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.


  1. This thread (on GR)proves the the mob mentality and anyone who agrees with GR (Patrick) is getting completely flamed. They act like it is their "duty" to inform the world about these "bad behavior" authors and that everyone should listen to them and if you don't you are called an idiot. I for one don't care what the author has done I want to read a review about the book itself not the authors behaviors or beliefs.

    1. Too bad not everyone shares your beliefs exactly. God forbid that some people don't want to throw away their money to an author whose beliefs they vehemently disagree with.

    2. I would liken this to having the knowledge of Walmart's business practices, or that Chick-Fil-A might be supporting homophobic organizations. Armed with that knowledge, I can then make an informed decision whether I want to support these businesses with my hard-earned money.

      Or liken it to the government deciding that sugar is bad, and that the size of soda bottles must be regulated, so I can't buy more than 16 oz at a time, because clearly I'm not smart enough to know that too much sugar isn't good for you.

      This is pretty much the same thing. Yes, they snark and some comments and/or review may be inappropriate, but I think I'm intelligent enough to make my own choices. I don't need anyone telling me otherwise. I have the option of ignoring those reviews, you see.

    3. As the saying goes, "Facebook is for stalking, Goodreads is for trolling."

  2. So sorry…but…eh! Don’t you think Ridley had a point when telling the public about this C.Duffy quote? Maybe she posted it wrongly (as it is not related to the plotline of the book she posted it on), BUT Cassandra called everybody that writes a bad review without being compensated a “retarded lowlife with too much time to spare”.

    The time we, the reviewers have to spare is…well, used to buy books. Review too, but first we buy and read books. In other words, we buy THE AUTHOR'S books. We give them their money, their bread. Their art would be meaningless if we do not buy it. And if you are a bad writer (I am talking in generals, not about miss Duffy whose books I did not read or comment on), then heck…you may get a bad review. It is your own fault. Or your editors. Then again, if you spit on the reviewer community BEFORE they even buy your books, or review them, maybe, just maybe, they will get upset with you calling them names and decide to not read any of your books.
    In other words…some authors - like Cassandra Duffy - are their own worst enemy. They poke reviewers in the eye for no reason at all. She is the one who name called but does not want her, or her books bashed……..really, this is all an enchanted circle. If you do not bash – you don’t get bashed. Not really.
    So….gosh! Every time you want to – get a cookies instead.

    And btw, this whole post? It is bashing. You are bashin Ridley. And you are doing it in a sarcastic way….the same way you and some of the authors dislike in reviewers. The term for this is….hypocrisy.

    1. What we are mocking is Ridley's whining about not being able to post non-reviews of books where reviews are supposed to be posted and Cassandra...and Patrick...and Kat (go figure!) calling her out on that.

      And yep, we admit it. We're snarky.You can call us hypocrites if you want, but at least we're snarky from our comfy law chairs on the sidelines instead of being in the middle of the mud pit flinging wet globs with the rest of the crowd often without any real knowledge of we're fighting about.

    2. "Their art would be meaningless if we do not buy it."

      I absolutely disagree with this. Someone's product may prove financially unprofitable if I or others don't buy it, but my buying or not buying that product has nothing to do with its meaningfulness.

      Also, I don't care if they hide reviews that aren't really about the book. I only want to read someone's opinion about the book not the author. In the case of those non-reviews, the reviewer and his/her friends can still view it so it's not really an issue for me.

  3. Oh for crying out loud. Yet another site that wants to define the rules for how readers review and chat about books over at GR? I appreciate you pointing out that you do not support the 'mission' of the other site, although I can't particular see much difference: Shotty, twisted journalism? Check. Targeting Ridley? Check. No particular or constructive solution? Check. And if this post doesn't go live, we can add censoring opposing comments so you appear to have real fans. Check.

    You might also note that GR is updating policies for authors as well. To quote Patrick Brown:

    "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."

    That statement explains why so many of you pissed off authors were kicked off of GR, because you failed at acting professional. I feel terrible that Carroll Bryant is getting death threats, but his lack of professionalism on GR was astoundingly BAD.

    1. Oh, please. Defensive much? We are not authors, just readers and former reviewers who are a mite disgusted with the GR reviewer mob and daily drama. And so we snark the drama and flame wars and things we find amusing.

      One reason for all the drama is that a certain large group of reviewers goes more batshit-crazy than a pack of rabid chihuahuas every time someone even hints about wanting to discuss reviews, good reviews vs bad reviews, what reviews on that site should and shouldn't contain, etc. Censorship, on my! Bad authors, on no! Tar and feathers, hell yeah!


