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Wednesday News: Goodreads thoughts by GigaOM; 8 punctuation marks no longer...

Men, I know you think your woman isn’t the type who wants to be taken. But trust me, she is. Every girl wants to get her hair pulled once in a while. If your wife says “no,” turn her around, and rip her clothes off. She wants to be dominated. Women don’t realize how easy men are. Just give us what we want.

This is the gif that was in the comments and it perfectly described my reaction to reading all the excerpts. Jezebel

Missjay9

On hearing the museum had been successful in raising funds to purchase the ring, Ms Clarkson said: “The ring is a beautiful national treasure and I am happy to know that so many Jane Austen fans will get to see it at Jane Austen’s House Museum.”

So I’m guessing that it was JK Rowling behind the gift. (I know nothing; I just like to think it is) BBC News

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

20 Comments

  1. Iola
    Sep 25, 2013 @ 05:21:16

    So, to combine your two top stories: if we start using the snark symbol in Goodreads reviews, how long before we get an email warning us about ‘inappropriate content’?

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  2. SAO
    Sep 25, 2013 @ 05:40:17

    I really don’t get why sports stars are viewed as heros in the first place. I was appalled when I went to the Pittsburgh airport a few years ago and saw two statues of famous Pittsburghers: George Washington and some football player. All I could think was that in 200 years, the best they can do is that Washington slept here and they produced a football player?

    What does it say about their values that they skipped over Jonas Salk who discovered the polio vaccine in Pittsburgh and Andrew Carnegie, who endowed over 2,500 libraries through out the world?

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  3. Has
    Sep 25, 2013 @ 07:05:23

    So basically Goodreads is going to be like Amazon. I wont be regretting my decision now about not updating my account and if Booklikes improves its social networking aspects or another site comes up. I will be deleting my account completely.

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  4. Tamara Allen
    Sep 25, 2013 @ 07:48:38

    The question isn’t whether Goodreads should try to please everyone or even anyone. It’s whether they should be practicing censorship.

    Someone over at Goodreads commented that if Mark Twain were alive and posting reviews there, his reviews would have been pulled down, under Goodreads’ new policy.

    Goodreads intends, because of a handful of authors who can’t deal with criticism, to water the site down to the point where reviews are essentially meaningless. Naturally, reviewers are leaving the site for places like Booklikes, where their words (and apparently intent, now, too) aren’t monitored and deleted at the slightest whim.

    I attribute Goodreads’ new policy less to “growing pains” and more to simply fear. It reminds me of an incident in my neighborhood a few years back, where one woman complained about a shopping center’s naked statues (one of them David) and the shopping center caved in and put fig leaves on all the genitals. It was a shameful and cowardly response, just as this is.

    Censorship will hurt everyone, including the authors who are claiming to have been “bullied.” Their reviews will be as worthless, with no lesson learned.

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  5. Keishon
    Sep 25, 2013 @ 08:46:21

    The announcement was not sent to its 20 million plus users or placed on the home page. Hazard Owen reports that Goodreads still believes it is a reader focused site and that a data scientist is being hired to help do…stuff. Owen concludes that the changes Goodreads is making aren’t likely to be noticed by the majority of users.

    And I agree with her. It’s only a minority of readers who are angered by this or affected by these changes I would guess. With 20 million users, those that leave wouldn’t even put a dent in that number. If I were still there I probably wouldn’t have noticed the changes either but I left Goodreads a long time ago for others reasons.

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  6. MelissaB
    Sep 25, 2013 @ 08:58:33

    @SAO,

    Although I also do not feel sports stars are heroes, I felt like I had to defend Pittsburgh. I believe they probably picked statues that more people would recognize. George Washington, from what I remember, had an instrumental part in the early development to Pittsburgh back in colonial days. The sports teams in Pittsburgh are very important to the city, people take a lot of pride in supporting them.

