Around the Year in 52 Books discussion

Archives > [2020] The Wild Discussion

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message 1: by Laura, Celestial Sphere Mod (new)

Laura | 3821 comments Mod
For those familiar with the process, our planning for the 2020 list won't begin until about June 2019.

But... that doesn't mean that members don't have valuable suggestions and discussion throughout the year as it pertains to group features. So this is the place to share any thoughts or suggestions for the group (book of the month, progress posts, read-a-thons, etc.)

If you think of a totally new activity or project, please share!

message 2: by Sophie (new)

Sophie (sawphie) | 2920 comments OMG I’m so excited that the voting process will begin soon! I’m also slightly terrified that a quarter of the year has already gone by, but that’s another issue haha

I really liked the seconding rule as it helped weed out topics people are not interested in.

I’m wondering if it’s necessary to add “default” topics like last year (GR Choice Awards, etc.). The worry was that if it was nominated it would take votes out of other options, but these options can be resubmitted and maybe the fact that we specifically ask people if they want them or not makes them say yes, but if they were drowned amongst other topics, maybe they wouldn’t win? I hope that makes sense 😅

What do you think about the number of nominations? I remember we switched from 20 to 15, but it didn’t have a massive effect on result, so which one would you prefer?

message 3: by Jody (new)

Jody (jodybell) | 3489 comments I’m always a dissenting voice against the default topics, so I’d definitely be glad to see them go. 😁

message 4: by Ann (new)

Ann | 580 comments No defaults Something new

message 5: by Laura, Celestial Sphere Mod (new)

Laura | 3821 comments Mod
I think now that we've done the process a number of times, it's reasonable to allow the defaults to undergo the same process as any other suggestion. Yeah, they'll likely be popular but people may also be getting tired of them.

message 6: by Kathy Jo (new)

Kathy Jo (kjsotr) | 275 comments Yay! I've been anxiously awaiting the polls and trying to come up with new ideas for prompts!

message 7: by Rachel (new)

Rachel A. (abyssallibrarian) | 2704 comments I really liked having the "8 votes, divide them however you want" approach last year. There were so many polls where there were more than 4 prompts that I really wanted, and it was hard to choose.

message 8: by Jackie, Solstitial Mod (new)

Jackie | 1351 comments Mod
I am also a fan of the "distribute your 8 votes how you will" approach. I think people generally want to use all their votes, so if you tell people they can vote against up to 4 prompts, they will find 4 prompts to vote against even if they're really only against 2. Or vice versa. That kind of voting leads to the results implying that people feel much more strongly for or against prompts than they really do.

message 9: by Sophie (new)

Sophie (sawphie) | 2920 comments Oh yeah I forgot about the 8 votes, it was a good change even though I think I only ended up not putting 4 and 4 once haha

message 10: by Ellie (new)

Ellie (patchworkbunny) | 1753 comments I caught myself wondering when the new list process would begin last week, I'm not even half way! But glad to see I'm not the only one excited about it.

I would like to keep the vote distribution change too.

message 11: by Emily, Conterminous Mod (new)

Emily Bourque (emilyardoin) | 7402 comments Mod
Eek! I am SO EXCITED about this.

Nevermind that I'm 2 weeks behind on this year's list haha!

Totally agree with the distribute your votes option... I think it added a different layer to the voting process and it helped people focus on what they really wanted (or didn't want.. I used most of my votes on downvoting options haha).

I'm also ok with not having default options, even though I will probably vote for them when they come up. I read a lot of contemporary books, so the published in the year is easy for me to fill, and I enjoy reading the GR choice award winners.

message 12: by dalex (new)

dalex (912dalex) | 1719 comments I wish there was a way to encourage people to research a bit on the feasibility of fulfilling a prompt rather than just voting on what "sounds good."

