Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

Something is very wrong with us, and it’s not bad reviews

 

It’s so much worse than that. Something is very wrong with us, and by “us” I mean the online community of (largely) women authors and readers. What is wrong is the “outing,” threatening, shaming, and silencing of readers who are perceived to be too critical of or hostile to authors. And for those in this online community who believe that this is not their concern or their harm, I would ask them to think again.

Several disturbing events targeting women have happened in the past few weeks. First is an app that allows you to beat the crap out of Anita Sarkeesian, a woman who makes videos about gaming. The app lets you beat this woman’s face until it is utterly wasted from violence, as part of the male gaming community’s ritual of threatening violence and rape against women who, in any way, best men in the gaming world. Then there is the story about a woman who left a comedy club after Daniel Tosh personally heckled her by suggesting she be gang raped when she vocally objected to one of his rape jokes. An incident featuring Eddie Griffin and a woman he is now referring to as a “dyke bitch” has just hit the news.

What all of these incidents have in common is the targeting of women for stepping out of the lines behind which we have historically been expected to stay – to refrain from criticism of men, to refrain from being outspoken, authoritative, aggressive, assertive, self-confident, brazen, in control, more competent than men, etc. And in each case, implicit or explicit threats are utilized as a means to scare women back behind those lines. Whether it’s being raped, beaten, or publicly exposed to ridicule, silencing, harassment, or shaming, each of these situations presents an invitation to violence, both to the women involved, and, by extension, to others who act out in ways that violate some behavioral code to which women are expected to adhere – polite, demure, uncritical, nurturing, etc.

Add to the mix the new website devoted to outing and threatening certain readers accused of being “bullies” on Goodreads.   [note: I am linking to author and blogger Foz Meadows’s post on the site, so as not to drive more traffic there. If you are also concerned about this, I suggest using only Google cached links]. Although there was a similar incident on Goodreads that has created a strong suspicion of the website’s owner, there is a public assertion of anonymity that makes the outing particularly and perversely disturbing, as are the claims of justice and accountability. How is what this website is doing to female readers a whole lot different than the incidents I recounted above? Short answer: it isn’t. It is part of a larger pattern of making women feel physically unsafe by exposing them to the threat and the possibility of actual violence, even if the person doing the threatening isn’t doing physical violence him/herself.

We have seen this kind of behavior before in the online Romance community. Remember when DeborahAnne MacGillivray went full-force against a reader?  Or Victoria Laurie’s aggression toward a reader and a blogger? Jane Litte has her own personal harasser, an author who used very similar tactics to somehow get Jane to be “nicer.” In the SF/F community, Will Shetterly found himself in hot water a few years ago when he outed a LiveJournal blogger with whom he had disagreed.  And let’s not forget the “Dixieland Mafia” incident involving a group of published authors who managed to hunt down the personal info of an aspiring author who had left a negative review of one of their books on Amazon.

Note that one main similarity among these examples is that it’s authors (public figures with books for commercial sale) going after readers (private figures who are responding to a commercial product), not the other way around (and while reader allies of authors might be involved in the GR site, I don’t think anyone believes a reader would be that invested in authors to take such a risk and spend so much time and energy on a site like that). And by “going after,” I don’t mean leaving a snotty comment about a book or about a comment an author left on Goodreads to a reader’s review or comment. What I mean by “going after” is pursuing the reader beyond the online exchanges, attempting to shut the reader up by threatening and or exposing their off-line life to danger and the possibility of violence or other unhinged aggression by crossing a hard, bright line away from snarky online exchange to real life stalking.

What could possibly be okay about that?

First, there is the accusation of bullying. When the GRB site put up banners of anti-bullying organizations, the organizations asked them to take the banners down. That is a decisive cut against GRB’s definition of bullying. As bloggers like Foz Meadows have pointed out

. . . bullying is not a synonym for argument, disagreement or pejorative reactions. Bullying is not a synonym for disliking someone, or for thinking their work is rubbish. Bullying is not even a synonym for saying so, publicly and repeatedly, in a place where that person can hear it – although that’s certainly unpleasant. Bullying is when someone with a greater position of power and/or possessed of greater strength repeatedly and purposefully attacks, harasses, belittles and/or otherwise undermines someone in a position of lesser power and/or possessed of lesser strength. In the vast majority of circumstances, bullying trickles down; it does not travel up, and in instances where the author in question is a super-successful megastar, to say they’re being bullied by reviewers is to ignore the fundamental power-dynamics of bullying. Even on the Goodreads system, where authors can see exactly what readers and reviewers think of them, expressing a negative opinion is not the same as bullying, because although the conversation is visible, it’s not directed at the author; they are under no obligation to respond, or even to read it at all. Feeling sad and overwhelmed because people don’t like your book and have said so publicly might constitute a bad day, but it’s not the same as being bullied.

Bullied individuals cannot just walk away from the bullying, because, for example, someone has posted their personal information online in tacit or explicit invitation for nasty pursuit. Bullying looks like this or this. It is not justice of any kind, let alone an eye for an eye, to do what is being done on the GR Bullies site. To make that association is to create a false equivalence.

And we should know better.

I say “we” here because I’ve seen a surprising number of comments online suggesting that what the GRB site is doing is fine and dandy, and that the readers being targeted deserve it, somehow. And we, as a community of women who can amass how many thousands of comments on the ethics of accepting ARCs and exchanging tweets with authors, or the real life effects of reading about forced sex, should know better than to stand for something that so obviously and intentionally targets and imperils the real life safety and security of other women. This is not the time to be sympathetic to people “getting sick of the high road,” or suggesting that “the two parties should fight amongst themselves and everyone else stay out of it.”  There is no reasonable justification for statements like “I, for one, am happy that there is a group of people who have called attention to the viciousness of a mob,” nor the passive posting of a link to the GRB site by someone in the guise of objective reporting (and could Jane’s recent email asking him not to post vast swaths of her blog content without permission or substantive comment of his own have influenced his GRB post?). The door to inviting, inciting, sanctioning, or providing a means for violence against women who have stepped out from behind the politeness veil has been kicked open, and it is changing the way we can talk about the reader – author relationship. When you really stop to think about what’s going on at the GRB site, even comments like this can feel potentially threatening and aggressive: “Read some of the blog posts there and then tell me those people don’t deserve to be outed.

We should be better than this.

While many, many authors and readers have spoken out against the bullying that is going on at the GRB site, we, as a community, should know better than to think that just because we may, as individuals, dislike others in the community, that talking smack about a book and/or an author’s public persona is in any way equivalent to hunting down someone’s public information, posting it online (or threatening to), and inviting any and all sorts of real life harassment of those individuals and their families, co-workers, dogs and cats, etc. Why would someone do that if not to make the targeted individual feel unsafe at every level? Would it be okay if readers started combing through the copyright records looking for authors’ real names, and then hunting down and posting as much private information as possible, gleefully using words like “justice” and “bullying” to rile up other readers against those outed authors? Because that is much more akin to bullying, and it’s equivalent to what GRB is doing to readers.

And it is already doing harm to the community as a whole, including authors who are not involved in the site. It is confusing the exchange of opinions and the writing of reviews with actual violence, making it even more difficult to have reasonable conversations about reviewing and the role of criticism more generally. It sowing seeds of suspicion toward authors about where they stand and how far they might go to silence critical readers. And beyond the obvious ramifications around readers feeling afraid to post honest opinions and reviews of books, it is generating hostility toward authors and readers who are offering equivocal opinions about how readers need to be slapped back or quasi-supportive comments about the goals of the GRB site (sometimes without having ever seen the site). And the last thing this collective online community needs is more unbridled hostility. Or more revenge outing.

As a community, we should not “stay out of it” or use our own personal dislikes as a justification for totally unjustifiable behavior. We don’t need to like the readers who are being targeted or agree with what they’re doing. We can think it’s crappy or out of line or undesirable. However, none of those thoughts could ever logically lead to an endorsement of literally targeting these readers for harassment. Can you imagine what a world created entirely from the logic that brands the GRB site as “justice” would look like? It would be incoherent and unlivable. It would obliterate the most basic social contract not to inflict intentional, undeserved harm on one another. It would be pure violent chaos.

And we can do better than that. We need to do better than that, not just to protect the integrity of the books and the book-talk, but to protect ourselves as women from even more vulnerability than we already face. Because, in the end, what this is really about is not reviews or criticism or Goodreads message boards, but threatening, punishing, and silencing women. And it’s not okay; it’s never okay.

isn't sure if she's an average Romance reader, or even an average reader, but a reader she is, enjoying everything from literary fiction to philosophy to history to poetry. Historical Romance was her first love within the genre, but she's fickle and easily seduced by the promise of a good read. She approaches every book with the same hope: that she will be filled from the inside out with something awesome that she didnʼt know, didnʼt think about, or didnʼt feel until that moment. And she's always looking for the next mind-blowing read, so feel free to share any suggestions!

834 Comments

  1. » Jumping on the bandwagon: snark and the author/reader relationship Flight into Fantasy
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 16:42:59

    [...] going to write about this anymore, but the Stop the Goodreads bully scandal has finally hit Dear Author, and I have wasted a day that I should have been spending finishing my reread of Outlander reading [...]

  2. connie333
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 16:43:51

    @Author On Vacation:
    I am absolutely gobsmacked. Yes, bad reviews I imagine can be upsetting to authors and cause them stress. They also have the incredibly easy option of not reading the reviews or visiting certain websites. Posting actual information about people’s names and physical whereabouts is completely indefensable. All it takes is one lunatic fan to take the information and do something truly harmful to that person, and once the information is out there (along with derogatory statements) it’s there for good. How is STGRB even legal?

    ReplyReply

  3. Sirius
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 16:44:42

    That was meant to say as to Author on Vacation I refuse to have a discussion with her, since I cannot take her seriously anymore.

    ReplyReply

  4. ancientpeas
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 16:45:13

    Well, Ms. Sommerville doesn’t hold back does she?

    I haven’t been to this site but now I kind of want to just so I know what you all are talking about. But then again what’s the point. I’ve kept up with the amazon Badly Behaving Author’s group (never posted but read). For the most part they seem to mostly be interested in unmasking self reviewing authors and sock puppettry.

    ReplyReply

  5. meoskop
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 16:46:12

    @Author on Vacation: My apologies if you don’t know – I assumed that you were aware of the content of STGRB site as you are active in this thread.

    ReplyReply

  6. Loosheesh
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 16:51:16

    @Melody Clark: “If someone regularly ranks down a book because he/she doesn’t like the author as a person, and ranks up a book when they do, that is bullying. ” – Really? Seriously? For real?

    @Author on Vacation: “I would say voting down an author or giving 1-star reviews, labeling an author as “I Don’t Read Because I Dislike the Author (or the Author’s editor, or the Author’s kid/s, pet/s, spouse/s, etc.” is a form of harrassment. It contributes to a hostile work environment for the author and for others active in the creation and promotion of the author’s work.” – Really? Seriously? For real?

    (I’m banging my forehead against my cinder-block wall and I’m afraid it’s gonna leave a mark … on my forehead, not the wall.)

    ReplyReply

  7. NM
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 16:52:43

    @connie333:

    If they’re outing people based on information those people themselves posted on the ‘net somewhere, they may be legally covered, although that can vary from state to state, and certainly can come back to bite them if a violent act is traced back to that particular exposition. I am NOT defending this. Just attempting to answer your question.

    ReplyReply

  8. Lynne Connolly
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 17:00:20

    @Ann Somerville: I kept it personal. My behavior on that occasion, I believe, was reprehensible. Yours might not have been, that’s not for me to judge. I felt ashamed, and promised myself I wouldn’t do it again. I am not talking about the original posts or the motivations, since I had nothing to do with those.
    Neither did I wish to bring the name into the conversation. She’s an old lady and she won’t be writing any more books. She lost her contracts, so reprints aren’t in the offing. It’s finished, done. It was my reaction and behavior on that occasion that I was addressing, not the case itself.
    At the moment in the UK, we’re watching the Leveson Inquiry about misdeeds at News International, specifically, phone tapping of the parents of murder victims, and other people, including celebrities, politicians and royalty. As the inquiry has gone on, it’s becoming clear that NI is a bully culture, and the example has been set by the man at the top. “Do this or you’re fired.” Ripples widen and spread, and if people think it’s okay, then it gets worse. It’s everywhere, and I’ll support any movement to prevent it.
    http://www.levesoninquiry.org.uk/

    ReplyReply

  9. Ann Somerville
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 17:08:59

    @Lynne Connolly: “As the inquiry has gone on, it’s becoming clear that NI is a bully culture, and the example has been set by the man at the top. ”

    Because that’s what this conversation *needed* – comparing the exposure of a hardened plagiarist (who was *not* old when she started doing this) to Rupert Murdoch’s illegal activities.

    Lynne – you’re doing yourself no favours with this line of argument. What happened to Edwards and what is happening to the people outed on the STGRB site, is not remotely comparable.

    ReplyReply

  10. Jennifer @ The Bawdy Book Blog
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 17:28:53

    @Author on Vacation: You know who is responsible for your stress? YOU are. You are responsible for learning how to deal with your own stress. You cannot control others’ actions, only your own reaction.
    If reading something on the internet, no matter your profession, causes you so much stress that it could contribute to other physical conditions (and the well-being of others, apparently), thereby justifying something along the lines of the StGRB website, then I beg you to seek professional therapy to learn how to deal with it.

    ReplyReply

  11. ducky
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 17:34:24

    @Author On Vacation:

    You must be joking. Your post is a joke, right?

    Bad reviews are not fun and nobody likes to get bad reviews but we all get them in some form sometimes in life. You suck it up, hopefully learn something from them and move on. Posting somebody’s private information online to get even with somebody for bad reviews could lead to serious and dangerous consequences for the person so exposed – like being stalked and physically attacked.

    There is a big difference between receiving a blow to the ego or a potential blow to the head. The blow to the ego can only hurt you if you let it.

    ReplyReply

  12. azteclady
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 17:47:00

    @Jennifer @ The Bawdy Book Blog: I love you.

    (in a totally not scary or creepy manner)

    ReplyReply

  13. IMO: Bully Me and I’ll Bully You, Because That Makes It Right. Logic, I Has It. | The Bawdy Book Blog
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 17:50:08

    [...] Dear Author weighs in with a post on what this all really means.  [...]

  14. Karen Scott
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 17:54:04

    Great post, but I’m not surprised by the people doing the whole “Yes that site is awful, but I understand why they’re doing it.” thing. It’s standard procedure surely? Trying to draw parallels between a reader writing slice and dice reviews and an author posting said reviewer’s personal details online makes perfect sense. If you happen to be an imbecile…

    ReplyReply

  15. Las
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 18:11:41

    @Jill Sorenson: No, I don’t think you’re example is bullshit at all. That’s an awful thing to have happened, and those people are idiots, but it’s not what I’d describe as bullying. Some here are claiming that readers go to authors’ spaces to harass them, that they follow them on blogs and twitter for the express purpose of bullying them. That’s what I want to see proof of, because, as mean and stupid as it is, a bunch of readers talking crap on goodreads doesn’t qualify as bullying.

    @Courtney Milan:

    Oh, they weren’t arbitrary.

    Good point. It’s no different than looking down on people for not knowing which fork to use. It’s the difference between etiquette and manners.

    @NM:

    It may be easier to police four letter words because they can be filtered out by software, however. The other kinds of inappropriate rhetoric would require a real, live moderator, which becomes more difficult, certainly for a site as large as Goodreads.

    I’ve been a part of various online communities that heavily moderate “inappropriate” rhetoric, and the end result has always been a stifling of intelligent discussion and an atmosphere that does doesn’t allow for any deep analysis or strong opinions, with no thought to context, and dominated by people who know how to stay just below the radar of the mods because those who state things outright get banned. No thank you.

    ReplyReply

  16. Ann Somerville
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 18:56:18

    @Las:
    “Some here are claiming that readers go to authors’ spaces to harass them”
    Yeah, they do. I had a lot of that over my posts on AJ Llewellyn, eg here:
    http://logophilos.net/blog/index.php/2011/11/a-j-llewellyn-d-j-manly-a-study-in-deception/

    And I’ve had people drop into my LJ (now deleted) to rag on me. But my blog and my LJ are public, so I kind of expect it.

    And I also should note that the abuse I got over Llewellyn was *incited* by Llewellyn quite directly by his passive-aggressive blog/GR posts, and that every single time readers start one starring my books or downrating my reviews on Amazon, it’s because I’ve got into it with a Badly Behaving Author. Readers don’t get worked up about authors unless the author gets worked up first. Why would they care?But once their ‘team’ is attacked – as identified by the ‘team leader’ – well of course they are going to go after the attacker to prove their devotion.

    There’s an example of an author trying to whip up harrassment on Twitter right now, in fact. James Austen (who could *possibly* be associated with the bully site, but is certainly an avid fan) is using his account right now to do that, and to attack Heidi Belleau simply for associating with me. My crime? To point out his previous bullying on my blog (linked in Robin’s post).

    Some BBAs try to pretend they are just readers, nothing to do with any author. Melissa Douthit did this with the creation of a multitude of sock puppets on GR, attacking – strangely enough – the women targetted by the bully site (ain’t that a strange coincidence?) Of course this got all her accounts banned, and it was very obvious what was going on. Genuine readers getting their nappies in a knot over a book review without an author poking them? Can’t think of a single case where that went past a short discussion exchanging views.

    “I’ve been a part of various online communities that heavily moderate “inappropriate” rhetoric, and the end result has always been a stifling of intelligent discussion and an atmosphere that does doesn’t allow for any deep analysis or strong opinions, with no thought to context, and dominated by people who know how to stay just below the radar of the mods because those who state things outright get banned. No thank you. ”

    Too bloody right!

