I have been mentally debating what to do since this news broke out last Friday. We all know that there’s been a long-standing tension between reviewers and authors in Goodreads, but I never considered censorship as a possibility because I thought that Goodreads would put forth first and foremost their customers, which consists mostly of raters and reviewers rather than authors. Color me outraged when I found out that the GR management favored the latter group and gave in to their
demand request to take down ‘offensive’ reviews and shelves that hurt their thin skin and fragile ego.
I think common sense would dictate, even to a non-author like me, that when you put something of yours out there for public consumption, it is bound to be subject to public opinion and criticism, positive or negative it may be. Once you decide to publish your work, it will be picked out this way and that and you will have no control over how people will perceive it. Everyone with a brain can figure this out without me having to point it out to them, so I am so clueless as to why authors get so worked up about negative criticisms or low ratings. Didn’t you get the memo? It’s part of the job description, darling. If you can’t take it, you probably should find another job.
We have seen countless incidents of authors claiming to be bullied and dragging the issue all over the internet even without significant proof aside from their bruised ego (*related post*), and it really irks me to no end that the media now sees Goodreads reviewers as some sort of monster-hybrid that harasses poor authors and attacks them purely out of monstrous spite. WE ARE NOT LIKE THAT. Not most of us, anyway. To be honest this whole thing is being overly-dramatized by some attention seeking people, and kudos to them because they finally got what they wanted. I hope y’all are happy now.
But what really angered me were the shelves (and reviews?) that were deleted without permission from the users. I did not know they were willing to stoop that low. Naming shelves is one of those fun things I look forward to every time I rate a book. I have a bajillion of shelves because according to Goodreads, we can make as many as we want. This post nailed it better than I could ever dream to. Deleting those shelves could never be justified by any reason the GR management could come up with. The reason/logic/creative inspiration behind those shelves are known to the user alone and deleting them just because they sound ‘offensive’ is a lame-ass excuse when you don’t even know what they really stand for.
Additionally, to the author trolls who can’t seem to get over their 2-star ratings, Congratulations! You guys are such role models.
Let me just apologize in behalf of all the reviewers for ever thinking that you guys deserve to know what we thought of your books in all honesty. I am deeply sorry that we treated you like mature individuals capable of handling our opinions of your work no matter how blunt we are in delivering it. Obviously, we made a mistake and a misplaced assumption, and now we’re going to be really careful with how we treat you lest you cry foul again and endanger our reputation and credibility.
Sorry to be really sarcastic (not sorry at all btw), but all I’m saying is that maybe you should sit in your thinking chair and ponder why on earth did a user give you that pitiful 2-star. Maybe you should stop acting all butthurt and marginalized every time you see a negative review about your book. Maybe you should reconsider your life choices if you’re not tough-skinned enough to handle criticism. MAYBE YOU SHOULD GROW SOME BALLS.
(And also, just saying that if your work is really good like you believe it is, no matter how many bad reviews and unsolicited hate it gets, people are still going to read it and buy it and love it because guess what? We’re not stupid here. Just because some people rated your work one star doesn’t mean the whole community will follow suit. Jeez. Have some faith in your own ability.)
There is a bullying problem in Goodreads, I concede to that. But you are in need of serious help if you think that this is a one-sided issue. What Goodreads did was wrong and I honestly don’t think it will solve anything at all, but one thing is clear now and that is the fact that Goodreads picked the side it’s on, and it’s not our side. I cannot help but feel betrayed and honestly I wonder if this policy change is the end of all this drama or just the start of it. I sure won’t stay long enough to find out.
I am still keeping my Goodreads account, but I will no longer post my reviews there. I made a Booklikes account just today and though I’m new to the site, I’m confident I’ll get the hang of it soon enough. To say that this recent controversy has put a kink in my blogging and reading adventures is a bit of an understatement but it’s done and I won’t stand for Goodreads’ decision no matter how much I love their site. It undermines our capacity as reviewers to distinguish between critiquing and bullying and it puts us under a general header of ‘bullies’ just because some people cannot bear to accept our assessment of their work.
This is a major setback indeed for readers and authors alike. This could have been approached in a better way, those people who whine and complain like five-year olds denied of their lollipops could’ve learned to suck it and deal. But instead we are being held down and told what we can and cannot do, and no matter what they want to call it, it will remain to be what it is, and that is CENSORSHIP. And I won’t stand for that. No matter how much they justify it, it isn’t and will never be right.