I'm wondering if it would be possible to list some info in the thread with the prompts that are up for a vote instead of just linking to the thread where possibilities and suggestions were discussed? I know that last year there were at least few prompts where a later discussion made people say, "Oh, if I'd thought of that as a way of doing the prompt, I wouldn't have downvoted it!"

message 13: by Pam (new)

Pam (bluegrasspam) | 2568 comments I also like the 8 vote option and no defaults.

message 14: by Rachelnyc (new)

Rachelnyc | 943 comments So excited!!

I basically agree with everything that has already been said. No defaults, let them go through the process like everyone else! lol

I usually went with 4 and 4 when we were given the option as well but that may have been because I was conditioned by when we were required to split our votes evenly. It'll be interesting to see if that happens again if we start with the more flexible approach.

message 15: by Sophie (last edited Apr 17, 2019 03:27PM) (new)

Sophie (sawphie) | 2920 comments dalex wrote: "I know that last year there were at least few prompts where a later discussion made people say, "Oh, if I'd thought of that as a way of doing the prompt, I wouldn't have downvoted it!"

I vividly remember last year not understanding well what “a Bildungsroman” was and regretting downvoting it haha. But I also don’t think we can (or should) force people to research every single prompt, as we don’t all have the same amount of time on our hand to do it.

I’d say that to limit the amount of work for the mod who compiles the list, it would be better if the people who suggest and second the prompt add as much info about it that they can and this can be copy-pasted in the voting thread. And if during the discussion someone adds an info that can be useful for everyone, we can maybe specifically ask for this info to be added to the definition. What do you think?

message 16: by Rachel (new)

Rachel A. (abyssallibrarian) | 2704 comments I agree with dalex that sometimes having more information about the prompt or potential options would be very helpful, but it's nearly impossible to enforce. In general, I think it would be great if people who have suggestions for different ways to interpret a prompt to comment when they can. I know for me, there were some prompts that I was really dreading until I saw some of the suggestions for how else to approach them.

I'm the type who will go ahead and research a bit before voting for anything though, just to make sure I don't get myself stuck with just one or two options. I know not everyone has the time or even the interest in doing that though.

message 17: by Emily, Conterminous Mod (new)

Emily Bourque (emilyardoin) | 7402 comments Mod
I varied in my approach. Sometimes I would research a topic (usually lists, awards, and others that are pretty easily researched), sometimes I would vote with my gut and hope it works out (which is why my rejects list is a bit more difficult than the official list).

It ALWAYS helped when people posted lists and links for the prompts they were suggesting though.

So... maybe make it *highly suggested* that the people suggest a prompt and add some information about it (or at least a link or two to lists that could help with the research?).

Also, for the mods to note...

I know as we go through the process, I basically stop reading the first post in the thread, because it's usually copied and pasted. I know it's a bit more work for you, but maybe keep the copy and pasting in the first post, and then post any changes in a second one. It's more likely to get read, and there's less confusion down the road. (For example, the whole explanation of the voting process goes in the first post, but in the second, you might post prompts that can't be suggested, people who have to wait a certain amount of time to suggest, or other voting changes).

message 18: by dalex (new)

dalex (912dalex) | 1719 comments I understand that most people won't want to take the time to research prompts before voting, as in hunting down potential books that might fit. But I think if the information about the prompts up for a vote was more accessible that it would encourage at least a bit of consideration rather than an impulsive choice based on little information.

The way it was done last year was that the mod would list the prompts up for a vote and then put in a link to a previous thread that people could go to and read the discussion about those prompts. I'm skeptical about how many people actually followed that link. What I am suggesting is that a summary of the discussion be provided with the list of prompts up for a vote.

This would, I think, prevent problems such as the one Sophie mentioned above - "I don't know what a bildungsroman is so I'm not voting for it." If there was a brief description and/or examples right there on that thread you go to for voting people would better understand the potential prompts.

message 19: by Lizzy (new)

Lizzy | 730 comments dalex wrote: "I understand that most people won't want to take the time to research prompts before voting, as in hunting down potential books that might fit. But I think if the information about the prompts up f..."

