Rape Threats on Goodreads

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Weirdmage

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http://www.stopthegrbullies.com/2013/08/22/witness-to-death-threats-against-lauren-howard/
No one knows how reliable the witness is, but Goodreads will have records of what has been said if the police need it. And if the bullies didn't make threats then they will have nothing to worry about if the author reports the matter to the police. And if it is true, she should report it to the police as threats of the alleged nature are illegal, regardless of what Goodreads TOC states.

That website are notorious liars. A good rule is to not believe a word that is said there.

I was on Goodreads and looked at some of what happened, and this "witness" is outright lying. The "blender remark", that she claims came as a reaction to threats, was one of the first comments made. It was not until after that the the "news" about what was happening was spread.
 

Alitriona

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When someone tells you that they are emotionally fragile and are trying to withdraw from a situation, I think they should be allowed to do so. As I've said numerous times, I'm tired of lynch mobs. I don't like seeing this girl made fun of for saying that she is emotionally fragile, as if there is something shameful in her saying so.

If it turns out that this is just a publicity stunt, we'll all find out eventually. Until then, though, I'm seeing this as someone who made a newbie mistake and is now being hounded for it, and that's not right IMO.

But she didn't withdraw. She stirred the pot over and over, after things were explained to her. She wrote four or five blog posts updating people and in her own words sent millions(she seems rather prone to exaggeration imo) of tweets about it. She said she didn't want the attention and yet, her actions are in complete contrast.

What makes me crazy is this is the kind of behavior that is rewarded. She's had agent interest and a swarm of waiting customers when she does publish. A tweet today mentioned a new cover.

I feel she made the right decision to pull the book and she isn't ready for the harsh world of publishing.
 

Weirdmage

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Perhaps I am wrongly conflating the readers with the more desperate self-published authors. (Because I refuse to believe that all self-published authors are like this. I know some self-published authors, and they're normal human beings.)
I apologize.

Far from all self-publishers are like that. I have some good friends who self publish. -But I haven't seen any Goodreads drama of this kind that haven't started with self published authors. (But that is a case of "all Californians live in the USA, but not all who live in the USA are Californians" -if that makes sense.)
 

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And there's the rub.

Those of us who have been around for a bit have seen people conduct campaigns like this just for the publicity. It gets their book out there and garners sympathy, support and sales as people rush to buy the book in question to "help" the poor author.

I can't say whether this is one of them or not. But I've seen enough faux situations like this to have become quite cynical about them all.

You can only cry wolf so many times before no one will believe you.

Exactly. I want to give her the benefit of the doubt, but I've seen this so many times in the past, it's hard not to be cynical.

I think a lot of people jumped on this, not because they wanted to support her, but because they wanted to go after GR. It was held up as an example of how terrible GR is to authors. They didn't demand proof because they wanted to believe it.

I usually stay out of these kerfuffles, but this one really upset me. I think it's because threats of rape are serious and the way this spread without any proof was shocking. People had their torches lit and they weren't willing to listen to anyone.
 

DeleyanLee

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Upon some reflection, I made a few realizations that impact my view of this whole thing.

First off is the very nature of reviewing that is standard in the US and has been for decades. Reviewers review for their own reasons. Not for any author's reasons, but for theirs. And the reviewers who get the most attention and accolade are those who are snarky, if not bordering on nasty. Doesn't matter the medium, snarky always sells well and gets that reviewer a good reputation with the public and with their peers.

Writers, OTOH, want good reviews to be about marketing their books, furthering their careers, selling stuff--which is reasonable for them.

That puts reviewers and writers' basic goals at cross-purposes from the get-go.

Goodreads started as a readers/reviewers' site. A place where people could talk about books they'd read, find books they might like to read, etc. An internet version of a book klatch at the local bookstore/coffee shop (which I've experienced in RL and do miss on many occasions).

So, in some ways, have writers come into Goodreads to pitch their latest book is rather like a writer coming up to a group of readers talking in the café of the local B&N or Starbucks and saying, "Hey, you guys sound like you like to read. My book is right over there. Go buy it. Have a good day!" and walking away. That just is not going to give a good impression, y'know?

Yet, that's what it seems many authors are doing on Goodreads.

