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Show DLP: Ficdb - My attempt at making Goodreads for fanfiction

Discussion in 'Fanfic Discussion' started by Makeitrein, Oct 12, 2018.

  1. Makeitrein

    Makeitrein Squib

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    Hey DLP, here's my latest side project - Ficdb, a platform to discover, review, and share fanfics and web serials worth reading.

    It's a few days out of launch, and I've already been receiving some great feedback via Discord and Reddit.

    Credit where credit's due: Ficdb was heavily inspired by DLP's library, which was my first introduction to quality HP fanfiction about 5 years ago.

    I'd like to take what makes DLP's library useful and take it a step forward with a fresh coat of modern UI/UX, a more nuanced categorization system, and all the filters you could ever hope for.

    To that end, I've added a dozen Harry Potter fanfics today to get the conversation rolling with ya'll. Sign up, leave a review or two, tell me what you like or don't like. More fanfics will be added tomorrow.

    I've been reading through the Make DLP Great Again thread and perhaps there is some potential relationship between DLP and Ficdb - thoughts?

    Of course, I've open-sourced the code at https://gitlab.com/makeitrein/ficdb_veil - poke around if you're interested. I usually cuss every other commit!

    =======FAQ======

    What is Ficdb’s short-term goal? To create a review and categorization database for popular and/or well-received fanfiction.

    What is Ficdb’s long-term goal? To create a Netflix-style recommendation engine for fanfiction. With each review you provide, Ficdb gets a little smarter and little more data to work with.

    What’s the release schedule? Everyday this week, I’ll add 10-20 new fanfics to the system. Come back again tomorrow for some more goodies. The focus for me over the next week will be responding to community feedback, so fanfiction submissions from non-mods are closed for the time being.

    How can I help? Sign up, find some cool new fanfics, give them a star rating. Once you’ve done that, swing on over to the Discord community I’ve created for feedback. If you're interested in being a mod, and promise to liberally abuse your power, hit me up.

    What feedback do you want? Ficdb is a wide-eyed, bushy-tailed baby of a web application. Therefore, expect some level of friction when using it. If you find a bug, definitely report that. In terms of feature feedback...

    What genre classification system do you want to see? How can Ficdb avoid AO3 tag soup?
    What additional data does each fanfic need? Each review?
    How does the filtering system feel to use?
    What Goodreads features are worth porting over? Any social features worthwhile?

    Cheers!

    Jordan
     
  2. Download

    Download Supreme Mugwump DLP Supporter

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    Great idea.

    Do you want only good fics, or would you also like popular but crappy fics? I'm not sure how everyone might feel about stories that will get a lot of hate from us. I admit I kind of want to shit on some popular fics (petty, I know).
    --- Post automerged ---
    Also the passwordless login is pretty neat. Did you come up with the idea yourself? I've never seen that before.
    --- Post automerged ---
    One thing you definitely need is the ability to mark your review as having spoilers, or the option to use spoiler tags and hide sections of text.
     
  3. Makeitrein

    Makeitrein Squib

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    Thx! Good and popular both work. Hopefully people will rate appropriately and the good stuff will naturally rise to the top. You can shit on popular fics but shit on them in style! https://ficdb.com/faq - trying to go for more constructive criticism over bashing as a general rule of thumb.

    Na, passwordless isn't new, but it's definitely the future! I think Medium and Slack do it and a few other major players. Way more secure than using a throw-away password which most people do.

    Re: spoilers - great idea, ill see if I can get markdown reviews working so people can over up parts of their review.
     
  4. Quiddity

    Quiddity Unspeakable

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    Spammed some reviews, ratings only.

    Do you compensate for individuals rating distribution? Like, some I've enjoyed still warrant less than a 4/5.

    Also, it seems the top ones are displayed to new readers. It might be best to make those supplied random or semi-random. The Changeling had no reviews.

    Looks interesting. I'll try to keep up and see how it goes.
     
  5. Makeitrein

    Makeitrein Squib

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    No weighting of reviews happens at the moment - do get that a 4-star ratings mean different things to different people, but I don't think the solution will be math-based. Probably some helpful UX that says 1-star = dumpster fire, 2-star = trash, 3-star = enjoyable, but no re-read, 4-star = enjoyable, would rec, 5-star = best in fandom. Tbd!

    Yah, initial sort is based off updated time, but I'm thinking of switching that to last reviewed to make front page more lively.
     
  6. Download

    Download Supreme Mugwump DLP Supporter

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    Could you add a "gender flipped" setting changes category? Gender flipped (always been another gender) and gender bender (changed during the events of the story) are very different things.
     
  7. Makeitrein

    Makeitrein Squib

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    Most def, working on revamping the tags/genres right now so you'll see more things like Insane!GenderFlipped!Harry to get something pretty specific when it concerns the MC.
     
  8. darklordmike

    darklordmike Auror

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    I think this is a good idea, assuming it's supposed to be a collection of the most highly-regarded fics in the fandom and not just a search engine.

