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Genres > Genres!




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message 233: by Vicky (new)

Vicky (vnorthw) | 2454 comments Jim wrote: "Paula wrote: "Addition to lists in not in the remit of GR Librarians - you are better of posting in GR Feedback"

Yes, but this is a librarian issue"


It may be a librarian issue as it would give us the option to attribute that genre to an author, but the implementation has to be done in the coding - which makes it an issue of site feedback to be requested in the GR Feedback group.

Note, however, that you can click the "other" link to the right of a genre box which will give you the option to enter any genre into the box.


message 232: by Paula (new)

Paula (Paulaan) | 6293 comments How - since we cannot alter the lists??

Its a wider issue and as such belongs in the Feedback group


message 231: by Jim (new)

Jim | 112 comments Paula wrote: "Addition to lists in not in the remit of GR Librarians - you are better of posting in GR Feedback"

Yes, but this is a librarian issue


message 230: by Paula (new)

Paula (Paulaan) | 6293 comments Addition to lists in not in the remit of GR Librarians - you are better of posting in GR Feedback


message 229: by Jim (new)

Jim | 112 comments While editing author info, I noticed in the drop down lists for 'genre1', 'genre2', etc;, there is no option for 'Plays'. Can someone add that please? I think Shakespeare and friends would appreciate the addition...


message 228: by Richard (new)

Richard (MrRedwood) | 38 comments Mayanka wrote: "I just wanted to give you guys a heads up that I think we will be closing off the genre hierarchies to librarians soon. Then, GR staff will do an internal audit of the hierarchies and see what makes sense."

Ah, well, I got to this party too late to have any fun. But before I understood that librarians were de-privileged, I think I "created" the genre of "Hard Science Fiction", but then couldn't figure out how to make it a sub-genre of "Science Fiction", much less how to link the many variations of shelf names to it.

So maybe a S-L could add that to the bottom of the long list of action items. (I call mine "scifi-hardscience" for reasons of lexical tidiness.)
--
Richard


message 227: by MissJessie (new)

MissJessie | 850 comments Amen


message 226: by James (new)

James (James_K_Bowers) | 152 comments Ridley wrote: "This is just ridiculous."

Lobstergirl wrote: "This is beyond ridiculous."


How about, "This is profoundly ridiculous?" Can I get an amen???

I think our point has been made. This is why I think the crowd-sourcing approach for this endeavor is fatally flawed -- in this system's current state, it's too susceptible to manipulation. Most well-known works are more or less safe from this sort of misrepresentation, but the less a book is known (shelved) by the general public (crowd), the more easily and likely it can show up in a (I shudder to call it this, but) genre where it doesn't belong. In addition, some rash and/or uninformed decisions are being made that can drastically affect the entire structure. I'm still waiting for something logical and concrete to come of this system.

**shrug** I'm patient, and I'm willing to give crowd-sourcing a chance to prove its worth in this... but, in all fairness and honesty, I am quite likely to enjoy saying, "We told you so," when this "genre" system turns into a bit of a white elephant.


message 225: by Ridley (new)

Ridley | 72 comments You know, I can't help but think that YA authors are gaming the genre system by tagging their books as everything under the sun. They show up in every goddamn "genre" regardless of relevance.

There needs to be a librarian edit function or some sort of tag cutoff, where a book only shows in its top 3 most tagged shelves or whatever. This is just ridiculous.


message 224: by Dee (new)

Dee (austhokie) | 655 comments i haven't been really involved with this discussion up until now, but i noticed today (or rather yesterday now), while working on a challenge, that someone has taken Christian and combined it with Christian-fiction with Christian-fiction being the overall genre...so now there are a significant number of books on the christian fiction shelf that are non-fiction...can someone more up to speed on genres fix this (because I don't want to screw it up)


message 223: by Catherine (new)

Catherine (CatherineEilers) | 45 comments I am another person who is confused by the mixture of genre and subject in the list. (A quick definition, btw, is that genre is what a book is and subject is what it is about.) I don't know if it's avoidable, however, if the entire idea is to build the list from individual users' shelves. Several of my own shelves mix the two because I have categorized them with only myself in mind. I'm just not sure how to browse effectively that way.