Once I thought about the Salon article, I realized that it was entirely too one-sided to be true. If the book was never published, how was it available for review? Someone had to put it there. And with all the gazillion books available on that site, why would anyone notice hers? She had to have done something to make it known. I was speculating that she might've spammed (however that's possible on Goodreads) someone or somewhere with PR stuff, which will get a bad rep anywhere. Apparently, it wasn't as wide-spread as that.

It's pretty wide-spread now.

Like any established community, Goodreads has a culture. A smart person (author or reader) will look around, get the gist of what that culture is, and see if it's something they want to play in or not. I think because Goodreads is billed among writers as a place for promotion, people aren't going in with a respect for the culture that's established. And that will always lead to drama. It happens here (fortunately not often), and it's happened on nearly every site I've ever been a member or lurked on.

If this author created the whole stink for publicity, then all I've got to say is that her book better be the next Twilight or 50 Shades of Grey or it's going to come back and bite her big time. This kind of publicity only goes so far, after all.
 

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I am a little shocked here. I would not have expected people on this forum to jump to the conclusion that if someone said to be the victim of abuse they must be either lying, wanting attention and/or special treatment, unless they have undeniable proof of to the contrary.

I have actually read the "reviews" for the book that are on Goodreads right now and some of them are really immature. Plus if you hold authors to a standard that they should not be reacting to reviewers then those reviewers should be held to the same standards. A little courtesy goes both ways.
 
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JennTX

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I am a little shocked here. I would not have expected people on this forum to jump to the conclusion that if someone said to be the victim of abuse they must be either lying, wanting attention and/or special treatment, unless they have undeniable proof of to the contrary.

I'm not sure I understand. She came forward and admitted that nobody threatened her. The reason people are questioning her motives is because she encouraged this misconception for a couple of days, and only came forward last night to clear everything up.

Perhaps she let her emotions get the better of her and it wasn't until she took a deep breath, did she realize her mistake. But, words have consequences. She received a lot of support and publicity because of what she said. Now, she has to face the criticism as well.
 

DeleyanLee

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I am a little shocked here. I would not have expected people on this forum to jump to the conclusion that if someone said to be the victim of abuse they must be either lying, wanting attention and/or special treatment, unless they have undeniable proof of to the contrary.

If you backread to Polenth's and JennTX's posts regarding what didn't get commonly reported, you'll see no threats were made. Someone had questionably-named shelves that she put that book into and the author over-reacted to the name of the shelf. That's a far cry from actually being the victim of abuse.

The challenge of all this is that cyber-bullying is a real, very serious problem. But--like other very serious crimes or rape and abuse--when people scream that they're a victim when it's not real, it lessens the impact of that scream to those who hear it. Someone mentioned "crying wolf" upthread--it works both ways. When I see this kind of thing blown out of proportion time after time after time, and it is always hyperbolized, then it doesn't register anymore. (Kinda like car alarms--does anyone do anything but glare over at the car making the noise anymore?)

If this author did to it for publicity, sympathy, whatever personal gain (and note that I do say "if"), then it just strengthens that jadedness--more to the woe of anyone who actually suffers from the real problem.

Plus if you hold authors to a standard that they should not be reacting to reviewers then those reviewers should be held to the same standards. A little courtesy goes both ways.

Maybe, maybe not. I hold authors to a higher standard because I am one. I know how I would like to see things handled on our end. I know the type of manners I'd expect myself to follow in that situation. And I feel I can hold any other author to the same standard as I hold myself.

As authors, we put ourselves and our work out there for the public to comment on. We invite--nay, encourage, even demand the public to comment on what we present to them. How does that obligate them to meet our standards of conduct? I don't see that it does. YMMV.
 
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Bicyclefish

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I'm not sure I understand. She came forward and admitted that nobody threatened her. The reason people are questioning her motives is because she encouraged this misconception for a couple of days, and only came forward last night to clear everything up.

Perhaps she let her emotions get the better of her and it wasn't until she took a deep breath, did she realize her mistake. But, words have consequences. She received a lot of support and publicity because of what she said. Now, she has to face the criticism as well.
Last time I checked the Salon article has no updates and is still being spread and referenced by people saying rape threats were made. I checked the Lauren Pippa's (the author) Goodreads blog, and the only thing I saw was a short "let's just all move on smiling" post. Did she clear everything up on another blog or on Twitter? It doesn't appear to be easy to find.
 

