Tips for Running a WaniKani Book Club

Glad to see that you agree with me on that! :slight_smile:

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I don’t know how illuminating this is in general, but it really showed me how differently people read things. Because I don’t have that kind of running commentary in my head. If I had to describe how I read, it is more like I open a blank page in my mind, and I read a couple of paragraphs, and then I might access. So that almost confusion from line to line (my interpretation (and simplification) of your words) doesn’t happen for me because I don’t even start forming an idea of what I’m reading until I’ve taken in more of it.

Or at least, that is how it feels like when I think about reading.

I’ve never heard of a reading club, and I’m not sure I’ve noted it as a different format. (Perhaps because I mostly skim the titles of book clubs for the title of the book/manga it is reading, not whether it is called a book club or reading club or whatever other words might happen to be in the title.)

From my perspective as more of a lurker of book clubs than actual participant, the terms I mainly see are main book club, off shoot club and nothing for all other clubs except book club.

Honestly, this one’s organization of some clubs confuses me (is probably just me though), so I have had to open multiple tabs to find a specific club. And I honestly didn’t feel like trying to define all types of book clubs that exist on WK, because then I’d also have to go down the rabbit hole of looking into clubs I haven’t checked out at all. :joy:

This is definitely the thing I would expect to find in this thread, and the thing I’d be most interested in learning.

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This is what caused me to write the post originally. IIRC there were also multiple instances around that time where nominators were unable to run the club for the book they nominated. Lately it doesn’t seem to be so much of an issue, but it was at the time and I expect it could happen again.

What I really wanted to write and what I feel would be most useful is what you say–a guide for running the specific bookclubs. Because the spark to write the OP came from an initial lack of volunteers to run one of the “main” threads, I felt compelled to include those. In hindsight though, that really just muddied the waters and made everything a bit confusing.

I agree that a good solution would be to rewrite the guide only for the sake of “specific” clubs, and if we reference the “main” clubs at all it should be as a sidenote or a bullet point, especially since the turnover for those is relatively slow and it’s usually experienced club members who step up to lead them.

Also, thanks to everyone who’s spoken up! I was hoping for this level of discussion when I initially posted in order to create something more useful to the whole community.

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I’ve been peeking into this thread on and off because I was curious to see a guide on how to run the book clubs, not really intending to write at all, but after reading/skimming some of the comments, I figured it would be helpful to offer my two cents.

My expectation before reading was this is how to run one of the main 4 reading clubs (asking for proposals, running polls, garnering community feedback and updating the general thread regularly).

Then I read the comments, and I understand the confusion with two other points: are we also talking about the offshoot book clubs and author focused book clubs that are made independently from the main 4 clubs? and is this about how to run the picked book’s thread which is a subset of one of the main 4 book clubs?

It’s been pointed out by others already, but what the guide needs is organization and clarified language or terms for the book clubs, and it might not hurt to use this guide as a chance to establish those terms for future use. If the regulars feel iffy about the current jargon used for clarification sake, you guys could also just vote about it here (we all enjoy polls, yes?).

As for organization, I propose something like this:

So you want to run a Wanikani bookclub thread? Or maybe you don’t want to, but the responsibility was foisted on you anyway. In this guide, I will write about how to run one of the four main bookclubs (Absolute Beginners Book Club, Beginners Book Club, Intermediate Book Club, and Advanced Book Club). Expect to find most if not all the details about running the clubs including how to run a thread on a book you proposed from the main book club.

If you are interested in book clubs, you may have also noticed there are other mini book clubs that may or may not directly relate to the main four but are run independently. Don’t worry! I have a separate guide for that too. <Make said guide and explain offshoot bookclubs, author specific bookclubs, maybe organize based on ones that are associated with the main four and ones that are entirely independent. From what I understand, either one is created based on community interest, but the key is how does one establish that interest, specifically the latter? Does someone make a poll on what books people like from a specific author and decides to make a “reading club” or mini book club to read said author’s collections with others?>

I think you can mention the majority of the stuff you want to say after, but in the introduction, I’d expect to see the point to be made fast and clear like the above. The OP said they made the guide with the intention that “this is how to run one of the main 4 book clubs so that there’s always someone to run it in case the previous regular members aren’t around anymore” so I feel that should be made clear within the first few sentences.

