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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!


  1. Janet
    Jul 19, 2012 @ 18:35:58

    @will shetterly: Nope. Not at all.

  2. will shetterly
    Jul 19, 2012 @ 18:37:30

    @Meoskop: I didn’t compile a list. I included the name that she often used on her LJ in a post about her part in the flamewar, just as she had included mine. Check your dictionary, if you accept dictionary definitions: a list should consist of more than one thing.

    Out of curiosity, is a “douche move” a cleansing move? Do you consider that a feminist or an antifeminist term?

  3. Ann Somerville
    Jul 19, 2012 @ 18:41:55

    Guys, as a long observer of the specimen involved, let me tell you that if you find yourself trying to convince this person of his innate failure to even imitate a decent human, do this first:

    Go outside, find a large, heavy piece of timber, then whack yourself repeated on the toe with it.

    It’ll hurt, but at least it will only be painful. Arguing with the above sack of pus will also make you feel dirty.

  4. will shetterly
    Jul 19, 2012 @ 18:46:04

    @Janet: Then they were wrong. Frankly, I think cowards who hide behind pseudonyms to insult people are, well, cowards who hide behind pseudonyms to insult people, but I support their right to do so. It sounds like StGRb has done something remarkably like what Coffeeandink and her friends did to Rachel Moss: they decided someone who behaved badly did not deserve to be pseudonymous, so they scoured the internet to see if she had been careless about her pseudonymity, then published all the information they could find to terrify her.

    I see Malcolm Gin has left up one of the original outing posts here:

  5. will shetterly
    Jul 19, 2012 @ 18:53:49

    @Ann Somerville: @Ann Somerville: That’s actually excellent advice. So is Coffeeandink’s: do not engage. Because you are very right: I do not play by the rules of bourgie activists. For one thing, I reject the “tone argument” and take Malcolm X’s advice instead: “Be peaceful, be courteous, obey the law, respect everyone; but if someone puts his hand on you, send him to the cemetery.”

    I confess, I would much rather be a “sack of pus” than someone like Coffeeandink or you who makes dishonestly selective lists and bans people who offer other opinions, but hey, that’s me. If you ever spot an error at my site, please, leave a correction, and I will thank you. I am obsessive about the truth, as you may have noticed.

  6. Jane
    Jul 19, 2012 @ 19:13:25

    @will shetterly – I’m enjoying you add layer after layer of “fact” to make your actions more palatable.

  7. will shetterly
    Jul 19, 2012 @ 19:16:04

    @Jane: If there are any you doubt, ask. I’ll happily provide links or screencaps.

  8. azteclady
    Jul 19, 2012 @ 19:16:24

    @will shetterly: She compiled your personal, real life information and posted it for all to see?

    Oh dear, dear.


    How come this has never been mentioned before?

    Oh wait. Because she didn’t.

    And way to blame the victims of the StGRb by asking whether *they* did it first too.

    Douche is the least of what you are.

  9. Alisha Cunningham
    Jul 19, 2012 @ 19:19:34

    Can I suggest that everyone go to Go Daddy and report the site? Let’s try to get this scary thing taken down properly. You can report sites at Go Daddy. The domain is Leave off the http and www.

  10. Courtney Milan
    Jul 19, 2012 @ 19:22:13

    @will shetterly: Here’s the thing. We don’t really care about what the disagreement was between you and Coffeeandink, and this distant in time–with your relevant blogposts seemingly erased–we can’t possibly judge.

    The only thing I can judge from are the posts on your current blog.

    You admit here:

    February 26. Coffeeandink wrote me, saying she wished to keep her last name private. I removed it… I’m totally baffled by her request. Oh, well. We all have our quirks.”

    And then we have this from you, publicly linking her real name repeatedly with her pseudonym. After she requested that you not do that.

    Maybe you were really just shat upon by people who harassed you and lied about you and took you out of context. But why, when someone asks you not to link the two names, would you continue to do it?

    I don’t care who was “right” or “wrong” and there’s no way for me to judge it–nor do I care to. But if someone asks you not to use their legal name on the internet in connection with the pseudonym, it’s a douchebag move to do so. If you then write a post repeating their name and linking it with their pseudonym again, knowing that the person in question does not want that out there, you pretty much lose any claim you might have had to “I didn’t realize I was doing anything wrong.”

    The first time, you can use that excuse. The second time? That’s just spite.

  11. will shetterly
    Jul 19, 2012 @ 19:31:28

    @azteclady: @azteclady: So, trying to ascertain the facts is a “douche” move; you should simply assume anyone who claims to be a victim is a victim? We’ll have to agree to disagree. I’m a big believer in questioning assumptions.

  12. Lynnd
    Jul 19, 2012 @ 19:35:42

    @Lazaraspaste: “You cannot reason with madness.”
    or the unreasonable.

    What I would like to understand is why the STGRB host (Godaddy?) hasn’t shut them down – if for no other reason than liability concerns.

  13. Laura
    Jul 19, 2012 @ 19:51:33

    @will shetterly- If you want to get literal, it’s been proven that a douche is actually an irritant, not a cleanse.

  14. will shetterly
    Jul 19, 2012 @ 20:02:14

    I realize that many people think dictionaries are oppressive, but I tend to find them useful, since communication requires a consensus on meaning. In this case, I was lazy and went to

    a jet or current of water, sometimes with a dissolved medicating or cleansing agent, applied to a body part, organ, or cavity for medicinal or hygienic purposes.
    the application of such a jet.
    an instrument, as a syringe, for administering it.
    a bath administered by such a jet.

    A Freudian or a Whorfian could have a field day with women who use “douche” as an insult, but those sorts of folks over-analyze. Freud would agree that sometimes a douche is only a douche.

  15. azteclady
    Jul 19, 2012 @ 20:05:59

    @will shetterly: Well no. You claim to be a victim–of misrepresentation, to say the least–and I don’t assume you are one.

    However, your comments continue to prove you a misogynistic asshole, so no assumption necessary.

  16. will shetterly
    Jul 19, 2012 @ 20:16:15

    @azteclady: Oh, I must be bored tonight. If you’re expecting me to care about “misogynistic asshole”, please excuse my yawn. The feministsf wiki has my back: they say my “work features strong women characters and people of color.”


  17. Ex GR Member
    Jul 19, 2012 @ 20:18:11


    But allowing that business associate to refer to your customers in derogatory terms without ever publicly saying you don’t agree is the height of professional.

    Two wrongs don’t make a right. The agent was unprofessional; Cass didn’t “allow” her to do anything. The agent just did it.

    You really believe that the people profiled on that site haven’t been victimized?

    I do believe that they are victims of that site, and I hope that came through clearly in the substance of both sentences taken together. However, I interpreted your use of the word “victims” to mean that the words and behavior of certain people were immune from criticism because they had been victims. I interpreted your use of the word victims as a way to stifle legitimate discussion. That is what I meant by don’t play the victims card.

    You keep justifying their behavior.

    If by “their” you mean the STGRB site, then I don’t know how to make it any plainer. I’ve already written several times that I don’t support them. Would one more time make any difference?

    in retrospect, I can see how mentioning what I consider “bad behavior” by GR members just served to cloud the issue being discussed. So I apologize for that. That’s a discussion for another time and place.

  18. Kelly
    Jul 19, 2012 @ 20:30:50

    Now for a non-sequitur to lighten things up a bit…..

    “…throw back into your paternity’s shitty mouth, truly the shit-pool of all shit, all the muck and shit which your damnable rottenness has vomited up.”

    – Sir Thomas More, Responsio ad Lutherum, 1523, written in response to Martin Luther calling Henry VIII a “pig, dolt, and liar.”

    More was canonized. So I figure if even the Roman Catholic Church approves the use of polemics, then I won’t go to hell for calling BULLSHIT on an author’s misogyny, homophobia or racism. Beheaded by a tyrannical despot, maybe, but not damned for all eternity.

    I think I’ll update my GR profile and blog to identify myself as a Bibliographic Polemicist.

    I’m also pretty sure “tyrannical despot” is redundant, but whatever.

  19. azteclady
    Jul 19, 2012 @ 20:34:02

    @will shetterly: You must be bored, indeed.

    Perhaps we should be all grateful you are deigning to descend to this space to share your precious time with us.


  20. Courtney Milan
    Jul 19, 2012 @ 21:28:19

    @Lynnd: There are no liability concerns. Section 230(c)(1) of the Communications Decency Act says:

    No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.

    It’s a hard-line get-out-of-jail-free card for places like GoDaddy. They’re not responsible for the speech of others, period.

  21. will shetterly
    Jul 19, 2012 @ 21:31:06

    Kelly, if you’re siccing the Pope on me, I’ll happily grin at y’all from Hell with the rest of the good-time gang. If I’m anything, I’m a Unitarian Universalist. Both Catholics and Protestants wanted to burn Michael Servetus.

    But I’ll happily tell you what I find saddest about identitarians: when I disagree with your ideas, you claim I oppose whatever group you identify with, as if you speak for every woman, every gay, and every oppressed race. News at 11: everyone’s different, and you don’t get to declare what’s the One True Version of anything, and especially not what all people of any race, sex, or gender are supposed to think.

    Not that I expect you to stop, of course. So you go right ahead dictating to your heart’s content.

    azteclady, I am bored now, but if you step up your game, I might come back. Or you could take the best advice I’ve seen Ann Somerville offer. Whatever makes you happy.

    Y’know what’s the greatest tragedy here? You claim you want a nicer world, but all you do is insult folks. If you really want to change the world, try being kind. It’s harder than snark, but it’s ultimately more effective.

    Peace, y’all.

  22. Janet
    Jul 19, 2012 @ 21:38:34

    @Courtney Milan and @Lynnd: And having done some work on section 230 of the CDA, I will say that in most cases, that section is essential and essentially good. It has, historically, protected many bloggers and individual internet users from all sorts of claims and attempts at silencing, etc.

  23. Courtney Milan
    Jul 19, 2012 @ 21:43:29

    @Janet: Oh, agreed. I’m not trying to imply that it’s not good. Without section 230, no reasonably-sized corporate body would allow anyone to post unmoderated comments.

  24. Janet
    Jul 19, 2012 @ 22:33:43

    @Courtney Milan: Oh, I knew you weren’t making a negative judgment. I just wanted to point out for people not familiar with the legal issues that 230 has been vital to blogger expression, among other things (like using eBay and Amazon and messageboards). Every time a new case comes up, I cross my fingers and say a little prayer to the nonexistent god of reason, lol.

  25. Kelly
    Jul 19, 2012 @ 22:34:29

    @will shetterly:

    I didn’t even know we were arguing about anything – you know, considering I hadn’t commented since TUESDAY. You must have missed the part where I introduced my bloviations on polemics as a non-sequitur.

    …you claim I oppose whatever group you identify with, as if you speak for every woman, every gay, and every oppressed race.

    When did I say that?

    …you don’t get to declare what’s the One True Version of anything, and especially not what all people of any race, sex, or gender are supposed to think.

    When did I declare that?

    So you go right ahead dictating to your heart’s content.

    What, if I may ask politely, was I dictating to whom? And when and where?

    NM, if you need a true example of an ad hominem argument, look no further.

  26. Ridley
    Jul 19, 2012 @ 22:37:50

    @will shetterly: Holy shit. That wanker totally just used “gay” as a noun.

    Who is this asshole? His ignorant privilege has reached Don Cherry levels.

  27. will shetterly
    Jul 19, 2012 @ 22:44:00

    Ah, typos R us. I left out “person”. Sorry ’bout that. Typos happen.

    Kelly, you wrote “an author’s misogyny, homophobia or racism”. Clearly, you know what’s misogynous, homophobic, or racist. It must be comforting to go through life believing what women, gay folks, and people of different races are supposed to think.

    But I keep finding that individuals are individuals. In my experience, only sexists, homophobes, and racists dictate how people of different identities are supposed to think.

    Ridley, :)

  28. Kelly
    Jul 19, 2012 @ 22:53:34

    @will shetterly:

    YOU ===== || BRICK WALL || ===== MY POINT.

  29. ginmar
    Jul 19, 2012 @ 23:03:19

    Jesus Christ, do you think a bunch of women might understand women and sexism better than some smug douche who’s justifying stalking? YA THINK? Also, the whole “I know you are but what am I” bullshit stops working in the third grade, which is where apparently your understanding of anything that doesn’t pertain to dudely lives stopped developing.

    You’re seriously arguing that somebody is racist, sexist, and homophobic because they called you out for a ‘slip’? When there’s an awfully good chance that the people addressing these remarks to you belong to at least one of those groups?

    Good job. Really. If you want to be a total douchewaffle buttnugget, that is.

  30. will shetterly
    Jul 19, 2012 @ 23:04:41

    Hmm. Is that because of my racist typo? Oh, noes!

    Well, bored. G’night!

  31. will shetterly
    Jul 19, 2012 @ 23:14:16

    @ginmar: Douchewaffle buttnugget? You’re making me grin. If I used those, I’d be called sexist and homophobic, but I do admire ’em.

    “You’re seriously arguing that somebody is racist, sexist, and homophobic because they called you out for a ‘slip’?”

    No, I’m saying that dictating what people are supposed to think on the basis of their race, sex, or gender is racist, sexist, and, if not homophobic, homosexist. It’s the flaw of identity politics: people are more than their race, sex, or gender.

    Well, I’m repeating myself, which never helps. ‘Night!

  32. Kelly
    Jul 19, 2012 @ 23:17:04

    @will shetterly:

    I’m just replying to see if you’ll perform the daring TRIPLE *flounce*.

  33. will shetterly
    Jul 19, 2012 @ 23:34:16

    @Kelly: Oh, oh. If I leave, you’ll think I’m flouncing? I’m touched. For your sake, I shall return.


  34. Courtney Milan
    Jul 19, 2012 @ 23:39:14

    The annoying thing about this thread is that all the trolls are doing the same thing.

