Friday, September 7, 2012

Wise Words from Professional Authors

Just today we've read two blog posts (plus comments) by professional authors that accurately reflect one of the main reasons for our dislike for the actions of what we've labeled the GR Reviewer Brigade. They've said it better than we ever could.

On Tuesday, Joe Konrath wrote a post called Writer's Code of Ethics. For those who aren't familiar with Joe, he started out commercially published and has since moved into--and is a big advocate for--self-publishing. He is very outspoken and often sarcastic. We recommend that everyone read the entire post, which is addressing the latest tempest-in-a-teapot of purchased reviews/sock-puppets/etc. At one point, Joe writes:

Morals and ethics are slippery slope, and I think muck-rakers are on par with sock-puppeteers as far as scum-suckers go.
The current level of sanctimonious bullshit on the Internet that makes me feel I'm required to publicly proclaim my innocence is repulsive.
Later in the comments, in response to another poster, Joe says:

...when outrage becomes a witch hunt, and when pointing fingers becomes self-pleasuring, it's time to take a step back and find some perspective.
Muck-raking and witch-hunting continually occur on GoodReads whenever an author breaks some unwritten rule of how reviewers think authors should behave. And we do think that many of the comments across as sanctimonious.

Barry Eisler, an author who should need no introduction, also wrote a blog post on Tuesday about his initial hesitant support for a message/blog post called No Sock Puppets Here Please. He has since rescinded his support of that site and explained why as an update to his original post. Here is the part of his post that resonated with us (there are links in the quoted text that didn't come through; see the original post):

Many of the posts on the recent revelations of deceptive practices in publishing felt to me like versions of "Shocked, shocked!" Others struck me as embarrassingly self-important and sanctimonious: yes, deception is ugly, and yes, the integrity of pretty much any system is important, but come on, people, we're not talking about whitewashing torture, or concealing safety problems in nuclear reactors, or a ginned-up controversy to persuade people that climate change isn't real. We write stories. We sell them online. Yes, it matters and yes, we need to ensure insofar as possible that it's done with integrity, but it isn't life-or-death. Perspective.
Again, please read his entire post as it is a thoughtful discussion of the issues.

Unfortunately, we don't see any immediate end to the witch-hunting, the finger pointing, the self-righteous exclamations of "gaming the system", etc. on Goodreads. We may not be a part of a currently-nonexistent solution--as one commenter pointed out--but we also don't see any solution unless the people involved take a long hard look at what they are doing and how their behavior is contributing to the current toxic atmosphere on GR.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

GR Reviewer Ridley Gets Spanked

We went in search of other snark-worthy events on GR tonight and found this juicy tidbit. GR reviewer Ridley apparently posted a non-review of "The Vampire of Vigil's Sorrow" by Cassandra Duffy, only to find out shortly thereafter that GR had chosen to "hide" the review. (Note that if you are on Ridley's friends list you might be able to see the original review here. Our link above is to someone else's quote of it.)

The non-review read as follows:
"When it comes to book bloggers/review websites, I think anyone who posts a scathing rant review of a book without receiving a giant paycheck as compensation are just bitter twats who should probably find a hobby that doesn’t involve tearing down artists who actually contribute something to the world."
You don't say...
The part in quotation marks is taken from Cassandra Duffy's first response to a blog post at the San Francisco Book Review called "Bad Reviews Suck...And Why I Don't Care" by Rachel Carsman Thompson. In subsequent conversations with other posters, Cassandra explains and softens her stance, but anyone following the GR reviewer mobs lately can see how her original post is like jumping into a piranha-infested lake after being mauled by a crocodile and while towing a piece of raw zebra meat. It's gonna bring the biters. Ridley was one of those biters.

Cassandra said, in part, in response to another poster:
Really? From what I’ve seen all over on Goodreads from them would qualify as deplorable behavior. Calling Katharine, who I assume is the lady who started the website, an alcoholic child abuser and black balling any author who says anything they don’t like.
Cassandra was, we're inferring, referring to discussion on Ridley's now-hidden review and didn't understand that commenters were actually making fun of the STGRB site, not making fun of Kat. From there the conversation goes like this:
Ridley: I’m only going to point out that the “Kat” we reference was one of the blogger/reviewers targeted by STGRB and we were alluding to that site’s smearing of her character wherein they accused her of being an alcoholic neglecting her children. You’re clearly reading above your pay grade here.
Cassandra: Why don’t you explain what any of that had to do with the book of mine you were posting it on?
Ridley: “Why don’t you explain what any of that had to do with the book of mine you were posting it on?”
What do you care about what a “bitter ***” like me does? Aren’t you busy in your little “intellectualism world” buying cars or something?
You seem awful preoccupied with impugning our honor for someone who proclaims to not care what angry reviewers have to say.
Cassandra: So in other words, you can’t explain why you’re posting non-reviews on books you haven’t read attacking the author personally?
Crickets chirping.... Go, Cassandra!

OK, so back to GR where the bitching is going on in the Feedback forum. Ridley has started the topic with:
Why has my review of The Vampires of Vigil's Sorrow been hidden from view? What was the problem with it? We can't have discussions about books we've shelved anymore?
There is some non-heated discussion of reviewing the author vs. reviewing the book. Then Patrick, the Community Manager, posts a general explanation of why reviews get hidden and says to Ridley:
Ridley, in this particular example, your review was hidden because it is not a review of the book, but rather of the author. One of the points in our guidelines will be "review the book and not the author." If you want to post something about the author's conduct or behavior, that's fine, and we certainly aren't going to delete those reviews, but they will not be shown on the book page. Your friends and followers will be able to read them, just like they always have, but the book page is and always has been for reviews of the book.
Go, Patrick! Ridley proceeds to whine:
To be fair, I'm reacting to the author's *words* and not her personally. I'm also not calling her names or anything else verboten by the TOS. I could see if I was spamming all of the author's books with 1-star ratings or otherwise gaming the system, but I'm not. I've shelved her book, and my friends and I discussed why in the comments.

So what's the problem? Surely you can find a way to allow readers to freely discuss books and the authors who write them that preserves the integrity of your star rating and review system. In light of the website stalking me and other GR users you must understand why we need to be able to discuss these sorts of things.
and whine:
Can't you just de-prioritize them below reviews with a rating? Why hide them entirely? Why isn't an author a legitimate discussion topic?
and whine:
I find it stifling. Authors should be fair game for discussion. Books aren't written or read in a vacuum.

Why not just leave the "reviews" on the book page and trust users to decide for themselves if the info has value? Why make that decision for them?
Kat Kennedy actually says something sensible (yes, yes, we know, we almost fainted with shock and spilled our lovely and rather expensive California pinot noir):
Honestly, I keep a DNR shelf to remind myself of which authors I don't want to read - and why. But I think it is perfectly reasonable for this to not show up on the book page.

