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Discussions & Debates > Trolling Feminist Literature

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message 1: by Gary (last edited Aug 03, 2014 06:24AM) (new)

Gary | 1471 comments "It may contain some passages judged by one Amazon customer to be "brilliantly written", but that isn't enough to spare Monica Byrne's The Girl in the Road a two-star kicking. The reason? Byrne has committed a political sin in presenting the scientific reality of climate change – or according to this customer "a fantasy future where it turned out that Global Warming fanatics actually got something right". Worse yet in this user's eyes, Byrne's depiction of women fighting back against male violence makes her guilty of misandry "thick enough to plow". Climate change and gender politics, two hot-button issues for reactionary conservatives who have found a new outlet for their hate speech – online reviews."

Full article:

(Note: I've added Ms. Byrne's book to the bookshelf for the group.)

message 2: by Alicja, ἀπὸ μηχανῆς Θεός (new)

Alicja (darkwingduckie7) | 772 comments Do rating really matter that much? It all averages out in the end, and I've has books barely above an average 3 that became my all time favorites and highly rated, recommended, and much loved books that I hated (like Memoirs of a Geisha). I'll read reviews and trust my friend recommendations before I look at the average rating.

Plus, trolls are easily spotted and expected on highly publicized books.

And harassment of women online, men also get harassed when they speak out about controversial topics. I don't want to minimize the harassment online but I don't think women are the only ones when politicized topics are concerned. I have an online friend who makes atheist YouTube videos and there is definitely lots of harassment on the message boards and through e-mail, death threats, rape threats, etc. and he is a guy. I've seen on here atheist books gets 1 stars for being atheist works and atheists giving Christian books 1 star because of the topics they write about.

There is this one book on here which title suggests it is highly homophobic and I am sure most of its 1 star reviewers haven't actually read it. Yes, I think the position is abhorrent but that doesn't means it isn't harassment.

Trolling is part of life online. It is obvious most of the time. And if trolls get organized, then you get organized to fight back. And I resent that women are painted as the victims here, as if other minority groups aren't facing the same thing. Instead of complaining, we should all (all the minority groups targeted) band together and support each other, fight back.

message 3: by Sparrowlicious (new)

Sparrowlicious | 160 comments Hmm. Well, it's no secret that trolls exist and they're spouting sexist nonesense to annoy people.

The funny thing is, though, that while the goal of these trolls might be to give the book a 'bad name', they won't make people avoid it. The more attention they draw to it, the more people will be interested in reading it. Either because the negative reviews puzzle them, or for other reasons, like seeing if it really is 'this bad'.

It's the sort of group dynamic that causes people to read books like Twilight, just because so many other readers were 'chagrined' by how bad it is.
Btw, this doesn't work the other way around with the author getting annoyed. Usually, that will make people boycott their work.
About two years ago a German author got up into a reviewers face by threatening her for her negative review of his book. Even worse, the owner of the publisher he's with also contacted the reviewer and threatened her as well. Of course nothing happened, except that people now boycott the author's books and you can bet all his 5 star reviews are from sockpuppet accounts.

message 4: by Lara Amber (last edited Aug 22, 2014 10:58AM) (new)

Lara Amber (laraamber) | 25 comments Alicja wrote: "Do rating really matter that much?"

If one is looking for a specific title and is taking the time to read through multiple reviews, no. If someone is browsing and looking at a list of suggestions and a computer program is deciding in what order to list them based on an algorithm that takes average rating into account, then it definitely matters.

For example if you went under "Parenting" and then "Adoption" on Amazon to look for a book, one of your sorting options (besides new and popular) is average customer review. Considering that in ebooks alone over 1,000 titles are being sorted, a really good volume could be deeply buried because of fake/issue driven reviews.

message 5: by Gary (new)

Gary | 1471 comments I happened on this article a while back. Here's an interesting effect:

"Good reviews, as expected, increased sales across the board, with gains from 32% to 52%. For books by established authors, negative reviews caused a drop of about 15%, on average—also not surprising. But for books by relatively unknown authors, bad reviews caused sales to rise, by an average of 45%."

Full article:

I suspect there's a "How bad could it be?" factor that this article doesn't really address. Plus, there's a quote from Gore Vidal that I'm fond of: "Shit has its own integrity." I'd describe it a little differently, though. Sometimes people seek out something of low quality in their literature for the same reason they will crave fast food, reality TV, cheap beer or whatever pop idiot is warbling into a remixer. Quality is a form of variety, and people like variety more than refinement.

message 6: by Matthew (last edited Aug 22, 2014 01:22PM) (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) | 156 comments That is just reprehensible. Interpreting climate change and a feminism stance as pure politics? Who would do that, if not for a person who is very strongly inclined in the opposite direction. A climate change denier and someone who has a problem with female equality is hardly fit to accuse someone else of having an agenda.

But to put all of that into a two-star review, to penalize someone for not sharing your own politics. I know the urge well enough. But its as unprofessional as it is petty.

message 7: by Alicja, ἀπὸ μηχανῆς Θεός (new)

Alicja (darkwingduckie7) | 772 comments Gary wrote: "I happened on this article a while back. Here's an interesting effect:

"Good reviews, as expected, increased sales across the board, with gains from 32% to 52%. For books by established authors, ..."

Its like a car crash... I've read some books because of how terrible they are supposed to be (and I have books on my list because I am expecting them to be so terrible that it'll be awesome).

I think for established authors people figure that fans tend to read and if fans in general don't like the new book then maybe they won't like it either. But for new authors any publicity is good publicity and many times people will read to find out what the fuss is about.

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