Little more than a week ago, a website aimed at naming and shaming so-called Goodreads ‘bullies’ suddenly appeared online – called, appropriately enough, Stop the GR Bullies. Run by four concerned ‘readers and bloggers’ writing anonymously under the handles Athena, Peter Pan, Johnny Be Good and Stitch, the site thus far seems bent on punishing the creators of snide, snarky and negative book reviews by posting their handles, real names, locations and photos in one place, together with a warning about their supposed ‘level of toxicity’ and some (ironically) snide, snarky and negative commentary about them as people. There’s a lot here to unpack, but before I get started on why this is a horrifically bad idea, let’s start with some basic context.


As a website, Goodreads itself is something of a chimaera, being in roughly equal parts an online literary database, a social networking platform, a book review site, a promotional tool for bloggers, a promotional tool for authors, and a social forum for readers. This complexity is both its primary attraction and the single biggest source of contention among users, as the crowdsourced nature of much of the information available, in conjunction with the fact that the site itself has no in-house moderators – meaning that the majority of alleged violations of the terms of service must be manually referred to and assessed by Goodreads before they can possibly be removed – means that, to all intents and purposes, the site can and does frequently function like any large, unmoderated forum, viz: wildly. As the TOS is at pains to point out, Goodreads considers itself a third party where user content is concerned. To quote:


We are only acting as a passive conduit for your online distribution and publication of your User Content.


Of particular relevance in this case is the specific type of user content deemed inappropriate by the TOS. To quote again:


You agree not to post User Content that… (v) contains any information or content that we deem to be unlawful, harmful, abusive, racially or ethnically offensive, defamatory, infringing, invasive of personal privacy or publicity rights, harassing, humiliating to other people (publicly or otherwise), libelous, threatening, profane, or otherwise objectionable.


However, it’s also relevant to note the following caveats (emphasis mine) – namely, that:


Goodreads reserves the right, but is not obligated, to reject and/or remove any User Content that Goodreads believes, in its sole discretion, violates these provisions… 


You understand and acknowledge that you may be exposed to User Content that is inaccurate, offensive, indecent, or objectionable, and you agree that Goodreads shall not be liable for any damages you allege to incur as a result of such User Content. Goodreads may provide tools for you to remove some User Content, but does not guarantee that all or any User Content will be removable.


In other words: even if you can argue compellingly that another member has violated the TOS with regards to user content, Goodreads is under no obligation to agree, to listen, or in fact do anything at all: their commitment is to passive third party provision of a useful service, not to the active moderation of user content, and while that’s certainly their legal right, in practical terms, it means that the onus for modding conversational threads, forums, reviews and everything else rests squarely with the user in question. To quote again:


You are solely responsible for your interactions with other Goodreads Users. We reserve the right, but have no obligation, to monitor disputes between you and other Users. Goodreads shall have no liability for your interactions with other Users, or for any User’s action or inaction.


In keeping with the universally applicable logic of John Gabriel’s Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory, every online community of sufficient size will inevitably attract trolls, harassment, bullying and all manner of accordant awfulness, with the level of active moderation being literally the only bulwark against anarchy. Not being a regular participant in Goodreads threads or forums – though I am an active user of the site as an author, reviewer and reader – I’m not in a position to comment on how often Goodreads actually steps in to ban abusive members, remove problematic comments or otherwise moderate user content either on demand or of their own volition: all I can note is that legally, they have no obligation to take any action at all. Clearly, though, a number of users feel that the lack of in-house moderation has lead to the creation of a negative, if not actively toxic, environment in some quarters, with the result that some members have now taken it upon themselves to lead a public campaign against those they deem to be the worst offenders.


One more piece of context, before we continue: both within Goodreads itself and throughout the wider book blogging community, the ongoing debate about niceness vs. snark in reviews is intensely relevant to the problem at hand. While the argument itself has many facets – should aspiring writers post negative reviews, or strive to embrace a ‘be nice’ attitude? are authors, editors, agents and publishers within their grounds to reject aspiring writers who’ve written negative reviews of authors they work with or know, or is this a form of discriminatory nepotism? is the primary purpose of book blogging to act as ‘cheerleaders’ for authors, or to give good consumer advice to readers? – what it frequently boils down to is a dispute over judgements of taste. Or, more specifically: at what volume or intensity does the presence of comedic snark in a book review see it go from being a professional opinion to unprofessional abuse?


