Introducing Natively - A free community book sharing site with over 900 popular books graded by difficulty

本好き went up from level 30 to 31, so a new comparison between it and 狼と香辛料 (level 36) appeared. That was an easy vote. :laughing:

I’m a little sad that I’m only currently reading sequels to things I’ve already added to Natively, because it means no new comparisons for me even when I mark these as finished. :cry:


No one has suggested it, but I’ve certainly thought about it! I’d love to add it but it will be a little while I think… have to get audiovisual (movies / tv shows / anime) going first and then I want to step back and do a bit more work to solidify everything before moving onto even more content types.

As you might imagine, this sort of approach could potentially be applied to a lot of things, but you have to move somewhat slowly and do things well. I hear you though - a lot of people (especially in the Japanese community) use video games and it’d be great to have :slight_smile:

Well, you know, you could always add more things to Natively :smirk:

I would love to bring back intra series comparisons (i used to allow sequential volume comparisons). I do hear that certain series change difficulty quite a bit especially ones with somewhat separate sub series (like 本好き). Would love to map those things out, but decided to focus on inter comparisons first.

And @seanblue (and others) you’ll be happy to hear I think at the very least I’ve figured out a way to adjust the K value to allow lots of comparisons in a way i’m comfortable - simply decrease the K value dependent on how many times that user has graded the book before. It would mean the 30th time you’ve compared 本好き may not update 本好き a lot but it could, at the very least, change the book you’re comparing it to. That limits a user’s power on any one book.

Granted, this way does still have warts and the pairwise approach would be better if it works out, but it gives me confidence to at least explore fixing the algorithm sooner so that at the very least Natively could allow people to do more comparisons if they want to : - )

Edit: Now upon rereading this, I’m a bit wary of reopening the algorithm discussion :sweat_smile: but I just wanted to mention I am thinking about it and am more confident I can figure out something sooner.


But I’d still have to read more first. If only I had that kind of time!

Does this make it order dependent? For example, if I compare A to B and then A to C, is that different than if I had compared A to C and then A to B?

Can’t hurt to get early feedback and see if anyone notices any issues. :stuck_out_tongue:


Yes it does which is one of the warts :frowning:

But like I said, it’d at least allow people to submit more… certainly not an ideal solution but I do think it’s a better solution than making a book ‘sticky’ which has more unseen effects and harder to monitor from my perspective. And we’re simply trying to get something which will suffice until I can potentially do a deeper algorithm dive.

Granted, if the pairwise just works and I can apply it now, then this is a lot of chatter for nothing… I just haven’t dug into it yet which I will do soon :slight_smile:


I think this is a very valid point - so I think there would need to be a well defined site policy what specific content would fall under any of the tags implemented to at least somewhat standardise users’ choices.


How do I make the cookie policy popup go away without accepting them all? When I click Preferences and uncheck some things, there are only buttons for “Decline All” or “Accept All”, so I can’t confirm that’s what I want. I would expect closing that popup to be the end of it and just accept what I selected, but then if I refresh the page the banner at the bottom of the page is back. At that point, if I just click “Accept” will it only accept the ones I previously selected, or will it accept all of them? It’s honestly very confusing compared to other websites where I’ve gotten similar popups.

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:frowning: that’s not what I see. When I uncheck some things it changes the buttons to ‘discard changes’ and ‘save & finish’

When I click ‘save and finish’ the cookie popup no longer fires. You’re saying when you uncheck that you see something different?

Well, I didn’t think to change the selection, because what I wanted unchecked was already unchecked. And I figured “Allow All” would override the unchecked items and accept them as well.

Anyway, I checked and unchecked an option, then the text changed as you said. I clicked “Save and Finish”, after which the popup closed and the banner immediately reappeared at the bottom of the page. It still appears after refreshing the page as well. :slightly_frowning_face: (This is probably the same thing that happened last time, which is why the options I unchecked were still unchecked.)

I also tried doing this with my adblocker disabled, which didn’t make a difference. Other than that, there’s really nothing special about my setup that should be causing this.

sigh Well finally I just tried clearing the cookies that already existed for the site, and that resolved the issue. I guess I was just stuck in a bad state, though I have no idea how that happened.