JennTX

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She has all ready deleted her blog where she said what actually happened. Luckily, I have a screenshot. Is it okay to post screenshots here?

Just want to make sure before posting.

ETA: If this is against posting rules, I understand if post is deleted. Here is the screenshot. The comments added are from the person who grabbed the ss.

http://i.imgur.com/qZigheD.jpg

I am bothered that she allowed people to believe she was threatened for a few days, but only left her blog explaining her misunderstanding for a few hours. People are still flooding her book page, making the same accusations. So, it still hasn't ended. The Salon article, well, it was incredibly one sided to begin with, so I don't know if there will even be an update with the new information.
 
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Grenouille Bleue

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Never, ever talk to your reviewers when you're an author. Don't ask for explanation, you probably won't get any, and it might make things worse.

Some people are just being mean, and giving them any attention is far more than they deserve.

I remember one guy giving me a one-star review on amazon, telling me how much he hated my book. Fair enough. But then he posted his review on his blog, and on twitter, and on every media he could (including Babelio, the french version of Goodreads). Then he stalked every good blog critic I got and posted his opinion about my book in the comments. He also posted on a couple boards and even created an account in a board he wasn't on in order to participate in a discussion about my book and say how terrible it was.

I don't know this guy (or maybe I do, and I slept with his girlfriend a long time ago and he's still pissed about it :D ), and I don't know why he hates me so. What I do know is that getting angry at him in public is the worst thing I could ever do.

Still, bad reviews always hurt. When you're well-known and selling many books, the hateful posts will drown in the mass of good reviews. But when you're self-publishing and don't have a fanbase, every single review counts, and even two one-star reviews can flunk your note and scare people away.

Saying you don't like a book is your right. Unleashing your wrath on a hapless author by any means you find is just stupid.
 

Bicyclefish

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I am bothered that she allowed people to believe she was threatened for a few days, but only left her blog explaining her misunderstanding for a few hours. People are still flooding her book page, making the same accusations. So, it still hasn't ended. The Salon article, well, it was incredibly one sided to begin with, so I don't know if there will even be an update with the new information.
That bugs me too. Meanwhile people are still spreading snippets of the original Tumblr post (found it after I posted, though her account has been purged) as well. Stepping away from the mess is a good idea and understandable, but deleting her clarification feels irresponsible and malicious to me.


[edit] Perhaps she couldn't handle the possibility her influx of supporters might no longer view her favorably once they read that, in my opinion, less than truthful explanation. It's difficult to admit being wrong, especially after encouraging people to your defense, but I believe it's the right thing to do.
 
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Cranky1

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I was reading one of her social media sites (either tumblr or twitter) and she commented on how EL James had reached out to her.

I don't think it started as a publicity stunt, but I think the author is milking it and is now a stunt.
 

dragonjax

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I was reading one of her social media sites (either tumblr or twitter) and she commented on how EL James had reached out to her.

I don't think it started as a publicity stunt, but I think the author is milking it and is now a stunt.

Welcome to the wild, wild world of publishing!
 
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I was reading one of her social media sites (either tumblr or twitter) and she commented on how EL James had reached out to her.

I don't think it started as a publicity stunt, but I think the author is milking it and is now a stunt.



Give me a day or so to self-publish a book and start a kerfluffle on Goodreads. I want to claim some of that ELJ support!


This whole thing is so ridiculous.
 

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One author has a suggestion on how ratings should be done on Goodreads. He thinks it should be done like Netflix:

http://mishaburnett.wordpress.com/2013/08/22/more-on-the-goodreads-meltdown/

I don't think that would work on Goodreads, and I can't see the site changing any time soon like that.

As for the author, I think she was naive and maybe didn't realize what could've happened when she asked that question. Granted, I think it is unfair for not-yet released books to be rated, but when it comes to the Internet, there's always a way around the system.
 

Flexi

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And why do they allow reviewers/authors to throw abusive tantrums and hurl insults at other authors and reviewers? Don't they have any moderation policies? In my opinion Goodreads showed a lack of integrity in this case.

Couldn't agree more. Goodreads is like a Primary School playground: a bunch of 5 year olds screaming at each other and pulling each others' hair, with the school teacher just sitting there watching it all take place.

