Private vs. Public and our Euro friends

Murder by Death


So far, the limited conversations about this site that have centered around privacy and visibility is that everybody is for making the site private.  Since this current test site is my personal domain, I’ve already taken all steps to make it as inaccessible to the public as possible and I’m comfortable with its current status.

But once our Euro friends who fall under the GDPR laws join us, it’s a different ball game, as, if I understand this correctly, the law states that all users must list their real names/addresses, unless the site is private.  My current settings would count as private, in my opinion.

Currently, it’s possible to make posts and pages private using the Visibility function, but the glitch with that is setting that to Private makes the post or page visible only to administrators (handy on the future perm. site for administrators to basically PM each other).  The other option is Password Protected and that just seems a bit too much, asking everybody to enter a password to read the posts.

The only way to make the entire site private is through a plug-in, which is free.  It will enable whole site privacy, and as they say on the site: “Now, whenever anyone who isn’t registered and logged into your site comes to see it, this is all they’ll get: the login screen.”  (source:

Do we want to do this?  We can still ask new members to join us, but they won’t be able to approach us blindly; they’ll have to come to us through another member.

Thoughts?  Personally I want our Euro members, TA, Lillelara et. al to be able to join us without stressing about GDPR.  If that means I publish my personal details along with everybody else’s on my privacy page, or make the entire site visible to members only, so be it.  But this is definitely a discussion for the committee.

New Plug-in: Default categories

Murder by Death


When Christine set up the details of the site layout, she created a category for everybody who is here (so far).  Once that user creates a post and assigns it to their category, it automatically creates a link in the left menu that will show all that users’ posts aggregated onto one page.

The hitch(es) are that Administrators have to remember to create the category when the user is created (at the moment it’s just me, but eventually will be Christine and whomever she assigns an Admin role), AND the user has to remember to assign their category to their posts.

I found a plug-in that eliminates half that need to remember.  It’s called Restricted Author, and it allows you to set a default category on a per user basis.  (You can also restrict authors to certain categories, hence the name, but I’m not using that feature.)

Admins still have to create the category when they create the user and make sure it’s assigned to them as the default, but now whenever any of us create a post, it will automatically assign that post to our category.

NOTE:  The category is only set upon saving the post (either Publish or Draft), so when you first open “new post” the category won’t be checked.

Book Plug-ins we’d have to purchase: Ultimate Book Blogger vs. Book Library

by Murder by Death


One of the best features of BookLikes, and one of the reasons we ended up at GoodReads, is the book database.  Being able to post book reviews with book covers and book information that other readers could access, as well as being able to track the books on our shelves.

When I had to create my own book blog,, I was unwilling to compromise on the book database and started doing some hard-core searching for something I could easily use in my posts.  I found Ashley @ Nose Graze.  She writes two seperate plug-ins: Ultimate Book Blogger and Book Database.

Both plugins allow for the writing of reviews embedded with book information.  Both create searchable archives of reviews.  Both get the basic job done in slightly different ways, offering slightly different perks.

The biggest difference between the two on a nuts and bolts level is that:

book database allows the users to manually build a book database that allows for custom taxonomies, different editions tied to the same record (not different covers though), re-read tracking, and reading stats.

Ultimate Book Blogger allows you to pull data from Google Books or Goodreads using an API, which means you can search by title, author, or ISBN for the book(s) you want to embed in your review, allows you to choose what book info to display, but doesn’t keep the book information anywhere but in your post.

UBB also offers spoiler tags, a wrap-up function that seems to be about what you’ve read this month or year and a currently reading widget I use on my regular blog.  Book Database offers a block, for those that like the block editor (or have made your peace with it) that allows you to place a book info box in your posts that might not be reviews.

The features we probably don’t care a whit about are also small and easy to ignore: Book Library allows purchase tracking and tracking of signed editions.  Not sure how useable that is for a group like us.  UBB has giveaways, blog tour and author bio stuff I don’t think this group has any interest in.

As I said, I have both and I use both and unofficially, I’ve discovered that UBB’s currently reading widget works just fine with Book Database’s books.  I don’t know how, but it does.  I think a few more of the widgets do too; I have a recent reviews widget on my site too and it pulls from book database.  What I don’t know is if the crossover would work with multiple users.  Both plug-ins support multiple uses though.

Both cost $35/annually, OR $35 one time.  The one time only gets you one year of updates and support, and then you’re on your own with compatibility issues, etc. When mine came up for renewal this year, I got a 30% discount on each for renewing early.  UBB has a few add-on features that cost a bit more.  The only one that’s ever caught my eye is one for tracking reading challenges, though I haven’t bought it yet.

For those that want more in-depth information, with screenshots, I recommend checking out Ashley’s pages here:

Book Database:

She also created a feature comparison chart, which I’ve appended here for anyone wanting a side-by-side comparison.

From her site:

How is this different from Ultimate Book Blogger? Which one should I choose?

There is admittedly a lot of crossover between Ultimate Book Blogger and Book Database. Some of the differences are more subtle.

In short, Ultimate Book Blogger is geared towards book bloggers and all the features a book blogger might have on their site. It has a lot more settings and more niche options like support for book giveaways and blog tours. It’s also a very public plugin—geared towards people who want to publicly publish reviews and associated content.

Book Database has a larger focus on maintaining a personal library of books and keeping track of your reading statistics. Its calendar view also provides a great way to keep up with upcoming releases. Book Database can be beneficial to people who have no interest in publishing public content; you can simply use it to track your reading progress and books you own and/or are generally interested in.

Feature Book Database Ultimate Book Blogger
Book storage Books are stored in their own database in a dedicated admin menu. Books are stored directly with posts.
Log owned editions Supported Not supported
Log books read Supported Not supported
Reading & reviewing analytics Supported Not supported
Embed book information in posts Supported Supported
Public review archives Supported — one archive with filtering options Supported — multiple different archive types available
Fetch information from Goodreads Not supported Supported
Blog tour support Not supported Supported
Giveaway support Not supported Supported
Related content feature Not supported Supported
Book author bios Not supported Supported
Public Widgets Not supported Supported

Site image organization

Given that we could, conceivably, have upwards of 50 people using the permanent site, and that we have unlimited image storage, I thought it would be a good idea to install an image organization plug-in.

I’ve created a folder for each of us currently here (and it’s easy-easy to add them) and I’ve dragged the images we’ve uploaded so far to their respective folders.  I’ve also created a General site folder for images that are related to the site as a whole.

And now, so I can test the uploading, I give you a Pikachu in an apple tree:

That worked really well – I was able to choose my folder before I uploaded the image, so it went straight to the right place.

MbD checking in after doing some googling…

Ok, so it seems that changes made to either pages or portfolio/projects won’t update on the feed.  Which I guess is still ok?  Players can have their own page or project or whatever so they can have a place to keep track of all the details, but then do regular blog posts for updates and book reviews, etc.

Anyway, here’s the current state of my card:

I just did a screenshot, because doing my regular card would require uploading a LOT of images.  Which brings me to a question:  On my regular site, I use a plug in that allows me to keep seperate folders for different images (photos, graphics, book covers, etc) and I was wondering if it would be helpful to get that plug in (it’s free) and create a folder for each user so everyone can better track the images they want to use?  I’m imaging 50+ people uploading images, and then trying to find the ones they want to post.

The sorting isn’t automatic, and would rely on people policing their own uploads to ensure they ended up in the correct folder, but it might be better than no organisation at all?  And there might be a better plug in then the one I’m using, but as a concept, thoughts?