Slightly troubled

KeskusteluMyPeopleConnection Book Clubs

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Slightly troubled

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joulukuu 8, 2006, 10:02 pm

I'm slightly troubled by MyPeopleConnection, and would like to understand it better. It appears to go very far toward presenting itself as non-profit, but is, in fact, for-profit. I would like to know, for example, what you people thought it was.

I have nothing against being for profit. In my opinion, anything worth doing is worth making a profit from.

If for-profit, MyPeopleConnection can't just set up shop on LibraryThing, with a highly promotional group page without asking. At the very least, we'd need to agree to some sort of representation on MPC.

Am I being too harsh? Can't you just imagine all the other sites that would jump in?

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 8, 2006, 10:17 pm

Okay. I'm more than slightly troubled!

User mypcjen sent out more than 3,000 automated invites (almost 10% of all comments ever). I had heard a complaint about book-club invites from her, but I didn't realize the scale, or that she was doing it for a company. That's not cool.

I think mypcjen is in violation of four provisions of the TOS:

1. Users who abuse the comment feature will have it turned off or be ejected without recourse.
2. Users may not use LibraryThing for unfair promotion.
3. LibraryThing users may not subvert the system.
4. "don't be a jerk"

MyPeopleConnection has a very high-minded TOS: "We presume that everyone follows the 'Golden Rule' and treats others as they expect to be treated." Really? Can I go message 3,000 users on MyBookConnection now?

They also reserve the right to dump a user for any reason.

I don't want to be hasty. Let's discuss it. But my intention is to terminate mypcjen's account and scrap this group. I hope LT users do join book clubs, but the misbehavior here is too great.

joulukuu 8, 2006, 10:15 pm

Viestin kirjoittaja on poistanut viestin.

joulukuu 9, 2006, 9:53 am

I agree she is in violation and needs to have consequences to her actions. You aren't "being a jerk" if someone breaks the rules and you call them on it.

joulukuu 9, 2006, 10:19 am


You remember the recent occasion of the malfunction of the reply|archive|delete function. That happened simultaneously with mypcjen's massive broadcast of invites. I'll bet we're not the only users who suspected the possibility of a spam attack. We posted a public query on her user page (it's been deleted) asking if she used a spambot to send those invites and suggesting that if so it might have cause the malfunction. Part of the reply we received was:

"I assure you I have no "spambots" - I looked through people's profiles and sent out every invitation myself."

We let it drop at that, but are we to believe she pressed the keys for 3000 individual invites? It looks to us as if the TOS have been breached here.

joulukuu 9, 2006, 10:37 am

Maybe she did press it 3,000 times. I'm more worried about the result than the means.

Incidentally, that delete issue was my mistake, not caused by this. It was fixed.

joulukuu 9, 2006, 10:49 am

I was also slightly troubled when I first saw this group, and the group description still bothers me. But at the same time, it has a lot of interesting discussions going on, so I don't know whether I would go so far as to delete it. The discussions don't actually have anything to do with My People Connection (or at least, the large majority of them don't). Maybe mypcjen would be willing to remove all references to My People Connection from the description and name, but keep the group?

On a completely unrelated note, I love this line of the description: "ALL AGES WELCOME - 21+"

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 9, 2006, 11:05 am

It also seemed to me that mypcjen was pushing her MyPeopleConnection activities too much and I had left the group after a little while. But some of the book club discussions that came up after were interesting and I joined back up. I hadn't realized though that her invites were automated and that takes the fun out of the social aspect of this group. The fun thing about LT is how users "bump" into other users of like interests and connections have been made. More personal and sociable than mypcjen's way.

joulukuu 9, 2006, 12:10 pm

I have not felt pushed into anything and I run a mile at the hint of a salesman. I would hate to lose a group with over 250 members who are talking about things I am interested in.

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 9, 2006, 1:45 pm

Fogies certainly didn't feel pushed into anything either. We got a normal invite and responded accordingly. It was only after the bug in the reply|archive|delete function drew our attention to how many of those invites had been sent that the possibility of spam became clear.

We don't consider being invited to join a group as spam, but sending thousands of them is how spammers do their work. How would you like to have your comments window filled with ads for--um--say, bookmark-enlargers?