    The Carnegie library system in Pittsburgh is quite wonderful so I appreciate Mr. Carnegie but I agree, more people should know about his contributions. There is a lot of appreciation for the intellectual achievements in Pittsburgh, there are many universities in the area as well – but the fact is most people wouldn’t recognize a statue of a scientist in the 30 seconds they see it while rushing through an airport but George Washington and the Steelers are very recognizable

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  7. Isobel Carr
    Sep 25, 2013 @ 09:04:26

    I’m honestly baffled why GoodReads didn’t do something less incendiary like make reviews and shelves they thought were against their guidelines private. Then users wouldn’t lose their content and an appeal process would be possible. Would it still have made people mad? Sure. But would it have driven many of their top users away? Probably not.

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  8. Amanda
    Sep 25, 2013 @ 09:19:32

    I consider myself an avid reader who used Goodreads as a tool on a regular basis and I find these changes upsetting. But maybe I am not like the majority of subscribers and Amazon/Goodreads does not really want to focus on readers like myself. I suppose that is their right. What confuses me is why. Why buy Goodreads when they already have reviews on Amazon which they could monitor? To me the only reason does come down to censuring the more negative reviews.

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  9. Lynn M
    Sep 25, 2013 @ 09:36:49

    I find Kelly Clarkson’s response to her Jane Austen ring being bought back by anonymous donators a bit disingenuous. If she really felt that the ring was a “national treasure” for the British people, why in the world did she bid against the museum that was trying to procure it? And when she bought the ring, why didn’t she simply indefinitely “lend” it to said museum or donate it back to the U.K.? I may be cynical, but it seems like she’s trying to avoid looking like a greedy American with no respect for antiquities. The fact that she bought it in the first place is very telling, IMO. Then again, the fact that it was even for sale at all is not exactly a shining star for England.

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  10. Ros
    Sep 25, 2013 @ 09:50:56

    Someone at GR reported that a shelf called ‘favourite authors’ had been deleted. Another that a shelf called ‘due to author’, which did not specify whether it was a positive or negative thing, had gone. If their actions continue to be that far-reaching, I’d guess it won’t be long before it does affect a majority of users.

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  11. Has
    Sep 25, 2013 @ 10:02:07

    @Ros:

    And it is affecting other shelf names which has nothing to do authors as well. In the feedback thread a GR staffer basically said they were looking at the content of that shelf to decide on whether it fits the new TOS. So they’re basically profiling the user and their books! And don’t get me started on the notices and emails they send to authors now when they get a one star review. This is to avoid anymore drama, but not only were they patronizing but it definitely does not help this stopping any kind of drama from happening. I can’t not help this is a way to flag reviews which may be snarky or ones with swearing to be removed in the future as well. Just like the Amazon reviews there will be new restrictions and Goodreads is not the place for reviewing books and real discussion but is a place where they can use reviews for Amazon to promote to sell books.

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  12. Leah
    Sep 25, 2013 @ 10:10:16

    @Keishon:

    And I agree with her. It’s only a minority of readers who are angered by this or affected by these changes I would guess. With 20 million users, those that leave wouldn’t even put a dent in that number. If I were still there I probably wouldn’t have noticed the changes either but I left Goodreads a long time ago for others reasons.

    I disagree. A minority of readers are complaining, but the issue affects everyone who uses the site.

    The manner in which the “announcement” was delivered (in the feedback forum, not as a site-wide announcement) has kept it hidden from the majority of casual users who don’t subscribe to that forum.

    I wrote an open letter to Goodreads that critiques the policy change and points out its vagueness and inconsistency. The hundreds of likes and comments on my letter suggest this is not something that only affects a minority of users, but rather something only a minority of users are aware of.

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  13. Ros
    Sep 25, 2013 @ 11:58:53

    @Has: Huh? So you can’t have a shelf that happens to have a certain collection of books on it even if it’s called ‘These are the best books in the universe ever’. That is possibly the craziest thing I have ever heard.

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  14. Ridley
    Sep 25, 2013 @ 13:47:13

    I think this comment sums up why pissing off its power users is a gamble for Goodreads.