No matter how much of an asshole an author is - and believe me, i know they can be, it is still reasonable that the BOOK page reflect the book. Book page is for reviews - good or bad. That's understandable.
Invasion of the body snatchers? Or just a brain transplant? Who knows... Ridley sulks and deliberately misses the point:
Kim wrote: "When looking at books to read I don't care one bit about the author, just the book." Then do what I do with image/gif reviews: skip them and instead read reviews in a style you do like.
Oh, Ridley. Attacking the author is not a "style of review"; it's ass-hattery. It's being a fucktard. If you want to criticize the author, find a more appropriate venue--like your own blog or Twitter--and have at. And yes, by all means, skip the reviews that are written in a style you don't like. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. And she sulks some more:
I guess we've just been reminded that authors and publishers pay the advertising bills, and not readers. Noted.
How much longer until she looks like the adult version of her avatar--minus the bird, of course? And then her  brain starts spinning:
How exactly do you plan to enforce this? All we have to do is mention the book in the review to get around this. How will you judge when a review has enough about the book to stay on the book page? How will you judge veracity?
How will you have time to do this *and* figure out why the site crashes every other time a user does something?
We can see Ridley's next review now (PROFANITY WARNING):
This author is a piece of shit who doesn't respect the ground that we reviewers walk on. She had the fucking temerity to express an opinion that we don't FUCKING agree with, and I really really regret that I could only get 200 of my closest GR buddies to shelve her book as a bratty-author-to-avoid because, like fucking 1200 would have been much better. But I did get a lot of them to blog about her and Twitter about how shitty she is and just let everyone they know that you should avoid this author at all costs because I think she's a shitty meanie. [lather rinse repeat several times] Oh, and I hated the heroine's first name.
The discussion continues but Ridley appears to have bowed out at the time of this posting--probably plotting with her bird how best to get around Patrick's and GR's decision to clean up the book pages. We'll keep y'all updated.

Update (that was fast, wasn't it?): Ridley's review of this Cassandra Duffy book is equally non-book-related but hasn't been hidden yet. Some discussion under the review is entertaining.


Oh, for crying out loud, folks. Anyone emailing threats to anyone else involved in the Carroll Bryant / Autumn Rosen incident, or anyone harassing, stalking, or otherwise behaving in any illegal manner over this incident, needs to STOP. Period. This goes for BOTH sides.

UPDATE:  We are getting a lot of traffic from Let us be very clear: we do not support that web site or its "mission". We do not think that critical reviews--even snarky ones full of gifs and profanity--are bullying. We do not support the posting of GR members' personal information. We absolutely do not support contacting or harassing GR members; see our side bar under "Pay Attention".

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Small Housekeeping Note

We've updated the comment settings to allow for anonymous comments. Discussion and debate--even heated debate--are fine, but threats of physical violence and statements that we, in our non-lawyerly judgment, believe to be libelous will be deleted. Thanks and we now return you to our regular programming.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Carroll Bryant v Autumn Rosen - Round 2

In a continuation of yesterday's drama, Carroll Bryant has apparently been banned from Goodreads as his blog is gone and he is not listed as being a Goodreads author. So the mob got their way.

Yesterday, Carroll took to his own blog (linked above) and posted a response to Autumn's accusations in a blog post called, "Autumn Rosen - When an Author Slanders". I am posting almost the entire blog post here because it is short, and the entire thing is relevant to this discussion:
Well, one of the things that contributed to my being banned from Goodreads was this slanderous comment made by author Autumn Rosen. Keeping in mind that I do not even know this woman. She does not know me. We have bever met, never spoken, nothing. And yet, she took it upon herself to slander me without provocation. I don't need to tell you what she said, you can see it for yourself below. But this is just one small tiny sample of what I had to endure with these Goodreads bullies. People who didn't even know me, slandering me like crazy. And might I remind you, with absolutely no evidence what-so-ever to support her slanderous claims. I will be speaking with my lawyer later in the week to discuss our options where this fine lady is concerned. If he says I have any kind of a case, I am going all the way. Meanwhile, I will also supply a link to her blog and maybe you could go and tell her what you think about her remarks. Okay? Great! LOL
Yes, we know. Carroll really means libel, not slander, but an attorney will fix that for him. This is followed by a screenshot of the post in question where Autumn says Carroll dreams of being a pedophile and implies he is a threat to "little" children. We remind our readers again that, even though a relationship between a 36 or 48 year old and an 18 year old seems icky, it is LEGAL. Further a pedopfile is someone attracted to prepubescent children, and 18 is way past that. There is also a link to Autumn's main blog (not on Goodreads). Then the text continues:
Here is her Goodreads author page if you want to talk to her there. Keep in mind that all of her information is publically available. Being an author, you do not have to be a Goodreads member to view her profile. You do need to have an account however to leave her a comment. All you have to do to find her is type in her name on your search engine and it will take right where this link will. Just promise me that you will be nice.
This is followed by a link to her Goodreads author page.

Please note that in the text above, Carroll advocates contacting her by leaving comments her public blogs and says to be nice. He does not ask people to contact her privately (via phone or email), go to her house, threaten her, etc.

Here is the comment Autumn left on the blog early this morning:
I am requesting you remove this page as you do not have a Good Reads Blog since your banning and you have not posted the 589 other posts that include your rants and threats of physical harm to others. You are directly targeting me when I had nothing to do with your ban other than to support others who started it days before I became involved. After reading what you wrote it was hard not to speak out as a parent, like the hundreds of other people but you chose ONLY me. That is predatory behavior, only further proof of the reason for your bans.
I feel physically threatened by your targeting and threats. Putting me out there, inviting people to come and look me up because all my information is public (it's not), when I only stated my opinion, directly threatens my family and safety. I am NOT publicly available to talk to by anyone not of my choosing. You do not choose for me, so this needs to end. This is harassment and cyberstalking.
Autumn has missed a few key points both in the blog post and in U.S. law as we understand it:

First, Carroll is most likely targeting Autumn because she is the one who accused him of being a pedophile and a predator; other posters were mostly just asshats. We will have to review our screen prints of that to verify.

Second, we're not sure what Autumn's definition of "public" is, but when we Google her name, her author web site, Facebook author page, and her Twitter feed all come up, as do any number of other profiles of her on Smashwords, Linkedin, and other places. We fail to see how this is NOT "public". These pages are clearly for promotional reasons (and nothing wrong with that), but that means they are out there for the public to see and interact with.

Third, Carroll's blog posts do not advocate causing Autumn harm. Asking someone to leave a comment on a blog does not "threaten [Autumn's] family or safety". Even though, she may "feel threatened", the law seems to be on Carroll's side. If every author, blogger, or other person who "felt threatened" when they were publicly criticized could stop the criticism, the entire premise of the First Amendment would be undone. Autumn's lawyer should really review Brandenburg v. Ohio, a Supreme Court case which says in part:
the constitutional guarantees of free speech and free press do not permit a State to forbid or proscribe advocacy of the use of force or of law violation except where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.
That said, we believe that Carroll would be better off advocating that others blog about the attacks on him on their own blogs or web sites, rather than advocating that those people contact the attacker through her public blogs and pages.