Anyway, those who are very interested in a more controlled list might be interested in the Guidelines on Subject Access to Individual Works of Fiction, Drama, Etc. (GSAFD), if only for suggestions on naming their own shelves. (I think this list was originally developed by the American Library Association.)

Clicking each term gives you the record for it, with more information. For those who are interested (if anyone), I've spelled out the the abbreviations below.

SN=Scope Note (what's included in the scope of the term)
UF=Use For (use the main term instead of this synonym)
NT=Narrower Term (typically, narrower terms are listed, and broader terms, though they may exist, are not)
RT=Related Term (lateral relationship, sort of)
MT=Mapped Term? (not sure about this abbreviation, but it appears to map the term to its correspondents on different vocabulary lists)


message 222: by James (new)

James (James_K_Bowers) | 152 comments Abigail wrote: "I would be very much in favor of folklore/mythology being its own genre. It really is broad enough for it, and would encompass quite a few sub-groupings."

I have to agree with this. "Folklore/Mythology" seems to occupy that gray area where "Religion" and "Fantasy" overlap and become entangled.


message 221: by James (new)

James (James_K_Bowers) | 152 comments "thick-books-good-for-pressing-leaves"

I once had a full set of Encyclopedia Brittanica from 1898 that would make a fine addition to that shelf. They wouldn't have fetched much from a collector, but they were still in fair to good condition. I regret no longer having them, but don't dwell over the loss.


message 220: by Lobstergirl (new)

Lobstergirl | 4981 comments James wrote: ""thick-books-good-for-pressing-leaves""

That is a really great name for a shelf...

Is "Doorstops" officially a genre, yet?


message 219: by Abbie (new)

Abbie (weatherlover1) | 2 comments Yes there seems to be enough Amish romances to have its own sub-genre. But that is not a huge deal as long as Amish Fiction is there which is now is. :)


message 218: by Ridley (new)

Ridley | 72 comments No harm no foul. I only posted that here because I couldn't PM you and I didn't want you to think it got deleted when I rearranged it. I think an enormous genre like romance benefits from all the sub-genres we can name, so long as they're categorized well.

I thought that I'd added Love Inspired last night, though, when I made up the category romance sub-genre. Are there enough amish romances to make that a sub-genre of christian romance? I'm a heathen myself, so I wouldn't even know what to look for to check the shelves.


message 217: by Abbie (last edited Apr 22, 2011 02:50PM) (new)

Abbie (weatherlover1) | 2 comments Ridley wrote: "I think that those of us calling for order and definition have been misinterpreted as rigid archivists. I can only speak for myself, but I've made every decision and argument that I have regarding ..."

I am sorry about the flooding I did not intend to do that. I now understand how to sub categories properly. I had planned to go back and change them but got distracted from my computer and you beat me to it. My apologies for that. Thanks for not deleting them all and I do like how its easier to find those books. :)


message 216: by Ridley (new)

Ridley | 72 comments James wrote: "Where should "Christian speculative fiction" reside? Under "Christian fiction" or "Science fiction" because it really belongs to both."

Well, FWIW, what I've been doing in tossup cases is to just pick a genre then edit the description to add a "See also:" and links to related genres.

For example: christian romance


message 215: by James (new)

James (James_K_Bowers) | 152 comments Ridley wrote: "I think that those of us calling for order and definition have been misinterpreted as rigid archivists. I can only speak for myself, but I've made every decision and argument that I have regarding genres with the question "what would be the most helpful thing for browsing users to find what they want" in mind."

Perhaps that's the best (i.e., only sensible) method without more concrete guidance from above, Ridley. Good luck.

