Archive of Our Own: Bookmarks and Recs–Poll

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As part of the process of building the Archive, we’re not only busy adding shiny new features, we’re also working on polishing up existing ones! One of the areas we’re reviewing at the moment is Bookmarks. The core functionality is already in place, but we’re in the process of designing the next version, and there’s one issue on which we’d particularly like your feedback.

At the moment, bookmarks fall into two categories: private bookmarks and public bookmarks.

  • Private bookmarks are visible only to the user who created them.
  • Public bookmarks are visible to all and can be viewed on the bookmarks page (currently named “recs”, but soon to be renamed in response to user feedback).

We’re now considering whether it should also be possible to mark a bookmark specifically as a rec, creating a third category: recs.

  • Recs could be either public or private (although we’re assuming that users would mostly want them to be visible to other users!) and when public would show up on the bookmarks page. We would probably add an option to filter this page so that users could choose to view only recs.

We would probably add some kind of visual indication that a bookmark was a rec – see the image below for an example of a specific user’s bookmarks and how the different types might be distinguished (click on the image to go to a larger version). Please note, this is a very rough impression. Our current redesign of bookmarks will make them look much fuller and prettier than this, and this is very much a potential concept design, not a finished thing. The red text is for labelling purposes, not a part of the proposed design.

There would be some advantages to this:

  • People who feel strongly that there’s a distinction between bookmarks and recs could mark theirs accordingly.
  • People who are looking for recs would be able to easily identify them, and filter out those bookmarks not specifically marked as recs – for example those which are ‘to read’.

On the other hand, every feature comes at a cost, and we can see some disadvantages:

  • It will add another field to the bookmarks form, making another thing for people to fill in.
  • Users can already tag their bookmarks as recs (or whatever else they wish), so readers can already find things which have been specifically recced.

We know from feedback that some people feel strongly about bookmarks/recs (as mentioned above, we’re changing our terminology so that bookmarks aren’t identified as recs unless the bookmarker wants them to be). However, we don’t want to unnecessarily complicate things; if most people’s needs are met by public and private bookmarks (which is, after all, how delicious.com works), there’s no point in confusing the matter.

This is where you come in! We’d like to know what you think. We should note that we’re not promising to follow the results of the poll – ultimately we have to go with what is technically feasible – but we will certainly take it into consideration. Please select the option you’d prefer, and feel free to say why in the comments, or suggest another option entirely!

We’re not taking any more votes. Thank you for participating!

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