We will close with the fact that our hypocrisy meter is at full tilt by Autumn's ironic assertion that Carroll saying Autumn slandered him is harassment and stalking, yet her calling him a pedophile and child predator is peachy-keen. 

The post in question has been up and down this morning, but we do have screenshots of all this should those be necessary.

Update #1: Carroll has responded. He's not backing down. This looks like it could get ugly. Meanwhile, we also have reports that Autumn may be over on Absolute Write trying to make her case. We'll check it out as time permits.

Update #2: Carroll has removed the blog post referenced above.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Indie Authors Melt Down on GR

The latest GR blow up involves indie author, musician and blogger Carroll Bryant. He has made a couple of blog posts over the last few days discussing a relationship and break-up with an 18 year old book blogger, her and her friends' subsequent refusal to follow through on reviews of his book, and his posting of a list of bloggers who have supposedly done this (backed out after promising a review, interview, etc) to him and others. Without wading into the mounds and mounds of nastiness, name-calling, jumping to conclusions, etc.--by both sides in this argument--we did want to highlight two egregious meltdown by other indie authors participating in this thread.

First up is indie author Brittany Hiester--who has given an anthology that she appeared in a five-star review (where is the GR reviewer clique righteous indignation?)--decides to throw her comments into the fray, and we initially get this grammatically-challenged rant full of profanity and name-calling:
Dude you make NO sense as to what you did. Some girl that you know bullied you and got her friends to take part! No one said a damn thing to you until you started this whole thing. NO ONE EVEN KNEW WHO YOU WERE. The only person who knows you is Ira. Plus you're not only a Grade A jerk you're a grade A liar. None of those people from those blogs even know you! Plus I believe it seeing as your books have almost no ratings or reviews. If you want people to read those shitty shit shits you call books why don't you get connections like everyone else. Wait, too late you started this crap so now no one will review for you let alone buy your books. Even if they do review them now it'll probably only bash your book and brings it's rating down because of what you did. Besides I've seen the titles they are children's books yes? How about you wake up and open up your eyes wider and realize teenagers and adults don't read children's books. Oh and NOW after we said how you can't spell you come up with that excuse that the letters on your keyboard are faded out. But if that's so true how come there was an "e" at the end of the six on your blog. How stupid do you think we are? Oh yeah that's right you think we're so stupid because some people wouldn't go buy your poor, dusty, cobweb infested garbage! Oh and I'll keep saying this too FEEL FREE TO FLAG THIS ONE TOO! I know every time you delete my comment it's only because you know I am right and I embarrass you to the core.
Wow, that sure was a professional way for an author to present herself, no? Sure makes us want to read her book. [That was sarcasm in case you missed it.] Next come implications of sexual abuse of a minor and drug use:
Ohhh a lawyer. I bet you have same lawyer as Jerry Sandusky.
Damn right he's in prison. Just like this sick drugged up hypocrite should be. I love how we're all being called hypocrites for bullying when he did it before all of us decided to fight back.
Brittany's next two comments are merely childish arguing as opposed to the previous, possibly actionable language:
Fighting back for those bloggers that you're lying about. They don't even know you! You attacked them first by threatening to post that list so we're standing up for them against you. I love how you're saying you're on the phone with a detective when in reality you're not. You just say because you think people will be scared away. Well not me. Seriously go ahead and get your "detective". We'll all be waiting
Oh and I hope you know all those blog you blacklisted are getting new followers now. That's the only good thing about this shit. Oh no I cursed are you gonna get your detective after me for that too? XD
More allegations of drug use, plus more profanity (does an author really think that cursing and ranting is the best way to attract potential readers?):
They only take this stuff seriously if it's happening amongst high schoolers. That's why I was saying this crackhead is full of just as much shit as those blog posts he posted. Plus we have no physical contact so nothing will be done. And he's gonna look like a fool because he started it even if a police officer did bother to take a look at this.
Then the crazy-sauce hits the fan. Brittany needs to look up the definition of bullying, because she misuses it here. Ordinarily this would be funny, but since there are so many false accusations of bullying, harassment, and stalking floating around on GR lately, we feel that it is important to use terms correctly.
Yea you never mentioned anyone's name, but you mentioned those bloggers and it's their site that they own. So you are still mentioning them either way. You're right we did choose to come here. I don't recall anyone saying that they didn't. You wanna bully those bloggers that you've lied about? This is what you deserve! You're a big cry baby who can say all the shit he wants, but when it gets thrown back in your face you demand we leave you alone. How about you leave the people who've done nothing to you alone first and I mean those bloggers incase your drug infested head forgets like last time! This is why we are still coming at you! Because you did wrong in the first place by bullying those bloggers. Come on where's that detective where's that police officer I am waiting!!! 
Yikes!! If we had a GR account, we'd be putting this author on our own batshit-crazy-authors-to-avoid shelf. Our batshit-crazy-reviewers shelf would be larger, though, if it were possible to create one. Next comment:
So what you screen shot it. Where is your detective? Come on bring it! Feel free to screen shot mine too for all I care little boy. Hey check this out we're not playing either I'm sending this shit. Good thing we can still kinda see your name. Tsk tsk tsk what a poor troubled old fart you are
Name calling? Check. Profanity? Check. The previous comment occurs in the middle of a discussion of Carroll calling the police and/or his lawyer after another author accused him of being a pedophile--we have that coverage below--and the next comment is in reply to Carroll posting the comment was not criminal according to the police.
No shit she can't be arrested dippity shit that's what we were telling you before. Now maybe you'll be a good little boy and listen us better. Like I said I could care less if you screen shot mine. Tons of your comments have been flagged not only that, but your account is in the process of being shut down. I will have a nice day thank you! I'll be eagerly awaiting for your Jerry Sandusky detectives to contact me. I really hope you're not planning to go to the playground across the street from your house to watch those little kids.
Note that there are even stronger implications of pedophilia in that comment. In our opinion, although we are not lawyers, Brittany is getting very close to defamation herself here. That and she is just being an all-around asshat:
See told ya he's a class A liar. Not that I wasn't right before of course. And we'll leave it when we feel like it how's that?
Her final parting shot before the entire blog and its comments were deleted was the following:
Dude did you even read wtf we said. Clearly not otherwise you would remember who we said you were bullying and how exactly you were doing it. I refuse to repeat myself. Not only can you not spell, but I guess you can't read either. How in the hell are you an author? Whoever helped you must be just as much of a dippity shit as you are. This shit may be in a post, but it's still bullying no matter how you look at it. Stop making excuses for yourself for why you do this shit because none of us are gonna stop until you stop. You started it in the first place with your retarded post. I bet you have almost no money and no life. I bet you still live in your parents basement and all you do all day is eat, sleep, shit, and harass people all over the web. Unlike you I have a life and will be leaving for work in half an hour.
Brittany's line "how in the hell are you an author?" is particularly ironic given her own writing challenges so amply demonstrated by the previous comments. Brittany, honey, if you ever read this, please look up the proper use of commas. We learned how to use them in the eighth grade. Just sayin'... Overall, we recommend staying as far away from Brittany as possible.