Ridley wrote: "I dislike "genres" like cowboys, mermaids and the like because they're to broad to be neatly tucked into a hierarchy and so end up tucked away somewhere being unhelpful."

As mlady_rebecca has mentioned elsewhere, this creation is more akin to a Venn diagram than a hierarchical tree. I think if it's going to be a helpful, useful, and flexible enough system, we all need to begin thinking in that direction. The first step is for EVERYONE to discard the idea that this is strictly a "genre" system. In order to do that, a broad, but rigid framework of actual genres needs to be created, then beneath each of these genres, subgenres can be added. There should be no restriction placed on the links of subgenres as subordinates of either genres or other subgenres, allowing for things like
"Nonfiction > History > U.S. History > Cowboys",
"Fiction > Erotica > Gay Literature > Cowboys",
"Nonfiction > Sociology > Cowboys > Homosexuality"
and "Fiction > Science Fiction > Alternate History > Cowboys"

to co-exist. Until the ability exists to place subgenres everywhere and anywhere needed, or until "the powers that be" provide specific and detailed guidance on the issue, we will continue to have serious issues with this categorizing (I refuse to call it "genre" any more). Additionally, those who make major decisions without consulting anyone before implementing changes will only cause flare-ups in this already volatile topic.

Ridley wrote: "In other news, a Christian fiction enthusiast got a hold of fiction and romance today, flooding the parent genres with sub-genres. I didn't delete anything, only nested them in the hierarchy appropriately. Amish fiction, Christian contemporary fiction and Christian historical fiction are now under the parent Christian fiction. Love inspired, love inspired suspense and love inspired historical are now under category romance. "

Things like this are precisely why I haven't done anything with "science fiction", "fantasy", or "military history"... Where should "Christian speculative fiction" reside? Under "Christian fiction" or "Science fiction" because it really belongs to both.

~sigh~ The more I think about all this, it's less a hedgehog and more an albatross.


message 214: by Ridley (new)

Ridley | 72 comments I think that those of us calling for order and definition have been misinterpreted as rigid archivists. I can only speak for myself, but I've made every decision and argument that I have regarding genres with the question "what would be the most helpful thing for browsing users to find what they want" in mind.

I dislike "genres" like cowboys, mermaids and the like because they're to broad to be neatly tucked into a hierarchy and so end up tucked away somewhere being unhelpful.

In other news, a Christian fiction enthusiast got a hold of fiction and romance today, flooding the parent genres with sub-genres. I didn't delete anything, only nested them in the hierarchy appropriately. Amish fiction, chrisian contemporary fiction and christian historical fiction are now under the parent christian fiction. Love inspired, love inspired suspense and love inspired historical are now under category romance.


message 213: by James (new)

James (James_K_Bowers) | 152 comments For what it's worth, a good friend of mine who has read through comments in this thread suggests: "put that Eric fellow in charge"....


message 212: by Eric (last edited Apr 22, 2011 05:16AM) (new)

Eric Hoefler (ehoefler) | 2 comments This Is Not The Michael You're Looking For wrote: "I think a mistaken assumption here. (Mayanka can correct this if I'm wrong) The purpose of genres is not to help arrange users shelves for them: this may end up happening as a consequence ..."

That may not be the intent, but that is exactly what is happening: librarians are arranging works into hierarchical categories based on the shelves users have created.

"This isn't to say that there aren't problems with the system, but understanding what they're for might go a long way to quelling some of the argument."

I couldn't agree more, which was the point of my earlier post: we need a more clearly-defined purpose here, because it's not really (or at least, not simply) categorizing books by "genre."


message 211: by Ridley (new)

Ridley | 72 comments You know what else I'd love? The ability to add books to a genre when they're unshelved. I wanted to add an old line of category romances to the sub-genre, but I couldn't, because no one's shelved them in a useful way.


message 210: by Rossy (new)

Rossy (naughtybookjunkie) | 25 comments Abigail wrote: "Sorry, I wasn't being clear. I wasn't trying to draw a distinction between folklore and folktales, but merely saying that many folktales (which are part of folklore) might be considered fiction, bu..."

