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Book Review: Using CiviCRM

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the read-all-about-it dept.

Book Reviews 38

Hershel Robinson writes "A new book released by Packt Publishing called Using CiviCRM defines CiviCRM as 'a web-based, open source Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) system, designed specifically to meet the needs of advocacy, non-profit and non-governmental organizations.' What is not mentioned in this definition is that CiviCRM is a large and complex package with a wealth of features--the rest of this book deals with discovering and explaining how to use them." Read below for the rest of Hershel's review.Initiated by a small team around the year 2005, CiviCRM runs as a module for either Drupal or Joomla!. Knowledge of one of these CMS's is not strictly necessary to use CiviCRM, although if one wants to integrate "client-facing" aspects of CiviCRM into his public websites, that would involve the CMS.

As noted, CiviCRM itself, however, is a complicated and feature-rich package. In my opinion, the basic features are not difficult to use and in my experience, a somewhat tech-savvy laymen can make use of them without trouble. For users with less experience and knowledge with computers, however, even basic tasks may require training, and for most any lay-user, understanding the more advanced features will involve training and/or self-study.

While there is an online book, and an excellent wiki called CiviCRM Documentation available already, >Using CiviCRM makes learning CiviCRM easier. The two advantages I can see are that first, it is more in-depth in many areas than the other two resources, and secondly, many people will undoubtedly appreciate the ease of use of a traditional, printed book that they can open on their desk as they work online.

The authors, Joseph Murray and Brian Shaughnessy, bring to their book talent, years of experience working with CiviCRM and a dedication to explain and clarify virtually every aspect of CiviCRM. Both are well-regarded as knowledgeable professionals by the CiviCRM team and the community and are active supporters of the project.

Overall, the book is in-depth and covers all relevant subject areas for a person interested in learning about CiviCRM and using it. The layout and formatting are clean and the prose flows smoothly. As noted in the introduction and preface, both the official CiviCRM team had some involvement in this book, as well as other prominent members of the community.

Beginning with broad issues such as what a CRM is and why an NPO needs one, the book even gives fair space to other CRM tools, pointing out differences of each and outlining in what situations CiviCRM might be the best choice. This broad introduction includes such issues as third-party feedback regarding CiviCRM, total cost of ownership, documentation, community, and the unique hosting requirements of CiviCRM. The introductory section end with a review of the various stages in the life of any software package usage scenario. First is the planning stage, including hardware, software and personnel etc, and then the initial installation and basic configuration.

Next the book goes through each major functional section of CiviCRM, such as working with Contacts, importing data, mass email, fundraising, memberships, event management, case management, grant management and reporting.

These chapters are of course the main part of the book, and will most probably be the most used. The authors go to lengths to present each various feature of CiviCRM in depth, discussing only best practices (i.e. without shortcuts that can later cause problems), and with real-life examples. The book uses an approach of maintaining two unique case studies throughout the entire work, showing how these two organizations felt a need for various features and then how they actually implemented them.

The last chapter closes the book with a discussion of customization, the CiviCRM community, and looking towards the future, in particular with regard to future versions of CiviCRM.

The book appears to somewhat be geared towards a dual audience. The bulk of the book is perfect for a typical (if there is one) NPO staff member who is not an IT professional, yet needs to use a CRM. Such a person is taken step by step through all the various tasks he needs to perform, complete with examples and screenshots of the various pages involved. Many sections, however, are quite technical and seem only relevant to someone already somewhat knowledgeable in IT, including Linux, PHP, MySQL etc. These sections, such as installation and configuration, including setting up cron jobs, appear geared towards an IT support department or individual.

Even in the non-technical sections, technical points (such as how to use Drupal hooks or how to find certain data directly in the database) are occasionally thrown in. This may be a drawback of this book, as some readers may be confused or even scared by technical jargon and concepts with which they are not familiar.