    ReplyReply

  17. NM
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 18:58:30

    I’ve been a part of various online communities that heavily moderate “inappropriate” rhetoric, and the end result has always been a stifling of intelligent discussion and an atmosphere that does doesn’t allow for any deep analysis or strong opinions, with no thought to context, and dominated by people who know how to stay just below the radar of the mods because those who state things outright get banned. No thank you.

    @Las

    And I am an active participant at several online communities where moderation isn’t necessary because the community consists of adults who understand how to discuss serious, often controversial topics without resorting to ad hominems, vulgarity, profanity and cheap snark, much less verbally abusive or violent commentary. Admittedly, sites like these are few and far between, but they do exist and participation is a pleasant, enlightening, productive experience.

    ReplyReply

  18. Maili
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 19:04:35

    I didn’t think I had anything to say, but after reading some responses, I feel I want to now.

    @Author on Vacation
    Every job in the world has its share of health and safety issues. I work as a freelance, which regularly means being tied to my desk for what it seems like 24 hours per day. It’s 100% my responsibility to ensure my welfare. Being sick would mean no pay, which would screw up my personal budget. So that means monitoring my welfare, which include taking frequent breaks from my computer, eating healthily, doing boring exercises, blah blah, and avoiding sites that have the ability to upset or anger me.

    It’s not the Internet’s responsibility to protect me from the effect its users’ ramblings may have on me. I can react, I can rage, I can argue and I can debate, but it still doesn’t mean I can be exempt from facing the consequences of *my* reactions. Knowing this means I should stay away from those sites in order to protect my health. And so, I do. It’s for my sake after all.

    If authors can’t handle abrasive or offensive reviews, then they should stick to author-friendly areas of GRs, turn off Google Alerts, put out a clear request to their regular readers not to tell them about negative reviews, and so on. With a bit of time and effort, this can work.

    You and many others seem to forget one thing: the reader/reviewer/blogger community does monitor itself within boundaries it sets in accordance with its majority. When a, say, reader or reviewer steps over a line by revealing one author’s contact details, you can bet many bloggers/readers/re viewers will put that right. They would request the reader to take down her post and some others will try to erase the post from the Net, and refuse to share the info publicly with those who may arrive too late to witness the fuss. I know because it happened before.

    It’s still happening now. Some targeted reviewers now know who’s behind Stop the GR Bullies site, but still aren’t prepared to ‘out’ that person. This is, to me, typical of the community (which includes many like-minded authors). This is how it should be.

    You can carry on trying to tell people how they should write their reviews, but I need to remind you and some others the point of Robin’s post:

    What solution could we use to ensure that outing a person – reader, reviewer, author, anyone – will never happen again?

    Trying to censor ‘nasty’ reviewers or demand they should change how they write reviews is not the right way. Neither is outing ‘nasty’ reviewers. This is morally and ethically repulsive. So, should we highlight author-friendly areas of Good Reads and similar sites for authors and readers who detest certain types of reviews? Should we remind all ourselves the boundaries of reviews, interaction and such? And how?

    Authors, reviewers and readers can co-exist peacefully. Some fights will happen, no big deal, but how do we all make it so that it won’t reach to the point where one feels entitled to stalking and revealing a person’s off-line details?

    ReplyReply

  19. Ann Somerville
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 19:27:28

    @Maili:
    “how do we all make it so that it won’t reach to the point where one feels entitled to stalking and revealing a person’s off-line details? ”

    I suppose making sure that all the authors who were clearly dropped on their heads at birth and therefore are *incapable* of telling right from wrong, have their hands superglued together, is too extreme?*

    Honestly, you can’t stop them. You *can* name and shame them. And fight back against the false equivalency nonsence that’s being displayed all too often, even here.

    *ETA: Not intended to be an actual physical threat, just to be to be clear

    ReplyReply

  20. KT Grant
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 19:32:18

    Do you want to know how out of control this has gotten? A Goodreads reviewer has received an anonymous, threatening phone call all because of her reviews. I’m beyond sick over this.: http://www.goodreads.com/story/show/309224-what-it-s-like-to-be-stalked?chapter=428115

    ReplyReply

  21. Expy
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 19:41:29

    @Karen Scott: What she said.

    (I had a hard time commenting to this post without looking like a bobblehead, but screw it!)

    ReplyReply

  22. karlynp
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 19:45:25

    Wow, just saw the following Twitter post reporting that one reviewer got a threatening phone call by the crazy person behind that web site.

    “Kayleigh Anne ?@Ceilidhann The not so anonymous bully running that Stop the GR Bullies site found a reviewer’s phone number and rang her up to threaten her. Not okay.”

    There are so many untruths and exaggerations posted on that web site about the reviewers, the author(s) behind that site doesn’t have one ounce of integrity. That author has gone off the deep end and is taking this way too personally, which speaks volumes to her mental stability as a person.

    ReplyReply

  23. Sirius
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 19:46:51

    @KT Grant: Oh shoot. Nah nothing dangerous can *possibly* happen when crazies put the personal info of the people whose opinions they dislike for all other crazies to see. I admire these women’s desire to be better than the crazies but at the very least I would have gone to authorities without hesitation. Because this is totally the same as saying bad things about *books*. Sorry, for some reason this ju made me very angry .

    ReplyReply

  24. Christi
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 19:50:42

    @azteclady:

    are you the Christi commenting over at Passive Guy’s? If so: thank you, I agreed with all you said there

    Yes, that’s me! Thanks! I had to walk away. Way too many defenders of STGRB going on by truly ignorant people.

    @NM:

    Asking people to behave like adults and refrain from what is commonly recognized as vulgar and foul rhetoric…

    But what *gives you the right* to set that standard? What makes your standard The Right Way? I was raised to believe that vulgar words can be used to express passion for a topic. What gives you a right to tell me otherwise? Because doing so hurts your feelings? It might sort of hurt my feelings when reviewers only give short, one-sentence comments that lack any emotion at all. So what? It’s not my place to dictate what makes a good review.

    And that forum you were talking about, that was rhetoric between peers, toward peers. Reviews are NOT rhetoric between peers, nor is it rhetoric toward peers. It isn’t an “adult conversation”. It’s a reaction to art and the consumption of a product they’ve paid for. Trying to set this to the same standard as having a theological discussion in which there is no singular target representing the product being sold (Is God the author in that metaphor?) doesn’t really work.

    Lastly, the place where this all is happening is Goodreads. And to be honest, GoodReads is a place for readers. It is their safe space to be as vulgar and trolly as they wish within the bounds of enforcement of the site TOS, and it is NOT the place of the author to set the standard for that discussion. On their own blogs or websites, yeah maybe. Not on GoodReads, which is a social media site for readers. It’s like Kristen Stewart going onto Celebitchy.com to cry about all the mean comments about her. It’s not there to please you. We’ve purchased your product, and this is our safe space to react on it how we see fit.

    ReplyReply

  25. AoV
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 20:04:55

    @Meoskop:

    I’m not sure why you believe it’s somehow my responsibility to demand people not criticize Ridley’s hostile, antagonistic, verbal abuse (to me and to others.)

    Surely that’s Ridley’s responsibility. Assuming s/he cares about it in the first place.

    ReplyReply

  26. SonomaLass
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 20:08:19

    @Christi: Excellent points. There is no such thing as a universal standard for acceptable or appropriate language. The idea that anything is “commonly recognized as vulgar” is ridiculous. Common in a certain age/gender/class group, maybe, but that doesn’t mean different language is somehow wrong. As you rightly point out, each forum can set its own terms of use, and enforce them. And as@Maili: points out, most communities are pretty good about policing themselves when someone crosses a line that most users agree upon. (In my day job I’m a professor of communication, but I promised to save lengthy discussion of this aspect for a blog post at my own site.)

    The point I really want to reinforce is that what Robin is talking about here is important, and it shouldn’t be diluted by lesser concerns. Yes, we have different opinions on language; yes, sometimes a reader or reviewer crosses a line; yes, writing books is hard and hearing harsh criticism that doesn’t seem well-reasoned hurts. All of those can lead to conversations worth having, I think. But none of that, none of that, justifies what’s going on. We as a community have to be better than this, which means we have to say loud and clear that this is intolerable, no ifs, ands, or buts about it.

    ReplyReply

  27. Ann Somerville
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 20:14:31

    @Melody Clark:
    “Attacking my book is attacking me if the point of attacking the book is to attack the writer. ”

    [citation needed]

    Seriously. Give an example of a review which attacks the author to the same degree of harrassment as calling someone at home and threatening them, or get out.

    ReplyReply

  28. NM
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 20:17:15

    LOL, no, Christi, my feelings don’t get hurt when other people use vulgar or obscene language. However, that kind of language tends to diminish what they’re trying to say.

    Of course, if the reviewer’s intent is to let off steam by writing a crude or abusive review, well, that speaks to something not quite right with the reviewer. And, by the same token, if a responding author uses the moment to lash out in general over myriad frustrations, that’s not a good thing, either. That kind of behavior isn’t serving anyone well, not the person engaging in it, not the target, not the people witnessing the various tantrums.

    That the venue at Goodreads involves readers and the authors of the books they’re reviewing doesn’t change the concept of mature, thoughtful, constructive discussion. That you refer to the authors as “targets” is telling. Honestly, I’ve never bought a book and then thought of it’s author as my “target” because I paid money for her book. I don’t even know how to respond to that, it’s so bizarre to me. Also, I believe that adults should always be, well, adults. I believe people should behave with integrity. I don’t have separate personas for various types of discussions, or venues, or internet v. real world. I don’t treat some people disrespectfully because I feel that, as a consumer of their product, I have a right to be abusive. Again, I just don’t know how to process the notion that it’s okay to be willfully demeaning and hurtful to someone just because you purchased their product.

    I’m pretty sure Goodreads was never intended to be a “safe space” for the rude, the profane and the abusive.

    Feel free to be as obscene and rude and vulgar as you like. Just don’t try to silence me for not agreeing with you, ‘k? Because that would be truly hypocritical.

    ReplyReply

  29. Jane
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 20:18:49

    So the upshot of something like the STGB (not to mention the horrifying personal phone call the goodreads participant received) is this email I received today (republished with permission and identifying information left out). It came via a request to delete a comment (link to screenshot):

    I left a comment on this review accidentally, after I wrote everything, I wanted to copy and paste it to word so that I could edit it for grammar and spelling, and just clean it up a bit. I thought I hit the “x”put somehow i managed to post it and I don’t know how to delete it, i am new to blogs and posting things and i’ve seen the way people bash reviewers and i’m just terrified of what people are going to do, I’ve seen how that will search for personal info and make fun of people and i’m begging you to please please delete it!

    ReplyReply

  30. Ann Somerville
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 20:19:38

    @AoV:
    “Surely that’s Ridley’s responsibility.”

    you mean, she should complain to the site which is outing her and ask for them to behave well, instead of you contacting them and asking them to stop using your online beef with her as an excuse to out her?

    You make Pontius Pilate look like President Truman.

    ” Assuming s/he cares about it in the first place. ”

    Too stupid to work out what gender Ridley is from the same site which is using your online disputes with her to out her?

    You are really, really foul.

    @SonomaLass: “what Robin is talking about here is important, and it shouldn’t be diluted by lesser concerns”

    Yes. A thousands times yes. We’re talking about women being put in danger by deranged stalkers. Not about the poor widdle feefees of authors who need to grow the fuck up and get over it.

    ReplyReply

  31. Ann Somerville
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 20:31:31

    @NM:
    “if the reviewer’s intent is to let off steam by writing a crude or abusive review, well, that speaks to something not quite right with the reviewer”

    You’re a really judgemental person, aren’t you? People who swear are either mentally ill or unintelligent, or not ‘adult’, or don’t have integrity, according to you.

    “Again, I just don’t know how to process the notion that it’s okay to be willfully demeaning and hurtful to someone just because you purchased their product. ”

    If you can’t tell the difference between a review of a *product* and a review of a *person*, I don’t know how you cope in real life. The world is full of rude, foul mouthed profane little fuckers like me prepared to make their opinion known about their disappointing purchases, as pungently as possible. I’m almost certainly older than you, easily as smart, and I don’t swear because I suffer from depression – I swear because sometimes that’s the best bloody way to exorcise my bad mood.

    Where do you live? Stepford?

    ReplyReply

  32. NM
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 20:35:32

    @SonomaLass

    So if you bumped into me accidentally while walking down the street, and I stopped and started shrieking obscenities at you, that’s fine because there no such thing as commonly accepted standards of behavior? Calling you an $%*@ing c u next tuesday at the top of my lungs, in front of your small children, is perfectly acceptable behavior, and if you complain, I can just remind you that there’s no such thing as a universal standard for acceptable or appropriate language? Really?

    Yes, bullying is wrong. Yes, revealing personally sensitive information about people you don’t like on the internet is wrong. Calling people and making threats is wrong. Agreed.

    OTOH, if you continue to poke away at people and harass them, and abuse them, and treat them like they are somehow less human than you, you shouldn’t be surprised if, sooner or later, some0ne snaps and takes things to the extreme. That doesn’t justify their behavior, but it happens, and people should be aware of that when they start down that road.

    I find it increasingly bizarre that people want to defend every sort of malicious behavior possible just up to the point where someone gets physically harmed. That’s unreasonable. Not to mention that words are powerful and words can hurt people terribly, and we are responsible for our words.

    ReplyReply

  33. Ann Somerville
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 20:38:02

    @NM:
    “people should be aware of that when they start down that road. ”

    …wearing that short skirt and the low cut blouse. Bitch was just asking for it, wasn’t she?

    ReplyReply

  34. Kelly
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 20:43:46

    @NM:

    …adults who understand how to discuss serious, often controversial topics without resorting to ad hominems, vulgarity, profanity and cheap snark, much less verbally abusive or violent commentary.

    That sounds like a Very Happy Place, and I’m glad you are happy there. But that makes me question why you are HERE, if such things bother you so much.

    I am a passionate reader. I am a passionate writer. I love reading what other passionate readers and writers have to say. I want to hear what other reviewers really *feel* about a book, and strong feelings require strong language.

    I can’t imagine trying to disguise my visceral response to a so-called romance author’s misogyny in “pleasant” writing and being forced to share it in an “enlightening, productive” environment. *shudder*

    If I was limited by those restrictions, my writing would be so flattened and sweetened it would no longer serve the purpose of bringing attention to an issue I feel passionate about.

    I am a prolific user of vulgarity, profanity and cheap snark, and I wield those written weapons VERY carefully. I will NEVER apologize for explaining my opinions with strong language, and I will NEVER censor myself to spare the feelings of an author who calls her books her “babies.”

    ReplyReply

  35. NM
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 20:46:06

    @Ann

    No. What I actually said was that people who post an abusive review as a means of alleviating stress are not behaving appropriately. It’s inappropriate to write an abusive review that attacks an author merely because the reviewer had a bad day at work. Behavior like that speaks to the person engaging in it. If it’s a pattern, it speaks to a problem with that reviewer.

    Again, you’re creating a strawman and claiming I’m saying things I am not saying. I do not think people who swear are mentally ill. Those are your words, not mine. Nor do I think people who swear are stupid. Again, those are your words. I do not think people who swear lack integrity, either. Another strawman.

    People who cannot express a negative reaction without resorting to profanity or abusive rhetoric are immature and lack creativity, IMO. Anyone can fling around a dirty word for shock value or effect. It’s harder to write something critical without resorting to the lowest form of speech possible.

    As for integrity, if you are one person to one set of people, and another person to a different group, if you’re two-faced, yes, you lack integrity.

    I know how to tell the difference between a product and a person. What I’m talking about is reviewers who resort to ad hominems. They’re the ones who can’t tell the difference between a product and a person. Attacking the author on a personal level through abusive rhetoric and profanity is not a legitimate response just because you don’t like her product.

    No, I don’t live in Stepford. I live in San Francisco, narrow, uptight little community, that…

    You can curse up a storm, and I can make of that what I like. Why do you need my approval?

    I doubt you’re that much older than me, if you are older at all. I’m in my 50s, the mother of five adult children, and grandmother to three adorable grandchildren. Probably makes me the oldest person here.

    ReplyReply

  36. Las
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 20:51:25

    @NM:

    So if you bumped into me accidentally while walking down the street, and I stopped and started shrieking obscenities at you, that’s fine because there no such thing as commonly accepted standards of behavior?

    Where is this happening? When has a reader (who’s not a fangirl out to defend another author) gone to an author’s space and said, essentially, “Hey, fuck you, cunt.” Links or it didn’t happen.

    And let me make it really clear to you, because I have a feeling you still don’t understand: using profanity in the body of a REVIEW of a BOOK is in NO WAY analogous to shrieking obscenities in an author’s face.

    ReplyReply

  37. Meoskop
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 20:55:23

    @AoV: “I’m not sure why you believe it’s somehow my responsibility to demand people not criticize Ridley’s hostile, antagonistic, verbal abuse (to me and to others.) Surely that’s Ridley’s responsibility. Assuming s/he cares about it in the first place.”

    The fact that you are fine with your tit for tat exchanges with Ridley being used to prop up a site detailing how to physically locate (and now phoning to threaten) bloggers and reviewers tells me what I already knew about your character. I hope the AoV tag means someone is spoofing you, but I think you just got tired of typing.

    ReplyReply

  38. Kelly
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 20:57:42

    @NM:

    …if the reviewer’s intent is to let off steam by writing a crude or abusive review, well, that speaks to something not quite right with the reviewer.

