Ning - Audio Book Reviewer

Comments about LibriVox? Suggestions to improve things? News?
GordMackenzie
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Post by GordMackenzie » June 28th, 2006, 2:03 pm

There has been a fair bit of discussion about "reviewing" or "rating" the recordings here at Librivox.

The consensus is that Librivox is a supportive environment that is meant to foster the creation of public domain audio recordings, and as such criticism and ratings are not really appropriate. Some people may shy away from making a recording if they knew they would be open to criticism or commentary of a critical nature.

However, there has also been a desire among listeners to make the general public know about audio recordings that they have enjoyed.

I found a site called "ning.com" that allows users to easily create "web 2.0" applications ... it really is ridiculously simple!

On a whim I created "Audio Book Reviewer" ( you can view it here: http://audiobookreviewer.ning.com ).

Obviously this is just a first crack at the kind of application that might help listeners find interesting or stand out readings and books. What I like about it is that there is no "thumbs down" feature... just a "thumbs up" vote mechanism.

I was thinking this would be a nice place to review free audio books in the Creative Commons or Public Domain (not just Librivox recordings).

Anyway, take a peak and let me know what you think. You have to signup for Ning if you want to add a book.

This is just an experiment, and the app may not live long (if general perception is negative), so check it out while you can!!!

(oh, I should note that the books currently on the site were mostly arbitrary, although I have listened to and enjoyed them!)
Gord Mackenzie
gord[dot]mackenzie[at]gmail.com
Librivox Wiki Page: [url=http://librivox.org/wiki/moin.cgi/GordMackenzie]GordMackenzie[/url]

kri
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Post by kri » June 28th, 2006, 2:50 pm

You know this may be a good idea. It gives readers a place to get reviews on recordings, but keeps it separate enough from LV to prevent those that really don't want to see what others thing of their recording from doing so.

kayray
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Post by kayray » June 28th, 2006, 2:57 pm

Hey, that's really cool, Gord! Nice that there's no "this stinks" button ;-)
Kara
http://kayray.org/
--------
"Mary wished to say something very sensible into her Zoom H2 Handy Recorder, but knew not how." -- Jane Austen (& Kara)

GordMackenzie
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Post by GordMackenzie » June 28th, 2006, 4:44 pm

Just one note... if you link the 64kbps audio, the flash player will play it in "chipmunk" mode... please link 128kbps files...
Gord Mackenzie
gord[dot]mackenzie[at]gmail.com
Librivox Wiki Page: [url=http://librivox.org/wiki/moin.cgi/GordMackenzie]GordMackenzie[/url]

kayray
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Post by kayray » June 28th, 2006, 4:53 pm

GordMackenzie wrote:Just one note... if you link the 64kbps audio, the flash player will play it in "chipmunk" mode... please link 128kbps files...
Oh ugh! I'll fix Awful German :)

It forgets the license and tags when you edit, but it's not a big deal to add them again. To find the public domain license, you have to click "others" and then public domain will appear in the dropdown.

This is so cool, Gord. If everyone else seems to like it as much as I do, maybe we can add a link in some conspicuous place. Or, perhaps, (at a reader's request) we can add a link at the bottom of certain catalog pages?
Kara
http://kayray.org/
--------
"Mary wished to say something very sensible into her Zoom H2 Handy Recorder, but knew not how." -- Jane Austen (& Kara)

GordMackenzie
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Post by GordMackenzie » June 28th, 2006, 5:23 pm

kayray wrote: It forgets the license and tags when you edit, but it's not a big deal to add them again. To find the public domain license, you have to click "others" and then public domain will appear in the dropdown.
Yes... I've noticed that too... I'll see what I can do about that... it is annoying.

