PaperBackSwap Blog


Posts Tagged ‘Similarity Index’

NEWS: Newsletter – November 2008

Thursday, November 6th, 2008

All books have 5 star member ratings…. or read the latest book reviews.

If you can’t say something nice… Of course not all of our members will get along all of the time, but that’s no reason to lament!   You can tune out any “forum voice” that bothers you very easily, by clicking the Ignore this member link on the bottom of any forum post.   This action will apply to every past and future post by that member.  You can ignore as many people as you like; the member(s) won’t be alerted if you do this, and it is easy to undo if you have a change of heart later.   Read about how the Ignore feature works by clicking the What’s New link at the very top of any page on the site.

It’s back…and better than before! The Similarity Index wasn’t functioning as smoothly as we wanted when we first launched it.  So we retooled it and streamlined it, and now it’s working great.  We even expanded it–now the Index works not just for Buddies, but for ANY member who has a viewable profile – you can see the % similarity whenever you look at a public profile.  You can read more about this feature, why you might want to use it, how to use it, and what you can do to make it more accurate, by clicking the What’s New link at the very top of any page on the site.

Number the stars: Ever wondered how many ratings those stars under a book represent?  Now you can see the number of members contributing to the club’s average star rating, shown right next to the stars!  This tells you if a 5-star rating was one person’s opinion, or a consensus of dozens of people.

PBS Store News:  The PBS Cookbook is in the final stages.  We are just checking over the recipes to be sure everything is original (not copied from any bound or online source–recipe instructions can be copyright-protected).  So if you receive an email from us asking you to confirm that your submitted recipe is original, please reply to that email as soon as you can!  We want to get this book out as much as you all want to receive it.   Thanks to all who have been so patient about this – we think it’s going to be better than you even expect!  Anyone who wants to get a pre-order in can do this in the Kiosk.

DEAR LIBRARIAN: Newsletter – November 2008

Saturday, November 1st, 2008

Dear Librarian–I was totally psyched by the Similarity Index.  But then I looked at my Buddies, and no one is more than 10% similar to me!  Am I such a freak?  Why don’t I have higher similarity to other people?  –Outcast in Orlando

Dear Lanny,

Don’t worry!  You’re not a freak.  Well, you might be, but not because of low Similarity Index numbers :).   The Similarity Index is inaccurate if it doesn’t have good data to work with.   If you haven’t chosen favorite genres, haven’t rated many books using the star-rating system, and haven’t put a lot of books on your Wish List, then it’s hard for the system to tell who is similar to you!

You can improve the accuracy of the Index by (1) choosing favorite genres on the Member Homepage (you don’t have to choose three- one or two are fine), by (2) putting items on your Wish List and (3) by rating books with the star rating system.

Number 3 above is super-powerful – the more books you rate with 1-5 stars, the more likely it is that you will rate the same books that someone else has rated.  Giving the same books the same number of stars is really the most accurate measure of your similarity to another member.  So turn to the stars to find your reading soul-mates!  They’re out there, we just know it.

Don’t forget, you can see your similarity on ANY viewable profile -not just on Buddies.  You can view a member’s profile by clicking his or her highlighted nickname anywhere it appears on the site.

Dear Librarian–I keep my books in a bunch of different places, and I have been using the Book Tags to help me find the books when they are requested.  I have been tagging books “box 1”, “box 2”, “Living Room Bookshelf”, etc.  The problem is that when a request comes in the Tags don’t even show on the pending request!  Is there a better way to do this than using the Book Tags?  –Cluttered in Colorado

Dear Rad,

Yes!  There are two much better ways to do this: (1) the Book Journal (which you can read about in the Help Center – it costs 8 dollars per year to subscribe) will show the “space” to which you have assigned a book, right on the request on your account page.  (2) the Book Notes – you can apply a note to any book on your bookshelf and that note will follow the book wherever it goes; you just have to mouse over the note to read the text.  You can read about using the Book Notes in the Help Center (they are also described in What’s New linked from the very top of any page on the site).

Both of these are more useful options than Book Tags for information relevant only to you, that you want to show on an active request.

Dear Librarian– Well, then, what are the Book Tags good for?  Should we all be clicking the “R” on tags like this, to report them as inappropriate?

Good question, Rad.  No, you shouldn’t click the R on tags that are clearly “personal”.

Personal tags are tags that have meaning only for their creators (initials, numbers, “save for Joanne” etc).  You can leave these alone – even though Notes are often a better way to manage this information, personal tags are not confusing or misleading, and if left alone they will disappear eventually, since other tags will be applied to those books and only the 10 most commonly-used tags are shown on any listing.

The Tags that SHOULD get the R click are the tags that are misleading: tags that describe book condition (“yellowed pages” or “ex-library book” or “some underlining”).  Why?  These tags do not apply to all copies of the book and do not help other members know more about the copy that is “next up” for requests.  Note also that underlining is not permitted in books swapped at PBS (see the Help Center Book Conditions Guidelines for the exception to this rule for textbooks).  You can read more about “personal”, “inappropriate” and “club-useful” tags in the Help Center (or click What’s New at the top of any page on the site and read “Book Tags”).

So you can use these personal Tags, Rad.  Members can remove them (if enough  members click on enough of your Tags you could wake up and find them gone!), so for personal information like this, Book Notes are safer – and more effective for your purposes!  Plus, they’re really keen-looking, aren’t they?   We can’t stop looking at them!
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