It is troubling about losing the group. Perhaps it could be kept somehow if the violator winds up being expelled?

(edited for spleling)

joulukuu 9, 2006, 1:39 pm

,Shrug> I don't Know if the the commenting was automated. Personally I think if it was done by hand that was probably punishment enough:^)

Bookmark enlargers? Definately against
2. Users may not use LibraryThing for unfair promotion.

and I only say that because i dont want them.

It is the first on Tims list that I see as most Relevent
1. Users who abuse the comment feature will have it turned off or be ejected without recourse.

To do more than that would I think be harsh. It would seem at odds with the way he treated the book review site that was abuse flagged the other day.

LT is not only going to draw in spammers as it grows but also legitimate users who have other interests that may conflict or enhance LT's interests those users may not always be the best judges of a very fuzzy line. I think Tim need s to start drawing up more detailed conditions.

Something like you must not advertise or solicit for business anywhere on our discussion boards without our permission. It may result in the cancellation of your membership.

Solicitation should include, but not be limited to, requests to be e-mailed, the posting of phone numbers for your business, and the posting of one's own website address, if that site has a substantial commercial element to it. or any post that you hope to gain a monetary advantage from.

joulukuu 9, 2006, 2:12 pm

It does seem a bit harsh compared to the treatment of the book review site, but I think the difference is that the book review site was open about what it was doing while My People Connection wasn't quite.

joulukuu 9, 2006, 2:41 pm

Isn't it? Whats the secret agenda?

joulukuu 9, 2006, 2:45 pm

I mean open in discussing it with Tim first, and in being clear that it is for-profit.

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 9, 2006, 3:43 pm

I like to browse shared libraries- "Most commonly shared books". This group and the group for Los Angeles Book Clubs caught my attention because stats for these group libraries are unusual--almost flat in comparison to other groups. Most groups have much more variety, especially those with this many members. (By variety, I mean more owners of different titles than Name of the Rose and more owners of some of the more common titles.)

If this were a discussion of an individual, I'd consider an observation about a library, none of my business. (Goodness knows, my own LT library is appears specialized--but that's what I've chosen to enter.) The impact of a group usually is different.

Edited to add:
"but that's what I've chosen to enter." I selected titles to enter, rather than entering all of my books, to find additional titles that are similar to these. As I did that, I have wondered whether personal selection does have an impact on overall statistics and the usefulness of the recommendations.

joulukuu 9, 2006, 5:07 pm

I think TagWorld is rather different They were so slight in their attempt—posting a single message not 3,000 comments. And there was no misrepresentation. In the end, I don't want people to think LT keeps its users by preventing them from knowing about the competition. (As opposed to Shelfari, which launched last month and claimed to be the first social networking site for booklovers!) Since it was done, and small, I figured I'd let it slide. If that guy were to do something on the scale of MyPeopleConnection, that would be a different matter.

joulukuu 9, 2006, 9:09 pm

So Tim are you going to punish us all for joining a group you dont approve of?

joulukuu 9, 2006, 9:20 pm

Ouch. That seems more than a little harsh. I don't see how Tim is punishing any of us. The "owner" of this group sent out 3,000 automated invites. That's more than rude and clearly violates the terms of service.

I would imagine he posted this here to have a dialog about it. He could have just shut down the group and blocked her.

