Clarifying Between Bullying and Critiquing Book Reviews
Posted on September 3, 2013
With the changes in the publishing world, more and more the reader is becoming king. Never has the reader had so much power in what becomes hot or not than now in the age of online reviews for writing. And with the rise in self-publishing where the gatekeeping is now directly in the hands of readers, authors rely on their ability to review in order to be discovered and to gain momentum.
Goodreads has been at the heart of controversy for a few weeks now due to the much publicized case of Lauren Pippa. I wrote about the situation but withheld her information and links due to what seemed like a mass attack. Further inspection showed that Lauren, who has now decided to publish under a different name and closed down her website, made some rookie mistakes in dealing with her difficulties. Because of those mistakes, such as addressing reviewers directly back and forth rather than ignoring and going about the business of writing, many in the writing and reader world claimed that she was not bullied at all and deserved every criticism. The story keeps its traction because it’s a concerning situation, the latest coming from Nathan Bransford.
What disturbed me was the amount of people claiming that none of what was done on Goodreads nor the comments made online, especially under the Salon.com article, were bullying. It made me think about what bullying is, why people don’t like using that term in certain scenarios, and whether or not reviews can really be seen as bullying or if they’re just honest critiques.
Bullying is usually defined as force used to intimidate others. It’s a way to express power over someone else. We’re used to seeing it in the context of school, which begs the question of whether or not the power of reviews is just the new schoolyard. But does posting a one-star review show signs of bullying? Or is it a reader’s right to express their dislike of a work freely on sites like Goodreads? It’s in the expression of our views where the answers lie.
We all have thoughts and feelings about various things that we express in different ways. To a friend in person, I have eviscerated a movie before. If I post my “review” thoughts of the same movie on Facebook, which still feels more “private” than say Goodreads, I have added snarkiness to my comments. But I know that whatever I say online can be seen by more than just me, and it’s never good to put anything there that shouldn’t be said out loud to the face of that person or organization.
Critiquing is a good thing. I do look for books that have multiple reviews and comments that state why the reader liked it. In a way, it’s a literary analysis. You can always just say you liked or didn’t like something, but your opinion matters more when you can back it up with evidence from the book itself (and yes, I know that’s all English teacher-y, but remember – I am one). If the dialogue is stilted, the characters aren’t very developed, if the plot is too simplistic, if the ending doesn’t make sense – these are all critiques I want to see readers make because that really affects me and my purchasing power.
But when does a critique cross over to the inappropriate? That question is being asked in direct correlation with Goodreads because several regular reviewers are getting called out as bullies. The website Stop the GR Bullies is making an attempt to bring to light examples of what they consider bullying on the site. They have good information in there to help those who are considering creating an account on the site as well as links to clear examples, sometimes capturing screenshots before examples are deleted. The site got much attention after the Salon article as a source of people helping in the situation of Goodreads bullying.
However, one of the sites more questionable tabs is the “Badly Behaving Goodreaders” list. The page suggests blocking anyone on that list, and the list is long. Random clicking through the list does give me pause on a few of the accounts. A quick view of over five of the accounts shows that there are issues there when some of the shelves of the accounts have derogatory names, such as “never-f*king-read”, “cut-off-my-b*lls”, and “f*k-no”. Many of the accounts are Goodreads Librarians, and some express anger at the author tactic of aggressive soliciting for reviews. Several shelf names include something about aggressive author or badly behaving author, and perhaps they have the right to those names based on their experiences.
I question whether or not a list like this is its own form of coercion. Just because it may be in the guise of doing something good doesn’t make it right. I think it’s wise that someone is keeping track of those that may not be using their account according to the Goodreads policies, which has its own issues that add to the problems, but calling people out with links to their accounts seems harsh. At the same time, it could be used for authors who do experience a more than negative review from one of these accounts. The site overall is helpful in pointing out instances of possibly bullying, but it needs to be careful that it doesn’t cross the line.
Update: What I would like to see on the site’s “Badly behaving Goodreaders” is a clear definition of what lands a person on that list. And the infractions should be clearly spelled out. Also, I think that those that are on the list should have clear monitoring before and after being added. We who view that tab have to trust those that have added the accounts there as having good cause. I would also like to see a way for people to be taken off the site. For example, perhaps there’s a warning list for those with only one clear infraction. Or if someone doesn’t believe that they deserve to be placed there, there should be a system in place to randomly monitor their account and then take it off if indeed it turns out to be erroneous. And most of all, everyone deserves a second chance. There should be a clearly defined way for those placed on the list to get off of it. Those types of changes would help it not seem as subjective and possibly its own form of attacking.
What makes a review more than negative and bordering on mean? While snarkiness and exaggeration can be comical, the question is how they are used when writing a review. Is it snarky to say that reading someone’s book made you want to gouge out your eyes instead of finishing it? Yes. Is that a productive review used to help others make a decision to read the book or is it more to gain attention for the reviewer? That’s the bigger question.