    Wow. If something in a book offends me, and I post a rant about it, that makes me “not quite right”?

    So getting PISSED OFF about misogyny, rape jokes, homophobia, racism or other touchy issues in books is “not quite right” – in other words, WRONG?

    Please feel free to clarify if I’m misunderstanding you, because I really want to be “quite right” just like you.

    ReplyReply

  39. Ridley
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 21:02:16

    “S/he?” Bitch, please.

    ReplyReply

  40. NM
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 21:05:04

    No, Ann. But a woman who wears a sexually provocative outfit and who frequents certain areas known for that sort of trouble should be aware that she may be targeted. That doesn’t mean she deserves violence, nor does it excuse those who would attack her. It does, however, mean that we are responsible for our own behavior and for the decisions we make.

    @Las, so now there are universal standards for acceptable and appropriate language? Aha. Are you setting those…? What right do you have to tell me I cannot shriek profanities in front of small children? Yes, using profanities as descriptors in the body of a review is not the same as calling the author names. I am referring to reviews where authors are attacked on a personal level. That said, using profanities as descriptors in the body of the review diminishes the review. Truth is, most people are turned off by dirty language and will probably stop reading. But that is your choice. You can’t blame people for not liking your reviews if they’re profanity laden.

    @Kelly, believe it or not, people are perfectly capable of expressing passion, disgust, anger, outrage, etc., without resorting to profanity. It just takes a little extra thought and creativity. Doesn’t have to be sweet or sappy at all.

    ReplyReply

  41. AOV
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 21:07:56

    @Courtney Milan: You are just as interesting and entertaining as your novels.

    ReplyReply

  42. Ann Somerville
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 21:08:01

    @Kelly:
    “I really want to be “quite right” just like you.”

    Are you sure? Because being ‘right’ like NM means being a supporter of rape culture as well as a judgemental prude.

    If hating her views is wrong, I don’t wanna be right.

    ReplyReply

  43. LG
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 21:08:16

    @NM: I don’t see anyone saying there are no commonly accepted standards of behavior. It’s just that not every site will have *your* accepted standards of behavior. When you’re online, you’re not surrounded by just people from your neighborhood or your town – there are people from all over the world. They’re not going to be just like you, they’re not going to think just like you. What you do is you figure out what the accepted standards of behavior of a particular site are and whether you’re comfortable with them. If you’re not comfortable with them, there are many, many sites out there you can visit instead. Same goes for reviewers – there are lots of different reviewing styles, and if you hate snarky reviews DON’T READ THEM.

    ReplyReply

  44. Kelly
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 21:10:04

    @NM:

    Thank you so much for that patronizing pat on the head. Your self-righteousness is truly epic.

    ReplyReply

  45. diremommy
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 21:10:48

    It is not ABUSIVE to say you think a book fucking sucks. Mean, maybe, but not abusive.

    ReplyReply

  46. Kelly
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 21:12:04

    @Ann Somerville:

    /sarcasm

    ReplyReply

  47. NM
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 21:14:02

    @Kelly

    If you choose to target an author and write a review chock full of profanity-laden, abusive, ad hominem attacks on her in order to alleviate a rotten day at work, and then claim it’s perfectly fine because it’s a “review”, yes, there’s something wrong with that behavior. If it’s a pattern, if you find yourself doing this frequently, yes, there’s something wrong with you and you should seek professional help to alleviate whatever source of stress is causing you to personally attack others.

    It’s fine to be angry about any number of things, including the things you mentioned. If you let your anger and passion get lost in abusive language, profanity, and/or personal attacks, however, your words will not have as much power as they would if you waited until you could write a more thoughtful, well-reasoned and argued critique, avoiding the trap of ad hominems.

    ReplyReply

  48. Ann Somerville
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 21:14:39

    @Kelly:

    I left the sarcasm tag off my comment too. No worries :)

    ReplyReply

  49. Linda Hilton
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 21:19:27

    @NM: No, NM, you’re not the oldest, not by a fucking long shot. I’m 63.

    Like Kelly, I wonder why you’re here, too. You don’t like our language, you think we’re all abusive and rude attackers of sweet little precious authors, you want to impose your standards on us but don’t want us to hint that you adapt to ours when you’re on our turf, etc. etc. etc. So I’m thinking you’re nothing but a little troll, hiding behind initials because you’re a coward.

    I normally don’t come right out and confront people like that, but when someone comes to a site — and yes, thank you, Jane and Jayne and all our other hostesses, for letting my contentious little ass in your home — with the sole intention of disagreeing with just about everyone else there, then they have an agenda to harrass and at some point someone has to call them to account.

    And that’s exactly what this discussion is about: harrassment. You keep saying you don’t like what the “Stop Them” website is doing, but in your very next breath you defend them. You say they’re justified. You say their victims brought it on themselves. You’re an apologist for bullies. And that, in my book, makes you a bully, too.

    You keep putting down those of us who use “common” language. You say it demeans us or diminishes our arguments, as though you are some super-mommy chiding all us brats. And I’m sure you just suck up every bit of attention it’s bringing you.

    Because that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? It’s about the high and mighty special NM snowflake, the saintly prig who wouldn’t say shit if she had a mouthful.

    I’m short and I’ve always had to stand up for myself. Very very rarely does anyone ever come to my defense because everyone thinks Linda’s the strong one, the smart one who doesn’t need any help, the intimidating one who scares everyone else away. Well, fine. But I’m also the one who will not sit by and let people be bullied. I will call out the bullies when maybe no one else will.

    And that’s what you are, NM. You’re a fucking bully. You’re a coward, just like AoV and whoever the slimebuckets are on that “Stop Them” website.

    I’ve only been on GoodReads for a very short time, haven’t left very many reviews except of old classic books that I loved (and one new “hoax” that made me laugh it was so outrageous). But damn it, a person’s book is not them. Criticizing someone’s book is not the same as saying they’re a bad person, no matter how snarky or rude or painful the review is. I know a hell of a lot of people who are absolutely wonderful people, great parents, staunch friends, excellent at their chosen professions, but they can’t write crap. They just can’t. And telling them they can’t write crap is not the same as telling them they’re bad people.

    There are a lot of people publishing today who are bad writers. They may have great stories in their heads and hearts, but they suck at the writing. Maybe they can learn, and maybe they can’t, but nothing changes the fact that their writing sucks. That doesn’t mean they themselves suck.

    I don’t think it’s that you can’t get this through your head, NM. I think it’s that you just don’t want to, because your agenda is to bully, start trouble, stir the pot and sit back and watch. That’s the mark of a very very small minded person, in my estimation. That’s the mark of someone who can’t build, can’t create, but can only destroy what others have created.

    Fuck that noise, and piss on you.

    ReplyReply

  50. Robin/Janet
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 21:22:40

    @NM: Can you provide examples of reviews you are referring to in your comments? Because I have been more and more puzzled by your comments and your assertions that people here are somehow valorizing abusive behavior toward authors. I haven’t seen anyone argue that this behavior should be the norm (something you stated in an earlier comment), and you keep referring to these repeated patterns of abuse and attack, which sounds to me a lot like the unsubstantiated stuff the STGRB site and its supporters are using.

    As far as I’m concerned, we should all, as a community of women who participate online, be saying: intentionally exposing readers to actual threats and harm, trying shame them into silence by implicit threats of violence is wrong.

    There should be no “but” in that sentence. Saying that does NOT make okay any other behavior; it merely acknowledges that there is a line across which there is no longer an arguable position, and IMO that’s what is needed here to keep that line hard and bright. All of this equivocating language merely weakens the precise integrity you continue to assert. And I am perfectly willing to believe that your intentions are good in this regard, but I am having difficulty with your comments, not only because they rely on no proffered evidence, but also because they seem to keep qualifying your objection to what is going on at STGRB. And the point that some of us are trying to make is that if we do not recognize a line across something is absolutely not okay full stop, we give those who are crossing that line ammunition and permission to continue to do so.

    ReplyReply

  51. Moriah Jovan
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 21:23:52

    @AoV: If you think Ridley is hostile, you have led a very sheltered online existence. You have commented anonymously since I’ve been reading this blog. How would YOU like it if I tracked you down, posted all your vitals on my blog, and issued a fatwa on you to all the people you’ve shown condescending passive aggression to?

    This entire conversation is asinine. It wouldn’t be an issue if there weren’t so many people on the internet who want to control other people’s behavior by any means necessary. (Google “SWATting.”)

    ReplyReply

  52. Ann Somerville
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 21:24:39

    @Linda Hilton:

    I think it’s that you just don’t want to, because your agenda is to bully, start trouble, stir the pot and sit back and watch. That’s the mark of a very very small minded person, in my estimation. That’s the mark of someone who can’t build, can’t create, but can only destroy what others have created.

    Fuck that noise, and piss on you.

    From one old broad to another – you’re fabulous!

    ReplyReply

  53. Las
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 21:26:14

    @NM:

    @Las, so now there are universal standards for acceptable and appropriate language? Aha. Are you setting those…? What right do you have to tell me I cannot shriek profanities in front of small children?

    I have no idea what the –brace yourself–fuck you’re talking about. Stop deliberately missing the point and making–watch out–bullshit analogies that have nothing to do with the discussion at hand. You’re not making some deep point here, you’re just showing your–oh no–ass.

    Using profanities doesn’t diminish anything. What it does do is allow lazy debaters to stop engaging when they know they don’t have a leg to stand on, because they get to claim that the use of profanity invalidates their opponent’s argument. You get to completely ignore the points being made and blame the person making those points.

    And in what corner of the internet do you live that you think most people will avoid reviews that contain profanities?

    ReplyReply

  54. NM
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 21:26:36

    @Ann, no matter how many times you repeat your strawman, I have never claimed that anyone is asking to be raped.

    @LG

    There is no such thing as a universal standard for acceptable or appropriate language. The idea that anything is “commonly recognized as vulgar” is ridiculous.

    — SonomaLass, comment #226

    Actually, SonomaLass claims there are no universal standards for acceptable or appropriate language.

    I understand that, when online, at least at some sites, there’s a broad variety of expression, and I am perfectly capable of not reading what I don’t like.

    My original response was about how this stuff gets started and ends up snowballing into extreme behavior, and how we might end this kind of behavior. Much like when Obama asked that we raise the level of discourse after the tragic shooting in Arizona. Didn’t see anyone blasting him, or calling him a Stepford wife, or any other names for suggesting that violent language leads to violent behavior. Go figure.

    ReplyReply

  55. NM
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 21:27:26

    @Las, you forgot to close your tags…

    ReplyReply

  56. AoV
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 21:28:42

    @diremommy:

    It is not ABUSIVE to say you think a book fucking sucks. Mean, maybe, but not abusive.

    I think people know the diff between a negative book review and verbal abuse. I’m unaware of anyone claiming a negative review is automatically abuse, stalking, bullying, or other inappropriate behavior.

    ReplyReply

  57. NM
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 21:30:49

    @Linda

    Feel better, dear? :~)

    ReplyReply

  58. Ann Somerville
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 21:32:24

    @NM:

    But a woman who wears a sexually provocative outfit and who frequents certain areas known for that sort of trouble should be aware that she may be targeted.

    That right there is the very essence of rape culture. And you said it, no one else.

    I’d rather talk to someone who uses ‘fuck’ every other word, than a shitty bully enabler like you who victim blames and tells outright lies.

    You should stick to shoving your twisted morality down your kids and grandkids throats. They have to listen to you. I don’t.

    “when Obama asked that we raise the level of discourse after the tragic shooting in Arizona. ”

    He was asking politicians to stop making remarks about shooting people they disagree with. He wasn’t asking people not to swear. And if he was here, I’d bet he’d call you a fucking clueless troll.

    ReplyReply

  59. Alicia
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 21:33:14

    @NM:

    No. What I actually said was that people who post an abusive review as a means of alleviating stress are not behaving appropriately. It’s inappropriate to write an abusive review that attacks an author merely because the reviewer had a bad day at work.

    Has anyone actually seen this happen? I have rarely ever seen reviews directly attacking an author (and I mean actually attacking the author, not what STGRB considers an attack). I know I have never, ever seen someone write an “abusive” review as a form of stress relief.

    I can’t even begin to imagine that thought process. “God, my day sucked. I’m going to…I’m going to…I’m going to spend several hours/days reading this book and then KILL IT WITH FIRE on Goodreads!”

    Every harsh review I’ve read or the ones I’ve seen mentioned in conjunction with this debacle was written by someone who bought a book, read it, and was left enraged by it. And they kept their rage to the book. They’re blowing off steam about the book. Not the author. Not life. The book. If a reviewer can read a book and love it so much that they spew that love pretty much everywhere, why can’t they read a book, hate it and post an angry review on GR/their blog? That’s what books do to us. That’s why we read them.

    Confusing a book with a human being, and erroneously using the words “bully” and “attack” regarding book reviews is an unreasonable response. No matter how vitriolic the review is about the book. What the STGRB site is doing is so far beyond unreasonable I don’t even have words for it anymore. There is no defense for it.

    ReplyReply

  60. NM
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 21:35:19

    @Robin/Janet

    I haven’t accused anyone here of writing personally abusive reviews. I’ve spoken in generalities.

    Okay, so the only appropriate response here is that what the stop the GR bullies site is doing is wrong? Nothing else? No further discussion of how we raise the level of discussion, how we avoid that kind of snowballing into extreme behaviors? Nothing else is allowed?

    Why didn’t you just post that disclaimer at the end of the original piece, then, or close comboxes, or something? Is all you want an echo chamber — yesmen, cheerleaders rah-rah-ing your post, but no other opinions or thoughts? All you had to do is say that upfront.

    ReplyReply

  61. diremommy
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 21:36:06

    @ AoV: And yet, no one is actually linking to these so called attacking the author viciously and calling them names reviews. They are linking to reviews that say, essentially, that book sucks, the story is bad, editing sucks, grammar is terrible, etc etc. No one is linking to these abusive reviews.

    ReplyReply

  62. Robin/Janet
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 21:40:12

    @NM: Much like when Obama asked that we raise the level of discourse after the tragic shooting in Arizona. Didn’t see anyone blasting him, or calling him a Stepford wife, or any other names for suggesting that violent language leads to violent behavior. Go figure.

    But the problem with this example is that it pretty much goes against your arguments throughout this thread. Obama was appealing to those who were inciting violence by their language — the Right Wing tea party types whose tactics are akin to what the STGRB site is doing NOT to reader and reviewer comments. And yes, those he was targeting absolutely mocked and ridiculed him. Those who did not were those who already believed that NOTHING could justify what happened in that Arizona parking lot.

    ReplyReply

  63. NM
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 21:44:16

    @Alicia

    Rage…over a romance novel…? Really?

    ReplyReply

  64. Las
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 21:46:36

    @NM:

    @Las, you forgot to close your tags…

    Heh, well played. Guess you really are just pretending…

    ReplyReply

  65. AoV
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 21:47:18

    @Moriah Jovan:

    If you think Ridley is hostile, you have led a very sheltered online existence.

    I don’t think Ridley is hostile. I don’t think anything about Ridley. I don’t know Ridley, nor have I any wish to know Ridley. I do regard Ridley’s comments as hostile, aggressive, and unpleasant. To me, anyway.

    You have commented anonymously since I’ve been reading this blog.

    So what?

    How would YOU like it if I tracked you down, posted all your vitals on my blog, and issued a fatwa on you to all the people you’ve shown condescending passive aggression to?

    Honestly, unless you made me aware of what you’d done, I probably wouldn’t notice or care. That isn’t condescending passive aggression, that’s honest apathy. Been there done that and suffered no significant harm because of it. In fact, I even made a few friends out of the fracas. Nice people.

    This entire conversation is asinine. It wouldn’t be an issue if there weren’t so many people on the internet who want to control other people’s behavior by any means necessary.

    I think the situation is much more absurd than the conversation. I have no interest in controlling anyone’s behavior. I am not afiliated with the Goodreads Group responsible for the alleged “outing” discussed in this conversation. I haven’t even seen proof this even occurred.

    ReplyReply

  66. Kelly
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 21:49:07

    @NM:

    Rage…over a romance novel…? Really?

    Again, I’m wondering why you’re here.

    Misogyny in a romance novel enrages me. Perpetuating rape culture in a romance novel enrages me. Homophobia in a YA novel enrages me. Racism in anything, anywhere, enrages me.

    Oh, look, I’m stressed out over a book – I’d better go call my doctor!

    ReplyReply

  67. Carolyn Jewel
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 21:50:27

    @NM:

    When we had standards, when society in general shunned a certain sort of rhetoric, we were better for it. If review sites maintained their TOS and put the kebosh on vulgarity and ad hominems from the very beginning, none of this would be an issue.

    Holy Cow. When do you think that ever happened?

    There were no glory days of politeness. There is no time when our elders aren’t decrying the decay of manners.

    The problem isn’t in controlling speech so that we’re all polite and kind as in the days of yore. As if that would stop people from being mean or nasty or offensive. Look to the past for some of the most vicious, beautifully written, personal attacks ever made. Some of those attacks were designed specifically to keep women in their “place.” (Since that’s the area we’re debating here. )

    How about the graffiti on the walls of Pompeii? Or Ovid’s infamous, vulgar (if one is offended by references to “face fucking”) poetical retort to those who disparaged his work?

    Let’s talk about the poet Joyce Kilmer’s vendetta against the Imagiste poets (Pound, HD, t.s. eliot and others) and Marcel Duchamp’s Nude Decending a Stair, vigorously carried out in the pages of the NY Times Review of Books — which he edited at the time (prior, of course, to WWI). You can see in those pages his opinion pieces and carefully curated set of interviews of people who felt that free verse was the end of civilization as they knew it. His words were beautifully written, but they were vicious. They mocked free verse and cubism in grandiose words and exquisite prose.

