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From Kay Schenk <>
Subject Re: Policy question: How to link to books about OpenOffice?
Date Tue, 02 Oct 2012 17:03:10 GMT

On 10/02/2012 09:37 AM, Rob Weir wrote:
> On Tue, Oct 2, 2012 at 12:01 PM, Donald Whytock <> wrote:
>> Amazon can be considered a publisher.  They have a mechanism for
>> publishing one's own ebook.
> I just noticed this when I looked to see if there are any new books
> from 2012 not on that page.  There are a few books for the Kindle, not
> available anywhere else but on Amazon, and having no neutral
> identifier like an ISBN number.  So in that case I'd agree that the
> publisher is Amazon.
> My concern was more that we don't show favoritism toward a particular
> book seller for those old-fashioned paper books.

I *like* old-fashioned paper books! :/

see more...

>> If you're going to allow authors to make their own entries a la
>> consultants, they should probably be allowed to submit whatever link
>> they'd prefer.  That might be an Amazon or B&N link, as the author
>> might not otherwise have his own page.
> I was not going down the self-submission of book links path.  I was
> just thinking of what we should do to normalize the links we already
> have.  But the next step would be that either we maintain the list or
> ask the authors to.
>> Different but related question: ASF would not want to certify,
>> recommend or otherwise vet consultants because (among other things)
>> they're changing entities, and may unexpectedly defraud, default or
>> retire.  Books, on the other hand, are fairly static.  Should there be
>> a list of AOO-vetted books, which have been reviewed and proven to be
>> reasonably helpful and accurate?
> I'm not sure how we could do this fairly unless we received and
> reviewed a copy of each book.
> We could provide a comprehensive list of titles that meet some object
> criteria, e.g., list "OpenOffice" in the title.  This would be
> fair/impartial, but would be less useful to the site visitor because
> it would have a lot of junk, e.g., books auto-generated by scraping
> Wikipedia content.

A bit of history on these. In the past, authors directly contacted OO.o 
and asked for placement on this list -- no review by OO.o, no direct 
entry by authors. You will note that a fair number of the entries are 
from ODFAuthors, but there were others who were regular contributors as 

> We have three goals/constraints, and they are somewhat conflicting:
> 1) Help the site visitor (typically a user of OpenOffice) to become
> more proficient in the product.   Ideally we'd recommend the best
> titles to them.

...and, in truth, do we know what these are? What we love in terms of 
explanation, someone else might hate

> 2) Encourage the overall ecosystem, by making users aware of the best titles
> 3) Be fair, impartial, and tread carefully when we touch on commercial
> ventures, per our non-profit status.
> What is best for 1 and 2 is worst for 3.  Filtering based on quality
> is the difficulty.

...yes, and maybe something we don't want to get involved in really

> One way out would be to not list books at all, but to just make a
> statement along the lines of: "There are many books about OpenOffice,
> including eBooks and self-published books in additional to traditional
> titles.  Users should be able to find these easily by searching the
> catalog of their favorite bookseller".

I would be in favor of this approach, don't list anything but provide 
links to resources where some might be found: Lulu, Amazon, etc.

   That would let the user find
> quality via, say, the rating system at Amazon, peer reviews, etc.  And
> we could accomplish #2 by offering to interview book authors on the
> project blog.
> I have no strong opinion on the long-term maintenance of the book
> listings.  I mainly just want to get the current listing in
> conformance with emerging policy in this area, and perhaps suggest
> this as another topic that the policy might speak to explicitly.

When I made a few modifications yesterday to the Support page, I was 
strongly tempted to just get rid of the books list. I value the 
contributions these authors have made to the ecosystem, but, I honestly 
don't see how we can become book reviewers in the long term. So, I am 
happy you have brought raised this issue.

> -Rob
>> Don
>> On Tue, Oct 2, 2012 at 11:42 AM, Rob Weir <> wrote:
>>> On our support website, at the bottom, we have a list of
>>> OpenOffice-related books:
>>> As you see, we have links to 3rd party pages for purchasing the books,
>>> usually Amazon or Lulu.
>>> I'm in the process of updating this page, as part of adding a list of
>>> consultants, and it occurred to me that we should probably think about
>>> how Shane's draft linking policy applies to books:
>>> One way to think of it is to treat the publisher or author (for
>>> self-published books) as the "consultant" in the terms of the policy.
>>> They are the ones providing the service, via their book.  So we would
>>> allow linking to the author's website or the publisher's website which
>>> describes the book.  But we would not link to Amazon, since they are a
>>> retailer, not the author or the publisher.
>>> Otherwise, same criteria as consultants -- factual list, respect
>>> trademark, impartial,  rel="nofollow", etc.
>>> Does this make sense?
>>> -Rob


"Just 'cause you got the monkey off your back
  doesn't mean the circus has left town."
                     -- George Carlin

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