meta-data - they even call it "A community powered encyclopedia for book lovers" - which is very different from what Goodreads is. Goodreads is focused on helping people find books through their friends, through community, and through our recommendation engine. We are currently 40 people, hiring fast, and excited about building a bigger and better service.

> Not The Michael: As a general rule I like Amazon, but unless they take an entirely 100% hands-off attitude toward Goodreads I find it hard to believe this will be in the best interest for the readers. There are simply too many ways they can interfere with the neutral Goodreads experience and/or try to profit from the strictly volunteer efforts of Goodreads users.

I understand why you'd question that. But let me reassure you that I believe it will be very good for readers. Amazon has a long history of letting independently run subsidiaries flourish - just look at Zappos, Audible, IMDB, or Diapers.com.

Let me further reinforce that one of the most important things about Goodreads is that it's a place for readers of all kinds (print, digital, audio, etc), and that is something incredibly important to us, and one that I think would hurt the site to remove. I have no plans to change that, and the guys at Amazon feel the same.

> I'm also concerned as a Nook user. I'm already feeling boxed into a corner because Amazon is trying to dominate the ebook market, and I certainly don't want to be further discriminated against because I don't have (nor ever want) a Kindle.

See above - we value readers of all platforms, and consider that something important to the heart of what Goodreads is, and don't plan to change it.

> I've yet to see a company/site join Amazon and things change for the better.

See my note above about Zappos, IMDB, Audible, Diapers.com, and many more.

> I hope that GR will not censure reviews, delete reviews without notice etc as Amazon does.

Our policies have not changed. Our philosophy is that readers should get the best and most relevant reviews. We actually are excited now to have more resources to focus on improving the order of our reviews (I would hope that one day they can be personalized!).

> I fail to see how it helps Goodreads do what Goodreads does well

I think there are huge opportunities for Goodreads to create social experience on the Kindle. That is huge for Goodreads, and huge for Kindle. We'll also be able to drastically improve our meta-data, and leverage many other resources Amazon has to improve Goodreads.

> Does this mean that the weeks and months of work we put into repairing the catalog last year was for nothing?

I know there are a lot of mixed emotions going around on this board about this. We greatly appreciate all the heartfelt work librarians have done in terms of improving our catalog for the use of the greater community, both in general and revolving around repairing the catalog last year. Does this mean your work was for nothing? No. You helped save lots of other members' data from being destroyed. Even better - Amazon data will be coming back - this is a good thing, as we will get back the KDP data, and a ton of international data.

In fact, we now plan to focus more on improving our catalog with respect to separating international editions, and having better librarian tools to do that. I think Goodreads has one of the best book catalogs around, largely thanks to the community here, and changing that would not be in our best interests.

> Can I ask what this means in terms of ownership of our reviews?

Our policies have not changed. You still have full control of your reviews, just ask you always have.

> I made the choice to not review books on Amazon a long time ago and I will not have that choice taken away from me.

Where you review books is your choice. Your Goodreads reviews are under your control to manage.

> I wouldn't mind some bits of integration between Goodreads and Kindle users along the lines of updating reading progress or viewing Goodreads book pages straight from a Kindle book, etc.

We're looking forward to building that!

> I have to say that this (Amazon's share) has not ruined LibraryThing at all (from my point of view as a user), so we can be optimistic about Goodreads too?

I'm very confident that Goodreads is going to get a lot better. Think about Google buying Youtube, or eBay buying Paypal - I think it's going to be the same kind of thing here.

> Will goodreads be under the same constraints that Amazon has enforced on their site - namely censorship of topics they deem inappropriate reading material?

We will be continuing to make policy decisions based on what we feel is best for the Goodreads community.

> And there will also likely be a "like" and a "don't like" button for both comments and reviews.

I like the idea of a "like" button for comments actually. But a "don't like" would be too negative.

> What does this mean for Goodreads users? I don't hate Amazon but I don't use t for a reason. Goodreads, is my place to find UNBIASED reccomendations for books. I don't want to log into Goodreads and see a billion Amazon ads hacking stuff at me. How will this merg effect Goodreads specifically? Am I expected to log in with my Amazon info? Am I expected to only add "kindle" editions to my "To Be Read" shelf?

I think you'll find that very little changes on Goodreads itself, other than changes and improvements we would have been making anyways. We plan to eventually give members the option to connect their Goodreads and Amazon account, in order to be able to pull your purchase history in and rate/review your books. We also plan to add various integrations on Kindle devices and apps to make it easier for readers to share what they are reading.

> What BunWat said, among others. I am certain Otis and company don't PLAN for any changes -- but once the papers are signed and the power shifts, what they plan and what becomes fact may have no relationship to each other.

All I can say to this, is that Amazon shares the goal we have of growing Goodreads into a larger, more vibrant community. It's the reason they are buying us, and I am personally excited to innovate with them on what the future of reading looks like.

> If they could say we are getting re-reading option, and a-b-c bugs fixed,

Not sure about the priority of re-reading, but we expect this will enable us to focus a lot more on exciting new features for the community, and bug fixes too.

> We're providing you feedback, begging you to provide answers as to what this means. If you're listening, why aren't you answering the questions with actual information rather than platitudes?

We are doing our best, which is all we can do. I remain committed to this website, and this community, and appreciate your patience. We will continue to communicate with you and share updates as we have them.

> Goodreads does not exist independently of its members. You are Goodreads. I am Goodreads. We are Goodreads. We made it the attractive commodity it has become.

I love that you said that, it's exactly how I feel. Goodreads is indeed the sum of the amazing people here. It's something I cherish and treasure, and am honored to be the steward to help it continue to grow. I wake up every day thinking about Goodreads and how to make it better.

As you might imagine, it's been a big day, and the team has been working hard. I'll be online tomorrow to answer more questions.
Mar 28, 2013 01:10PM

1 Today is a very big day for all of us at Goodreads. As you may have seen on our blog, we are joining the Amazon family. Our blog post has the official press release and some more background on this, but I wanted to post here for two reasons.

First, I wanted to say that we always appreciate your feedback. Thank you for caring enough about Goodreads to tell us what you think of it!

Second, I wanted to assure you that Goodreads and the team behind it are not going away. We have no plans to change the Goodreads experience and Goodreads will continue to be the wonderful community we all cherish. Partnering with Amazon will help us focus on making Goodreads an even better place for readers.

This group has the id “1” because it was the first group I created when we launched groups in 2007. I wanted a place to have real discourse with our members about what they liked, what they didn’t, and how they thought we could improve Goodreads. I think your feedback over the years has been a crucial piece of our success, and will be a crucial piece going forward too. I called this user driven development, which is a fancy name for listening to your users. It’s not a coincidence that Amazon has a very similar philosophy.

We greatly appreciate your enthusiasm and passion for Goodreads. This is a big step for us, and we’re excited to have you be a part of it!

topics created by Otis