Hopefully, most readers will not be bothered by such--there is no doubt that a beginner or even mid-level user of CiviCRM will gain a wealth of knowledge from this book. With 464 pages, it can well be used as a textbook, to read cover to cover and learn all about CiviCRM, and then be kept as a reference tool when dealing with the details of any particular area.

I would recommend this book to anyone interested in learning about CiviCRM, or anyone wanting to learn how to better utilize the tools it provides.

Hershel Robinson is a long-term member of the CiviCRM community, runs a specialty hosting business for CiviCRM hosting called CiviHosting, and is also a freelance web developer specializing in Drupal and CiviCRM development.

You can purchase Using CiviCRM from amazon.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.

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Packt (3)

CarsonChittom (2025388) | more than 3 years ago | (#36121308)

Seriously, is nobody publishing books other than Packt?

Re:Packt (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 3 years ago | (#36121346)

It's kinda like "herbal viagra" and penis enlargement spam, but targeting slashdotters - so books that are useless crap rather than pharmaceuticals that are...

Pretty soon it'll be:
p4ck7 b00kz 4 ubah c*o*m*p*u*t*e*r skillz!

Re:Packt (3, Informative)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 3 years ago | (#36121600)

The better question: Is anybody submitting reviews for books not published by Packt?

Re:Packt (1)

wondershit (1231886) | more than 3 years ago | (#36121730)

The interesting thing is what Packt achieves with these reviews. I'm stating this as if they were buying the reviewers (which is a likely possibility) and this is exactly the problem. Whenever I'll see two books on the same topic - one from Packt and one from another publisher - I'll pick the other one. Because somewhere in the back of my head I'll always think "Yeah, that's Packt. They need to buy all those reviews; therefore their books must be crap."

Re:Packt (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#36121976)

Oh it's more than a possibility. They have a guy on Amazon who does nothing but review Packt books and conveniently every single review is 5 stars.

Ok too much (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36121332)

This is not news for nerds, this is a paid ad for PACKT publishing.

Really, who gives a fuck about a book on some goofy RESTful web api?

I, for one, am boycotting this Packt outfit (which is easy to do, their books are terrible, transparent attempts to monetize info easily obtained for free). A handful of google searches, and liberal use of CTRL+c and CTRL+v do not make you a real tech publisher.

Slashdot really should show some fucking integrity at some point.

Re:Ok too much (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36121464)

Slashdot really should show some fucking integrity at some point.

It's been like 14 years, so I wouldn't hold my breath on that one.

Re:Ok too much (1)

Ruke (857276) | more than 3 years ago | (#36121932)

Slashdot is a business. This is how they make money. From Slashdot's point of view, all of the other stories are posted to bring in enough traffic that they can guarantee readers for their Packt advertisements. A "more honest" slashdot would skip the middle man, and just be advertisements.

Re:Ok too much (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 3 years ago | (#36122032)

What ever happened to that rumbling about making it a law that these scumbags had to identify paid advertisements as such?

Re:Ok too much (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36121966)

I, for one, am boycotting this Packt outfit (which is easy to do, their books are terrible, transparent attempts to monetize info easily obtained for free). A handful of google searches, and liberal use of CTRL+c and CTRL+v do not make you a real tech publisher.

Hear hear!

This was, in fact, very similar to the reason I stopped reading O'Reilly books after their "Bash in a Nutshell" attempt, which was essentially a printout of the man pages.

Incentives (1)

rjstanford (69735) | more than 3 years ago | (#36121372)

Hershel Robinson is a long-term member of the CiviCRM community, runs a specialty hosting business for CiviCRM hosting called CiviHosting, and is also a freelance web developer specializing in Drupal and CiviCRM development.

Sounds like the perfect candidate to write an honest, hard-hitting book review :)

Re:Incentives (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36122848)

What? So someone who has knowledge of the subject matter shouldn't be reviewing it? It's a review of the book, not the software. So what's the conflict there?