joulukuu 9, 2006, 9:33 pm

your are quite right tunarubber you have not joined and probably are not going to be punished but:
44sunsets, aahlvers, abductee, acajjou, aeosdur, ailish, akenned5, alenurd, Allie64, aluvalibri, alvinendernafai, amberwitch, amityf, amperry, angelique_eeek, angelott08, angharad, annabethblue, annettethompson, Anome, Antipodean, archangelsbooks, astroantiquity, avaland, ballasch, bapakrob, barbatus, baroquem, belldl, beriggen, bettyjo, bibliobibuli, bibliotheque, bjbookman, booboobad, bookmasterjmv, boswellbaxter, Briangla, brummbar, buckeyelibrarian, butterflyshimmer, camelspit, camon57, carmelsf, carratona, caz4562000, cephyn, chepierre, chrisleeclark, circe2198, cjacklen, cmbohn, Concetta, conners, cookingthebooks, curleyqbooks, Daisyducc, dara85, dastephan6, daturtlerocks, dberryfan, deandac, debs4jc, delbertmills, demonlover, Desertfox, dick_pountain, dkestler, dlayiga, dr_zirk, dunechka, dustinfr, eduscapes, egb, elizabetta, ellenandjim, emanbruin, erwinkennythomas, eslee, ex_ottoyuhr, faceinbook, fairbrook, fancett, firefly7522, fkcc, foolishkiwi, footix24, Freder1ck, fullyarmedvishnu, giantlepton, goddessladyj, grapeofdeath, grbarr1, haeji, iamagirldork, ibudonna, ipsographic, irenic, israfel13, jamessavik, janelle, jasfaulkner, Jax450, jeffp117, jennxlynch, jgoodfox, jillmwo, jlspad, jmignault, justmelissa, justpeachy, jwhenderson, kageeh, kareen, katbook, kcasada, keren7, kkwilcox, kperry, kqueue, kraftca, kylara, lassiter, laytonwoman3rd, la_librarian, libertybelle, librainiac, librarianjaime, library_mistress, LizzySiddal, lnlamb, localpeanut, lolagranola, Lunapilot, mabes, machallca, magrolima, magst, mamachunk, marciakaren, marfita, maryanntherese, maureen.callahan, mbach, mcnorton, mdibert, melma, missbookwormy, mizbooks, morphidae, mrlibrarian, MrsCullen, mthespinner, mwlcarter, mypcjen, Neuromancer, nibblepunk, nimzo5, nogoodseashanty, oh_that_zoe, oldman, oracleofdoom, orjan, pandalibrarian, PandorasRequiem, paperclypse, PDeebs, Phethean, phillyexpat, posterkitten, privatjokr, prokopsm, Prosewood, psiloiordinary, purplemoonstar, pyropyga, quillmenow, quinaquisset, rampaginglibrarian, rdyornot, realsupergirl, rebeccahoward, redhead17, Redthing, red_guy, rereads, resmc, reverends, rockity_roll, RuneFirestar, rzornow, sagetheory, SamSusan, saraslibrary, scrapironjaw, sean_choi, sedelia, seemingmeaning, SemilahMeriwae, sensascriptor525, shearrob, shefukul, SheReads, signature103, SimonW11, Sisifus, SnoopingBunny, snoopy205, sonjbean, southwestpoet, sparhalke, speedbrat, spoonreader, srharris19, sthitha_pragjna, strongstuff, superpatron, swiftlet, sydneylib, taivaankumma, tarsier, tscribe, tuftytwo, turbosaab, ulan25, valeriek, whitewavedarling, WittyreaderLI, wolfie, woostercode, wormsmrow, wrappedupinbooks, writergirl13, wyvernfriend, zchauvin, and zoiks have all joined and if Tim chose to shut would lose the benefit of belonging to an active and intersting group. As I have been trying to say any action should not inconvienience ordinary group members,and given that I think this group has added to my enjoyment of the site I wonder even at Tim tacking action against the founder.

joulukuu 9, 2006, 9:37 pm

Also, I believe most of us joined in good faith (I did, even though I believe I never posted any comments).

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 9, 2006, 10:54 pm

Actually, I think not. I had an email exchange with Jen and many of my concerns were cleared up. Although she did send so many, it looks like they were done manually. Although not non-profit—which should be clearer IMHO—MPC looks like a marginal labor of love, not a startup spamming one social network in order to jump start another.

We haven't finished talking, but I'm thinking we end up with edits to the group page, and a promise not to send out thousands of messages again.

joulukuu 10, 2006, 1:30 am

Time I think to keep my mouth shut.

joulukuu 10, 2006, 3:04 am

Hey all - I appreciate your understanding & patience. It's true I sent out a lot of invites by hand over many weeks - but I honestly didn't realize that was against the rules. I only sent one invite to a person, so I figured if they weren't interested in our book club, then they just wouldn't respond. I absolutely unequivocally apologize if I have offended anyone - I am incredibly excited about this site and about our future book clubs, and I had no intent to harm. I appreciate the support I've received here - and it's heartening to see that you also find value in our discussions.

As he said, Tim & I are communicating more on how to proceed. I have no interest in violating rules. To keep members of our group in the loop, here's my email to Tim re: this discussion. Hopefully where I'm coming from will make more sense if you skim it. Thanks in advance.