There are so many ways to give an effective review. Talk about the character, the story arc, the world building, the ending, the dialogue, the setting, and any other number of facets of the book. If you couldn’t even get that far, it’s fine to express a less-than-stellar opinion of a book. Not all books are great or even good. And a true opinion is valuable. If you give a book a one star or name your Goodreads shelf “should-be-no-star”, I want to know why. Being slightly sarcastic is okay, but there better be some meat on the bones of the review for me to take you seriously.
But it may be going too far saying that a negative review is a form of bullying. Bullying requires a coordinated effort. If there’s a coordination of negative comments and reviews, then it can be considered as bullying. If there’s an intentional piling on to a situation to express negative opinions in order to single out someone in order to harm them whether it’s their reputation, their sales, or their career, then it could be considered bullying. If it’s just a separate collection of lower-starred reviews, then it means that the book potentially isn’t that good, and using the term of “bullying” in order to explain negative reviews is the wrong use of the term.
I’m reminded of the Burn Book from the movie Mean Girls. The comments made in the Burn Book were meant to humiliate, but really it was meant to entertain those who created it. It established who had the power and how those people wielded that power, tipping the imbalance of that power. And reviewers do have that kind of power over authors right now.
So how can you tell if your review is an honest negative opinion that you’re sharing or if it is harmful? Here are some ways to know:
- Are you making any insulting comments about the author that you wouldn’t make to his or her face? Just because you’re using the internet doesn’t mean that general polite rules don’t apply. Keep the comments about the author to critiquing the writing and leave the schoolyard insults out.
- Do you only post one-star reviews? Creating one-star reviews aren’t a sign of bad reviewing necessarily. But if you intentionally only post one-star reviews because you want to point out only bad writing, then you may want to question your reasons. That’s not to say that there aren’t bad books out there. However, having reviews of varying levels of stars helps give your opinion legitimacy.
- Do you create inappropriate bookshelf names? This really only applies to Goodreads, but some people do create intentionally insulting shelf names in order to emphasize the negativity. It’s something that reviewers feel is their right and don’t want censored, but again, it goes under general polite rules. Post a one-star review under the “don-t-read-this” shelf rather than a “i-d-rather-kill-my-grandma” shelf.
- Have you been involved in coordinating negative comments or a purposefully low rating of an author with other reviewers? If you’re involved with communicating with others in order to purposefully post one-star reviews or negative comments on the author’s page, then you are participating in a form of bullying. Even if you came into the party independently, if you join the attack with your own negative comments, you’re part of the bullying.
I’m all for reviewers who express thoughtful critiques of a book. They’ve taken the time to read someone’s work and comment so that you can make a more informed decision about choosing what to read. Sometimes they’re the ones who catch those who are plagiarizing, although I hope that if they do reveal a plagiarist that they are careful about how they go about making accusations and bringing the situation to light. And in general, it’s hard or even impossible to police the internet and reviews online.
The only reviews we can police are any we post ourselves. Remembering that the review is about bringing attention to the book and not to ourselves can help. It’s great that the reader rules! It’s even better when the reader rules benevolently.
- How Are YOU Feeling About Goodreads These Days? (jordannaeast.com)
- Debut author allegedly got rape threats on Goodreads (salon.com)
- Book Discussions – Cyber Bullying (aussiebookworm.wordpress.com)
- Authors, Readers Band Together to Stop Goodreads “Bullying” (goodereader.com)
- When Readers Go Rogue – Bullying With Reviews (fallsintowriting.com)
I would be interested to know why some people make petty or spiteful comments. What is the point? Are they writers themselves and too judgemental? Or do they follow the idea that being nasty (like tv chefs and judges) is quite cool? Or get their kicks from pulling wings off insects?
I decided a while back that I would only post positive reviews. Perhaps not constructive enough but to know what is good about a book is equally important as any other criticism.
As for the definition of bullying, I would say that persistent negative, humiliating etc. comments constitute bullying as opposed to one bad review.
I agree with your last thought on bullying for sure. Some people find it entertaining at least to not just give a negative response to a book but to eviscerate the book and the writer. I have found some one-star reviews that were snarky but also gave good examples from the text itself with some funny gifs. But I’ve also read ones that imply that the book is bad because the author is a horrible human being who doesn’t need to share their writing.
I think my biggest issue with Goodreads is the hidden nastiness in the shelf names. So the nasty comments aren’t in the review necessarily, but read the name of the shelves they added the book to, and there’s the sting.
I think putting out positives rather than negatives is better, but many people who know they aren’t held personally accountable don’t feel the same way.
I was on the fence about GoodReads until I started reading some of the posts that have come out in support of the site.
The GoodReads apologists almost always mock the authors who complain about the treatment they have received on the site, saying things like “they should have a tougher skin” or “they are overreacting to harmless fun”.