Ok see, that explains if perfectly for me. Thank you.


message 209: by [ A ] (last edited Apr 22, 2011 11:34AM) (new)

[ A ] | 51 comments When I worked at Borders, there was a separate section for Mythology/Folklore with its own set of shelves in the store. :) I would support a distinction like that here as well.


message 208: by Rossy (new)

Rossy (naughtybookjunkie) | 25 comments Ah, in that case i would have to agree with you Abigail. Perhaps, a better distinction between folklore and folktales should be made. Personally, i tend to just lump the two together, as i don't know the difference.

This is one of the reasons i think the only people who should be allowed to add/edit the genre for a particular book; should be those who have actually read the book. It is practically impossible to know which category a book is really supposed to be placed, unless you have first hand knowledge about it. Blurbs are useless when it comes to making such a decision.


message 207: by Rossy (new)

Rossy (naughtybookjunkie) | 25 comments Abigail wrote: "I've tried to stay out of this debate, but I have to say that I strongly, strongly object to the idea of folklore - a 'genre' that has been in existence for as long as human beings have been telling stories - being classified as a sub-species of fantasy, a genre that has been in existence for approximately 100 years. I say this as someone interested in the academic study of both, and the connections between them, someone who has taught a class on this topic, and who hopes to make it the subject of my dissertation.

I have no feelings of condescension toward either genre - they are, in fact, what I would like to devote my career to studying. But given the deep importance of much that we call folklore - the fact that many works of folklore are religious and/or spiritual in nature - I find it disrespectful in the extreme that it would be a sub-category of fantasy. Perhaps the other way around, but not this!

If goodreads will put religion - including all the 'big' majority faiths - as a sub-section of fantasy, then I'll accept this. If not, I think it is appalling. Bigoted. And utterly unacceptable. "


I can see your point if the folklore you are speaking of is from "research" or non-fictional. If it is fiction though, i have to agree that it belongs in the fantasy section. The same goes for religious themed books in fiction.

I think the biggest problem comes from the fact that some books, unless a person has read them, it will be impossible to truly know how to categorize.


message 206: by Rossy (new)

Rossy (naughtybookjunkie) | 25 comments Ridley wrote: "I'm bringing a PM convo with Mayanka here, because I think it bears discussion. Sorry if this feels like a pile-on, but that's the downside to crowdsourcing labor. It gets uppity.

GR's decided ero..."


I could not agree with you more.


message 205: by Ridley (new)

Ridley | 72 comments Abigail wrote: "A bunch of stuff."

And therein lies my discomfort with leaving genres to GR employees or random librarians who aren't familiar with the genres they're creating, deleting or editing. I apparently know jack about folklore, but I've been losing my mind over erotica being under romance (as you may have noticed.)

Whatever solution the powers-that-be agree on for this great idea suffering from uneven execution, I hope to hell they get input from people actually familiar with the individual genres. They're going to be the people best able to organize things so those readers can find them.


message 204: by M a y a (last edited Apr 21, 2011 03:57PM) (new)

M a y a (M-a-y-a) | 63 comments Hey guys,

Mlady_rebecca, thanks for your kind words :)
Not Michael, your explanation is exactly the intention of the genre pages.
James, I think you have some great ideas that we might work toward.
All librarians: Thanks for all the input!

I just wanted to give you guys a heads up that I think we will be closing off the genre hierarchies to librarians soon. Then, GR staff will do an internal audit of the hierarchies and see what makes sense.

We are suffering a bit from "too many cooks in one kitchen" syndrome, so this should provide more organization. We may leave it open to superlibrarians, though.