It’s very much a your mileage may vary question, which is, I suspect, why Goodreads has the policy of passive non-interference that it does. By definition, not everyone is going to agree with a book review, and given that the utility of their service is predicated on people who love (or hate) books being free to discuss them, they’re naturally going to be loathe to police the tone of such conversations too heavily for fear of undermining their own purpose. However, it’s also important to note that, due to the Goodreads site layout, the usual handy metaphors for personal vs public pages – an intensely relevant distinction when it comes to questions of harassment, as it has the effect of dictating which party is the guest/invader, and which the host/native – don’t precisely apply. For instance: on a traditional internet forum, threads are analogous to public spaces, with the default authority resting either exclusively with the in-house moderators or creator/s, or jointly between the two. Abuse is, as elsewhere, defined as either vituperative ad hominem attacks or generic -ism-based slander; however, due to the clear distinction between attacking someone in a public thread and attacking them outside the context of the discussion – which is to say, on their user page, via email or, in instances where it’s not in direct response to something they’ve posted there, on their personal site – we don’t generally upgrade the abuse to bullying or harassment unless it makes that transition. To be clear: this doesn’t excuse abusive behaviour. Nonetheless, there is a relevant and meaningful distinction between saying, ‘I think Author X is a shit writer’ on a public thread, and going to their personal page to say, ‘I think you’re a shit writer’. On Goodreads, however, this distinction is blurred, because while reviews and their attendant conversational threads fall under the governance of the user-reviewer, they’re also attached to the relevant book and its author-governed page; meaning, in essence, that there’s an overlap between the author’s personal space (assuming the author in question is a member of the site) and the reviewer’s.


And, not surprisingly, this can cause major friction, not just between authors and negative reviewers, but between fans of authors and negative reviewers. In some instances, it’s analogous to carrying on a bitchy conversation within earshot of the person you’re talking about, with the added rider that, as this is also a professional space for the author, they’re not allowed to retaliate – or at least, they can do so, but regardless of the provocation, they’ll come off looking the worse. Which leads to fans – and, sometimes, friends – of authors leaping to their defense, often with disastrous results, and sometimes using language that’s on par with anything they’re actually objecting to.


But here’s the thing: any public figure, regardless of whether they’re an author, actor, sportsperson or journalist, must resign themselves to a certain amount of public criticism. Not everyone will like you, your work or even necessarily your profession, and nor will they be under any obligation to protect your sensibilities by being coy about it. A negative review might mean you lose sales, but that’s not a gross unfairness for which the reviewer should be punished, no matter how snarky they are: it is, rather, a legitimate reflection of the fact that, in their personal and professional estimation as a consumer of your work, they don’t believe that other people should buy it. And yes, you’re allowed to feel sad about that, but it’s still going to happen; it’s still going to be legal and normal. At times, your personal and public lives will blur, or else specific criticism will invite others to consider the relationship between your output and your private beliefs – and this will sometimes be relevant to discussions of your work and its themes, as per the fact that Stephanie Meyers’s Mormonism is relevant to the morality used in Twilight (for instance). Sometimes you’ll even be called names or find yourself on the receiving end of ad hominem attacks, where people say you’re a stupid, talentless hack as part of their review, and call into question both your morality and your convictions. And depending on the relevance of those accusations to your work and the problems the reviewer has with it, that do anything from lay bare a deep-seated flaw in your worldview to highlighting nothing so much as the reviewer’s petty, vindictive ignorance.


But it isn’t bullying.


Because bullying is not a synonym for argument, disagreement or pejorative reactions. Bullying is not a synonym for disliking someone, or for thinking their work is rubbish. Bullying is not even a synonym for saying so, publicly and repeatedly, in a place where that person can hear it – although that’s certainly unpleasant. Bullying is when someone with a greater position of power and/or possessed of greater strength repeatedly and purposefully attacks, harasses, belittles and/or otherwise undermines someone in a position of lesser power and/or possessed of lesser strength. In the vast majority of circumstances, bullying trickles down; it does not travel up, and in instances where the author in question is a super-successful megastar, to say they’re being bullied by reviewers is to ignore the fundamental power-dynamics of bullying. Even on the Goodreads system, where authors can see exactly what readers and reviewers think of them, expressing a negative opinion is not the same as bullying, because even though the conversation is visible, it’s not directed at the author; they are under no obligation to respond, or even to read it at all. Feeling sad and overwhelmed because people don’t like your book and have said so publicly might constitute a bad day, but it’s not the same as being bullied.