When people write words that are clearly intended to be painful and then mock the victim for being hurt, those people are bullies.
I have to say that some of the comments that were most surprising came from other writers. They were critical that Lauren made some bad mistakes (like addressing those who started things and writing a blog about it). Because she made those mistakes, the implication was that she deserved the treatment – including a piling on of very negative comments on Twitter and in the Salon.com article.
Even today, I saw the following: self-published authors wouldn’t be as successful without Goodreads reviewers (I guess in justifying writing any kind of review they wanted), those receiving a massive amount of negative reviews were whiners and deserved more negative reviews for that reason, and echoes of the two you posted.
I can’t believe so many people don’t get the consequences of their words, or that they take pleasure in what it can do. It puts authors in a very precarious place – how can they honestly ask for reviews without opening the door for this type of treatment?
I even saw a reviewer today congratulating themselves as well as other reviewer friends about being labeled bullies, and suggested writing a negative review of a released book just to continue the bullying. Even though she was being facetious, it was kind of disgusting.
Reblogged this on Creative Destruction and commented:
Great article about book reviews. Be sure to treat authors with respect when reviewing their books, since we all expect the same from others. If you want to give a one star review, have reasons to back it up besides “this is horrible” or don’t say anything at all. Bullying on the internet is not cool in any way.
Hey Jen. I just reblogged this, but realized that I don’t know reblogging etiquette. I figured I should ask first, so I took it down. Anyway, great article. I think we should all have good reasons for giving something a negative review. It’s sad that a few bad apples can ruin an author’s reputation after they worked so hard to write their book.
Hi! Feel free to reblog! I would love for this to be shared so that we don’t have knee jerk reactions to negative reviews and those that write them, nor do we tolerate those that use reviews in order to sabotage writers. And the best thing for a writer to do is to just keep writing!
I didn’t realise Goodreads carried so much weight.
Goodreads is an important place for authors specifically because its entire focus is books and book reviews. And now it’s hooked in directly with Amazon who yesterday made the announcement that their new Kindle Paperwhite will connect directly with Goodreads (because Amazon purchased GR this year).
Typically Goodreads reviews are a little harsher than those left on Amazon, so some consider them more truthful.
I see. So the site is really for authors, not readers. Not quite what I imagined when I signed up. Maybe I’m in the wrong place.
Goodreads is an asset to authors, but it is for readers. Authors can set up an author membership there and post their books to be added to readers’ bookshelves. So it is for readers, but it’s also a social media tool that authors can use for marketing. The Goodreads account I have set up to this blog is actually my reader account. Those are books that I’ve read and rated.
Aha! Thanks for clarifying xx
Hi there! I heard about this blog from someone on goodreads, and I think it’s great! I wanted to tell you, my name is on stopthegrbullies. On the right-hand side, there’s a bar with a list of “toxic personalities,” and “Amazon fora trolls.” I’ve never attacked an author. By the standards on your checklist that you put in the green box, it has never happened. My reviews are all about the books, I do my best to explain the reasoning behind my opinion, and they are quite varied in rating. These people don’t like me because I question their tactics. I’m guessing a good number of the people they list as trolls and bullies are guilty of nothing more than speaking out against their site.
I don’t know what standards they used to label someone a troll, but I want it to be known that plenty of people are on that list unfairly.
Hi. Thanks for checking me out! I wrote this because I saw a confusion of what bullying actually is. There’s a difference between being mean, which some reviewers are, and bullying. That site is both good and bad, and that list is a hard thing. I think there’s always two sides. I know for a fact that others that are on that list are feeling very defensive and have made mean comments because they’re in defensive mode, not necessarily because they’re part of the problem.
I don’t know their standards either. And actually, that’s a good point. They should be posting what qualifies someone from going on that list. Is it shelf names? Is it a certain amount of infractions? What types of infractions?
Some of what’s good about that site is that they’re not just idly standing by and not reporting that mean reviewers or bullies exist there. However, they’re a little light on what qualifies as bullying.
Keep up your honest reviews, and perhaps you can get removed. There should be room for people to prove that they are responsible readers and reviewers!
To be honest, Jenn, I like the fact that you’re talking about the distinction of what bullying is, but I very strongly disagree with the measure that STGRB’s tactics are anything in the measure of “good.”
And I say this as someone who’s listed on their sidebar for having a “not-my-cup-of-tea” shelf and shelving books that I don’t have any interest in reading/reviewing for a number of different reasons. Also for shelving one author (who is a regular at STGRB’s site) based on my disinterest in his work and his unprofessionalism (which, notably is an opinion, not a fact. And opinions aren’t necessarily bullying unless you make assertions that cause harm by one’s person and in continuous measures.). I actually did end up reading that author’s work after the fact and writing a full review about the work, but that didn’t do anything on the matter.