    The point is not the language used. The point is the goal. And the goal behind the SGRB site is to silence the voices of reviewers they don’t like by putting those reviewers and their families in fear of physical attack.

    Given that goal, would the SGRB site be OK if any of those posts were written with the fullness of Kilmer’s literary gifts? Would it be OK if those responsible were as adept as Mark Twain at skewering the people they don’t like?

    If they’d stopped at mocking those reviewers, whether the language was polite, rude, Dickensian, formed of crude Latin verse, bad haiku or just plain old mediocre prose, I’d say, well, fine. Let them say what they want. But that isn’t where they stopped, and that is the entire point.

    ReplyReply

  68. Ann Somerville
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 21:51:41

    @AoV:
    “I am not afiliated with the Goodreads Group responsible for the alleged “outing” discussed in this conversation.”

    There is no goodreads group, dummy. And if you haven’t bothered to look at the site in question, why the fuck are you here?

    This is the site: stopthegrbullies.com

    You are cited under the entries about Ridley. Yes, they are outing people. You are an idiot of mammoth proportions.

    You drop into these conversations to stir shit, but you don’t even bother to check what shit you’re stirring.

    ReplyReply

  69. AoV
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 21:56:31

    @diremommy:

    I have read blogs and reviews that turned into “Kick the Author” rounds. I have also read blogs and reviews where angry authors (or people claiming to be authors) have attacked reviewers quite viciously with seemingly little provocative or justification.

    I’m not blind to the obvious. Clearly there are many personalities in the online read/review communities and not all of them mesh well. It’s also clear at least some people have difficulty respecting appropriate boundaries, standards of professionalism, etc..

    My observation, though, is that none of it is one-sided. There are abusers and bullies on both sides of a fence that shouldn’t be there in the first place.

    Most of the on-line drama would be easily avoided if people treated each other with sensitivity and respect.

    ReplyReply

  70. Ann Somerville
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 21:57:59

    @Carolyn Jewel:

    Perhaps NM would prefer we wrote our reviews in Greek to spare the blushes of the poor poor authors, like the guy who found penguin sex too depraved to share in plain text.

    I have a mug given to me by a friend covered with Shakespearean insults. I think a guy who wrote

    He is deformed, crooked, old and sere,
    Ill-faced, worse bodied, shapeless everywhere;
    Vicious, ungentle, foolish, blunt, unkind;
    Stigmatical in making, worse in mind.

    Wouldn’t get too worked up about someone critting one of his plays using the word ‘fuck’.

    ReplyReply

  71. Ann Somerville
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 22:01:04

    Would it be too much to ask these voluble trolls to actually provide links to examples of what they’re talking about? I’m sick of strawmen, and vacuous assertions made without the slightest truth.

    Put up or shut up.

    ReplyReply

  72. Kelly
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 22:05:28

    @NM:

    Fudge, lost my long-ass yet witty response.

    …profanity-laden, abusive, ad hominem attacks on her

    emphasis mine

    To repeat – AGAIN – what others are trying to explain in nice, pleasant, enlightened, namby-pamby words: There is no HER. There are BOOKS.

    You also keep using phrase “ad hominem attacks,” but I’m not sure if you really know what that means.

    Definition of AD HOMINEM:
    1: appealing to feelings or prejudices rather than intellect
    2: marked by or being an attack on an opponent’s character rather than by an answer to the contentions made

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ad%20hominem

    This next quote is yours:

    …yes, there’s something wrong with you and you should seek professional help to alleviate whatever source of stress is causing you to personally attack others.

    If I’m not mistaken, that right there is an ad hominem attack on ME as a person. You are turning your argument back on ME PERSONALLY to deflect the conversation.

    Anyway, that “seek professional help” thing? Already taken care of. Doesn’t keep me from getting pissed off about stupid shit in books. I’d ask my doctor to up my dose of Xanax to get to whatever Happy Place you’re at, but then I’d have to dose down on the Ambien, and then I’d be up all night getting even more pissed off about patronizing comments on blogs.

    ReplyReply

  73. Ridley
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 22:10:34

    @NM: Well, if you were paying attention, you might have noticed that your “solution” is precisely what Robin termed the problem in her post. Trying to hold everyone to a single standard of “ladylike” behavior is what leads to abuse getting heaped upon non-conformists.

    Don’t like my working class, Boston bluntness in my reviews? Fine. That’s legit. I can’t stand your self-righteous, ignorant condescension.

    Everyone annoys someone. And that’s why the flying spaghetti monster gave us the internet in its infinite splendor. I can avoid whatever repressed corner of the internet you crawled from, and you can block me on Goodreads. Synergy.

    The solution to preventing future cases of stalking an menacing isn’t to do exactly what the stalkers wanted to scare their targets into doing. It’s to isolate the nutcases who stalk with a clear statement of “this shit’s bananas.”

    ReplyReply

  74. Robin/Janet
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 22:11:58

    @NM: I haven’t accused anyone here of writing personally abusive reviews. I’ve spoken in generalities.

    Okay, so the only appropriate response here is that what the stop the GR bullies site is doing is wrong? Nothing else? No further discussion of how we raise the level of discussion, how we avoid that kind of snowballing into extreme behaviors? Nothing else is allowed?

    CLEARLY, given the almost 300 comments here, there is A LOT of room for discussion. And if the repeated substance of one’s comments to a blog post that drew a hard, bright line between what is happening on the STGRB site and other conduct and speech is to talk “in generalities” about bad manners, abusive attacks on authors, etc., my curiosity is going to be engaged. Why the investment in these generalities? Why no specific evidence of these charges? Why the continued focus on “generalities” when what we do have hard evidence of is so far beyond the pale? You have no issue accusing others of lacking integrity, but I ask you to provide examples of what I think are VERY inflammatory accusations on your part (general accusations of exactly the sort the STGRB and its supporters have rolled out), and you immediately accuse me of not allowing discussion?! That seems to me, at best, problematic to any civil discussion.

    ReplyReply

  75. Julia Broadbooks
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 22:13:27

    @Ann Somerville:

    @AoV:
    “Surely that’s Ridley’s responsibility.”

    you mean, she should complain to the site which is outing her and ask for them to behave well, instead of you contacting them and asking them to stop using your online beef with her as an excuse to out her?

    I’ve never quoted anything in a comment before so I hope this comes out right.

    No. Just no. It is not incumbent upon the people being harassed and threatened by this blog to ask for it to stop. It’s up to us. We cannot allow this sort of thing -the publishing of personal information, the effing phone calls at home. It is wrong and offensive and really quite scary. Even if you disagree with that, more importantly, this will drive other readers away. Away from Goodreads. Away from blogs. Away from the wonderful and varied community we have become.

    And that is a cost we all would pay.

    ReplyReply

  76. Dabney
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 22:13:54

    @Meljean: @Carolyn Jewel: I loved both of your comments. Language is of course just a tool. The issue is what one wants to and actually does accomplish with that tool.

    ReplyReply

  77. AoV
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 22:16:59

    @Meoskop:

    The fact that you are fine with your tit for tat exchanges with Ridley being used to prop up a site detailing how to physically locate (and now phoning to threaten) bloggers and reviewers tells me what I already knew about your character.

    I never said I was fine with anyone being treated this way. Like Courtney Milan, I have no wish to contact the group/website. I think someone even said earlier there was a potential security risk in visiting the group/website. This isn’t my problem, this is Ridley’s problem.

    Face it, you’re taking potshots at me for “not doing (your opinion of) the right thing” because of personal antipathy. You dislike my opinions and how I express them, so my decision to do nothing — the same as Courtney Milan — now “proves what a bad character I am.”

    Ridley neither needs nor wants me to stand up for Ridley. Ridley handles herself just fine and I’m confident she can contact these individuals and respectfully request that they remove her information from their group/site/blog. Unless she actually wants it there.

    ReplyReply

  78. Merrian
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 22:21:21

    @Robin/Janet: When I first started reading DA I ended up with a vision in my head of author and readers as overlapping Venn circles. I was thinking of the author horror of ebooks (4 or 5 years ago) and the common equation of e-book readers as pirates in author minds as frequently expressed by authors jumping into comments threads in those days.

    I am more and more convinced that readers and authors have similar interests but not the same. Where we overlap in the diagram is not a coming together at a shared place of interest but the point of friction. Reviews are marketing tools for authors and book finding tools for readers. As a thing with two different purposes and meanings, in effect they are a site of struggle. The bullying and the stalking actions and their passive-aggressive apologists are not just being inherently misogynistic in the attacks on reviewers and their false equivalencies they are seeking power over this space because it is the place where things are changing and the door through which possible futures will come.

    I am sitting here wondering whose Thermopylae this is? I know authors don’t see themselves as having the might of invading Persia but the repeated attempts by authors that I have seen over my active years in romancelandia to control what readers and reviewers think and say add up (as always Author on Vacation is the most egregious example to hand). I really am concerned that what Robyn/Janet fears will be the true result of this situation. At the minimum this means authors will be viewed suspiciously by readers and reviewers and this changes both our online community and the relationship with the books we read. We will be paying more attention to the author persona than the text in order to be sure the books are safe for us to read.

    ReplyReply

  79. Christi
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 22:22:03

    @NM:

    But a woman who wears a sexually provocative outfit and who frequents certain areas known for that sort of trouble should be aware that she may be targeted.

    Yeah so, this explains a lot. You know the kind of people who share that attitude? People who teach girls to avoid being raped (wear this, not that, walk here, not there, say this, not that, have sex then, not then), instead of focusing all that energy on teaching boys not to ever EVER rape girls. At the risk of hyperbole, I see a lot of parallels here.

    Instead of teaching our reviewers to be and react honestly, we’re teaching them to avoid being stalked (say this, not that, act this way, not that way, post here, not there).

    That kind of attitude is disgusting. We should be pouring our energy into teaching authors not to stalk and harass people in RL. Not ever. Sure, we have control over our actions, and I’m sure an internet in which people are too afraid of facing terrifying RL consequences to be honest (as well as society where women are too afraid of being raped to wear what they want) would be just wonderful for you. Personally, it makes me sick.

    I have the right to express my feelings, however vulgar they may be, just as I have the right to wear whatever the hell I want. We shouldn’t have to censor ourselves to accommodate criminals. THEY are the ones in the wrong.

    ReplyReply

  80. NM
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 22:29:57

    @R0bin

    I haven’t accused anyone of not having integrity. Again, I’ve spoken generally, said that certain behaviors would indicate a lack of integrity, and I’ve spoken generally because I’m not accusing anyone. Which, I guess, I should have been doing all along. Seems like I’m damned if I do, damned if I don’t, and all because I don’t like profanity. Not that anyone here would gang up and start personally attacking anyone because of something as innocuous as not liking profanity, or something, right? They wouldn’t resort to a big Twitter-fest of snark or name-calling or any of that behavior, or trying to figure out who I am or where I post, or anything, because that would be truly reprehensible. Right…right…??

    I’ve seen what you all really are, and it’s hypocritical and dishonest beyond belief. That’s all I need to know about you now.

    Enjoy your ugly little snark-fest.

    ReplyReply

  81. meoskop
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 22:32:38

    @AoV: Are you asking me if I dislike your opinions? Generally. Yes. I disagree with potshots, I’m taking direct aim because of your words and your actions here. Milan isn’t excusing STGRB while you alternate between claiming the events Janet refers to haven’t happened and making up excuses if they have. You inserted the word “bad” before character. I won’t argue with you on that point.

    ReplyReply

  82. NM
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 22:36:45

    Of course, I suppose I should be worried now that Ann Somerville wants to punch me. Isn’t that bullying…? Aren’t threats of physical violence something we should take seriously? Call law enforcement?

    My God, but you are a pack of repulsive, hateful, hypocritical harpies.

    So much for all your pretensions to be just so concerned about real bullying and threats of physical violence. Right.

    I guess Dear Author really is the same as the stop the GR bully people. It’s just okay when you do it to people, but not okay when they do it to you. Of course. So typical of the bully mentality.

    ReplyReply

  83. NM
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 22:39:52

    We should be pouring our energy into teaching authors not to stalk and harass people in RL. Not ever.

    Good. Start with yourself and your twitter friends who are now expressing their desire to physically harm me.

    ReplyReply

  84. Robin/Janet
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 22:42:45

    @NM: Where have I been snarky or attacking toward you? I engaged your politely and civilly, tried to take your comments seriously, and asked for examples and evidence when you made accusations that I find problematic and disturbing. Where I’m from, that’s called civil, reasoned debate, and isn’t that what you keep claiming you want us all to engage in?

    Civility doesn’t mean I won’t challenge you on assertions, arguments, and ideas I find problematic; it simply means that I will do so respectfully, which I have made more than one attempt to do. And the fact that you’re still commenting freely here behind two initials, is, I believe, MORE than enough evidence that you have far more safety commenting here than many, many, many readers have in places they should unquestioningly enjoy the very same right. Which is, as far as I’m concerned, the whole point. If I were being snarky, I’d thank you for letting me demonstrate that, but I’m so baffled by your response to being sincerely questioned about your incredibly strong and strongly worded ideas, I am just completely taken aback by your outburst.

    ReplyReply

  85. AoV
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 22:43:30

    Are you asking me if I dislike your opinions?

    I am not asking.

    I’m taking direct aim because of your words and your actions here. Milan isn’t excusing STGRB while you alternate between claiming the events Janet refers to haven’t happened and making up excuses if they have.

    You are a disgusting liar. I have stated several times I believe “outing” people is wrong.

    HOWEVER, even if your comment was true, it still does not justify your expectation I should stand up to some alleged cyberbully group to defend a person who has repeatedly attempted to insult me with this community’s full blessing for an extended period of time.

    The fact that you even nurture such expectation is laughable.

    ReplyReply

  86. Alicia
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 22:46:45

    @NM:

    Rage…over a romance novel…? Really?

    So, you’re saying you’ve never read anything that’s angered you so much you needed to get it out? You’re damn right rage over a romance novel. I’ve recently written rage filled reviews over Nora Roberts books from the 80s because I had to release my feelings about the seriously rapey heroes. Just wrote a ragey review of a Fern Michaels reissue with horribly misogynistic males and utterly stupid females. Kelly it the nail on the head, all of those issues she mentioned set me off, too. I bought those books and I have every right to work out my feelings about it in my review. Excuse me if the rest of us aren’t as evolved. Or, really, I have to echo Kelly’s question of why you’re here if you think that romance is such a meaningless, insignificant genre that experiencing emotions over these books is somehow ridiculous.

    But you seem to have skipped over giving us examples of these reviews you’re talking about. Likely because they don’t exist. And even if they did they would not, in any way, excuse or justify the actions of the STGRB site. It would not excuse or justify the phone call Lucy received.

    ReplyReply

  87. NM
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 22:46:51

    Yes, Robin. Then why are you part of that nasty, hate-filled, physically threatening twitter fest targeting myself and “AoV”?

    You present one face here, and another there, as do the other participants here who are oh-so-sanctimoniously claiming this is all about putting a stop to REAL bullying, as in making physical threats here on this thread, but are then expressing their desire to punch me in the face as they ponder who I could be and what sites I frequent.

    I see who you really are now, and I know the truth about you.

    There is nothing you can say to undo that now.

    Good night.

    ReplyReply

  88. Ann Somerville
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 22:47:21

    @NM:

    “I suppose I should be worried now that Ann Somerville wants to punch me.”

    If you’re going to stalk my twitter, please stalk it properly. I want to punch *AoV* every time she posts. I can’t help it – when someone posts something so rage inducingly moronic as she regularly comes out with, I have an instant rage reflex.

    You, I just wish would go away. Actually, take AoV with you – you can discuss how much rape victims ask for it while you sympathise over your imaginary victimhood.

    You really are unbelievably pathetic. You both refuse to substantiate your inflammatory rhetoric, but you take a conversation out of context to ‘prove’ that you are the one who deserves sympathy.

    You deserve nothing but scorn.

    The ones who deserve – and who have – my support and synpathy for the real danger they and their families have been put in, are Ridley, Kat Kennedy, The holy terror, and Lucy. They’re the victims here.

    You’re nothing. An anonymous irritation hiding behind a pseudonym, risking nothing and doing nothing remotely constructive. A gnat, to be swatted and forgotten.

    ReplyReply

  89. Ridley
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 22:47:24

    @AoV: Yeah, lemme go and hand over my IP address to an unhinged stalker by sending them a “respectful” email asking them to please stop threatening me. What could go wrong?

    ReplyReply

  90. Jennifer Armintrout
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 22:48:56

    @Author on Vacation: I’m sorry, I’m hundreds of comments behind here, but AoV, did you really just suggest that I should do more research about bad reviews causing stress? You have got to be effing kidding me. Do me a favor, google “Queene of Light” and get back to me.

    Shaking. My. Head.

    ReplyReply

  91. AoV
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 22:49:11

    @NM:

    I guess Dear Author really is the same as the stop the GR bully people. It’s just okay when you do it to people, but not okay when they do it to you. Of course. So typical of the bully mentality.

    It gives me the creeps, but it does strike me as very plausible DA is directly involved with this alleged bully blog. That’s no compliment to DA, but it’s a sad reflection on the overall situation that I consider the possibility and don’t find it implausible. NOTE: I am not saying that is a fact, just that it wouldn’t surprise me if it were so.