Now let's expand on something we mentioned earlier: the accusations of pedophilia. Indie author Autumn Rosen--who, like Brittany, has five-star-rated one of her books without being called out by GR reviewer clique and has "liked" positive reviews on her other book (something Kiera Cass was castigated for merely considering doing)--also has a meltdown and posts comments on the same thread. Her first post just plain gets if wrong, about both "bullying" and "children" being involved:
This is just sad. Bullying children on the internet is pathetic at best, just stop before you are in over your head. "Karma's tool" is just a tool. What you post on the net is forever marked upon your digital soul. R.I.P. Carroll Bryant you have sealed your fate on G.R. I feel very sorry for you.
Then comes this doozy:
He's a joke with no punchline. I hope the ban goes through. One less sad example of writing goes into the wind and one less child predator around to spread hate when he gets caught lying about his age by some other poor unsuspecting under aged victim. He dreams about being a pedophile and even blogged about it. Please Good Reads have the sense to ban this horrible person. It may just protect a little girl or boy.
And that's the post that apparently sent Carroll to his lawyer. His relationship was apparently with an 18-yr-old--a legal adult--and whether he is 36 or 48 or 98, that is still a legal albeit rather squicky relationship. None of the girls was accused of being friends with was prepubescent. Further, Autumn's assertion that Carroll dreams of being a pedophile and blogged about it materially misrepresents the gist of the blog post. Even more telling is that Autumn deleted this post shortly after she made it. More whinging from Autumn:
I reported you to Good Reads and we can take this to court if you like. Threats will not bring you readers. Your character has been spread all over the internet without my help.I posted screen shots for Good Reads in the report and they can deal with you as they like. I have you for slander on your site already. We can compare notes and maybe bring in this girl who has so wronged you. Yes we can make this as large as you like. The law is on my side. Free speech is beautiful isn't it? I only wrote what I've read from your site and your words.
And after Carroll reports that he is talking to his lawyer:
Well my spouse is a police officer and I have broken no law in my state or country. Have fun with your chat in Ohio. I live in Britain most of the year and I don't have to tell you where. Catch me if you can, Carroll.
Her husband is probably only well-versed in criminal law not civil law, and aren't defamation and libel torts rather than crimes? Gotta hand it to the delusional chick though, she decides to "stick" to her guns:
I do think you are predatory and I stick by that.
Her last comment, again before the mass deletion, demonstrates her lack of understanding of the difference between opinions and something stated as a fact:
The law is on my side. My opinion of you cannot be found defaming. The end.
My lawyer said. For a statement posted on the Internet to be defamatory, it must be a statement of fact, by definition opinions posted on the Internet cannot be defamatory.
So please come on. You going to pay to fly over here? You would have to come here to sue me and file your complaint here. I guess you can afford that being an international best selling author.
Her lawyer is correct, to the best of our knowledge, about defamation. However, this is typically a matter for a court to decide--whether a statement is a "fact" or an "opinion"--and frankly since we are not lawyers, we can't offer any more insight. But here's the practical lesson: If you call people stupid or asshats or make other judgments about their character, you're probably pretty safe. But when you accuse a person of being a criminal--and a particularly loathsome type of criminal, at that--you better expect them to respond harshly. Even by calling a lawyer and suing you.
So what do we have from today's now-deleted thread: a personal relationship that turned sour and spilled over onto the Internet + two rabid indie authors rapidly destroying their reputations be behaving like reactionary asshats. Just a typical day in the GR cesspool.

GR Reviewer Hypocrisy

Back in January, before we took a hiatus from the craziness of GR, we wrote a post called Acceptable Author Behavior. We realize, because of a comment on that post, that we should give a specific example. We will also point of the hypocrisy of GR reviewer brigade.

Goodreads author and reviewer Lissa Bilyk has several books listed on Goodreads, including The Edge of Darkness.  The reviews on Lissa's book include:

---A five-star review by her boyfriend/fiance/possibly husband by now, Archer. Archer does not reveal his close personal connection with Lissa in the review. Archer is a frequent and vocal complainer about "bad author behavior". Hypocrisy, thy name is Archer.

---GR member Stephanie Sinclair, also of Cuddlebuggery Book Blog, of posts a three-star review. She at least posts a semi-critical review and mentions that Lissa is a GR friend of hers, but remember, according to the GR Reviewer Mantra: author's friends are not allowed to review them.

---GR member Kira, whom we have blogged about before, leaves a five-star review with the disclosure that she beta-read the book.

---Angela, another of Lissa's GR friends, leaves a four-star review.

And those are only the names we recognize as having connections to Lissa and the militant GR reviewer clique that we have mentioned before; there are yet more reviews we have not tracked down the source of.

We take from this that if the GR clique is hypocritically inconsistent. When Kiera Cass asks friends to merely like positive reviews, she was excoriated over 30 some pages of comments, yet when a friend/member of the GR clique has friends and family members write positive reviews, she is....nothing. Crickets chirping. It's not a problem.

Friday, July 20, 2012

A Promo for Free Speech and First Amendment

We logged in today to see a little spike in traffic from a couple of sources: Goodreads and a place called StoptheGRBullies. Interesting. Most of our traffic is from other places. Naturally we were curious.

Off we went to the latter first to see what was up. In the comment section of a recent post, someone included a link to our latest post about Kat Kennedy saying that it had more "more information about Kat Kennedy's attacks on Rebecca". Based on the name of that web site, we are guessing that the folks behind the web site believe that Kat is a bully and that she should stop posting.

We here at Goodreads Follies believe in the First Amendment and believe that a healthy society cannot thrive without allowing the widest possible range of speech (short of direct threats, incitement to violence, etc.). Our position is that even though Kat apparently cannot read and/or comprehend as well as we would hope, she still has the right to post her "interpretation" of events. It is not bullying to criticize another, even if that criticism is ill-reasoned.

The Goodreads traffic appears to be coming because of a user update. Someone has found us again. Hello to Goodreads members! Stay tuned for more to come.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Kat Kennedy Gets It Wrong

Yes, we're back and bringing more snark and reviewer bad behavior. We found today's snark on Goodreads, and even though it occurred in another place, it seemed like good fodder. (Note this was written some time ago but just recently posted, so if any of our links don't work, please let us know)

GR reviewer Kat Kennedy writes for a blog called Cuddlebuggery Book Blog. Back On April 2 of this year, Kat wrote a post that took pot shots at Rebecca Kennedy, author of "The Forever Girl". According to Kat, Rebecca "ever so inno­cently tweets [a] neg­a­tive review" on Amazon "which, sur­prise, sur­prise, means that Hamilton’s small fan­base heads over to attack the reviewer." Snotty tone? Yep. Ridiculous implication that the author is responsible for her fans actions? Yep. 

Kat continues, "On another review, the author and some of her fans try to reach out and try to explain where the reviewer is getting it wrong." However, there's one large problem with this statement: the author never told the reviewer she was "getting it wrong". In fact, Rebecca repeated several times that the review was just fine with her. So this statement is a blatant--and we would argue, deliberate--misrepresentation of the author's actions.