Dalex -- I like your idea of listing a few books as samples of the category.

message 20: by Emily, Conterminous Mod (last edited Apr 18, 2019 11:52AM) (new)

Emily Bourque (emilyardoin) | 7402 comments Mod
But we also don't want to confuse newbies who might think those are your only options? I'd rather submit a brief description to go along with the prompt.

For example:

A speculative fiction book
- an umbrella genre encompassing fiction with certain elements that do not exist in the real world, often in the context of supernatural, futuristic or other imaginative themes
- can include sci-fi, magical realism, horror, fantasy, and other non-realistic genres


A bildungsroman
- a novel dealing with one person's formative years or spiritual education
- a coming-of-age story
- some examples: Jane Eyre, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

message 21: by Emily, Conterminous Mod (new)

Emily Bourque (emilyardoin) | 7402 comments Mod
That being said, that would be a lot to put on the actual voting ballot, and probably too much for the mods to put in the opening post of the voting thread. I really think it's up to the person posting the prompt (or seconding, or just someone who is championing it) to post this kind of stuff, and it's up to the voter to decide if they want to read it all.

I mean, I would read through the thread before voting, but I'm also just me. I think the mods could encourage this type of description though.

message 22: by Sophie (new)

Sophie (sawphie) | 2920 comments I agree that descriptions like you mentioned Emily would be really useful to allow for more informed voting. Indeed there wouldn’t be enough space on the poll itself, but I’m sure we could add it to the poll’s topic.

However it might be too much job for the mod creating the poll to come up with a description for each prompt, hence my suggestion for copy-pasting a definition provided by the people who suggested or seconded the prompt (or a generous soul who wants to do the research haha).

As per the suggestion to put changing info on a second comment, I don’t see why people couldn’t just scan the first one to see if something looks different? I’ve always done it and it only takes a few second, especially since often these changes are written in bold or underlined 😉

message 23: by Rachel (new)

Rachel A. (abyssallibrarian) | 2704 comments I get Sophie's point above that looking at the first post shouldn't be a problem, but I'm more inclined to agree with Emily. I found that last year I was often confused by changes or thought that they seemed a bit abrupt because I just didn't notice them in the first comment. It's our own problem for not reading properly I guess, but like Emily mentioned, since those first posts are often mostly the same, my natural inclination is to quickly skim them or sometimes even skip over them. I'm definitely more likely to notice a change if it is bolded or underlined, but there's no guarantee. Of course, there's no guarantee that I'd read it in a second, separate comment either, but at least it would be separated from the usual reminders.

Another thing I noticed that seemed to be a common problem last year is that there were a lot of people commenting that they were new to the group, and were unaware of the rules. From what I've seen, the rules are very clearly explained already in the group, but I found it a bit confusing (and honestly, sometimes annoying) that threads got a bit cluttered with people making mistakes with the suggesting/seconding process. It made it hard for me to follow what had actually been seconded, and it makes it easy to mess up the count. Again, I'm not sure I have any solutions since it's down to the individual new members to read and follow the rules, but it was definitely something that stood out to me from last year as something that was a bit frustrating.

message 24: by Laura, Celestial Sphere Mod (new)

Laura | 3821 comments Mod
I would agree that it's reasonable to add voting changes to a second comment. I don't have any issues with that since it's a fairly quick thing. I suspect we may have missed "violators" in the past due to not posting some of these things.

As far as suggestions, I'm not opposed to doing a more detailed description with examples. The voting progresses for such an extended period, it's hard to say what the mods would have time for during any given week. So we can always just strive to provide as much as possible. Then if a certain week is busy, that one may just have the info provided by the members when suggesting.

message 25: by Jillian (new)

Jillian | 1721 comments I really liked how last year when we were able to use our 8 votes anywhere.

The only suggestion I can think of for wanting more information in the poll thread is maybe post the topics that are in the poll. Then have a day of discussion before anyone can start voting. (I’m not sure if this is a good idea or not).

