So get this: there’s a site where people tired of the bullying reviews on Goodreads have decided to start outing the bullies by giving out personal information. No, I’m not providing a link, so if you want to find the site, you’ll just have to Google it. This is going to be a short post, because I want to make clear how I feel about this and then move on to other things, like my usual piss and vinegar.
I’ve made it no secret that I don’t like the kind of people on Goodreads who rate a book one-star despite the book not being out in any format, thus making it this side of impossible for the reviewer to have made a true assessment of the work. This is not the same thing as when I get a bad review, earned or not, and anyway, we all know how I handle a bad review…I have a temper tantrum here on the blog and get drunk and pass out on a pillow full of bitter tears. But this isn’t about me. No, this has more to do with people attacking authors they don’t like, even before the books come out. I think that’s bullshit, but the moderators of Goodreads have decided that this trolling is a-okay, because “They may be rating the blurb, and, that’s still valid.” No, that’s piss and rubbish from a bunch of lazy assholes who can’t be bothered to moderate their own site. But it’s their sandbox, and if they say it’s okay for trolls to piss on authors just because “It might be a valid opinion,” then there’s not much I can do about it except stomp my foot and hold a proper temper tantrum.
It’s this trolling behavior which motivates me to only use Goodreads to keep track of my books, and as a matter of health and a desire to keep my blood pressure regulated, I have nothing to do with the people who run the site unless it’s absolutely unavoidable. I find them to be incompetent and their site to be bug-fucking ugly to use, not to mention unreliable (I’ve had books disappear from the listings after “site backups”, which makes no sense at all, but that’s another complaint for another time) and if there were some better alternative where the moderators at least understood the definition of their job, I would happily go there to keep track of my reading habits.
BUT, while I don’t for a minute support the trolls, this practice of giving out personal information just because you’re feeling pissy about an online spat is unconscionable and indefensible. This is just as heinous an idea as outing closeted gays in the GOP, or as outing stealth transsexuals because you think everyone should stay out of the closet. It’s as bad as posting the personal information of a meatspace bully, because it brings with it the possibility that someone crazy could show up on their doorstep and do physical harm to them. This is physical violence just because someone gave you a one star rating for a book that isn’t released yet. Can I make any clearer that this is incredibly petty, cruel, and just generally douchey?
Authors, I feel for you getting a bad rating that isn’t deserved. But the answer to this problem is not to respond to a one star rating with an open invitation for someone to harm the bully. That’s not just sinking to their level. It’s digging under the bullies’ level by about a mile and a half. So for the love of God, don’t go there. If it pisses you off that the trolls rule Goodreads, do what I do and ignore the reviews of other people. Use the site to track your reading habits, and then walk away. But do not report a bully to this badly thought out site for outing bullies. There’s only bad blood that can come of this, and some of that blood will come to stain you. It will harm your sales. It may end any hopes you have of getting better reviews from readers who really would have read your stuff. But worse still, it could lead to someone being hurt or killed because one of your crazier fans takes matters into their own hands. SO JUST DON’T DO IT.
Clear? Okay, good. Now I can get back to bitching and moaning about other stuff.