Wednesday, September 25, 2013

GR's New Terms of Service - Continued

The feedback thread at GR regarding the new terms of service is still going strong. I wanted to highlight a few comments by posters who don't understand that problem or are part of the problem, rather than the solution.

First, from Alicia, we have this caps-filled venom:

Alicia is wrong on several counts. The isolated instance of a handful of reviewers--not Alicia--having their personal, although not private, information posted happened almost two years ago. The information was up for a short period of time and then it was gone. Their "only real recourse" for this is not being taken away. Their "only real recourse" was to address the problem back at the time that it occurred with the people who posted the information. Alicia is also ignoring all the other authors who have been unjustly mobbed by bad reviews and nasty comments and shelving since then. The problem is far more wide-spread than one incident from almost two years ago.

From Debbie R., we have this comment:

Debbie also has it wrong. The people drawing attention to the random instances of authors being assholes to reviewers are the reviewers themselves. They do this by flocking to the scene of the alleged crime in droves, leaving nasty comments and reviews, mass shelving the authors books on awful shelves, and writing blog posts ad nauseam about it. If the reviewer who was insulted would simply go, "Eh, piss off, you idiot" and the rest of the reviewer mob didn't run around squawking like a bunch of chickens that had just been kicked, there would be no drama.

From Heather, we have this comment:

I am stunned that someone who has used Goodreads for five years and is a librarian can think of NO OTHER WAY to handle truly abusive comments from authors. Really? How about reporting the comments to the GR Powers-That-Be and ask that the people sending you the comments be disciplined, deleted, etc., in accordance with GR's TOS?

I think what it all comes down to is that a certain mob of reviewers wants to publicly punish and shame authors who don't conform to their often oddly draconian and unwritten rules of how they think authors should interact with the public. Dealing with the true problem authors (or reviewers) privately is not enough for them. In my opinion, dealing with the true problems privately is a better solution than allowing the open public warfare to continue.


  1. I wanted to bring this review to someone's attention, because frankly I am too nervous to post my problem with it on GoodReads itself (I can't handle stress, it makes me physically ill), but I feel it needs called out:

    I don't understand why anyone would think that bringing in a Nazi comparison is a good idea (honestly, doesn't every bad Internet debate have Nazis now?). But even aside from that, there is a false equivalency here that disturbs me. A Nazi sympathizer/supporter writing lies about historical events is *vastly* different from a novelist arguing with a reviewer about a bad review. Those two things don't deserve to be referenced together like this. I'm so sick and tired of everyone using Nazis as a sort of debate stopper, like whoever is closest to supporting Nazis (even though *no one does*) is the automatic loser.

    A bad experience with an author is not the same as a bad experience with a Nazi. Arguing with an author over your review of their book is *not the same* as twisting historical facts because you have a hidden agenda *as a Nazi.* Why is this review getting so many likes? What is wrong with people that they can think this review makes their case rather than undermines it? Or am I overreacting?

    I don't believe reviews need to insult authors to be relevant. I don't believe all reviews have to be pleasant to be relevant. In fact, the few books I've reviewed on GoodReads so far have been negative reviews. But I never felt the need to attack the author, and I don't feel that the GR staff is personally attacking me with the decision they've made. As far as I'm concerned, the only thing they should have done is alert people before their things were deleted, so that they could back up their work. Beyond that, both sides are just insane to me. But I feel my health would be too compromised to get involved deeper than this, so thank you for listening, and thank you for your blog. It's pretty much the only place I've found so far that has been level headed about this entire drama.

  2. I'm not taking sides on this argument, but I would like to point out the ridiculousness in the idea that if an author attacks a reviewer, the reviewer should only report it to GR and not say anything about their experience to friends or followers. If you're attacked, you don't keep quiet about it. And if reviewers should have to keep quiet about being attacked, then authors should, too.

    1. Neither has to be quiet about it. If you have your own blog, you can get the word out there. I think it's just a case where GR is not your own personal private blog. GR belongs to GR. If you, as a member, have a problem, report it rather than engage in poo slinging - I think is the message here. That and, choose the words you write about someone else wisely. There's a fine line between voicing your opinion and or facts to posting hate and or speculation / lies, or even crossing over to being a bully.