Comments: 149 • Responses: 31  • Date: 

bibbis7639 karma

Do you have to be one of these "experts" to join the platform and post? Or is it open to anyone to join?

Bookshlf_AMA26 karma

The platform is open to anyone! Our users post content around what they're passionate about. The community of Experts continues to grow because Bookshlf allows them to share knowledge and expertise through the content they're consuming, and focus on what's uniquely valuable (not what is in the headlines)

bibbis767 karma

Do you have a list of all the topics/communities you have on the platform? Just curious before I go through the entire sign up process

Bookshlf_AMA28 karma

  1. Art
  2. Auto & Vehicles
  3. Beauty
  4. Books
  5. Business
  6. Comedy
  7. Culture & People
  8. Design
  9. Education & Knowledge
  10. Entertainment
  11. Entrepreneurship
  12. Events
  13. Fashion
  14. Food & Beverage
  15. Gaming
  16. General
  17. Health & Wellness
  18. History
  19. Marketing & Advertising
  20. Medicine
  21. Movies
  22. Music
  23. Nature & Outdoors
  24. News
  25. Nonprofits & Activism
  26. Pets & Animals
  27. Podcasts
  28. Politics
  29. Pop Culture
  30. Religion
  31. Restaurants & Bars
  32. Science
  33. Sports
  34. Technology
  35. Travel
  36. TV

szymanski51537 karma

how did you guys come up with the idea? what was the goal or problem you were trying solve?

Bookshlf_AMA59 karma

We were working in digital media (with a lot of influencers) and were frustrated with the major platforms' focus on ephemeral and click-bait content. We knew how much amazing content, knowledge and creativity was out there that got no attention because it didn't fit into an algorithm, and that the best content came from experts or people we trusted. We wanted to build a home where people could share and organize the most valuable content and not have it relegated to a fleeting feed.

Inri13722 karma

What is the process for selecting experts? I'm reminded of Scholarpedia, which was supposed to be like Wikipedia with curating by invited experts. It's quality was markedly worse than Wikipedia from the get-go. It turned out that an army of interested professionals working in their spare time can produce and edit 1000x more content than a handful of Nobel Laureates who put in a few hours a year...

Edit: looking into your platform, it seems a lot like reddit, with shelfs being analogous to subreddits. Except you pick the mods. And you don't host any OC. And there's some content pulled off reddit. I guess my original comparison was more spot-on than I realized, bookshlf seems to be to reddit what Scholarpedia was to Wikipedia.

Bookshlf_AMA-4 karma

Our experts are joining because they have been looking for a way to express their knowledge and expertise via the content they think is great, which isn't available on other social platforms. We've found that curation is a different and more natural format than writing articles and wikis, and that having Experts curating for you allows you to have a much better media diet than relying on algorithm driven platforms.

Inri13731 karma

I feel like either you're doing a bad job of answering my question or, more likely, I'm doing a bad job of asking it, so I'm really sorry. I guess the crux of what I'm asking is: How is what you've described different than reddit mods curating content on subreddits?

On reddit, moderators choose what content is allowed on their subreddit. Users choose which subreddits to follow.

On bookshlf, experts choose what content is allowed on their shelfs. Users choose which shelfs to follow.

The difference is that on Bookshlf, ___________.

EDIT They answered my question below, but I can't reply as the topic has been locked.

It sounds like, from their answer, a more fair comparison would be that Bookshlf is like Instagram, except you can post more than just images, and your content has to be narrow in scope to a specific subject of expertise.

Actually, it sounds mostly like reddit, but you can only follow userpages, not subreddits.

Bookshlf_AMA2 karma

Sorry guys, stepped out for lunch. We're focused on curation by INDIVIDUALS, who are experts in their fields. it's not about what's "allowed" it's about what an expert thinks is uniquely valuable and chooses to share with their audience. Each expert has their own taste and editorial discretion. If there was a subreddit for each Mod, who was also adding the content and providing context based on their expertise, then it would be similar to Bookshlf. But in this case it's not about curating the community, it's about curating from an individual. Hope this helps explain how we're distinct.

s1llvyr18 karma

Hi Folks, I’m a sociocultural anthropologist, and this AMA inspired me to go check out your app. After moving through the setup process, I started to search for fellow anthropologists, but I find nothing on the platform when I search for it. How can I support making content available in my discipline?

Bookshlf_AMA5 karma

Thanks for joining our community! We noticed you just created a Shelf on anthropology, which is a great start (our system re-indexes a few times per day). We'd also love to see what other experts in your field would curate, feel free to invite your friends and colleagues!

s1llvyr3 karma

Thanks for the feedback! I really like that I can use Bookshlf to collect the articles I find—now I don’t have to email them to myself. Plus, they’ll be better organized! I’m going to reach out to colleagues to let them know, too.