Tim, wow! I had not seen this message thread, and I had no idea that I've upset anyone apart from Fogies who contacted me and asked me if I was spamming, which I vehemently deny - I've sent every single message myself by hand, and I had no idea this was considered "spam" by LT, since it seems part of the point was to bring people together under different groups for discussion of books and, in my group, book clubs.

We have 5 distinct book clubs on our site in LA, with more being added,
so I thought creating a group on LT would be perfect for talking to
people who already run book clubs about how they do that - and for our
existing MyPC members who are book clubbers. I've brought dozens of
friends to your site, because I think it's awesome! And many of them
have become paid members, too.

Perhaps it would ease your mind a bit if you understood more about My
People Connection. MyPC is free, we're a community grassroots effort
for bringing friends together, and we're completely open to the public.
We ask for "over 21" (as someone on the thread referenced) merely
because some folks hold events in their private homes (like book clubs
or movie nights) and may have alcohol present. I moved to Los Angeles
and didn't know anyone seven years ago, and now we host an average of
165 events a month just in LA.

We're not a non-profit, but that is very much our intent. We've been actively pursuing non-profit status, but it takes time, resources, and money which we don't yet have. For the first four years I personally paid out of pocket to run the servers, just because I've met awesome friends through MyPC. For the last three years, we've run off
donations that barely cover the costs of our two servers - and we became an LLC when we learned that I personally could be sued by random
people hosting events across the country (LLCs limit your liability).
We occasionally run fundraisers to pay the bills - but I assure you that LT's far ahead of us in terms of making money. No one's quitting their day jobs because of MyPC. :-)

It's true I reference on our LT group some of the events coming up if
they've got literary affiliations (book clubs, poetry slams, language books) - but I'm not posting about other events.

I want to work within the system, and I deeply apologize if I've offended anyone. I love books, I'm running a book club with my husband starting in January, and I've told all of our book clubbers in MyPC to check out LT (I had also posted it on our message boards and in our blog several weeks ago). We've had some great conversations on board, too. When I sent out my invitations, I knew only a handful of people would be interested in talking about book clubs - but I never in my wildest dreams thought there would be such a backlash. I have no interest in making anyone upset or question our sincerity.

I'd be thrilled to work with LT in a more formal way. We are huge fans!! I'm sorry if that translated into seeming uber-zealous. Even my friends tease me when I talk about the many virtues of LT. :-) So I guess it cuts both ways. How would you imagine us working together? A simple banner exchange? In newsletters? Our newsletters reach over 20,000 registered subscribers across the U.S. I'd be thrilled to see more LTers cross-post book club events or literary events on our site, maybe through a more formal partnership? Or perhaps co-branding those events?

Feel free to email me or call if you have any questions. I want to abide by your rules, and I'd be absolutely devastated if I were kicked out - I love your service, and I can't tell enough people about it.


24timeforyou Ensimmäinen viesti
joulukuu 10, 2006, 9:41 am

I understand and accept her apology, but I have a huge problem with what she has done.

She sent out 3,000 invites. To me, that is huge! That right there is enough for me to want her gone. Secondly, look closer at her communication with other members. After she spammed 3,000 people about joining her book group, many replied to her that they did not want to join. She then went back to their page and once again bugged them about joining. Sometimes leaving more than 4 messages about her book group on a persons homepage.

I'm saying this as a member who was messaged by Jen about six times to join her book club, after I had posted to her page that I did not want to join. Annoying and rude.

P.S. In case you couldn't tell, I'm not posting this from my real account because I don't want more spam and more postings just because I said I find her tactics annoying and rude and grounds for dismissal.

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 10, 2006, 10:22 am

It sounds more to me like you reject the apology.

Doing it by hand I would not be suprised if some were messaged more than once. I know I was not. Since you seem to feel so strongly about it I suggest you email Tim using your ealuser name giving him details. since sockpuppets are not generally considered very reliable sources.

joulukuu 10, 2006, 10:29 am

Thanks for your sarcastic remarks.

I don't think you are understanding me or what she did. After she emailed the initial invitation, people would respond back that they did not want to join. After that, she would email them again and again asking them to still drop by and still think about joining. She emailed me 6 times asking why I didn't want to join.