I do see Goodreads as a catalog/database of keeping up with my personal reading habits, and I think readers who use the website are well within their rights to use it that way without fear or retaliation, from anyone including an author. And when I say readers – I do take into consideration that readers can either be lay reviewers or authors who read and review a lot of books. I don’t see shelving books that I don’t want to read, based on previous reads, based on disinterest in the matter/work, or boycotting an author whose ideals or actions may be problematic (such as plagiarism or other matters) to be construed as bullying an author. The author might have their feelings hurt to see their work on some form of a DNF or DNR shelf (and they have the right to their sentiments), but even if it’s a lost sale for them on some measures, it may not be a loss for other people who come across the work and say “Maybe I’ll check this out anyway despite what a few other people have said.”
Reviews in themselves are in the eye of their beholders, and people can choose which are of value to them at their discretion of whether or not they’ll pick up a work. But if Goodreads allows for personal shelves and cataloguing of a work, I don’t think negative shelving or negative reviews (unless it’s a direct attack upon an author on matters of their person) are bullying.
The problem with STGRB, is that they perceive all negative shelving as bullying, every rating system – including those who rate but don’t add reviews to books, as inappropriate, every negative reflection about a reading experience that entails an author as negative (and that’s not always the case, especially if the work contains a problematic ideal that the author has that ties heavily into the work). It’s a series of extremes that don’t have merit. There’s no redemption in that site’s eyes. That list is pretty much a hate list, tbqh. And it’s different from where a reader may say “I don’t want to read this author’s work). Instead, they’re not attacking the opinions of the people who are on that list, they’re attacking them personally as retaliation.
What’s worse is the personal attacks and the doxxing of personal details of the people on that list are an attempt to intimidate those individuals and belittle them. I don’t know how much you know about their history (and I’ve talked about it in former Soapbox Saturday posts of mine.) And by definition, many of the things that STGRB does ARE bullying, hostile examples of it even. And they censor commentary that’s in contrast to what they do and how they do it.
Just two cents. I don’t mean to jump on your opinions, but a lot of this rubs me the wrong way, and I’ve learned to move on from my own inclusion on that list, but it still bothers me that they specifically target people I respect in extreme forms. It sucks that even after a year of STGRB’s inception, nothing about their involvement in the scuffles between authors/reviewers who don’t understand the nature of Goodreads has helped the situation. It’s only made it worse and people have high emotions about it – for good reason.
STGRB’s tactics are completely,the wrong way to go about talking about bullying (and bullying is something I obviously feel very strongly about, since I’ve dealt with it when I was younger, along with people I’m close to). STGRB’s address of bullying is more of a veil over a much larger vendetta – against the Goodreads community, as well as the people they’ve targeted.
Nope, I’m glad you’re commenting. The more people commented, the more I read the comments on other people’s posts and such about the outrage of even referring to STGRB. To be honest, I’m researching and gathering at this point. I don’t want to write anything on it yet as I want to do more research. But there are definite issues beyond how they do things there.
I have witnessed a ramp up of emotions because of someone’s inclusion on the list there, which isn’t helpful. And it needs to also be said that the more drama available, the higher site visits – that goes for STGRB as well as Goodreads, which is why I don’t think either site is going to do any changes.
There’s still a misunderstanding of bullying here. It’s a power play in order to intentionally inflict different types of pain. Everyone can have their opinion and share it – my post was about how those opinions are presented. It might not be bullying at all but just being mean. And some people find being mean to be entertaining. And finding something to be mean can be just as subjective.
I try to apply Wil Wheaton’s mantra of “Don’t be a d*ck” for anything I post on the internet. Everyone has a point of view and opinion. But I am only in control of two things – what I put out there and how I respond. My post was just trying to establish that not everything is actually bullying, which is a hard derogatory term to just sling around.
Thanks for the info on STGRB and for adding to the discussion. I appreciate it.
Gotcha, I get what you’re saying, and I understand what bullying is myself (and I have a post I’m working on to to talk about it specifically in the realm of the author/reader community as food for thought – I’ll probably post it sometime Saturday and let people judge for themselves). I think the more that people talk about this, the more people can understand what bullying is, what matters cross lines, and basically have some coming to terms of things.
And I don’t think a lot of the negative reviews are actually bullying. That term is just being overused and abused right now. It’s also hard to distinguish questioning and attacking comment responses from bullying, and it seems like that website focuses on that.
I want people to write true reviews. If they can break down why a book didn’t hook them, I think it’s great. I found one that had me cracking up with its gifs and statements. They were on the edge, but the reviewer had good evidence from the book to back up their commentary. It was one of the funniest one-star reviews I’ve ever read. And that’s being an effective reviewer.
And since it’s clear that I’m pursuing a writing career, when it comes my turn I know I’ll get low-rated reviews. And that’s okay. It’s my job to suck it up and move on.