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Oof, I’m sorry!! It does sound like you were in a bad state :frowning:

Tbh, I’m not enchanted with this package so far… it has a lot of good functionality (it gives a lot of descriptions / transparency), but it’s already had two bugs. Thanks for letting me know.

The one used by is really simple and well designed. It says it costs $45 per month, but it seems like they do let you use it on one domain for free. Might be worth checking out. (Nintendo Life has it as a popup, but the One Trust website itself shows it as a banner, so it might be customizable.)


Are you planning to add a section to the site for global information? Like recently added books, new written reviews, new book scores, new difficulty comparison, etc.?


Right, I’m imagining putting that information as a section in the community browse, similar to how you can tab to ‘latest’ here in the wanikani forum. Obviously there would be other ways to search the community, but ‘latest activity’ seems like a reasonable filter there.

My current plan is to start digging into community after this current product batch is done, but no promises til we’re done we’re there :upside_down_face:


What’s in the current batch?

The grading display is taking a bit longer than I intended so a bit longer than a week. Should be done this week.



Ok! I’ve finished the features proposed as ‘upcoming’ in the past announcement. :slight_smile:


Added flagging system for errors on the website

Underneath the ‘where to find’ section on every book page, or at the bottom of the series page, you’ll now see a widget to send in feedback. If you notice any issues on the site, this is an easy way to report it :slight_smile:

Improved grading display

This is the biggest change and I think it’s pretty darn cool! The ‘gradings’ section now aggregates the gradings by book and gives a summary of comparisons. As you can see, we do give an overall ‘easier than’ / ‘harder than’ approximation which is simply summing up the gradings on a book and giving a guess. The breakdown is showcased on the right and if you want to see the individual gradings for a particular book, you can pop open the aggregation.

You can also simply view the individual gradings as before. You’ll also now see options to sort by ‘relevance’ if you’re logged in - this is simply prioritizing things you’ve finished over other items.

Another improvement is that you’ll now see all relevant gradings from other volumes if the series level is locked together:

I give a little description in the help describing why I’m showing them. You won’t notice this warning in the aggregate section unless you pop open an aggregate rating to see individual gradings.

Improved search and autocomplete - Authors & other things

I’ve added a variety of things to search!

  • You can now search by author in autocomplete & search. It’s not terribly good yet… I do not yet have romaji / kana forms for the names, but it’s something! I also recommend you only do a first or last name. An example: a search for 村上 (murakami).
  • there’s an ‘exclude temporary ratings’ filter now, for removing books we’re very uncertain on the rating.
  • Average series quality ratings have been made more reasonable. Now, average quality rating is the average of all the users average scores on a series. So, if sean rated 本好き 1 a score of 5 and 本好き 2 a score of 3 and belerith gave 本好き 1 a 5, the series 本好き would have a quality rating of 4.5 with 2 users contributing. The math: Sean’s average score was 4 and belerith was 5… so the average of their averages is 4.5 :slight_smile:
  • You’ll now see a ‘collapse series’ toggle in search next to the sort. This does exactly what you’d imagine it to do. By default, collapse series is always toggled except when sorting by ‘most written reviews’… where it’s not allowed to collapse series.
Explicit toggle - decided to not worry about this yet

After some thought and a bit of research, I’ve decided to delay handling explicit content. In general, I like the way Anilist handles adult content, where it focuses on if the primary intent of the story is pornographic. However, that requires a bit of thoughtful treatment and, while it’d be nice to have this marked off, in general I think it falls in priority similarly to content categorization (i.e. user tagging) like ‘boy love’ or ‘hentai’.
The only content I’ll disallow for now is content which makes some people significantly uncomfortable even to see in search results… which is stuff with nudity on the cover like hentai / harem. Eventually I will handle that similarly to Anilist (toggle for 18+ content defaulted to off), but none of the content currently requested falls into this category and in general, the content with strong adult themes or significant ecchi on the covers is a very small part of Natively content currently.