I know the first year I joined, I though that reading and being swayed by the discussion was cheating and only read the discussion after I voted.

message 26: by Laura, Celestial Sphere Mod (new)

Laura | 3821 comments Mod
That's a good idea, Jillian :)

message 27: by Peter (last edited Apr 18, 2019 05:29PM) (new)

Peter | 0 comments I think one of the biggest "issues" with the voting process is the dichotomy of the users - there is a pretty clear separation between a group of vocal members who like to discuss the prompts, analyze the results, vote strategically and/or collectively manage the process by identifying gaps or surpluses in the type of prompts and the group of people who just show up to vote and pick their tops and bottoms.

Personally, I enjoy discussing the prompts and any further explanation to ones I don't completely understand sometimes help in my decision making process, but at the same time, I'm not a fan of micro-managing the process by strategic voting. I just like picking the ones I'm interested in. I think the suggestion + second format does a reasonable job of screening repetitive, obscure, or just confusing prompts but I'm happy to just let the results come out naturally.

I think keeping the process as simple as possible is best. Due to the high variance in what people's goals are and what they are looking to get out of the group, I think implementing too many rules and restrictions is going to become a burden to both the mods and the members, and will only serve to add confusion to any new members taking part. I really believe the best solution is to just keep things simple; Pick your top and bottom (top 4/bottom 4 or spread your votes wherever you want, that part doesn't matter) and leave it at that. If people want to discuss things, or have a deeper explanation of the prompts, we can continue to do so in the threads as we always have but I don't see a need to implement any more rules.

*Edit - I was writing when Jillian made the suggestion of waiting to post the poll - I think that's an excellent idea, and may alleviate some of the confusion around certain prompts but doesn't add any extra work for the mods. That's a simple, elegant solution to allow for further discussion/clarification on the topics in each poll without needing to implement any further rules, Good idea Jillian!

message 28: by Sara (new)

Sara (phantomswife) | 930 comments Well said, Peter. I also think it should be kept simple. I was not very vocal last year, although I did read the thread and was persuaded toward some prompts that my initial reaction would have been to vote against. The resource is there, but not a requirement, which is something for everyone. I hope that it will not become so complex with rules that it puts people off instead of pulling them in.

A completely personal note, but I came to this group because a group I was participating in had so many rules that it became no fun to read there. It became a chore just to know what you had to do to participate. So, be careful not to over-complicate things.

message 29: by Emily, Conterminous Mod (new)

Emily Bourque (emilyardoin) | 7402 comments Mod
Totally agree with that! I guess I was just thinking that the person who suggests would give some type of write up if the prompt was a bit confusing or not easily recognizable (I think something like "black cover" wouldn't necessarily need a description lol). It's more for the mods to carry over some of the descriptions from the suggestion threads to the voting threads, and maybe gently remind suggesters to include some background on their prompt if it's something a bit more nuanced.

message 30: by Jackie, Solstitial Mod (new)

Jackie | 1351 comments Mod
I *really* like the idea of say a 1-2 day gap between when we have the list of prompts to be voted on and when the poll opens. Since I'm usually able to follow the suggestion discussion, I wouldn't necessarily be using that time for more research, but I would love to have that time to look over the list and just stew on the topics a little more. And as others have mentioned, it would be a good way for people to ask questions about the prompts that are less obvious. Judging by the prompt threads, we usually have plenty to discuss even about the obvious ones ;). It's not like we've ever had an issue with finishing the list in time so I think we can afford to add in that extra discussion/research/thinking day.

message 31: by Cheri (last edited Apr 18, 2019 09:00PM) (new)

Cheri (jovali2) | 542 comments I agree with Peter that simpler is better! And like Sara, I have been in a couple GR groups that had so many rules that I quit enjoying the groups.