Goddamn you're stupid.

CiviCRM? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36121420)

The CiviCRM is too small. I went with the AccorDRM.

Re:CiviCRM? (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 3 years ago | (#36121930)

The CiviCRM is too small. I went with the AccorDRM.

Hmm... Bigger's not always better, let's see...

# ll /usr/bin/civicRM /usr/bin/accorDRM
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 1372737 2011-01-27 16:45 /usr/bin/civicRM
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 8675309 2011-03-22 12:00 /usr/bin/accorDRM

# civiCRM

CiviCRM -- A free utility to remove you from your Civic(tm).

Usage: civicRM [options] make [model] [year]
Warning: can not find libeject-seat.so, may cause unexpected results.

# accorDRM

AccorDRM v1.6.66: Digital Restriction Management Suite for
authorization of user space access to new Accords.

Usage: accorDRM user [password]

# accorDRM vortexcortex
Enter Password: ***********

Permission Granted.

Please select from the following options.

1 - Exit AccorDRM installer.
2 - Install AccorDRM daemon.

> 0
Segmentation fault

# _

Meh, it may be larger but it's also a crappy design.

Re:CiviCRM? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36121978)

Ah. Didn't notice "DRM" when I posted that. Well played.

My complaint about Packt (2)

conner_bw (120497) | more than 3 years ago | (#36121448)

The goal of this letter is to bring about the demise of Packt's foolish musings just as Charter 77 brought about the demise of communism in Czechoslovakia. What follows is a set of observations I have made about ill-natured nabobs of collectivism. The mindless zombies who believe Packt's mendacious story that it should palliate and excuse the atrocities of its foot soldiers because "it's the right thing to do" are also the people most likely to bad-mouth worthy causes. Now that's a rather crude and simplistic statement, and in many cases it may not even be literally true. But there is a sense in which it is generally true, a sense in which it unmistakably expresses how you don't have to say anything specifically about Packt for it to start attacking you. All you have to do is dare to imply that we should provide some balance to its one-sided monographs.

The following theorem may therefore be established as an eternally valid truth: Packt says that the worst types of mean-spirited criminal masterminds there are should be given absolute authority to carry out "preventive operations" (that means "targeted killings") against its rivals. That's a stupid thing to say. It's like saying that it can change its neo-malicious ways. If you want a better opportunity to get a job, raise a family in a safe neighborhood, have a better chance at a good education, and lower the taxes on the money you earn, then I ask that you help me contribute to the intellectual and spiritual health of the body politic. The fact that Packt and its devotees are the most snarky urban guerrillas you can imagineâ"and even then, only in your worst nightmaresâ"is particularly striking because I deeply believe that it's within our grasp to disabuse Packt of the notion that diseases can be defeated not through standard medical research but through the creation of a new language, one that does not stigmatize certain groups and behaviors. Be grateful for this first and last tidbit of comforting news. The rest of this letter will center around the way that if Packt thinks that we can trust it not to palm off our present situation as the compelling ground for worldwide stoicism then maybe it should lay off the wacky tobacky.

In spite of all Packt has done, I must admit I really like the organization. No, just kidding. The truth is that Packt is a serial exaggerator. If I were to be less kind, I'd say it's a liar. Either way, Packt's secret passion is to exert more and more control over other individuals. For shame!

Packt keeps saying that every word that leaves its mouth is teeming with useful information. This is exemplary of the nonsensical rhetoric and scaremongering that typifies the language of sappy smart alecks and other self-satisfied recidivists. Quite frankly, Packt would have us believe that it's morally obligated to enable the worst sorts of uppity cozeners there are to punch above their weight. To be honest, it has never actually said that explicitly, but if you follow its logicâ"what little there isâ"you'll see that this is its real point. Packt's bait-and-switch tactics are propaganda to the point of comedy and are so easily refuted as to render them useless even as such. This implies that Packt wants to feed information from sources inside the government to organizations with particularly fatuitous agendas. Why it wants that, I don't know, but that's what it wants.