Jenn, I appreciate that you’re investigating, and that you seem to have an open mind. You’re a bit more generous toward STGRB than I feel they deserve, to put it mildly. But as you say you’re doing research, I want to encourage that. Please, look at the blogs of the people who post there. And please, look at the profiles of those of us who are listed on their site as trolls, mine and the others as you find time. I think these things speak for themselves. I really do. Thanks for taking your time to address and consider all of these comments.
I appreciate you sharing (as well as others) how it affects you to be added to a list like that. Have you written a blog post about it at all that I can read? Also, I think you’re absolutely right about looking at all of the profiles linked on that page, and will add a closer look to my research.
I don’t actually have a blog like yours, or a specific blog post about it. I participate in a few sites, but have two small children, so I just don’t have a lot of time! I’m mainly a D&D geek who likes to read and discuss books when I can squeeze in the time.
There is more history that I haven’t gotten into because I’m nervous sharing a lot of detail in public. To be blunt I’m a little afraid of these people, but what I’ve shared here isn’t new information to them. I’m sorry for sounding cryptic. I had to include my email address to post, which I know isn’t public, but if it’s something you can see, you’re welcome to email me and I’d be happy to go into more details. Don’t feel obligated to do that, though. I know you’ve had a lot of comments here and if you’re looking into this group, there’s a LOT of material to wade through on both sides.
When I get closer to compiling things for a deeper look, I’ll come back to you. I totally understand your reticence to say anything online.
Oh, because of your D&D game play, might I recommend Micah Blackburn’s blog. He’s got some awesome rpg posts there!
I think I’m seeing that there’s definitely a lot to go through to see the whole picture. I’m a good researcher, so I can tell this will take time. Thanks again for your comments!
I politely suggest you consider the word “boycotting”. Everyone who trots out the “bullying” argument seems to forget that authors are not helpless children wandering around the playground. They’re business people. They’re not just writing for giggles, they’re writing in the hopes of (a) making money and (b) finding popularity with and adulation from the masses. And everything they do represents their business. Their brand. Just like Starbucks and Chik-fil-A, both of whom have experienced boycotts based on their political stances.
As an author, if you do something that offends readers, they have the right to vote with their dollars and decide not to support you. They have the right to tell other people. And that, if anything, is what’s happening on goodreads: readers are responding to authors and choosing not to support them. They tell their friends. Some people will care, and others won’t. Those who do, will decide not to support that author. And will tell their friends. In the end, it may look like a “coordinated effort” to stop that author from making money. But if so, then the word you want is “boycotting”, and it’s a tried-and-true part of the American capitalist system.
And no, it probably doesn’t feel good to the author. He or she may certainly feel put-upon. And they generally will proclaim they did nothing wrong. Loudly. In my opinion, that’s because most of these people are not ready to make the shift from being an individual to being a business. They want to make money, but they don’t want to take responsibility for their actions. They want accolades, but they don’t want to deal with the opposite. Sadly for them, most of these boycotts have screenshots and other such evidence for exactly what happened, and I have yet to see an author come out of it innocent.
To call it bullying makes it seem like readers are shelving them for the fun of it. That reader reasons for it are frothy and superficial. As if they’re being shelved because readers don’t like their names, or their pictures, or the fact that their favorite author is Chaucer. When in reality, they’re being shelved because there are a wealth of authors out there who don’t complain (at least not in public) about reviews, and are thus both easier to deal with, and more deserving of your money.
I’d also like to suggest you read my write-up on the Lauren Pippa/Howard debacle. I went to great pains to research exactly what happened and when. With screenshots and time stamps. The problem was not with Lauren asking a question, as she has repeatedly claimed, nor was there any massive campaign of negative ratings. You can find it here: http://wp.me/p2j8xW-2Y
Thanks for your response. I purposefully did not cover any huge details on Lauren’s situation because there’s so much that’s questionable. I use it as a jumping board to get to the broader issue.
Authors do put out a product and open themselves to criticism just by doing so. What I’m addressing is the response of readers in this particular blog post rather than the authors response to reviews. My opinion is that an author will get negative reviews – it happens. And the best thing for an author to do is to keep on writing because that’s the business they’ve chosen to do. Focusing and drowning in the negativity is never productive.
I accept your word of boycotting to a point. It depends on how that boycotting is done. I get that word of mouth can get around with friends, be that personal or online, and a “group” can end up not purchasing something. But a boycott based on one person’s read through and then others just going off of what that person said rather than spending the time to read and then write their own review – that is a boycott but also bullying. Those aren’t real reviews.
If the boycott gets on the side of humiliation in any way – obscene gifs, inappropriate shelf names, rude and mean comments within the review – then it crosses into bullying, especially if several people band together.