Cyberbullying among teenagers is a real and serious problem characterised by the sending of abusive messages by either single or multiple parties, the spreading of hurtful lies and rumours, the public display of information or images that were intended as private, and the confluence of systematic abuse both in the real world and online. Such attacks are vicious, personal, and often constitute criminal offenses; many have lead to suicide. What recently happened to Anita Sarkeesian was bullying of exactly this kind, where a number of individuals unknown to her engaged in an active attempt to public frighten, scare and slander her – a situation which is demonstrably not the same as some snarky, unpaid reviewers slagging off a book. Similarly, when people leave vile, sexist comments on my blog that’s not bullying: it’s offensive and abusive, yes, but all the power in the situation belongs to me, because I can delete the comments, ban the commenters, and publicly mock them for their opinions – and just as importantly, my posts are there because I want people to read and react to them. The fact that I’ve invited comment doesn’t mean abusive responses are justified, but it does mean I’m not being attacked or contacted in a vacuum: I have said a thing, and people are responding to it. That is not bullying. Obviously, it’s not impossible for authors to be bullied. An indie or self-published author without the support of an agency/publisher and their attendant legal teams, for instance – or, just as importantly, without hundreds of thousands of supportive fans – could easily be bullied by any sufficiently cruel individual who took it upon themselves to send regular hateful email, spam their site with negative criticism, leave abusive remarks on their personal profiles, and otherwise behave like a grade-A douche. But that’s not what we’re talking about here, because as far as I can make out, everything the Stop the GR Bullies crew objects to happened either in a review, as part of a public comment threads, in response to a blog post, and as part of personal conversations on Twitter.


Because – and I cannot stress this enough – simply disliking a book, no matter how publicly or how snarkily, is not the same as bullying. To say that getting a handful of mean reviews is even in the same ballpark as dealing with an ongoing campaign of personal abuse is insulting to everyone involved. If Athena and the Stop the GR Bullies crew had chosen any other word to describe the problem – if they’d stopped at calling it toxic and objected to it on those grounds – then I might be more sympathetic; after all, as stated above, Goodreads is a largely unmoderated site, and that doesn’t always lead to hugs and puppies. But conflating criticism with bullying is a serious problem – not just in this context, but as regards wider issues of social justice. Increasingly, ‘bullying’ is being bastardised into a go-to term to describe the actions of anyone who actively disagrees with you, to the point where some conservative politicians are now describing leftwingers who call them out on sexism and racism as bullies, or else have decided that ‘bully’ is just a meaningless epithet like ‘racist’ and ‘sexist’, which is arguably worse for suggesting that all three concepts are somehow mythical.


Which is why, in short, the Stop the GR Bullies website is an appalling idea on just about every level. Not only does it appropriate some actual bullying tactics – such as attempting to disseminate the real names and locations of its targets to strangers, then implicitly encouraging said strangers to engage in further harassment – while serving to further water down and confuse the actual, meaningful definition of bulling, but as a protest against the perceived abuse of the Goodreads TOS, it’s completely and utterly meaningless, because the whole site constitutes an active violation. Yes, you did read that right – because to quote again from the TOS (emphasis mine):


You agree not to engage in any of the following prohibited activities… (viii) using any information obtained from the Service in order to harass, abuse, or harm another person, or in order to contact, advertise to, solicit, or sell to any Member without their prior explicit consent.


And does Stop the GR Bullies use harassment as a tool? Oh, worse than that: some of what they say is actually libelous. Here’s a screengrab of their description of Kat Kennedy, a GR member and book blogger for Cuddlebuggery:



The inability of the poster, Athena, to distinguish between a reviewer speaking negatively about books in a professional capacity and the outright public slander of a private citizen by another private citizen is breathtaking, to say nothing of the fact that making a hate page is pretty much 101-grade material for how to be an internet bully. The rest of the site is in much the same vein, and where at least the original posters, whatever you think of them, have the excuse of (a) being in personal conversation with friends or (b) acting as reviewers, the site does not: its sole effect, despite its intended purpose, is to be vituperative in terms of language and downright sinister in its commitment to Googlestalking its targets, attempting to put up not only their names and photos, but details of their places of employment and personal circumstances.


I’m never gladdened to hear that some author or other has decided to quit Goodreads because of negative comments, reviews or any other reason. But Goodreads itself is an optional part of the author ecosystem – as, for that matter, is blogging, Tweeting, and every other type of social media. While Goodreads, as far as I know, lacks privacy controls (which is likely another contributing factor to the problem at hand: authors can’t opt out of seeing negative reviews or comments, while reviewers lack the ability to make the comment threads attached to their reviews private, both of which, if introduced as options, might go a long way towards easing the current tensions) other forms of social media do not. A blogger, for instance, has total control over whether or not to allow commenting on particular posts, while Twitter uses can lock their accounts so that only approved individuals can follow them. Anyone fearful of negative comments has the power to screen them out – and if, on the other hand, a reviewer or author blogs publicly with the intention of receiving responses, that doesn’t preclude them from encountering legitimately negative reactions. If someone writes a blog post and asks for comment, it’s not bullying to respond with strong disagreement: in the scientific world, that’s simply known as having an opinion. Similarly, if a comment makes you uncomfortable on your own blog, mod or ban away! It’s why the option exists. But don’t call it bullying when people show up and disagree with you – even if they’ve disagreed with you before – because that’s not what bullying means.


