Monday 24 February 2014

Do You Agree, or Disagree? (#7) Topic: Goodreads needs a major makeover.

Note: Sorry this post is a bit longer than I had intended, but it's a sensitive topic and a decent explanation is in order to avoid any misunderstandings.

I like Goodreads. I like that I can run giveaways for my books without any hassle. I like the exposure I get from running giveaways, too. But that is pretty much the only thing I do like about Goodreads.

For authors, Goodreads can be a scary place. It's like stepping into the playground at recess knowing you're going to be beaten up for simply being that kid.

I have been ignoring the bullying. There is not much I can do about it. The only way to keep my sanity is to ignore. And I am a strong advocate of free speech. If a person dislikes a book, I don't think they should have to censor their opinions. I may not agree with the way certain reviewers express their opinions, but I certainly agree that they have the RIGHT to.

But this post is about more than that.
This post is about something I choose not to ignore.

Yesterday, I noticed that there are a few reviewers who have multiple accounts in different names. And I've noticed, on one of my books, that the same negative review is posted more than once. They are identical to each other.

Let me reiterate. The review itself is fine. It's not nice. But I don't (and shouldn't expect to) have a say in what is said. What is completely unacceptable is the fact that the reviewer is clearly trying to get the rating of my book down by posting it more than once under different names. That is not nice. And I do expect to have a say in THAT.

But what are my choices? A flag button. Goodreads staff may or may not respond to my flag. Something may or may not be done about this. Flagging doesn't mean anything until a staff member acts on it. Most of the time, they don't.

So, I am going to say it loud and clear:

Do you? If Goodreads were to get a major makeover, how would you improve it without enforcing censorship?

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  1. I've never suffered on Goodreads, but then, I don't have the level of success that you or others do, Jessica. I think it's very wrong that authors are picked on for apparently no reason. As you say, negative reviews are to be expected, but not bullying. It would be nice to think that the people who own/run these sites take their responsibility seriously.

  2. That's really all I, and many other authors, ask. I may whine on occasion about a negative review I have thought was rude, but I would never even suggest it be taken down. That reviewer has a right to say what they like, regardless of their tone. But to go out of one's way to try and affect an author's career by purposely bringing the ratings of their books down is ludicrous and should be stopped.

  3. I think anyone creating a site for writers where others review should monitor those who review, not content, but how many times they can write something using other names. A writer's career is at stake here. And what losers these people are to do this.

  4. I already commented on FB about this. I simply can't understand what would motivate someone to pull multiple accounts. Really, what is the purpose? To dis a writer? Why? The biggest issue with this I see is that most folks won't know there are multiple accounts.

  5. That's really sneaky. I wish it wasn't so easy for people to post one star ratings of books they haven't read.

  6. I don't understand why people would feel the need to do something like that. Bullying in all forms is so unnecessary.

  7. goodreads pisses me off to no end. I can't stand how they run things.

  8. Seeing what has been done to other writers on Goodreads, I have stayed away. It has probably hurt my sales. But with my recent struggle with cancer, I have learned there are worse fates.

    The suicide recently of the Australian actress, stemming from vicious remarks on Twitter and other sites, only reinforces that there are vicious, dysfunctional individuals out there who gleefully take advantage of the cyber-ease of places like Goodreads.

    Either Goodreads starts better monitoring of its site or more people will leave in search of other venues. As always a fascinating post.

  9. I wish reviewers were more aware of the fact that when they leave their reviews it's akin to leaving something directly on an author's fb page or equivalent. I know they must not be aware of this because they keep saying Goodreads is a place for reviewers and readers, but with the way it's set up, that's just not right. Perhaps their negative reviews would then stay more on topic, rather than turning into name-calling, etc.

  10. I, too, commented on this on FB but thought I would add a little more...

    A lot of people were concerned about the Goodreads/Amazon behemoth; concerns over sharing of information between sites, links to sites for purchasing books etc. I know of quite a number of people who quit GR when Amazon took them over for those reasons.

    Bullying, however, has been going on at GR for quite a while. This opinion piece in the HuffPost midway through last year tells a similar story to you, Jessica:

    Someone at GR/Amazon needs to take some responsibility before readers and authors start leaving in droves again. Sadly, there isn't really any alternatives for the writer to get their work seen (as you have mentioned with giveaways etc) or for readers to get a genuine feel for a book before buying it.

    Finished. Sorry...didn't mean to go on like that!

  11. I stay away totally from Goodreads, don't review any books there either. Monitoring shady behavior isn't censorship. Trolls like to nest in places where they aren't bothered.

    I agree, it needs a makeover.


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