Let's all keep our fingers crossed that Packt doesn't turn peaceful gatherings into embarrassing scandals. Don't be intimidated by Packt's threat to make my worst nightmares come true. Think about that for a minute. Let it sink in. It should soon become clear that Packt's advocates tend to fall into the mistaken belief that public opinion is a reliable indicator of what's true and what isn't, mainly because they live inside a Packt-generated illusion world and talk only with each other. Let me sum up. Anyone who values liberty should be seriously concerned about Packt's benighted litanies.

Re:My complaint about Packt (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 3 years ago | (#36123104)

>reads...

Dijon vu. I have tasted this mustard before.

I didn't think the flame generator still existed. You got a URL for that?

--
BMO

Re:My complaint about Packt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36126156)

> You got a URL for that?

http://www.pakin.org/complaint/ [pakin.org]

Wunnerful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36121532)

What a great idea: more efficient government-by-special-interest! Not only can this great software help you buy votes from your government benefit-loving constituents using Fed-printed greenbacks, you can more efficiently pander to the activist types who did all that get-out-the-vote for you last election!

Another one?! (2)

PenquinCoder (1431871) | more than 3 years ago | (#36121536)

Another Packt 'review' .. seriously???

Call me when Slashdot posts a worthwhile review, that is is not paid for by Packt.

Re:Another one?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36121566)

But CmdrTaco needs more checks from Packt to pay for his penile enlargement surgery.

Too late for that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36121622)

Rob Malda is a 26-year old white male with a stocky build and a beard. His head is shaved. He responded to my ad to be interviewed for this article wearing only leather pants, leather boots and a leather vest. I could see that both of his nipples were pierced with large-gauge silver rings.

Questioner: I hope you won't be offended if I ask you to prove to me that you're a nullo. Just so that our readers will know that this isn't a fake.

Rob: Sure, no problem. (stands and unbuckles pants and drops them to his ankles, revealing a smooth, shaven crotch with only a thin scar to show where his genitals once were).

Q: Thank you. That's a remarkable sight.

(laughs and pulls pants back up). Most people think so.

Q: What made you decide to become a nullo?

(pauses). Well, it really wasn't entirely my decision.

Q: Excuse me?

The idea wasn't mine. It was my lover's idea.

Q: Please explain what you mean.

Okay, it's a long story. You have to understand my relationship with Michael before you'll know what happened.

Q: We have plenty of time. Please go on.

Both of us were into the leather lifestyle when we met through a personal ad. Michael's ad was very specific: he was looking for someone to completely dominate and modify to his pleasure. In other word, a slave.

The ad intrigued me. I had been in a number of B&D scenes and also some S&M, but I found them unsatisfying because they were all temporary. After the fun was over, everybody went on with life as usual.

I was looking for a complete life change. I wanted to meet someone who would be part of my life forever. Someone who would control me and change me at his whim.

Q: In other words, you're a true masochist.

Oh yes, no doubt about that. I've always been totally passive in my sexual relationships.

Anyway, we met and there was instant chemistry. Michael is a few years older than me and very good looking. Our personalities meshed totally. He's very dominant.

I went back to his place after drinks and had the best sex of my life. That's when I knew I was going to be with Michael for a long, long time.

Q: What sort of things did you two do?

It was very heavy right away. He restrained me and whipped me for quite awhile. He put clamps on my nipples and a ball gag in my mouth. And he hung a ball bag on my sack with some very heavy weights. That bag really bounced around when Michael fucked me from behind.

Q: Ouch.

(laughs) Yeah, no kidding. At first I didn't think I could take the pain, but Michael worked me through it and after awhile I was flying. I was sorry when it was over.

Michael enjoyed it as much as I did. Afterwards he talked about what kind of a commitment I'd have to make if I wanted to stay with him.