Disclaimer: I could just be delirious from all the cold medicine I’ve been taken so there may be incontinuities and maybe none of this makes sense at all.

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Ok, there have been a lot of good ideas tossed around and I think I have most of what I need to create another draft. Before I do though, I want to make sure that I’m gearing it towards what people think would be the most useful. So without further ado, here’s a POLL.

For the purpose of this poll alone:

Main Clubs refer to the ABBC, BBC, IBC, and ABC.
Specific Clubs refer to clubs dedicated to reading a particular book or series. These include the actual selections of the main clubs, their offshoots, and book clubs that exist outside the structure of the 4 main clubs (miscellaneous clubs).

  • This guide should focus on running the home threads for the four main clubs, and there should be a separate guide for running specific clubs
  • This guide should focus on running specific clubs, and a guide for running the main club home threads is unnecessary
  • This guide should include information for running both specific clubs and main club home threads, but the language should be clarified
  • Any sort of guide is superfluous and may cause more harm than good

0 voters

If none of the above choices cover what you want/expect, please explain in a comment.

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Not making the votes public?

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@MrGeneric made results public, so you’ll have to revote.

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I did vote for saying that a guide for running main book club home threads is unnecessary. But I think it could be good to have such a guide, so if someone has to step in suddenly, they have a place to find a nice structured guide for it. I do however think that it isn’t as important, and probably doesn’t need to be part of this thread.

On the other hand, I think the current volunteers in that area would be better qualified to make decisions on something like that. Not a rando like me. :joy:

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I want to vote for this:

This guide should focus on running the home threads for the four main clubs, and there should be a separate guide for running specific clubs

but in reverse:

This guide should focus on running specific clubs, and there should be a separate guide (linked or lower in this guide) for running the home threads for the four main clubs.

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Very closely related to what @MissDagger and @omk3 said, I think the guide should strongly focus on the specific clubs, and there might be a folded section at the bottom to list the duties for the main clubs. Or not :upside_down_face:

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I would have voted for this, for sure.

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Unless anybody has any objections, this is the one I’ll go with.

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Alright, writing this takes forever but I figured I’d post what I have so far for feedback.

The Changes

  • Re-organized the guide into an FAQ–that way it’s quick for anybody to go directly to the piece of information they need
  • Rewrote the intro so that it’s more concise and also more clear who this guide is for
  • Avoided using poorly-defined terms. As of now, rather than creating and defining an umbrella term for the ABBC, BBC, IBC, and ABC, I just refer to them as such.
  • Scrapped a lot of specific information about making threads, schedules, and vocab lists in favor of just posting templates (which I’ll hopefully get around to soon). If there’s any information that is important but can’t be conveyed in the template, I’ll bring that back.

If anybody wants to rewrite the guide for running the ABBC etc., feel free. I’ve never run one of those myself. It’s mostly unchanged from the previous version and currently nested under the “Can I volunteer to run the ABBC…” faq.

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In “What are the responsibilities?”:

  • You should mention that they can ask for assistance/feedback regarding creating a schedule.
  • You should update “Natively” to be a link to the website.

In “Should my club have live reading sessions?”:

  • I think the first sentence is a bit misleading since (as you mentioned later in the section) people other than the club leader can run the read aloud sessions.
  • You should mention that the leader (or whoever ends up running the read aloud) should post in the Discord server’s #general channel requesting everything be set up for the new club. Though ideally this shouldn’t be done until there is confirmation that enough people are interested in the read aloud to actually do it.

In “How do I organize live reading sessions?”

  • What is the benefit of using When2meet? I noticed that someone used that once instead of just running a WK poll, but I didn’t catch why at the time.

In “Do you have any other tips for running a bookclub?” > “Generate interest”

  • I’m not sure how I feel about this section on the whole. It’s pretty contradictory to the whole “this doesn’t take much time” thing, and honestly I’m not sure that many book clubs or book club leaders do this. While it is important that the leader be around if possible (as you mentioned earlier), things like recruiting, engagement, and communication with external Japanese learning communities seems outside of their responsibilities to me.

