Michael Michael's Comments (member since Nov 18, 2010)

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Jun 01, 2012 05:12PM

40475 Exactly! These authors should be glad that someone took the time to read their book and post an honest opinion in a public space. Even if the review isn't nice, it's still letting people know the book exists. It's only a handful of them, but some authors seem to have no common sense, or to just love any controversy they can scrounge up.
Jun 01, 2012 04:12PM

40475 Wow, I hadn't heard about this! A while ago, several YA authors got a lot of press for posting on reviews of their own books and saying some highly negative things about the people writing reviews, but this looks like an even more bizarre situation.

I tend to write reviews that point out flaws, even if I give a book 3 stars or more. That said, Events like this don't change how I would review in the least. If some author turns out to be an asshole who can't take honest reviews, that's not my problem. I'm here to share my opinions on books I've read, and that is pretty clearly what the book reviews on this site are supposed to do. I'm not here to be free publicity and to only say nice things, although if a book impresses me enough, that IS what I want to do.

So, this sucks, and it will ironically only be bad publicity for the idiot authors who get caught up in it. Meanwhile, it shouldn't impact anyone's book reviews, other than to perhaps reveal that we ought to keep in mind authors are on the internet, too.
40475 Err, I should probably update this group to make it clear the research is all finished, and the end products--meager as they may be--can be found here! I only ended up doing a proposal based on the original goals I set this all up with (which is not posted, because it was not all that good), but after that, a lot of the conversations in this group went into some other Goodreads projects.
40475 Welcome! I'm also a student and unpublished writer (I prefer "unpublished" to "failing" even though they're basically the same), and I've managed to be both things for a very long time. It's not a bad lot.

Please stick around and think about answers the questions and stuff...the research project is over, and the group is usually pretty quiet these days, but when someone new joins and starts talking, people have a tendency to show back up! And the general consensus has been it's a lot of fun to talk about these questions. So, hi!
Jun 21, 2011 01:58PM

40475 I think images are kind of like sex scenes in films: if they are clearly needed and effectively incorporated, great. If not, though, the creator looks like a jerk who is taking the cheapest route to attention. Brian uses them to great effect. I, on the other hand, am clearly a jerk.

And cute animals--unless they're used ironically--suck. Let's try to move away from the whole cute animals thing.
Jun 15, 2011 10:04AM

40475 Goodreads has been a motivation for me to finish books even if I'm having trouble getting through them, because I know I can write a scathing review if I just get through the whole thing. I also don't know if I would've started reading Virginia Woolf or bizarro fiction if it weren't for Goodreads. So, I've definitely been exposed to some stuff I wouldn't have picked up on my own.
40475 Good to have you! Thanks for joining. It has gotten a little quiet lately...the group was set up for a specific research project I was doing on Goodreads, and it occasionally still has bursts of activity when someone wants to add another thread about some question they have for other people on Goodreads. I totally encourage that, and I occasionally add a new question to get the conversation going again. So, I don't think the group is DEAD....it's more like one of those worms that can freeze and still be alive when it thaws out at the end of the winter.

Unless I just made that worm up.
May 10, 2011 10:49AM

40475 Yeah, I've had good experiences with Pandora and with last.fm. I'd never been sure if that was because they were good at it, or because my taste in music is incredibly broad and not at all picky. Good to know it works for others as well!

Netflix is usually within a star of what I'll end up giving movies. Every now and then, it'll be totally off, but that's not very often. What impresses me is it is usually right about whether I'd put a movie in the so-bad-it's-good category and give it a high rating, or if I'd give it a -so-bad-its-really-just-bad rating like one star. I'm impressed their algorithm can differentiate with that.
May 09, 2011 07:36PM

40475 I know you didn't say they'd be robots. But, robots are way cooler than websites, so I'd rather have a recommendation robot.
May 09, 2011 07:35PM

40475 I don't feel there's a need for them, but I do feel they often speed up the process of finding things I'd be interested in. Netflix is usually pretty accurate about what I'll think of movies. But, I must say, Amazon is usually pretty far off. That might be because my book taste is harder to pinpoint than my movie taste...anyway, that's off topic.

I don't think they're needed as long as we have people to talk to about books. I expect to always pay more attention to my friends' reviews than I do some auto-recomendation robot.

The robot might be better than friends at telling me what I'd like, but I doubt they'd be as good at getting me EXCITED about reading something.
Apr 13, 2011 01:18PM

40475 Or my thesis, since I need to do that one first. If this becomes my thesis project, you folks can count on a LOT more activity and questions! And, since I've so far come up with three separate projects starring Goodreads, it only makes sense if my thesis is Goodreads-related. It's just a question of whether the genre issue is what I'll feel is the most important area to publish on.