And as for the people who’ve created the website in question: you might want to stop and think about what you’re doing. As much as anyone you’ve taken issue with, you’re in violation of the Goodreads TOS, and hiding behind anonymity while attempting to strip it from others is a hypocrisy that seldom plays well on the internet. If you really want to change the culture at Goodreads, you’d be better off lobbying for the promotion of in-house or site-approved moderators, closed comment threads and a greater delineation of author and reviewer pages rather than engaging in essentially the same behaviour that’s got you so worked up in the first place. This whole situation may well get uglier before it gets better, and under the circumstances, it doesn’t seem like anyone is going to want to play nice.



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Published on July 10, 2012 12:47 • 4,899 views
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message 1: by Sparrow (last edited Jul 10, 2012 05:23PM) (new)

Sparrow I have been somewhat on the outside of a lot of this drama, but I have had content removed by goodreads myself, and I'd say they generally remove posts that people complain about. I don't necessarily agree with their reasoning, but I think in some ways it makes sense, so I was going to comment just based on what you've quoted above from the TOS. A lot of that language is based on U.S. law regarding internet service providers. If a provider is considered "passive," they don't have liability for content, but if someone draws their attention to certain content, that can create liability. So, at the point something is flagged, it's my understanding that goodreads has to decide whether it wants to be liable for the flagged content. Maybe all of that is obvious, but that is just to say I think there is a certain system and reason behind the otherwise kind of random and confusing process of taking things down or leaving them up on here. We had a conversation about the process a while back here: http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/4...

Amazon does it differently by reviewing each submission, so they effectively take on more liability, but I think facebook is more similar to goodreads. George Takei had a post about some of his content being deleted by facebook, so I looked into it a little bit, and it looked like they have a similar system of user-initiated review, though I could be wrong about that. That makes sense to me because it makes their management more passive, so less liability.

ANYWAY, this is a difficult topic, and I like what you said about it a lot. I am kind of a broken record about this, but I think it's easy for both sides, authors and reviewers, to claim the other can't understand the tragedy of their own side, and that the other side has all the power. That seems kind of needlessly dramatic to me because reviewers experience personalized hateful comments, just like authors do, so it doesn't seem fair for an author to say reviewers can't understand what that's like. And, conversely, even though it usually seems like authors have more industry connections and influence, I think it is easy for reviewers to hide behind the idea that all publicity is good publicity for an author, when that doesn't really excuse personal attacks on anybody.


message 2: by Becky (new)

Becky Their behavior, more than anything else in this situation, fits the definition of bullying to a T. These people should be ashamed of themselves, though it's pretty obvious that they have no shame whatsoever.


Experiment BL626
"Because bullying is not a synonym for argument, disagreement or pejorative reactions. Bullying is not a synonym for disliking someone, or for thinking their work is rubbish. Bullying is not even a synonym for saying so, publicly and repeatedly, in a place where that person can hear it – although that’s certainly unpleasant. Bullying is when someone with a greater position of power and/or possessed of greater strength repeatedly and purposefully attacks, harasses, belittles and/or otherwise undermines someone in a position of lesser power and/or possessed of lesser strength."
This, I agree so much. It really irks me when people throws the B-word around in a debate. There's arguing and there's bullying — not the same thing.


message 4: by Lord Nouda (last edited Jul 10, 2012 06:22PM) (new)

Lord Nouda I generally agree with the "other side". Certain reviewers continuously bait authors to respond and then jump on their backs when they have different opinions or *gasp* have the audacity to post (even a civil) response.

They even attack other users for posting logical arguments that trump their simple trolling and name-calling. "OMG a user posted some common sense, let's remove them from this conversation so they can't influence any of my underlings." They wield the censorship hammer to prevent this from happening.It brings to mind the actions of tyrannical 3rd world dictators who silence everyone who has a different opinion on things, which is extremely strange considering the fact they live in so called "democracies" that champion the individual's right to free speech. You'd think that they'd learn to respect the opinions of others like they want others to do with theirs.

It's nice to see that some people are taking steps to combat this.


message 5: by Sparrow (new)

Sparrow I guess to me certain behavior crosses a line on both sides. One of my author friends had a personal acquaintance write a review and accuse her of having weight issues, which was not an issue related to the book. That crossed a line for me. And I think revealing a reviewer's personal information when they've taken steps to not have it available crosses a line.


message 6: by Simon (new)

Simon Excellent post. Thanks for being so lucid and clear-headed.


message 7: by Jason (new)

Jason stopthegrbullies.com:

"sparrow"


Searching...

_________________________


No results found.
Try another search?


message 8: by Jason (last edited Jul 10, 2012 06:34PM) (new)

Jason Phew!


message 9: by Sparrow (new)

Sparrow hahaha. Yeah, I'm more about the online predators than crappy authors, though I do have a couple of pet vendettas.


message 10: by Keely (new)

Keely I suppose it's unfortunate for an author to feel so bad about the state of things that they quit writing, but seriously--have these people been on the internet before? If an author is so fragile that they can't read criticism without losing the will to write, then why seek out reviews?

Some people aren't going to like what you write, and when that happens, they will write negative reviews. They might swear or be flippant or degrade your skills, but none of those things are personal attacks. Critics do not seek authors out and force them to read reviews, because reviews aren't for authors, they are for the reviewer and their followers.

If you have to deliberately go out of your way to find the negative words, then that isn't bullying. However, if you post someone's personal information and wage a campaign of harassment against an individual, that is definitely bullying.


message 11: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Keely wrote: "If you have to deliberately go out of your way to find the negative words, then that isn't bullying. However, if you post someone's personal information and wage a campaign of harassment against an individual, that is definitely bullying."

It's sadly ironic that that website uses anonymous names and names people they consider bullies.


message 12: by Lord Nouda (last edited Jul 10, 2012 10:32PM) (new)

Lord Nouda Jonathan wrote: It's sadly ironic that that website uses anonymous names and names people they consider bullies."

It's called the internet. It's pretty much synonymous with anonymity. If we all wanted people to know our real identities, we would have added them on facebook (assuming the profile there is the real deal).


message 13: by Josephine (new)

Josephine (aurora lector) I write reviews meant for those that would consume the books I read. Despite the opinion of people close to me, I do not indulge in Author Cheerleading. Even if it is a close friend of mine, the book must at least be passable for me to mark it up a little more than it is worth. If I couldn't write honest reviews... that would take a lot of the worth of GoodReads away for me. I value the honesty and breadth of reviews I can find on here. Although I do occasionally get nervous when I post a review with specific contentions on a book who's author is active on this site.


message 14: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Lord Nouda wrote: "Jonathan wrote: It's sadly ironic that that website uses anonymous names and names people they consider bullies."

It's called the internet. It's pretty much synonymous with anonymity. If we all wa..."


That's my point. Why then go out and publicly name such other people if you're not willing to show your own face truly? That's why it's ironic.


message 15: by Becky (new)

Becky Josephine wrote: "Although I do occasionally get nervous when I post a review with specific contentions on a book who's author is active on this site."

And this exactly what annoys me about hypocritical behavior behind bloggers like these. Reviewers don't need to be quiet because they're afraid of the repercussions honesty might bring. If an author wants to put their work out there for people to read, they get to put their big boy or girl pants on and accept that not everybody will like their work. Writers shouldn't (and don't) need shady websites attempting to shame and intimidate people into having the same opinion.


message 16: by Jason (last edited Jul 11, 2012 04:15AM) (new)

Jason Lord Nouda wrote: "They even attack other users for posting logical arguments that trump their simple trolling and name-calling..."

You mean they argue with someone who disagrees with them? You've got to be kidding me!
"'OMG a user posted some common sense, let's remove them from this conversation so they can't influence any of my underlings.' They wield the censorship hammer to prevent this from happening."
Wait. You mean to tell me that they actually exercise the right to moderate posts on their own reviews??! By god, what is this world coming to.
"It brings to mind the actions of tyrannical 3rd world dictators who silence everyone who has a different opinion on things..."
You cannot possibly be serious about this statement. You are now comparing Goodreads to North Korea. Are you on drugs?
"It's nice to see that some people are taking steps to combat this."
And if by combat you mean attack personally, then yeah you're right that's exactly what's happening, but no no NO it is really not acceptable at all.

Look, I don't even know Kat Kennedy but she has every right to state her opinion about a book—positive or negative—on an opinion forum. And I've even read some of these "harsh reviews" and they are refreshingly honest...about the book. Nowhere does she attack the author's character and make ad hominem statements about how he/she is a drunk who ignores her kids. Seriously, get some perspective.


message 17: by Jason (new)

Jason And sorry for sounding harsh but somebody was wrong on the Internet and it needed to be addressed.


message 18: by Lucy (last edited Jul 11, 2012 08:38AM) (new)

Lucy Keely wrote: "I suppose it's unfortunate for an author to feel so bad about the state of things that they quit writing, but seriously--have these people been on the internet before? If an author is so fragile th..."

The author they're referencing is Cyn Byorg (or some such spelling). She quit, decided not to quit, and the entire time she had a book coming out that was not delayed in production in the least.

The conflict Cyn had with reviewers was about a blog post she wrote indicating anything less than a five star ranking was a grievous insult that may hurt your career some day if you want to be a writer because people will know you didn't have a life changing experience when you read their book! oh the scandal. There was more too it, but as far as I know it more or less ended with people listing her books as no-reads. People let her know how they felt about her stance, she locked down the thread, and the world went back to ignoring the C- ish list author.


message 19: by Sandra (new)

Sandra Jason wrote: "Lord Nouda wrote: "They even attack other users for posting logical arguments that trump their simple trolling and name-calling..."

You mean they argue with someone who disagrees with them? You've..."

Jason, you took the words right out of my mouth. Exactly what you said back to this person, who apparently thinks that 3rd world dictators like Saddam Hussein and Kim Il Jong are comparable to honest and witty book reviewers. I have yet to read a review from Kat Kennedy in which she attacks the author personally - I've only ever seen her discuss the book she was reviewing.

Lord Gouda or whatever your name is - please read over your comment again. Your agreement with a site created by bullies complaining about bullies notwithstanding, I would prefer you refrain from calling Goodreads reviewers and bloggers 3rd world dictators, m'kay?


message 20: by Sandra (new)

Sandra Jason wrote: "And sorry for sounding harsh but somebody was wrong on the Internet and it needed to be addressed."

description


message 21: by Shamus (new)

Shamus McCarty Thank you for writing this.


message 22: by Arthur (last edited Jul 11, 2012 11:31AM) (new)

Arthur Graham Etienne wrote: "Thank you for writing this."

Who's been bullyin' you, lil' E?

LEMME AT 'EM!!!


message 23: by Shamus (new)

Shamus McCarty Arthur wrote: "Who's been bullyin' you, lil' E?

LEMME AT 'EM!!!"

Nobody, she's talking about bully-bullies... Kinda but not really. IDK, you gotta read it dude.


message 24: by Arthur (last edited Jul 11, 2012 11:43AM) (new)

Arthur Graham Etienne wrote: "you gotta read it dude."

Yeah, I got it man ;-)

Personally, I ain't got time for bullies or bully-bullies. If someone disagrees with me, that's fine - provided they're respectful. If I disagree with them, that's fine too - provided I'm respectful in turn.

I do realize that "respectful" comments are generally hard to come by online these days, for all sorts of petty and asinine reasons, but I don't think I've ever encountered more of them in one place than here on GR.

Muthafuckas gotsta CHILL on both sides, but if they'd rather duke it out instead, let 'em - I'll be doing something more productive.


message 25: by Jules (new)

Jules Very well said.


message 26: by Katy (new)

Katy Lord Nouda wrote: "I generally agree with the "other side". Certain reviewers continuously bait authors to respond and then jump on their backs when they have different opinions or *gasp* have the audacity to post (e..."

But that is exactly what theses people are doing on their own site! They're complaining that they're being targeted by cyberstalkers, so they're stalking the people and posting private information on-line; they're complaining that the reviews are being manipulated by sock puppets and that's why they're stripping these people's anonymity, but they, themselves are hiding being fake names; they claim they're being attacked in forums and not allowed to speak their piece, but they refuse to approve comments that don't agree with them 100% (I've posted there twice, saying essentially "there are problems on both sides, but the solution isn't to do as they do but to take the high road" and neither were approved); they complain the reviewers aren't following the ToS yet they are blatantly ignoring it themselves by invading the privacy of other users. This whole thing needs to STOP and they all need to grow up, but these "Stop GR Bullying" people are NOT the victims here.


message 27: by Ginmar (new)

Ginmar I think it's interesting that it's mostly women doing this to other women----and the writer side of it is represented by a lot of authors doing macho man/doormat heroine type of crap. Women are supposed to be nice, ya see, and those awful reviewers are being snarky. I bet if it was male reviewers the writers would nod silently, take the advice, and rewrite everything. The reviewers are being judged by the code of Girl Niceness, because apparently there's only two speeds for women these days, as decided by other women: Nice or Bitch Who Asked to be Stalked Cuz She was Mean.

These are supposedly adult women.


message 28: by Becky (new)

Becky Ginmar wrote: "These are supposedly adult women. "

Unfortunately, adult women are often the worst perpetrators of sexism. I'm not saying this whole writer vs. reviewer debacle is motivated by sexism alone, but you're definitely right that these attacks have a very specific slant.

Accusing Kat of being a lazy wife and incompetent mother is a specific kind of insult, whereas if this blog picked a male reviewer and accused him of drinking too much, the general reaction would probably be, "so what?" There's an implication here that Kat is failing her intrinsic duty as Wife and Mother by blogging about books at all, and she should be off making dinner and doing laundry instead.


message 29: by Ginmar (last edited Jul 11, 2012 05:54PM) (new)

Ginmar Yeah, I'm reminded of this woman I worked with. I got mugged pretty badly on the way to work one day----knocked unconscious, teeth knocked out, black eyes----and the manager on duty was one of these types. (I had a boyfriend who was ten years younger than me, no kids, and so on. The manager had taken that traditional route and she let me know she disapproved of my...well, freedom, basically.)

Her response when I called in sick, due to the fact my hands and knuckles were all busted up from fighting back? "Well, no wonder you got mugged."

These 'writers' are very quick to slut shame over and over in their books and in their comments to reviewers and readers. The reviewers are the ones, interestingly enough, who point this stuff out in the first place, after which the writers dish out more of it.

Plus how many of these writers are writing pure Mary Sues? That explains a lot.


message 30: by Jason (last edited Jul 11, 2012 05:56PM) (new)

Jason For the truth about how Kat Kennedy cares for her children while she's busy blogging:

http://cuddlebuggery.com/2012/07/kat-...
↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑
(best post ever!)



message 31: by Miriam (new)

Miriam Her response when I called in sick, due to the fact my hands and knuckles were all busted up from fighting back? "Well, no wonder you got mugged."

Ugh, awful! But sadly not a huge surprise. I hope you don't work with her anymore, Ginmar.


message 32: by Foz (new)

Foz Meadows Ginmar wrote: "Yeah, I'm reminded of this woman I worked with. I got mugged pretty badly on the way to work one day----knocked unconscious, teeth knocked out, black eyes----and the manager on duty was one of thes..."

That is sincerely fucked up. What the hell is wrong with some people?


message 33: by Ginmar (last edited Jul 11, 2012 06:20PM) (new)

Ginmar I had been scheduled to work with food that day. My knuckles still have scars on them to this day from where I hit him, apparently, in the mouth and cut my hands open on his teeth. And the human mouth is extraordinarily dirty. Plus the black eyes. This would be in public, and one thing I learned in the wake of that attack was that if you were bloody but unbowed in public (and female) people assumed you asked for it. I got the most curious response from people; nobody assumed I was a crime victim. They all assumed I was some stupid cow in a violent relationship that I was too stupid to leave, and ergo, I deserved it. They made that very clear. That was on top of the witnesses explaining the cops why they didn't intervene: "We thought it was her boyfriend." To be in a relationship with a woman, apparently, is to beat her up, because women are so infuriating. Or something.

As for her? I'd been simmering for a while---she kept telling me I should get married, that my standards were too high, that I was too blunt, that I was too outspoken, and so on, and obviously she felt that my getting mugged was proof that she was right about me. I told her a few things that I'd been saving up for a while---we were almost exactly the same age, for example, but she was a Good Girl and I was obviously a Bad One. I quit on the spot. My injuries healed and hers were mostly self-inflicted, so I bet she's still working that kind of a job. She reminded me of Emenem's mom in Eight Mile.

Well, of course, if I did something wrong and that happened to me, then all she had to do was not be me and not do the shit I did, right? Standard. It made her feel so much better for not rebelling against anything the way she constantly snipped at me for doing. The only cost was to try and destroy someone. If I'd been someone different, I can't imagine how crushed I would have been.


message 34: by Lord Nouda (new)

Lord Nouda Katy wrote:
But that is exactly what theses people are doing on their own site! They're complaining that they're being targeted by cyberstalkers, so they're stalking the people and posting private information on-line;


Uhhh...no. We don't actually know who these "people" are. They haven't been complaining about being stalked themselves. They're highlighting the fact that certain GR members are harassing authors. Get your facts straight.

This whole thing needs to STOP and they all need to grow up, but these "Stop GR Bullying" people are NOT the victims here.

Obviously not. They're more like activists trying to stop the harassment culture on Goodreads. You don't need to personally experience the bullying in order to support the cause against it.

Sandra wrote: "Jason wrote: "And sorry for sounding harsh but somebody was wrong on the Internet and it needed to be addressed."

Someone posted an actual opinion that conflicted with yours? Quick, call the internet police! OR better yet, let's censor them!

Sandra wrote: "
Lord Gouda or whatever your name is - please read over your comment again. Your agreement with a site created by bullies complaining about bullies notwithstanding, I would prefer you refrain from calling Goodreads reviewers and bloggers 3rd world dictators, m'kay?
"


Awwww... more petty name calling? How cute. Keep supplying the lulz though, I could use the laughs.


message 35: by Foz (new)

Foz Meadows Lord Nouda wrote: "Katy wrote:
But that is exactly what theses people are doing on their own site! They're complaining that they're being targeted by cyberstalkers, so they're stalking the people and posting private..."