As for filling out a prompt with definitions and examples, I think it's a great idea, but it can be a natural process. If the original poster didn't give enough info, someone else who likes the prompt can add more, or can nominate it with a clearer explanation on the next round.

message 32: by Anastasia (new)

Anastasia (anastasiaharris) | 1348 comments I love the suggestions so far. The 8 votes however we want to use them, get rid of the automatic prompts, and giving a day or so to let those ideas percolate before voting are all great.Those are not really adding rules, just altering our process a little bit.

message 33: by Emily, Conterminous Mod (new)

Emily Bourque (emilyardoin) | 7402 comments Mod
I would say that if we add a day or two before opening voting, we could shorten the voting period by that many days... so instead of 7 days of voting, we would have 1 day of discussion and 6 days for voting. Waiting for the votes to come in before felt like an eternity haha!

message 34: by Bryony, Circumnavigation Mod (new)

Bryony (bryony46) | 1081 comments Mod
Ahhh I’m excited already!

I agree about not having the “default” topics this year. If they win one of the polls that’s fine but I think we’ve included them enough years that some people may be getting a bit tired of seeing them and prefer to vote for other options.

I think we have to be careful about setting expectations about how people should participate in the suggestions and voting process. Some people love the whole process and can choose to spend lots of time on it. Other people don’t want to do that, either because they simply don’t have time or because they don’t find it enjoyable. Some people might spend ages researching prompts one week and vote on the spur of the moment the next week. There is no right way of joining in the process and I think we should encourage people to participate regardless of how much time they feel they wish to spend on it.

Personally I think a link to the suggestion thread so people can read the discussion if they want works. It allows people to read and research if they want but doesn’t make people who can’t do that feel they’re not entitled to participate.

Of course I can’t speak for the other mods but I would also find it difficult to write a summary of the suggestions that wouldn’t risk making some suggestions sound better than others. I don’t think that would be fair to people who submit and second suggestions.

I also agree with Peter’s suggestion that we keep the process as simple as possible! I think that’s helpful for new members as well as those who have been in our group from the start.

And finally, I really like the idea of waiting a day or two between filling up a poll and opening it for voting.

message 35: by Emily, Conterminous Mod (last edited Apr 21, 2019 06:18AM) (new)

Emily Bourque (emilyardoin) | 7402 comments Mod
To be clear, I never would ever think that the descriptions be left for the mods to write. I just think we should suggest that people who are suggesting prompts (or seconding or championing them) write a little something that can then be copied and pasted over.

I definitely don't want to put more on the mods! But also, if we have a day or two of discussion before voting, people who are suggesting prompts they really care about them can do the copying and pasting themselves (or just write the description in the voting thread).

I just think that first time (or second time or third time) suggesters don't necessarily think to give links, descriptions, examples, etc. So putting that as a recommendation would help them think to actually do it, which would then encourage them to also read the descriptions of the other prompts.

message 36: by Laura, Celestial Sphere Mod (new)

Laura | 3821 comments Mod
What about formatting the list of prompts so that if you click on a prompt in the voting list, it links to the original comment if it contains more detail?

That way the voting list is still simplified but if someone wants to click on the prompt it will take them to more detail.

message 37: by Rachel (new)

Rachel A. (abyssallibrarian) | 2704 comments Are we still going to have rules around a waiting period for people who have participated in the previous poll? Last year, we asked people who had already suggested or seconded something to wait before they participated in the next one.

If we have that kind of rule, I'd love to get a bit of clarity around what "counts" as participating. I remember there being some confusion at times last year about whether a suggestion that hadn't made the voting list would count as participating and therefore force the person to wait.

I also like the idea of having a short waiting period before the voting starts, to give those who want a chance to research, read the discussion thread, etc. I don't think any of the ideas discussed so far would complicate the process.

message 38: by Anastasia (new)

Anastasia (anastasiaharris) | 1348 comments Laura I like your suggestion of linking to the spot in the discussion thread. It is quite a bit of reading on some threads to find where the pertinent discussion took place.

The two day wait can be thought of as a chance to compagin in a positive way for your favourite prompts. I hope that we can all be positive in our persuasion of others.