In the meantime, you guys can come up with and ask questions and have fun! What else are you peeps curious about?
Apr 13, 2011 10:31AM

40475 Majorly. *sigh*
Apr 12, 2011 04:30PM

40475 The group was started so that we would do the moderator's grad school homework! I'm still so angry about that!

Suck it up, Jimmy, I was very clear that I would be performing experiments on you. You have nobody to blame but yourself. Now, back into that cage.

Yes, I feel like it's mostly my fault that this group has lost its momentum, and I feel a bit disappointed about that. I met a lot of really cool people through this group, and I learned a lot. In fact, I'm doing more research into goodreads right now, but the particular project I'm working on now requires discreet, anonymous interviews instead of a whole bunch of feedback. So, I've neglected introducing new topics here. I've been neglecting most kinds of socializing on here, actually, because I'm just too damned busy.

I think this group was started to gather information for a research project or a school paper. Did the paper get written?

Yes. And no.

The assignment was to do a project proposal, which was entirely written. This group was designed to actually carry out the project, and I have yet to find a class where I can get credit for actually completing this project. So, I hope to compile the data from here into a project eventually. When I'm actively working on the project again, I may be able to resuscitate this group with new questions, topics, surveys, etc. But, for now, I'm focused on doing interviews in another group. When that research project is finished, though, it'll actually be posted on Goodreads...and that'll be very soon.

As far as the genre project, it ain't happening this semester, though.
Mar 09, 2011 09:27AM

40475 What I would object to is calling GR a "virtual community" as opposed to simply a "community." Of course, this would depend upon personal perspective and experience.

Veeerrrrry interesting. There's probably a continuity between "virtual" and "non-virtual" communities. I would say people are closer to their real identities here than they are on Second Life (in most cases), but less real than we are on Facebook. Then again, if someone is concealing their gender or changing their name on here, does that make it less of a community if our interactions with them are the same? Let's say Brutus is really Sally IRL, but either way he/she has the same opinions about books and good vegan recipes....is our interaction with this person artificial? Does this make it less of a community?

@Jim: This sort of relates to the point I was making above, but what all is included in this idea of the whole person? On Facebook, I include more of my personal information, yet I water down my personality a lot more than I do here so I don't scare relatives and start getting Bibles in the mail. If I had even more outlandish of views than I do, I might not even include my real first name. (Or maybe it isn't my real first name.) So, which would be more real: the Facebook me, or the Goodreads me?
Mar 08, 2011 03:44PM

40475 When a community is forming, it really isn't a community yet. It's just folks getting together at first.

Touche. Good point.

Michael, you never answered me about reading "Future Shock". Have you?

No, but it sounds quite interesting. I'll definitely keep an eye out for it as I book hunt!

It was a game, and people played together. It is also an addiction and not a great way to make friendships.

I'm pretty sure other virtual communities are also addictions. I can't send an email without getting distracted by my emails from goodreads about threads that were commented on, reviews that were voted for, conversations in the groups I'm in...I've heard some people have a similar problem with Facebook.

I think you have a really good point about the difficulties in WoW being a real community. Especially at the lower levels, it's hard to keep playing with the same people unless you are all playing together all the time....otherwise, you end up at different levels and have a very hard time grouping up. And, it's harder to have a virtual community with 17 year old boys, I think, because they're so annoying.

I have more ideas, but I've got to run to class, so I'll have to bring them up later.
Mar 07, 2011 09:24PM

40475 So! You have goodreads friends, right? If not, HOW DID YOU GET HERE? HUH? That's what I thought. You have goodreads friends.

Does your goodreads "community"--however you choose to define this community--carry over into other mediums? Are you also Facebook friends? Do you also talk on the phone? Pen pals? Guild Wars buddies? I'm interested in both where your friendships extend to, and also in how you would describe the interaction.

As an example, I'll go first: I'm friends with many of my Goodreads friends on Facebook and a few on Twitter. I also am close IRL friends with a few of them, one of which I met specifically through goodreads. A couple others were friends before we joined the site, so I don't know how much they count.