Bookshlf_AMA4 karma

Exactly! So many of our Experts had the same reaction -- they were already doing this in a variety of ways, and were glad to have Bookshlf as a resource to organize and share with their audience

setarg14 karma


Bookshlf_AMA7 karma

One thing that I really loved that was posted recently was a random Reddit thread on Nietszche's life and work. The man was a genius, and the thread broke it down into an easy to understand overview https://bookshlf.com/post/perq8e

Re: pictures of your cat, we don't host original content on our site. So it would probably be better suited for a platform like Instagram or Imgur :)

wongyinhang10008 karma

what experts were you most surprised to get on the platform?

Bookshlf_AMA12 karma

We've had a number of unique experts, niche is definitely something we do well. One category that stands out is science because a lot of the thought leaders in the space had an incredible amount of knowledge and expertise, but traditional social media didn't allow them to efficiently share that with their audience. Instagram is not where you go to learn about astrophysics, but there's some incredible content available if you know where to look. Check out Kellie Gerardi and Cara Santa Maria who curate some incredible content on the topic.

s8802638 karma

is there an android version coming anytime soon?

Bookshlf_AMA6 karma

Yes! It's coming in Q1 of 2021, we launched in "lean startup" mode with iOS and Web but we're definitely focused on out future android users

DraftGallery7 karma

It looks like you are limited to only 5 "communities". What if you have more interests?

Bookshlf_AMA7 karma

Once you're in the app you can hop into any community that you want, the 5 during on-boarding were just to provide some focus for your first session. You can also edit the communities you belong to at any time! We're considering removing the limit as we get more feedback from users who want more content

Tarsupin7 karma

Are you prepared to deal with an onslaught of propaganda from foreign actors? And if so, how have you prepared?

Bookshlf_AMA2 karma

Because we require a link (ie a primary source) for each post, we're able to track the sources of content and reference against bad actor databases. But more importantly, the community of experts we're building is vetted and qualified, which results in a significantly higher quality content. Ultimately someone may post misinformation, but unless you're following them or subscribed to their Shelf, you would never see it

Tarsupin5 karma

What about posting videos with a Youtube link? Or a vimeo? Or any number of existing user-generated content sites with plenty of misinformation? How would you deal with misinformation from these posts?

Bookshlf_AMA1 karma

We don't use an algorithm to push content or recommendations, it's all curated by our editorial team. You're correct that other UGC platforms can host misinformation, but unless you're following a Curator pushing misinformation or subscribed to their Shelf, you would never see it.

hrtfthmttr5 karma


Bookshlf_AMA-1 karma

Our content guidelines prohibit content that is intentionally misleading: https://bookshlf.com/content-policy. Our team monitors the site and will remove if there is a violation

Garya937516 karma

curious about what the app's revenue model is? will you eventually make money with ads or are you looking to other unique ways to make money?

Bookshlf_AMA2 karma

We'll be introducing monetization for our Experts in Q2 2020 via Paid Shelves, based on the passion economy model. It's incredible how limited monetization is for digital creators, and we're providing a tool for them to build an audience and monetize via subscription. Importantly, we would only take a percentage of each Curator's subscription revenue (i.e. substack model) -- you're paying the expert, not Bookshlf. Advertising is also on the roadmap but not in the near term

Ayatollah_Bahloni5 karma

How do you plan on curating submitted content for scientific validity and accuracy? In other words, how do you plan on keeping out the trolls and the tin foil hat crowd? This is an amazing concept!

Bookshlf_AMA10 karma

Bookshlf's structure is essentially a primary source requirement -- each post is based on a link, and we know which publishers are credible (and which ones are flagged). We also work hard to validate our Experts and make sure they apply scientific rigor to their work, which helps improve the quality of their curation

Readingguy20205 karma

Can you tell me more about the Science community on Bookshlf? Are there any cool Shelves about Space?

Bookshlf_AMA1 karma

Yes we have an incredible community of Science communicators curating Space content.

Here's Kellie Gerardi's Bookshlf which includes Shelves on Commercial Space Flight, Exploration, and Human Space Flight https://bookshlf.com/user/kelliegerardi

Camille Calibeo an Aerospace expert at Lockheed Martin curates around Rocket Science, Deep Space Exploration and more https://bookshlf.com/user/thegalacticgal

coldize3 karma

I took a little time to peruse and the content reminds me of Medium, just presented in a different way.

If you're familiar with Medium, can you help me understand how your platform enhances the experience?

Bookshlf_AMA2 karma

Medium is mosly long form written content. Which is great. But that's just one way to express yourself. We're focused on curation, allowing users to express themselves through the content they think is uniquely great

Zarvon3 karma

What happened to the letter E in your name?

Bookshlf_AMA11 karma

it fell off the shelf


How is this any different than reddit?

Bookshlf_AMA2 karma

Individual curation v community upvotes, and creating a permanent, organized home for each individual user's content. It's about expressing yourself through the content you think is great instead of what the group thinks is great

Semantiks2 karma

This is a great idea, and I'll definitely be checking it out.

Is there a process for vetting the quality of the experts? What's to stop the tenth dentist from recommending we brush with vinegar and a wire brush... or is it just on us to check our incoming information (which we should be doing anyway)?

Bookshlf_AMA1 karma

Each of our Experts has a badge on their profile to demonstrate they went through the Bookshlf vetting process. Look for either a blue check mark or a yellow star

escudonbk2 karma

Few questions, As a longtime boxing writer with a decent sized fanbase, I have an archive spanning hundreds of pages of writing and thousands of gifs. Basically I've written around 130 of these. https://imgur.com/gallery/6z4WlE1

A) I have never fought professionally, just sparred a ton and done grappling competitions. Does my body of work, quality of work and reputation qualify me as an expert even with out professional fighting experience?

B) If I wanted to move that article fully intact from imgur to your site what kind of support can you offer? My form of journalism is... cumbersome. But it drives views. https://imgur.com/gallery/J8c4HNU

Bookshlf_AMA1 karma

A) Many of the best sports journalists aren't athletes themselves, we don't think this would disqualify you from being an Expert ;)

B) You would just post the link to the Imgur articles, which would be organized and accessible on your Bookshlf profile/Shelves. Great content btw!

liekhaon2 karma

Was there a specific "a ha" moment where you decided you had to launch Bookshlf? Were you just tired of everything that was out there?

Bookshlf_AMA7 karma

I was staring at my old DVD's at my parents house on an actual bookshelf and realized how much pride I had in my curated collection. It was a way to express myself through the content I loved. But how do you do this with digital content like podcasts and articles? That's when I knew there was a real opportunity to build something that provided value to people who love to learn, explore and discover new content

liekhaon2 karma

Don't tease us like that...what DVD's are in your collection?

Bookshlf_AMA5 karma

I haven't bought a DVD since ~2008 but a few that stood out from my highschool days include Almost Famous, Cruel Intentions and Fight Club (I graduated high school in 2000-2005)

lofikrom1 karma

Is your background originally in programming?

Bookshlf_AMA0 karma

I'm actually a lawyer, but have been studying media/tech since law school. All of my cofounders come from a media background except for Aaron (our tech lead), who built media apps

dukeoepithets1 karma

whats your advice for anyone trying to build an app?

Bookshlf_AMA3 karma

Start with an idea, develop a strong vision of what problem you want to solve or the value you want to provide to your users, and use that as your north star. Also, always try to remove features, not add them

Clamp-it-Clampett1 karma

What’s the most creative way you’ve seen someone organize a shelf? I.e. maybe a way you didn’t expect or explicitly intend.

Bookshlf_AMA2 karma

I happen to like scotch, and one of my favorite profiles is a user who describes himself as "A whisky and scotch enthusiast sharing all things single malt."

His Bookshlf has a variety of Shelves on different parts of the whisky life, highly recommend!

Here it is: https://bookshlf.com/user/adam

_suman_dangol1 karma

Is there a dark mode?

Bookshlf_AMA2 karma

Dark mode is on iOS

No dark mode on web currently, but we'll look into it!

edenkins1 karma

did you guys do all the programming yourself? how long have you been coding?

Bookshlf_AMA6 karma

We actually found our developer (now a founding member of the team) from Reddit! Since Reddit makes their API public, there's a lot of incredible private clients. We knew that if you could build a Reddit app, you could build Bookshlf. When our developer Aaron released Comet in 2019, we got in touch and pitched him on the idea, and he loved it! We started building from there based on our collective vision

CarreFive1 karma

How long did it take you to make the app?

Bookshlf_AMA1 karma

We started building the app in May of 2019 and officially launched in March of 2020 (with web and iOS sharing a common backend). So about 4 months on the alpha and another 4 months with a beta community of about 500 friends/family

jerrykuo7727-1 karma

Would you allow someone like Donald Trump on the platform?

Bookshlf_AMA3 karma

No one is preemptively banned from Bookshlf, but he would have to adhere to our content policies :)