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Okay, first of all, to any of you who have been waiting for this to happen, I am sorry, it isn’t happening, yet.

To the rest of you, the Salon is supposed to be where bright witty people talk about poetry, novels, writers, art, and even occasionally current events and politics, but only in passing and on occasion.

Once upon a time there was a place called Camelot, strike that, called Shelfari. For a brief and shining moment (8 years, actually) Better than Starbucks was not a literary journal, it was a real place, or that is to say a real, active and live digital community. At first the format was a little clunky, but eventually, the good people who ran the place, by being very responsive and having staff who lived on and loved Shelfari as much as we users did, built a better and better system for making discussion threads that almost worked like the old AOL chat rooms, but at more leisure as the chats lasted for weeks and months.

The way the responses were stacked and nested allowed for an easy way to go to exactly where you last where and pick up again. It was a thing of beauty. We had a group (Better than Starbucks) I founded after getting kicked out of another group similar to ours called Brilliant Babes (and Dudes). Theirs was a closed group with a lot of rules, Whereas, ours was open and it took a lot to get kicked out. The point is there were many types of groups and they met the needs of thousands if not millions of people who loved books and loved to talk about books. It was truly a thing of beauty.

The problem was Shelfari was built by people who loved what they did, but probably weren’t too sharp at making money. The platform was very popular, so it became an ideal target for takeover. The same month I started the original BTS, April 2008, Amazon bought Shelfari. At first that wasn’t a problem, but in 2013, Amazon bought Goodreads, and shortly thereafter, the troubles began. Shelfari staff were either moved to Goodreads or laid off. Service issues were ignored, and eventually Amazon “merged” the two, which meant Shelfari was destroyed and all of us who were there could either move to Goodreads or just no longer have a home.

We are on Goodreads, but frankly, it is a horrible site, and almost completely worthless for having conversations within a group. I salvaged a bit of html code from a couple of old Shelfari pages, but I cant seem to create anything like what was there with them.

So if you are a coder, and you want to be a hero, please contact us! You will be paid the same as the rest of the staff, which to say nothing but gratitude.

Back in the day, this is what it looked like:

If you will notice the links still work, only they don't take you to the pages, they redirect you to the dreaded Goodreads.

Speaking of which, I salvaged a few pages and moved them to Goodreads. They don't present quite like they were originally, but they might give a code writer some idea:

So, if you are an expert, or even a brave hobbyist, please let us know.


What code we have:


<!DOCTYPE html><!--<3


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