The main features of the site are copied straight from another application and just modified a tiny bit by yours truly (like I said, it is VERY easy to create applications ... as long as you copy from the hard work of others!). I've just really started messing around with the code, so it may take a while to add/modify some behaviors.
kayray wrote: This is so cool, Gord. If everyone else seems to like it as much as I do, maybe we can add a link in some conspicuous place. Or, perhaps, (at a reader's request) we can add a link at the bottom of certain catalog pages?
I'm glad you like it! Let's see what other folks think...
Gord Mackenzie
gord[dot]mackenzie[at]gmail.com
Librivox Wiki Page: [url=http://librivox.org/wiki/moin.cgi/GordMackenzie]GordMackenzie[/url]

Yakumo
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Post by Yakumo » June 29th, 2006, 2:12 am

Although I would not like to read a discouraging review of any one of my recordings, considering all the time and effort I spend on them, I would like some constructive criticism from people who are realistic in their assesments and will concentrate on giving me feedback to help me, continually improve of my own inclination.

Everyone wants to produce something that they are proud of and that others will enjoy listening to, but proper constructive criticism requires that other have an inherent apreciation and respect for the underlying ideal behind your work, the effort it involves and its inherent quality. Clearly, someone cannot critisize any one of us for not producing material on par with the professional audiobook industry, but inevitably, there will always be those for whom the glass is perpetually half empty. They expect the moon and only get a free lunch.

Every time I read a review of a product, wheather it be a book or a peice of hardware, there are always those who will speak ill of a perfectly good product because they demand something that fits their ideal expectations without being flexible enough to accept something less than their ideal. As a result, they will give a savage assesment and rating to products that exceed the expectations of reasonable people, and are in themselves worthy of praise. librivox is afraid that something like this might happen with any kind of rating system in which people give detailed feedback. This will only serve to drive volunteers away.


here at librivox, everyone (including myself) would be discouraged at receiving an unreasonable and particularly savage criticism. these is the reason that librivox does not want to set up any real rating system for all its readers. After all this is a volunteer effort... but.

While we all have respect and sympathy for everyone who volunteers in any capacity for this cause, there are those readers to whom we each gravitate, we apreciate qualities of their reading that go beyond technical qualities. we all have challanges as individiual readers and many of us are willing to improve, what we need is the right kind of criticism.

Who better to understand our individual challanges than the librivox community itself? The librivox community can become a community of constructive criticsm and discussion that will let readers know how they may improve their recordings.

How you ask?

I envision a system by which we could easily get feedback from those in the librivox community who already apreciate our work. a public forum for readers who want to know if there is anything they can do to improve not only their recordings, but their reading style and quality can post for constructive criticism and someone who particularly apreciates their reading will answer their call.

we all take criticism best to those whom and from those whom we have an inherent liking or gravity. We know that when we recive constructive criticism from someone who is already fond of our reading for its quality and only wishes to help us improve, as we have requested at our own leasure, the criticism is always well meant and well recieved. such a forum would stimulate discussion because it would be between people whom are mutually apreciative of one another, one for positive and genuinly constructive feedback and the others for the quality of a fellow readers work and his willingness to improve.

Everyone is in this togeather and these forums will be realms of assistance for those and by those who have mutual apreciation and liking for the quality of your work that extends further than technicallity.

This will give the community and chance to express their apreciation, and contrubte to the improvement of a volunteer who wants to improve.

Peter Why
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Post by Peter Why » June 29th, 2006, 2:57 am

I'm happy to be exposed to this; and also, to an extent, to adverse criticism. After all, if I found that quite a few of my listeners would prefer a faster reading speed, I would, at least, try not to speak too slowly!

I've not had a look at the mechanism yet, so could someone add a link like this to my solos, please? These are they:

http://librivox.org/the-parenticide-club-by-ambrose-bierce/

http://librivox.org/present-at-a-hanging-by-ambrose-bierce/

http://librivox.org/ghost-stories-of-an-antiquary-by-m-r-james/

Thanks,

Peter
"Anyone who believes that exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist." Kenneth Boulding, 1973

GordMackenzie
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Post by GordMackenzie » June 29th, 2006, 5:06 am

Peter Why wrote:
I've not had a look at the mechanism yet, so could someone add a link like this to my solos, please? These are they:

http://librivox.org/the-parenticide-club-by-ambrose-bierce/

http://librivox.org/present-at-a-hanging-by-ambrose-bierce/

http://librivox.org/ghost-stories-of-an-antiquary-by-m-r-james/

Thanks,

Peter
Hmm... I notice you DON'T include your "King in Yellow" solo ... probably because that excellent recording was one of the first I added!