And I am not using my real username, because I am not a paid member. At times it seems like the feedback of unpaid members is not as valuable as paid members. And again, I don't want people like you spamming me with your sarcastic crap just because you disagree with me.

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 10, 2006, 11:19 am

I intended no sarcasm. It was sincere advice.(Shrug) As the buddhists say "Its your cow".

joulukuu 10, 2006, 11:17 am

I don't see why it's an issue for people to have alcohol in their homes in the presence of people under 21. The 21+ thing makes me feel unwelcome even though I am 21. Knowing that I wouldn't have been welcome only a few months ago makes me not want to be involved now. And especially for an online group, the age requirement is completely irrelevant.

It may bother me more because the drinking age in Canada is 19, so I've been fully legal here for a while now.

As for the main issue of the thread, I'm satisfied that everything is being worked out.

joulukuu 10, 2006, 2:59 pm

Do you want to promote the activities of a group where few, if any of us, have attended an actual "event"? In going along with this, that's what I feel I would be doing. Right now, the group page read:

• Types of events we host: literary (book clubs, poetry slams, authors' talks), outdoors (urban hikes, neighborhood walks, rollerblading, volleyball), entertainment (movies out, TV nights in, theater performances), women's events (PJ breakfasts, monthly tea rooms, blender drinks night) & much more. Check us out! :-)

If this were one person, participating as an individual, fine. But it doesn't appear that way. That quote looks like an ad for outside (LT) activities.

It also opens the door for other groups that want to gain members. Who will be screening those?

This is not what I purchased.

joulukuu 10, 2006, 5:46 pm

I'm ambivalent here. My main concern, however, is that a whole set of forums have been branded by an outside group. I don't know why the forum name is MyPeopleConnection Book Clubs :. IMHO, the overall forum name should simply be Book Clubs.

I don't mind mypeopleconnection taking the lead here or their members using the forums, but they shouldn't be branded unless there's an official partnership with LT.


joulukuu 10, 2006, 5:51 pm

Notelinks, I can understand your sensitivity to the fact that I mentioned other events we host on our front page - and as Tim noted yesterday, we're going to revise the front page of the group. I'm waiting for Tim's comments on what he'd like to see removed. My reasons for including this information was because if you go to our site, you'll see a lot more than literary events - if you're looking for "just" book clubs.

Zoe, I'm sorry to offend you by our 21+ status. We've only operated in the US where the legal drinking age is 21. Anyone can participate in our conversations online. However, we run into major legal liabilities if underage folks attend a book club in someone's home where wine, for instance, is present and our club's policies aren't clearly stated. It's not that you would have been unwelcome a few months ago - we're friendly folks whose sole purpose is to meet new people and share common interests - but we also must abide by our local laws.

Timeforyou, I'm first off perplexed that you won't use your real identity, especially if you're publicly accusing me of sending you 6 invitations to join. I personally sent each invite over many weeks, only sending one to a person as best as I could see. (LT cookies remember who you've sent invitations to so if you start typing someone's name and their whole name immediately come up, you're sending a dupe.) If anyone wrote on my personal profile "hey Jen, thanks for the invite, but I'm not interested" (as many did), I sent them a personal note back saying essentially, "No problem. Feel free to join us in conversation if you like." That to me is not being pushy or egregiously rude, as you suggest. Like SimonW11 has already said, if you feel that you've been personally violated by my invitation to join a book club, then you have every right to lodge a formal complaint about me.

I also want to stress again that I didn't send out 3000 personal invites at once - it was over the course of many weeks, sending a few dozen invites here or there. I was constantly on the site, participating in conversations, adding books, joining other clubs, searching others' libraries for new books to check out. There is no rule saying it was unacceptable to send out more than X invitations per Y time period - I've checked - otherwise, I'd have definitely followed it. Again, I have no interest in breaking the rules; I was instead considerably excited about starting a group all about book clubs, since I'm starting a book club of my own in January and I wanted to get advice/tips and meet others who are curious or interested in book clubs.