Also, if you want to use the term boycotting, then there seems to be a lot more cases of it going on these days, Goodreads being a place to look only because it strictly deals with book reviews. I have disliked many products, movies, and books. I don’t generally join a group of people to boycott, nor do I see a lot of boycotting. So if there are a lot of cases of this boycotting on Goodreads, that seems like there’s a thin line between truly boycotting a product and expressing the power of the reviewer over the author, which then borders on or can be perceived as bullying based on several definitions. It will always be hard to tell the real difference. That’s why it’s up to the reviewer to know the difference in his or her own reviews.
You’re right – not all reviewing is bullying. Some of it is just mean. And several people can write mean reviews and it would be hard to prove bullying. I don’t like throwing that word around for just any low-rated review, which is why I wrote the post.
“What I’m addressing is the response of readers in this particular blog post rather than the authors response to reviews”
There are two ways for me to take this. Option one is that you are trying to say that no amount of provocation excuses a negative reader response, and therefore it’s not necessary to talk about said provocation. However, if that is your argument, then shouldn’t the flip side also be true? That is, no amount of negative reviews or shelving should justify an author having a negative response, either? Rules and policies have to be applied with an even hand. In which case, if nothing either “side” does justifies a poor response from the other, what point is there in talking about how “mean” either is?
Option two is that you’re trying to divorce reader responses from their impetus, thus allowing you to lump all of it together under a single “mean” label. By ignoring why readers do things, it allows you to imply that the reasons are poor, fictitious, petty, and “mean”. But that’s not true. There’s always, in my experience, a reason. While some of the shelves used are rampant hyperbole, and some of them are rude, there is always a reason. I won’t say that nobody ever woke up one morning and said, “Hey, I think I’ll mark everything by Rupert McSparklepants as racist-misogynist-drivel and see if I get a response,” but I will say I’ve never met one. I will say that’s not what any of those people on the STGRB list have done.
It’s what STGRB wants you to think, that Goodreads is full of people shelving things “negatively” for no reason, or writing negative reviews because they think it gets them attention or something, but that’s not what actually happens. It’s just not.
“I get that word of mouth can get around with friends, be that personal or online, and a “group” can end up not purchasing something. But a boycott based on one person’s read through and then others just going off of what that person said rather than spending the time to read and then write their own review – that is a boycott but also bullying. Those aren’t real reviews.”
I’ve never seen this happen. People will decide that they aren’t interested because of reviews, yes. That’s what reviews are for. But those people then adding their own negative review based solely on the others they read? No. Please show me an example, because this is a total non-issue. What readers do, is shelve the book based on ratings. “Not for me”. “Not interested because of reviews”. “Not my cuppa’. Things like that. Are you saying that’s bullying? That a user deciding to keep a shelf of books they’ve already taken the time to consider and reject is bullying? I have books I bought duplicates of because the cover changed! How else am I going to remember?
Second, by this logic, you must be bullying people with your previous Lauren post. Because when you wrote it, you were “just going off of what [someone] said rather than spending the time to read” for yourself. That’s *exactly* what you did: you repeated the lie that she just asked a question, that she was “bombed” with one star reviews (there were five) and negative shelving (i.e. “comments”). None of that is true, but you read that it was (possibly from the author’s own mouth), and so you repeated it. You declined to provide proof, by claiming it was too horrific. By your reckoning, that makes you a bully. You wrote a bully blog post. Yesterday, I pointed a similar dichotomy out to Nathan – that it’s wrong for a review to upset an author, but that it’s perfectly ok for a book to “bully” and upset a reader – and he neglected to respond. I guess he couldn’t deal with his own hypocrisy. I’m hoping you’ll be braver than he was. Explain how, if writing a negative review without checking for yourself is “bullying” (and again, I’ve never seen that), then writing a blog post that perpetuates a lie, and paints a group of people with an ugly brush — all without checking your facts — is NOT. And I’ve seen plenty of that lately, usually from authors.
In any event, this review copying you talk about, is not what I mean by boycotting. I’m talking about the shelving that goes on — the “do not buys” and “author behaving badly” tags. Most of the time, those don’t come with a rating or a review of any sort: it’s just a shelf name. A shelf name that indicates (1) I’m not going to buy this book and (2) this is why. As I said in my earlier comment, these tend to come with links and screenshots as evidence. Readers aren’t a bunch of lemmings. They want proof, or it didn’t happen. I know I want proof before I put someone on the “do not buy” list. In fact, for myself, proof isn’t enough. The author also has to have written something I might actually want to buy.
In any event, what I’m describing – readers reacting to an overt action on the part of the author, and choosing not to purchase based upon it – is, if it amounts to anything, a boycott. What you’re talking about – readers jumping on the bandwagon to write negative reviews – that I haven’t ever seen. If I had, I’m not sure I’d call it bullying, either. It just doesn’t fit the bill. I’d simply call it wrong, and abusive, and possibly an infringement of Goodreads TOS.
Now, if you want to know who DOES write fake reviews, and who DOES encourage their fans and family to jump on the bandwagon, you should look at AUTHORS. There’s just such a case going on now, in fact. Andrew Domonkos, author of new book “Zara’s Curse” appears to have created over one hundred sock-puppet accounts to up vote his book and down vote a number of others in the same genre. You can check it out on Goodreads. The author has appeared in review comments to say that it’s not actually him doing it, but someone he paid to help promote his book. Not enough evidence has come to light to say whether or not that’s true – whether it’s him or someone he paid – but either way, it’s not readers who are to blame. A number of the people who are behind STGRB – you know, the ones who claim to NOT be authors – did this in the past, and were banned from Goodreads as a result, making their anti-Goodreads stance rather more personal than they let on.
I should clarify that I don’t actually use Goodreads to its fullest extent. So I’m an outsider exploring it to try and discover how it’s being used.
I am not condoning authors behaving badly, and really that deserves its own post as this one was strictly about the reviews and those who write them. As a writer hoping to publish in the future, I know that there are professional ways to market and unprofessional. Your examples are definitely the latter and have resulted in the anger against those that don’t market correctly.
Putting out a product means that the creator has to expect negative reactions to it. Not responding to those who express those reactions is the best practice, and one that the case two weeks ago clearly underlines.
I can understand why there are people who review books that get irritated with these authors. And you make a good point about bandwagoning. And you’re right – I did jump on it without doing further research. But I’m not going to delete the post nor deny that I wrote it. Instead, I use it to discuss other things and learn more, specifically from the reviewing community and those who participate in it like you.
As one of the notorious STGRB “toxic personalities” (or whatever they call it – I don’t visit the site), I’d like to tell you that I have never left a negative review on Goodreads or Amazon, or commented negatively on a review, or created a GR shelf of any kind, or even upvoted or downvoted a review of any kind.
So, why am I on the list?
Because I have expressed my opinion of bad author behavior in one or more Amazon forums (without profanity or ad hominen attacks), and I created a series of cartoon videos (using extranormal) that parody those behaviors. Relentless spamming, sock puppet reviews, attacking reviewers, buying reviews, revenge reviews, etc. Do some of the STGRB people recognize themselves in those videos? Maybe!
I do confess that I seemed to have been born with a penchant for sarcasm, and the videos do display a healthy dose of mockery. So that’s my crime.
Thanks for opening yet another discussion about reviewers and this now overused term, “bullies.”
(I won’t post any video links unless asked)
Pete – Thanks for reading and stopping by. One of the things I would like to see on that site is a justification list of infractions that could land a person on their list. I do have to say that sarcasm is always hard to wield online because nobody can always read your true intent. It’s all in how you use the snark. I read a low-starred review yesterday on Goodreads and cracked up. It had funny gifs and actually specific points about why the book didn’t work. But had the reviewer made just a slight change in tone or had not included any actual evidence from the book itself, it could have been seen as mean.
My purpose of my post was to point out that not everyone is bullying on Goodreads. However, some are being mean. You may know the difference in your own stuff. But if you do get multiple complaints (which I don’t know if you do or not), then you know that maybe people are misreading your sarcasm or perhaps you can shift some of the snark to the comedy side. Without having seen your stuff, I really can’t judge. However, you admit to mockery, and mockery is purposefully negative and on the side of being mean. While it might not justify you being added to the list, you may want to question why you need to mock. I like comedy and sarcasm used well. Mockery is a hard line to walk and do well without landing on the side of wrong.
The other thing I’d like to see on the StoptheGRBullies site for their list is a way to “redeem” or get off the list. Because without a way to constantly monitor each person’s account they place on the list, there’s no way of knowing if it was an isolated case that landed them there or chronic behavior. However, everyone deserves a chance to change or to prove that they shouldn’t be on the list.
The term bullying is being incorrectly used in several cases. I think many cases are just people being mean online and fewer cases where it is actual bullying. And being mean isn’t necessarily better. It’s not something I think a reviewer would want to strive to be.
That site has proclaimed me the most psychotic poster on the net.( I’m still waiting for my plaque and cash prize.) I would like to ask you why you think anyone on that list needs to be “redeemed”?
I guess redeemed is the wrong word. But it’s a suggestion of the way that the site could make that list more meaningful rather than seem like its own form of attack.
Your question makes me think you don’t mind being on that list.
No, I don’t. Why should I?
You don’t have to. The suggestion I made was for the website to take away some of its subjectivity in order for it to be a fairer site or to change the tone of the list. Not everyone will care.
I think you might find that most people on those lists don’t care.
“My purpose of my post was to point out that not everyone is bullying on Goodreads. However, some are being mean.” If this was your purpose, you missed the mark. I read lots of disapproval, which is problematic in itself, but nothing that said “this isn’t bullying”. The closest you came was to say: “But it may be going too far saying that a negative review is a form of bullying”. That it “may” not be bullying is a far cry from saying it’s definitively not.