    ReplyReply

  92. Ann Somerville
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 22:49:24

    Oh hey, I see NM doesn’t have any problem with abusive rhetoric when *she’s* upset about something!

    Come join the rest of us in the gutter, darling.

    ReplyReply

  93. Gillyweed
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 22:49:47

    @AoV:

    You are a disgusting liar. I have stated several times I believe “outing” people is wrong.

    LOL! I think you meant “alleged” outing.

    ReplyReply

  94. azteclady
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 22:50:34

    @NM: Didn’t you flounce already? Please, follow through, you condescending misogynist.

    @Christi: *applauding*

    I hope you don’t mind that I’m going to be quoting this comment in my blog.

    ReplyReply

  95. Las
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 22:53:51

    @NM: One person gets hyperbolic and says she wants to punch you and that’s an example of people ganging up and attacking you? Please. No one attacked you because you dislike profanity. People disagreed with you and called you out on both your erroneous statements about the good ole days and your blatant insults of people who use profanity. If that’s what you consider an attack, it’s no wonder you think there are so many examples (that you refuse to link to) of readers attacking authors.

    ReplyReply

  96. azteclady
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 22:54:44

    @AoV: And I thought neither of you could stoop any lower.

    Live to learn.

    Then again, you act with impunity, as cowardly as the StGRb, because you know that none of the people behind Dear Author will expose you to real life stalking by outing you.

    Unmitigated hypocrites.

    ReplyReply

  97. AoV
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 22:56:01

    @Ridley:

    @AoV: Yeah, lemme go and hand over my IP address to an unhinged stalker by sending them a “respectful” email asking them to please stop threatening me. What could go wrong?

    Well okay. Ask your attorney to do it.

    ReplyReply

  98. NM
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 22:56:21

    No, Ann, you and AnimeJune were referring to me. You’re both dishonest and spectacularly hypocritical.

    What you think doesn’t matter. You’re not an honest person. You’re a foul-mouthed, ugly-minded, hypocritical liar. And one who is doing exactly what you’re whinging and whining about others doing to your pals. You want to report AoV to CPS because you think she is so dumb that just being a mother constitutes child abuse. And you saw my posts and want to punch me in the face. We get it. You want to stalk and harass us because we disagree with you. You want to physically harm us because we disagree with you. And your pals, AnimeJune, SonomaLass, ReaderLas, RobinL, et al., are all guffawing along with you on Twitter, while they put up this sanctimonious, holier-than-thou front over here.

    You’re rotten to the core, and it’s there for everyone to see. Not that they’ll care. They’re just the same as you.

    ReplyReply

  99. ancientpeas
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 22:56:46

    I wrote a big huge post about how I thought AOV could really be a champion for good internet behaviour and get her part with Ridley taken down and tell them that she didn’t need them “defend” her that way. That is what I would do in her place. I wouldn’t want any part of those people and their efforts. I would want my name out of it if for no other reason than how badly it reflects back on me.

    But, it doesn’t really matter does it? I’m spitting into the wind and wondering why my face is wet.

    ReplyReply

  100. Robin/Janet
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 22:57:37

    @NM: I have absolutely no clue what you are talking about. I have not threatened you, physically or otherwise, here or on Twitter. That you are claiming such a thing is EXACTLY why I kept pressing you on your “generalizations.” That you are trying to turn this back on me, when I have done NOTHING of the sort you are claiming says much more about you than me. And, yes, I think those unsubstantiated accusations are precisely part of the problem that is fueling the STGRB site.

    ReplyReply

  101. Ann Somerville
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 23:00:37

    @NM:

    You have such a potty mouth. Do you think this is contributing to civil discourse? You kiss your grandkid with that mouth

    Go have a sherry. Or three.

    ReplyReply

  102. NM
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 23:02:04

    Robin, you are part of the current twitter fest, instigated by AnimeJune and Ann Somerville, in which all kinds of true bullying is going on. Stop lying.

    You’re not an honorable person. You pretend one thing here, and you do another thing elsewhere. You criticize one set of people for a certain set of behaviors and then excuse the same set of behaviors in your friends.

    Nothing you say now means anything. I’ve seen what you really are. You can’t unring the bell now. Now don’t you have to head back to twitter to guffaw and titter and snicker and snark with your like-minded friends…? Hurry! You might miss another gem from AnimeJune!

    ReplyReply

  103. Ann Somerville
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 23:03:21

    @ancientpeas:
    “That is what I would do in her place.”

    Stop thinking of her as a real person. She’s an animatronic troll programmed with Contrarianism++. Arguing is all she’s capable of. They didn’t code for decency or logic.

    NM is AoV v2, gawd help us.

    ReplyReply

  104. Speaking Up and Out « Writer's Diary
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 23:05:42

    [...] Janet’s Dear Author commentary [...]

  105. Las
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 23:07:22

    @NM: I don’t know why I bother since I’m convinced you don’t believe half the stuff you’re saying in this thread, but here goes…

    How has anyone been a hypocrite? Go ahead and explain it to me like the idiot I obviously am, with my use of profanity and all. Everyone has made their opinion of your comments clear to you; no one has called for finding out and releasing your personal information. Seriously, spell it out.

    ReplyReply

  106. Courtney Milan
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 23:10:52

    @NM: Yes, Robin. Then why are you part of that nasty, hate-filled, physically threatening twitter fest targeting myself and “AoV”?

    …You are clearly not looking at the same twitter feed for Robin that I am. Can you point to a single nasty, hate-filled physically threatening tweet from her? Or a tweet “guffawing” with anyone?

    Because this is the tweet I see:

    redrobinreader @ann_somerville I finally asked for some examples b/c the rhetoric sounds like some of those folks on AW making general unsupported claims.

    ReplyReply

  107. AoV
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 23:10:59

    @azteclady: I’m sorry if my speculation offends you. My point is that I’ve witnessed cyberbullying here at DA, so it’s not a stretch IMHO that DA could be involved with or responsible for a different website focussed on cyberbullying.

    As to my confidence DA would never “out” me, I have no such confidence. DA has frequently tolerated verbal abuse directed at me, all the while warning me against wiping the floor with the yahoos who know they can say whatever they want without being called on it. At the very least, DA is certainly guilty of contributing to an environment conducive to bullying and abuse of certain participants. I don’t see why it’s so far-fetched they’d participate in abuse of other individuals, whether as a “social experiment” or some other morbid quest for attention. And I certainly have no reason to believe DA would protect my privacy except for the idea that DA likes to portray itself as being above that kind of thing. Still, it wouldn’t shock me to know info about me has likely been shared with other DA members through more private venues.

    I visit DA for multiple reasons but blind loyalty and absolute trust are not among them.

    ReplyReply

  108. Susan
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 23:14:35

    Wow. This post–and the resulting comments—makes me very sad.

    –There are a lot more idiots/loons/scary people out there than I had ever imagined. And I’d imagined quite a few.
    –I’m vulgar. (Well, I’m not sure how sad I really am about that.)
    –There are some authors I’m going to have to strike off my list. And it appears that the list will only grow.
    –Courtney Milan is, like, 5 times smarter than I am.

    ReplyReply

  109. Madame X
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 23:14:59

    @NM:

    So…here’s the thing, NM. All through this conversation, you’ve mostly been speaking in hypotheticals and generalizations. About ideas that calmed you, probably, because that’s what nostalgia does, and your posts have been nostalgic, if nothing else.

    Most of the rest of us? Speaking about a real thing.

    So now you’re realizing that people have been mocking you on twitter and that it is not fun. And now you’re MAD. And now that you’re MAD, all your nice hypotheticals about raising the level of discourse are gone.

    And, you know. It’s not fun to be mocked. You sound hurt and you have a right to be. So just think about how you’re feeling right now, multiply it a few times, and imagine how much worse it is to be the butt of the GR Bully site & maybe you’ll realize where we’ve been all along, while you were catching up.

    ReplyReply

  110. Ann Somerville
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 23:15:15

    @AoV:

    “I visit DA for multiple reasons but blind loyalty and absolute trust are not among them. ”

    You visit to shit stir.

    Your suggestions are as ridiculous as they are vile. Pretty much sums you up.

    ReplyReply

  111. AoV
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 23:16:55

    @ancientpeas:

    Absolutely no one is preventing you from contacting the group and requesting they remove identifying information about people because you consider it inappropriate.

    Go for it. Good luck to you.

    ReplyReply

  112. Kelly
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 23:16:56

    @AoV:

    I’ve witnessed cyberbullying here at DA

    Could you please be more specific? Maybe provide some links to or quotes from specific examples?

    ReplyReply

  113. NM
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 23:17:14

    Las

    Yes. All the back and forth on Twitter over who I am, whether I’m an author or not (I’m not), where I post, and then the mockery and snark, the personal attacks, compounded by Ann Somerville’s claim she wants to punch me in the face (she claims she’s really saying she wants to punch AoV in the face, like that makes it okay). That’s hypocritical in light of the supposed concern over “real” bullying and threats of physical violence.

    That I’m raked over the coals for suggesting that maybe, just maybe, readers, writers, reviewers, whoever — without accusing anyone, without taking sides — should perhaps see this situation as a call to raise the level of the dialogue, but that others are praised and fawned over because they can say fuck and cunt and twat and shit and cock and whatever, while those same people are engaging in mob-mentality, bullying and threats of physical violence is hypocritical.

    If you can’t see that, yes, you are an idiot.

    ReplyReply

  114. ancientpeas
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 23:19:39

    Wow, if I thought a website was giving out personal information about me so that people could cyber harass me you can bet your butt I wouldn’t be posting there.

    *side note because I read Ms. Jewels blog post*
    I really wish George R.R. Martin was my b*tch. I’m afraid he won’t finish The song of Ice and Fire before Roy Dotrice (who will soon be 90) is too old to narrate them and then I’ll have to learn to accept new voices for all the characters I love. *selfish, selfish reader but at least I’m being honest*

    ReplyReply

  115. AoV
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 23:21:31

    @NM:

    What you think doesn’t matter. You’re not an honest person. You’re a foul-mouthed, ugly-minded, hypocritical liar. And one who is doing exactly what you’re whinging and whining about others doing to your pals. You want to report AoV to CPS because you think she is so dumb that just being a mother constitutes child abuse. And you saw my posts and want to punch me in the face. We get it. You want to stalk and harass us because we disagree with you. You want to physically harm us because we disagree with you.

    Don’t mind Ann. I stopped reading her posts or responding to her months ago. I don’t believe in paying too much attention to distracted personalities. From what you’ve observed, it sounds like business as usual.

    ReplyReply

  116. NM
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 23:22:29

    @Madame X:

    Yes. Which is EXACTLY why I said, from the get-go, that that site was just appalling.

    See, if you’d actually read my words, rather than played into the mob-mentality, you might be able to stand up and be a person of honor, but you’re stuck in the trap of assuming I’m defending that site just because the queen bee of your meangirl hive told you that’s what I was doing.

    You and your ugly little crew are cut from the same cloth as the people who started that site. As I said, it’s ALL bad. It’s bad when they do it, and it’s bad when you do it.

    Oh, but that can’t possibly be. Because I didn’t say fuck or cunt. How could I possibly be against bullying if I don’t use those words…?

    ReplyReply

  117. NM
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 23:23:49

    @AoV:

    I actually feel sorry for her. She’s clearly an unhappy, bitter person with very little genuine love in her life.

    That’s what’s hidden behind all her cruelty and foul words — it’s all really self-loathing in the end, and that’s sad.

    ReplyReply

  118. meoskop
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 23:23:51

    @AoV:

    The fact that you even nurture such expectation is laughable.

    Oh, there’s plenty of amusement to be had here. Expecting you to walk your talk is just part of it. While I may or may not be disgusting, liar is a tag you’re not going to be able to sell. The whole “Well, I don’t think this, but…..” game is pretty transparent. Generally I ignore you. Assuming Author on Vacation isn’t being gaslighted (and wouldn’t that be fitting) and you are s/he –

    I would say voting down an author or giving 1-star reviews, labeling an author as “I Don’t Read Because I Dislike the Author (or the Author’s editor, or the Author’s kid/s, pet/s, spouse/s, etc.” is a form of harrassment.

    Anybody can say whatever they want, but they need to accept the consequences of that freedom.

    Both are equally harmful and the intent behind the actions is to harm others, perhaps embarrass or frighten them, “run them out of e-town,” so to speak.

    So… how is one somehow different or more intense or “worse” than the other?

    I am not afiliated with the Goodreads Group responsible for the alleged “outing” discussed in this conversation. I haven’t even seen proof this even occurred.

    It gives me the creeps, but it does strike me as very plausible DA is directly involved with this alleged bully blog.

    Oh yes, your moral stance is so clear now. You’ve been playing the “yes, but” game all day long. Now you’re going for broke with the DA accusation. If you didn’t support STGRB you’d be sick that you were in any way involved with it. I didn’t (and wouldn’t) ask you to defend Ridley or stop criticism of her. I felt you should repudiate your involvement in the situation. I have been in your EXACT shoes. I stood up for the person being outed and endangered because I thought that was the correct thing to do. I didn’t make excuses for the stalkers. You prefer not to and I pointed that out. The reason you lack support in this conversation is not the culture of DA, it’s the indefensible positions you choose (and have previously chosen) to take.

    ReplyReply

  119. AoV
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 23:24:40

    @Kelly:

    Could you please be more specific? Maybe provide some links to or quotes from specific examples?

    No I could not. I don’t save every abusive conversation I read at DA. I’m uninterested in immersing myself in too much of that negativity. I’m just saying I’ve observed it and experienced it repeatedly.

    ReplyReply

  120. Ann Somerville
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 23:28:04

    @NM:

    Here’s a thing. Saying I want to punch anyone is not the same thing as actually punching them. Or say, outing them. Or even calling them up at their home to abuse them.

    THis is the conversation NM is using to prove I’m a bully:

    Can someone send the Luddite back to whichever time machine to 1891 she wandered out of? ?#dearauthorcomments?

    @AnimeJune can she take AoV with her? And can anyone make either of them *link* to actual examples?

    @ann_somerville She ACTUALLY said physical violence is the LOGICAL next step. She’s bullying the definition of logic, I say.

    @AnimeJune yes, I saw. I have to agree. She posts, and I want to punch her ;)

    [and yes, rereading it does look like I meant NM, for which I apologise, but I was still thinking about AoV]

    It’s a *joke*. I am responding to the ludicrousness of NM’s statement which AnimeJune quoted. If there’s anyone here who hasn’t, even in their heads, said “oooh that person needs a slap” or the like, I’d be amazed. I’d be equally amazed if real slaps resulted therefrom.

    Jokes are not threats. There is nothing anywhere in my twitter which is a serious threat to NM or anyone. I dislike NM and AoV intensely, and I make no secret of the fact I despise them – but outing them? Threatening actual violence? Stalking them for casually wondering which butthurt author has to be behind the screen name?

    Lady, you need stronger drugs. I’d lend you mine but I think you need more than I could supply you with.

    Oh, and as I said on Twitter, go fuck yourself. You’re ridiculous.

    ReplyReply

  121. azteclady
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 23:30:29

    @Kelly: She’s been told she’s a troll and an idiot–which you can plainly see for yourself.

    Apparently expressing an opinion based on witnessed behaviour is bullying and cyber attacking.

    Go figure.

    @AoV: And yet, here you are, plainly accusing them–and don’t start with the bullshit “I’m not stating a fact” when you are planting such a seed. We know you are hypocrite, no need to keep proving it.

    You accuse them of this when, if you truly thought for one second that they could be in any way behind the StGRb site, you would be in fear of being exposed yourself. After all, don’t they all abuse and hate you here? Then why wouldn’t they out you, right?

    What could possibly stop them, if they are willing to expose Ridley–who is welcome participant here, unlike you–why on Earth wouldn’t you fear exposure?

    Gee.

    Perhaps because you know, as well as the rest of us, that you are full of shit.

    ReplyReply

  122. Las
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 23:30:42

    I think you’re picking at straws, NM. Considering your complaints about snark in reviews and how many of us disagree with those complaints, it’s hardly hypocritical for anyone to say snarky comments about you on twitter, especially when there’s been plenty of snark stated directly to you here. And whoever the punching comment was about, come on. You know damn well no one is actually planning violence against you. I know you’re all about genteel discussion, but that kind of hyperbolic comment is actually quite common and isn’t meant as a threat. And it’s certainly not the same thing as tracking people’s personal information and not so subtly suggesting that someone harm you. If she had posted your address and then said she wanted to punch you, your point would be valid. As it is, you’re making stuff up in an attempt to derail the conversation, which you’ve been doing since the start of this discussion.

    ReplyReply

  123. AoV
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 23:31:03

    @Jennifer Armintrout:

    @Author on Vacation: I’m sorry, I’m hundreds of comments behind here, but AoV, did you really just suggest that I should do more research about bad reviews causing stress?

    No. I suggested researching how stress can affect human health. Sorry. I’ll remember to dumb down my speech if we ever talk again.

    ReplyReply

  124. Courtney Milan
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 23:31:51

    @NM: I’d still like to see you post those hypocritical, violence-laden tweets that supposedly come from Robin.

    Copy-paste. It can’t take longer than a few seconds.

    ReplyReply

  125. NM
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 23:32:13

    @Courtney Milan:

    When you call people out on this site for making physically threatening comments, but associate with people who are doing the same thing and say nothing about it, you’re behaving dishonorably.

    @redrobinreader is happily posting with Ann Somerville while Ann Somerville is doing exactly what the people at the GR bully site are doing, yet she says nothing.

    Guess she daren’t cross the queen bee!