Again, I do want to thank you guys for all the great genres that have been added so far. Right now, I believe we have over 700 shelves classified as genres due to your help. So a great big thanks for getting a lot of the organization done for us.


message 203: by James (new)

James (James_K_Bowers) | 152 comments mlady_rebecca wrote: "You're reading malice into a perfectly innocent comment. I never realized it was rude to laugh at someone's joke then say 'thank you.'"

Sorry, mlady... I just didn't see "cowboys are in" as a joke. I reckon I owe you an apology since my own comments often contain random bits of skewed humor.


message 202: by James (new)

James (James_K_Bowers) | 152 comments Mayanka wrote: "Btw, some of you have asked for an authority to make an executive decision. I will step in if needed. Feel free to PM me about specific topics, since I can't always keep up with the threads. Also, keep in mind that I want to keep stuff out of the top level of fiction and non-fiction, so I will occasionally clear things out of there."

Then, by all means, step in and begin by renaming this whole thing to something other than "Goodreads Genre", because it isn't GENRE, regardless of any of its other merits. People who want "strawberry" aren't interested in "artificial strawberry", and I suspect people who want "genre" won't be interested in "Goodreads Genre".

If it's designed to "help" people and if "cowboys is in", I expect that well over half of the population -- including uncounted minors -- should not be subjected to a gay erotica while searching for stories of the Old West, but mistakenly using "cowboys" to find what they're looking for. If someone's interested in cowboys, at least point them toward the more traditional material on that subject matter (not "genre") -- if they want gay erotica with cowboys, then let them find that in the "gay erotica" subgenre...

Smut -- whether it is synonymous with erotica or not -- really has no place in any useful genre listing. I'm glad that issue has been settled.

I still believe the hierarchy should be decided upon by a smaller (pehaps hand-picked) group -- let that group vote on issues, if you want -- rather than allowing any librarian to simply modify the structure on a whim or because it sounds "genre-ish" or because it happens to be Thursday... Instead, any desired changes to the hierarchy table could be forwarded to that small group for debate/decision, thus alleviating all this (productive but aggravating) infighting.

Personally, I'd LOVE to be able to search by genre, but I would much prefer to search within genre by theme/keyword... It becomes useless rather than helpful to call this a GENRE system if we add to it themes, keywords, character types, races, best places at which to read these books, or "one-eyed, violet-skinned aliens from Betelgeuse". Call it a "Goodreads Bookfinder" or something else that might be appropriate instead of misleading the public and risking the reputation of what has traditionally been an exceptionally good site.

GENRE this is not, and attempting to shield yourselves from this fact by calling it "Goodreads Genre" is a poor substitute for simply owning up to a system of building what is essentially a collective, non-mandatory shelf system.

I hate being the one continually pointing this out, but it's time to call this hedgehog a hedgehog and be happy that it doesn't gnaw on the living-room furniture. I think there would be considerably less resistance to everything that has been going on if the word "genre" isn't associated with this project. For example: the "smut is/isn't a genre" argument would never have happened.

Maybe you have the opinion that I'm just stirring up trouble, but that's far from the truth. I like Goodreads for all its flexibility, features, and utility -- I just think it's my responsibility to fight for something I like so that it doesn't devolve into something I liked once upon a time.


message 201: by Ridley (new)

Ridley | 72 comments I'm bringing a PM convo with Mayanka here, because I think it bears discussion. Sorry if this feels like a pile-on, but that's the downside to crowdsourcing labor. It gets uppity.

GR's decided erotica can't have fiction as its parent because fiction is "too messy." So it's hidden in romance, where it doesn't belong, as people looking for romance novels expect an HEA, which erotica doesn't guarantee.

1. Too messy? Ditch media tie-in, magical realism, or retellings. Find common parent genres for speculative fiction, sci fi and fantasy or suspense, thriller and mystery or literature and literary fiction or action and adventure. Nest western under historical fiction and folk tales under fantasy. There are a bunch of options besides putting erotica where it will confuse readers.

2. If the goal is to make book browsing easier, why combine disparate genres? Surely trying to find buried popular genres is less helpful than having too many options under fiction.

