Attracting readers and making Crimespace a special place for them was always something I wanted out of this virtual bar of ours. I began with a starry-eyed vision of authors and fans mixing it up in the stalls together, united in a common love of all that is crime fiction.

But it doesn't seem to be working.

I've noticed that there a number of readers who have joined up who aren't quite as vocal as us writer types. I think this is partly the nature of the beast -- writers write and readers read -- but I'd like to see if I can do something to improve on the situation.

One of the features of this site that I've been reluctant to add is that of Groups, a way to band together with like-minded Crimespacers. Groups can exist within Crimespace and have their own Forum and list of members. I've had a number of ideas for particular Groups myself, but I won't mention them just yet.

Have a peek at Library 2.0 to see what I mean by this whole Group thing. You may see that my reluctance towards the feature comes from the fact that most of the Groups only have 1 or 2 members.

Still, one good thing about Groups is that I can choose which ones to feature on the main page, so at least this way I can pick the more useful or popular groups to put the spotlight on.

If this all this talk about Groups is just gobbledy-gook to you, then if you have any other suggestions for changes to Crimespace, feel free to drop me a line in this thread, or send me a message with your thoughts. This site has a limited set of features, so it may not be possible for me to fulfil your requests, but I do want to make Crimespace rock even harder than it does already.

Yes, I grew up in the 80s.

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One common response to my question has been to give readers their own special section. Thing is, I have. It's called The Reading Room.

I'm wondering if some of you have never clicked through to the forum page and just stay on the front page of Crimespace. Maybe bookmarking the Forum separately is a good idea.
I always click on the Forum page. Then I check the topics. I think you really have a very good setup here. I like it.
And I, for one, do like to hear from readers. I don't really make distinctions between authors and readers in the reponses. Let the readers speak on any of the topics. They are welcome.

Furthermore, this is a very courteous place, so there's no need to be shy.
Yeah, I don't even know who is just a reader, unless a person says so specifically.
I'm wondering if some of you have never clicked through to the forum page and just stay on the front page of Crimespace.

yeah, i worry about that. a lot of ongoing discussions don't show up on the main page. i think that could be a problem, especially for members who read crimespace a few times a week.
i've noticed that as soon as the topic moves off the main page it's basically done. so unless somebody is digging around in what looks like archives, a topic has a shelf life of about 24 hours.
Daniel - it is an interesting thing isn't it. Being a reader only hasn't intimidated me from participating around here - perhaps it has "limited" me slightly because there are such a lot of writing discussions going on. I suppose it's possible that those topics can be slightly intimidating for the less "noisy" reader - a quick glance on many days at the front page without bothering to hunt around more and you'd be inclined to think this was a writers gathering.

I don't know if it's possible to break down the forums on the front page to show the forum groupings as a heading - so that it's obvious there's a Readers Room and the Writers bit - but that might help a tiny bit but I think I agree with the opinion that creating "groups" adds a level of complexity or closed offedness (now can you tell I'm not a writer :) ).

Personally the only difference I ever notice between a "writer" and a "reader" is if the "writer" is pushing their book down my throat - but I'm notoriously advertising resistant and quick on the delete / next button so it's like water off this little chooks back.

Maybe it is that feeling that you sometimes get when you're a reader in the presence of "the author" - you get terrified you're blathering, drooling, behaving like an idiot and go find a pillar to hide behind.... or is that just me?
I remember in high school English I absolutely railed against analysis of books. If that me were here now, I'd probably not want to take part in these writing discussions. The only reason 'that me' isn't here now is because I'm a writer in the making.

I've asked about displaying categories on the main page and I believe that feature is forthcoming. Personally, I'd like to have the main page contain exactly what the main forum page does. I'll look further into this, but one way around it might be featuring particular posts for extended periods, thus forcing people to click through to the forum.
Your first and last paragraphs are exactly how I feel! Particularly the blathering idiot line :). As a reader I may simply not have the relevant knowledge to participate in the writing/publish threads - but sometimes I lurk with interest, as a reader it's fascinating to see how the book business works.

To encourage readers: possibly as well as a book club, have some sort of pinned threads - say an Irish noir thread, an Australasian thread, a Scandinavian thread, a Brit thread, a North America thread?
Some other members have said it, but I'll say it again: crimespace is far easier to use and more interesting and focused than a lot of similar sites. And more attractive. And the members are very interesting and informative. Attracting more readers may be difficult, but once they are here I'm sure they will like it.
1) i'm curious to know if there are a lot of lurkers here. if so, i wonder if they would like to post but maybe feel nervous about doing so for any number of reasons.

2) a lot of times i don't know if posting members are readers or writers. doesn't matter to me, and we can discuss a lot of the same things. and some of the best advice and insight comes from people who aren't writers.

3) even if i start a topic, i'm hesitant to reply too many times for fear of dominating the thread or ... SOMETHING. ??? if it were my own blog i would reply to everyone, but since this is an open forum i don't do that even though i read all the responses and laugh my ass off at the funny ones. so if someone posts and that post doesn't get a reply, it doesn't mean you're being snubbed.
I would love to see a library here - not necessarily interactive but more a listing of authors who are on here and titles of their books. It is fun finding new authors but there are too many here to keep up with (for me anyway) so one place to find a list of who they are and what they write - that would be great.
i've been thinking about this too. i know we don't want BSP, but i worry that we've maybe gone a little too much the anti direction. i think it might be nice to have an area where upcoming book titles are posted. maybe titles organized by year. when a member has a release date, he can go in and ad his title. members could also ad titles that they are simply looking forward to for the coming year, possibly with a line of two of explanation.

just tossing out ideas....
One thing I'm going to sort out soon is both a resources/links section and a list of authors on Crimespace with a short description of their work.

The other stuff sounds really cool, but possibly a bit too complex software-wise for here. But I'll keep it all in the back of my mind and figure out something, somehow.

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