Monday, January 4th, 2010

The Great Group Revamp

I’ve revamped groups in ways small and large.

The result! The revamp is working. Since the change, daily group-joining rates have almost doubled for both old and new members. Nice.

New Groups page. There’s a new group tab (see here). The page is:

Group tags. Until now, there was no good way to find particular sorts of groups. Rather than designing some static and ultimately limited system of categories, we’ve asked members to tag groups. Of course, members went crazy at it. You can see the tags:

Local Groups. Groups can now have locations, and the group home and your groups page now show local groups. As members have pointed out, “local” is a relative term, but the results will improve as local groups are identified and added. (Go here to add a place to an existing group.)

At present, the largest groups are the Australians, Germans and Bostonians.

“Welcome to LibraryThing!” By popular request/agitation added a Welcome to LibraryThing! group, for introductions, questions and other conversation. As the description states:

“LibraryThing is a rich site, with a number of different communities and projects going on. It can also be a complex site—powerful but sometimes daunting to newcomers. This group is a friendly place for new members, and the experienced members who can help them make the most of it. Most questions and introductions are answered within minutes.

Members, new and old, are invited to check it out.

Dormant groups. The system now tracks groups for activity. If twelve months pass without a message—excepting private groups—the group becomes “dormant.” As befits a more than four year-old site, some 3,000 LibraryThing groups are currently dormant!

Groups “wake up” when a new message is posted to them. In many cases, however, it’s better to start a vibrant new group than revive a dormant one.

Other changes.

  • Better searching. Group searching is much improved, with activity graphics by every group, weighting by activity, tags figured in, dormant groups excluded by default and a better algorithm generally.
  • Better navigation. All group pages are now connected, with a common navigation.
  • Smaller pages. Pages are smaller and therefore faster. Caching is improved, so the results are both fast and updated frequently.

Talk about it These changes have been trickling out for more than a week, and conversation has been extensive—and very helpful. The more important topics are:


1. As explained elsewhere, tags are sized more according to the aggregate activity of the groups than the number of times they are tagged. This differs from how work tags work, but favors the goal of helping people find things.

Labels: group tags, groups, tagging

3 Comments:

  1. staffordcastle says:

    I think the tag "identity group" means that the members have a shared characteristic; e.g., librarians.

  2. Sundry says:

    I really like the re-vamp. Great job!

    The only tweak I'd like is moving the tag cloud to the bottom of the page. I'm not big on using the tag cloud, or any cloud, though admittedly I may be in the minority with that point of view. :-)

  3. Pagedove says:

    You folks never cease to amaze and please me. I consider LT a part of my life so I appreciate the serious approach taken to its many elements, I applaud you and look forward to the new year!

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