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CR Group Stuff > Bookshelf Culling

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message 1: by Ruby , Mistress of Chaos (new)

Ruby  Tombstone Lives! (rubytombstone) | 3260 comments Mod
I just wanted to get peoples' opinions on something. I put the Classics shelf up last night, and it's looking great - but we already have 91 books on it, after less than a month of nominations. I would really like to keep the nominations open indefinitely, so that new members can contribute. But I can easily see some of the shelves growing to epic proportions.

I tend to think that, particularly with topics like "Classics" it's too easy to end up with a group shelf consisting of everything anybody has ever called a classic - rather than a direct reflection of the very best books according to the group. There are plenty of huge lists of classic books out there, but I'd like to see our shelves being tailored to this group of people. It seems a bit pointless otherwise.

So my question is this:
At what point does a bookshelf become too big to be useful?
Should we cap the list at 100, 150, 200.....?

If we set a cap on them, we'd need to look at how to allow people to add new books: maybe via polls, or add-one-remove-one?

Thoughts? Comments?


message 2: by Riona (new)

Riona (rionafaith) | 457 comments Maybe books should be "seconded" or "thirded" instead of just being nominated by one person? That could cut down and ensure that the books were excellent and fitting the shelves. Just an idea, curious what others think.


message 3: by Ruby , Mistress of Chaos (new)

Ruby  Tombstone Lives! (rubytombstone) | 3260 comments Mod
I like that idea in theory, and we'd get more appropriate books out of it. It's just so hard to wrangle from this end in a thread, especially with so many going at once. People just want to nominate books a lot of the time, and not necessarily go through and second other peoples' suggestions. If the Polls feature allowed more than one vote per person, we could do it that way, but they don't.

Listopia might be a possibility though. Maybe we could do regular culls via Listopia. Set it up for people to vote for the ones they like, and remove the books from the shelf if they only have one vote. Does anyone know how many you can vote on in Listopia, and if they have to be voted in order of preference? I haven't really used it to vote.


message 4: by Mackenzie (new)

Mackenzie (mackenziepaige) | 24 comments Ruby wrote: "I like that idea in theory, and we'd get more appropriate books out of it. It's just so hard to wrangle from this end in a thread, especially with so many going at once. People just want to nominat..."

I'm pretty sure you can use listopia to place multiple votes but I don't know if you can have preferential voting.


message 5: by Mackenzie (new)

Mackenzie (mackenziepaige) | 24 comments I was looking at a few of the existing lists and it looks like you can have preferential voting.


message 6: by Ruby , Mistress of Chaos (new)

Ruby  Tombstone Lives! (rubytombstone) | 3260 comments Mod
Thanks for checking that out, Mac. Preferential voting is probably going to be a hindrance in this case. Do you know if it can be switched off? Sorry - I can check all this myself, but I'm busy doing the bookshelves tonight. :)


message 7: by ceeeeg (new)

ceeeeg moving over here to say...

i am not sure how best to handle this situation...i am so new to GR i am not really up toi speed with what we have here for tools to do voting etc...

while i understand your point about the lists getting so big that they defeat the purpose, i hate the idea of a cap too...

so i am just not sure what to suggest...

i am on board to help implement whatever the rest of you, better in the know, think is best tho



message 8: by Mackenzie (new)

Mackenzie (mackenziepaige) | 24 comments Ruby wrote: "Thanks for checking that out, Mac. Preferential voting is probably going to be a hindrance in this case. Do you know if it can be switched off? Sorry - I can check all this myself, but I'm busy doi..."

I can't see a preference to turn it off. Perhaps I'm not looking in the right place. I'll keep looking!


message 9: by Ruby , Mistress of Chaos (new)

Ruby  Tombstone Lives! (rubytombstone) | 3260 comments Mod
Mackenzie wrote: "Ruby wrote: "Thanks for checking that out, Mac. Preferential voting is probably going to be a hindrance in this case. Do you know if it can be switched off? Sorry - I can check all this myself, but..."

You're awesome! Thanks for helping out :)

Pip - I take your point on capping them, but over time the shelves will grow (we had 91 recommendations for the classics shelf in under a month). I think we would just be reinventing the wheel after a while.