My interactions with goodreaders, other than face-to-face time, is almost entirely on goodreads. Although I've friended a lot of them on Facebook, I'm never over there, cuz it's boooring. And, I'm just now starting to use Twitter, so I've talked to one goodreader friend on there one time, and that's it. So, although I'm connected with goodreader friends in several ways, my main ways of interacting with them are through real life interaction, and the rest of it basically on goodreads.
Mar 07, 2011 09:15PM

40475 Well, in the sense that posted blog entries, responses, and all of that persists for a period of time, I would say that they are persistent. That persistence ends after a period of months, but, well, I'm sure Goodreads won't be around forever, either. This too shall pass.

I don't know that these communities necessarily have history though; and, at the beginning of any virtual community, there's clearly not history. This doesn't stop the community from forming, so can we really say it's a necessary ingredient?

By the way, I'm about to start a new thread talking about trans-media communities, which came up in this thread, just so yous guys know.
Mar 07, 2011 08:06PM

40475 Maybe it would be better said as "History/Persistence"?

Hmm...I'm trying to think of an example community where persistence is present but history isn't. It seems the only community like that would be one where the members change too quickly for there to be anything passed down, and I think this wouldn't really be a community...

@Cheryl, I think interaction is vital. I'm basing the original "definition" we're talking about off a definition we've been using in a course I'm taking, and I think what they're trying to say is that, when you have avatars, spatiality and persistence together, you will automatically have interaction start occurring. But, I agree that there must also be some similar interest, or some similar goal, or else the various avatars won't keep coming back. Thus, no community.

@Brian, that's an interesting point, and one topic a couple people are researching in my class is the idea of trans-media communities...communities that take place in a variety of different spaces...like people who discuss books, and also help each other search marble for the word "fuck" :) I think that's a really cool topic, but I don't know how the hell you'd research it.

@Jim, that idea of people being united by what they do instead of where they are is one I find fascinating, and I think the internet has already created a bit of a generational shift in how we look at community. Younger people place more value in networks of people who are into the same stuff, whereas older generations--generally--see more tangible value in "forced" communities, like neighborhoods. Americans are significantly shifting away from focusing on "forced" communities. And, even though I'm a little older than those people truly raised on the internet, I also value the relationships I have through topic-related networks more than I value "forced" communities...well, my immediate family doesn't count.

Okay, so here's the new recipe we have:

1. Avatars,

2. Spatiality,

3. Persistence/History,

4. Uniting trait. (This could be be everyone liking books, everyone working on a project together, everyone wanting to gain levels, or everyone living in the same neighborhood.)

Can anyone think of a community that doesn't fit all of these criteria? Does anyone contest the need for all of these elements to create a virtual community?

By the way, thanks for playing, guys :)
Mar 05, 2011 10:26PM

40475 @Jim, that's fascinating! I'm a late-comer to the internet, not using it much until 1996 or so. I think the connections you've made with people illustrate the community aspect of these sites. It sounds like real connections were made before you met a lot of these people in real life. Similarly, I've met a couple friends from goodreads now, and I'm definitely hoping to meet more when I have the chance. I've gotten gifts from goodreads friends, and sent gifts to people I've never met in RL, as well.

I think it's harder for outsiders to SEE a community when they look at a message board, at a roleplaying forum, or other text spaces like this. It's harder to see these as spaces that are being occupied, and it's harder to see the little user icons as different people occupying that space. But, the connections that people make, and the events that happen in these spaces, speak of community.

Damn, who's gonna come along and disagree? Unless we get really lucky, we may just be discussing the details of why my original "definition" is off-mark. That's incredibly important, but I'd really love someone to come along and grill us with ideas of why it's NOT a community.
Mar 05, 2011 10:13PM

40475 "That definition automatically negates any/all messageboards, imageboards and forums."

Ala, I personally feel like message/imageboards can be spaces that are moved around in. For instance, people pass in and out of this particular group on goodreads, look at the threads, then visit other groups on goodreads, browse other people's shelves, then return to their own shelves...all of this is perpetual, interactive space (I think). There's no fixed distance between locations, and these locations aren't visible in the same way that a lake in Second Life would be...but, I'm wondering if that's necessary for a space to be spatial. What do you guys think? Locations in SL and WoW aren't fixed differences apart, either, because teleporting is common.

I think making the differentiation between an "avatar" and a "personal representation" that Ala made is a good one, because it's hard to see a miniscule picture of yourself as an "avatar," and it's hard to say that the info you post on your profile is part of this avatar identity, either. But is it? According to Wikipedia, that ethereal internet guru, an icon used to represent yourself is an avatar. So, how is my little picture not an avatar?

Other than that, I guess I don't see the difference between perpetuity and history. How would you differentiate history from perpetuity?
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