    ReplyReply

  126. ancientpeas
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 23:32:27

    *okay I’ll try*

    AOV, my opinion would mean nothing to them. NOTHING. But yours does obviously. They have used your interactions with Ridley as a partial justification for their actions. They feel they are defending you and people like you who have been “harassed” by her. If you would tell them that you want no part of it and to please take down the part about you then you would be out of it. Even if they wouldn’t take it down you would at least look like you weren’t part of this mess. Otherwise, by standing back and not saying anything you are giving tacit approval and you become part of the mob if only by being silent.

    I really would like to see you do right thing here. Not that my opinion matters much but it would be amazing if you would do the really brave thing and not be a part of this. You might really dislike Ridley but surely you can see that a site that puts her personal information up for all to see and calls her a drunk or a bad mother or a layabout disabled person (I can’t keep track of which label was put on which reviewer anymore) is clearly in the wrong.

    ReplyReply

  127. Madame X
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 23:32:52

    @NM:

    On the contrary, NM. I never meant to suggest that you’ve approved of the Bully site. Clearly it wouldn’t meet your threshold of good behavior.

    You have, however, clearly disapproved of the sharp, emotional tenor of discussion here on DA. You’ve suggested that all the commenters who are moved to extreme emotion on the subject are ALSO falling beneath the threshold of good behavior, and should express themselves differently.

    Because we were already where you are now. Because we were speaking out of empathy the way that you’re speaking now, out of hurt.

    ReplyReply

  128. NM
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 23:38:49

    @Madame X:

    No, I haven’t disapproved of “the sharp, emotional tenor” of discussion at DA. I disapprove of abusive, profanity-laden reviews at GR (or anywhere — I don’t recall seeing them here, which is why I’m surprised that this discussion has taken the turn it has), and I disapprove of reviews that attack the author personally rather than critique the work.

    There’s nothing wrong with emotion — it’s the expression of emotion that matters. If the only way you can express emotion is to call someone a foul name, yes, it’s pretty undignified behavior, and once people start going down that road, the rhetoric gets uglier and uglier until it crosses a line.

    ReplyReply

  129. Courtney Milan
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 23:39:41

    @NM: Is…is Ann Somerville supposed to be the queen bee in your analysis?

    *boggles*

    ReplyReply

  130. meoskop
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 23:39:42

    @ancientpeas: To do these things AoV would have to actually disapprove instead of pretend she disapproves while offering false parallels. Which was my point earlier. You’ve been quite reasonable and adult today, yet your words were largely ignored. I noticed them. Your opinion matters.

    @ Everyone else – I lost track – who is Queen Bee of the mean girls? It keeps shifting and I can’t tell where the line allegedly forms.

    ReplyReply

  131. Ann Somerville
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 23:40:51

    By the way, in case I didn’t make it clear – my twitter isn’t locked.

    Anyone can go here:

    https://twitter.com/ann_somerville

    And see for themselves what I said and to whom.

    “Ann Somerville is doing exactly what the people at the GR bully site are doing”

    Yeah. “Exactly” the same.

    Excuse while I go hug my inner Inigo Montoya. He’s crying from the excess of irony. He’s a very sensitive fellow.

    ReplyReply

  132. Dhympna
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 23:41:19

    See, Ann provides evidence. Thank you for the evidence/examples. Evidence seems to be lacking in some of the fairly pungent claims being made.

    I am so tired of folks making allegations/claims of being bullied but not offering evidence. It just shows me that 1) your evidence is not persuasive and 2) you just want to play the martyr/victim for attention. I don’t buy it and I won’t pat you on the head and say “poor you”.

    If you are going to make allegations/claims, you had better have evidence to back it up. Period.

    And if you claim that you have been repeatedly bullied, you don’t offer evidence to support your claims, and still show up to stir the pot…well, that sounds like your problem, not ours and perhaps another venue would be appropriate for your viewing, reading, and commenting pleasure.

    If you say you are going to flounce, flounce and be done with it, otherwise you are just grandstanding for attention.

    All of these derailments for attention will not obfuscate the real issue here–women who are known to be blunt, critical, and outspoken are being targeted because someone(s) mistakes criticism for bullying. It is disgusting and it needs to stop.

    ReplyReply

  133. Ann Somerville
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 23:41:56

    @Courtney Milan:

    I’m Queen? Yay!

    Bow down before me, you wretches! And someone go make me a sammich!

    ReplyReply

  134. NM
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 23:42:39

    Of course it’s a joke when YOU do it, Ann. Of course all your ugly words and threats of violence and group-menality snark fests are just a big joke and don’t mean anything when YOU do it.

    You only have a problem when other people do it, and do it to you or your friends.

    That’s not hypocritical AT ALL. Nope, not one bit. Right.

    And you can curse at me all day long and it doesn’t shock me or offend me or upset me. It just makes you look pathetic. You’re a grown woman saying dirty words and tittering over it with your friends, all in the hopes that you can shock me. Honey, I raised five kids to adulthood. Nothing shocks me. Nothing.

    ReplyReply

  135. NM
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 23:45:23

    @Courtney Milan: Does it matter? Do you approve of the behavior and rhetoric she engages in? This is who you are as a person — a person who gives that kind of thing a pass when it’s her pals, but pretends to be against it when it’s someone else? Please. You have totally lost my respect.

    ReplyReply

  136. AnimeJune
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 23:45:25

    Dear NM: I’m finally going to join this argument after catching up. Let me make a list of all the things I HAVEN’T done, first of all:

    1. I haven’t searched for where you live
    2. I haven’t referenced you by name on Twitter or linked to any of your a) irrelevant, b) beside the point, c) strawman, d) victim-blaming posts. I kept it an inside joke that kept your internet pseudonym out of search engines and unidentifiable by anyone except those granted the privilege of reading your cleanly-worded and yet incredibly faulty rhetoric on this thread.
    3. I haven’t posted any of your personal information online on a website dedicated to “Internet Justice.”
    4. I haven’t tracked down your phone number in order to call you and threaten you – as happened to one of the victims of the STGRB site.
    5. I have in no way endangered your personal safety or threatened to endanger your personal safety.

    THAT is the difference between a mean review and what the Bully Site is doing. There is a significant, significant difference. Your posts made me angry, and I expressed that anger in a verbal, harmless manner that left your internet reputation, such as it is, entirely unscathed until you decided to reference it yourself.

    At the risk of being vulgar, your entire argument is full of “but”s.

    Butts belong primarily in two places – in a nice pair of tight jeans, or an ashtray.

    They do NOT belong ANYWHERE in any version of the sentence, “Reviewers don’t deserve to be stalked on the internet.”

    There are NO BUTS to that argument, and yet that is all you have been doing in ALL your comments – “BUT reviewers can be mean, too!” “BUT reviewers use disgusting language!”

    That can very well be true that that is NOT and has NEVER been the point of Dear Author’s post. Dear Author’s post was about the victimization of women on the internet, and your lovely comments “butt”ed in with all the terrible things reviewers have allegedly done (which, again – you have not provided links for), mixed with comments about how women dressing provocatively will naturally be targeted for rape.

    So you essentially walked into a post about women reviewers being terrorized online to remind us that reviewers are mean and “physical violence is a logical next step” to harsh language. If you think what the bullying site is doing is wrong (which is what Dear Author’s post was about) why are you arguing? Why are you *still* arguing – with more and more details (all without citations) about blogger misbehaviour and the natural progression of snarky language to violence? What is behind your repeated insistence that everyone remember the terrible things that bloggers can do? What is behind your finger-wagging lecturing that everyone should play nice and by the rules and follow the yellow line and eat their greens?

    What else am I to assume with this rhetoric except that you are trying to convince us that these bloggers brought this horror upon themselves? That if these bloggers had only followed the standards of The Good Old Days, coloured within the lines, and obeyed the rules, then they would never have had their hubris punished by being sought out and terrorized?

    You mention the old standards and “this day and age” and how people used to act better, think better. I’m sorry, but The Good Old Days weren’t very kind to women. Or LGBT*Q people. Or POC. So what you must mean then is that society would flourish – if only people continued to follow the rules set down by the White, Western, Male Upper Class. In your first post, even, you mention your preference for the traditional publishing structure where the all-powerful authors and editors and “professional” reviewers were held above the unwashed, ignorant masses, and decry the equalizing nature of the internet that gave EVERYONE a say.

    YOU, madam, an an Imperialist. And that’s as old-fashioned as they come.

    I’m sorry, but I’d more than prefer to be a member of the vulgar, unwashed, democratic masses who now get their say thanks to the magical dirty-language factory that is the Internet than someone who feels she has to mind her tongue in case someone decides to make a “natural progression” and enact physical violence upon me.

    ReplyReply

  137. meoskop
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 23:45:44

    @NM:

    You only have a problem when other people do it, and do it to you or your friends.

    Wait – Ann Sommerville published your name, your routine, your picture, called you at home and I MISSED IT? LA Complex must have been on….

    ReplyReply

  138. azteclady
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 23:46:10

    @Dhympna:

    “All of these derailments for attention will not obfuscate the real issue here–women who are known to be blunt, critical, and outspoken are being targeted because someone(s) mistakes criticism for bullying. It is disgusting and it needs to stop.”

    Thank you, Dhympna.

    ReplyReply

  139. Linda Hilton
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 23:46:32

    @NM: You are the poster child for hypocrisy.

    If you really really really believed that words like fuck and cunt didn’t add to the discussion, you wouldn’t use them even as illustrations. But you know better, don’t you? and you’ve proven it with your comments.

    I’m really really sorry you got your feelings hurt, but that’s not because you were bullied. You taunted and teased and the big dog got tired of being poked. It woke up and went after you.

    The difference is, however, that a lot of the dogs you taunted make no secret of who we are. We didn’t go after you — you walked in here, knowing full well what kind of reception your ideas would receive, and you kept it up and kept it up and kept it up, and now it’s our fault??? Excuse me?

    You and your little friends were repeatedly asked to provide evidence of your claims and you provided not one shred. Nothing. Zero, zip, zilch, nada, ninguna cosa. You still can’t seem to do it but now you’re calling US bullies? For what? For responding to your direct challenges and accusations? For wondering who the fuck you are? For being so frustrated with your childish taunts and teases that we express the wish to punch you out? Isn’t that what you wanted, our anger and frustration? You couldn’t engage us on any issue, so you resorted to petty picking in order to anger us and thus “prove” what bullies we are.

    Oh, FFS, grow up.

    ReplyReply

  140. ancientpeas
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 23:47:58

    Thanks meoskop. I guess what I was trying to say to AOV was that my opinion probably doesn’t matter to her but I see an opportunity for her to be part of the solution.

    ReplyReply

  141. Linda Hilton
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 23:49:03

    @Ann Somerville: Sammich? What kind of low, common, vulgar language is that?

    /sarcasm and ;-)

    ReplyReply

  142. Ann Somerville
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 23:50:41

    Let’s not forget in all this derailment, that the real harassment of real people in their real homes is going on. Please offer support to Lucy here:

    http://www.goodreads.com/story/show/309224-what-it-s-like-to-be-stalked

    And to Kat Kennedy and Ridley and The Holy Terror. I know they’ve been very brave and open about this, but it’s wearing at least one of them down very badly. Speak up and out. Don’t let these ‘fake’ victims claim all the attention.

    ReplyReply

  143. Ann Somerville
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 23:51:52

    @Linda Hilton:

    How daare you!

    Off wif ur hed!

    ReplyReply

  144. Meoskop
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 23:53:36

    @Linda Hilton: I think it’s dirty sex talk. I hear she’s allllll about the dirty sex talk. How many kinds of lettuce are there, right? She’s into Rocket, I bet.

    Also, what she just said. AoV and NM have beaten their breasts long enough. It’s escalated to phone calls, which I hope the police can address.

    ReplyReply

  145. leslie
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 23:57:17

    I have been checking this thread since early this morning. I am appalled at how it has degenerated and at the same time I am in awe and admire all of you for sticking with it.

    What STBGR has done is abominable. They posted the personal information of 4 women because “they” didn’t like what the women had to say in some GR reviews. Basically saying “Hey millions of web users here are the addresses and phone numbers of my enemies GO FOR IT!” Despicable. Inappropriate to say the least.

    The Anita Sarkeesian app was also despicable.

    Ann Sommeville: Stop it.

    NM: Who are you?
    Author on Vacation: Who are you?
    I think both of you are insincere. I think the term is Concern Trolls.

    I would fight for the right of everyone here to speak, even if I disagree, but it’s time to call it a night. Take a breath. Have a drink. Go to bed. Not ready to stop. Tell those fuckwits over at STBGR how you feel.

    ReplyReply

  146. Ann Somerville
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 23:58:42

    @leslie:

    “Ann Sommeville: Stop it.”

    Um, and who the fuck are you again?

    ReplyReply

  147. ancientpeas
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 00:01:10

    Interestingly enough, Rotten Tomatoes has just had to shut down their comment section because irate fans of The Dark Knight Rises were becoming abusive toward the reviews by two profession reviewers.
    http://ca.eonline.com/news/331099/holy-backlash-batman-dark-knight-rises-commenting-suspended-on-rotten-tomatoes (proof!)

    Why can’t people just have different opinions about a movie or book and leave it at that. Are we trying to make ourselves into some kind of borg continumn?

    ReplyReply

  148. Courtney Milan
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 00:01:14

    @NM: No. You’ll notice that I don’t engage her comments about that stuff on twitter. I do interact with her. I interact with lots of people who don’t 100% pass the Courtney civility test–and I don’t even tell most of them off! I’ve wished complete assholes a happy birthday. I’ve exchanged pleasantries with people who made me so furious I wanted to implode. I bought lunch for the biggest, smarmiest SOB I’ve ever met, and it was a freaking expensive restaurant.

    Ann’s twitter feed doesn’t meet my personal standards for civility. I wouldn’t hold it up as a shining example of proper discourse. But it also doesn’t meet my standards for legitimate, verifiable threats. There’s a big difference between going up to someone and saying, “I’m going to punch you in the face!” and saying to a friend, when you don’t think you’re being observed, “Gah! She makes me so mad, I want to punch her in the face!”

    I think I’ve made the entirely consistent point that there is a difference between being petty and mean and being a threatening bully. And now you’re conflating those two things again. Ann is being mean. But she’s not issuing a legitimate threat.

    When I say, “threat of physical violence,” I don’t use a knee-jerk definition where I say, “Oh noes! She said ‘punch’! Now I have to throw her in the bullying jail!” I ask, instead, whether a reasonable person would think that there was a real danger that Ann intended to cause you imminent harm. And the answer is, no. A reasonable person would think that Ann was uncivil and mean.

    Likewise, even though the STGB have never used the word “punch,” they called someone up and said that they knew where she was. That, in my mind, is a legitimate threat–despite the lack of immediate violent language.

    ReplyReply

  149. Gillyweed
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 00:05:28

    @NM:

    That I’m raked over the coals for suggesting that maybe, just maybe, readers, writers, reviewers, whoever — without accusing anyone, without taking sides — should perhaps see this situation as a call to raise the level of the dialogue

    You’re being raked over the coals, as you put it, because you think everyone should follow your rules for proper behavior. And because of your ridiculous assertion that snarky or “vulgar” comments naturally beget actual physical violence. And because you think reviewers who write critical reviews are blowing off steam because they’re mentally ill and/or lead pathetic, depressing lives. And because of this:

    But a woman who wears a sexually provocative outfit and who frequents certain areas known for that sort of trouble should be aware that she may be targeted.

    For the record, I don’t have any friends here and I’m not part of an angry mob. I’m just an annoyed party of one. And I think you knew exactly what you were getting into here, otherwise you wouldn’t have switched gravatars after your first comment.

    ReplyReply

  150. leslie
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 00:12:35

    @Ann Somerville: You just proved my point. Stop. You are making an ass of yourself. You have made many good points in this thread. You have a smart wit and an intelligent way of speaking. So stop being an ass.

    Oh, by the way I’m OB/GYN. A mother. A wife. A reader of romance.

    ReplyReply

  151. Kaetrin
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 00:14:12

    @Janine:

    There’s no excuse for outing people on the internet. None.

    Yes. This.

    ReplyReply

  152. azteclady
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 00:15:22

    @leslie: Oh dear.

    *watches derailment*

    ReplyReply

  153. Reba
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 00:15:45

    there ought to be standards when it comes to our rhetoric

    And who sets those? The dominant power politically, academically, financially? How well has that worked out historically for those who are not in power, much less those on the margins? How many women have been silenced by “a lady does not speak of such things” and other rhetoric standards? Many, many, many. Oh, and perhaps we should insist that the rhetoric be confined to the language of the empowered, as well. None of this speaking Navajo, not even at home…

    ReplyReply

  154. Ann Somerville
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 00:18:02

    @leslie: “You are making an ass of yourself. ”

    You’re the one issuing orders to readers of a blog you do not run. I’d say that was pretty assy.

    Courtney? You may not approve of me, but I haven’t involved anyone who didn’t go looking for trouble. I also haven’t flung out wild accusations of stalking and harassment and threats based on no evidence at all. My twitter is public, and I am not ashamed of my opinions. I back up what I say, and I don’t gaslight. I say the world would be a better place if we could stop policing women’s civility and look at the real enemies we face.

    You disappoint me. I wouldn’t have thought you’d buy into that nonsense, especially after the display of tone policing we’ve experienced here.

    No one’s forcing you to read my twitter, blog or books either. I’m not into forcing anyone to do anything.

    ReplyReply

  155. Alicia
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 00:31:41

    At this point I’m chuckling at how many times NM has been asked to back up her assertions with any sort of evidence and how many times she’s lashed out at something/someone else instead.

