General Book Discovery

feedback_discovery

#1

In recent months, searching for books (of good quality) has become the bane of my existence. So much so that I don’t even venture outside my small circle of authors any more.

Once upon a time, we could have typed something into the search bar and be offered both books and authors showing up in the immediate results and being able to then search more in depth (well, that’s how I remember it).

Now, it’s as if every little thing overlaps. I mentioned my opinion on the new tag system over here so I won’t repeat it again but the tag system has honestly destroyed the little coherency the site had left in my opinion.

Searching for books go by title and I believe it is ranked by popularity or whatever algorithm Wattpad uses at the moment so you end up having to school a whole lot to get a book you want sometimes, and there are times when loading of more results don’t work the way you want it to.

There’s a “refine by” option under the search box and I didn’t figure out how to use it until a few days ago when I was fooling around and I manage to type in title followed by a tag. Was this ever placed in an update post or something? The last update Wattpad posted about this change in search settings, it only applied to mobile (as a lot of their update posts are about) and I don’t think the average reader is going to think so deep into it (even though, it wasn’t that deep lol). The refine is okay if people know how to use it but the same way that suggestions are offered to app users, the same should apply to web users as well.

The filter could be a bit better as well. Since the refine by is tag dependent, and we know how people tag their books with every little thing they could think of, it would be great if there was a option to filter by genre. The parts, yeah that’s fine, though a word count could have been a better or an added filter in terms of length. The last updated is good too. Showing only completed stories is a godsend so that was really addition. The selection of viewing mature books as results was great too.

Finding authors using the search is horrible when the word that is part of their name is in another 20 others because the search results only show up on the right. There’s no option to expand and search more and as with book listing, I have a feeling these authors are ranked in a similar way to how stories are ranked. I sometime get false negatives with names where it doesn’t show up in the results but I know it exists.

The whole search reminds me of Facebook and I was pretty pissed when they changed it there too and I don’t even use that site as much as Wattpad.

Using the discover by genre to find books are a bit better. The Hot ranking is fine though we have that issue with tags causing popular books to rank in multiple genres even though it isn’t the genre of the book. Most of the time it feels like genres don’t exist any more and notability of books are now dependent on tags and I honestly believe they should complement each other and not turn it into a free-for-all.

New and Rising though are a bit of a sore point with me. Rising sometimes don’t even have enough reads/votes/comments to be considered “rising” in my opinion and I really wonder how the algorithm decides what is considered a rising book. 0 reads and 2 votes (however in the world Wattpad did that, no one knows) isn’t a rising book lol.

New is a whole other kettle because the books aren’t really “new” but are being ranked there because of a new updated and therefore it’s been ranked, like, what? Books from 2017 are still ranking there because of frequent updates and I don’t think it is far for authors who are now starting out that they would have to compete with books like this. As a good amount of readers do, we click on a book with a nice cover and a lot of reads with a catchy description and we ride with it. How would new books stand out if they have to compete with those that already have a base and aren’t even new in the first place?

The related writers part of it is good. It would be really nice if they expanded on it so it has more than 10 authors to choose from but it’s a good start. The same applies to reading lists though a lower limit could applied to those.

The best books I’ve read was mostly from related books, the search feature was the least utilised after the update and I think that’s a bit sad.

I guess that’s it. I probably missed a few things here and there but these were the things that really stood out to me.


#2

This is great–and deserves more replies! So this is my way of bumping it–also…tag your post! They broke down the different tags here: About the App/Site Feedback category


#3

#genresshouldn’tbetags That would solve the issue. And bringing back the main genres to display would help with that too. And when making/choosing a genre, it would be awesome if Wattpad made a classification for a sub genre, or only made sub genres a tag. That would help with the bleeding of genres, but it’ll still happen just not as frequently.

One thing I’ve noticed about that is it doesn’t get updated or refreshed. They’ve stayed the same with the “related authors” for about a month and a half. Although it’s good to have something like that, I do believe having a rotation every 2 weeks would help the users who are gaining traction and it would be nice to see :slight_smile:

I do agree on a number of your points. The new system has been good, but of course, there are a few pitfalls. It’s just a matter of tweaking them out and trying new things at this point tbh.


#4

I agree with a lot the discoverability issues, both from the point-of-view of a reader and an author wanting to get works discovered.

I think, eventually, there’s potential to have even smarter bots, but right now I can see the same types of flaws.

Part of that is that user self-tagging their work is going to result in tags the author applies not always matching with what an objective reader would have tagged it.

Also, maybe in the future it’s going to be possible for bots to just detect certain aspects of style or genre.

Like, if the system just knew a particular work was written in third person and past tense, then I wouldn’t tag a work #thirdperson or #pasttense. I find those useful on a platform where we sometimes see club threads where users say, “I can’t get into present tense” or “third person seems distant.” But if bots could just detect that then there could be a search filter to display works in a certain tense or POV.

If we can trust that the category, like Fantasy, functions like an invisible tag, then we don’t need Fantasy the category and #fantasy the tag. (It does get confusing when it’s applied in the nongenre sense of wish/dream! It’s like the difference between Fantasy for adults and a book about mature-rated fantasies. It’s likely a reader is searching for one or the other at a given time.)

I do think unless the system can track subgenres with a sub-category then we do need subgenre tags. I know I try not to abuse (sub)genre tags, but some works really do have cross-over.

I also tag for character types, whether that’s showing there’s #lgbtq representation, or #femaleprotagonist, or #vampire (because that’s not really a genre).

I sometimes tag for setting but it depends how important it is in the work. Like, if a work is a 1930s style serial set in the early 20th Century I’ll tag it #1930s.


#5

I am all for change and new experiments but I prefer the search system from 2012… I found some amazing books back then and sadly havent been able to find books on wattpad using search and hot list as well as I used to. I think in 2013 sometime between `March and May it all changed and became hard to find books… Back in the day every click was a read and books that were re-read jumped up I think and thats how maybe best books came up. I dont know. I am just guessing. The books in hot list were truly amazing. But now I am finding good books more Likely to be hidden… I regret I didnt save all books from 2012 that I read… Maybe if wattpad had history feature so we could see all history of what we read could help… I didnt know I will run into good book drought one day…