The self-righteous post continues with, "Hamil­ton later believes that peo­ple are pur­posely down­vot­ing pos­i­tive reviews and so does the pro­fes­sional, clear-headed response of…requesting peo­ple upvote the reviews?" and is followed by some Twitter screencaps. To answer Kat's question:
There is nothing unprofessional about an author
asking her fans to like positive reviews.

We don't know where Kat gets this asinine idea that an author can't ask people who like her reading to share their opinions by writing reviews and liking other reviews that share their opinion. But she's off in some odd only-readers-who-don't-like/know-authors-get-to-have-opinions left field. Again.

Next Kat brings up a review on Fangs for the Fantasy and claims that Rebecca tries to explain to them why they are "getting it wrong". But, oops, Kat forgets to mention that the "getting it wrong" refers to a discussion in the comments regarding use of the word "crazy" that ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH THE REVIEW. And frankly, the way Rebecca got lectured to, we're surprised that she managed to maintain as polite and considerate as she did. Please go read the comments for yourself if you don't believe us.

Kat says this leads to an argument--which is actually close to a correct characterization form Kat for once--and angry tweets. Note that both parties in the exchange said some heated things, however, and this STILL has nothing to do with the book or book review.

Then Kat writes: "
But this is all fine because, as Hamil­ton explains in her own words below, she wasn’t argu­ing with the review or reviewer, she was argu­ing with the per­son!  Never mind that the entire dis­cus­sion over the term “crazy” began with Hamil­ton cor­rect­ing the reviewer over their opin­ion of her rep­re­sen­ta­tion of minor­ity groups…"

No, Kat, that Rebecca was NOT arguing over the book review or the opinions expressed in the review, but about the site owner's personal bad reaction to her use of a word in a comment--so her statement is correct. The italicizing simply shows that Kat doesn't understand that distinction. And Rebecca did not correct the commenter's opinion, but rather she clarified how she (Rebecca) meant the word. Big difference and to say otherwise is mischaracterizing the conversation.

Kat's blog post continues, and we'll pick up the dissection of its errors in a subsequent post. But would you want to read book reviews by someone who continually either doesn't read something correctly or reads correctly but misrepresents something? Not sure we would.


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Acceptable Author Behavior

We pose the following question to the GR reviewer posse:

Author A receives a number of 1-star reviews on GR which he/she claims are retaliation for something he/she posted on the Internet. Which of the following do you find as ethical and mature responses:

A. The author rates his/her own book 5 stars to balance out all those 1-star ratings by "trolls" and explains in the review that he/she has done so because of the "vindictive" ratings.

B. The author's significant other posts a positive review of the book.

C. The author's friends and "beta readers" post positive reviews of the book.

D. The author doesn't respond to the 1-star reviews because GR is a site for readers not authors, and authors and authors' friends and family posting positive reviews (or liking positive reviews) is gaming the system and therefore unethical.

E. A, B, and C.


Alright, we're back.

First, our answer to the above multiple choice: We find (A) and (B) unethical, but we would not be opposed to the  author or author's significant other simply liking the positive reviews. We find (C) ethical because friends aren't immediate family (and immediate family is TOO close to the author to be posting actual reviews for our comfort). We are also fine with (D) - the author not responding at all, not even liking the other reviews - although not because responding is "gaming the system" but because responding is futile and might come across as hyper-sensitivity. See "The Skinny on Us" page for more info.

Now, what do we think the GR reviewers would say? Easy, (D) of course!

Let's make the question more interesting then. Let's say Author A is also a GR reviewer and that the author's significant other, friends, and beta readers are also GR reviewers who contributed to some of the recent YA mega-complaining-threads. Now, GR reviewers, how do you answer the above question? Do you denounce Author A and the others just like you've denounced other authors recently? Or do you let these actions "slide" because you are all GR friends?

Since this question has now left the realm of the hypothetical, we already know the answer.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Reviewer Cassi Jumps to Conclusions

Once upon a time, GR reviewer Cassi aka Snow White - who was a frequent participant in the train wreck covered in our last two posts - reviewed Ashfall by Mike Mullin. She gave it 4 stars originally, then dropped it to three because:
I'm adjusting my review to reflect that the author of this book was very rude to me on a social network. ...I'm not going to hash out all the details of my encounter with him BUT he was rude, judgmental and did not apologize. For me that is enough for me to not be as generous and no recommend his book. So I'm lowering my rating to 3 stars for bad manners and moving on with my life. 
The author sees this and writes:
I apologize--I didn't realize I was rude to you. That was not my intention. In fact, I have no idea what I did. If you don't mind telling me, drop me an email at [email redacted by us] lease. I'd love to know so that I don't inadvertently offend anyone else. 
Cassi reponds:
You called me prejudice on google+ and I told you that I was offended there. You should have apologized when it happened. I am not prejudice and you were being judgmental.  
Curious, we proceeded to Google+ to see what all the fuss was about.

Mr. Mullin posted a link on his Google+ account to a news story on a gay advocacy site. The site's headline for the story was "Lesbian Couple Saves Dozens of Campers from Norway Massacre". Just the type of story a gay advocacy site would find relevant for its audience. Perfect. Cassi, however, is much put out:
I studied journalism and think the headline is in bad taste. People are people. No matter color, sexual orientation, nationality or religion. Those things should not be used to get hits or increase newspaper sales. Yellow journalism.
A gay advocacy site is highlighting the heroism of a lesbian couple, and Cassi finds this to be "yellow journalism"? Mike responds with some general comments about prejudice faced by gay people:
We know that all that it takes to perpetuate racism (and presumably homophobia) is to not discuss race. Without a headline and picture, the reasonable assumption would be that the couple is hetero, since most Norwegians are. People are not just people +Cassi [last name redacted by us] , they're a diverse amalgamation of many identities. Implicitly privileging one possible identity (heterosexuality) is perhaps the most common and insidious form of prejudice gay people face.
We don't necessarily agree with all of this, but as we said, it's polite and on topic for the discussion. Cassi is not to be placated. She responds, in part, as follows. Our comments about her comments are in blue italics, just so's you all know.
They did that to get hits which I think is unfair to gay people. They are not sideshow attractions to draw more readers and to create a controversy. [It's unfair for a gay advocacy group to try to highlight issues that might be interesting to gay people to draw hits from gay people? What twisted logic is that?]... I have no issue if the article said "Margaret & her partner Alicia did such and such." [The original news article that this blog post was based on did just that, and the headline never used the word gay or lesbian.] (I did not read it [Clearly. And it's pretty stupid to argue about what an article did or didn't say who you have no clue WHAT the article did or didn't say.]  because I do not encourage yellow journalism). I am not saying that the article should hide who they are but it should not USE their sexuality to create a controversy where there shouldn't be one. [Good, because neither the original article or the blog post did that.]
Mike persists in the face of folly:
If you don't put anything in the headline, it's the same as if you put "Heterosexual White People" at least in the U.S. and Norway, because that's the dominant group. I can feel and sympathize with your anger at being called out on prejudice. It's a hard thing being confronted with your own biases. I know. I've been there.
Cassi gets defensive - "I am not prejudice. I have seen first hand newspapers using someones sexuality." - and relates her experience with her cousin passing away and what we think is her dissatisfaction with how that was handled (her explanation is unclear). But now we can see that this is a sensitive issue for her and perhaps that is why she previously jumped to conclusions and reacted badly. Then she says:
I think I have lost all respect for you. Actually calling people prejudice when you don't know them at all?
Kind of like the GR posse of YA reviewers - of which Cassi is one - calling authors stupid, morons, pieces of shit, cheats, etc. when they don't them at all, except by their words. Well, all Mr. Mullin has to go on are Cassi's words. Live by sword, die by the sword (...what, you thought we'd get through a whole blog post without using an adage?...silly reader)