    ReplyReply

  156. IC
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 00:32:33

    To the creepy jerks over at STGB and their baffling movement pro-censorship, I have something to say:

    Writing is not for wusses.

    If you’re going to seriously expect everybody to review your stuff according to what you deem “appropriate”, and only give you constructive criticism, and never say anything mean, and never tell somebody else not to read your book, and serve you a kindness-sandwich type comment every time just because you can’t handle loud-mouthed, snarky, opinionated people, good luck with that. Why don’t you just pack up your stuff and move to Candyland. Send me a postcard of a unicorn too.

    ReplyReply

  157. Christi
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 00:34:04

    At this point, some of the comments from NM are actually pretty good entertainment. “She makes me want to punch her in the face” tweet = physical threat. That is like, 24k gold. My goodness have I physically threatened a lot of people. George Bush. Kristen Stewart. That “you’re gonna love my nuts!” dude who’s now promoting the Schticky. Giada What’s-her-ginormously-toothed-face on Food Network. The dog next door. The other dog next door. My local Pizza Hut manager.

    I could go on and on. A lot of people make me hyperbolic. Maybe NM could use a lmgtfy on that word’s definition… as well as a lot of others (physical threat, bullying, melodrama, sticks and stones, etc and so forth).

    How does anyone go through life being that much of an alarmist?

    ReplyReply

  158. Ex GR Member
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 00:36:38

    I do NOT condone what the StopBRBullies website is doing, but Goodreads has become a place that I don’t feel comfortable supporting or participating in anymore because of the actions of a group of reviewers, some of whom are mentioned on that website. I was sickened by the overreaction and gleeful piling-on onto Kiera Cass that occurred not in the reviews–which as long as they’re about the book, are fine; I support anyone’s right to post critical reviews–but in the comment threads on a couple of reviews. Personal attacks on the author were plentiful. GR did nothing–as far as I could tell–to curb the attacks, perhaps because they were considered opinions. And no, I don’t know Ms. Cass, am not related to her, have not read her book, etc. I am not an author. Just a reader.

    I wish I had something more thoughtful to add to the discussion, but it comes to this for me: just because you CAN be an insensitive jerk on the Internet, doesn’t mean you have to be. I’m not telling anyone how to behave or what to post. Everyone must decide for herself how she feels comfortable behaving online. At the same time, everyone can also decide for herself if she wants to be around that. I didn’t.

    One additional note: I have also seen some authors behave poorly in response to perfectly legitimate critical reviews. I don’t condone that. I am specifically speaking about this latest “zero-tolerance OMGWTFBBQ we-all-must-shelve-the-author-as-behaving-badly” GR trend, where authors who make some perceived minor transgression are instantly villified on multiple reviews/threads/blogs/etc. I also don’t condone that.

    ReplyReply

  159. Kaetrin
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 00:40:56

    @AoV:

    AoV
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 22:49:11

    @NM:

    I guess Dear Author really is the same as the stop the GR bully people. It’s just okay when you do it to people, but not okay when they do it to you. Of course. So typical of the bully mentality.

    It gives me the creeps, but it does strike me as very plausible DA is directly involved with this alleged bully blog. That’s no compliment to DA, but it’s a sad reflection on the overall situation that I consider the possibility and don’t find it implausible. NOTE: I am not saying that is a fact, just that it wouldn’t surprise me if it were so.

    WTF? No way.

    As much as I almost universally dislike everything you have to say here AoV, I would not agree with someone outing you on the internet and inviting/inciting people to do you actual physical harm. The STGRB site is heinous. The activities of Kat, Ridley, Lucy et al are not bullying and they do not deserve this treatment. Even though I don’t like you much, you don’t deserve it either. And there’s no way that DA would have anything to do with any of it – it’s not remotely plausible.

    I sincerely hope I have not bought any of your books.

    ReplyReply

  160. Alicia
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 00:59:42

    @Ex GR Member:

    GR did nothing–as far as I could tell–to curb the attacks, perhaps because they were considered opinions.

    You mean like how Kiera Cass did nothing to curb the nasty things her agent was saying about reviewers and went on to think about gaming the system? (http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7149/6693431555_6c54b960b1_b.jpg)

    And even with that being true, I saw plenty of comments in that thread that made clear Cass wasn’t the one who called Wendy a “bitch” but it was because she was advocating gaming the system (which she was). How is that “gleeful piling on”? You act like they’re coming out the gate reacting to absolutely nothing.

    Also notice how that didn’t do one damn thing to dampen the sales of her book or result in the CW optioning her book for a television show.

    But never mind that, let’s get back to the fact there is no “BUT” in this situation. Not one thing you mentioned nor anything I have witnessed on GR, including simply shelving an author’s book, justifies what is being done. Nothing does. I’m sick of seeing all of the “but”s that explicitly or tacitly lend any sort of credence to the point of STGRB.

    ReplyReply

  161. Anon 76
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 01:20:46

    I’ve been reading DA on and off for years. Have contributed comments to many discussions. Have disagreed openly and adamantly on some opinion blogs from the hosts.

    One thing I have learned and trust whole-heartedly; my anonymity with DA is a given. Yes, I worried at first, but that trust has never been broken no matter how loudly I voiced a dissenting opinion. I’ve emailed Jane about two to three times in all these years and was open about my identity. Still, it’s been kept safe.

    Personally, I don’t think I can be convinced of the “mean girl giving up private info on the sly” without some slap me in the face evidence.

    ReplyReply

  162. Reba
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 01:22:25

    I review books for a different site (not nearly as top o’ the heap as DA), and I would hate to think that my not liking a particular book would so enrage anyone that they would feel the need to look up my personal information and publish it, much less instruct (even indirectly) people to “get” me. That can’t be okay, no matter what I say about someone’s books. It wouldn’t be okay if I said they had an ugly dog, or that I hated the scarf they were wearing at the signing, or that I find their voice grating. It cannot ever be okay to endanger my family because you dislike something I say on the internet. Not for any reason. Ever.

    On the other hand, if it ever happens, and someone is foolish enough to threaten violence toward me and mine, they will first meet the big dogs. And after that, the guys who paint themselves blue and play with blades (and fire!). Just the sight is enough to discourage even the most seasoned trolls.

    ReplyReply

  163. Courtney Milan
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 01:26:08

    @Ann Somerville: Okay, I’ve tried to write this response about eighteen times, and I’m tired enough that I’m sure I’m going to screw it up, so I’m going to try to keep this simple in hopes that if I do screw it up, I screw it up simply.

    The question I thought I was answering was, “Would you say the things Ann Somerville says?” and the answer is “no, I wouldn’t be comfortable doing that.”

    That was intended as a statement of individual comfort, not intended to be a statement that Ann Somerville is a dangerous mean girl who must be taken out at all costs. To make it clear: I believe that different people can set their civility bar at different rates for different things. I think this world would suck if we were all equally civil. We need people to say, “Hey, that shit’s not right, and are you fucking listening to me? You better be listening to me!” We also need people to be nice. And all kinds of people in between. As long as someone’s bar is not set at the point of doing actual harm, I’m not going to point fingers at anyone and tell them to stop, and I’m not going to tell them they’re bad people who should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves. There’s a politeness ecosystem. I’m not in favor of a politeness monoculture.

    But I fully admit that the way it was written, I did not say any of that, or say it well, and what I did say sounded like a tirade on Ann the mean girl. Trying to say “Ann and I are different” ended up with me saying something that sounded more like, “I’m way superior to Ann.” I so did not mean that. I’m tired, this is the thread of doom, and I was trying to translate “What the fuck?” into a cogent argument.

    So I fucked up. Sorry.

    ReplyReply

  164. Ann Somerville
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 01:32:39

    Thank you, Courtney. I thank you for your apology and accept in the spirit it’s offered. I apologise also for my harshness on Twitter. I’m tired too and this day started with another bout of WTF from one of my least favourite people, so all in all, it’s been a bit of a whirlwind.

    Monocultures of any kind of bad. Vive la diversité! :)

    ReplyReply

  165. Tamara
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 01:33:58

    @ancientpeas: “Not that my opinion matters much but it would be amazing if you would do the really brave thing and not be a part of this.”

    In all the months I’ve been following discussions at this site, I’ve seen “Author”* on Vacation display neither the courage nor the integrity necessary for that. But I do admire you, ancientpeas, for so open-heartedly requesting it of her. I don’t know you, but I have a great deal of respect for your opinion now.

    There’s an uplifting element in the growing number of people rushing to the aid of reviewers targeted by the bully running the SGRB site. You’re fighting back so intelligently, eloquently, and ferociously, not just here, but everywhere I’ve been online in the past couple of days. Thank you for speaking out.

    (*If the poster is an author. I’m not buying it so far.)

    ReplyReply

  166. Karen Scott
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 01:54:34

    I couldn’t help but notice that NM and AOV went quickly from faux caring politeness to frothing at the mouth. I knew it was only a matter of time, but I’m slightly pissed off that they managed to derail the original discussion.

    Oh, and I’ve waded through hundreds of posts looking for NM’s links to prove her points about readers abusing authors, rather than their books. *crickets*

    Still waiting here…

    ReplyReply

  167. Anon 76
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 02:06:24

    @Courtney Milan: Message 363

    @Ann Somerville: Message 364

    This, this is how it should be. Two people with very different “voices” when it comes to both thier books and posting styles. And yet both with very valid oppinions I appreciate reading.

    Would that everyone on the net had the class to know you can agree to disagree and shake hands after.

    Kudos to you both.

    ReplyReply

  168. Has
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 02:36:01

    @Karen Scott:

    Oh I noticed too ;) But despite their attempts at derailing – being stalked and now being threatened on the phone doesn’t help their arguments – its TWO different issues. And a negative review with bad language, gifs or anything deemed not the right way to review ‘nicely’ is not the issue behind this it’s just a way to undermine people’s opinions if they don’t like those reviews then don’t read them and ignore.

    I really really hate this BE NICE crap because its just the passive aggressive way to silence people. Authors, critics and readers have been harsh since the the written word was first inked and that wont change. If an author can’t handle a bad review then they are in the wrong field because it is a business and the fact with all the millions of books being published out there – a review whether it is bad or good helps its profile and that wont harm its chances with its success to sell. Being a total twat to reviewers will.

    ReplyReply

  169. Charlie
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 05:11:14

    I have a question. I haven’t been onto the site (and maybe it’s clear there) but where is STGRB getting its personal information about the people it talks about? If it’s from publicly accessible sources either on or offline then I don’t see how simply putting all that information in one place is wrong – presumably the people targeted agreed to have that information made public in the first place or even did it themselves. If STGRB has got it from other non-publicly available sources, however, then that’s a completely different matter…

    ReplyReply

  170. This needs to be said, over and over and over. « Her Hands, My Hands
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 06:09:43

    [...] conversation at Dear Author is, at the time I’m typing, well over 300 comments strong. I’m sure it will go on for a while. At this point it seems to have devolved into a loop, [...]

  171. Ridley
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 06:11:15

    @Charlie: Really? Nothing about compiling and broadcasting personal info strikes you as wrong?

    This thread has been a bit like clicking the other Yahoo! blogs. I get complacent reading the sensible comments on Puck Daddy. Visiting the other blogs remind me that the internet’s still blind drunk.

    My Twitter feed played the role of Puck Daddy in this play.

    ReplyReply

  172. Kelsey
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 06:24:00

    It makes me a little sad that the comments seem to majorly feature an argument about who needs to grow a thicker skin. This post is about the physical safety of reviewers being threatened by a group of (assumed) authors. The people being implicitly and explicitly threatened do not even need to be identified as reviewers. It is not acceptable to make someone’s personal information available for the purpose of aiming a mob of angry people. The website in question does this. While one might make an argument that the internet and social media has blurred the lines between what is really “personal” information, it is merely a semantic problem. No one has the right to make someone else feel unsafe. That this behavior is occurring within the romance reading community has brought it to our attention, but it is only a part of the larger issue.

    ReplyReply

  173. Charlie
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 06:24:14

    @Ridley Not really if it’s already in the public domain. But really I don’t see any point in even trying to argue my case. It’s clear from the responses to NM and AoV (and don’t even THINK of claiming that I support them because I don’t) that anyone who dares to disagree with the majority here is shot down (hell, comment 249 even states that disagreement is akin to harrassment) so I’m outta here.

    ReplyReply

  174. Michelle
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 06:28:25

    Do the outed victims have any legal recourse against the site, anything civil vs criminal. It really seems like the site is trying to incite violence.

    ReplyReply

  175. eggs
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 06:32:36

    Really, Charlie? It’s okay to stalk someone and amalgamate all the personal contact information about them in one place and then incite people to be hateful to them IRL? Really? Then the following scenario perfectly fits your definition of “not wrong”:

    My online name is eggs. That’s who I’ve been online for donkey’s years. If you felt like it, you could google stalk me to the point of discovering my interests, from which you’d find a few of my IRL friend’s names. From there you could nut out my real name if you put five or six hours into it online. Once you get that, you can find my home phone number and address in the local phone book, and from there you can get some notice board stuff from our Church’s website. From that, you find out one my kid’s first names. Once you have that you can find out where my kid goes to school, and from that you can track down a soccer team photo of my kid on the school website. Then you look up his team’s soccer draw for next week and post your completely ethical and publicly available amalgamation of my kid’s name, age, home address and phone number, complete with a photo. Then you say something like “I hate that cunt, eggs. Let’s go harrass her and her kids next saturday at X oval. They’re playing at 10:00 am.” And you see nothing wrong with that kind of stalking because it’s all “publicly available” information? Frankly, if you find that kind of thing perfectly okay then you are very much less than a perfectly okay human being.

    ReplyReply

  176. Merrian
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 06:47:38

    @Charlie: No! Seriously no! The compilation of personal information is intended to do or elicit harm and at the least intimidate. It is not alright – we all have info scattered over the internet that someone can pull together – I don’t even hide my name so it is dead easy to do it for me. This info is simply a consequence of using or being active on the web. STGRB site brings personal information together with the intention of using it to do harm – to make its targets vulnerable and to induce fear. You are way off the mark if you think this is OK.

    ReplyReply

  177. Charlie
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 06:53:24

    @eggs: Of course it isn’t right to stalk, incite hatred or indeed violence. Please provide an example from their website of where STGRB is inciting to be hateful (I’ve had a quick look and couldn’t find one, but then didn’t pore over every word, so may have missed this).

    ReplyReply

  178. Michelle
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 06:54:01

    John Scalzi has blogged about this now, it will be interesting to see how the comments play on his site. Maybe author on vacation and NM should go over there and enlighten the masses. I liked Scott Lynch’s comment on twitter:” If you want to write a negative review, don’t tickle me gently with your aesthetic displeasure about my work. Unleash the goddamn Kraken.”

    ReplyReply

  179. azteclady
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 07:43:17

    @Kelsey:

    “It is not acceptable to make someone’s personal information available for the purpose of aiming a mob of angry people. The website in question does this. While one might make an argument that the internet and social media has blurred the lines between what is really “personal” information, it is merely a semantic problem. No one has the right to make someone else feel unsafe. That this behavior is occurring within the romance reading community has brought it to our attention, but it is only a part of the larger issue. “

    This is what I’ve been trying to say myself, exactly this.

    ReplyReply

  180. Hype, Bullying & Extinction Of The Reviewer red
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 07:53:08

    [...] Robin Reader @ Dear Author described here: “What is wrong is the “outing,” threatening, shaming, and silencing of readers who are [...]

  181. Jennifer Armintrout
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 08:25:11

    @AoV: Gorsh, y’all gunna dumb it down fer me? I shore wuld appurciate it. I’ll just sit here and chew on this hay stalk, talk to my sister-cousin for a while. Thanks for gracing me with your learnins’.

    Seriously, you wanna come up in here, talking about how saying mean things cause stress and that’s bad and it’s going to cause real world consequences for these poor authors who get snarky reviews… and then you run straight to “you dumb” in retaliation? I guess that means it’s totally cool if I out you and lead a boycott of your books, right? I mean, you insinuated that I’m not smart, in a public forum, and I’m feeling all of this stress right now… that makes it okay, so maybe I should just start stalking you for personal information so I can mess up your life?

    Oh, wait, no, I wouldn’t do that. Because I have like… a conscience? That prevents me from doing reprehensible things to innocent people? I don’t know. It’s not as good as book smarts, I guess.

    ReplyReply

  182. Jill Sorenson
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 08:33:46

    I’m too tired to scroll through comments to find it, so thanks @Las for the response upthread. I thought about this last night, puzzling over why my bullying example wasn’t sufficient. Why is it ever okay to threaten to punch someone in the face?

    Then Ann Sommerville said she wanted to punch AoV in the face (on Twitter), and I understood. I’m familiar enough with her to interpret that it wasn’t a serious threat. I’m familiar enough with Ridley to not be offended by her frank language. Not that I would be, but I can see how others might miss her thoughtful comments and focus on the rude ones.

    When I stumbled over a review with comments (from adult YA bloggers, I presume) threatening to hunt a teenaged girl down and harm her, I wasn’t familiar with the personalities. I might have interpreted joking and jealousy as bullying.

    So I can see how authors and readers can disagree or be confused about what constitutes bullying. I’m confused. Some people think name-calling is bullying, and a profanity-laced review qualifies. My line was physical threats, but I’ve adjusted that, depending on the context.

    What I think we can all agree on is that real threats of violence and exposing personal information is NOT OKAY. So why is there a link from this post to the personal information of the bully site owner? This is generating more confusion for me, and reinforcing the idea that it’s okay for one side to do it, but not the other.

