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Suggestions for AAR
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Sandy AAR



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 443

PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2012 1:40 pm    Post subject: Suggestions for AAR Reply with quote

Have any ideas about AAR could work better? We'd love to her them here.
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Sandy AAR
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NoirFemme



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 1480
Location: America

PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2012 5:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

First and foremost, I've been visiting AAR since, oh, 2003 or 2004? I have no clue how I stumbled upon the site, but I loved it from my first click. When LLB handed over the reins, I was sad, but since I "knew" all of you, my faith in the site remained unshakable. For years, AAR was my one-stop source for author news, industry news, book discussions, and generally a pretty cutting edge area for romance genre fans. Somewhere along the way, I feel as though the "voice" of AAR has been diluted to the point where visiting the site can be...generic? sterile? neutral? The same reviewers are here, and many of them post on AAR's blog, but I don't feel the same sense of strong, unique, and undeniable tenor AAR had in spades.

To be completely honest, I often feel AAR not only runs on the reactive--trying to mark its line in the sandbox when newer voices have jumped into the sand--it veers between trying to defend its turf or trying to keep up with the Jones's. Which, incidentally, could also be the cause of AAR's loss of "voice". I don't feel I am accurately describing my bittersweet bemusement over AAR's reaction/nonreaction to the changes in Romancelandia, but I will say that it irks me that a lot of AAR's focus appears to be overly concerned with or conscious of its alleged loss of status or reputation with the rise of Dear Author, Smart Bitches, and other major book blogs. Because when blog posts or message board posts or whatever are shared via social media and the comments either on Twitter/FB or on the AAR blog/message board, it's rather annoying to see that the first reaction from anyone here, is to just grow incredibly negative towards blogs and bloggers. Just as it's equally annoying to see negative comments thrown AAR's way...which continues the cycle of negativity and toxicity.

It makes me quit AAR and blogs and social media hubs all together when it seems like there's this huge war between the old guard and the new guard, when every site or blog has its own unique voice and position within the romance genre. But to bring the focus back to AAR, the only thing I ask is for the vision of the site to become the primary focus, for you all to deliver genuine, strong, cutting edge content for the readership, and for AAR to lead the way back to discussing romance novels and the romance genre, because I have discovered so many great books through this site and have participated in so many excellent conversations over the years.

I want the AAR that gave me ATBF, the purple prose contest, the special titles listings, the history articles, the travel features, the author interviews and roundtables, and content created by and for the readers. Some of those excellent features on this site haven't been updated since 2008! And some, since long before that, and the community and AAR's voice would be stronger and more diverse, more enjoyable, and more familiar, if we could return to that instead of worrying about social media and the shifting landscape of how romance readers communicate.
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Linda in sw va



Joined: 27 Mar 2007
Posts: 4708

PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2012 7:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Noirfemme, that was just wow, very well spoken!

I'll admit I am not a very diverse AAR member, I rarely visit any area of the site outside 3 message boards. I don't visit any blogs, including AAR and I don't follow any romance sites on Twitter, just a handful of authors I enjoy. I think I'm in the minority here.

What I love about AAR is the diversity in what they review, not only mainstream romance but YA, Urban Fantasy, Mystery, Chick lit, etc. So really I'd just like to throw in the opinion that I hope this site will always include a variety of genres and subgenres in what we discuss and what is reviewed. It's what makes AAR kinda of 'one stop shopping' for discussing books.

Linda
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xina



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 6635
Location: minneapolis

PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2012 8:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NoirFemme wrote:


I want the AAR that gave me ATBF, the purple prose contest, the special titles listings, the history articles, the travel features, the author interviews and roundtables, and content created by and for the readers. Some of those excellent features on this site haven't been updated since 2008! And some, since long before that, and the community and AAR's voice would be stronger and more diverse, more enjoyable, and more familiar, if we could return to that instead of worrying about social media and the shifting landscape of how romance readers communicate.



Great post, as usual! However, hasn't social media changed everything? I know for a fact that we don't live in the same internet world as we did 12 yrs. ago on AAR, or even 5 yrs. for that matter. I have been visiting AAR for over 10 years, and I have not been surprised to realize that it has evolved over the years. Regular posters have come and gone only to replaced by new posters. I feel that this is the nature of a board that has been around for so many years. Personally, I miss The Special Titles Listings, a favorite of mine. I would like to see that come back.
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Last edited by xina on Sat Aug 04, 2012 9:11 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Anne_Gresley



Joined: 31 May 2010
Posts: 47

PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 9:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

RE The friendliness of the boards:

I think a more clearly defined commenting policy would help. I've read the 'sticky', and I think the hands-off approach is the right one. However, for times when a mod feels the need to step in, it might be helpful to have an actual commenting policy to refer people to so that they can see how and in what way they are in violation. Otherwise, accusations of partiality are clearly a risk.
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janet w



Joined: 11 May 2007
Posts: 363

PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 12:33 pm    Post subject: Suggestions Reply with quote

What Anne_G said: a policy that can be referenced is always helpful.

Agree w/Xina that "If you like" is the feature that I most miss. I probably reference the old lists at least 3 or so times a month.

Other than that, I'm OK. The content of the message boards is user generated and it's dead easy to add new threads so it works for me. It's always seemed like a friendly enough place to me. And by friendly-enough I mean the predominant reason I visit AAR is to talk about books and related topics. That has never changed.

Best feature of AAR: the awesome, deep and fabulous past, present and future reviews. And the wide range of books/genres/topics/authors covered.
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Salaisuus



Joined: 30 Jul 2010
Posts: 55

PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 2:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love the title lists and wish they were updated more often. I find those incredibly helpful.

A specific thing I'd like to request is that the threads in each forum have an alternating shading thing. So the first is white, the second is slightly grey, the third is white, the fourth is slightly grey, etc. I'm sure there's a name for that but I don't know what it is. But I find it difficult to go from title over to click on the thingie for latest post and I am forever ended up in some other discussion rather than the one I wanted. I'm sorry I'm not able to explain that very well.

And I'd like to lend my support to this thought as well - "..if we could return to that instead of worrying about social media and the shifting landscape of how romance readers communicate."

Obviously social media has changed the world. Other things will come along and change it again. But this is a nice place and there are a lot of nice people here. I think the point is that this is a community, a different kind of community than whatever is generated by Twitter conversations or a blogger and those who comment on a blog.

I actually do not venture far from the forum here because I just like to see what other people are reading, if they liked it, and why they did or didn't. There are lots of friendly readers here so this is where I come for that.
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kmredd



Joined: 15 Feb 2009
Posts: 218
Location: washington state

PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 5:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wish Noir Femme would tell us how she really feels.!
Personally I love this site. I click on every day. I agree how everyone if friendly and it's great to see what everyone is reading. I love everything about it.
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Sandlynn



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 1833
Location: Washington, D.C.

PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 7:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know about the site generally. Maybe I could come up with something if I gave it more thought, but I really miss the updating of the Special Titles Listing section. I don't think anything has been added since 2010.

Hmm, giving it a little thought, if this site is "all about romance," maybe we should have a separate area for All About Romance TV and Movies, instead of having them folded into "general chat."
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blytheaar



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 51
Location: Denver, CO

PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 8:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NoirFemme wrote:

I don't feel I am accurately describing my bittersweet bemusement over AAR's reaction/nonreaction to the changes in Romancelandia, but I will say that it irks me that a lot of AAR's focus appears to be overly concerned with or conscious of its alleged loss of status or reputation with the rise of Dear Author, Smart Bitches, and other major book blogs. Because when blog posts or message board posts or whatever are shared via social media and the comments either on Twitter/FB or on the AAR blog/message board, it's rather annoying to see that the first reaction from anyone here, is to just grow incredibly negative towards blogs and bloggers. Just as it's equally annoying to see negative comments thrown AAR's way...which continues the cycle of negativity and toxicity.
.


Would you mind clarifying this for me? When you say "from anyone here" are you referring to posters on message boards? AAR staff on message boards? AAR staff in blogs and comments? All of these?

Thanks.
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AAR Managing Editor
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karat



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 378

PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 8:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

xina wrote:

Personally, I miss The Special Titles Listings, a favorite of mine. I would like to see that come back.


Same here! Every time AAR asks for suggestions (or even when you do not ask!) my request is to have the Special Titles Listings back, and I always notice that I am not the only one asking for it.

Question to the AAR editors: is the updating process too complex? Can we readers help it in anyway? I would be glad to volunteer to help with the updating process, if that could bring the listings back.
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blytheaar



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 51
Location: Denver, CO

PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 8:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

karat wrote:
xina wrote:

Personally, I miss The Special Titles Listings, a favorite of mine. I would like to see that come back.


Same here! Every time AAR asks for suggestions (or even when you do not ask!) my request is to have the Special Titles Listings back, and I always notice that I am not the only one asking for it.

Question to the AAR editors: is the updating process too complex? Can we readers help it in anyway? I would be glad to volunteer to help with the updating process, if that could bring the listings back.


Some of the problems have been technical. This is probably the most popular suggestion, and we are definitely working on it. I will try to get this rolling this week. We may well take you up on the offer of help.

Blythe
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karat



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 378

PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 8:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

blytheaar wrote:
karat wrote:
xina wrote:

Personally, I miss The Special Titles Listings, a favorite of mine. I would like to see that come back.


Same here! Every time AAR asks for suggestions (or even when you do not ask!) my request is to have the Special Titles Listings back, and I always notice that I am not the only one asking for it.

Question to the AAR editors: is the updating process too complex? Can we readers help it in anyway? I would be glad to volunteer to help with the updating process, if that could bring the listings back.


Some of the problems have been technical. This is probably the most popular suggestion, and we are definitely working on it. I will try to get this rolling this week. We may well take you up on the offer of help.

Blythe


Great! Count me in!
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xina



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 6635
Location: minneapolis

PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 9:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

karat wrote:
blytheaar wrote:
karat wrote:
xina wrote:

Personally, I miss The Special Titles Listings, a favorite of mine. I would like to see that come back.


Same here! Every time AAR asks for suggestions (or even when you do not ask!) my request is to have the Special Titles Listings back, and I always notice that I am not the only one asking for it.

Question to the AAR editors: is the updating process too complex? Can we readers help it in anyway? I would be glad to volunteer to help with the updating process, if that could bring the listings back.


Some of the problems have been technical. This is probably the most popular suggestion, and we are definitely working on it. I will try to get this rolling this week. We may well take you up on the offer of help.

Blythe


Great! Count me in!



I would like to help too! I have to admit that I check this list at least once a week. you'd think I'd know it by heart by now. would love to help.
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NoirFemme



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 1480
Location: America

PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2012 1:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

blytheaar wrote:

Would you mind clarifying this for me? When you say "from anyone here" are you referring to posters on message boards? AAR staff on message boards? AAR staff in blogs and comments? All of these?

Thanks.


No fingers being pointed, just that particular names or blog/gers are cited often on both sides of the "feud". I just find all of the us vs them quite unnecessary to the community and to the blogs, sites, and message boards who bring romance readers, writers, and industry professionals together.

But really, the focus should remain on AAR and its community. I too volunteer my time for any feature the editors would like to revive.
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