Wednesday, May 22, 2013

What We Learned from the New Sign-Up Process

(And What You Can Expect in the Future)


Those of you who have been with the Bout of Books read-a-thon for a while know that 7.0 introduced a new sign up process. I want to briefly touch on why we made the change, problems we saw, and what we'll do for future read-a-thons.

Why


1. The Google form and spreadsheet--introduced while I was on wordpress.com and unable to provide a linky--was causing too much work for Kelly and me. We spent too much time fixing links and fielding questions about it.

2. We wanted people to post about the read-a-thon (declare their intention to participate!) to help us spread the word.

Problems


1. Mass confusion about the difference between the official sign up linky and the social hour form.

2. Kelly and I spent too much time comparing the entries on the sign up linky to the entries on the social hour spreadsheet and goals linky.

3. Links that went to homepages instead of direct posts. This is a problem because we use your "I'm participating in Bout of Books!" post to verify your participant for prizes. We don't have the time to track down your post.

Moving Forward


1. The social hour form will move to the social hour page and will exclusively be used to build our Twitter list.

2. You will be asked to link up with the same name everywhere.

3. If your participation entry goes to your homepage, you'll be disqualified from receiving prizes. You'll be responsible for double checking; we won't police you.

4. If you need to fix your link, you are responsible for doing so. The linky allows you to delete and re-add your own links.

5. We'll endeavor to make the sign up process as clear as possible and provide examples.

What do YOU think? Share what you thought of our new sign up process.

20 comments:

  1. I definitely think the linky is a better way of doing it then the google form! And having the same name across the border will help as well! I remember having issues as a min-challenge giveaway host last bout-of-books and think that the linky looked a lot easier!

    So congrats on the good change! :D And on another successful bout-of-books!

    Faye :)

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  2. I like the new way! Being disqualified for linking to homepage instead of post is harsh but COMPLETELY understandable, it isn't that hard of a talent to learn.

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    1. It's not because we're a stickler for rules--it's to save us time.

      We had people signing up without a sign up post. Or people posted the wrong link, etc. And it's to save US time. Kelly and I spent hours looking through people's blogs to verify participation and check how everything was going. Those are hours we could use better elsewhere. So rather than going through every blog or Twitter timeline or YouTube channel to find the specific sign up post--if there even is one--we'll simply consider the person not signed up without a direct link.

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    2. You got it! And with the participant count at 500+, even spending 30 seconds on each link is 250 minutes (or 4 hours).

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    3. Amanda I actually found some of those links myself, trying to visit so I can comment on their bout-of-books update/sign-up and couldn't find the actual post, so it can be frustrating so I can only imagine it for all of you that has to sift through 500+ posts.

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    4. I agree, Angelica. Requiring people to link directly to their post benefits them, too. They're much more likely to get comments because it's easier and faster for EVERYONE to find the post.

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  3. One concern I'd have is that, as someone who's had to bounce back and forth between different computers over the past few weeks (oy, technology, right?) sometimes I *wouldn't* be able to delete my own link. Not that I ever had a reason to, but the little X made my link easy to find on the list, and then suddenly I'd notice it wasn't there. (This seemed to happen occasionally even when not switching computers, and I don't remember clearing my cookies or anything, but I've been having various issues, so who knows.)

    So... just pointing out that this may not always be possible. But I guess that's just more reason to follow instructions the first time.

    That said, as a first time participant, I thought the sign-up process was incredibly straightforward.

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    1. Ahh. Valid point.

      However, the participant needs to assume responsibility for removing the link if they can. I can understand if they can't, like it's a computer thing, but I don't want to be responsible for going into the linky and removing every single bad link. Does that make sense?

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    2. Thanks for bringing up your concern. That's something I wouldn't have thought of!

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  4. I, for one, loved the new system. It made it a lot easier to find people.

    It was also cool watching the number of participants climb. Another plus on your end because then you didn't get the 'how many participants are we up to?' question from me every day ;)

    Great job girls! Best Bout-of-Books yet!

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  5. This was my first time and thought everything was pretty straightforward and easy to figure out as far as sign up went and posting the other posts. The only thing I wish were better isn't on your part, but GR. I use GR to review and do read-a-thon's or read-a-longs, after figuring out "hey I can post in my comments" (a major duh moment a while back) it got easy to do goal posts or updates. I just wish they allowed to view comments seperately... as in each comment its own link... because every post goes back to my profile & then you have to go through comments to find it. Will that problem with GR be an issue for future BoB's since it will always be a link to the same page?

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    1. You can link up individual status updates on Goodreads. That should suffice for linking up, as we'd be able to see any comments on that status.

      If you go to the date and time underneath the status update, you'll get a link to that specific update.

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    2. Lol, you learn something new every day! Thank you. I didn't even think to do my updates as general status updates & I never realized there was a way to go directly to status updates. I am not the most tech savvy person... at all (another of the many reason I haven't started blogging). I will keep that in mind for the next Bout of Books and my next read-a-thons.

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    3. Do you think it would be useful to have a "how to link up using..." guide? We could certainly put that together to help anyone who's unsure.

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    4. Yeah, I actually think that would be useful. Like under your "getting started" tab or something. You could do a "how to link up using..." post with useful tips about linking up with anything like blog, twitter, goodreads... like that. Give people ideas for the different posts. That would be great!

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    5. Cool. Thanks, Lindsey! I'll add that to our to-do list. :)

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  6. I think you guys did a great job and your ideas for moving forward are great.

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  7. This was my first bout of books, so I don't know how it worked before, but I found it very easy to sign up and link to the daily posts. I thought it was a fun, friendly, well-run readathon. Thanks for all your work on it!

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