Feb 3 2008
As I wrote in my last ATBF column, I know these results will be discussed elsewhere online. And some of those who write elsewhere online are semi-active on our forums. I’ve not checked, but have they suggested their readers participate? I know we share some readers, but by no means all, and it would make sense to me that if the results will be mentioned on their online venues, shouldn’t they vote, and suggest that their readers do as well? In looking at ballots received thus far, I don’t see that any blog owners who have written about the results in the past, and presumably will write about them again, have voted (although one who joined a popular blog some months ago did vote). Source: Laurie Likes Books
Robin: Am I the only one who feels a bit uncomfortable at being called out like this for a) not pimping the poll after LLB’s recent ATBF column in which she slapped at bloggers for talking about AAR in our forums, and b) for whether or not I voted?
Quite honestly, I figured that after her ATBF column in December that bloggers were being scolded for talking about AAR:
I recently heard from a reliable source that AAR’s reputation is once again lousy among a significant number of authors. It’s not for our original content; instead we are guilty by association because of some of the reader-generated threads on our forums. This has no doubt gotten worse in the past couple of years as blog sites have proliferated and become more popular, because some that are widely read write about goings-on at sites like AAR. Every time I read a blog posting about a dust-up on AAR’s forums, I cringe. Not only does it prolong the original agony, but a larger readership is exposed to it, and often, the response is narrowly focused on the negative.
I actually wanted to blog about it at the time, because I thought it was a bit unfair (especially since there’s pretty free talk about bloggers on the Potpourri Board), but I thought if I commented then it’d be interpreted as badmouthing AAR, so I didn’t. I completely understand Laurie’s sense of protectiveness of AAR, but in the same way I don’t think that AAR is becoming irrelevant (even if poll numbers aren’t what Laurie wants, and especially given the site user numbers she posted a while ago), I also don’t think that if she wants us to all be one big community, suggesting that we’re to blame for her author-related problems and then calling us out for not voting and/or advertising the poll is the best idea. Anyway, didn’t you advertise that auction a while back she asked you to?
Jane: Yes, I did post about the auction but as some will tell you, I am notoriously bad about blogging about different things going around the blogosphere. It takes a little bit of time and I am two parts lazy and one part busy. But honestly, I’ve been very confused about who Laurie wants voting and who she doesn’t want voting.
- There were comments about how irritating it is that people vote for books published in the wrong year.
- A post about not wanting drive by voting where authors get out the vote with their readers, skewing the results.
- Statements wanting full reader participation but then in still another post:
It’s critical that results in our annual reader poll reflect our readership, which is why this year I want everybody who visits AAR on any sort of regular basis to vote. This poll has become increasingly important over the years, and the idea of the results being hi-jacked from those who are not part of the AAR community is almost as frustrating as the invariable grumblings about results…from readers who didn’t vote themselves.
- Suggestion that voting was invalid because it was driven by an author’s online popularity.
Color me super confused. In retrospect, I think I didn’t post because I didn’t know who was supposed to vote and who was not supposed to vote and whether my vote would be valid. It wasn’t any part of some vast blogger conspiracy unless one was started and didn’t clue me in (if so, sorry guys, but I didn’t get the hive memo):
I have this nasty little part of my brain, and I blame it on my conspiracy-theorist husband, and it’s in overdrive right now. But I’m not going to surrender to it. Instead I invite all other romance venues online to participate in this poll, to inform their readers, and to say that when they do a comprehensive poll unlike any other online, we’ll do the same in return.
Robin: I admit to being ambivalent about voting, because so rarely do the books I vote for win. Yes, I know that if everyone who felt like me voted the results might be different, but since that never seems to happen, I still vacillate. And when I do vote — and I suspect I’m not alone in this — it’s at the last minute, usually, because I want to see the most current interim results before I cast my own ballot, hoping that at least one of my votes may actually matter. But then there’s the part of me that likes that someone is putting in the work to host a poll like that, which is usually what spurs me to vote.
As for publicizing the poll, I definitely feel like we’re caught between a rock and a hard place, because if LLB wants mostly AAR readers to vote, does that mean we’d have to qualify any announcement of the poll? And that feels REALLY weird to me, because how is that about a shared community thing? And if the blogs got people to the poll, does that mean next year we’d be criticized for sending “fan girls” or drive by’s AAR’s way? On the other hand, I’m a little concerned that those of us bloggers who haven’t voted yet are getting a bit of a dishonorable mention for that.
Jane: LLB certainly got us talking, though, and I guess we are doing what she wanted, right? If you want to vote in the Annual AAR Reader Poll, it’s open until February 17, 2008. Just don’t say that we sent you. Or do say that we sent you. Or say that we sent you but vote for all the books we don’t like.