    ReplyReply

  183. azteclady
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 08:49:31

    @Jill Sorenson: Sorry, what? Where?

    I’m admittedly blurry from reading all the comments into the wee hours last night and then catching up this morning, but I don’t remember seeing that anywhere.

    Do you mean Ann Somerville’s suspicions?

    ReplyReply

  184. Ann Somerville
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 08:52:21

    @Jill Sorenson:
    “So why is there a link from this post to the personal information of the bully site owner?”

    Are you talking about my blog post, Jill?

    And do you mean the information from whois which is freely available, and indeed, provided for the very purpose of knowing who’s running a site? The information which is in fact fraudulent?

    Or do you mean me linking to [name redacted]‘s Goodreads page?

    How is this ‘personal’ information when the author has put it up there in public (and indeed in multiple places) for the actual purpose of people finding out more about her?

    I’m confused why you think anyone who was interested in outing the owner would consider my post a revelation. Anyone who wanted to give her the shit that she’s given other people has a vast amount of information available to them online which I haven’t linked or even mentioned. No one in any conversation I have seen has mentioned these sources though a single enquiry on Google would reveal them.

    If you mean something else, then by all means, make yourself clear. The insinuation is rather nasty.

    ReplyReply

  185. Ann Somerville
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 08:57:44

    you know what? Fuck it. I’m not going to play games with some bloody concern troll for another 12 hours. If the owner of that fucking site wants to take issue with anything I’ve posted, she can complain here, or to me. Same with [DA edited out name]. I doubt she has the ovaries to do any such thing.

    And if anyone else wants to bitch, they can bite me. I’m not interested in the ‘both sides do it’ argument when it’s perfectly clear that one side is egregiously violating privacy and inciting harm, and the other side is *not*.

    ReplyReply

  186. Barbara
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 08:58:22

    I’m exhausted just reading all of these comments this morning. I’ve never seen such deliberate, dogged idiocy on the part of a few people, amusingly enough argued in the same manner they’re foaming at the mouth about someone else doing.

    I can barely wrap my mind around AoV’s argument that what the StGrR is doing is comparable to being harassed in her workplace. Her “workplace” is in her head and on her keyboard. It’s not at Goodreads. Her job doesn’t involve knowing exactly who said what about her work – if she wants to know, bully for her, but she’s the one who’s responsible for any stress that occurs as a result.

    NM’s rape analogy – what century is she living in? I’m hardwired to feel compassion if something happened to her because someone else was an asshat or exposed her to a criminal element. It’s a shame that she lacks the ability to discern between irritation online that can be walked away from and the deliberate posting of information that could lead to personal harm of people (including children). How those two things are related are irrelevant and it’s perplexing that anyone couldn’t see that.

    I had a copy of L.B. Schulman’s League of Strays to review, but when she tweeted that the StGrR site made her smile, I contacted the publisher and told them I couldn’t fairly review it. How ironic that a an author who writes a book about bullying endorses a site like that. Screencap, for anyone who wants it: Schulman’s Tweet

    I know there are at least a half-dozen more people that deserve praise for their comments, but Courtney, Robin and Las especially stand out for being fucking (oooh, I swore!) awesome.

    Dammit Has, quit putting Crichton and Aeron as your avie! You’re killing me.

    ReplyReply

  187. Don’t be scared, li’l punkins – I’ve got chocolate! | ccdenham
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 09:01:33

    [...] ‘blogging’ into ‘online journaling,’ and believe me – we do not want that. Besides, several other bloggers have summed it up far better than I [...]

  188. Maili
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 09:05:39

    @NM:

    Maybe I’m stating the obvious, but you do realise that there are extremely nasty people who don’t use profanity at all, and extremely kind and nice people who do profanity like there’s no tomorrow, right? I just feel that profanity – or lack of – shouldn’t be used as a measurement of a person’s integrity.

    Of course, it still doesn’t mean you have to accept profanity as ‘one of things one has to put up with’. You don’t need to. I also do get your concern about profanity as you’re not the only one who’s not happy about the increasing ‘normalisation’ of profanity in the everyday life, TV entertainment and such. You’re not alone. Definitely not.

    But the fact you’re trying to cite profanity in reviews as proof of bad reviewer behaviour, bullies and mean girls isn’t right.

    There’s a huge difference between ‘this book is a piece of sh–’ and ‘that author is a stupid c—’. Thankfully, the latter isn’t that common. When a reviewer does say that, calling an author a c— for writing the book in the first place, I don’t read that reviewer’s reviews again. You know how many times this happened during my time as a member of the Romance community in almost twenty years? Four.

    I stopped reading reviews by those four reviewers, who didn’t meet my level of comfort. What they wrote wasn’t acts of bullying. What they said was crass, tasteless, unfunny and/or utterly silly. Nowt wrong with that, though. They had every right to say them and I had every right not to like those words they used. Solution? I avoided them. Simple as that.

    Like every reader, I have my level of comfort. I don’t like it when reviewers make fun of ‘old skool’ authors (such as implying that those authors were too dumb to know anything better about women’s rights, rape, domestic violence and such), criticise authors for making “historical errors” when in fact these authors aren’t wrong, and use a certain type of language I don’t feel comfortable with (“this heroine is a retard”, “this book is so lame” or “this hero is so gay”). It doesn’t have to be extreme either: I don’t read reviews where heroes are regularly defined by types (alpha, beta, etc.) and heroines are judged by their sexual behaviour (“she’s a slut for sleeping with the hero within five minutes of meeting”).

    But none of those reviewers are bullies. Absolutely not. They are just people with levels of comfort that happen to be different from mine. Nowt wrong with that, too.

    I don’t like places where racist, sexist, xenophobic and ableist languages flow freely, so I don’t hang out there. You should do the same where profanity is concerned. Find reviews that fit your criterion and stick with reviewers who write those reviews.

    It would be wrong of us to demand authors to change the way they write, so it makes sense to say that it’d be wrong for us to demand reviewers and reader to change the way they review or criticise. That applies to how they use profanity in their expression. You don’t like? Don’t read that reviewer’s reviews or reader’s comments again. Sure, you can criticise — as long as you’re willing to accept to deal with their reactions, but you can’t demand them to change. This is a basic lesson every author learnt and every new author should learn.

    Regardless, you cannot say that profanity in reviews is responsible for prompting people to take dangerous actions. You just can’t. I mean, ‘rape’ is a painful trigger for many rape survivors, but they didn’t ‘out’ reviewers for discussing rape in their reviews, did they? Most choose not to read anything by reviewers, who openly enjoy forced seduction or rape in romance novels. Authors and readers should do the same with reviewers who use profanity in their reviews.

    ReplyReply

  189. Jill Sorenson
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 09:47:41

    @Ann Somerville: I meant the whois information. It’s a fake name and address? Sorry, I didn’t catch that. I genuinely thought you were exposing someone’s real info. Thanks for clarifying, and I apologize for the accusation.

    ReplyReply

  190. Ex GR Member
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 09:53:45

    @Alicia: I’m not here to argue the Kiera Cass debacle–although I will point out that (a) you don’t know what Cass said to her agent in private, (b) publicly chastizing someone with whom you have business relationship is extremely unprofessional, and (c) asking a few friends to like reviews is not “gaming the system” and that is the type of overreaction that I mentioned–but you wrote, “Not one thing you mentioned nor anything I have witnessed on GR, including simply shelving an author’s book, justifies what is being done.” I want to make sure that you didn’t miss the very first thing I wrote, which was that I do NOT support the actions of those behind the GRBullies web site. I don’t think I equivocated at all about that.

    ReplyReply

  191. Ann T
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 09:59:29

    @Ann Sommerville
    Here’s a thing. Saying I want to punch anyone is not the same thing as actually punching them. Or say, outing them. Or even calling them up at their home to abuse them.

    @Jill Sorenson
    Then Ann Sommerville said she wanted to punch AoV in the face (on Twitter), and I understood. I’m familiar enough with her to interpret that it wasn’t a serious threat. I’m familiar enough with Ridley to not be offended by her frank language.

    As a former HR Manager, I’d like to comment on these two. In the workplace, threats of violence, even “jokes” are taken seriously enough that I’ve fired people for it. There’s no reason or rationale to threaten someone in a public arena. And the fact that people
    who know the speaker know she’s doesn’t mean anything is also not a valid excuse or justification. @NM and @AoV were completely correct in taking it personally and as a threat. It can be argued that this isn’t a workplace but the concept is the same–threats, joking or not, in the public are just not right. Do what you want at home but leave it there.

    This is what saddens me about society. That people think that just because they have the right to free speech that makes it okay to drop profanity into every other word as well
    as threaten people in a public feed and yet cry foul on those who set up a site outing those that do. I don’t care about bad reviews – our product is out there and we should expect that not everyone will like what we wrote. I don’t even care if they call me names though I don’t see the point. I defend the readers’ right to write their review in the manner they wish. I just find it sad when it is hostile or an attack.

    Also, I totally disagree with the site. And I find it appalling to out someone’s personal life (despite how relatively easy it is to obtain) online.

    But mostly I find it sad that the same things over there are being found here in these 300+ comments, and I’ve read every last one of them. That it’s okay for tough women to call each other out with foul language and call each other names and that’s acceptable because they can and they’re grumpy or old or whatever. Sure, you can absolutely do that and defend your right to do so. But must you? Is this the only way? Some came on with statements that made other mad but instead of discussing them, it ended up falling into abuse and the calling of names. And once that happens, I can’t take those seriously.

    The fact that this is acceptable is what I find the most disheartening of life in general. It’s in our daily lives, in our movies, in our books and in our social media. Call it good manners or just plain respect, that’s what’s missing from society. People cry their right to behave in such a way as meaning it’s acceptable. It’s not.

    But dang, it’s like a train wreck, I can’t stop watching (reading) but I need to. I’m not getting anything done.

    ReplyReply

  192. Linda Hilton
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 10:09:04

    @Ann T: But you see, Ann, this isn’t The Workplace, and Workplace rules don’t apply.

    I would never come to a new chat venue and spout off the same way I do here or on my own blog or the other places I frequent until I’m sure what the atmosphere is. We all have different personas for different venues.

    We don’t have people arrested for saying “I feel like I wanta punch his lights out” just for the words themselves. We just don’t. Context matters, which is why a real threat in The Workplace can get a person fired.

    But again, this ain’t The Workplace. I don’t have to wear a bra here either.

    ReplyReply

  193. Lexxie
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 10:12:10

    @EMoon:

    I only want to comment on a small part of what you said, and that is that if I write a review, it is not meant to ‘better’ the author’s writing. It is meant for myself, and for others who read my review. Sharing my opinion is only that, I am not a beta-reader when I pay for and read a book, then post my opinions about it.

    Some reviewers have found a voice that sometimes includes swearing. I don’t think that is wrong. Sometimes, a review that is filled with snark, swearing and telling me why a reviewer didn’t like the book can actually get me to pick up and want to read that very same book. However, if the author comes on to that same review and starts to act out his or her hurt, it will make me weary. I do not want to read and review a book written by an author who will comment on his or her readers’ opinions.

    The StGRB site is very scary! I will not review any books (thus, not read those books either) from the authors who are supporting that site. I think I have 2’500 books on my ‘to be read’ list, so it won’t really be a hardship to take a few books off of it.

    ReplyReply

  194. Anon 76
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 10:29:32

    @Linda Hilton:

    Thank you, I was trying to figure out how to say the exact same thing but it became wordy.

    And another point, if in the workplace you were catty, fine. But if you then proceeded to gather up your fellow employees to harass a coworker at home and elsewhere, and his her family, well then, you’ve crossed the line to what could be considered criminal actions.

    ReplyReply

  195. LG
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 10:33:59

    @Lexxie: “I only want to comment on a small part of what you said, and that is that if I write a review, it is not meant to ‘better’ the author’s writing. It is meant for myself, and for others who read my review.”

    I’ve been trying to think how the whole “would this improve the writer’s next book?” thing would apply to reviews I write of translated works. Maybe I’m not supposed to review those works unless I’m able to read them (and write about them) in their original language? Or maybe my reviews are intended for the translator? As far as I’m concerned, there’s no better example than reviews of translated works and reviews of works by authors who are no longer living that reviews are not intended for authors. Or maybe I should say “aimed at authors,” since some people’s perception seems to be that they (at least the snarky and/or negative ones) are thrown at authors like projectile weapons.

    ReplyReply

  196. ancientpeas
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 10:38:54

    Put me down as a fan of civil behaviour but I cannot and will not hold anyone else to whatever arbritary standards I set up for myself.

    I just don’t see how you can equate the workplace with an online forum or a review. It’s not harassment, nothing that happened last night rose to the level of harassment (and I was here, and took a look at the twitter in question), not even by a long shot. To call it so undermines the whole idea of what harassment really is.

    And by the way, you can create a hostile working enviroment without ever uttering a single curse word or threat. I have an extremely close friend who used to come home from work in tears a least two 2 days a week (she refused to cry in front of them) until they finally got her fired. Even the person who fired her said she was the best worker they had (the best with customers, the most reliable, the most willing to put the company first) but that he had no choice because the other women were unable to work with her. They bullied and harassed her out of a job. That’s harrassment not some petty name calling and obviously fake threats of violence.

    Maybe it’s time we all put on our big girl pants. The world isn’t a nice, polite place. Bullying isn’t a few nasty (or snarky or mean, choose your adjective) reviews or comments. Bullying is what a person or persons with power does to a person without power usually in a child to child or adult to child relationship. Harassment isn’t a few comments on twitter or a forum.

    I see nothing especially valiant in defending the rights of the majority. It is easy to defend the right to free speech if that speech falls within societies expected limits. There is a reason why the end of the most famous quote about free speech ends with “I will defend to the death your right to say it.” If I’m not offended everytime I read Yahoo news comments I’d consider myself a hardened shell but my being offended should never limit anyone elses right to free speech.

    ReplyReply

  197. Arethusa
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 10:43:13

    “1. Everyone is entitled to their opinion about the things they read (or watch, or listen to, or taste, or whatever). They’re also entitled to express them online.

    2. Sometimes those opinions will be ones you don’t like.

    3. Sometimes those opinions won’t be very nice.

    4. The people expressing those may be (but are not always) assholes.

    5. However, if your solution to this “problem” is to vex, annoy, threaten or harrass them, you are almost certainly a bigger asshole.

    6. You may also be twelve.

    7. You are not responsible for anyone else’s actions or karma, but you are responsible for your own.

    8. So leave them alone and go about your own life.” – Scalzi

    Is all I got to say. If you’re an author and you retaliate or answer, regardless of how right your position is, you’re going to look like a chump. Sorry, dems the breaks. It’s called business. The reviewers will never have as much at stake as you. They will not lose business. People will not refuse to read their books (unless they’re also another author then two of you look dumb, hooray, while we laugh). This may seem unfair to you. Life isn’t always fair.

    You can always complain to the authorities about that mean old person who claimed your book was a lump of shit. I’m pretty sure they’d find the GR bullying site of worthier notice.

    (Thank goodness I followed my instincts and avoided Good Reads when it first started. That particular meshing of authors and readers was a bomb waiting to go off, esp with the new trend of self-published ones.)

    ReplyReply

  198. Ann T
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 11:01:14

    But you see Linda and Anon, it shouldn’t matter. Why should behavior in a social situation be any less respectful than in th workplace? Why should a “joke” to threaten to punch someone in the workplace be less acceptable than in our social lives? No, this is not the workplace but I call foul that the two are separate in behavior. And, again, what you do in your own home (to bra or not to bra) is so not the same as workplace or social violence. I submit that it makes all the difference when you bring it to a public arena and even if you can wear your pjs in front of your computer where no one sees you, you are STILL in a public arena and respect of each other, in all its forms, should matter. Which means, don’t threaten to punch someone, don’t out someone’s personal life and don’t call each other names. Why is this so hard to get? @NM called it manners and got slapped for it. It IS manners and I think people can disagree vehmently withouth threats and calling names. When you don’t, I think the messags is lost – and so is respect for the speaker. Now, I’m sure there will be some that say they don’t care. Fine, that’s your choice. But I still think that’s a problem – people use the “anomnity” of the internet to act in whatever manner they wish and claim it’s their right. Again, I submit that just because it’s your right, doens’t mean you should.

    ReplyReply

  199. Ann T
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 11:04:43

    Oh and I want to address this:

    “And another point, if in the workplace you were catty, fine. But if you then proceeded to gather up your fellow employees to harass a coworker at home and elsewhere, and his her family, well then, you’ve crossed the line to what could be considered criminal actions.”

    You can’t say it’s different but then bring this up and call it equal. It’s either equal in all ways or none. Then let’s also talk about schools and bullying as two of the links provided in Robin’s excellent post noted. Bullying, harassment, name calling and being otherwise disrespectful is the SAME no matter the venue (well, except the privacy or your own home).

    ReplyReply

  200. Ann T
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 11:14:50

    @ancientpeas
    Another thing in HR is that the remarks were based on the perception of the receiver. In other words, if @NM or @AoV felt threatened or harassed by the punch comment, then that’s what defined the harassment or violence not the fact the person making the comment was joking.

    Big girl panties aside, the fact that our society finds it acceptable to use this type of language and threats in a public venue (job, twitter, etc.) is the problem. I put on my big girl panties every day. I’m not the oldest here but I’m 48 and I’ve been around (not that way ) and what I see is that it HAS become more socially acceptable to be foul-mouthed in our books, our movies and now in social media. That’s what I call foul. Again, just because you have the right to do it doesn’t mean you should.

    ReplyReply

Leave a Reply

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.

%d bloggers like this: