Letter From The Encyclopedist

by Daniel DeLorme, Oct 28th 2008

Over the years many things have changed at ANN. But there is one thing that has remained almost unchanged since we introduced it. Solidly, firmly, depressingly unchanged; MyAnime. For those who don't know about it, MyAnime is a feature that allows you to make lists of anime, manga, DVDs, etc. that you've seen or want to see, or bought or want to buy, etc. Any kind of list, really. MyAnime was a fairly nice feature when we introduced it... 6 years ago. But the world and the web changes, and what was innovative 6 years ago when the term "Web 2.0" was but a glimmer in Tim O'Reilly's eye is now standard and expected of even the most basic website.

So I decided I should take a little break from my regular schedule and slip in a few long-overdue improvements to MyAnime. Not large and sweeping upgrades (at least not yet), but I figured at least I could add the most frequently requested features and smooth over the most annoying quirks.

First, the changes that only long-time users of MyAnime are likely to notice. These are small things but they add up to make the experience a little more intuitive.

  • Sort lists by comment. This can be useful if you use the comment to store some kind of sortable information, or if you just want to find the titles for which you haven't written a comment yet.
  • Move items from Wish List to My Collection. Although this was always possible for anime and manga, through some weird oversight I had neglected to include a move functionality for DVDs and graphic novels. That is now fixed and you can simply move items from one category to another rather than delete-and-add.
  • Anime/manga titles are now displayed in the same order as elsewhere in the site. That is, without taking into consideration articles like "The" or "A" at the beginning of the title.
  • We also have some slightly bigger, more visible improvements:

  • Direct link from the forum to MyAnime. This was by far the most often-requested feature. For users who have made their lists public, you'll now notice MyAnime and MyManga buttons next to the PM, email, and other buttons at the bottom of every post.
  • The public list has been split up alphabetically. What worked well with a few hundred users doesn't work so well with a few thousands. The public list had grown so large that it would crash some browsers; it was time to break it up into more manageable chunks.
  • Paginate your lists. What worked well with a few dozen titles doesn't work so well when you have few hundred titles with large comments. For each of your categories, you can now specify how many titles to display per page. I think Dargonxtc will be pleased.
  • Personalize your lists by adding some custom text/html at the top of every page. Each category has a different intro text.
  • Quick-add MyAnime buttons on review and release pages. This can be a convenient shortcut when you want to add something to your lists.
  • And last but not least, the nice new feature you've all been waiting for... you can now view public lists for users who are most like-minded to you. This list is calculated based on your own anime ratings. For each user, you can see how many anime they have in common with you, and how closely their opinion matches yours. It's not quite a full-blown recommendation engine, but if you are looking for new anime to watch this allows you to quickly find lists that are likely to offer good viewing recommendations. Computing the list of like-minded users does take its toll on the server though, so I hope it won't bring the whole site down. ADDENDUM: You can also narrow lists of like-minded users based on your own custom categories. So if you had, say, a list of "Favorite harem anime", you could find the people who are the most like-minded for the titles in that category only.

    All those changes were really overdue, and without a doubt there is still a lot that could be done. I give my deepest thanks to all those who've been sticking with MyAnime despite its increasingly visible signs of age. Sorry for the wait, but as you can see change does happen. Eventually.


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