Patrick Brown Patrick's Comments (member since Feb 22, 2010)

Patrick's comments from the Goodreads Feedback group.

(showing 141-160 of 903)

Aug 15, 2012 11:52AM

1 Madame X wrote: "I do, however, think a little bit more transparency on this subject is in order. For example: if they're deprioritizing reviews for being "controversial", that's really problematic to me. Ditto if they're deprioritizing for being negative."

We are not doing that in any way. Period.
Aug 15, 2012 11:29AM

1 willaful wrote: "Given that staff has to be involved anyway, there is no legitimate reason for GoodReads not to notify people if their review is hidden. The only plausible reason for this policy is because they're ..."

Good suggestion. We can do this moving forward. For reviews you've already written, feel free to send me a PM and I'll let you know if you have any reviews that aren't being displayed on the community book page, and if so, which ones.

@Lisa: "2. Re authors: While it's fine to mention Goodreads groups as a place to talk about their books, it's crucial they be told they must read all group rules and introductory posts, and check all the threads, before they post as anybody other than a Goodreads' reader. Every group has different rules for authors, including sometimes specific places for author promotion posts, and some groups allow for absolutely no author promotions."

Also a good suggestion. That's in all of our existing messaging to authors right now except the guidelines, so it should go there, too. I'll make a ticket to add a note to check individual group rules.

On a more general note, please note that it doesn't matter if we receive a thousand flags on a review. If it passes the guidelines, it will be shown on the book page. That aspect of the system is not "game-able," as some have been suggesting.

Thanks again for the feedback, everyone!
Aug 13, 2012 08:18PM

1 Please ask any questions/make any suggestions you have in the existing guidelines thread. Thanks.
Aug 13, 2012 08:17PM

1 For simplicity's sake, please just ask your questions in the existing thread.
Aug 13, 2012 08:16PM

1 We don't need separate threads for each of these. Please just post your suggestions in the current thread.
fake accounts (56 new)
Aug 13, 2012 12:04PM

1 Jessica wrote: "I have another author I suspect has added some dummy accounts. I messaged Patrick several weeks ago about it, but haven't heard anything. Is there someone else I should message?"

Sorry Jessica, I didn't see your message for some reason. I'm looking into those accounts now, and they will also probably be deleted.
Aug 13, 2012 10:53AM

1 BunWat wrote: "Thank you for responding, Patrick. Can you tell us anything about procedures for notifying people if their reviews are going to be removed or hidden? Many - myself included - would like to know. I ..."

Good question. We are going to add a note that will show at the top of the review page to the person who wrote it, but we're not going to create a notification or direct message for it. There's two reasons for this. One, more than 99.999% of reviews are showing on the community book page right now. So it is exceedingly rare for that not to be the case. Creating a notification for something that happens so rarely is not feasible.

Two, we assume most people will go back to their review page at least once or twice after posting it (I realize this doesn't help people who want to know whether any of their old reviews aren't showing on the community book page, but going forward, it should make it easy to find out).
Aug 13, 2012 10:28AM

1 Thanks for the feedback, everyone. We had come company-wide business early last week that drew my attention elsewhere, so I apologize for the delay in responding.

Unfortunately, I can't really go through the thread and give a point-by-point response to every question. I did see someone wondering about people who shelve multiple editions to re-read something. That's fine and you've got nothing to worry about there. Our team is very, very good at figuring out what is someone "re-reading" and what is someone just trying to inflate or deflate a book's average rating.

I recognize that the phrase about "quality" sounds highly subjective, so we may look to rephrase that so it's clearer. What we're trying to say is that we are going to continue to curate the book page in the same way we have since the site was founded.

In the end, every flagged item is going to be looked at individually. This is how it's always been. We've always had to look at any given case and say "Is this over the line or not?" That hasn't changed. All we've done here is try to make the line as clear as possible. But of course it's always going to come down to our team's opinion of whether something is over the line or not.

Thanks again for your feedback, and sorry for the delayed response.
1 Thanks for reporting that. We'll take care of it.
1 This is the sort of customization that might be possible:

It's already offered to ad campaigns. It doesn't have any impact on how the reviews are sorted on the page or anything like that, it just lets the author or publisher feature a video or links more prominently and it removes competing advertising from the book page.
Aug 06, 2012 07:24PM

1 Thanks for the questions. With regards empty reviews where there are comments about the author...If a conversation starts about why you shelved a book a certain way, that shouldn't have any bearing on the review's status at all. If your post is just a "see comments" where you are essentially trying to get around the review filter, that's different. In the end, all of these are going to be looked at on a case-by-case basis by our team, so I can't say definitively that it will always be one way or the other.

Kaetrin wrote: "This is probably a stupid question but I'm going to ask it anyway. What do you mean by "commercial" as in "Commercial reviews are not allowed and will be deleted"?

That refers to pay-for-review services that authors sometimes pay for. We don't accept reviews from those services.

Ridley wrote: "I just want to say that your new guidelines emboldened the person(s) behind the Stop the GR Bullies site to redouble their efforts to intimidate and harass those of us they've targeted.

I'm sorry you feel that way, Ridley. That's not how we see it at all.
Aug 06, 2012 05:58PM

1 Okay, guidelines are up. Thanks for your patience. I'm going to close this thread, so if you want to discuss them, you can do so in the new thread.

One note: There will be a message that shows to the author of the review only that the review didn't pass our guidelines and isn't shown on the community book page, but it isn't ready yet.
Aug 06, 2012 05:56PM

1 Thank you to everyone who gave us feedback in the other thread. As promised, we’ve posted our review guidelines. These are the guidelines we’ve always used when looking at flagged reviews and evaluating whether they require action from us or not. What we’ve never done is make those guidelines public in an explicit way.