      Please read "The Skinny on Us" for our opinion on reviewing

      And Ridley was not "targeted"; she posted comments on a public forum that we found entertaining and so we snarked them. If you don't want your words read and considered by others, don't post 'em in public.

    2. I won't disagree that there is some batshit-crazy drama at GR and some people have left with hurt feelings, but sites like these do nothing to curb that problem.

      I understand that you want to vent in a forum you have control over, and you certainly have the rights to do so, but I see this site as nothing but gasoline being pored over a fire.

      I see sites and blog posts like this as nothing but another brick being added to the big wall being erected between readers and authors.

      I see this type of snarky and heavily biased journalism with it's twisted facts counter productive to a problem you claim you want to solve.

      This type of web site isn't an olive branch, it is a gauntlet.

      While I might agree with your position that there is too much fighting at GR, I completely disagree with your approach to make things better. IMHO, sites like these are not helping anyone. Not authors. Not reviewers. Not readers looking for books.

      You might find others to commiserate with, but your therapy comes at a high price to the rest of the industry.

  4. Wow, I always knew that Ridley was an bitch but it's always nice to see someone pointing it out for others to see....just like how she does it to authors. It's always worth a laugh or two.

    Personally the books I like to read are in entirely different genres from what Ridley and Co. review so I couldn't care less about their opinions. Apparently author bashing is the cool thing to do right now.

  5. When viewing a book page I want to read about the book.
    I don't mind reading about author drama from other sources.
    I don't decide what books I want to read based on author behavior. No one is perfect and if they had to be for me to buy their books then there would be no books for me to read.
    Just because I don't know about something an author did, doesn't mean they didn't do it.
    In other words, if an author uses the 'f' word, which I don't approve of, should I not read their book. Meanwhile I might be buying books from someone who is a pedophile but I just don't know it?
    There's more important things to worry about. Have evidence an author committed a violent crime? That would affect me buying their book, and it's something I expect to hear on the news, not in a book review. Have evidence the author disagreed with you about something petty? I don't give a damn. It's getting tiring to trudge through all this crap just to find a REAL book review.
    These reviewers need to get over themselves. Their friends may like what they have to say, but that's what blogs and emails are for. It's rude to litter a public space with that.
    If I go to a restaurant because I want a plate of chicken, but someone else thinks that chicken is horrible and no one should eat it, it would be rude of them to take all the chicken and bury it beneath fly larva.
    Can they say they hate chicken? Sure. Do they need to dump fly larva on my plate so I have to dig through fly larva just to see what kind of chicken is really on my plate? No.
    It's not about freedom of speech. It's about common decency and respect for others who are sharing a public space.
    Do I think they shouldn't be "allowed" to share their thoughts? No. It's not about stopping them from being allowed. It's more about that they would even NEED to be stopped in order for it not to happen in the first place, because they care so little for other people and only about themselves. Selfish.
    Goodreads can hide reviews if they want to. The same as some restaurants can choose to be smoking or non-smoking. It's their business. Frankly I think it's a good move for them to clean up the site. The self-righteous can still say what they want to say (kind of like going to a designated smoking area outside and smoking with other smokers) while the rest of the users can enjoy the site for the real purpose: BOOKS(kind of like people tho go to a restaurant because they want to eat.)

  6. "Yet another site that wants to define the rules for how readers review and chat about books over at GR?"

    Ironically the people who say this never say a word about Ridley and Co defining the rules for how authors should act or how reviewers shouldn't disagree with the reviews of other reviewers.

  7. I'm still trying to figure out how I was so "unprofessional". Simply for writing a blog on GR about a list I was going to post on my personal blog. Really? (Responding to a previous comment above)

    The truth is, I didn't get kicked off GR for being "unprofessional". I was booted because Patrick "thought" (or maybe still believes) I am behind STGRB website. (Which I'm not, by the way)

    I also have no problem with bad reviews, just as long as the person giving the review "actually" read the book. The fact still remains, all the people rating and reviewing my book (or should I say, me) in a vulgar way haven't even read my book(s). There lies the problem. If people giving reviews want to be respected for their reviews then start giving more respectful reviews (positive or negative).

    It's kind of hard to repsect somebody's opinion (or review) when they create a shelf for a book (or author) titled 'would-rather-eat-my-own-vomit'

    Peace and love to all.