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From Rob Weir <>
Subject Re: Policy question: How to link to books about OpenOffice?
Date Tue, 02 Oct 2012 16:37:47 GMT
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.

> 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.

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.

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.

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".   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.


> 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

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