Cassi has one final post later on whinging about how she didn't know that headline came from a gay issues blog (which was entirely her own fault, we would like to point out). Instead of apologizing to Mr. Mullin or acknowledging her error, she makes the incredibly ironic statement, "I hope he learns not to judge others quite so quickly and jump to conclusions based on very little information." Like Cassi just did with the headline issue?

Finally, back to Cassi's statement in her review on GR that she told Mr. Mullin she was offended: no, she did not in any of her posts on Mr. Mullin's comment thread ever say that she was "offended". 

Logic fail for Cassi. 


It seems that Cassi is aware of this post and has written, "...someone is trying to bring me into the drama because I changed a Mike Mullins ranking..." and "he called me a homophobe". Wrong, wrong, and wrong. First, Cassi was already heavily involved with the GR drama. Second, we are highlighting Cassi's actions because the hypocrisy and jumping to conclusions demonstrated here are reflective of the behavior of some GR reviewers that we find appalling. 

Finally, Mr. Mullins never called her a homophobe. He said that he was calling her out on her prejudice and confronting her with her biases. There is a difference between having an unconscious or unrealized prejudice or bias and being a "homophobe". Big difference! But this is yet another example of someone's words being altered and that someone being criticized for supposedly writing those altered words. It's called the straw man argument.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Reviewer Wendy Darling - Part 2

[Edited July 20, 2012 to add: If you are joining us here because of links from StoptheGRBullies, Goodreads, or the Huffington Post, please read today's post.]

We're back. We couldn't stay away from the train wreck. 505 comments because someone called someone else a bitch on the Internet.

We do feel a bit bad at this point about including Wendy's name in the titles of these posts as she is one of the more clear-headed thinkers on these threads.

Reviewer Lucy - who has a private profile so we can't see what else she has been up to - wins the award for the most pretentious and self-righteous post of the thread:
The agent was not the only one who acted inappropriately and behaved unprofessionally. It's wrong to shift all the blame to her when the author was ALSO trying to screw with the rankings on an independent book review site. Absolving her of guilt like it never happened sends the message that this is acceptable behavior. Screwing with the rankings of the reviews because your publisher couldn't buy you the top slot is pathetic. It's sad that this author, Leigh Fallon, and apparently you too can't understand what's intrinsically wrong with scamming a system for a leg up at readers and reviewers' expenses. 
Keira didn't call a reviewer a bitch. She didn't correct her agent or ask her agent to delete that tweet the moment she saw it. She let it pass. The only thing she did was not say it herself. I won't be throwing her a parade anytime soon. 
We really needed a LOLcat for this. We'll have to dissect this bit of tripe in another post.

Wendy herself tries to shut down any disagreement, although we find this sad rather than laughable:
What also irritates the shit out of me over stuff like this are the fellow GoodReads users and bloggers who are always kissing ass and feel the need to weigh in on other people's reviews, policies, etc. You have a right to disagree with anything I say, but talking about someone publicly is always in bad taste. 
By publicly calling you a bitch this agent is essentially calling any reader who doesn't love this book a bitch.
Others express their sympathy for all that Wendy is going through and how it's so terrible that she's being attacked. /eyeroll

Everyone in this thread needs to grow the fuck up.

Getting called a bitch is not being OMG!!!!ATTACKED or BULLIED or some other over-the-top personal slight. Geez. It was rude, yes, but a mature adult would GET OVER IT.
Crap, we're going to have stop reading that thread again.

Reviewer Wendy Darling Joins the Fray

[Edited July 20, 2012 to add: If you are joining us here because of links from StoptheGRBullies, Goodreads, or the Huffington Post, please read today's post.]

We had hoped that perhaps we could enjoy GR this morning without more whinging, but unfortunately that was not to be. Yet another reviewer and her cronies are upset that someone was mean to her on the Internet.

Today's reviewer is Wendy Darling. She posted a one-star review of The Selection by Kiera Cass. The review seemed well-written to us. We haven't read the book, so we can't say whether we agree with it or not.

Let's start with the most clear case of over-reacting: the one on Wendy's blog (which her review on GR links to). An anonymous commenter writes, "You gave such a bad review for a book you didn't even read all the way though??? Well, I did read the entire book and it was absolutely, positively, wonderful!!!!" Wendy's first response is polite, and she's blase about it in the comments thread on the GR version of the review. We applaud that.

The anonymous commenter continues with, "I thoroughly enjoyed this book and await for the next one with anticipation. But, like you say, I'm entitled to my opinion and you to yours. I do hope that people don't dismiss a good read based only on your opinion though, it was well worth the read. Are you an Author?" Pretty obvious where this silliness is headed, yes? One red herring complaint from some over-sensitive authors is that someone gave a book a bad review because they are jealous competing authors. 

Wendy gets snippy in return, "'s very hard to have a conversation with someone who seems to be very insistent upon making sure her opinion is known on someone else's review. ...". While we acknowledge that Anonymous was being stupid, Wendy's response seems to indicate that she is not open to discussion of her reviews.which is a hair's breadth away from the lately-cropped-up attitude on GR that anyone who questions a reviewer's review is either an author or a troll. And that's the attitude that has us so annoyed.

Anonymous can't leave well enough alone and has a final parting shot, "... I'm going away now and not coming back because I'm having a hard time having a conversation with someone who is a Disney Character." Commeter Cillian decides to feed the troll (remember this name; she'll most likely be the subject of a future post). Then another anonymous commenter then jumps to the conclusion that the first anonymous is really the author and that those silly comments constitute bullying. This comment is even more offensive to us. As we've said many times before, really bullying is serious and calling a couple of silly comments on a blog post "bullying" trivializes it.

Back on the GR review, Wendy posts a link to a Twitter conversation between Kiera Cass and Elena Roth, who is later revealed to be Ms. Cass's agent. Ms. Roth is upset about the order in which reviews are posted on a book's GR page because (we think) that Wendy's was the first review.  Ms. Cass initially dismisses Ms. Roth's complaint. Ms. Roth goes on to call Wendy (assuming hers is the review in question) a bitch and says that she went in and "liked" the positive reviews. Ms. Cass says that she may also like the positives, then moves on another topic.