There are lots of almost exhaustive lists of books by genre around if people are just looking for anything that fits. What I was hoping we would have here is something that highlights those books that we love & would recommend, and that we could use for things like polls, challenges etc amongst ourselves.

Another advantage to having some sort of cull every now and again would be so that the books on the shelves represent current, active group members. I like the idea of the books changing to reflect the group.

There's no huge rush to decide right now though.

FYI Pip: Your posts are all coming out entirely in italics. When you hit "reply", try to make sure it's only the other person's words that sit inside the quotation marks, and it should work properly.


message 10: by ceeeeg (new)

ceeeeg mmmmmmm....

yes, i know about the italics thing....it is a habit born out of where i chat primarily and how....out of habit, i tack on an italics html tag in the front of all my posts...

i need to really work on catching myself doing it, because it throws people here and does not allow for a designation between a quote and a current post or reply to said quote...

so, so noted and i will work on it...

and i think maybe i did not articulate myself well on this subject...

i totally see the point of a cap because yoou are exactly right....at a certain point it becomes cumbersome....

perhaps a way to handle it is to set a 'quota' on the number of times a book has to be recommended for inclusion....

or close a list like you have and then poll on it's contents somehow...


message 11: by Theo (new)

Theo | 159 comments In response to the listopia question, you can vote for up to 100 books on the list, but voting is preferential (from 1-100). The list is ordered by a numerical rating based on the ranking each person gave, but it also displays how many votes each book received.

Some issues that I can think of:

1. As far as I know, there is no way to "lock" a list, meaning anyone can add books to the list, not just vote on what you have added (if you are a librarian, you can remove books from the list that have been added without permission).
2. Also, if you add a title to the list, you vote for it. So, if you put the 91 titles up in the list, each one would have one vote from you. And since you can only vote for 100 books, that would mean you could only add 100 books to the list.
3. Anyone can vote on the list who comes across it, you can't limit voting to member's of this group.


message 12: by Ruby , Mistress of Chaos (new)

Ruby  Tombstone Lives! (rubytombstone) | 3260 comments Mod
Thanks for that, Theo. I was worried that might be case. I'll keep thinking about an alternative. If we can think of a way to avoid doing it all in a thread, I'll be very happy. That stuff gets messy!


message 13: by Ruby , Mistress of Chaos (new)

Ruby  Tombstone Lives! (rubytombstone) | 3260 comments Mod
Okay, so the Classics shelf is reaching 100 books. This means we're at the point of needing to figure out how to keep the size down, while still allowing newer group members to have a say.

CULLING!
There's a conversation thread in the Bookshelf Folder here:
http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/9...
which examines three of our immediate options for culling books. Please go and have a look and chime in, because this will affect how we do things with the bookshelves from now on.

Thanks!


message 14: by Ruby , Mistress of Chaos (new)

Ruby  Tombstone Lives! (rubytombstone) | 3260 comments Mod
This is a good example of why I'm thinking a discussion thread is the way to go rather than a poll, actually. You've raised some good points, some of which are specific to that shelf, and none of which will come through in a poll.

I think we need a system that works for all the shelves, as well as Classics, because we'll face the situation with them all eventually.

BTW - We have a 20year cut-off point for the Classics shelf (see the thread in question).


message 15: by Whitney (new)

Whitney | 1321 comments Mod
Ruby wrote: "This is a good example of why I'm thinking a discussion thread is the way to go rather than a poll..."

Ruby, if you're willing to put in all that work, I agree a discussion thread is the way to go, as I think that's most likely to lead to a more unique shelf, since it selects for books people are willing to marshall a good defense for (or attack upon, as the case may be). I'm looking forward to mixing it up with Derek over Moby Dick.

And I know we went over this before, but I don't think 20 years is nearly enough time to determine if a book is a classic. It should have to survive through two generations at the very least, in my always humble opinion.


message 16: by Whitney (new)

Whitney | 1321 comments Mod
Oops, hadn't seen the latest discussion in the other thread. I like the idea of a book suggested for culling is culled unless someone steps up to defend it.


message 17: by Ruby , Mistress of Chaos (new)

Ruby  Tombstone Lives! (rubytombstone) | 3260 comments Mod
Awesome. Thanks, Whitney. From memory, I had thought the 20 year thing had been agreed - I don't remember it as being controversial. But then, I obviously haven't visited that discussion for a while! Maybe it was the children's classics thread that came up in? I do know I've been automatically disqualifying books that are less than 20years old from being on the classics shelves in the first place.