3. Define "too messy." How many sub-genres is too many? How does this work with Goodreads Genres®, The Broad Definition?

Now, I have a couple other questions. Can we make the shelf tags into links for "Tags contributing to this page include:" and/or make it so clicking the "More popular books tagged..." link brings up all the books tagged by all the shelf feeds contributing to that genre? I've had to pick less popular shelves as the genre because it has the most helpful name, but then less clearly named shelves have many times the applicable books (category-romance vs. harlequin is a good example.) I'm looking for a better way to provide a large pool of related books easily accessed from a single page.


message 200: by mlady_rebecca (new)

mlady_rebecca | 575 comments *blinks* I thought Goodreads Genres™ and "Cowboys are in" was amusing (which I directly quoted).

I was speaking for myself. My comment wasn't directed to anyone but Mayanka. We ask for lots of features and changes in the Feedback group, but I don't think we (as a group) thank the staff enough. That's all I was doing.

You're reading malice into a perfectly innocent comment. I never realized it was rude to laugh at someone's joke then say "thank you".


This Is Not The Michael You're Looking For | 949 comments I think a mistaken assumption here. (Mayanka can correct this if I'm wrong) The purpose of genres is not to help arrange users shelves for them: this may end up happening as a consequence but it was never the goal as far as I understand.

The purpose of introducing genres was to better allow browsing by users looking for (new) books of a certain type, something shelves were rarely good at because (a) there were too many of them, (b) they were not searchable in a functional way, and (c) they were horrifically redundant due to rampant duplication and lack of a synonymy system. This exact request ("how can I browse history titles?") had been made by users many times.

That type of browsing works best with some sort of hierarchical framework (although not necessarily strictly hierarchical as it is currently set up), otherwise someone just has to wade through huge random lists (such as browsing the current alphabetical listing of genres or...much worse...the popularity listing of however many thousands and thousands of shelves there currently are...).

Now, it is possible that the primary reason they were constructed has already been warped and/or modified into something different by the users (which in this case is really the librarians), but many of the arguments against genres and/or against the way they are currently organized seem to make assumptions about purpose which don't fit my understanding of purpose. This isn't to say that there aren't problems with the system, but understanding what they're for might go a long way to quelling some of the argument.

But knowing how personalities on Goodreads tend to react, probably not.


message 198: by M a y a (new)

M a y a (M-a-y-a) | 63 comments Btw, some of you have asked for an authority to make an executive decision. I will step in if needed. Feel free to PM me about specific topics, since I can't always keep up with the threads. Also, keep in mind that I want to keep stuff out of the top level of fiction and non-fiction, so I will occasionally clear things out of there.

Thanks!


message 197: by James (new)

James (James_K_Bowers) | 152 comments mlady_rebecca wrote: "LOL. We're being a pain with this new feature. Just wanted to say thank you for putting up with us."

What has there been in any of this that rates a "LOL"??? Several of us have been trying to make some very valid points about the shortcomings of this (now apparently trademarked?) Goodreads Genre system -- it's no laughing matter. It is, as Ridley says, "volunteering to implement your site's new feature and offering meaningful feedback on what's not working well"...

But, that being said, thanks for the brief attempt at relieving some of the tension that has been building on this topic.


message 196: by Ridley (new)

Ridley | 72 comments mlady_rebecca wrote: "LOL. We're being a pain with this new feature. Just wanted to say thank you for putting up with us."

I hardly see "volunteering to implement your site's new feature and offering meaningful feedback on what's not working well" as "being a pain." So please don't apologize on anyone's behalf but your own. It's belittling.


message 195: by Eric (last edited Apr 22, 2011 05:15AM) (new)

Eric Hoefler (ehoefler) | 2 comments If what we’re trying to do with this is to arrange books on Goodreads by genre, then I would second Ciaran's lengthy but helpful post (message 188). However, it seems the original intent behind this was to help readers out by looking at the shelves they created and then arranging those shelves in groups and hierarchies. If that is the intent, then I think this whole thing should be called something else with the purpose clearly explained ("popular shelves" or something, I'm not sure). But what is happening so far, as evident through much of the discussion, is a blending of this general approach with the term "genre." Genre is--at least from any literary/library-sciences perspective--a very distinct term with clear implications (as others have pointed out). And I think a lot of the tension here is a result of not acknowledging this distinction.