And the reviewer crowd goes wild! Highlights include:

Hannah Joy demonstrates remarkably hypocrisy, by calling Ms. Roth a "piece of shit" (in our opinion, this is worse than "bitch").

Julianna accuses Ms. Cass of calling Wendy a "bitch", even though Ms. Cass didn't.

Sharon thinks the author is immature...for what we're not sure.

Chelsea blames Ms. Cass for Ms. Roth's words. Sans also accuses the author of "asshattery" for comments that Ms. Roth - not the author! - made. So does Erika.

Reviewer The Holy Terror, one of the worst of the whingers, writes, "... it's really, really dumb of Cass to act like this." Like what? Ms. Cass wasn't the one throwing around the epithets.

Ace's comment is particularly repugnant for misusing the term "bullying".

Stephanie calls on of Ms. Cass's old blog posts tasteless because she (Ms. Cass) actually found some good humor in the early version of Wendy's review. Liking a review is tasteless?

And the comments continue. We can't continue to read and post because the exaggerations, lack of reading comprehension, and general nastiness on the part of many commenters is extremely tiring. 

A quick review of Twitter also shows that Jane Litte of DearAuthor has once again commented on this matter. She accuses Ms. Cass of trying to "jigger" the ratings and "down vote" a negative review. Sorry, Ms. Litte, GR doesn't allow you to "down vote". The most intellectually disturbing comment by Ms. Litte is where she implies that friends of Ms. Cass cannot possibly actually like a positive review of her book. You know what, people don't automatically lose their right to have an opinion simply because they know and like an author. Anti-free-speech much?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Reviewer Booker - GR's Newest Jackass

Reviewer Booker is GR's newest jackass. This troll account was created this month, and his (?) activity consists solely of posting personal attacks on author, Jamie McGuire. And other reviewers crowd goes wild with approval. Because personal attacks on authors are A-OK, but personal attacks on reviewers are a cardinal sin. Booker apparently also trolled Ms. McGuire's blog.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Reviewer Stephanie vs Leigh Fallon

Reviewer Stephanie wrote a scathing review of Leigh Fallon's Carrier of the Mark, which we found quite entertaining (we have no particular love for Twilight or Twilight clones).

The author is upset by this review and vents privately to a couple of friends in an email. Ouch, it's got some nasty insults in it, and maybe she was having a really bad day. Personally, we have learned over the years to never write anything in an email that you wouldn't to see the light of day...but that's another story. However, the author considered this private correspondence to a couple of friends. See her reply to Stephanie right below the text of that email in the link. What are friends for if not say stupid shit to that you would never ever repeat in public?

Unfortunately, the author's friends are not very good friends, and the email is forwarded to other people. One of those people sends a copy to Stephanie. Then Stephanie posts the private correspondence publicly on her status. We can understand that her feelings might be hurt - although see our post about writing scathing reviews means expecting backlash) - but the posting of private correspondence is not the solution.

The usual reviewer fan-girl flurry ensues. The general consensus seems to be that it was unprofessional for the author to vent in private as well as in public. For example:
This was unprofessional of her...  
This author's antics with regard to a negative review are immature, vindictive, puerile, unethical, and - most of all - unprofessional. Her publisher should know about this. Disgusting. She's now on my "never read" list. 
Authors ...  need to grow a thicker skin and come to the realisation that not every single person who reads their book is going to love it. Pathetic is a bloody understatement
Reviewer Adam Archer - yes, the one from our earlier post - chimes in. We're not quoting his drivel here.

Reviewer Kira also responds, still upset from her own brush with an upset author, and accuses the Leigh Fallon of bullying. Considering that Leigh is not the one who sent the email to Stephanie, this is clearly not author bullying. Using the word "bullying" is, in fact, trivializing real instances of bullying.

But let's look at the other thing that's got the review fan-girls stirred up. In the email, Leigh asks her friends to find others to up-vote the positive reviews on Amazon. This is seen as unethical:
You should MOST CERTAINLY do it, because that's definitely playing the system. Authors should NOT be getting their little minions to do this kind of shit.
I feel like reporting this to Amazon. She's screwing with the system. I can't help it if others felt the same way about her book! 
We're going to apply some common sense here and disagree with knee-jerk reaction. The author didn't ask her friends to mark the negative reviews as unhelpful. That we would have (vehemently!) disapproved of because that's not what the useful yes/no buttons are supposed to be for on Amazon.  Unless of course the negative review was just a "this book sucks" because that's negative and useless. Lots of negative votes on a review can also affect a user's rank, so down-voting reviews that contain useful information but that you don't agree with is, frankly, petty.

However, the author instead asked people to mark the good reviews as helpful.  We know that's a fine distinction, but the author isn't asking her friends to criticize Stephanie or do anything to damage her ranking on Amazon. And to us the author's friends and family have just as much right as anyone else to find the positive reviews helpful as any other reader. They can't have an opinion just because they know the author? What if they've read the book and liked it? Don't they have the right to say so?

And of course in the backlash in all of this, reviewers have done just what we disapprove of an up-voted negative but clearly useless reviews so that they now appear above more detailed positive reviews. For example, these two reviews were posted after the GR brou-haha:
Another sad Twilight remake. Lord, when will this end? Alternatively, if you love Twilight and hate originality - you will LOVE this book! - Posted Jan 5, 2012
I don't read books where the author copies another book. This author to me is sloppy, way too many similarities to twilight. Very lazy! Don't waste your time with this one. If you wanna read it id suggest you just go reread twilight. - Posted Jan 6, 2012
And both of these now show as "more useful" than all of the positive reviews. Yup, who's screwing with the system now? Where is the condemnation from reviewers about these reviews being up-voted? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Anyone?

Too bad a great review had to get marred by the posting of private correspondence. Incidentally, look the email link again. The author apologized to Stephanie even though what Stephanie read was never meant for her to see. If we were the author, we'd be looking for better close personal friends, ones that know better than to forward emails around the Internet.

We won't be reading Carrier of the Mark, but we won't be burning the author in effigy either. We also hope Stephanie keeps writing awesome reviews.

Kudos to Reviewer M!

Yes, yes, yes. Reviewer M, we love you and agree wholeheartedly. We think you may have even said it better than us:
What bothers me about many of these reviewer + fans verses author + fans is they all seem to follow this pattern: 
1) Reviewer posts a review, harboring the presumption that his/her words are somehow "final" and "off limits" to authors/author's fans. This is a very ignorant presumption in the first place. Reviewers should understand that they are sharing their private opinions with the public. The public is free to respond. If reviewers are uncomfortable with addressing particular people about their reviews, I feel the reviewer owes it to their audience to post disclaimers indicating they don't acknowledge comments from authors on their reviews and that author comments are unwelcome in their blogs, threads, or what have you. 
2) The author of the work reviewed responds to the reviewer. The quality of the response may range from very civil and professional to heinous, but all the responses get lumped under the same label, namely that the author DARED to reply to the reviewer's comments and that is SO NOT ALLOWED, even without any disclaimer or other reasonable notification of the reviewer's feelings on this matter. 
3) Before you know it, the "injured" reviewer is posting all over Goodreads and anywhere else s/he can find how she just HATES it when an author "attacks" her reviews. The reviewer's fans chime in with their "How horrible and unprofessional!" and "Authors have no business responding to reviews! Reviews are for readers only!" and "I'm adding this author to my "boycotted authors list." And so on.
4) Alternatively, the author may not respond directly to the reviewer or his/her review, but may opt to post a blog entry or LJ entry or something either ranting about "mean reviewers" or ridiculing bad reviewers in some way. Inevitably, this gets back to the reviewers and their fans and they use this information for yet another "Authors are so horrible" powwow. 
QFT. There's a bit more. Go read the whole thing.