Q: What did he say exactly?

Well, besides agreeing to be his slave in every way, I'd have to be ready to be modified. To have my body modified.

Q: Did he explain what he meant by that?

Not specifically, but I got the general idea. I guessed that something like castration might be part of it.

Q: How did that make you feel?

(laughs) I think it would make any guy a little hesitant.

Q: But it didn't stop you from agreeing to Michael's terms?

No it didn't. I was totally hooked on this man. I knew that I was willing to pay any price to be with him.

Anyway, a few days later I moved in with Michael. He gave me the rules right away: I'd have to be naked at all times while we were indoors, except for a leather dog collar that I could never take off. I had to keep my head shaved. And I had to wear a butt plug except when I needed to take a shit or when we were having sex.

I had to sleep on the floor next to his bed. I ate all my food on the floor, too.

The next day he took me to a piercing parlor where he had my nipples done, and a Prince Albert put into the head of my cock.

Q: Heavy stuff.

Yeah, and it got heavier. He used me as a toilet, pissing in my mouth. I had to lick his asshole clean after he took a shit, too. It was all part of a process to break down any sense of individuality I had. After awhile, I wouldn't hesitate to do anything he asked.

Q: Did the sex get rougher?

Oh God, yeah. He started fisting me every time we had sex. But he really started concentrating on my cock and balls, working them over for hours at a time.

He put pins into the head of my cock and into my sack. He attached clothespins up and down my cock and around my sack. The pain was pretty bad. He had to gag me to keep me from screaming.

Q: When did the idea of nullification come up?

Well, it wasn't nullification at first. He started talking about how I needed to make a greater commitment to him, to do something to show that I was dedicated to him for life.

When I asked him what he meant, he said that he wanted to take my balls.

Q: How did you respond?

Not very well at first. I told him that I liked being a man and didn't want to become a eunuch. But he kept at me, and wore me down. He reminded me that I agreed to be modified according to his wishes, and this is what he wanted for me. Anything less would show that I wasn't really committed to the relationship. And besides, I was a total bottom and didn't really need my balls.

It took about a week before I agreed to be castrated. But I wasn't happy about it, believe me.

Q: How did he castrate you?

Michael had a friend who was into the eunuch scene. One night he came over with his bag of toys, and Michael told me that this was it. I was gonna lose my nuts then and there.

Q: Did you think of resisting?

I did for a minute, but deep down I knew there was no way. I just didn't want to lose Michael. I'd rather lose my balls.

Michael's friend restrained me on the living room floor while Michael videotaped us. He used an elastrator to put a band around my sack.

Q: That must have really hurt.

Hell yeah. It's liked getting kicked in the balls over and over again. I screamed for him to cut the band off, but he just kept on going, putting more bands on me. I had four bands around my sack when he finished.

I was rolling around on the floor screaming, while Michael just videotaped me. Eventually, my sack got numb and the pain subsided. I looked between my legs and could see my sack was a dark purple. I knew my balls were dying inside.

Michael and his friend left the room and turned out the light. I lay there for hours, crying because I was turning into a eunuch and there wasn't anything I could do about it.

Q: What happened then?

Eventually I fell asleep from exhaustion. Then the light switched on and I could see Michael's friend kneeling between my legs, touching my sack. I heard him tell Michael that my balls were dead.

Q: How did Michael react?

Very pleased. He bent down and felt around my sack. He said that it felt cold.

Michael's friend told me that I needed to keep the bands on. He said that eventually my balls and sack would dry up and fall off. I just nodded. What else could I do at that point?

Q: Did it happen just like Michael's friend said?

Yeah, a week or so later my package just fell off. Michael put it in a jar of alcohol to preserve it. It's on the table next to his bed.

Q: How did things go after that?

Michael was really loving to me. He kept saying how proud he was of me, how grateful that I had made the commitment to him. He even let me sleep in his bed.