    Troll: Dear everyone in the entire world–you seem to have forgotten that the world revolves around me. Let me remind you, in case you haven’t forgotten: what you suggest is not perfect for me, even though it may be beneficial for many others! Your plan might cause me one to two minutes of consternation and/or self-doubt, and I would have to expend zero to two seconds of effort to avoid that unpleasantry. Now that you know this, I’m sure you’ll admit how wrong you are.

    Troll: Wait. You puny mortals are actually disagreeing with me? Possibly this is because I failed to explain that this was really bad for me. So let me repeat myself: you must do things my way, however painful that would be for you, because otherwise, me, the most important person in the universe, might experience minor disturbances in my feelings of self-worth–and we all know that the massive size of my ego is the only thing holding up the sky. Bow down to me, or be crushed by the universe!

    Troll: What do you mean, I have no self-awareness? I am the most self-aware person in the world! I’m so aware of myself that I’m completely unable to recognize that anyone else has a viable existence worth protecting!

    Troll: You hateful, ignorant buffoons! You hypocrites! You fucking aardvark turds! You and your snarky insults–you’re ruining everything good in this world. I’m withdrawing the glory of my presence–and you’ll be sorry.

    Troll: Uh, I mean, I’ll withdraw the glory of my presence after I’m done with these last ten comments–I can’t help it, there are people who are insufficiently worshipful of me, and I just have to beat them into submission!

    Please, let’s get some variety!

  35. Meoskop
    Jul 19, 2012 @ 23:44:58

    Well, we’ve yet to think about the children. Because children could read this and think Internet stalking is wrong. What hope would there be for the future?

  36. Ann Somerville
    Jul 19, 2012 @ 23:49:38

    @Courtney Milan:

    You are far more artful and entertaining than any of the trolls could hope to be. You are hereby awarded a lifetime membership of the Most High Order of Douchewaffle Buttnugget Slayers, Gold Class.

  37. Loreen
    Jul 19, 2012 @ 23:52:52

    I must have ticked the wrong box because my inbox is swelling with the tide of these comments.
    I think it is time for this thread to go gently into that good night.
    Valid points were made a while ago and now we all know about this online trend. Consider me baffled, but informed.
    But the comments are starting to make me nostalgic for the dignity and decorum of a junior high cafeteria.
    There is a certain gleeful pleasure in a dirty online brawl, but at a certain point…get a room.

  38. will shetterly
    Jul 19, 2012 @ 23:55:32

    @Loreen: You’re quite right.

    Kelly, you may now say I’ve flounced. Ciao!

  39. Kaetrin
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 00:14:56

    I wrote a poem. I couldn’t get it to quite fit the haiku rules though. Ready?

    *clears throat*

    If books really were babies
    It shouldn’t surprise if, at least occasionally,
    Shit comes out of them.


  40. Ann Somerville
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 00:17:51


    Ze Belgian judge gives you 6 points for artistic interpretation :)

  41. Anon 76
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 00:27:00

    Wow, just wow. I came home after working second shift to find my inbox busting at the seams again. I’m not complaining. I’ve had some “WTF are you talking about” moments along with some serious LOL moments.

    @Loreen: I think I’m going to have to disagree with you on this point. I believe Jane has let this continue for a purpose.

    Will, sorry, but your comments validate the entire purpose of Jane’s post. You drank the Koolaid, dude.

  42. Janet
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 00:51:18

    Okay, I’m going to argue that with @Courtney Milan, @Meoskop, and @Kaetrin‘s comments that things are really looking up. Had the first genuine, unhorrified laugh of the day. Thank you for that. And a general thank you for some really eloquent and interesting comments in this thread (and please continue, should you desire).

  43. azteclady
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 00:52:19

    @Courtney Milan: @Janet: @Janet: This is the one thing that scares me about all the cries to “shut the site down”–if we only allow the sites *we* like to exist, what happens when someone doesn’t like *us*?

  44. azteclady
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 01:01:09

    Second rats–too many comment links together.

  45. will shetterly
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 01:17:29

    Okay, I finally read the StGRB post about Ridley, and I’m really having trouble understanding how anyone can say that’s “outing”. Ridley was on Goodreads and on Twitter as Ridley. She shared public information there, which was then shared by people who think she’s a bully.

    Welcome to the internet.

    The problem isn’t how to be pseudonymous here. That’s easy: Everyone respects the pseudonymity of nice folks.

    The problem is how to be a pseudonymous jerk. And the answer is you have to actually make an effort to be pseudonymous.

    Saying that isn’t blaming the victim. If you decide to mock someone, you should not be surprised if they or their friends or some bystanders who hate mockery decide to mock you right back. It ain’t pretty, but it’s human nature.

    Kindness. Give it a try sometime.

    Or mock, and then cry about how mean other people are. Your choice.


  46. Ann Somerville
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 01:31:29

    It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his ego depends upon his not understanding it
    Upton Sinclair, creatively edited by me

  47. Anon 76
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 01:47:31

    @will shetterly:

    Mockery is not the problem. Plant this straight in your head. Posting personal and private info ferreted out over numerouse searchs on the web, IS.

    You and others are the reason I hide behind psuedo after psuedo after psuedo. It’s not because what I say is so much crap I expect retalliation. It’s because one wrong twist of a sentence may send “the mob” after me.

  48. Stumbling Over Chaos :: That week when linkity got so crazily out of hand, I don’t even know what to say
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 02:03:35

    […] Dear Author on the wider implications of the “Stop the GRs Bullies” site. Some humor about the whole mess from Carolyn Jewel (via Kate) and Anime June (via Experiment BL626). […]

  49. will shetterly
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 07:21:08

    Ann Somerville, you use “edit” and “creatively” differently than I do. Still, you’re quite right that ego gets in the way of understanding. That’s a human trait. The wise realize that it applies to everyone, not just their opponents. Every flamewar is full of ego, and this one’s no exception.

    Anon 76, plant this in your head: what you make public is now public. I had “the mob” after me when Coffeeandink and Sparkymonster “cyberstalked” me to create their Do Not Engage page. I researched them after they researched me. Perhaps you believe the targets of cyberstalking should not respond; I disagree.

    Really, this advice continues to apply: if you don’t want people to look up what you’ve posted, be nice. If you don’t want to be nice, don’t share things that you wouldn’t want to have shared.

    News at 11: Bullies cry like little babies when victims fight back.

  50. Courtney Milan
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 07:34:14

    @will shetterly: The problem isn’t how to be pseudonymous here. That’s easy: Everyone respects the pseudonymity of nice folks.

    Bull, bull, and bull.

    As a girl who spent time posting on slashdot and playing games on under pseudonyms, I can assure you this is not the case. Do you have any idea how terrifying it is to have a man figure out where you work, what you do, what classes you’re TAing? All it took was one little comment that I was (a) a girl and (b) that I compiled my own kernel and BAM.

    If you’re a girl, and society goes by your rules, you can’t make overtures of friendship to anyone or engage in the standard things that people talk about. You can’t mention being tired because there’s a final you’re grading, because someone might go back through all your comments everywhere and figure out what class you’re teaching, what area of the country you’re in, and then go and look at exam schedules to determine which ones coincide with your timeline and then start sending you personal e-mails, wanting to meet up, saying that they could just come by your office, and they just want to get coffee, and what is wrong with me, they’re just trying to be nice, don’t girls want nice guys, and how do I know I won’t like them if I haven’t met them yet, and maybe he should just come anyway…

    I’ve watched another community go south when they found a girl who had really large breasts and who had been admitted to a really good law school. That’s all it took, and the next thing you know, someone was posting her full name and saying that she slept with admissions officers to go to lawschool and had multiple sexually transmitted diseases. There were people posting who went to the same law school who started saying they would figure out her gym schedule. And what did she do? She didn’t even post on the community. She just did well and had big breasts.

    I’m not putting this out there as a response to you–you have, so far, proved impervious to rational argument–but in case anyone reads that and thinks there’s any merit to it…there isn’t. Being nice is not something that shields your pseudonym. It’s not being mean that puts you at risk. It’s being different.

    If we don’t respect pseudonyms, people who are different will be forced to stay at the outskirts, not sharing the kind of basic information that everyone else does on a regular basis, not being able to participate in the community for fear that someone might come after them. And sometimes–even if they don’t even participate–even that won’t protect them.

    The rule you’re promulgating would result in different people being even more isolated and ostracized than they are.

  51. Ann Somerville
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 07:38:53

    I am heartsick over the news from Colorado tonight, and I have no intention of engaging the sack of pus over this.

    But everyone reading his incredibly badly timed bleating should look at the alleged ‘cyberstalking’:

    It’s a list of links of this pus ball in action on blogs. That’s all. Not his personal details, not his whereabouts – just linkspam to put his nonsense about classism in context and to indicate how futile and toxic it is to engage with him.

    As we are all seeing here.

    For context for coffeeandink’s post, you can read my summary of RaceFail ’09:

    or better still, follow the links from that post to the superior summaries and opinions of better people than me

    The real news at 11? 14 people are dead, 50 or more people are injured, all for the crime of going to the movies. Some of the victims are babies and children.

    We don’t care about your hurt fee fees, you hateful, lying, self-centered and malignant arse pimple.

  52. Linda Hilton
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 07:57:48

    @Courtney Milan: I think the shitterly troll’s point was this: Be nice, on “their” terms (whoever “they” happen to be at the moment, and it’s usually someone who has the exact same attitude as he), or you’re fair game. Talk nice. Dress nice. Behave nice.

    Don’t wear short skirts or tight jeans, because that’s not “nice.”

    Don’t swear or use bad language, because that’s not “nice.”

    Don’t question authority, because that’s not nice.

    Don’t think too much, don’t champion causes, don’t trespass on the turf of authority. Don’t enter the professions that have been the domain of men, or you must be a bad girl.

    Obey the rules, even if you don’t know what they are, because if you break the Rules of Niceness, you’re by definition a slut, a whore, a bitch, and we can do whatever we want with and/or to you, because it’s your fault.


    And that goes right back to the original post: The bullies want to silence dissent. They want to erase difference. They want to go back to some mythic time when the slaves and servants were out of sight, the women were docile and acquiescent and accepted anything and everything without question, and the straight white men were on absolute top of the power pyramid.

    Bullies only go after those they perceive as weak and unable to fight back. Maybe from the security of his momma’s basement, this shithead troll imagines himself to be a mighty warrior for truth, justice, and the traditional masculine white way. Maybe he thinks he can strike fear into the hearts of all us Bad Girls and Mean Bitches with his threats of “be nice or else.” Maybe he will hide behind that old stock excuse: “Oh, I would never do anything like that myself (except he did), but if someone else does something bad to you, well don’t say I didn’t warn you. You should’ve been nicer.”

    Ain’t no way this old broad is goin’ back to bein’ “nice.” And I think I’m gonna have some really bad-ass company.

  53. will shetterly
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 08:02:26

    Courtney Milan, yes, many things are harder for women than for men. That’s all the more reason that if you want to be pseudonymous, don’t share your identity while you’re using your pseudonym. If you intend to be Batman, you must keep your mask on, and you can’t stop at a street corner whenever you feel like it to yell, “Yo, everyone, it’s me, Bruce Wayne! Look at this great pic of Dick with the Bat-hound!”

    Ann Somerville, whatever else may be said about you, you are consistent. For context for coffeeandink’s post, people may also read my summary:

    If there are any mistakes, please correct them in the comments. I’ll verify what you say, then update the post.

  54. will shetterly
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 08:07:12

    @Linda Hilton: How am I a troll when I’m one of the subjects of the post?

    But I don’t doubt that you have no plans to be nice. Still, you might think about how effective it is to run around calling people names, if you truly have a goal that matters to you.

    And do you really think the women who thought they were being bullied are like slaveowners, and people like Ridley are like slaves? Okay.

  55. MrsJoseph
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 08:52:33

    @will shetterly: You = unmitigated ass. You’re a disgusting excuse for a human being, a stinking waste of human flesh. I think you advocate for the stalking and harassing of women due to your own self hatred. Mean spirited and nasty, it’s quite distressing to share the same planet space as you. Every time I see you post you sicken me even more.

  56. will shetterly
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 08:59:55

    @MrsJoseph: And your comment makes the world better how? Venting and spewing may feel good to you now, but I recommend a bit of Buddhist advice which I need to take more often: “Do not speak, unless it improves on silence.”

  57. MrsJoseph
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 09:26:40

    @will shetterly: I suggest you take your own advice. You disgust me. You should be ashamed of your every word and deed. The only hope I have for your pitiful self is that no one was physically harmed by your hateful stunt.

    I’m not trying to make the world better. I’m showing my disgust of you. But at least I haven’t tried my best to harm someone by placing their information in public. Unlike you. There are no words for how disgusting of a person that makes you. The only thing that makes you worse is your continuance to try to claim victim.

  58. Jane
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 09:28:40

    So I think the comments have become kind of useless at this point, no? Can we get back on topic, ignore Shetterly, and move on?

  59. will shetterly
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 09:36:44

    @Jane: Nothing would make me happier. Well, if you never again mentioned me in a post, that would make me happier…

    Go in peace.

  60. Wahoo Suze
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 10:55:59

    Well, after much derailing and asshattery, it all comes back around to privilege, and people who have it being willing to do whatever is required, including harming others, to maintain their privilege. I’ve never seen people get as vicious as those who think that some uppity [insert othering expletive here] is going to change their world or their perception of themselves.

    I haven’t quite got it clear in my head, but my sense is that the Nice Girls ™ who are outing their critics are also protecting their privilege. They have a nice little world in which their books are the awesomest thing EVAH, and those mean, mean rudesbies have made their warm fuzzies go away.

    Clearly, there’s no way to change the mind of somebody who thinks that the appropriate reaction to criticism is to threaten the safety of their critics. I guess the only thing that we, as a community, can do is to call it out when it happens, and make it clear that it’s not acceptable. With no mitigating back-pedalling.

  61. LisaCharlotte
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 10:57:10

    There is a post at HuffPo that I’ve read twice trying to figure out their position. It looks like it comes directly from the STGRB. So it’s giving a voice to them as far as I can tell with no info from the other side. I would post the link but DA has crashed my Internet twice at work trying to load this page and my phone takes too long to scroll to try this again. It’s top of the page in the Books section.