Reviewer Kira and "Tempest" by Julie Cross

GoodReads reviewer Kira wrote a review of "Tempest" by Julie Cross based a a few sample pages offered as a free preview. One of the characters in the sample pages is portrayed as man-hating, and another character refers to the initial character as someone prone to "feminist" rants. Kira objects to what she sees a stereotypical depiction of feminists as man-hating and angry.


The quoted text actually just implies that one man-hating girl identifies herself as a feminist. It never says or implies that all feminists share that same view. Without actually reading the rest of the book, Kira also asserts that the book, as a whole, misrepresents feminism:
The attitude to feminism that this book has is the same as the masses; that all feminists are angry, man-hating bitches with nothing better to do than to moan. Apparently we're all lesbians, too, because the only reason anyone would be a lesbian would be to escape men - it wouldn't simply be because they're naturally attracted to other women. Why, no! How preposterous!
I am also extremely insulted by this book's quite overt insinuation that because I am a feminist, I'm a misandrist.
[As an aside: Kira's entitled to her own opinion of it, but this is a bit silly IOO. If you haven't read the whole book, you can't know how the issue is ultimately dealt with. You can complain about the scenes that you did read, but any further speculation is just...guessing and frankly, we're not impressed by guessing.]

Dan Krokos, author of another book, pops in (big mistake!) and asks what is actually a very pertinent question: "What did you think of the rest of the book?"

Then the discussion goes off into how the text supports harmful stereotypes, confuses feminism and misandry, etc., by reviewers who, mostly, haven't read the book and can't speak reliably about how the book portrays feminism beyond this single scene.

Dan gets accused of trolling by another reviewer, even though he was not the only one to ask what Kira thought of the rest of the book.

Kira feels paranoid because OMGWTFBBQ authors might actually read her review. Later she accuses unnamed authors of stalking her. For reading and responding, I think, to publicly posted reviews. This is about where we flagged this thread for inclusion on this blog.

Another reviewer mentions that reading the entire book might be a good thing. The first bandwagoner to respond to him states, "The narrative supports the 'feminist = evil man hating shrew' stereotype through other characters, including Holly, and especially through the characterization of Lydia herself. She's a walking stereotype practically designed to legitimate it." This bandwagoner also states that she hasn't read the book either, just the few passages that others have posted. 

Julie Cross, the author of the book, jumps in and is very graciousKudos from us, Ms. Cross!

And this only on page 2. The entire response thread is 8 pages and almost 400 comments long. There's much talk of abuse via Twitter, never-ever-OMG-never reading certain authors again, author bashing, high-horse lecturing by reviewers, whinging, etc. Many reviewers tell Kira how sorry they are that, OMG, poor thing, someone said something bad on the Internet about her and/or her reviews, and at the same time saying bad things about authors/author's comments. A couple of other authors make gracious appearances (kudos to them as well!). Dan Krokos eventually apologizes for posting anything at all in response to the review.

Even though we've read a few linked up blog posts, we can't find any screenshots of Dan Krokos' Twitter posts that supposedly "bullied" Kira. Kira says that she does not have a Twitter account and thus could not have been contacted by Dan via Twitter. Cyber-bullying is a very real problem, and it bothers us to see that term misused here. Posting a few stupid comments about someone somewhere on the Internet is, well, stupid, but it's not bullying or harassment.

The whole debacle was tiring to read. Authors shouldn't jump into review threads to complain, period. But it is the height of hypocrisy to write aggressive and hostile reviews and then act surprised and outraged when you receive some hostility in return. If you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen.

Talk about a tempest in a teapot.

(OK, enough cheesy sayings...)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Reviewer Adam Archer vs. Free Speech

Good Reads reviewer Adam 'Archer' thinks that people who are "bigots" shouldn't be allowed to publish.

Let's ignore for now that Adam's definition of "bigot" is "someone who had the temerity to post an opinion different than mine about a controversial subject". We're just glad Adam wasn't around when our Constitution was written.

Jane Litte vs Jamie McGuire on Twitter

This is not strictly a GoodReads folly, but we just recently read this entire exchange on Twitter and our respect went up for Jamie McGuire and down for Jane Litte of DearAuthor. We think we've got the entire exchange:


Jane: I'm posting my review on Sat of ur book & it contains everything that you seem to hate and despise in a review.

Jane: so if your google alert pops up with a link to a site called you probably don't want to read it.
Us: What was the point of this taunt?

Jamie: promises to fry me in her upcoming review on Dear Author. And that's okay.

Us: FWIW, we would have interpreted Jane's comment the same way Jamie did.

Jane: I am not going to fry you at all but reading your blog post and tweets, I have committed every venal sin you hate act rvwrs.

Jane: My review was written last week before I even read your blog post or your tweets.

Jane: but I did mention my concern abt the portrayal; that the characters were in a potentially abusive relationship

Jane: I felt like it portrayed a very unhealthy relationship in a fairly positive light.

Jane: But I also said I liked it. I recommended it to other readers. I said your voice was strong and compelling.

Jane: But in light of what you've said about reviewers and reviews, shouldn't I be concerned?

Us: So Jane objects to Jamie responding to reviews and reviewers. Yet when
Jamie tries to disengage from Jane (a reviewer), Jane sends six more
tweets trying to start an argument.

Jamie: I've read your posts and I understand your viewpoint. I don't understand your anger, but you don't need me to.

Us: Jamie again tries to disengage from the conversation without arguing.

Jane: I have no anger toward you. It's a complete disappointment but it's not anger.

Jane: Just like your last glib tweet was a disappointment.

Us: So how does Jane want Jamie to respond? She's unprofessional
if she argues with reviewers and glib if she doesn't argue with them.

Jamie: I've read some disappointing things myself lately.

Jane: Let me be clear. My reviews about the book only. I don't "fry" any other and I take exception to the accusation that I would

Us: Then maybe NOT taunting the author would have been a better decision.

Jamie: So the warning about the Google alerts was meant as...?

Jane: You had interacted w me in the past. I wanted to give you heads up that my review contained all the things you hate. 

                                 Us: Pretty weak excuse.


We do think that Jamie was wrong to criticize the reviewers personally in her blog post (see previous post), but we also remember what our Mom used to say: two wrongs don't make a right.