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Old 05-19-2012, 02:55 AM   #153
sun surfer
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Join Date: Jun 2010
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Time for change is upon us!

As mentioned in the past, this time of year when we've gone through one complete round of yearly categories will also be when we add many of any new changes that might happen. This isn't like the general book club exactly - there's no moratorium on changes throughout the year or anything like the other club - but it is nice to have one time a year when most of the changes will occur, and if we need any other changes throughout the year that's fine too.

So, to the changes. I've come up with some ideas that I think will be good for the club that I'd like us to try, after seeing the club in motion for a year. This club is different in that there are generally fewer opinions on any subject regarding club guidelines brought up. Maybe one or two posters will post their opinion on a subject, maybe none. So it's hard to put ideas out there for reactions because even if there are a few, it may take awhile and one still wonders what all the other members may think. Polls are an idea, but I'm not big on them for this club; everyone may not participate, it might be close and there may be so many subjects to get a consensus on that there end up being too many polls.

With that and the goal of being simple in mind, I think it's best to just post the ideas I have and we can try them out, and if any don't work we can always change anything back or to something different. Unlike the general club, these won't be "locked in" for an entire year if they don't work. I've paid attention over the months to what members have said and how the club has worked. My main goals with any possible changes were A) Simplicity, B) Club dynamic and energy, C) Balance between popularity and striving for high and varied literary merit, and D) Natural fit/makes sense. Posted all at once like this, it may seem like a bit to take in, but many/most are small and the few bigger ones just seem like the right direction to try. It's sort of a club "refresh".

Next month, June, is the last month of the current cycle, so it will continue just as before. I am posting these now so everyone will have plenty of time (over a month) to see them and discuss them if they want. If any of you have any ideas or opinions please feel free to share! This will go into effect the following month - July.

So without further ado, the changes:

Thread titles will no longer include "The MR Literary Club" - It is redundant. Everything in this forum is a club, and there is a coloured "literary" prefix at the beginning of every thread of ours. This is in the interest of simplicity and making the forum easier to read with less title clutter, and is a small thing.

Lottery Refresh - I originally came up with the lottery idea to appease those founding members who preferred we forgo nominations and voting altogether and just have a different member choose a selection each month as our pick. Unfortunately, the lottery has had a bit of a bad time about it. The selections have been great but the process and participation have not gone so well. I'm not prepared to give up on the idea yet, but I am prepared to cut it from three times a year to once a year and to refresh the rules to be easier and simpler.

Slight Categories Refresh - Eliminating two lottery months leaves us room for two new categories. "Region" went well this year and since each region month would be different (new region), I think having it twice a year would be good. For the other slot, there's a new category - "Contemporary".

Also people didn't like "Plays" and "Non-Fiction" side-by-side, and to boot the general club moved their non-fiction month to the same month as ours, so I've moved "Non-Fiction".

Here's the updated categories list:
(changes marked with *)

July - Highly Challenging
August - Lottery
September - Contemporary*
October - Plays
November - Region*
December - Open
January - Poetry
February - Time Period
March - Non-Fiction*
April - Obscure
May - Region
June - Short

Voting polls will be multiple choice - This is the first real change. Why should we limit our votes? This will give people a chance to vote for any and all selections they'd like to support. You can still just vote for your one favourite if you like, or if you prefer, you can vote for your two favourites, or your four favourites; it's your choice. It seems like this would give a more accurate representation to the support each selection really has and also will still give a chance to those nominees that might not get votes right away (since with only one vote per person, people are often tempted to use it on one of the nominees in the lead). This is a trial - we can try it and see how it goes and how we like it.

Voting polls will be open - A small change, but noticeable because the issue has been debated. But now that we'll be using multiple choice, there seems to be no reason for hidden votes, because people can still support their favourite no matter what. Also, open votes can be fun to watch and can encourage discussion while the vote is occurring.

Nominations will last three days and voting will last two days - I've really considered this one because I want to be careful to still give time for all members to participate in nominating and voting, but I want to balance that with hopefully keeping a good pace for the proceedings. I originally chose the time periods for each based on the general club's guidelines, but the general club's nominations are almost always done in two days or so anyway. Five days for nominations, when they last the whole five days and have stretches of days with no posts, just seems too much. I think three is sufficient for everyone to be able to participate. Similarly, I've noticed the third day of voting often has zero votes. I don't want to prevent anyone who wants to from voting, but I think two days is sufficient. Example - The most recent voting polls for May, we had fifteen votes over a three day period. However, the run-off got sixteen votes, and it only lasted a day.

The discussion thread for a month's chosen selection will begin just after it is chosen - The second real change. This also could be a change in the way of thinking about the discussion threads. I've noticed in the main Reading Recommendations forum that a few different and varied threads have been started where people are discussing a book before, during and after they read it. Local book clubs (which we copied) have always had a system where a book is chosen, the members read it at home through the month, then they all have a get-together to discuss it. But during the month some may call each other up and chat about the book and so on. And the order for the club is out of necessity - they can't physically meet together to discuss it all throughout the month, so they must settle on a day to get together. The internet changed all that for us - We do not have those physical barriers of needing to all meet together once a month, nor of having to wait til we're all finished to begin discussing it, when we may have forgotten little things we wanted to say while reading it. We can post and contribute whenever we want any time we want, so why not start the discussion thread right away? My hope is that this might encourage more discussion, which is always a good thing. This is also a trial - we can try it and see how it goes and how we like it.

The nominations threads will now start on the 1st of each month - Since discussion threads will now start just after the selection is chosen, they won't start on the 1st anymore. So for simplicity, we can now start our nominations on the 1st. Which, with the new timelines, will give us a chosen selection within the first week of the month. Then the discussion thread will begin and we'll have all the rest of the actual calendar month to read and discuss the book, so it all just feels right.

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