  62. ginmar
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 11:44:26

    Lisa, that might be because one of the authors who’s freaked out in the past over a terribly abusive review (/sarcasm)….writes for the Huffpo. She claims to be a criminal profiler. Claims is the big word there; she’s a crappy writer and is about as qualified as a criminal profiler as I am to be a plumber. Funny how that works, innit?

  63. srs
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 11:45:42

    @LisaCharlotte: They added an update clarifying that the post is an opinion piece that does not reflect the views of HuffPost Books and its editors and that they welcome reader responses in the comments and invite people to submit a response post. The cynic in me thinks that bringing the bullying “discussion” over to the HuffPo is just another way for them to drive up site stats.

  64. Kim
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 11:46:40

    Here’s the link:

  65. Stacia Kane
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 12:04:21

    @will shetterly:

    Hey, jerk. My real, legal name is on the copyright pages of all my books. Because copyright is registered under my real, legal name.

    That doesn’t mean it’s okay for you to search public records for me and post it online. It doesn’t make you any less of a smug, vicious, sadistic ass for doing so.

    It is never okay to out someone online. It’s not. As I’ve said before, I don’t care if they showed up on your blog and called you an asshole in comments to every single post. I don’t care if they went on Twitter and told their followers they hate you. I don’t care if they link to you on their own blog with “that jerkhead” as the link text. I don’t care if they tell everyone who’ll listen that you’re an idiot. I don’t care if they tell lies about you and things you’ve said.

    It’s not okay. It is NOT OKAY. It is not righteous. It is not standing up for the little guy. It is not bravery. It is not making the world a better place. It is not being a super investigator.

    Just because some information is *technically* public, doesn’t mean it’s cool for you to compile it and/or draw attention to it, or that there is nothing wrong with doing so.

  66. Stacia Kane
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 12:05:17

    Darn, I was hoping to be comment #666.

  67. Janet
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 12:14:19

    @Wahoo Suze: Clearly, there’s no way to change the mind of somebody who thinks that the appropriate reaction to criticism is to threaten the safety of their critics. I guess the only thing that we, as a community, can do is to call it out when it happens, and make it clear that it’s not acceptable. With no mitigating back-pedalling.

    Yes. Which, obviously, was the point of my post. And why I don’t think we can sit back and think that the community has really come through on this issue. I have seen quite a few people step forward (and a huge THANK YOU to all who have), but I don’t think it’s been a united movement, by any means.

    As frustrating as it’s been the past couple of days (and this is part of the point, I think), we’ve now all experienced the way in which myopic, entitled hurt can be so dangerous to the integrity of a community as a whole. When people are willing to disregard the basic safety of others, see anyone who does not conform to some randomly appointed norm as a legitimate target, and make that person feel fundamentally unsafe — that is not something to be supportive of, sympathetic to, or to equivocate away with ‘but I can see how the person who is using implied threats of violence to silence another person feels.

    Yes, it would be lovely if we were all unmoved online by our emotions and could engage others without snark or swearing or frustrated anger, but that is not the case, nor will it EVER be. And let me also point out that in the case of the law student Courtney Milan referred to above, that situation became a years-long legal battle, and no one, NO ONE came out unscathed, especially not the anonymous posters who were revealed through subpoenas nor the people who ran the site in question, nor the women targeted. It was a blood bath that literally ruined people’s lives. All because people thought it was okay to target women in the most unconscionable ways, and others with influence and authority (i.e. the site administrators) did little to nothing to speak out against it. In this situation, I think authors carry the most weight, and that’s why I appeal to authors to speak out against this undermining of the community’s safety. Authors may believe that a site like STGRB will help them by shutting down what they perceive to be unfair readers, and while that may happen, it’s only going to happen along with heightening suspicion against ALL authors, especially those who remain silent (and that, as someone pointed out on Twitter is unfair, but I think it’s already happening). In other words, readers and authors who have nothing to do with the site or its sentiments are going to be buried in the sludgy fallout. Is that what we want as a community? Is that what authors want as they enter the marketplace with their books?

    One more word about distinguishing strong voices from bullying. Having a loud, even crass, harsh, voice does not make one a bully. Responding strongly to a strong comment someone else made does not equal harassment. One thing I’ve seen over and over again is that someone who is not really aware of their own voice or tone will make a very strong statement that offends a lot of people. Those people speak out, and the original speaker feels completely blindsided and overwhelmed with critical feedback. They don’t understand how their little old comment engendered so much criticism and hostility. The responders are blamed and accused of “piling on.”

    But in most of these cases, the real problem is that the original speaker was not prepared for response to her/his strong statement. There was a total underestimation of tone, significance, tenor, implication, etc., and when the responses come, that person just can’t handle it. And because the responses are many, and the original speaker one, the whole thing gets blamed on the respondents, as if they conspired to get upset by the original speaker’s comment and decided as a single borg entity to respond. As I said before, a pile of comments does not equal a pile on. It can FEEL that way, and no one should suggest that it isn’t a shitty demoralizing feeling. Yet it’s still different.

    But again, this is just TALKING — it’s not stripping people of the right to their privacy or threatening people with targeted violence, etc. So, among other things, I think we really need to get straight the differences — why they’re important, what they are, and how they connect to larger issues of critical debate and open discussion. Because the conflation of real bullying and ‘I feel bad because you dissed me’ is part of some of the peripheral support or neutrality on the subject of STGRB, I think, and that support/neutrality is, unfortunately, enabling the madness against the very people who are supportive/neutral.

  68. will shetterly
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 12:21:18

    @Stacia Kane: Of course it’s wrong to out someone. But you can’t out people who outed themselves. If you changed your name to Captain Awesome and blogged on that you were Captain Awesome, no one would be outing you if they said Stacia Kane was Captain Awesome.

    Well, maybe in Special Snowflake Land, that would be outing.

    Pseudonymity really shouldn’t be as hard as y’all find it.

  69. When Shit gets Serious | The Book Pushers | Book Reviews | Book Chatter
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 12:38:56

    […] Dear Author and Foz Meadows have written posts about this issue that sums up this ugly situation perfectly. […]

  70. Meoskop
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 13:19:25

    I think this thread, as well as this issue, show the pressure women bloggers can feel to ‘be nice’ with the goalpost of ‘nice’ continually shifting, often simply meaning please whoever has appointed themselves as master. Both PV and HPB show that speaking out is judged more harshly than not endangering people. Red Dress Defense is pervasive and widespread in our culture, affecting more areas than we might think. Even with today’s criminal and inexcusable events in Colorado it is coming in to play. On social media people are blaming the persons present in the theater. In this case the “crime” is going out for the evening and while the “punishment” of being killed is wrong, of course (our old friend “of, course”) the blame is placed on the victims.

    In the case of readers not liking a book, or not liking an author’s actions or not wishing to accidentally review and thus engage certain authors, the blame is placed on them for doing so by many in this thread, if they wished to have an opinion, why didn’t they do so from the Fortress of Solitude. And really, not even from there because everyone knows Superman hangs out there. There is no standard that can be meant for a vocal woman that another person will not shift so the woman is at fault for her endangerment. Someone listing your daily movements tied to claiming you are an agent of harm is indefensible, and yet some defend.

    I guess the answer is to just keep speaking and to support those who spoke first. Those who defend the indefensible have to live with themselves.

  71. Sirius
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 13:23:43

    @Meoskop: Victims are blamed for going to see the movie? Good thing I am not reading those articles. :(

  72. Jane
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 13:33:12

    @Meoskop: I confess that these sorts of things make me wonder whether even running Dear Author is worth it. I had qualms engaging WS given that he so blithely disregards one’s desire for pseudonymity. The STGRB site is mentioning tweets and things that I’ve left. I’m sure it is only a matter of time before one of us at Dear Author (likely me) is profiled over there.

  73. Shiloh Walker
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 13:33:58

    Damn. Wasn’t he saying something about… “don’t open your mouth unless you can improve the silence?”

    Dude. You’re not improving it. You already flounced off how many times? Anybody counting?

  74. Angela
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 13:34:13


    @Meoskop: Victims are blamed for going to see the movie? Good thing I am not reading those articles. :(

    I keep saying ‘That can’t possibly be happening,’ and I keep getting proven wrong.

    **edit to correct

  75. Sirius
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 13:41:15

    @Shiloh Walker: Probably ten times or more. He needs to have a last word, he is not going to leave till we all ignore him IMO. Where is that ignore button?

  76. TK
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 13:46:12

    @NM: Thank you. Thank you. I’ve been thinking the *exact* same thing as you’ve just so eloquently written. Why must reviews be filled with foul language and such anger? Why can’t the reviewer just say “I couldn’t identify with the heroine” or “the pacing lagged in the middle of the book”? I’ve read some of the reviews on GR — and the vitriol and language really bother me. No, I’m not saying everyone needs to like the same book — that’s just not possible — but why be so cruel about it?

    I’ll be a luddite with you, if this downward spiral continues on.

  77. will shetterly
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 13:52:20

    @Shiloh Walker: Here, have one more. I admit, I think it’s hilarious that y’all think an opponent leaving is “flouncing”.


  78. Evaine
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 13:57:44

    If only said “opponent” would leave!

  79. will shetterly
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 13:58:25

    @Jane: “I had qualms engaging WS given that he so blithely disregards one’s desire for pseudonymity.”

    I can’t do anything about your special snowflake definition of pseudonymity, so I beg you, listen to your qualms. I realize y’all are all about Outrage Theater and how your opponents should be exposed while your allies should be shielded, but I’d much prefer that you left me out of the whole thing.

    I’m unsubscribing from the thread now.

    Flouncing, m’dears!

  80. Robin/Janet
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 14:01:22

    I keep hearing about these awful, expletive-filled reviews — where are these masses of reviews? Clearly I’m reading a whole different set of reviews, and I’m pretty sure I’m reading in the reviewing mainstream. Now, I’m not on Goodreads, but that’s NOT a review site — it’s a social site — so maybe site mission confusion part of the issue?

  81. ginmar
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 14:08:23

    It’s not ‘pseudoanonymous’ you stupid ass. It’s called, “You didn’t ask her for consent”, which made you feel so bad you loaded a heap of bullshit onto a very simple question and tried to use it to justify your defense of stalking and outing and gender-specific abuses of privacy.

    You. Did. Not. Ask. Her. For. Her. Permission.

    It all boils down to that.

  82. Shiloh Walker
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 14:19:29

    @Sirius: Oh… wouldn’t that be lovely?

    I mean, he keeps SAYING he is LEAVING and taking his wit and wisdom elsewhere. (that’s flouncing, right?)

    And then he storms the castle again. And again. And AGAIN.

    Robin, I’ve yet to see any of those reviews, either. But I may be a bad person to ask. I mean, I get harsh reviews and I just take it as par for the course.

  83. ginmar
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 14:22:52

    I’ve never seen any either, even after asking people to point me at them. You’d think if they had the one form of proof that would end the debate, they’d present it, wouldn’t they? But no, no links, no screencaps, nothing.

  84. MrsJoseph
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 14:43:13

    That’s because said harsh reviews do not really exist. At least not by the group of women they are terrorizing. There is nothing in any of those women’s reviews that can’t be found at SBTB.

    Of course, there’s a few really harsh, profanity laced reviews written by men. Those reviews never get involved in this “be nice” BS…because those reviewers are men?

  85. will shetterly
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 14:53:09

    @ginmar: Listen, if y’all want me to leave, stop me addressing me, okay?

    Yes, I did not ask someone who had made public posts if I could quote her, because I may quote her, both legally and morally. Only in Special Snowflake Land do you need to ask permission to share information that someone made public. Did you ask if you may insult me? Of course not. You just did. Because you have that right.

    If any of you are professional writers or wish to become professional writers, you really should learn about permission and copyright. I gave this link earlier. It’s a good place to start:

    Or if you have friends who are lawyers or reporters, ask them. News at 11: Information made public is public.


    But I’m not resubscribing, so I may not be flouncing again. Or I may flounce seventy-bajillion times more. Ah, life is the great mystery.

  86. TK
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 15:14:58

    This review is laced with profanity. I don’t know if the reviewer is one of the targeted, but that’s not the point of this tangent. I just don’t understand why book reviews need to be written like this in the first place.

    And of course, others’ tolerance levels are different so some will shrug reviews like this off entirely, but what’s wrong with a little common courtesy?

  87. Wahoo Suze
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 15:21:17

    I confess that these sorts of things make me wonder whether even running Dear Author is worth it.

    I hope you do find it worth it. This blog is such a valuable resource to me, and to many other people who, while they’re not romance readers, do care about books and publishing, and related news and ethics. It’s the best place for new round-ups, and some of the letters of opinion and essays clarify murky issues with SUCH eloquence.

    In short, I like it here. (Except when we’re invaded by people who think violence is an acceptable response to someone disliking their work.)

  88. will shetterly
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 15:21:52

    Buried Comment (Reason: Boring)   Show

    …and I’m back. Made a post for you that’s all about StGRB:


  89. Robin/Janet
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 15:25:28

    @TK: Okay, first, Schulman is a self-expressed STGRB supporter.

    But in terms of the review, I’m about half-way through and so far I’ve only come across one curse worse: g** d***, which is hardly what I’d call “laced with profanity.”

    Beyond that, though, the reviewer gives a long explanation of the reasons she dislikes the book. She gives examples from the book to support her opinions (whether you agree with them or not). And most importantly: Reviews are not intended for or written for the author. And for readers who want to avoid reviews that actually have spoiler and curse warnings, it’s easy to avoid those, too.

    I guess what confuses me is your reference to “common courtesy.” What does that mean? Does that mean not using curse words? Which would, I supposed, extend to films, comedians, the books being reviewed, and pretty much every other form of artistic expression. Should readers be appealing to authors to not use swear words in their books? Can you imagine the backlash from authors if that happened?! We’d be trying to suppress their freedom of expression, control their creativity, sanitize their art, censor them, etc. So why is it “common courtesy” for readers to refrain from swearing in their reviews? I’m not being sarcastic here — I’m really confused by this idea that there is some language code for reviews when, in fact, there is no such thing for books. Because the book is directed at the reader in the same fashion as the review is directed at the author (i.e. not). In other words, I could use your same argument, almost word for word, on books, and I would be absolutely, positively (and legitimately) blasted by authors for, well, all sorts of unpleasant things.

    Beyond all that, I ask again: how is someone being harsher than you might like them to be the equivalent of using implied threats of violence to shut them up?

  90. Sirius
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 15:28:51

    @TK: So I read this review and I could not find a *single* and I mean a *single* word of profanity or criticism directed towards the author, only the book, which as we established (I hope) is not the author’s baby or the same thing as the author. Next?
    Reader has a right to be as outraged as she wants about the characters in the book. They could not have their feelings hurt, they are not real. Why the heck does she have to censor herself if she is talking about fictional characters? Do they really need a courtesy directed towards them?

  91. ginmar
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 15:33:40

    Um, dude? Seriously? The review WARNS FOR PROFANITY. If you go in after that, it’s your own fucking fault. Jesus Christ, you know, most of us don’t go to, say, the KKK site or shit like that because it’s going to upset us. Because we’re smart and adult. So you want that reviewer to edit her language so it suits you?

  92. Tamara
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 15:35:20

    Yes. I’m not sure it’s fair to gang up on someone with the emotional maturity of a six-year-old. (That statement is minus any sarcasm, by the way. He demonstrates every salient characteristic of the age, short of picking his nose and flicking the contents at us. And I suspect if we were all in the same room…)

    I think it’s safe to say he isn’t capable of grasping the finer points of this post and the subsequent comments, so you’re probably right. Best to hand him one of his comic books and put him down for a nap.

    To everyone else, thanks very much for the helpful directions on emailing Go Daddy’s complaints department. If there’s more we can do, I’d love to know.

  93. Robin/Janet
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 15:36:51

    @ginmar: What’s strange is that I cannot find more than one curse word in the first half of the review (I stopped reading at that point, since I’d already decided that doesn’t constitute the term “laced with profanity” — at least not to me). But it’s also ironic since the book is apparently about bullying, and then there’s this:

  94. MrsJoseph
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 15:39:41

    @Robin/Janet: That is a great question! WHY is it that reviewers are taken to task for using profanity but authors are not? Why must the reviewer be censored while the author has “artistic freedom?”

  95. TK
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 15:41:32


    Beyond all that, I ask again: how is someone being harsher than you might like them to be the equivalent of using implied threats of violence to shut them up?

    It’s not. I’m a victim of abuse and bullying myself. I’m not saying that StGRb is right. Not at all.

    The review also contains several instances of f**k and s**t, and I just don’t understand why those have to be used in the review. I’m not a prude; I use the language myself but in select circumstances and not in public forums.

    The piece of art is the piece of art, whatever it may be (as you say, film, music, etc., etc.) and whatever it may contain. I just don’t think people need to talk about it the same way. (If I may try an example here, I saw a movie the other night full of f-bombs. I’m certainly not going to describe it to people using the same language. You know what I mean?)

    I guess I’m just kind of old-fashioned. There are all sorts of words in our English language; we don’t always have to resort to cursing to get our point across. That’s all I’m saying.

  96. ginmar
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 15:43:32

    They’re not helping their case with that kind of hyper exaggeration. “Laced with profanity” doesn’t mean a fuck here and there, it means, “Well, I got up too motherfuckin’ early, took my fuckin’ dog out for a walk and he took a shit on my foot! Then I went to my damned job and……” That’s laced with profanity. It’s also rather tedious. Swear creatively! Inventively!

    Isn’t that the book that fights bullying by having a bully as a hero or something? There’s some really vicious scenes in that one, if it’s the book I’m thinking of.

    So many of these shitty authors write this domineering bullying heroes. Hm. These are fawned over by the fangirls, who love this type of thing in a guy, they say. Makes me want to toss my cookies, really.

  97. Legna989
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 16:06:01


    Perhaps our standards are different, but I don’t consider a review of nearly 1,100 words containing 11* profane words as being “laced with profanity.” The reviewer was clearly passionate about her dislike of the book’s subject and the actions of its characters, and she used some profanity to emphasize her points.

    The review also in no way attacked the author, which is what the creators and promoters of the StGRB site suggest happens in every remotely negative review. A review’s language or style may be offensive to some, but it doesn’t make it bullying.

    *by my count, and I included words such as “hell” and “prick” to be generous

  98. TK
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 16:15:10

    I’m sorry. I can’t explain what I mean clearly enough and feel inadequately able to continue.

    I apologize for any misunderstandings.

  99. Jennifer Leeland
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 16:44:20

    @TK: Reviews laced with profanity are reviews to avoid if it offends you. I recognize that, as an author, it’s difficult to get away from it. But there’s the “read more” button I don’t have to push when a review shows up on my page. I can pretty much tell how it’s going to go within the first two sentences.
    Now, I’m a glutton for punishment and I’ll read it. BUT I am NOT going to respond nor take my hurt feelings online for the world to see.
    That said, let me answer your question. Why does a reviewer have to express themselves that way?
    In my case (and I have blog post laced with profanity. For real), it emphasizes my feelings. It may not be to everyone’s taste, but most people who read me/follow me are aware that I use profanity.
    Common courtesy isn’t common. And it isn’t the same for every human being. The best thing I do for me is recognize what offends me and either avoid it or call a friend to complain about it.
    Someone very wisely said on the Huffington Post that if we start policing these public forums, where will it end? Will it end with one or two people deciding what’s “polite” behavior?
    People are free to use curse words to express themselves. I’m free to avoid them if it bothers me. Just as I’m free to avoid sites that tout beliefs I don’t agree with.
    Folks on the internet are not my children. I can’t tell them I’ll wash their mouth out with soap. (And they can’t tell me either.)
    As you can see from the comments here, whose standard of behavior? What “common” courtesy? Who will decide that?
    It’s safer, IMHO, to let people speak their piece and then I can let it go.

  100. Meoskop
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 16:46:21

    @Jane: As I have referenced in the past, it was an incident like this that shut me down from reviewing in the mid 90’s. It took me a long time, and SBTB, to come back to it. Most of my blogging is locked, for the same reason. I have to tell you, if it helps, that I regret not pushing back. At the time, the cost was too great. There is someone IRL who would like to harm me, and it just wasn’t worth possibly giving them information because an author / reviewer got angry. Which is how suppression works. I could certainly understand anyone who walks away from the community because of STGRB, but I can say from my own experience that it is not the right move.

    Back to full topic I find the Huffington Post situtation deplorable. Their ‘explanation’ is even more problematic. At the risk of making the Thread Of Doom even Doomier, the fact that they requested this post weeks ago, when the daily movement of one blogger was posted online, and still upheld it as a good idea is one thing. Add to that granting STGRB no byline but requesting pic / byline from those refuting, and it’s clear what side they take. Another came of “Of course” in this case “Of course we don’t endorse, but”

  101. Lila
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 16:48:18

    Thank you for this post. It is an important one. To me, it was shocking to find out about the app encouraging people to hit a woman, about the girl who dared speak up about how wrong joking about rape was and about the responses to the incident (I was already aware of STGRB site). You are 100% spot on, women are under attack but I had no idea what kind of sick and twisted world I really live in until I read tons of comments from people who think that interrupting someone’s stand-up act is a lot more serious issue than joking about and laughing at the idea of five guys raping a woman. I feel sick just writing it down. With all the technology that opened the world to us more than ever, the majority apparently lives very sheltered, very entitled lives with the luxury of saying that we have to have jokes about any tragedy, we have to laugh at tragedy, because this is the way to eventually get past it. This is absurd. Henrik Ibsen would give up writing, if he read any of this, thinking not even he could match this Theatre of Absurd brilliant writing. I know that clearly tragedy hasn’t touched the virgin souls of all those defenders of stand-up comedy and I genuinely would never wish it on anyone, but times like that I do reach the peak of my anger and can imagine myself being violent (screw the ‘two wrongs don’t make a right’).
    Things do have to start happening before it’s too late.
    But then I read through the comments to this post and I’m questioning my sanity at this point. *Here I’d like to note that if I offend anyone’s sensibilities, I don’t give a fuck.* The comments as a whole have managed to trivialize the post and cheapen it beyond repair. I haven’t read all of them, but the initial 200 and the last ten or so were enough for me to see that this might be nothing more than empty controversy for the sake of…controversy. No one else seemed to see the problem here? A woman is publicly told that it would be fun if she got gang raped, the audience is laughing, including women, and the commenters here argue about the semantics of bullying? And where has it led? So far as I can tell, a person/s behind that website are probably very content since their delusions of grandeur are being promptly indulged.
    And all those -people who want to be called authors here, shame on you. You should be sitting down at your desks and writing books that would open the eyes of all those girls and women that are fans of yours. In my world, a writer has a duty and a responsibility to bring about change (or at least try) with the most powerful weapon given to mankind: a gift of writing. Apparently, I am not of this world, since a book is just a product, like a vacuum cleaner and writers are really businessmen, concerned with making a profit.

    To end this most likely completely unnecessary comment:

    “as long as in some regions social asphyxia remains possible; in other words, and from a still broader point of view, so long as ignorance and misery remain on earth, there should be a need for books such as this.”
    Victor Hugo on Les Miserables

  102. Robin/Janet
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 16:49:40

    @TK: I can understand your aversion to swearing, I really can.

    I get stuck, though, at the books = art and reviews don’t argument for dinging reviews for “bad” language. And it’s not because I’m trying to claim that reviews = art. It’s the basic respect thing that you actually raise in your comment. In other words, if we are going to respect books for what they are — if we are going to minimally respect the idea that an author has creative freedom to exercise in whatever way he/she wants, then why don’t we offer that respect to reviewers, especially on a site like Goodreads, which is all about *readers* sharing their experiences about books.

    So you don’t like swearing, you will avoid certain reviews. Someone else doesn’t like explicit sex in books, they will avoid those books. I think it’s the whole “a review should [fill in the blank]” that’s an issue for me, because we don’t say that about books. And on Goodreads, what seems to have started this whole furor is that some authors did not like that readers were reviewing or commenting or shelving books in a certain way, and they tried to preside over the space at Goodreads like it was some kind of authorial territory that readers were spitting on. And that, in turn, pissed off some readers, who called out these authors, and then the authors felt they were being bullied or whatever, even though they had intruded into what is essentially a social reader-oriented space in the first place. Which is not to say that everyone’s behavior has been stellar or desirable.

    But I think it’s a question of what is Goodreads for and WHO is it for. As many have pointed out, its attempt to mingle authors and readers has been fundamentally problematic. However, this very attempt demonstrates that the space is NOT an author-controlled space. What’s ironic for me is that I have come to pay MUCH more attention to the negative stuff now that authors are focusing on it. Readers can discern valuable feedback from valueless feedback about books — we can see for ourselves whether a book is something we will want to read. If authors had more trust in the intelligence of readers (which is a whole ‘nother topic, one that implies a fundamental disrespect toward readers that is probably unintentional a lot of the time), I think we could avoid a lot of these clashes.

  103. Robin/Janet
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 16:54:42

    @Meoskop: As I said on Twitter, if they solicited the piece weeks ago, that suggests endorsement, since the site was horrific then, too, and they did not solicit a rebuttal piece at the same time. If it’s not endorsement, then it suggests shoddy research. In either case, it undermines the credibility of the site and the editor, and it makes them look as if they are either intentional or duped agents for STGRB’s unconscionable tactics.

  104. Linda Hilton
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 16:56:34

    The thread is so long it’s locking up my computer, but I’m not complaining. However, I can’t go back to make this a reply to the person who originally posted about the author of the Huffpo “opinion” piece. From what I could see, there was no byline on the piece, so is the self-proclaimed “criminal profiler” confirmed as its author?

    @TK — I don’t think there’s any misunderstanding at all. You want every review to be nothing but “I loved loved loved everything about this wonderful book!!!!1! The author is fabulous!!111! I can’t wait for the moveeeeeee!” Anything less will be offensive and cruel and profane. /sarcasm

  105. meoskop
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 16:59:24

    @Robin/Janet: I think their ability to claim duped was eroded beyond repair by their explanation post. I feel like I should put myself in Twitter Jail today. Because opinions, I’m having them.

  106. Anachronist
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 17:07:17

    @Kaetrin: I officially adore your little poem. I am drunk, I know. Still.

  107. Shiloh Walker
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 17:14:39

    @will shetterly:

    snicker…. he can’t quit!

  108. Shiloh Walker
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 17:19:12

    @MrsJoseph: Personally speaking, a person should be able to write their review in any way they see fit, just as I should be able to write my books.

    Now, I may lose readers. And I know this.

    The reviewer may not gain a following, or may gain one.

    That’s what happens when you develop a voice.

    But nobody should decide how one writes…and that includes reviews.

    To that, I only add this… I do not care for it when people decide to attack an author personally, which on occasion does happen. I don’t have the link to it, but there was an incident a year, maybe two? When a review decided she’d post pictures of an author and mock how the author looked-a bunch of others got in on it.

    The post was eventually either amended or removed, but there were some authors and editors as well who got in on the fiasco. That bothered me, because it wasn’t about the author’s work, or even anything she’d done online. It was about how one perceived her personal life.

    That, IMO, was over the line.

    This stalking of reviewers? The targeting of readers who don’t like a book? Also over the line… and so much worse.

    Sigh. I honestly think it’s worse now than it was back when erotic romance was still forming. I could be wrong. But… (am I?)

  109. ginmar
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 17:51:58

    Well, let me put it this way, 704;

    The writer has a habit of having shitfits over bad reviews;

    Strangely enough, brand new people then show up on those reviews and relentlessly attack the bad reviewer; and

    she’s calling herself a couple of things that she’s just not entitled to: criminal analyst. Criminal profiler.

  110. Ann Somerville
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 19:43:13


    No one else seemed to see the problem here? A woman is publicly told that it would be fun if she got gang raped, the audience is laughing, including women, and the commenters here argue about the semantics of bullying?

    I don’t exactly know what you’re arguing here, but if it’s that we’re not talking about rape culture, then you’re mistaken. Robin clearly linked the behaviour of this site to misogyny and rape culture, and it’s been discussed in comments quite vehemently with commenters who don’t understand the link. Don’t assume that if we’re commenting here, we’re indifferent or ignorant of the other issues.

    That we’re arguing about the semantics of bullying is actually an illustration of how big the mountain is that women have to climb. For every troll pretending they don’t understand and deliberately obscuring the issue by conflating bad language or criticism with bullying, there have been several others who really don’t seem to get the difference, let alone how it ties in with patriarchal oppression and rape culture. We can’t do much to change the behaviour of oppressors or wrongdoers, but we *can* educate women as to what the real problem is, and how to push back about this.

    And where has it led? So far as I can tell, a person/s behind that website are probably very content since their delusions of grandeur are being promptly indulged.

    This is something I’ve been worried about too. The owner of that site (like W*ll Sh*tt*rly) craves attention, and sees it as validation. Right now she must be in hog heaven with her being featured on two major news sites. Her supporters will also be validated.

    The more we talk about it, the more attention it gets (sadly, some of it supportive because you can’t fix stupid.) But if we don’t talk about it, the victims suffer in silence, and the site owner will do more and more outrageous things to get that attention back. Right now, the criticism from HuffPo readers has forced the site owner to retreat, pulling down identifying information (while claiming it never existed, that the phonecall made to Lucy was fabricated for attention – yeah cos we’re too stupid to remember what we read just *yesterday*.) The brighter the spotlight, the wider the criticism, the better chance we have of ameliorating the worst effects of this bully. So reluctantly, I think we can’t stop talking until we can stop the stalking.

    And all those -people who want to be called authors here, shame on you. You should be sitting down at your desks and writing books that would open the eyes of all those girls and women that are fans of yours. In my world, a writer has a duty and a responsibility to bring about change (or at least try) with the most powerful weapon given to mankind: a gift of writing.

    AAAAAND this is where you lost my sympathy. You don’t know what we do or do not write about, and you can have a blowhard like Sh*tt*rly claiming to be all about social justice, feminism (because he wrotes about women duh!) and anti-classism, while actually being a promoter of rape culture and misogyny (not to mention being a fairly disgusting racist too). I can’t think of more than a couple of my books where I don’t tackle social justice issues head on. I know other writers here like Heidi and Violetta who are *very* vocal champions of anti-racism and anto-homophobia. Robin is a strong voice in favour of free speech, and while Jane and I have had our differences ::cough:: I say that her best characteristic is the way she has stood up for both readers and authors who are under attack by bullies.

    So I don’t know what you were trying to say, and perhaps you meant to say something other than what I assumed you were saying. It would be nice if you dropped back and explained.

  111. Sirius
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 20:04:41

    @Shiloh Walker: I completely agree that posting author’s pictures and attacking her looks (or anything about her which has no relation to her writing) is way way over the top. But then again (and this is of course not directed at you), I really really wish that some authors stopped thinking that people who read the reviews and who would be otherwise inclined to purchase their book are stoopid. I mean, if I will see the review like that, I *at the very least* ignore it and will never ever read anything by this reviewer ever again. That’s my thing – be rude to real living person, be it an author herself (if you are not talking about her writing, because to me writing is absolutely a fair game) or even fans of the author and I will ignore your reviews – that’s my decision to decide which reviewer’s recommendations I would pay any attention and which ones I won’t. But don’t come and attack the reviewer and show that you (again Shiloh I am talking about generic you, not you :)) are a bigger ass. I am not telling anybody what to write, I am describing my reactions, which I do not need authors to decide for me.

    EDIT: Just to clarify – I still do not think that most of those reviews (doubt that many exist) would be considered bullying for many reasons previously explained in this thread of course, I am just explaining that as a customer I do not care for them and authors REALLY do not need to worry about that.

  112. Lila
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 21:31:31

    @Ann Somerville: Ann, thank you for your response.
    Most importantly, my apologies to the authors, you as well, who have indeed been writing what matters. I should never have written such a paragraph, dumping all authors into one pile. If there is any excuse I can offer, it’s that my frustrations concerning what’s happening with the writing world nowadays have been growing for a while now (a subject that needs to be addressed at another time, not to take anything away from the issue at hand right now).
    Other than that, I don’t assume that women in this reading community of ours are ignorant or indifferent to issues of rape culture, or violence towards women. I was thinking more in the vein of how easily our attentions can be turned to empty arguing with the same people.
    Obviously, I’m not a writer. I don’t have a way with words that would help me express all the thoughts racing through my mind. I can see how what I wrote is not what you read, so to speak.
    We are facing hard times, especially as women. It’s a shame we don’t have one another’s backs. Divide and conquer is probably an overused phrase by now, but I think that there’s something in it, that throughout the ages, and today still, women have never really been united.
    I hope I explained a little and not made my point even worse to understand.

  113. Ann Somerville
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 21:43:23

    ” I was thinking more in the vein of how easily our attentions can be turned to empty arguing with the same people.”

    It’s sometimes difficult to know when someone is simply ignorant of the issues, and when someone is deliberately trolling. I’m not alone in assuming someone I’ve not encountered online before is likely to be speaking in good faith until proved otherwise – and sadly others will choose to assume good faith even when warned they’re dealing with an (infamous) troll. And there’s also the fact that one can apparently respond to a troll but be really speaking to those who might be inclined to think the troll has a point.

    But you’re right. It’s easy to get diverted. That’s indeed what the trolling is about – to divert attention away from the real issues. Unfortunately they’re often horribly successful.

    And on that point, Lucy has been threatened again:

    Read further down for the details of what was said and what she’s doing about it. The HuffPo may claim the SGRB people aren’t behind this, and the SGRB people may claim she’s making it up for atttention, but I believe she’s telling the unvarnished truth. Whenever a woman comes into the public eye, there are all too many men ready to put her back in her place as they conceive to be.

  114. Robin/Janet
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 21:52:05

    @Lila: I know the comment thread is oppressively long, but I actually think a lot of the round and round arguing has been helpful, because it has allowed for some refinement and expansion of the more relevant issues. I know that I am able to articulate some things better now, at the end of the thread, than at the beginning. That might not be true for everyone, and it may seem, upon objective reading, that we’re arguing about semantics, but I think many of us believe that we’re parsing important distinctions. You also never know how many people hold the same view as the person commenting, so hashing out issues multiple times and from different directions can help others make up their own mind, IMO.

  115. will shetterly
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 23:10:54

    @Ann Somerville: Have you taken the race test at Project Implicit? I recommend it highly. I used to wonder if I was perhaps a little racist in that way Critical Race Theorists think all white people are. Then I took the test and found out I am racist–I have an implicit prejudice for black folks, like about 20% of white folks. I’m disappointed that I’m not one of the folks who has no prejudice, but if I have to have a prejudice, I’m glad it’s not for privileged white women like you.

    Really, the test is liberating. Do share your score.


  116. ginmar
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 23:26:57

    Jeez, Ann, you’ve been rejected by somebody I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t fuck with somebody else’s vagina and at a distance of several miles. With a ten-foot pole. Aren’t you just all torn up about it?

  117. Linda Hilton
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 23:36:15

    @Ann Somerville: Thank you for the link to the GR thread, and after reading it I would encourage everyone here to take note of post #345 from “Missy” which gives the relevant information regarding what cyberstalking is and what an individual can do if she believes she has been a victim of cyberstalking.

    @Lila — You might want to take a look at what some of us actually do write, fiction and non-fiction both.

  118. Ann Somerville
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 23:42:00


    I like to think I can despise a male person for their behaviour without their sexual attractiveness – or mine – being part of the equation. I can safely state that this is not any part of the small amount of consideration I have ever given to this person’s views, nor will it ever be.

    So far as I can tell, this person is nothing but elaborate performance art of a very incompetent kind, like most trolls are. Not worth my attention or anyone else’s.

  119. Ann Somerville
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 23:45:43

    @Linda Hilton:

    The only thing I would say about Missy’s comment is that while it contains useful information, I was getting really, really *really* sick of people telling Lucy what she should do. She’s an adult and a competent one. She knows what to do. The 200th iteration of ‘call the police!’ was insulting (and considering the police dismissed her complaint, pointless.) The police just don’t get that worked up about women being stalked until someone gets (badly) hurt.

    If you want to help a stalking victim, offer her support, belief and sympathy and bloody *wait* until she asks for your advice. Don’t act like she’s too dumb to know what needs to be done.

  120. erinf1
    Jul 21, 2012 @ 00:05:13

    @Robin/Janet – I absolutely agree. As someone who has taken *days* to read all the comments (and I’m very fatigued… it’s a lot to take in!) this has definitely helped me to definite and cement my own feelings and opinions about it all. And while I have the knee jerk reaction of “do not engage/feed the trolls!” it was useful at times b/c it did allow the comments to come back full circle. And I’m a bit amazed and saddened at my own ignorance about the heart of the matter. I’m extending a heartfelt thank you to all the commentors for their passion and dedication to making sure that this issue is known and to help educate the rest of us. I’m usually a lurker (who reads all the comments btw…) and I’m blown away by this amazing community of strong, passionate and opinionated women!!!

  121. Robin/Janet
    Jul 21, 2012 @ 00:30:19

    I just want to say that I’ve had a different experience re. women and threats and stalking, which is that many *don’t* know what to do, or even where to begin. There is often a sense of under-reaction among smart, educated women and a desire to make it not a big deal by ignoring it and failing to begin constructing the necessary trail of evidence. And regardless of how the police can/do follow up, a police report can be absolutely essential, for myriad reasons (for one thing, it’s evidence for a potential civil case). Sure it gets frustrating reading the same comments over and over, but I do think they’re offered in a good spirit, and I think often people don’t read everyone else’s comment before offering their own (also people just don’t know what to say, because it’s easy to feel doubly helpless in these situations – both as an observer and as a woman who can easily empathize with the feeling of being threatened — and everyone is different in terms of what kind of support they want, e.g. speak up or step back and wait). I do get frustrated when people offer improper or incorrect advice, but I think there are people who can be and are helped by good pieces of advice, even if it’s not the person for whom the advice is ostensibly offered.

  122. Robin/Janet
    Jul 21, 2012 @ 00:34:18

    @erinf1: Thanks for that.

  123. will shetterly
    Jul 21, 2012 @ 00:44:50

    @ginmar: Oh, man, I see how you interpreted “prejudice for” as “attraction for”, but that wasn’t what I meant. I simply meant that Project Implicit revealed that I’m among a rather large minority of white folks who have a little racism against white folks. It makes sense. I was terrorized by racist white folks when I was a kid.

    Having a sexual attraction toward someone of a race you’re prejudiced against doesn’t mean you’re not racist. That’s Racism 101.

    As it happens, despite my prejudice against white folks, I married one. She also took the Project Implicit test and found out she had a slight prejudice against white folks, so clearly, part of what unites us is a shared prejudice against privileged white folks like y’all.

    Anyway, I’m tired of your whitesplainin’, so I’m flouncing now.


    Oh, if you take the Project Implicit test and pass, I’ll apologize for treating you as if you were just another racist white woman. I really shouldn’t assume any white person is racist in any particular way, even though the odds suggest they are. My very bad. I think it’s just my racism against white folks at work. I’ll try harder to overcome it.

  124. ginmar
    Jul 21, 2012 @ 00:57:53

    I cannot believe this twit. Seriously. He thinks it’s cute, like in a screw ball comedy, and he’s boasting about how he’s a literal special white snowflake who’s down with teh black folks, and…..I just can’t. And he’s serious, too. He thinks this is effective.

  125. Wahoo Suze
    Jul 21, 2012 @ 01:22:09

    Apparently *flouncing!* means “I must away! There is a blog out there somewhere in which the comments are not ALL ABOUT ME, and I must correct that! But fear not, I shall return anon to leave another buttnugget of my singular geniousness with which to dazzle you and, obviously, bring the conversation back to being ALL ABOUT ME!”

    Also, chalk me up as supporting the “It’s not feeding the trolls so much as maybe educating some lurkers who need to see the explanations.” I’ve learned a lot by lurking.

  126. azteclady
    Jul 21, 2012 @ 01:32:48

    @Lila: I take strong exception to this comment–particularly since you admit to not having read all the comments. I don’t know if you managed to read all the comments or have just continued to jump down to read from your own comment on, but several–more than just a few–of the people commenting here have pointed out the underlying issues of misogyny and rape culture, both in the comments here and in posts linking to it, made in our own blogs.

    Furthermore, the whole discussion is necessary. It is necessary because if everyone actually got that violence against women–be it actual rape, or deliberate, reckless endangerment (as the people behind the StGRb are doing to their victims) or simply threats to silence them, à la Shitterley–is wrong, then we wouldn’t see instance of all of the above all. the. fucking. time. every. fucking. where. we look, would we?

  127. will shetterly
    Jul 21, 2012 @ 01:51:17

    Buried Comment (Reason: Boring)   Show

    @ginmar: Hey, if you’re feeling insecure, you can take the race test here:

    Info about it is here:

    Really, if you have any doubts about your racist self, now’s the chance to test it. If it turns out you’re completely not-racist, I’ll be a little jealous. But it will be a lesson to me: just because you seem like a white woman who should check her privilege, you might not be. Assumptions can get us every time. Which is why Project Implicit is great: you can’t game it.

    Well, it’s past my bedtime. Sweet dreams and flounces, everyone!

  128. will shetterly
    Jul 21, 2012 @ 01:53:48

    @ginmar: I had a reply with links that went into moderation, so here’s the no-links version:

    Hey, if you’re feeling insecure, you can take the race test at Project Implicit. Google will get you there right away. There’s plenty of data about it if you mistrust it.

    Really, if you have any doubts about your racist self, now’s the chance to test it. If it turns out you’re completely not-racist, I’ll be a little jealous. But it will be a lesson to me: just because you seem like a white woman who should check her privilege, you might not be. Assumptions can get us every time. Which is why Project Implicit is great: you can’t game it.

    Well, it’s past my bedtime. Sweet dreams and flounces, everyone!

  129. Kelly
    Jul 21, 2012 @ 02:36:41

    I think I need to go on record as the author of several profanity-laced, vicious diatribes published here on DA as guest reviews and on my own blog.

    The books I reviewed were classified as “erotic romance” and contained all of the vulgar words and phrases I used in my reviews – and more. The content of the books amused AND offended me to such a degree that I felt compelled to use strong language to communicate the depths of my reactions to what I read.

    Did I swear repeatedly and gratuitously – and mercilessly mock the writing – for the sake of humor? Absolutely.

    I also used sarcasm, mixed metaphors, hyperbole and other rhetorical devices to point out not only character and plot absurdities, but also themes and tropes that I believe are antithetical to the romance genre.

    I was, however, extremely aware of my responsibility to direct my vehemence solely at the content of the books themselves and not the author. I did address the author within the reviews as I called out content I objected to, but I made a concerted effort to back up my objections with specific examples and explanations.

    At the end of the fourth guest review published here, I included my reactions to statements the author posted on her blog. I found the sentiments shared there to be particularly disturbing, and I felt strongly that other readers should be aware of them.

    The ONLY reason I was comfortable quoting her blog and snarking about it was because it was her AUTHOR blog, dedicated solely to her books and to her writing. NOTHING in any of the reviews was directed at the person behind the pseudonym. I acknowledged several times that the author is a talented writer who engaged my passion as a reader.

    Despite my reviews likely being the most vituperative and profanity-laced ever published here, there has been NO backlash from the author, her publishing company or her fans. Not here, not on Goodreads, not on Amazon, not on my blog, not on her blog. All her books still have an overwhelming number of 5-star reviews on Amazon and Goodreads – and it was never my intention to change that.

    DA Jane was under no obligation to publish th0se guest reviews, and I trusted that she would flag anything and everything that might be construed as a personal attack on the author. I sincerely hope that no “bully blogger” retribution will be directed at Jane or any DA reviewer, and I take sole responsibility for the content of my guest reviews.

  130. Stop the GR Bullies: A Response | Dream Something
    Jul 21, 2012 @ 02:49:19

    […] personal information as a tactic: not only are well-known review and literary blogs like Dear Author, Gossamer Obsessions and Smart Bitches speaking out against the site, but prominent authors such as […]

  131. mek
    Jul 21, 2012 @ 02:53:17

    I’m just a fan of books and have been reading all of this with mounting horror and for real, that Will guy seems like a horrible human being.

    But I am a little confused. I don’t know the Race Fail history. But going by his account here and the responses (I know this is heavily biased in his favor) the way I’m understanding it is:
    -Author goes by random name but also has her real name linked to random name
    -Author and Will get involved in the race fail thing
    -Author writes up an account of the situation
    -Will responds by writing up his own account and includes Author’s names (something I see many write ups include so all aliases are linked)
    -Author later decides they don’t want their name on Will’s site/on the internet

    = outing? That’s where I’m confused and I’m not understanding the consent comments. To me posting a name (especially one that someone is using online) seems like completely different situation than collecting personal information and publishing it. I worked for the government and everything with a full name could be tossed and anything with a full name + other identifying information needed to be shredded so maybe that’s why I’m getting confused here.

    Regarding the consent thing for instance this link was posted above. Does this site have to have consent to post her name there?

    I feel genuinely upset that I’m writing a post that can be construed (particularly BY him because ugh) as supporting his stance. I am honestly just seeking out clarification and perhaps learn something here. Nothing, NOTHING, including posting their personal information online, justifies the collecting and publishing of those reviewers information on that horrible site.

  132. Ann Somerville
    Jul 21, 2012 @ 03:30:56


    I don’t want to get into this in detail because it will be taken as an invitation for that person to come back and troll again, but this post by Robin may help:

    As far as I’m concerned, the real issue is that Coffeeandink participated in Racefail ’09 discussions under one name, and one name alone – coffeeandink. WS knew her real identity but anyone else knowing it was unnecessary. He was the one to link the two identities explicitly for the purposes of rebutting her criticism of his behaviour during racefail, for no other reason than he wanted to say ‘Hah, I know who you are’.

    As I said above, I followed coffeeandink’s LJ for years and had no idea what her real name was, so if it was an open secret, it wasn’t an *obviously* open one, and she was entitled to retain a veil of discretion over it as she clearly wished to do. WS whipped that veil away to expose her to retaliation from the angry white authors rampaging around during RaceFail, and to invite the kind of harrassment that other people received from people like Luke Jackson.

    I won’t post further on this here. Coffeeandink made her position clear and other people made their disgust at WS’s actions clear as well. He can, as far as I’m concerned, troll until he’s blue in the face but he won’t convince me – or anyone else. In fact, the only person he convinced on the 2009 DA discussion was another male blooger with a vested interest in outing people for revenge – one of those people was me.

    It’s a clear issue of male privilege and silencing women through bullying. Since WS is happy to argue white is black, I’m sure he’ll be back shortly to announce that his vagina allows him to speak for women’s views on this matter. Perhaps he’ll get FeministWiki to write him a note on the subject.

    ETA: I don’t know why Ginmar posted that link, as the person thought to be behind the SGRB site is not Chelsea Hoffman. She’s right that Hoffman is known to be a Badly Behaving Author (BBA) but the HuffPo editor says it was HuffPo which solicited that article from SGRB’s owner. I doubt Hoffman was involved.

    However I don’t believe it’s a violation of privacy to name a BBA as a BBA. Jane and the Smart Bitches do so regularly, linking to proof of same, and I feel confident that they wouldn’t do so if it was unethical.

  133. » Stop the GR Bullies: A Response Who is a Bully?
    Jul 21, 2012 @ 04:50:27

    […] are well-known review and literary blogs like Dear Author, Gossamer Obsessions and Smart Bitches speaking out against […]

  134. B
    Jul 21, 2012 @ 05:36:53

    […] gibt einen neuen Skandal in Sachen »Reviewer vs. Authors«, über den u.a. die Smart Bitches und Dear Author berichten. (Sorry, aber die sind alle total […]

  135. will shetterly
    Jul 21, 2012 @ 05:43:44

    @mek: That’s an excellent summary of what happened with Coffeeandink and me. Thank you.

  136. will shetterly
    Jul 21, 2012 @ 06:11:24

    @Ann Somerville: I’m feeling like being serious this morning, so I shall.

    First, I saw this tweet of yours: “Apparently he’s only a little bit racist. Because white men who lecture black women about being black, aren’t really”

    It’s a perfect example of your fundamental racism. You think there is only one understanding of power in the black community. I disagree with all bourgeois folks, which includes bourgie black women. Here are three black writers who have short articles online about race who I do agree with. Two are lefties; one is a conservative who is right about Critical Race Theory. Please google:

    Adolph Reed Jr Antiracism: vague politics about an nearly indescribable thing

    Why Anti-Racism Will Fail, by Thandeka

    The Lightness of Critical Race Theory by Winkfield F. Twyman, Jr.

    News at 11: Only racists think all people of a particular race think alike, or are supposed to think alike.

  137. will shetterly
    Jul 21, 2012 @ 06:20:13

    Buried Comment (Reason: Boring)   Show

    @Ann Somerville: Second: “As I said above, I followed coffeeandink’s LJ for years and had no idea what her real name was”

    Is that a lie, or are you oblivious? I don’t have screencaps of all of her uses of her last name, but the Internet Archive preserved two that I copied because Tempest says that’s how you’re s’posed to roll. I know from googling her public posts a few days after she accused me of outing her that she used her name frequently between 2006 and 2009 on her site; I don’t know if she used it before 2006. I think we can safely assume that any of the pages which she made private or changed after claiming she had been outed were examples of her outing herself. In particular, whenever she went to a convention or did something involving her writing career, like sharing a story on International Techno-Peasant Day, she made public posts using her last name.

    Well, that’s enough being serious. Enjoy your privileged white day! It’s flounce-time!

  138. will shetterly
    Jul 21, 2012 @ 06:24:26

    Buried Comment (Reason: Boring)   Show

    @Ann Somerville: One more question before I flounce this time. You said, “Jane and the Smart Bitches do so regularly, linking to proof of same, and I feel confident that they wouldn’t do so if it was unethical.” Why do you think that’s ethical? Because you approve of it? It’s legal, but we could have an interesting discussion about the morality and ethicality of mocking people whose feelings were hurt.

    Don’t worry. That’s not a discussion I care to have. But I am curious about why you think it’s ethical; if you explain, I won’t mock you and I’ll restrict my response to thanking you for your explanation.

  139. Jane
    Jul 21, 2012 @ 07:06:53

    One author outed himself as a member of the Stop the Good Reads Bullies site:

    I used to be a part of that website and left because I am not against “bad reviews”. And I do not endorse going to people’s blog and telling them how to run their blog. This is not what this is all about. It’s about a select few who came to me, made me an offer then after getting what they asked me for, backed out for whatever reason. (The reason isn’t even relevant really) It’s just the point of your word. You get something in exchange for something then deliver that something you promised and move on.

    The author is creating or has created a list of bloggers, calling them thieves and liars, who took books and may or may not have said that they would review it and then did not deliver. This (from what I can decipher) stems from a YA blogger who may or may not be a teen. He and she had exchanged emails. He sent her his picture. This apparently freaked her out and she told her friends not to review him. He then posted her picture on the internet (sound familiar?) but has since taken it down.

  140. Has
    Jul 21, 2012 @ 08:34:47


    Wow just wow on that thread! O_O

  141. Jill Sorenson - Blog
    Jul 21, 2012 @ 08:57:59

    […] you don’t know about the “Stop the Goodreads Bullies” scandal, there’s an epic thread at Dear Author, and a nice wrap-up here by Foz […]

  142. Jeannie S.
    Jul 21, 2012 @ 10:24:23

    Reading through these comments for the past few days has really educated me on the issues facing writers and reviewers – my mind is spinning on all the rhetoric that was going back and forth. I learned a lot.

    One of the posts way back (couldn’t find it again) talked about this stemming from “everyone getting a trophy” – I’m not sure exactly what the quote was, but it was along those lines. Thinking about it later, I realized that is something similar to what I dubbed “The Barney Generation”. This is observations I have made about my own 15-year old daughter and her peers. They can’t take criticism – of any kind or from anyone. Not even constructive criticism at dance or school. They dub the instructor/teacher as “mean”. When I asked once why a dance teacher was mean, it was because she told the student she needed to put her hair back. The Barney effect comes from telling these children that everything they do is “special” and “amazing”. It seems like a great idea and kids should feel special, but from what I see, it has created kids (who grow into adulthood) not being able to handle criticism. Not everything everyone decides to do can be amazing. Everyone has different abilities. They are also the internet generation, who take their anger and frustration online and wreak havoc. My own daughter has been on the receiving end of cyberbullying and has also created her own problems by sending nasty tweets when she got mad at someone. It’s just too easy to do these days – people act much differently when they aren’t face-to-face.

    I also want to repeat what others have said – as a reader, even bad reviews will not stop me from buying a book. In some cases, it has the opposite effect. The book, To Have and to Hold by Patricia Gaffney, got a few bad reviews. But the reasons they didn’t like the book were all the reasons I loved it, and is a keeper for me.

  143. When the Internet went Crazy « Fated Desires
    Jul 21, 2012 @ 11:06:48

    […] that’s not even the big picture. Dear Author did a wonderful piece on the fact that this isn’t just about reviews. We are attacking people. […]

  144. We are All Accountable « Fated Desires
    Jul 21, 2012 @ 11:07:49

    […] that’s not even the big picture. Dear Author did a wonderful piece on the fact that this isn’t just about reviews. We are attacking people. […]

  145. Robin/Janet
    Jul 21, 2012 @ 11:23:05

    @Jane: Apparently his story has changed. The version I read was that he sent her a fake picture and she felt as if he was playing a trick on her, then told all her friends not to review him. Now that he’s responding to comments ALL IN CAPS, it’s tough to even read his posts, but I did have to do a double-take when he referred to 16 and 17 year-olds as “hardly innocent little kids.” I am not at all against teens reviewing books and having book blogs themselves, but I do think authors need to be conscious of the fact that they are dealing with teens and be much more gentle, understanding, and conscientious, especially when the authors are writing books aimed at that audience. I think younger adults require more, not less, latitude in these kinds of situations, and threatening them with some kind of list seems well beyond an over-reaction to me.

    I was also struck by something at the beginning of his blog post, namely this:

    How often times an author will get a promise from someone to do an interview or review of their book(s) in exchange for a “free read”. This is a quite common occurrence on Goodreads and mostly with independent authors such as myself. And it would probably surprise you how often times those promises get broken. Even after having sent these people a “free read“.

    Is this a common construction between authors and readers on Goodreads? Or between authors and readers in the YA community? That the book is a quid pro quo for a review, a type of compensation or payment? And, I’m thinking, perhaps the expectation is for a good review? Because if it is, that might account for a lot of the craziness we’re seeing. If an author believes they are sending a book to a reviewer *as a contract of sorts* that, I would argue, is precisely the wrong way to do it. And expecting a review as a “promise” or an “exchange for a free read” just seems fraught with all kinds of problems and potential disasters.

    Without question it is good form to write a review for a book you have requested. But beyond the idea of treating these situations like enforceable contracts or even personal promises is another thing altogether. I realize that many authors would shrug this off or simply not give the reviewer another book, so this kind of extremity seems particularly and unnecessarily extreme and ruthless. But the fact that this author knows that he’s dealing largely with teens is really problematic, IMO, and the fact that he thought it was okay to become part of a site like STGRB is, well, all sorts of things that feel chilling and icky to me.

  146. Tamara
    Jul 21, 2012 @ 12:20:21

    @Robin/Janet: “I am not at all against teens reviewing books and having book blogs themselves, but I do think authors need to be conscious of the fact that they are dealing with teens and be much more gentle, understanding, and conscientious, especially when the authors are writing books aimed at that audience.”

    That was my thought, too, after reading through the comments. He says he believes in consequences for bad behavior, but he must think he’s exempt. If he did, as he says, pull a mean-spirited stunt on a teenaged girl who had a crush on him–what did he think might come from doing something like that? The poor kid. I feel far more sympathy for her than I ever would for him. As an adult, he should have had more sense than that (and that he’s a writer of YA, in addition…really?)
    If he learned anything about consequences through that experience, it apparently didn’t take.

    The Bullies’ site, Shetterly, and now this guy–it’s all about petty and petulant retribution, taking the lowest road they can find and sticking to it, despite how wrong it is (and how wrong I suspect at least one of them knows it is, but would sooner die than admit.) I guess you could say if pride does go before the fall, none of them (the Bully site bullies, in particular) will have too far to plummet. They’re already almost as stinking low as they can go.

  147. Robin/Janet
    Jul 21, 2012 @ 12:35:19

    @Tamara: And what about the fact that he had all that private contact with the teenaged girl to begin with? Let alone the dirty trick. It’s all so way problematic.

    But did you see this:

    She makes some choice comments previous to that one, too. And how many of these people are teens? It’s just so way over the line, but I agree with you that it speaks of a very perilous desperation that can’t even justify the behavior. That’s one of the reasons I keep asking for specific examples of bad reader behavior. Obviously the author thinks this is just such an example, when, from the outside, he looks completely and unconscionably inappropriate. Not that there aren’t badly behaved readers; I’m just not in any way convinced that’s what’s caused this latest blow up.

    Which, I have to say, adds another ironic layer to the Huff Po thing yesterday. Absolutely no fact checking on the STGRB post, but they can’t “substantiate” the claims of threatening phone calls. I saw Huff Po state on Twitter that this is the difference between editorial and news, but, uh, if that’s the case, why the need to “substantiate” anything? I feel like I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole with all this.

  148. will shetterly
    Jul 21, 2012 @ 12:50:31

    @Robin/Janet: In the modern age, you should be able to go to the police and have them trace a call to your phone, but laws vary enormously from country to country.

    The sad fact is some people lie about being harassed in order to get sympathy, so you have to be able to “substantiate” a claim. It’s called being responsible.

    Of the death threats I’ve gotten, the only one I can document is the letter from a white supremacist. That doesn’t mean the others didn’t happen, of course. But if someone doubts, for example, that I got a death threat from one of Coffeeandink’s supporters, all I can do is shrug, because I figured it was just harassment at the time and deleted it. If I got a phone call, I would definitely go to the police and contact the phone company and tell them what time the call came in.

    The proper response when a charge has been made is to withhold judgment. Respect both the accuser and the accused while the law takes its course.

  149. Mireya
    Jul 21, 2012 @ 14:04:39

    Jane, have you ever written a “public information” type of blog article on how the reviewing dynamic works, particularly pertaining to reader reviewers (or amateur/not professional reviewers) maybe including the different types of reviewers and reviewing venues as well? I would do it myself, but I only put up blog posts in my own blog when I feel like it, and let’s face it, you are a far better writer and your blog reaches all the right sides. I am seeing a HUGE amount of misperceptions about how the reader reviewing dynamics work in the different venues (blogs, GR, Amazon, etc.) Expectations don’t seem to match how the system works and furthermore, the expectations of one side do not seem to match the expectations of the other side, if you know what I mean.

  150. Sirius
    Jul 21, 2012 @ 15:07:36

    @Tamara: I am sorry. He gleefully announces his plans to out teenagers bloggers who did not review his books. As Robin said he is fully aware that he is dealing with teens (and he is not one, right?) and he is proud of it???
    And there is him playing a trick on teen who was crushing on him? Headdesk.

    One of the bloggers (who I do not think had any prior dealings with him) but commented on that thread according to her is thirteen. Thirteen. And I am sure a lot of YA bloggers are not only teens but preteens. They do it because of their love of the books, right? I mean, I feel incredibly silly typing those obvious things, but I will be honest the actions connected to the latest dramas just … I have no word. He wants to shame teens and preteens who share with the world their views of the books and he is proud of it. He is standing up for something?
    Sorry, just another poor excuse for human being.

  151. Maili
    Jul 21, 2012 @ 15:17:33

    @Jeannie S.: Ah, you may be referring to @Beth‘s response, as seen here?

    More unexpected consequences for the Everyone Gets a Trophy Generation.

    I noticed Beth’s comment because it reminded me of a time when some readers, reviewers and I compared our grading systems.

    Quick explanation: To me, C = average (good) but for some of them, C = mediocre, which is what D is to me. Some give out A somewhat easily while I’m more more cautious in handing out an A because a product has to be 100% perfect to earn an A. Some explained that they sometimes added higher grades if they believed accurate grades would affect students’ self-esteem. This surprised me. More we discussed this, more we realised it may have to do with regional, cultural or national differences.

    All in all, that grade discussion had made me consider how I issue or view grades in US-dominated book venues. It had also helped me to understand why some authors painted me as a nasty piece of work when in fact, my grades (or so I thought) made it clear I thought their books were good.

    I sometimes wondered if some fights or bad atmosphere may be based on similar misunderstandings over grades or how books are reviewed.

  152. Amanda
    Jul 21, 2012 @ 16:01:54

    Carroll Bryant is now saying on that thread that if the teenage reviewers ever killed themselves over his bullying and harassment, it would be their own darn fault:

    “No, it is not age, or hormones. it is character 100 percent. I was young too. i didn’t act like that. My sisters were young once too, they didn’t act like that. All you are doing is excusing their behavior. And encouraging them to use their youth as an excuse. So what about the 28 year old or the 30 something year old? What excuse woudl you like to provide for them?
    They made their choice. they have to live with the consequences. Just like i will live with them for making my choice. (sic)”

    This is in response to a blogger asking if a court would hold him responsible for their self-harm if they gave his harassment as a reason. He takes no responsibility for bullying teenage girls, at all, or for the consequences.

  153. Jody W.
    Jul 21, 2012 @ 16:16:51

    So, let me get this straight. There’s an ADULT male author going after female MINORS on the internet??? That’ll end well.

  154. Mireya
    Jul 21, 2012 @ 16:23:27

    @Maili: I am part of the generation that raised the generation of “you are special”. I can tell you that to my generation, a C meant “okay, but with lot of room for improvement” (it was not a non-passing grade), a D meant “mediocre borderline fail” and it required summer classes… and I don’t have to say what F meant. A C is NOT bad at all, though. It was after I graduated (1980) that things started changing, with consequences that we all are currently seeing. This includes that self entitlement sense, the belief that “I am special”, etc. There are already studies showing that that “you are special” mindset is doing a big disservice to the younger generations entering the work force. Why? because at work you are just one more among the many… unless you “landed” in your job via a golden parachute that is.

  155. erinf1
    Jul 21, 2012 @ 16:56:15

    My eyes are burning… after reading all the Carroll debacle over at GR… there are clearly sock puppets being used (I noticed that ‘Jennifer” disappeared when Carroll came back and the phrasing she used is the same as Carroll’s although he isn’t as crass and vulgar) and I just can’t understand why people are giving him the time and attention that he is so gleefully enjoying? The Internet is all about notoriety so I would think that a more appropriate tactic would be to ignore. Why even waste the time and effort to engage? Especially the continuous engagement w/ the sock puppets/trolls which is causing said SP/troll to escalate into violent threats and vitriolic rants? Here, the sp/trolls can’t take over and are amusingly swatted w/ wit and sarcasm… I just don’t understand….

  156. Sirius
    Jul 21, 2012 @ 17:57:17

    So basically now he is bullying teenagers and blackmailing them?! Gets better and better. Give me a review and I won’t publish the list.

  157. Ann Somerville
    Jul 21, 2012 @ 19:12:14


    There was a mini epic thread on DA in 2008 about this very issue:

  158. Stacia Kane
    Jul 21, 2012 @ 20:17:26

    Given his string of comments on page twelve…

    All of his claims about Those Evil Bloggers Who Stole My Book And Then Didn’t Review It are total bullshit.

    This is about a grown-ass man who entered into an online relationship that could be mildly described as “inappropriate” with a teenage girl who ran a book blog. After a time period during which this relationship continued, said grown-ass man decided it would be funny to be even more inappropriate, and potentially cruel. Teenage girl didn’t like that, and was understandably hurt and upset, and told her friends, who understandably decided they wanted nothing to do with this man and did not want to help him promote his books.

    Grown-ass man then stews over this for MONTHS and decides the way to handle it is to publicly accuse them of stealing from him rather than admitting his own lousy behavior caused them to change their minds about wanting his grown ass on their blogs. But…but…they owe him! They accepted his book for review, which means he should get to behave toward them any way he likes, be cruel, hurt their feelings, pick on them, whatever, and they still have to review him and run his interviews because they accepted a $2.99 ebook FOR FREE!! Surely their dignity and feelings are worth less than $2.99!

    This has nothing to do with bloggers soliciting books and then not reviewing them. That’s just his excuse, the spin he’s putting on it to try to justify his petty revenge against those mean girls who decided they didn’t want to help people who treated them badly/hurt their feelings (the bitches, how dare they actually decide who they feel like doing favors for!). This has to do with a grown man making himself so unpleasant to deal with that people decide not to review his books, and him deciding the Right and Moral response to that is to escalate the silliness and make it all public instead of acting like an adult and letting it go.

  159. Jane
    Jul 21, 2012 @ 20:26:46

    @Stacia Kane: I’d like to give him $50 to just leave those girls alone.

  160. Mireya
    Jul 21, 2012 @ 20:51:17

    @Ann Somerville: Thanks Ann, I was wondering. I will go take a look.

  161. Mireya
    Jul 21, 2012 @ 20:53:12

    @Stacia Kane: I was looking at his published work in Amazon. I suspected as much after I read the blurb of one of his books in particular (he only has 3 books there as far as I could see), then came here, and now read your post. Figures.

    I know I shouldn’t be looking any longer, but man, I just can’t help it!

  162. Stacia Kane
    Jul 21, 2012 @ 21:14:43

    @Jane: No shit. I’d suggest we take up a collection, but given that he’s now officially entered Meltdown Mode (complete with all-caps HAHAHAHAHAs), I suspect it would just be wasting everyone’s time.

    I want to tell him that if he wants to “end” the “precious writer world,” he has to first, you know, actually matter to anyone in it.

    *shakes head*

  163. Mireya
    Jul 21, 2012 @ 21:19:26

    At this point, he should just do whatever he wants and everyone should just ignore him. He’s not going to “break” anything or anyone (he did the damage already). If he keeps playing with underage girls sooner or later a parent that knows what he/she is doing will catch up with him and then he will have to answer… to an adult.

    I am now going to sit on my hands to break the “addiction” to trainwreck that I re-developed over the past two days.

  164. Stacia Kane
    Jul 21, 2012 @ 21:23:27

    @Mireya: It honestly makes me sad. I’d really hoped in the beginning that he genuinely was just being cluelessly entitled, and that his mind could be changed. He doesn’t seem to have a lot of experience with writing or with readers and I thought, well, maybe he can quietly come to see that readers do not exist to further his career, and the whole thing can just disappear without becoming too big.

    Clearly that was a false hope.

    I’m sure his list will have all the fascination of drying paint, and cause nary a ripple among readers or writers.

  165. Ridley
    Jul 21, 2012 @ 21:58:48

    As a proud owner of numerous participation ribbons and trophies as well as a card-carrying member of the “you are special” generation, I really don’t think you can pin this on us. I don’t think DMac is my age and I know the prime suspect behind the website’s a good deal older than I am. The authors on my avoid list run the gamut from my age or younger to people my parents’ age and older.

    I think some of you are falling into the same wistful “good old days” fantasy that the “remember when everyone was nice” people live in. Narcissism isn’t a new development in human evolution.

  166. Mireya
    Jul 21, 2012 @ 22:20:38

    @Ridley: Well, as to myself, actually, the only fantasy I am falling under is the “we should have known better”, wishful thinking on my part when I see certain things, and as to that respect, you are correct. That being said I know not everyone in the younger generations is of the “I am special” mindset anymore than mine is self entitled (something a lot of my elders placed on my own generation). It is all about common sense, and well, I am sure you know how “common” common sense truly is, right?

  167. Insane Hussein
    Jul 22, 2012 @ 01:43:00

    Crazy GR author dude has taken down the GR ranty mcrant post but I got his most recent comments and holy shit, batman, they’re ridics and he even said he paid for an abortion and I don’t even want to get into his egging other commenters to come to his house and try to kill him. I have screencaps of all of these comments. GOD WHY SO BAD

  168. SonomaLass
    Jul 22, 2012 @ 02:59:09

    Ridley makes an excellent point. I teach at the community college level, and while there are certainly some students with entitlement and “special snowflake” issues, they are by no means the majority among my students. The class I teach most is required for graduation and transfer in almost all majors, and many of my students are happy to earn a C. They passed, they can move on, and they never aspired to excellence in this subject area.

    I knew plenty of students in my own college days who hated the idea of an “average” grade, or C., and who were convinced that the effort they put into their work should be worth a better grade than the one they received based on the results of that effort. I also knew some who blamed the professor for their grade, rather than acknowledging that their work could have been better. It’s human nature; every generation has its share.

  169. Ann Somerville
    Jul 22, 2012 @ 03:04:01


    And in my case, I was perfectly happy with the 6 out of a maximum seven I got for a semester’s grade in a difficult subject, but on presenting my report card to my mother, her comment was “Why hadn’t I worked harder and got a 7?”

    When people don’t understand what a bell curve is and how it affects grades, then of course they’re going to bellyache about anything less than perfection.

  170. KT Grant
    Jul 22, 2012 @ 08:23:09

    I took a screenshot of Carroll saying he was once part of the Stop the Goodreads Bullies blog, FYI.

    Now he thinks by erasing the crazy post and comments, no one will know? Screenshots… screenshots….screenshots.

  171. Mireya
    Jul 22, 2012 @ 08:32:14

    @Insane Hussein: I hope that now that he took it out of his chest, he will stop getting involved with minors online.

  172. azteclady
    Jul 22, 2012 @ 09:56:10

    @Mireya: You are such an optimist.

  173. Anon 76
    Jul 22, 2012 @ 11:48:39

    Stacia, I see you worked very hard at talking this Carroll guy off the cliff he just put himself on. To no real avail.

    I commend you for the effort. I expected no less from you. Kudos.

  174. Mireya
    Jul 22, 2012 @ 12:01:06

    @azteclady: LOL I guess I still have a bit of that in me.

  175. Mini Around The Net « Hell Cats Have Comments
    Jul 22, 2012 @ 17:49:27

    […] Something is very wrong with us, and it’s not bad reviews highlights a lot of the problems in the romance community right now, especially in reference to the bullying and outing reviewers/bloggers – specifically female ones. This is not a case of defrauding money out of people (and then it is not okay to post such private information). This is about reviewing and bad behaviors. Goodreads Bullies is not a site I will ever link to but it’s full of badness because you can’t bully a bully to make it okay. And often targeted female “bullies” are simply people who did not like the written work, which is a critic and that’s something different. […]

  176. Insane Hussein
    Jul 22, 2012 @ 17:55:55

    @Mireya: He will never stop. He can’t. He’s been empowered by the almighty STGRB, dontcha know?

  177. Loosheesh
    Jul 22, 2012 @ 19:29:07

    @Insane Hussein: Looks like he’s been banned from Goodreads (his page now states he’s not a GR author) and he’s now blaming the “bullies” (rolls eyes) over at his blog. My friends and I have this joke, “there are more crazies out [walking among us] than in[stitutionalized]”. This meltdown is, to me, more proof of this.

    Two quotes attributed to Carroll Bryant that left me with a delicious sense of irony in the midst of this psychodrama:

    “Everyone in life has a purpose, even if it’s to serve as a bad example” and “Don’t bite off more than you can chew because nobody looks attractive spitting it back out.”

    I especially like the second one ;-)

  178. cecilia
    Jul 22, 2012 @ 19:35:52

    I especially enjoyed that “Growing old is mandatory. Growing up is optional” is credited to him. Although I’m pretty sure he’s not the creator of that particular piece of wisdom.

  179. The GoodReads Bullying Drama « Agnostic, Maybe
    Jul 22, 2012 @ 21:55:02

    […] Something is very wrong with us, and it’s not bad reviews (Dear Author) [7/17/12] […]

  180. will shetterly
    Jul 23, 2012 @ 10:45:27

    Buried Comment (Reason: Boring)   Show

  181. Eva
    Jul 23, 2012 @ 11:13:08

    Someone mentioned pretty early on this thread that men don’t feel quite the same societal pressures that women do to not express their opinions. I disagree in that I think men who express opinions online get harassed, but agree in that I don’t think the harassment tends to go as far or be anywhere near as vicious. I say this because my husband has reviewed a wide range of things on his blog (from video games, to books, and even a stage magic show we went to) and he gets some very angry comments saying all sorts of nasty things. The names he gets called never include gendered insults and as far as I know no one has ever threatened to expose his personal information. (In fairness, his real name is already associated with the reviews… and his email is on the website if you want to send him hatemail, so you’d pretty much be jumping straight to home address, which is a bit of a leap.)

    I don’t know if this is how it is for other men who review things. As a woman who reviews things (mostly non-book) I haven’t experienced a lot of harassment, but I suspect it’s because not very many people read my reviews. ;)

  182. Janet
    Jul 23, 2012 @ 11:59:29

    Okay, I am notoriously bad with trying to insert image and text links, but I want to include this screencap of a comment from Donna White Glaser showing her changing her mind about the support she gave STGRB on Passive Guy’s blog (I linked to her early comments in the original blog post). This comment was made in the massive Carroll Bryant thread on Goodreads before he started deleting comments, and fortunately it was screencapped. I’m hoping that Glaser is not the only author who has reconsidered supporting the site, and at least she came out and changed her mind publicly.

  183. ginmar
    Jul 23, 2012 @ 14:16:10

    Eva, anecdote does not equal data. Harassment of women is a huge problem online and in the real world.

  184. will shetterly
    Jul 23, 2012 @ 14:31:11

    Buried Comment (Reason: Boring)   Show

    @Eva: You raise an interesting point. I have noticed that some of the gendered insults for men have fallen out of fashion: “son of a bitch” used to be fighting words, but now it’s amusing or archaic. I’m not sure how euphemistic this site is, so let’s just say that though you can casually hear someone called a person who has sex with his mother, it can still be an insult, and it’s still gendered—at least, I’ve never noticed it applied to a woman. For all that women complain about insults based on their genitals, men still get called dicks and pricks, and they know that’s not praise.

    There’s also a question of whether it matters that insults began gendered. Social justice folks put a lot more faith in Whorfianism than seems to be justified by real-world studies.

    And there’s the question of whether some women are more sensitive to insults than most men. Many men are still taught to be nicer to women than they are to each other, so women who expect to treated genteely–“special snowflakes” is a popular term that may apply–are very quick to take umbrage at things many men shrug off.

  185. ginmar
    Jul 23, 2012 @ 14:37:59

    Buried Comment (Reason: Not Helpful)   Show

    Adds to list: Shitterly thinks women are more sensitive than men in terms of reacting to insults.

    Men are taught to be nicer to women than they are to men? Yeah, bullshit. Men are taught that men matter and that they can be as shitty as they want to women. Now fuck off, will you?

    Christ, getting bugger by Shitterly is like having one of those nasty little lap parasites humping your leg while yapping in a high-pitched squeal, “Only I, the mighty white man, am an expert on racism and sexism! Take this stupid internet test and marvel at my Special White Manness! Take this test! Take this test! Take this test! I need the validation for my self delusions. Take this test! Take this test! Some of my best friends are black!”

  186. Jane
    Jul 23, 2012 @ 14:44:55

    There are a couple of commenters that I don’t think are being helpful to the discussion anymore so in the future, should there be comments I think are unhelpful or not worth reading (and that is definitely subjective I know), I am going to white them out like a spoiler. You can still read them by putting your cursor over them but they are easy to ignore for the rest of us.

  187. MrsJoseph
    Jul 23, 2012 @ 14:56:32

    I’m so very glad that people have been calling Carroll Bryant out on his inappropriate relationships with teens. Hopefully, the parents of these teens find out about his actions as well.

  188. will shetterly
    Jul 23, 2012 @ 15:38:58

    Buried Comment (Reason: Boring)   Show

    @ginmar: Regarding one of your points:

    Just being a Negro doesn’t qualify you to understand the race situation any more than being sick makes you an expert on medicine.
    – Dick Gregory

    I hope you know who Dick Gregory is.

    Now, y’all are the sort to prefer Tim Rice to Michelle Malkin, so when you act as if skin trumps knowledge, your cognitive dissonance is showing.

  189. Jane
    Jul 23, 2012 @ 15:57:13

    I implemented a new commenting plugin whereby I can hide someone’s comment (instead of the white out. Bonus, all commenters can use it for spoilers too):

    [shush reason=”Boring (or anything else)”]then text [/shush]

  190. will shetterly
    Jul 23, 2012 @ 16:17:26

    Buried Comment (Reason: Boring)   Show

    @ginmar: Oops, my bad! Typoed “Tim Rice” when I meant “Tim Wise”. Silly fingers.

  191. will shetterly
    Jul 23, 2012 @ 16:18:39

    Buried Comment (Reason: Boring)   Show

    @Jane: As mod techniques go, I rather like this one. Bravo!

  192. Karen Scott
    Jul 23, 2012 @ 16:30:26

    @Jane I love it.

  193. Sirius
    Jul 23, 2012 @ 16:31:33

    @Jane: Yay, we have ignore button of the sorts, thank you.

  194. Insane Hussein
    Jul 23, 2012 @ 16:45:55

    @Loosheesh: Hah, I love that. Though, I believe STGRB has let him go off the rails, I think he was just waiting for that excuse. I sincerely hope that all of this ends soon.

  195. Ann Somerville
    Jul 23, 2012 @ 18:28:18


    I disagree in that I think men who express opinions online get harassed, but agree in that I don’t think the harassment tends to go as far or be anywhere near as vicious.

    It’s just as vicious if the man is black or gay. Noel Clarke read out a comment left on a video of his on that funny ‘Thank you hater’ vid that was linked everywhere a few weeks back, and if you want to see nasty, look at any Youtube vid featuring or by someone who’s not a white, straight, cis-gendered man. My friend Sparky, a vocal gay male activist, gets vast amounts of vicious hate male which frankly would terrify me.

    However, the *danger* to men is less – though not nil – (the ghost of John Lennon warns us not to assume stalking is a female only issue, while Rebecca Schaeffer’s spirit nods sadly) than it is to women, who are also very often raised by well-meaning mothers to fear rape and male attacks anywhere they might go. Women also know that if they are stalked, threatened, harrassed or raped, they will get a lot less support from the police and the judiciary, will most likely see their attackers walk free even if there’s a successful prosecution (which is also rare compared to the number of prosecutions), and the very fact they have been targeted in the first place puts them in increased danger (and puts those women associated with them at increased risk, as a Skepchick describes here.)

    So a straight white cis-gendered man like the voluble troll above may get death threats (though I’m skeptical about *his* case, and certainly over the assumed trigger), but he’s likely to shrug it off as the kind of trashtalk that men do. A gay man might be more worried, but is not as likely to feel in direct physical danger. A straight white women is likely to worry a *lot*, and if she’s gay, brown, disabled etc, the fear is likely to be greater as is the actual likelihood of harm.

    Lots of men screw themselves over in public and attract hate – Stephen Fry for his sexism, Tracy Morgan for homophobia, the aforementioned troll for outing women and being a general dick – but I can’t think of one who’s been driven permanently out of public life . Fry deleted his twitter for a bit, and that’s all. But there have been a number of prominent women bloggers who’ve just stopped altogether because of harrassment, and others who, like Skepchick Rebecca Watson, have been made so unsafe at conventions and so on that they’ve abandoned attendance.

    It’s not just about rape threats, and gendered insults. It’s about rape threats, violent imagery, gendered insults, rape culture and the patriarchy all tied in together and reinforcing each other. Straight white cis-gendered men will just never be under the same degree of threat as all women and minority men are.

  196. Merrian
    Jul 24, 2012 @ 05:47:29

    I am afraid that I have to report another couple of authors who seems to despise the ground book review bloggers walk on. I read this comment by Cassandra Duffy today that was pretty much supported by Rachel Thompson the author whose blog post in the San Francisco Book Review it responded too:

    Cassandra thinks scathing, i.e. negative reviews are made by “…bitter twats who should probably find a hobby that doesn’t involve tearing down artists who actually contribute something to the world.” and Rachel thinks her blogger hate is just great great.

  197. Michelle
    Jul 24, 2012 @ 07:03:23

    Yes Cassandra came off as a self important bloated twit with elevated ideas of her own importance. But there was a nice post by another:
    I liked her last line about bad reviews not losing readers, but bad behavior will.

  198. Merrian
    Jul 24, 2012 @ 08:06:57


    I attempted to love a comment on the Sanfrancisco Review of Books blog post but it dissappeared – perahps because I said reviewers are not your bitch. Anyway for what it is worth this is what I wanted to say to Cassandra and Rachel:

    As a reader I find your comment pretty patronising and in fact verging on ‘author behaving badly’ or even ‘bratty author to avoid’. Comments like this illustrate and cause the tension that is growing between authors and readers/reviewers.
    Many readers who review and especially those who blog do so because they love the world of books and the work created by authors; they are not paid to do so. This makes them neither your bitch (pace GRRM) nor does it mean their views and experience of a book are not valid. I think when you say someone doesn’t get a story it means that whatever an author’s intentions something didn’t come through in the story and that even the writing itself may be a barrier. The thing about books is that they come alive when they are read. The readers brings who they are – their lived experience to the text. This means that a book reads differently according to the reader. The value of many reviews of the same book is finding a reviewer whose taste matches the reader and so opens the door to finding new stories.
    I find negative reviews useful in the book finding process because understanding why a book worked or did not for a particular reviewer means it might be a good read for me.
    I am sorry to say that I think this comment undermines what Rachel was trying to do with her thoughtful post.

  199. Ann Somerville
    Jul 24, 2012 @ 18:12:26


    “and Rachel thinks her blogger hate is just great great. ”

    While Duffy’s remarks are indefensible in the main, Rachel is only agreeing with this comment “it’s always easy to remember: the book they just wasted time blasting for no compensation, just bought me a car.”

    Which is something I’ve heard other authors make as a rationale for ignoring bad reviews, and it’s fair enough. Only they don’t preface it by calling reviewers ‘bitter twats’ or ‘typically are easily dismissed as people who simply were reading above their pay grade and didn’t like feeling stupid’.

    Duffy doesn’t sound like someone who lets bad reviews run off her back, and comes across as an Author to Avoid (as well as uninformed, unprofessional and ever so slightly dumb.) Rachel, I would say, is trying to avoid getting into a row with a colleague and so simply doesn’t engage her over the contentious stuff (I mean, what’s the point? Her replies to readers on that post indicate a closed mind and a bitter stupid person.) I don’t think it’s fair to say she agrees with them as she’s said nothing to indicate that.

    I get a 404 from your link to Patricia Lynn’s post, but if you go to her blog link, it’s the first post there.

  200. Merrian
    Jul 24, 2012 @ 19:11:03

    @Ann Somerville:

    This throw away line in Rachel’s blog post jarred me from my comfort in her take on Cassandra’s comment….

    “The sheep that can’t make their own decisions probably won’t enjoy my work, anyway”

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