If we’re going to call this effort “genres,” then I think we need a more directed approach (as James, Ridley, and LobsterGirl have suggested). If we don’t want a more directed approach and want to keep with the “helpfully attempting to arrange users’ shelves” approach, then I think we need to call it something other than “genres.”

Personally, I think a librarian-controlled organization of books into genres is more helpful than the other approach, because users can already shelve things however they’d like. A librarian-controlled categorization of books into genres (in the more precise use of that term) would add real value to Goodreads. The “helpful organization of shelves” approach might be helpful, but only marginally so. And in terms of using this system to find other books to read, I would think the technology from the newly-acquired Discovereads will be more helpful than anything we’re attempting to do with this.

But, again, if the final decision is that we’re sticking with the “helpful organization of shelves” approach, then I think we shouldn’t call it “genres” given the way this approach is developing.


message 194: by mlady_rebecca (new)

mlady_rebecca | 575 comments Mayanka wrote: "Thanks for the suggestions guys, but going forward we will continue to use a broad definition for Goodreads Genres™. Cowboys are in."

LOL. We're being a pain with this new feature. Just wanted to say thank you for putting up with us.


message 193: by Ridley (new)

Ridley | 72 comments Mayanka - Erotica doesn't belong under Romance. Genre romance requires both a romantic relationship and a happy ending, and erotica promises neither.

It's best to keep erotica out from under romance, as romance readers really don't react well when surprised by a unhappy or ambivalent ending. It's more accurate under fiction with a link to erotic romance. I also put a link to erotica in the description for erotic romance.


message 192: by Ciaran (new)

Ciaran (Foion) | 2 comments I can live with a cowboy genre if smut is out.
but ridley is on the same page as me with the idea of separate themes as it were.
I see it as the same thing my blog does:
categories, tags, keywords
genre, theme, shelves.

I really like the thought of being able to search and. label books in that manner but can see how implausable such big changes like that would be at this stage.

my only worry with the current model (from what I gather, please correct me if I'm wrong) is, say I look at the genre 'cowboys' where will that reside? in crime? romance? erotica? sci fi? all of them? how will I just find historical books about cowboys without say, pulling up a lot of erotica whilst at work?


methinks 2.40am is a bad time to think about this. ill check back in the morning :)


message 191: by Ridley (new)

Ridley | 72 comments What is this "broad definition" you refer to? Knowing the definition would go a long way towards preventing edit wars.

A better option would have been to keep genres as actual genres then instituted another browse option built like genres but called "themes" where cowboys, mermaids, gunslinger and so on lived. Trying to work that stuff into a hierarchy is just a friggin mess.

But, whatever. So long as smut is out, I'm not completely discouraged.


message 190: by M a y a (new)

M a y a (M-a-y-a) | 63 comments (Smut is out)


message 189: by M a y a (new)

M a y a (M-a-y-a) | 63 comments Thanks for the suggestions guys, but going forward we will continue to use a broad definition for Goodreads Genres™. Cowboys are in.


message 188: by Ciaran (new)

Ciaran (Foion) | 2 comments I've read all these posts and really have to just jump in here.
I'm agreeing with Ridley and James - mostly because 'Genre' has a specific definition and, no offence Cait, but 'beach-reads' doesnt fit it.

The thing i liked about GoodReads shelving system (i dont use it, mostly for lack of time) is that you can SHELVE books however you like, by date, where you read them, genre, colour, series, species involved, how you felt about them.
Any way you like. in as many shelves as you like.