I'll add your recordings Peter... but don't expect too much at first. This is still very experimental.

I see this more as another way to publicize recordings as opposed to the constructive criticism forum that Yakumo suggests.
Last edited by GordMackenzie on June 29th, 2006, 5:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
Gord Mackenzie
gord[dot]mackenzie[at]gmail.com
Librivox Wiki Page: [url=http://librivox.org/wiki/moin.cgi/GordMackenzie]GordMackenzie[/url]

GordMackenzie
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Location: Troy, MI

Post by GordMackenzie » June 29th, 2006, 5:29 am

Yakumo wrote: I envision a system by which we could easily get feedback from those in the librivox community who already apreciate our work. a public forum for readers who want to know if there is anything they can do to improve not only their recordings, but their reading style and quality can post for constructive criticism and someone who particularly apreciates their reading will answer their call.
I think this is a nice idea, Yakumo ... and it has been discussed before. I think that a forum that was set up where readers could expressly ASK for feedback might get around some of the concerns that folks have.

The problems arise, I think, when offensive comments or criticisms are made ...and in an open forum, they will be made, trust me on that! It's human nature, I'm afraid. Even when the critic has the best of intentions, things can easily be taken the wrong way.

There'd have to be some pretty strong guidelines, I think.
Gord Mackenzie
gord[dot]mackenzie[at]gmail.com
Librivox Wiki Page: [url=http://librivox.org/wiki/moin.cgi/GordMackenzie]GordMackenzie[/url]

Peter Why
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Post by Peter Why » June 29th, 2006, 6:10 am

Thanks, Gord,

Yes, I had seen that The King In Yellow was already there .. and it represents a minor difficulty with Ning and feedback. It's the first half of a book, with all the stuff read by me, and by my choice catalogued a bit prematurely, as the later stories in the book are going to be read by others. If any of them are not so happy about feedback, the book will either have to withdrawn or will have to be catalogued as two separate halves. .... that is, all collaborative works will need the agreement of all the readers ... and, thinking of it, what do we do if we have lost track of a reader?

Peter
"Anyone who believes that exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist." Kenneth Boulding, 1973

kri
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Post by kri » June 29th, 2006, 7:59 am

I have an idea that is along the lines of Yakumo. Why not set up a system, and guidelines to allow such reader driven critique. Perhaps we could use the listeners wanted forum for this. We could have a sticky that explains the process, and what sort of criticism is acceptible. If one or two people start the process by posting their own recording as an example. We could label such threads as FW for feedback wanted or something, with an explanation in the first post of what the thread is for.

Although, maybe listeners wanted isn't the place to do it, because it may draw the focus away from trying to complete the cataloging process for incomplete books.

Also, this assumes that there is a volunteer base willing to listen and make comments. Who knows how many people would post requesting help for improvement, and not get any responses.

Peter Why
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Post by Peter Why » June 29th, 2006, 8:54 am

How about, in Completed Works, adding a rider to the header for threads where criticism is encouraged?

Peter
"Anyone who believes that exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist." Kenneth Boulding, 1973

GordMackenzie
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Post by GordMackenzie » June 29th, 2006, 10:08 am

I think, if something like this were to be done, it should be set up as its own forum (e.g. a "feedback wanted" forum).

Readers would have to expressly post a link to their content in the catalog and request feedback.
Gord Mackenzie
gord[dot]mackenzie[at]gmail.com
Librivox Wiki Page: [url=http://librivox.org/wiki/moin.cgi/GordMackenzie]GordMackenzie[/url]

Starlite
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Post by Starlite » June 29th, 2006, 5:20 pm

Speaking of reviews- has anyone heard "The Velveteen Rabbit"? Done by mother and daughter in the solo projects? Its sooooooo cute. Go listen now! Its only 22 minutes and post your response there too. Some people LIKE to get reviews as we see here. :D
"Reasonable people adapt themselves to the world. Unreasonable
people attempt to adapt the world to themselves. All progress,
therefore, depends on unreasonable people." George Bernard Shaw

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