I'm sincere in saying I'm a huge fan of LT, and I've brought at least a dozen of My People Connection members to the LT site. I mentioned it independently in my blog, on the MyPC message boards - so it's not just a one-way street of me looking for members for our club. We have 20,000 members and have been around for 7 years, so it's not like we're some upstart company seeding our club with members from another. We already have a number of book clubs in our organization, so I thought this would be an ideal way to bring together our book clubbers with LT book clubbers and both benefit from the exchange of knowledge.

Ah, darn it, I'm repeating myself. Suffice it to say, I'm trying to do my best - and I sincerely do apologize for any hint of inappropriateness. That was not at all my intent.

joulukuu 10, 2006, 9:32 pm

I have no problem with groups promoting their own activites, looking around I see plenty of groups that I think could or should be doing that local organisations like MUG any of the location based groups or goodness knows how many church groups or programming groups Trekkies when and if the emerge. or any other fandom. what makes this board different mypcjen's attempts at outreach. This group was active before the recent furore because of that outreach. It gave her a large enough proportion of active members to generate disscussion that would benifit the core members. something I suspect many a group owner with fewer than say fifty members would give their eye teeth for.

And since I joined here in the UK I obviously thought the benifits of those disscussions potentially,and it proved in practise, outweight the cost of occasionally avoiding a thread on bake sales or guided tours of a building on the other side of the world.

So I had no problems in Jens case but what if it were a Jehovah witness/militant Buddhist/Nazi stormtrooper/ Al Qaeda terrorist knocking on my comment box. Well if they were not automated I would not mind clicking delete once a month is something I can cope with. I understand that others might not but apprieccate the coment feature generally. It would then be nice if one could switch off solicitations without turning off comments

Jen, congratulations on getting on the most active message board list. (That BTW was irony:)


Muokkaaja: joulukuu 10, 2006, 11:30 pm

Wow. Another thread that's like drinking from a firehose.

So, I agree with someone above who said the problem was the "branding." LibraryThing does not want to sprout a whole bunch of groups which are, essentially, advertisements for outside products or services. On MySpace you can be "friends" with a company mascot or whatever. That's not the LibraryThing way.

Can anyone suggest what the rule SHOULD be? I don't object to MyPeopleConnection members using LibraryThing to keep a shared library or to have forums, but I don't want outside groups using LibraryThing as a major promotional tool.

Just imagine, for example, if a dating site started messaging people in various cities, or a bookstore, or massage parlors, etc. I'm not saying MyPeopleConnection is like a massage parlor, but there's a long gradient between them, and I need to lay down some sort of rule.

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 11, 2006, 12:04 pm

Well, admittedly, I had wondered how I got invited to this group. I wondered what in my library or on my profile page said "book clubs." Ok, I'm not so special as I thought...I'm getting over that;-)

And yes, I wondered about the "branding" but admit to not looking too deeply as the discussion was interesting and active. And mypcjen is passionate and energetic; that's kind of compelling in itself. Starting a group and keeping it active and interesting, I've learned, requires some hard work and a bit of maintenance.

I hope you can find a way to eliminate the commercial but keep the conversation. It seems enough members might be interested in mypcjen to go to her profile page and check her out, where they might find the information for her business. I think LT will face this more and more in the future. The potential of reaching even a few of over 100,000 has got to be a real temptation for many commercial enterprises.

Ok, and recently I wondered why the member library of a 234 member group was under 10,000 books (I compared it to other groups I was in); this is what prompted my question about Group Zietgeist updates on Site Talk. This may not have anything to do with anything, except that it was something that I thought unusual about this group...

joulukuu 13, 2006, 1:11 am

I like the book club forums and I congratulate Jen on her initiative! The forum has been an overall positive contribution to LT.

Can anyone suggest what the rule SHOULD be?
Yes. Forum names should be according to generic interests and not the names of particular outside organizations (unless those groups have a particular relationship with LT). As it is, I think that Book Clubs would be a more accurate forum title that would clearly help everybody see the value of the forums. So, if somebody joined LT, they would know that the discussion is open to all book clubs. Now, it Jen wanted to have a thread in there about how to start up a MyPeopleConnection Book Club in a new city, that would be cool too.

What effect would this rule have?

I think that Christianity (or MO Synod Lutheranism or Catholicism, or Buddhism, etc) is OK, but I wonder about the value of groups like:
* Woodfin Baptist Homeschoolers

* BookCrossing groups would be a special case because BookCrossing is its own peculiar activity.