To be strictly accurate, what they're doing is highlighting what they perceive as harassment AND posting the personal information and RL locations of the perceived harassers online.


message 36: by Arthur (last edited Jul 11, 2012 07:15PM) (new)

Arthur Graham Lord Nouda wrote: "They're highlighting the fact that certain GR members are harassing authors [...] They're more like activists trying to stop the harassment culture on Goodreads"

How exactly does a bad review equate to harassment? When your feelings have been hurt by a bad review, does that automatically mean you've been harassed, or does it mean that you might need to grow a thicker skin? In any case, it would probably be much more productive to hone your craft a bit more before releasing it into the wild, where precious author sensibilities aren't considered quite so precious by the larger reading community.


message 37: by Lord Nouda (new)

Lord Nouda Arthur wrote: "Lord Nouda wrote: "They're highlighting the fact that certain GR members are harassing authors [...] They're more like activists trying to stop the harassment culture on Goodreads"

How exactly doe..."


You're clearly missing the point when you post something this misguided. You should re-read everything (and I don't just mean my post alone).


message 38: by Ginmar (new)

Ginmar Certain Goodreads members are not harassing authors. Some authors have been having temper tantrums over bad reviews and now they're stalking reviewers. Get your facts straight, because all you're doing now is making excuses for these people.

You're defending these people. You're entitled to your own opinion----but not to have it treated as a fact. And what you present is not the facts.


Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways To introduce a whole new level to this weirdly tilted thread, has anyone noticed on the "StoptheGRbullies" site the left sidebar of "We Recommend" titles?

Has anyone piped the fact that at least one of these titles is The Raie'Chaelia by one Melissa Douthit, Tantrum Tosser Extraordinaire, subject of a two-hundred-post long review thread moderated by Jim?

Permaybehaps this delicate little ogre is out trolling for mean, mean reviewers. It would make sense to me if she was at least one of the people who was involved with the site, though I have no evidence of this other than moral certainty.

And, as a side note, Arthur who posted above still speaks to *me* civilly even though I called his book Editorial: Bizarro Press Edition some very nasty and critical names and even publicly questioned his manliness.

Just sayin'


message 40: by Experiment BL626 (last edited Jul 11, 2012 10:11PM) (new)

Experiment BL626 Happy news everyone. The banners promoting anti-bullying organizations "Stop the GR Bullies" website recently displayed has all been taken down. http://www.anti-bullyingalliance.org.uk, http://www.bullying.org, http://projectantibully.com do not endorse or support in any way the "Stop the GR Bullies" website.

Proof: http://twitter.com/ABAonline/status/2..., http://twitter.com/Bullying_org/statu..., http://twitter.com/Proj_AntiBully/sta...

When three anti-bullying organizations are against the "Stop the GR Bullies" website, the argument that the "Stop the GR Bullies" are bullies themselves is very compelling.


message 41: by Arthur (new)

Arthur Graham Richard wrote: "Arthur who posted above still speaks to *me* civilly even though I called his book [...] some very nasty and critical names and even publicly questioned his manliness."

'twould be difficult indeed to stoop me to such depths, friend. I'm not sure if that makes you a bad bully or me a good sport, but either way I still love you ;-)


message 42: by [deleted user] (new)

Grrr!--"some of what they say is actually libelous" Too right! So if we don't like what people have to say about our books we have the right to make disgusting comments about them? Shame!! And how DARE they comment on her as a mother! Grr, grr, grr! Excuse me while I go and get this bad taste out of my mouth.


message 43: by Experiment BL626 (new)

Experiment BL626 Georgina wrote: "Grrr!--"some of what they say is actually libelous" Too right! So if we don't like what people have to say about our books we have the right to make disgusting comments about them? Shame!! And how ..."

This will help you: http://www.goodreads.com/user_status/...


message 44: by [deleted user] (new)

It certainly does! Thanks. Needed that! :):)


message 45: by Moira (new)

Moira Russell Really good, well-written, thoughtful post. Thanks for writing it and putting it up.


Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways Arthur wrote: "'twould be difficult indeed to stoop me to such depths, friend. I'm not sure if that makes you a bad bully or me a good sport, but either way I still love you ;-)"

More people would do well to take your attitude towards those critical of their works. *smooch*


message 47: by Leona (new)

Leona Arthur wrote: "Etienne wrote: "you gotta read it dude."

Yeah, I got it man ;-)

Personally, I ain't got time for bullies or bully-bullies. If someone disagrees with me, that's fine - provided they're respectful...."


"Muthafuckas gotsta CHILL on both sides, but if they'd rather duke it out instead, let 'em - I'll be doing something more productive."

LOL! Perfect comment, although it'll be hard for me to tackle the "doing something more productive," part.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Reading a book?


message 49: by JSA (new)

JSA Lowe Thoughtful, considerate, incisive, fearless, and persuasive—brava!


message 50: by Josephine (new)

Josephine (aurora lector) Becky wrote: "Reviewers don't need to be quiet because they're afraid of the repercussions honesty might bring."

I never end up hiding those reviews, I just make sure the arguments are sound enough to hold up in a comment war.


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