I am so very excited to be hosting Ashley from Nose Graze! Ashley is here at Once Upon a Chapter today to explain how her Kickstarter project, LitRate, will have a better discussion platform than what is currently offered out there.
Hello! Huge thanks to Stephanie for letting me appear on her blog today. 🙂 My name is Ashley and I have a book blog over at Nose Graze. I’m very excited to be talking about two things today: book talks/discussions on big sites like Goodreads and LibraryThing, and how I think I can improve them. 😉 Big ambitions, huh?
How many book review/cataloging sites have you been a part of? I’ve checked out quite a few and I’ve noticed one pretty consistent thing across all of these sites: the discussion/community area is confusing! I feel like we have it ingrained in our heads that a place to talk about books = groups. But when you think about it, having groups for discussions doesn’t really make much sense unless your goal is to section people off.
Goodreads has “Groups”. My first impression: this is confusing. Where do I go?
So what if I want to join a group to talk about young adult books? Well, I type “young adult” into the search bar and get:
Okaaaay so I guess some of those groups focus on young adult books, but they’re too specific. I just want to talk about young adult books in general! Well at this point I’m lost and confused and never going to look at groups again.
LibraryThing Talk and Groups
LibraryThing has a “Talk” section and “Groups”. The Talk section is just a huge list of topics with no categorization whatsoever. It’s extremely intimidating. I feel like I don’t know where to look first.
Then the Groups section seems more like a list of categories than actual groups. When I think of groups, I think of book clubs and more private topics. But LibraryThing has such general ones, like “Author Chat” and “Book Talk”.
Now it’s possible that I’m not doing this right or just doing something stupid. But the thing to take away from this is that other people will be like me: they will get confused. If people have to spend too much time figuring out how it works, they’re going to give up. You need to make things as easy and as clear as possible for them.
On LitRate—a new and upcoming cataloging site—we aim to take this idea of “discussions” back to its simple origin: a forum.
LitRate is an idea put together by my husband and I. We aim to create a new book cataloging and reviewing website where users can find information about books, discover new reads, catalog their own books, and chat with fellow book lovers. I know what you’re thinking: “That’s what Goodreads is there for.” We are taking on a massive project, but we’re hoping to make something even better than Goodreads. We want to take this idea, simplify it, modernize it, and ship it out to the world with you. Imagine a site with better searching capabilities, less drama, less spam, and a place where YOU have more control.
Moving away from groups and into forums
When I think of a group, I think of memberships, cliques, and group “owners”. If we’re creating a site where people can meet and talk about books, why do we have to segregate it? And if we allow people to create groups, we’ll probably end up with 50 different “young adult” groups, which will just confuse people. Which one do you join?
This idea of “groups” really boils down to a place to talk about books according to certain topics. On LitRate, we want to bring this idea back to its basic form. What’s the best way for people to talk about something in an organized manner online? A forum!
We plan on integrating a forum into the LitRate community. If you want to see an example of this, check out the forum on BookBlogging.net. You can almost think of it in terms of WordPress categories, sub-categories, and posts. You have your very general sections (maybe Announcements, Reading, Writing, Book Events, and Website Help), then inside those sections you have sub-sections. So inside Reading you might have a section for YA Books, another for Adult books, etc. Then inside those sub-sections, you have the individual topics (“posts”).
But the main thing here is that no one ‘owns’ or ‘controls’ any of these categories. And, furthermore, there are no duplicates! If you want to talk about young adult books, you don’t have to sift through hundreds of young adult groups to find a good one. You just have to visit the forum for “Young Adult Books”. And if someone wanted to fangirl over Splintered, they would just create a new post in the Young Adult Books forum all about Splintered. Then everyone can join in and fangirl with them.
Help launch LitRate
Like what you see? Help make this a reality!
Transforming “groups” into a forum is just one small part of what LitRate is about. If you’d like to learn more and help make this idea happen, please check out our Kickstarter campaign. We’re very excited about this site and can’t wait to get it there into the world. We just need your help getting started!
I’ve contributed to the Kickstarter campaign. Each dollar donated gets us one step closer to a much better cataloging and social media site for book lovers. What could be better?!