Q: What about the sex?

We waited awhile after my castration, and then took it easy until I was completely healed. At first I was able to get hard, but as the weeks went by my erections began to disappear.

That pleased Michael. He liked fucking me and feeling my limp cock. It made his dominance over me even greater.

Q: When did he start talking about making you a nullo?

A couple of months after he took my nuts. Our sex had gotten to be just as rough as before the castration. He really got off on torturing my cock. Then he started saying stuff like, "Why do you even need this anymore?"

That freaked me out. I always thought that he might someday take my balls, but I never imagined that he'd go all the way. I told him that I wanted to keep my dick.

Q: How did he react to that?

At first he didn't say much. But he kept pushing. Michael said I would look so nice being smooth between my legs. He said my dick was small and never got hard anymore, so what was the point of having it.

But I still resisted. I wanted to keep my cock. I felt like I wouldn't be a man anymore without it.

Q: So how did he get you to agree?

He didn't. He took it against my will.

Q: How did that happen?

We were having sex in the basement, and I was tied up and bent over this wooden bench as he fucked me. Then I heard the doorbell ring. Michael answered it, and he brought this guy into the room.

At first I couldn't see anything because of the way I was tied. But then I felt these hands lift me up and put me on my back. And I could see it was Michael's friend, the guy who took my nuts.

Q: How did you react?

I started screaming and crying, but the guy just gagged me. The two of them dragged me to the other side of the room where they tied me spread eagled on the floor.

Michael's friend snaked a catheter up my dick, and gave me a shot to numb my crotch. I was grateful for that, at least. I remember how bad it hurt to lose my balls.

Q: What was Michael doing at this time?

He was kneeling next to me talking quietly. He said I'd be happy that they were doing this. That it would make our relationship better. That kind of calmed me down. I thought, "Well, maybe it won't be so bad."

Q: How long did the penectomy take?

It took awhile. Some of the penis is inside the body, so he had to dig inside to get all of it. There was a lot of stitching up and stuff. He put my cock in the same jar with my balls. You can even see the Prince Albert sticking out of the head.

Then they made me a new pisshole. It's between my asshole and where my sack used to be. So now I have to squat to piss.

Q: What has life been like since you were nullified?

After I got over the surgery and my anger, things got better. When I healed up, I began to like my smooth look. Michael brought friends over and they all admired it, saying how pretty I looked. It made me feel good that Michael was proud of me.

Q: Do you have any sexual feeling anymore?

Yes, my prostate still responds when Michael fucks me or uses the buttplug. And my nipples are quite sensitive. If Michael plays with them while fucking me, I have a kind of orgasm. It's hard to describe, but it's definitely an orgasm.

Sometimes Michael says he's gonna have my prostate and nipples removed, but he's just kidding around. He's happy with what he's done to me.

Q: So are you glad Michael had you nullified?

Well, I wouldn't say I'm glad. If I could, I'd like to have my cock and balls back. But I know that I'm a nullo forever. So I'm making the best of it.

Michael and I are very happy. I know that he'll take care of me and we'll be together always. I guess losing my manhood was worth it to make that happen for us.

Re:Too late for that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36121758)

Come on, man, we need some fresh troll pseudoporn! This one's getting tedious. Let's have some fresh material.

ffs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36121546)

Dear slashdot,

Stop wasting my fucking time with this bullshit no-one cares about.

Sincerely,

-a daily reader

What's your problem (1)

xevioso (598654) | more than 3 years ago | (#36121592)

Some of you may not know this, but CiviCRM is used extensively by non-profit organizations. Maybe some other non-profit organizations looking for a similar solution might be interested in this product, because it's free and works quite well. Maybe they might be interested in reading a review about this product. But all I see here are people irritated that /. is letting people know about a for-profit book on a free service that many people might find useful. Pretty sad.