So - I’m holding off for now. If you do have content which falls in the category of 18+ with nudity on the cover, feel free to request it… but it may not be added for a while. The plan right now is to add it at some point, but after the 18+ handling is implemented as described above.

Additional Notes

  • I will, at some point, allow book search in the new gradings section so that you can see comparisons quickly between two books. I may add that very soon, as it really isn’t that hard… let me know if that’d be a big perk, or if it’s not that large of issue.
  • If you have feedback on the approach to explicit content please let me know! I don’t think it’s really causing issues now, but if it is for you I want to know. You can also email me if you prefer (


  • Address any feedback on past updates
  • Add ‘unrated mechanism’ for new books, allows Natively to add more books without requests
  • Add custom lists (this is a large feature, may take a little while. This is also the beginning of getting into community features, such as enhanced user profiles, follow, public custom lists & community browse.)

EDIT: You’ll now see a ‘updates / currently working on’ section in this topic post description, where you can get quick links to these product update announcements


This is just a general thought I had that may fall outside of the scope of Natively, but figure I’ll toss it out and worst that’ll happen is people say “Nope, don’t want or need it.”:

A semi-curated ‘Tips and Tricks’ type section? For a quick example, I just exported the raw text of a book on Aozora as an epub in order to be able to read it with my app of choice where I’ve sideloaded monolingual dictionaries…which I’d converted from between formats to make work. Multiple little things which could be quick "How do I…"s.
I also think of the various questions around which sites need a VPN/local address, what format you’ll get the media in, etc.

People just starting out might not have this knowledge and some of it’s probably scattered across the internet in random threads (looking at you Kobo). I think these kinds of tips would broadly work across any language people are learning and fit the general theme.


I’d love to do something like that eventually, but I’ll be honest… probably won’t have time to do it soon! I agree, Natively could be a great place to put those things to help learners.

This, unfortunately, I can’t do. I’m almost certain using a VPN / false address is against websites / apps terms of service as it’d probably violate copyright. I can’t put anything on the site like that. :upside_down_face:


Heh, fair enough.
I suppose it could be phrased as “requires Japanese IP address and physical address” and inquisitive minds will find a way. :wink:


The new gradings section is really nice. Though I do hope no one creates an account with the username “YOU” :joy:
(I’ve seen other sites do things like “username (you)” by the way, possibly to avoid potential conflicts like this.)


Would you consider adding the limited number of custom gradings before doing the custom lists? It seems much smaller to me (could be wrong obviously) but still super valuable.

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Haha I know I did think about it. It’s on a list of prohibited usernames… so that’s not possible :upside_down_face:

I don’t think I’ll do it before custom lists, but I think it’ll be in the next batch of work. And to be clear, when I say custom lists may take awhile… I’m only imagining a week, at most 2 for the current iteration.

I’m glad you brought this up though as I have been thinking more about grading next steps. I think that the next step would be simply to allow you to grade as much as you like for a particular book. I could simply surface a button on the gradings section on the book page which would offer you the ability to continue grading that book… by default, I still only ask you to do 6 gradings, but you could do more through that button. Perhaps I could allow you to filter to only grade against a certain book type (like manga or novel).

As far as reducing impact of individual graders, I’d just limit the impact of gradings after a certain amount for a book per user, like I mentioned before. Sure, those extra grades may not be super impactful to the current difficulty levels, but they’d still be very useful to see in the new gradings display and eventually I will update the algorithm, so collecting the data is very useful. The new gradings display does make me want to prioritize that work a bit more. :slight_smile:

I could offer custom grading generation, but I’d imagine it’d be a little tedious? Eventually I’d add it, but I think it’s simpler and more straightforward for me to do it the way I mentioned… what do you think?

Edit: My thinking was that the book type filter (along with limiting the comparisons to a particular book) would allow you to narrow down potential gradings enough to the point that you’d be able to get the comparisons you want. I was thinking of keeping the 5 level restriction for the additional comparisons… but perhaps i’d allow a bit more leniency if i’m limiting the impact.