Ah well. Maybe it's best of we just battle it out book for book!


message 18: by Mike (new)

Mike Fisher | 4 comments Adam wrote: "I'll step up with Whitney to defend Moby Dick. It's a great book and essential to any category of Classics.

I couldn't agree more Adam! A truly great book. Call me Ishmael. ;)



message 19: by Ruby , Mistress of Chaos (new)

Ruby  Tombstone Lives! (rubytombstone) | 3260 comments Mod
Guys - the thread where we are discussing what goes on the Classics shelf is here: http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/9...

I updated this thread, "Bookshelf Culling", to let people involved in the original bookshelf discussions know that we're starting the cull with the Classics Shelf, and to ask people to head over there if they would like to feed into that debate.

Once we agree on how we'll do the culling, I'll start the thread where you can vote on what goes or stays. So hold those thoughts!


message 20: by Derek (last edited Jan 11, 2013 08:07AM) (new)

Derek (derek_broughton) | 782 comments Whitney wrote: "I'm looking forward to mixing it up with Derek over Moby Dick."

Dang! Unfair fight! I was completely bored, how am I going to remember enough to fight against it? Anyway, if we go with "it's culled if nobody defends it" (which I like) then I think I've already lost that battle.

otoh, I'll step up to defend Lord of the Rings against any book! I absolutely detest the idea that a "genre" novel can't be a classic. I detest the mere fact that people use the term "genre".

btw, I agree that it can't really be a classic for a couple of generations - the problem is, a couple of generations before our younger readers is when I started reading new releases! It's hard for me to consider something a classic that's not a generation or two older than me (putting LOTR just barely on the cusp).


message 21: by Ed (new)

Ed (swampyankee) | 19 comments LotR doesn't make it for me: it was published after I was born.

Oh, and Moby Dick should stay. If you're running out of room, get rid of all the Hemingway.


message 22: by Derek (new)

Derek (derek_broughton) | 782 comments Swampyankee wrote: "LotR doesn't make it for me: it was published after I was born"

Oh, right. The Hobbit was published about a generation before my birth, but LOTR is actually about the same age as me.


message 23: by Ruby , Mistress of Chaos (new)

Ruby  Tombstone Lives! (rubytombstone) | 3260 comments Mod
So the cut-off for classics should be.... "Any book published after Swampyankee and/or Derek were born?" I'm not sure I see the logic! :)


message 24: by Whitney (new)

Whitney | 1321 comments Mod
Ruby wrote: "So the cut-off for classics should be.... "Any book published after Swampyankee and/or Derek were born?" I'm not sure I see the logic! :)"

No, I'm pretty sure that's the definition that they use at Harvard.

My personal take would be pre WWII. My logic being that that was a few generations ago, and also a point where the world took a major turn. Anything written before then that is still popular must have some appeal to humanity that transcends the topical.


message 25: by Ruby , Mistress of Chaos (new)

Ruby  Tombstone Lives! (rubytombstone) | 3260 comments Mod
Sounds reasonable to me. Let's see what others think..


message 26: by Ruby , Mistress of Chaos (last edited Jan 13, 2013 04:42AM) (new)

Ruby  Tombstone Lives! (rubytombstone) | 3260 comments Mod
Adam - Can we move this discussion over to the Classics thread please?
http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/9...
I've made a couple of attempts to do this subtly, but it doesn't seem to be working! I'm not good at subtle :)


message 27: by Ruby , Mistress of Chaos (last edited Jan 13, 2013 04:48AM) (new)

Ruby  Tombstone Lives! (rubytombstone) | 3260 comments Mod
To clarify: In terms of culling books from the shelves, we've decided to trial a system using a discussion thread where we nominate books to cull, and others can step in "rescue" them if they wish. The Classics shelf is our guinea pig. So far so good..

I'm going to close this thread until the next time we attempt a cull. Thanks everyone for your input.

To participate in the classics cull, go here: http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/1...

To nominate new books for the classics shelf, or discuss new criteria for classics, go here: http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/9...


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