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neandrake
04-11-2009, 03:26 PM
I realize that most boards have stickied posts for books and online references.

Would it be possible to set up something here where we could recommend books, and provide reviews/ratings as well? I ask because often I find myself looking for books, and browsing through amazon.com reviews -- however most of their reviews are questionable (paid or coerced by publishers/authors for good reviews). So I was just looking for something a bit more than the stickied recommendations. Could each user have a "library", which they could link to books or online materials which they themselves have referenced and found useful? I'm looking for some more credibility in recommendations, as well as more advanced topics rather than "learn-a-language" (but those are good too), and even other topics (mathematics).

This was just an idea, as I've had my fair share of paying good money on bad books before.

I've forgotten my other ideas. I'm sure I'll be back to post more.

MK27
04-11-2009, 03:44 PM
That's a good one but if I read you correctly might be a little beyond the scope of the cboard setup?*

I can do database stuff with client-side javascript (OO, DOM) and server-side perl (OO, CGI) and would totally be into contributing to something like this, if there are others who want to throw ideas around and we restrain ourselves to books that actually involve programming on some level. And, obviously, independent of the distributors and publishers. Certainly nothing like that exists yet on much of a scale or I would have run across it already methinks.


* but if someone asks nicely, you never know

BuzzBuzz
04-11-2009, 04:48 PM
As this is vBulletin there are addons available that do pretty much what the OP is describing. The site admin would have to do all the necessary though......

MK27
04-11-2009, 06:01 PM
No, seriously, I should have been a librarian...

neandrake
04-11-2009, 08:46 PM
No, seriously, I should have been a librarian...

Hah!

I was thinking the same thing, about contributing development if that was the route taken. I was sort of thinking that the vB board would have a module similar to what I was describing, as I've seen others where you can post photos, videos, etc, basically turning the site into a collaboration area. But point right on, about trying to keep it computers/computer science/mathematics related. I would tend to trust recommendations from some of the users here more over than from other places.

MK27
04-11-2009, 09:48 PM
I'm not sure if I see the connection to posting videos. I think the big trick would be coming up with some catagorization methodology, something open and branching so if you were contributing a book report you could either go with a pre-existing catagory (ie, one in which actual reports on actual books actually exist) or add one to the tree. Without expecting anything beyond a few hundred character blurb.

Wikipedia is pretty impressive; I contributed to an article there once, and it was dead simple, you don't even have to subscribe.

neandrake
04-11-2009, 11:13 PM
Sorry, my thoughts sorta wandered with the video posting. My point was that I had seen other boards where members had their own space for posting their own materials. I was thinking similar functionality in terms of posting book reviews :: users have a Library instead of Photo Gallery, where they post Book Reviews instead of Pictures -etc. Wasn't trying to suggest we have video capability here.

MK27
04-12-2009, 10:51 AM
So you mean all registered users would have a page which they could use to post book reviews ONLY? Because otherwise, 1) that page will get used for all kinds of (equally valid or important) material, and the idea of centralizing the book stuff in a coherent way will be gone. 2) there will be no real motive for anyone to submit a book report at all if they could just as easily submit their breakfast menu (which may or may not be more interesting).

If you did limit the page content to book reports, then it would seem better (to me, at least) if they were organized in a more coherent and dynamic fashion than by the username of author of the report. After all, you can already review a book via the stickys, and use the search to narrow that by username, if you want. You could also search by actual author and title, since those will (almost) certainly be present. Where it gets less reliable would be if you wanted to search by subject, ala the dewey decimal system, only since our topic is much more focussed, the dewey decimal system is probably not specific enough*.

This is why I mentioned wikipedia; surely it is the way the data is structured with nodes that makes it so useful, and it is the usefulness of the idea which has motivated people to contribute so much and made it so successful.

*also worth noting is that such a database could very quicly grow to contain many more programming related titles than would be found in most libraries. I wonder how many more books are in print today, exponentially, than when the dewey decimal system was concieved?

laserlight
04-12-2009, 10:56 AM
This is why I mentioned wikipedia; surely it is the way the data is structured with nodes that makes it so useful, and it is the usefulness of the idea which has motivated people to contribute so much and made it so successful.
Has cpwiki been successful? I think that is certain critical mass of active contributors in order to really get going, and it can be difficult to get that.