Genre on the other hand, is not something crowdsourcing will work particularly well for. especially if you've made it automated using user shelves. Someone who knows what they're doing needs to look at a book and say - Thats Romance>Paranormal Romance or thats Science Fiction > Post-Apocalyptic or thats Fantasy>Urban Fantasy. you can keep going with the subgenres all you like, as long as they are actual genres (and yes, new Genres pop up all the time - like steampunk) and not say - where users have read the book, or how 'fluffy' the content is. else we'd have the genres 'toilet-reads' and 'total-fluff'.

so what actually constitutes a genre?

Dictionary.com give me this rather nice definition - a class or category of artistic endeavor having a particular form, content, technique, or the like: the genre of epic poetry; the genre of symphonic music. but sadly, Caitt, not the genre of beachreads.

Lets go through a few examples, totally made up.

I found the perfect book for reading on the beach. Its about a young man and woman from different sides of the track - literally - who fall in love. They must find a way to be together in their world - where steam engines, derigibles, and rather heavy clothes with cogs on them, are all made possible through cheap labour in the coalmines.

Multiple Genres in this case, so, im gonna put in order of, IMO(<--i'll come back to this, its important!) Relevance
Romance? Check
Science Fiction? Check
Steampunk? Check
beachreads? no, sorry. its not a genre. nothing to do with the content, form, technique.


Another? I've just finished a book I borrowed from my local library. Its about Cowboys. Gay Cowboys. After only 3 pages they start going at it like rabbits. The language is vulgar, the content very very graphic. Its not about love, but its pretty hot ;). at the end, they go their separate ways and look back on the *insert length of time the book is over here* with a smile.

Erotica? Yes
Gay? Yes
Queer? technically, but for those in the 'Queer Community' this term is, excuse this phrase, Specifically Broad. If you want further explaination ask and i'll give it.
Smut? no. thats not a genre, its an opinion. you may think its 'smutty - dirty' but thats not the genre, the genre is erotica.
Cowboys? it has them, but isnt a genre - if you really want stuff like this, you'll need to have keyword searches within genre, so, say i want Gay Erotica with cowboys, i'd search the 'Erotica>Gay' section for cowboys and cowboy related terms.

GoodReads is massive, and to do this properly, I suggest you map out your Genre tree, find the common overlaps - like where Sci-Fi and Fantasy cross and work something out. Get the community to help make this, to argue over what goes where best, but please for the love of all that is good in the world stick to actual definable genres and not 'beachreads' and stuff like that.


whew. that was less concise than i wanted, but, i hope its actually usefull contribution


message 187: by James (new)

James (James_K_Bowers) | 152 comments Well.... I'm sorry for whacking the hornet's nest here, but somebody (or a group of somebodies) DOES need to take charge of this.

There appear to be two camps when it comes to the genre issue -- and if genre is to be handled by ALL librarians (which I still doubt is the best solution), there really must be a solid commitment to defining what "genre" means -- even if it means NOT calling it genre.


message 186: by Ridley (new)

Ridley | 72 comments Well, how else would you define genre, rivka? It can't just be popular shelves. Genre fiction readers could make a huge mess with all of the theme/trope tags.


message 185: by Ridley (new)

Ridley | 72 comments Steampunk is absolutely a genre. It's a well-defined subgenre of SFF that's been around a while now. Mermaids aren't a genre, but I guess they're still a viable subset of, what, fantasy?

What they have that the four non-genres I point to don't are objective criteria. The presence of dirigibles and goggles or sea people with fins is not matter of opinion. Either a book has them or doesn't. There's no opportunity for argument.

That's what should mark a genre or subgenre.


message 184: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 26934 comments Mod
Ridley wrote: Genres refer to categories that are not a matter or opinion."

All else aside, this is patently false. The debate over whether certain books are science fiction, fantasy, science fantasy, or speculative fiction is a prime counter-example -- and there are many others.


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