Please keep in mind that 99.96% of all reviews are never flagged for any reason. Of those that are flagged, each is carefully examined by a member of our team. And remember, we never delete or filter reviews for negativity alone.

We’ve also refreshed our author guidelines in order to better emphasize our standing key recommendations on having the best experience on Goodreads. This now incorporates all of the points that we’ve been making in presentations to authors.

Thanks for helping make Goodreads the great and vibrant community it is. We’re confident posting these guidelines will only make that community stronger.
Weird Secret Sauce (145 new)
Aug 06, 2012 03:54PM

1 This thread is getting a little heated. There is already a thread to discuss what kinds of reviews belong on the book page, so please keep that discussion to that thread. If you want to discuss the review sorting algorithm, you can, but please keep it on-topic and not about each other. If we all can't do that, I will close this thread. Thanks.
Aug 03, 2012 02:48PM

1 Just a quick update:

We will post the guidelines on Monday (For reasons that have nothing to do with the guidelines, this is an extremely busy week and weekend for us, so it will unfortunately have to wait until then). I know we suggested they would be posted this week, so I apologize for the delay.

A couple of quick clarifications:

-- Flagging does not automatically remove a review from the book page. Every flag is reviewed by a human staff member, and only things we deem to violate our guidelines will be dealt with at all. Keep in mind that the number of reviews flagged is miniscule. We get more than 15,000 reviews posted every day, and fewer than 0.04% of those are ever even flagged. And in the end, we clear the vast majority of those, too.

-- We can see who flagged a review, and we take very seriously any abuse of our flagging system.

-- Someone in the thread was asking about making your own reviews private. That is not a feature we will be offering at this time.

-- For those of you who have asked for a way to know if any of your reviews are not being shown on the community book page, we will have a way for you to find that out.

Again, thanks for your patience. I'm confident that once the guidelines are publicly available next week it will clear up a lot of the confusion in this thread.
Aug 02, 2012 05:59PM

1 Lobstergirl wrote: "Thanks, Patrick - but that's only GR authors. It doesn't include, for example, J.K. Rowling who has 39,885 fans."

Ah, yeah, I don't think there is such a list.
Aug 02, 2012 05:56PM

Jul 28, 2012 08:39AM

1 Madame X wrote: "I saw Patrick Brown at a talk today and he more or less promised all the authors in attendance that they wouldn't have to worry about "trolls" on their book pages.

He implied that they'd intervene..."

Thanks for coming to my talk! It was my first time at RWA and I have to say, I was blown away by everyone's passion and interest. It was a great crowd. You should've come up and said hi at the end. I hung around most of the day, talking to people about how they use the site. I would've loved to have heard from you.

I'm sorry you felt my hypothetical example was condescending. The point of it was to stop authors from commenting to "correct" a reviewer who misread something about their book. People have a right to their opinions, and they have a right to be wrong about something in the book and not to have the author or the author's friends attack them for that. Hopefully that came across.
Jul 26, 2012 10:40AM

1 First, let me say thank you all for your comments and concern. Our community is what makes Goodreads a great place. We recognize that, and we are not going to lose sight of that. We wouldn't be releasing our guidelines or making this move towards greater transparency if we didn't think it would be beneficial for the Goodreads community.

There are a lot of misconceptions in this thread, so I'll try to clear a few of them up here.

1. We are not deleting reviews. You will be able to see these hidden reviews everywhere except on the book page (and if you're friends with the person who wrote it, you'll still be able to see it there). You will be able to comment on it, link to it, etc. What we are doing is simply keeping the book review space on the book page about book reviews. If you can't see something right now, it's because of a bug that will be fixed later today.

2. We are definitely not "siding" with authors over reviewers. Again, this is not a new policy. In addition to our review guidelines, we'll be simultaneously releasing a revision to our Author Guidelines. The main purpose of that revision is to make it clear to authors that they are using Goodreads in a professional capacity and will be held to a higher standard than our other users. If an author doesn't conduct his or her self with the utmost professionalism, they will be removed from the site. It's as simple as that.

3. The review guidelines only apply to reviews. They do not apply to groups, lists, discussion topics on the book page, the writing section, etc. There are plenty of other places to discuss author behavior on Goodreads if that's what you want to do. You can even continue to do so in reviews and we will not delete them, we're just not going to show them to non-friends on the book page. Again, we're already doing this with reviews about the author.

4. A review of the book that is an honest review that also involves content about the author's behavior in the public sphere is fine and will not be hidden.

5. We have not heard from a single advertising client about this. This really has nothing to do with advertising or revenue.

I realize that a lot of this will be cleared up when we post our review guidelines, as they detail reasons why reviews might be hidden, but they are not quite ready for public consumption. They are guidelines we've been following internally ever since I started here, though, so they are not really new policies, simply a clarification and amplification of our policies.

Again, I appreciate all of your comments and concern. We steadfastly believe in your freedom to express yourselves, and we give a variety of avenues to do so. We hope you'll continue turning out brilliant, insightful, hilarious, and moving reviews.
Jul 25, 2012 06:36PM

1 karen wrote: "does this mean that every time we talk about an author in terms of their ability or craft, that will get hidden, too, or is it just for our assessments of their character as a human being? because i frequently say things like so-an-so is very good at doing this or that. is that not relevant somehow?"

No, those kind of reviews are going nowhere. In fact, one of the points in our guidelines is to encourage creativity in reviews. What we're talking about are very specifically reviews that have no content about the book and are purely about the author (and not the author's writing). And again, this has been common practice on Goodreads for years, we are just striving to make it more transparent now.

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