LibraryThing has always depended on members to set development goals and refine (or ditch) features. But it’s amazing how well it’s worked with the new “affinities”* feature. We simply could not have anticipated how members would shape our thinking. (I will never ever develop another project in a small, closed group, with occasional trips to watch a “focus group” from behind smoked glass.) We’re still watching reactions on the blog, and on a now-130+ Talk topic, but we have some good ideas. When Altay returns from Boston, we’ll hammer out changes, including customization of the look, and the ability to turn it off.
I started another thread I want to highlight, about LibraryThing’s strategy and a hiring decision for the non-English LibraryThings. Do we hire someone, and what can they do? I hoping the thread gets some traction, at least among the users of our dozen-plus non-English sites. We need a non-English plan.
Part of the problem is technical, starting with better character support. But there’s a feedback loop. Right now, the non-English sites can’t be the coding priority because they’re not contributing as much to our growth, or to our finances. (Not that they’re small. Our non-English sites appear to have more action than our largest English-language competitor.) If we hired someone—and had something for that person to do—we’d have a stronger incentive to work on it.
*We called them “affinity percentiles,” but it got chipped down nicely by SilentInaWay. Case in point.