Challenge Your Ideas & Book Preferences

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Challenge Your Ideas & Book Preferences

maaliskuu 25, 12:32 pm


So I am wondering is there a way or a feature in LibraryThing where I can find books that challenge my current ideas? I fear that using the recommendation algorithm will just have me select books that confirm my ideas (confirmation bias).

For example - if I read a book about why social media is bad overall for society, is there a way I can find a book that is a counter argument to that?

This would be a nice feature in LibraryThing in recommendations, maybe a section like "Contrary Recommendations"?

I don't know - I just fear that people just keep getting pushed down a certain path even based on the algorithm here at LibraryThing. This is specifically for non-fiction books.

Or any ideas on how I can find books that challenge the ideas in books that I read? Do I just ask ChatGPT and let them capture all my data?

Not sure where to go with this, but ideally I'd like challenging ideas instead of just confirmation bias books being passed to me in recommendations but a separate challenging section.

Let me know your thoughts!

maaliskuu 25, 2:14 pm

The thing is that a non-fiction book about why social media is bad overall for society and a non-fiction book about why social media is good overall for society are pretty similar books. Recommendations are still probably the best place to find that kind of thing. Non-fiction books about social media are all going to be lumped together.

The opposite of a non-fiction book about why social media is bad overall for society might be, say, a fiction children's book about fish.

maaliskuu 25, 2:22 pm

>1 wolfgang.smith: I like your challenge. It reminds me of the middle school/high school series Opposing Viewpoints.

maaliskuu 25, 5:13 pm

The LT recommendations algorithm isn't based on the content of the books since it only knows that in a vague way that probably isn't going to be helpful for what you want. What it does is recommend books that people with similar libraries to yours have that you don't have.

maaliskuu 26, 1:26 pm

Bring back Unsuggester!

maaliskuu 26, 1:50 pm

>1 wolfgang.smith:

A few thoughts:

* At one point I calculated "red/blue" scores for books. We had some cases of low-data books recommendations relying too much on tags, producing recommendations that few would want (e.g., anti-gay books recommended for gays of gay acceptance). The seed was picking a moderate number of high-red or high-blue political books, and moving out from them by affinity. I never got it where I wanted it, and indeed I'm not sure if I could. And I didn't use it. FWIW, similar scores could, I think, be generated for some other dualities—easy, accessible reading vs. difficult reading.
* There's a "Work Relationships" field for straight-up replies and refutations. So, for example, the page for The Bell Curve lists The Mismeasure of Man by Stephen Jay Gould and Measured Lies: The Bell Curve Examined by Joe L. Kincheloe under "Is replied to in."
* The Member Recommendations section is sometimes used for this, since you can explain why you're recommending it.
* Unsuggester was fun, but the opposite of a book supporting climate science—say—wouldn't be one opposing it, but a knitting manual, or whatever. The least-recommended book is not generally in the same subject, but in whatever subject people who read on the topic at all never read in.

maaliskuu 26, 4:20 pm

>4 2wonderY: Wow this is great! I didn't know this existed... pardon me while I slip down this rabbit hole for the foreseeable future...

maaliskuu 26, 4:48 pm

>7 timspalding: Interesting I didn't know about the Is Replied To In feature that's great I'll be sure to scope it out when browsing books. Unsuggester seemed cool but likely not the tool I was looking for. I like the idea of red/blue scores for books although it would be hard to perfect that since a book can be about one topic, then just have like an entire chapter bashing one side politically, and back to the main topic which happens a lot. Not sure how that could be captured, seems like quite a tall task and not sure if that would be too useful anyways since I'd probably still read it regardless or someone would call it out in reviews if it's egregious. Feel like the juice isn't worth the squeeze on that feature. has something similar for news outlets and down to articles on how biased they are, maybe that can be implemented on an author basis? But I fear that then politicizes everything and I don't know maybe not actually hahaha.

I think just looking at the Replied to In feature will be perfect if it's a very controversial book or very firm on one side of a topic. I'll also be looking into the Opposing Viewpoints series as that is almost exactly what I didn't know I needed. These should suffice in helping me avoid becoming an extremist on a topic or living in an echo chamber by just selecting the books I want to confirm my biases with. Thanks guys!