In “Run the club by consensus”

  • Maybe mention to make the polls with “show who voted” enabled? Not sure if that’s the right place to mention, but it’s good to remind people somewhere I think.

In “Can I volunteer to run the ABBC, BBC, IBC or ABC? What would be my responsibilities?” > “Gathering Nominations”

  • Make sure to consistently capitalize “Regular” / “Regulars”.
  • Might need to mention here (or in another subsection) the bit about cleaning up nominations that are particularly old or get a low percentage of the vote in multiple polls. I think some of the clubs have established rules, but I don’t know what they are.

In “Can I volunteer to run the ABBC, BBC, IBC or ABC? What would be my responsibilities?” > “Running the Vote”

  • The numeric values for the difficulty calculation should be 1-5, not 0-5.
  • I appreciate the “Tell your friends. Tell your Mom.” joke, but probably best to remove that part. :slight_smile:

I still worry that the information in the final “ABBC, BBC, IBC or ABC” master threads section is a bit dense, though most of what you wrote is necessary knowledge for people who plan to lead those. It’s probably fine though since with the new FAQ approach people who aren’t interested in that can just not read that section.

Finally, this is just a nitpick, but “WaniKani” should be spelled with a capital K. :upside_down_face:
(Also, generally “book club” is two words, so you should update that accordingly as well.)


Overall I think this format is much nicer and the content is much better as well. Nice work!

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Despite the realistic chance that seanblue will immediately tell me how useless my tool is :joy_cat:, I’d like to mention that I once wrote a generator script for book club threads (and I’m using it ever since for all my book clubs except the most recent very exotic ones like Flesh&Blood and 糞尿譚): Book Club Weekly Thread Forum Post Generator(TM)

Disclaimer: The github repo is not exactly up-to-date, and I recently caved in and converted the code to TypeScript which means that running one more command is necessary in the setup process. If you are interested, I can update the repo to the latest version.

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Hey now, why would I say that? :sweat_smile:

I somehow was under the impression that you had said that a few times back when I started promoting it - but I tried to check back on this and could not find any posts that said so. So maybe it was just in my head :woman_shrugging: In this case, my apologies! :bowing_woman:

Thanks for the detailed feedback!

In the old version this was in the detailed section about writing a schedule. I’ll include it when I get templates up (probably next weekend).

Done.

Reworded first sentence to make this a bit more clear.

Done.

Wanikani polls have a max of 20 options, whereas When2meet can cover every hour of every day of the week. It’s a simple but better tool for coordinating large groups of people with different schedules. It’s there to show it’s an option, but if people prefer trying to make polls work for them then that’s also fine.

I agree that a lot of people don’t do this and it’s not necessarily a responsibility of the club leader. I do think it would be nice if people did do this because I think the bookclubs here are a resource that completely transcends WK. I changed the wording to make it sound more like a “nice to have” than a requirement. I’m open to hearing more opinions here.

Done.

Done.

Done. I put it under “Can I volunteer to run the ABBC, BBC, IBC or ABC? What would be my responsibilities?” > Updating Book Club Home Thread

Done.

Done.

I agree on all counts. I think the information is necessary but it’s tucked away enough so that anybody who needs it can easily find it but anyone who doesn’t need it can safely ignore it. Like I said though, if anyone wants to take a stab at rewriting that section then go for it. I might get to it at some point but it’s low priority for me right now.

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I am currently very interested in the Home Thread template, whenever that gets added. :grin:

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About choices in a poll, particularly for specific book clubs – not sure about a best way to make a participation poll.

Perhaps,

  • I am reading along
  • Reading soon
  • Finally, but I am late to the party
  • I have read ahead / I have read before
  • Not yet

Also about Google Spreadsheet, I am not sure if it is important to force a Japanese font for Japanese row and Kana row. After all, in some regions, it will fallback to Chinese variant, unless forced.

  • But, in many other regions, it uses Japanese version correctly; so even the sheet maintainer might not realize.
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