Re:What's your problem (1)

Desler (1608317) | more than 3 years ago | (#36121696)

No one is against the product itself just the crappy Packt books that are constantly being shilled for on this site.

Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36121882)

I'm fine with Packt; I've found their books useful in the past.

I'm against CiviCRM; it's been a nightmare every time I've had to deal with it. At least the Drupal version, that is; I haven't used Joomla since Joomla was still Mambo. :p

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36122302)

Last I checked, CMS's were a nightmare to deal with.

Re:Really? (1)

xevioso (598654) | more than 3 years ago | (#36122472)

You should check again; they are amazing. I've built tons of sites with Joomla.

Re:What's your problem (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 3 years ago | (#36121924)

It's not the message, it's the messenger. Packt is here at least once a week now (at least they've found someone else besides Rick Wagner to bribe for the reviews), and the reviews are almost always telling us how wonderful the book is.

No, it's not that we have a problem with CiviCRM; nor that we have a problem with a review being posted to Slashdot about the same.

No, the problem here is that we rarely see reviews that aren't for new hot-off-the-presses Packt books. The problem is that almost every single Packt book review gives a rating of 8 or 9, with one memorable exception last week or the week before. (Memorable because it's the only one that scored below an 8 in recent history.). The problem is that they rarely say anything negative about the book, which is in and of itself suspect - when was the last time you read a reference book and thought there was no room for improvement?

All in all, the problem is that these Packt reviews smack heavily of astroturfing. They also generate comparatively few comments, and most of the comments are of the "WTF, Packt again?" variety.

So ... ultimately... the problem is that we're tired of seeing Packt Publishing doing their astroturfing here and a) wish they'd stop and b) don't understand why slashdot continues to publish these articles that - at best - a very small minority of their readership is interested in. If you were a borderline conspiracy nut, you *might* think that they should just stamp these articles with "Paid Advertisement" and have done with it.

Now... it's possible that Packt publishing just makes nothing but incredible books. They give away free copies to reviewers, and reviewers really do love them so much ... that they feel compelled to post glowing reviews here and elsewhere.

Most of us are a bit more cynical than to believe that though.

Re:What's your problem (1)

nog_lorp (896553) | more than 3 years ago | (#36122318)

Get 'em under payola laws.

I want a way to mod stories (2)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 3 years ago | (#36121674)

Because I'm getting tired of all these Packt shills.

What I especially hate about the Packt reviews (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36121754)

What I especially hate about the Packt reviews is the way that the link in my RSS feed to the book review submission literally FORCES me to click it. I look at the title, see that it's just another stupid book review about a subject that I care nothing about, and yet I am LITERALLY UNABLE to refrain from clicking the link to navigate to the web page containing content that I do not want to read. It's like my free will is completely subsumed into the pure power of the book review submission page, leaving me powerless to resist.

As such, I have no choice other than to post a comment about how much the book reviews suck, packt sucks, the subject of the book sucks and cmdr taco sucks.

Okay, WTF (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 3 years ago | (#36121804)

Why the hell are these still showing up here? I'm fairly confident nobody is upvoting them in firehose, they get minimal comments (half of which are complaining about Packt and shills, and valid complaints they are)... so what gives?

Hey look, an advertisement! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36121960)

Stay classy, $lashdot.

That's it (1)

Nero Nimbus (1104415) | more than 3 years ago | (#36123942)

I'm adding Book Reviews to the list of article categories that don't show up for me. Idle just got some company.

Packt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36125398)

The marketing division of Packt publishing defines defines CiviCRM as 'a web-based, open source Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) system, designed specifically to meet the needs of advocacy, non-profit and non-governmental organizations.' Slashdotters define the marketing division of Packt publishing as 'a bunch of mindless jerks who will be first against the wall when the revolution comes'.

Bloody Vikings! (1)

M1FCJ (586251) | more than 3 years ago | (#36127706)

Spam spam spam spam, wonderful spaaam!

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