MK27
04-12-2009, 11:30 AM
Has cpwiki been successful? I think that is certain critical mass of active contributors in order to really get going, and it can be difficult to get that.

Good point (I had never heard of cpwiki* until now). If this is just a suggestion to reorganize some stuff at cboard, I guess it doesn't matter.

However, if the root node topic was "computer programming books" in general, it might be possible to do this as a separate project and involve other programming boards; I know perl, for example, has one or two that are at least as active as here. There is also room to include books in other human languagues, obviously. If the root node topic were "books on computers" (to include general theory, how-to use my OS, etc), then there's sure to be at least a dozen more large forums that could easily be involved. In fact, there might be A LOT of pre-existing material out there that could be quickly adapted and used to "prime the pump", to save having to start off with like three actual entries or whatever. Shame I didn't think of this a month ago, it might have been a decent proposal to one of the GSoc organizations.

I wouldn't want to try paying my rent this way, but at least initially I think the work could be done and maintained by a fairly small group of volunteers. If it's slow to start, that's fine -- less stress. I will probably have a computer connected to the internet for a few more years at least, anyway.

If anyone else sees the same potential, pm me. Please.

*I may have misunderstood your point in using that as an example?

whiteflags
04-12-2009, 11:53 AM
A long time ago members independently decided the FAQ needed a redo and made a wiki (http://cpwiki.sf.net). Contributions were sparse, we had really retarded arguments, and got bored. Maybe laserlight's point makes better sense now.

VirtualAce
04-12-2009, 11:54 AM
The more functionality we add to the board the more maintenance it requires and thus more people to maintain it. I really don't think this would work well here. Gamedev has an articles and resource section as well as book recommendations. At times you can see that it is not well maintained and many of the articles and book recommendations are sorely out of date.

neandrake
04-12-2009, 12:40 PM
For usage I was thinking more along the lines of -- I'm looking for a book on a topic, so I browse amazon.com. I find a few interesting books, and after reading some of the sketchy reviews, I could come to cboard and search if anyone here had a review of it. I understand the maintenance aspect of it all. I was trying to throw the idea out there as I often get frustrated looking for a good book on a topic. As far as involving other boards -- that could be useful, but was thinking more something centered on cboard, since after having trolled around here so long, I would take some user's reviews to be more credible. People from other forums would have no credibility with me. Interesting to think about though.

MK27
04-12-2009, 12:56 PM
Gamedev has an articles and resource section as well as book recommendations. At times you can see that it is not well maintained and many of the articles and book recommendations are sorely out of date.

That's the point. These resources are all scattered, so if you are looking for a book on a subject, you might as well just google -- but then the resources themselves, being scattered and overly specialized, are poorly maintained and little contributed to. After all, if you looked at a wiki or whatever, saw there are only four or five existing articles, etc., you probably would not bother to contribute to it, and so everything remains the same.

But, if the resource were more generalized, it will be used by more people for more things. For example, if you like cooking and you want a "thai chicken" recipe, you might find recipes from all over the place, including sites that just do thai, that just do asian cuisine, that just do chicken, and even that just do spicy thai chicken. Search engines are fine for this, because you do not have an Amazon that is busy selling individual recipes to anyone, and very few people would bother writing "a review of this thai chicken recipe I found". But I imagine finding reviews of actual cookbooks is prone to the same problem as finding reviews of actual books on programming topics.

The net effect of this is that far more people use the internet to look for recipes than would if the entire internet had been devoted only to cooking. Get it?

