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:
- Less cluttered, with fewer columns and larger text.
- Better organized, with sub-pages for highlight sections, like Active groups, Standing groups and Largest groups.
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:
- Group tag pages, like debate, challenges, linguistics.
- Tag clouds(1) on the groups home page
- A dedicated explore by tag page, with a larger tag cloud.
- On group pages (eg., the cleverly-named I Survived the Great Vowel Shift, tagged “lingustics,” although the word doesn’t occur in the name or description)
- When searching (eg., history includes groups tagged searching, as well as ones with “history” in their name or description).
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.)
“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.
- 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:
- New Features: New group pages
- New Features: Local groups, now better through being shown!
- New Features: New group: Welcome to LibraryThing!
- New Features: Dormant groups
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.