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  15. Mzcue
    Sep 25, 2013 @ 13:51:17

    Thanks for the link to the punctuation article. It was eye opening to learn that at one point punctuation was considered the province of the reader, not the writer—although that seems to be the case in several other contemporary languages even now. In fact our humble comma appears to be in serious jeopardy these days. I first noticed the trend in guides like the AP Stylebook some years back. Apparently in this era of lean manufacturing, commas have become an indefensible expense and have been cut from print budgets nearly to the bone.

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  16. Imani
    Sep 25, 2013 @ 15:05:34

    @Lynn M:

    I find the response of the UK–worldwide looter and “guardian” over so many countries’ looted treasures which it refuses to return–in the Austen ring saga bitterly amusing.

    At least Clarkson offered to pay for it. Progress.

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  17. jmc
    Sep 25, 2013 @ 15:25:33

    @Lynn M: In contrast to your view of Clarkson’s response as disingenous, I thought she was trying to be gracious in an awkward situtation. After all, as a “greedy American”, all she did was buy the ring through legitimate means.

    Are open market purchasers obliged to be more charitable than sellers and to indefinitely “lend” objects to museums? (Owners of private collections around the world would probably say no.) Certainly the owner/seller of the ring could have donated it to the museum…but I’m guessing that they took the money offered and ran.

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  18. Lynn M
    Sep 25, 2013 @ 19:57:12

    @jmc – totally agree that the original fault, IMO, lies with the seller who put it up for sale in the first place – at auction no less – rather than offering it first to a museum or other venue where it would remain in the country. Kelly Clarkson had every right to buy something that was legitimately for sale. Perhaps she was even ignorant that she was bidding against a museum. I guess I imagine my thoughts in that situation would have been “I’m trying to buy a ring that belonged to JANE AUSTEN and a museum also wants it. Perhaps outbidding a museum and taking the ring for myself rather than give ALL people the opportunity to see it is a bit self-centric.” Kind of like buying the Venus de Milo and sticking it on my back patio. Then the kerfuffle began and Clarkson looks bad, so now she’s attempting a gracious back-pedal.

    @Imani – good point. How many other countries have antiquities that their citizens can only see by visiting the British Museum? Glass houses and all of that. Clarkson could have built a lovely glass case in her house, charged a modest admission fee, and Austen lovers from all over the world could have enjoyed the ring. No harm, no foul. :)

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  19. Marianne McA
    Sep 26, 2013 @ 06:41:53

    @Lynn M – maybe the seller’s dissolute father had gambled the estate away and a hard eyed Italian billionaire was now demanding that she pose as his fiancee to meet her father’s debts. She might have been doing the modern equivalent of selling her mother’s pearls.
    (Or, thinking about it, if this is a Romance Novel, ‘she’ will be a ‘he’ and he will now be thrown into the way of Superstar Singer who, while initially furious at the loss of the ring, will come to appreciate his selfless motivations and unspoilt small town ways, and HEA).

    Perhaps the seller couldn’t afford altruism.

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  20. Anna Richland
    Sep 27, 2013 @ 01:54:54

    Re Pittsburgh Airport statues: Jonas Salk is a great idea. I grew up and still use Carnegie libraries, with great joy and thankfulness for generous robber barons, but if you think Pittsburgh was going to put up a statue of a union-buster like Andrew Carnegie in a unionized airport, yinz aren’t from Western Pennsylvania. (Or is that spelled yun’s?) (and I love that local-ism). And they do have a university and a heck of a lot of other things named after him around town. Geo Washington makes sense – he surveyed throughout the area when he was young, and came back to fight the French: (following from about.com):

    It was the spring of 1754 when a young Colonel named George Washington came to southwestern Pennsylvania looking to oust the French from the rich Ohio valley region, and claim the area for Great Britain. He brought with him a small force of Virginia militiamen with plans to capture Fort Duquesne (the site of present day Point State Park in Pittsburgh) from the French. Quickly realizing that the fort was too strongly defended, however, he retreated about an hour away and constructed his own stockade – Fort Necessity, near present-day Uniontown, PA.

    There’s a lot of stuff dedicated to Mr. (Fred) Rogers and a wall about Andy Warhol, two other famous locals, elsewhere in the airport. The Warhols are great!

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