I've seen some of the other comments on Goodreads and this is not an isolated incident. There are some incredibly immature and sometimes offensive comments and shelving categories made. Regardless of the "truth" of the incident, and if nothing else, hopefully it gets Goodreads to get off their arse and start reprimanding some of the school kids in the playground.
 

Mr Flibble

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One author has a suggestion on how ratings should be done on Goodreads. He thinks it should be done like Netflix:

http://mishaburnett.wordpress.com/2013/08/22/more-on-the-goodreads-meltdown/
.

I thought that's how most people rate anyway? I liked it, I didn't...maybe with more snark sure

A two star is "not for me". A three star is "ok, not bad, not OMFG!" etc.


It kinda already works the same without the reccs?

For most reviewers anyway, seems to me? Or is supposed t, if ratings are left to themselves.
 

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In the interest of full disclosure: I do not participate on Goodreads.

It seems like the only time I see anything about here someone is throwing a fit.

Why do any of you continue to participate?

MM
 

JennTX

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It seems like the only time I see anything about here someone is throwing a fit.

Why do any of you continue to participate?

MM

These types of things do not really happen all that often. It is a site with 20 million members, so there are bound to be dust ups.

It does seem with so many people now self publishing, the incidents occur more often. This is not to say all SP authors are badly behaved, but I believe there are a lot of SPs that have not had to deal with rejection and criticism.

I do enjoy GR. I love discussing books with other readers and I do have several author friends. 99% of the time, it is drama free and solely about books. The bad stuff gets talked about because, well, train wrecks are more entertaining than the daily commute.
 

DancingMaenid

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I thought that's how most people rate anyway? I liked it, I didn't...maybe with more snark sure

A two star is "not for me". A three star is "ok, not bad, not OMFG!" etc.

I think that's how a lot of people use ratings. But that leads to confusion when it isn't clear who and what the ratings are intended for.

The reason why the Netflix system works so well is because the ratings are really only for the user who makes the ratings. It's a way for the site to improve what suggestions it makes, and me giving a movie one or two stars isn't going to affect its sales or influence people's viewing choices.

On the other hand, you have sites like Amazon where the ratings are clearly intended to be based on the quality of the product, and are intended to give other shoppers an idea of how satisfied other customers were. Yet, people still rate things based on stuff that has nothing to do with the quality of the product (and that's not limited to books, either. I was looking at the reviews on a cat toy, and some guy gave it one star because his cat wasn't interested in it).

With other sites, the purpose of the ratings/reviews isn't always clear. And even though users might be rating stuff just to say how much they enjoyed it, the ratings might be taken more seriously by people who are considering reading the book. I think a lot of people who rate and review stuff online don't really think of themselves as reviewers in the typical sense, but their reviews are sometimes taken seriously by people looking for objective reviews.

Why do any of you continue to participate?

I'm not involved in the community there at all, but I have an account that I started mainly to get recommendations for new books to read. I haven't used it in a while. But like a lot of sites, I think you get what you put into it. You don't have to get involved in drama if you'd rather avoid it.
 

jallenecs

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Never, ever talk to your reviewers when you're an author. Don't ask for explanation, you probably won't get any, and it might make things worse.

This. A thousand times this.

Grenouille, you're right that a reader campaigning against you hurts, and you're right to be unhappy about it. But what can you do, right?

I like to think I have a good attitude about reviews. I keep telling myself, "Your own mother doesn't like what you write and won't read it. Why the hell should you care what a complete stranger thinks?" It's working pretty good so far.

(Mom doesn't think I'm a bad writer. She's just not a fan of SF/F/H, and, truth be told, can't be bothered with anything written after 1900; that's what I get for having a mom who studied Victorian novelists in university! :D )

As for this author person.... I hate to ascribe less than honorable motives to a complete stranger, but, I think the lady doth protest too much.
 

WriterTrek

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Reading the linked article it seems to be that this is, well, a case of the author in question not understanding the internet or internet culture.

Things that were said are rude, extremely immature, disturbing, etc. That's the internet. Threats happen all the time and the vast majority of the time they are not serious. That doesn't mean it's okay to threaten people, but it does mean that you should (for the most part) shrug and move on unless you have reason to believe they are serious.

Stuff like this happens, and saying that you aren't going to publish it now just smacks of "I'll take my toys and go home!"
 
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