MetaBookReview? September 29, 2012 8:17 AM   Subscribe

Book reviews featured in a discrete area of the Meta-verse?

I'm open to and curious about speculation concerning whether such an area would even be possible without developing into some sort of inadmissible advertising-laden wasteland. That isn't to say that there may not be other legitimate objections against it as well.

Many interesting people participate on Metafilter, and I'd be curious to peruse their informal cogitations related to books of interest. I could really beef up my withdrawals from the library.

Sorry in advance if this has been addressed before.
posted by mr. digits to Feature Requests at 8:17 AM (24 comments total)

Well, there's ReadMe on the wiki, documenting a ton of the AskMe questions about book recommendations. Or are you thinking more of a place like Goodreads, where users contribute book reviews and rate books?
posted by carsonb at 8:23 AM on September 29, 2012

There's a Goodreads MeFi group I think and they are one of the widgets available in the social stuff on your profile.
posted by arcticseal at 8:58 AM on September 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

You could use the Social explorer to find the mefites on LibraryThing or GoodReads.
posted by zamboni at 9:00 AM on September 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

But what about the recent internet trend of authors, even really successful ones, posting high hosannahs and platitudinous praises of their own wondrous works while simultaneously slagging off other scribblers? Any book review subsite here would surely only become a stinking cesspool of sockpuppetry.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:10 AM on September 29, 2012

Since posting last I’ve done a bit of research on Goodreads and on relevant previous posts; thanks to everyone for pointing me toward those. And it does appear that, with a certain amount of labor put into friending a whole bunch of people, I might approximate what I’ve been talking about.

It seems like there’ve been a number of near-misses of the raw MetaBookReview concept. But Goodreads, to provide a major example, seems to be more structured, on preview, than what I’m thinking of. It's quite possible that there's a website that hits closer to the mark, and if I miss it it's out of ignorance.

Allow me to elaborate: what I have in mind would be a barely-organized niche where the salient unifying theme would be that the original posts would address one or multiple publications, depending on the original poster’s inclination, and which posts might include any sort of rumination, muttering, or cogitation. A second prominent feature could be that all participants are members of the Meta-verse, but that would not be a necessary feature. I wonder, but doubt, whether the $5 admission fee would serve as a meaningful gatekeeper against unwanted self-aggrandizement, advertisement, etc. Moderation could be a powerful influence, but it might turn out not be a job worth doing.

It appears to me that one could search by tag to approximate this experience, but it does not seem that many or any Meta-users are tagging posts with the intent of cultivating such an environment.
posted by mr. digits at 9:41 AM on September 29, 2012

The idea of a review subsite comes up perennially. In this thread, Matt seemed to imply that he had at least some interest in it. But that was 2009; where's my flying car?
posted by roll truck roll at 9:41 AM on September 29, 2012

Your post on that thread is very much relevant to what I'm talking about here, roll.

Another person's note that users could be restricted to one OP a week doesn't sound unfair, either, if it were an ameliorating housekeeping measure. I also wonder whether it might be cool to require people who want to post original posts to pay a supplemental membership fee... I'd pay another ten dollars on top of the standard five, if that would cover mods having to rule with an iron fist, and if I were satisfied with the quality of the niche.
posted by mr. digits at 9:54 AM on September 29, 2012

I think questions about books are an essential leavening agent in AskMe, and I don't want to see them frothing away uselessly off by themselves in some corner.
posted by jamjam at 9:55 AM on September 29, 2012 [3 favorites]

Well, questions about books generally lead to book suggestions, not book reviews. They're not the same thing.
posted by John Cohen at 10:15 AM on September 29, 2012

with the clusterfuck that online book reviews have shown to be recently, i don't really want to invite that here.
posted by nadawi at 11:48 AM on September 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

I think questions about books are an essential leavening agent in AskMe...

Well, we all had to run from pharaoh and there wasn't enough time for a separate book review section to make it in.
posted by griphus at 12:20 PM on September 29, 2012 [7 favorites]

I use Goodreads pretty actively (I review everything I read, and I read about a book every other day) and I like it a lot. There's a metafilter group there, too, although I think it's mostly dormant.

In general, we're not all that interested in splitting out subtopics as site features, so as an official pony request the answer is probably no. But there are certainly a lot of bookish Mefites and lots of alternate avenues.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 12:32 PM on September 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

posted by Sidhedevil at 2:34 PM on September 29, 2012

This is a request for a straightforward book-blogging subsite. I could definitely go for a MeFi-style site where everyone gets to contribute a "favorite book of the week" or "conch shells in British literature" essay. But site management has repeatedly stated that they will not stand for blogging on MeFi.
posted by Nomyte at 2:35 PM on September 29, 2012

I love the idea of a book discussion section. I'd friend everyone in goodreads if we thought it could become active. Maybe even if not.
posted by Measured Out my Life in Coffeespoons at 3:38 PM on September 29, 2012

Is Goodreads expensive to buy? We could all chip in SAIT
posted by infini at 4:14 AM on September 30, 2012

But site management has repeatedly stated that they will not stand for blogging on MeFi.

I'd put it more that we don't really have an interest in reinventing and self-hosting the blogging platform on-site. There are a lot of things that could in some sense be neat to have local to mefi that are nonetheless (a) pretty well-served by existing external services and (b) a whole lot of work to create and maintain and moderate. A user blogspace is pretty good example of that.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:10 AM on September 30, 2012

Thanks to everyone who has participated thus far.

I totally accept that the MetaBookReviews could (most certainly would) be "a whole lot of work to create and maintain and moderate." I do think that it's a great idea, but I also suspect that I'm building castles in Spain here. It's fun to speculate.

One question remains: where is this "pretty well-served by existing external services?" Is the next logical step for me to post a question on AskMeFi in the hopes that users will be able to provide links, should such sites exist?
posted by mr. digits at 8:16 AM on September 30, 2012

It'd be totally fine to hit the green with that, yeah.

And to elaborate a little more from our end, it's a thing where "I want this specific sort of thing to exist" is a different thing in our eyes from "I want this specific sort of thing to exist as an official on-site feature"; the former is very DIYable, the latter is asking Metafilter to specifically make space for and take responsibility for that process. So if the answer to that notional askme turns out to be "there really isn't a thing exactly like that", one solution, and the general one we encourage for most stuff like this, is to go ahead and just start a blog/wiki/site to do the thing that you want to do, and invite mefites over to that to participate.

I know it's got less juice than an integrated subsite, but it's also way, way more doable and doesn't depend on us deciding to go forward with a really high-profile addition to the site for any given thing people would like. And it's a hit or miss thing for sure since you may or may not get lasting buy-in, but stuff like Metachat and Mefightclub and Sportsfilter have shown that if the audience is there spinoff things can become pretty solidly self-sustaining.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:51 AM on September 30, 2012

Right on, cortex.

I did not mention it above, but it did occur to me that, being as I am someone with no skin in the game, an obvious interpretation of my muttering would be "How about somebody else accomplishes this?" And that would be not without merit.

I believe I'll let it formulate for a bit...
posted by mr. digits at 9:56 AM on September 30, 2012

In Sumeria, pharaoh runs from you.
posted by clavdivs at 12:46 PM on September 30, 2012

I don't really care about this one way or another but I always enjoy the correct use of the word "discrete".
posted by elizardbits at 1:25 PM on September 30, 2012

I always enjoy the correct use of the word "discrete".

I can't tell the difference between dis Crete and dat Crete. It's all Greek to me.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:28 PM on September 30, 2012

Dancing like Zorba is not very discreet.
posted by taz (staff) at 1:47 AM on October 1, 2012

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