Forgive my hubris, I just see a possible magic combination here in terms of the balance between specialization and generalization.

webmaster
04-17-2009, 05:30 PM
One quick and dirty option that would get something up and running fast is to create a message board (similar to the Jobs board) specifically for book reviews. It could be moderated so that each thread is tied to a specific book; threads can be rated, which could stand in as a proxy for a rating for the book. Anyone who wanted to comment on a book could then add a post to the thread.

laserlight
04-18-2009, 05:38 AM
One quick and dirty option that would get something up and running fast is to create a message board (similar to the Jobs board) specifically for book reviews. It could be moderated so that each thread is tied to a specific book; threads can be rated, which could stand in as a proxy for a rating for the book. Anyone who wanted to comment on a book could then add a post to the thread.
I am in favour of that idea. One of my gripes with the current book recommendation threads is that it is difficult to see what is good and what is not. With a thread for each book, books that are consistently highly rated with good reviews by reputable members can then be listed on a stickied thread, or even be stickied themselves (like, one per category or something).

Daved
04-18-2009, 09:53 AM
I also think that is a good idea. I wonder whether responses would be restricted to real book reviews, or overall opinions on books.

For example, if comments were limited to people who have read the books, you might get a more informed group of reviews, but those reviews might be from predominantly new programmers who might not know why some books are good or bad. If you allow people to post opinions of books rather than real reviews, then you might get better input from more knowledgeable posters, but you could end up with ratings based mostly on reputation rather than on people's actual experiences.

Personally, I'd prefer posts and ratings to be based on general opinion rather than full reviews, because I value the opinions of the more knowledgeable posters over whether a beginner liked the book or not. But I think it's an important question to ask and allow others to chime in on.

VirtualAce
04-18-2009, 12:09 PM
I like the idea. If we could have one major review to start the thread and then allow people to comment in later posts. This would give more than just one opinion but would give a good and fair balanced review to start out with.

When are we going to start this?

MK27
04-18-2009, 06:49 PM
I think a dedicated board is a great idea. I'm sure in time people would start saying, "Gee, does this just have to be about books, or just have to be restricted in this way..." and mention something nobody thought of, and it's easy to expand and redefine the definition of something like that.


For usage I was thinking more along the lines of -- I'm looking for a book on a topic, so I browse amazon.com. I find a few interesting books, and after reading some of the sketchy reviews, I could come to cboard and search if anyone here had a review of it.

With a board, I see no reason why you couldn't come here and ask if anyone has read something like that. The "AI board" only gets a post every few months; even if someone only used it every few days it seems a good idea. You could even ask for advice on a book for a specific topic, without having an actual title. It also means people would probably ask the same queston repeatedly, as they do about everything anyway, which I think the result would probably be *better* than just searching the individual reviews.

The only concession I would demand is that it be restricted to programming, but not necessarily C or C++.


For example, if comments were limited to people who have read the books, you might get a more informed group of reviews, but those reviews might be from predominantly new programmers who might not know why some books are good or bad. If you allow people to post opinions of books rather than real reviews, then you might get better input from more knowledgeable posters, but you could end up with ratings based mostly on reputation rather than on people's actual experiences.

I don't think there'd be a need to worry; you could easily see the same kind of consensus as is involved in the main boards. I don't think people who haven't read something will be particularly interested in their big chance to spout garbage about it, and most people should have the freedom to ignore whom they please ;)

webmaster
04-18-2009, 07:17 PM
Ok folks, I've created a new board for this, and I've written up some basic guidelines, here (http://cboard.cprogramming.com/programming-book-and-product-reviews/114985-how-use-forum.html). Let me know what you think in this thread (rather than cluttering up that one).

Taking MK's suggestion, I decided to make it a general "product reviews" board, rather than focusing just on books from the outset.

neandrake
04-18-2009, 08:16 PM
Thanks for setting it up. The guidelines sound pretty solid.

Daved
04-20-2009, 12:32 PM
>> I don't think people who haven't read something will be particularly interested in their big chance to spout garbage about it.

Actually, I'm not really worried about that. I'm one of the people who would like to share my opinion about some books despite not having read them (or in some cases only partially read them). I was referring to the opposite problem, not allowing people who haven't read something to "spout" their insight about it.

Masterx
04-23-2009, 02:28 AM
by the way guys, why dont we have tanx addon here?
you know its a good idea for keeping a thread clean and thank you stuff post will be avoided this way!
and i think that will definitely add another virtue to the rest of the merits of this forum.