I know this can be a little decisive but it could sometimes get a little heated when discussing the prompts. Is there a way we can suggest that positive comments are welcome.

message 39: by Anna (new)

Anna | 982 comments I really like the suggestions so far: no automatic prompts, waiting before the voting to mull over the choices, linking to specific points in the discussion threads to make it easier to see what has been said about them, and 8 votes cast as you wish.

message 40: by Sophie (new)

Sophie (sawphie) | 2920 comments Anna wrote: "I know this can be a little decisive but it could sometimes get a little heated when discussing the prompts. Is there a way we can suggest that positive comments are welcome."

I was looking for a way to introduce the topic, so I’m glad you did! Last year the process became quite intense at times and I know that some people didn’t read the discussions anymore because of it. I really hope we’ll be able to keep a cooler head about other people’s choice and keep the discussion light! After all, it’s just reading prompts, right?

message 41: by Sara (new)

Sara (phantomswife) | 930 comments Always good to remember that this is meant to be for our mutual enjoyment, so we should not let it stir any negative emotions.

I like Anna's summary...all good ideas.

message 42: by Jill (new)

Jill (dogbotsmum) | 945 comments Last year Amy's thread of Keep it simple or Bring it on, I thought was definitely a big help. Something like that would certainly benefit both new and seasoned members, although I do realise it would mean more work.

message 43: by °~Amy~° (new)

°~Amy~° (amybooksit) | 2978 comments Jill wrote: "Last year Amy's thread of Keep it simple or Bring it on, I thought was definitely a big help. Something like that would certainly benefit both new and seasoned members, although I do realise it wou..."

I do plan on doing that again this year. The only change would be adding a brief description of what the prompt was" meant" to be so it's easier to see how the KIS options simplify things and how the BIO options are more difficult. Other than that, I think the list will be mostly the same next year. :)

message 44: by Jill (last edited Apr 22, 2019 04:13PM) (new)

Jill (dogbotsmum) | 945 comments Thanks Amy That would be really good of you.

message 45: by Sara (new)

Sara (phantomswife) | 930 comments That does sound very helpful, Amy. I am going to make a real effort to use all the resources this time.

message 46: by Bec (new)

Bec | 783 comments Great ideas. I love how this is looking to pan out, 8 votes to use as you wish, votes seconded (I prefer 15 topics than 20), no automatic prompts and waiting a day or 2 before votes start. I did find last year there was good discussion which would have changed my votes but sometimes only after I had voted.

message 47: by Serendipity (new)

Serendipity | 441 comments Looking forward to the process this year. Last year was my first time and I learnt a lot. I tended to vote early and with my gut. This year I’ll be reading comments etc more and leave my voting later. Although, for me at least, there isn’t a lot of correlation between how much I like the prompt and how much I like the book I select for it. I think if I’m not keen on the prompt I research and carefully pick the book but am a bit more slapdash for the prompts I like. I’ve finished this year’s challenge but when I wrap up a few other challenges I may go back a pick now books to replace some I was less than impressed by.

message 48: by Jody (new)

Jody (jodybell) | 3489 comments Sophie wrote: "I was looking for a way to introduce the topic, so I’m glad you did! Last year the process became quite intense at times and I know that some people didn’t read the discussions anymore because of it. I really hope we’ll be able to keep a cooler head about other people’s choice and keep the discussion light! After all, it’s just reading prompts, right?"

Fingers crossed! I always find it gets far too heated for me - one year I didn't even participate in the voting process because of it, and last year I just voted without reading the discussions for the most part. I get a little prickly when people imply that there's a right or wrong way of doing things, and there's often quite a lot of that when the voting process gets underway.

message 49: by Jill (new)

Jill (dogbotsmum) | 945 comments It must all go over my head, as I found thr discussions last year so much better than the year before.

message 50: by Jackie, Solstitial Mod (new)

Jackie | 1351 comments Mod
I think a lot of the "heated discussions" were the result of people not considering the differences between an online thread that is read by thousands of people and an in-person chat between a dozen. Obviously, in a group this large there will always be a couple bad eggs, but I think the vast majority of problems we have are misunderstandings. People aren't usually trying to be bossy or pushy about their opinions, it's just hard to convey tone in a purely text format. I do think people are more conscientious these days than they used to be, not just in our group but in others as well.

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