    A few potential issues though:

    (1) what do you mean by 'fics worth reading?' Who decides? Are you picking them yourself and then people read and review them *after* that? There's an obvious problem with bias if you intend this database to appeal to a wide audience. Netflix has plenty of shitty and niche movies. Probably half the fics in the fandom are Draco/Hermione, Harry/Snape, and Harry/Draco. Are they eliminated by default? Do you want to attract both DLP readers and people who adore robst? I don't think you can please everybody.

    The same bias applies if you're just selecting fics from DLP's library. DLP values quality writing, but it also skews toward massively AU fics like Wastelands, Denarian Renegade, Prince of the Dark Kingdom, Song of the Trees, Renegade Cause, etc. What about popular fics that capture the charm of canon but aren't to DLP's tastes (e.g., The Best Revenge by Arsinoe de Blassenville, which was judged not good enough for the library)?

    (2) The interface: it's visually-appealing, and it does have a resemblance to netflix, goodreads, and redbox. But it's not an efficient way to sort fics. Each fic is represented by a box. That makes sense if there's an image or cover page to fill that space. With just text, imo it makes more sense to represent each fic the way you see it in reddit, fanfiction.net, etc. That way there's no need to scroll within a box to see long summaries, and you don't have to scroll down the page every ten seconds to find the next selection of stories.

    (3) The rating system:
    If you want objectivity, you'll have to state explicitly what each star rating means and trust your audience to follow it in good faith. The star system you just described is similar to DLP's, but the average reader would find it overly harsh. A system where most stories are 1/5 by default and only a handful are 5/5 is counterintuitive to most readers. Where's the middle ground between 'trash' and 'enjoyable?' If you want a system that appeals to everybody, you've got to take a page from Roger Ebert's book and allow 4 and 5-star ratings for fics that you don't like but are well-executed.

    tl;dr: it's a good idea, but there's an unresolved tension between the idea of offering people 'the best of the best' and being popular like netflix.
     
  9. Seratin

    Seratin Proudmander Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Plus you're going to have to work your ass off to add enough fics to make this appealing to anybody who isn't even slightly new to the fandom.

    The idea of weighted reviews is an old one and can honestly turn out a message but then thrrest sites like TripAdvisor who use it and honestly, people who write in depth reviews are far more worthy that the average Joe star rater.

    The idea is solid and you'll find a lot of people here willing to help improve it, DLP isn't nearly as caustic as it was a decade ago. If you have ideas or questions and it helps improve the landscape of the fandom this really should be the place you call on.

    For the love of God though, add Dresden.
     
  10. Makeitrein

    Makeitrein Squib

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    Koo, good thoughts here. Just got a wee bit high, best answer all these questions now.

    I'm hoping to cast a wide net with this project. Exclusion filters will let DLP-folk filter out Harry/Draco folk and robst-folk filter out Major AU fics. Bad reviews, of course, will still cross-contaminate. I've got two ideas to help out with this. Some sort of upvote/downvotes on reviews to punish poor quality and/or bashing-type reviews. Another idea is to only count reviews from members you trust. So maybe DLP members can view a DLP score. And r/hpfanfiction has a r/hpfanfiction score. And AO3 has AO3 score. Could even be a cool comparison there. Also could just flesh out https://ficdb.com/reviews and make it so you can filter by reviewers you trust.

    I've cleaned up the interface a bit today, check it out! Down to 2 columns from 3 columns and has no nested scrolling. I think a table a view is in the works soon enough too for a more condensed view.

    Not familiar with Roger Ebert, but I'm all for clarity on star ratings. Do you have a link to his system?

    I've used TripAdvisor occasionally, but haven't stumbled upon their weighted review feature. How apparent is it? Also a good one is Rotten Tomatoes with their critic/audience divide.

    Hopefully, once fanfic submission opens up, stale fics no longer become a problem. Def need to add Dresden, another fandom fave of mine.

    Yah, all for engaging DLP community. I built Ficdb for myself. DLP's hivemind tastes is closest to my own. So more DLP interaction equals a better fanfic experience.

    Biggest question atm is what system to rate reviews... a +helpful button a la Amazon, a thumbs-up/thumbs-down system a la RapGenius, Facebook-style emojis, Spacebattle-style reactions, or some other system. Want to reward in-depth reviewers with some dopamine.
     
  11. darklordmike

    darklordmike Auror

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    Okay, that was an effective way to make me feel really, really fucking old.
     
  12. Halt

    Halt 1/3 of the Note Bros.

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    Keep it simple, so something like Amazon or RapGenius would work best.

    Trying to overcomplicate things ala Spacebattles/FB isn't quite as effective. They're useful for giving you a range of reactions, but I don't think it really matters whether you see 100 likes, or 98 likes and 2 LMFAO faces or whatever the fuck facebook uses now.
     
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