Also, I would like to know why you seem to think authors deserve the benefit of the doubt, but that readers don’t. I’m still working on my reply to your comment to me, but the idea that readers do things without any impetus or provocation is disingenuous at best. You looked through the list on STGRB and saw “issues” and “derogatory” shelf names, but you didn’t (apparently) look any further. For all you know, the book labeled “never-f*king-read” could be the one by an author who told a blogger to kill herself, for the heinous crime of directing him to her policy page. It could be a treatise on why Hitler was right, and anti-Semitism is the key to a strong nation. It could be a book glorifying rape, and condemning reproductive rights. You don’t know, and apparently you don’t care. You don’t seem to see any difference between a book (or author) that just doesn’t appeal, and one that engenders anger or emotional distress.
But you are not everyone, and you don’t get to judge when other people feel anger, disgust, mockery, or cursing are justified. Nor should you be allowed to blanket label people as “mean” because they don’t see things the same way you do. (hint: that in itself is not very “nice”)
My response to you was meant to be thoughtful rather than flaming. My apologies to you if you felt I flamed you on your own blog. Finding something mean is definitely subjective. My own post is subjective although I try to visit both sides of things.
My adding in about authors is because my entire blog is writing and author based as well as fun sci-fi stuff as well (things I do or love), so it was a statement made in the theme of my blog. Someone else in the comments has pointed out the issues of the STGRB site, and I am doing more research into that.
You bring up a different type of review that deserves attention – one that does anger or create emotional distress. I think a person has every right to express that opinion about a book if it affected them negatively. As long as the review isn’t flaming the author but is about what the effect the book had, I don’t see how that’s outside of what I wrote about.
“But it may be going too far saying that a negative review is a form of bullying…If it’s just a separate collection of lower-starred reviews, then it means that the book potentially isn’t that good, and using the term of “bullying” in order to explain negative reviews is the wrong use of the term.” This paragraph clearly shows my opinion on the difference between a negative review and bullying.
I actually liked your blog post and thought I was contributing to the discussion being had on your post. Feel free to delete it if you would like. I appreciated your original response on mine.
I’m sorry, Jenn. We seem to be having some confusion here.
In your blog post you say: A quick view of over five of the accounts shows that there are issues there when some of the shelves of the accounts have derogatory names, such as “never-f*king-read”
I take that to mean you think that shelf name is wrong/bad/mean. You certainly think “I’d rather kill grandma” is mean. But, as far as I can tell, you didn’t look into WHY the shelf name was used. In my last comment, I gave several examples of possible reasons, the implication being that I thought the shelf name would be justified by those. Your reply was that emotional reviews were valid. So I’m really not sure where you stand on this now. Are you saying these shelf names are problematic and “mean”, or that they can be justified? Because your post says the former, and leaves no room for the latter.
You said: “”But it may be going too far saying that a negative review is a form of bullying…If it’s just a separate collection of lower-starred reviews, then it means that the book potentially isn’t that good, and using the term of “bullying” in order to explain negative reviews is the wrong use of the term.” This paragraph clearly shows my opinion on the difference between a negative review and bullying.”
Yet I still fail to see how one paragraph in the middle of your essay is in keeping with the idea that your “purpose” was to differentiate between bullying and simply being mean. That was my point: you talk a lot about being mean, but you never say that being mean is not bullying. And, in fact, you send mixed messages. You seem to think shelving is “mean”. But, you also think that STGRB is helpful in pointing out bullying behavior. Surprise! One of the things they do is complain about shelving. So which is it? Is it “mean”, or it bullying behavior, helpfully pointed out by STGRB?
If your purpose is to differentiate, then you have to actually differentiate.
And the comment I’m working on replying to is the one you made up above to me. =) I still haven’t decided what to do about the one you left on my blog… I explicitly said I wouldn’t approve comments that did certain things, and … it seems like you did two of them. But on the other hand, you weren’t vitriolic. So I can’t decide whether to stick to what I said, or let it through. *head desk* You’re being fair approving my comments, so I guess I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt.
I appreciate your point. I felt like that one paragraph I referred to was stating what was bullying or not. If I didn’t state it clearly, being mean doesn’t necessarily constitute bullying – and that was my point. And if you look in the comments here with a couple of other people, I am researching more into that site.
I’ll be honest – I didn’t see your approval points for comments on your blog because I just jumped in head first (bad me). If I broke rules, it’s fine. That’s my fault for being too enthusiastic!
I appreciate your clarifications here of what you mean. I will try to be clearer in stating my points in future posts.
It’s very telling that you use the words ‘redeem’ and then ‘meaningful’ in reference to stgrb, who wouldn’t know the meaning of those words, even if they jumped up and bit them on the..well, you know. As .38 Caliber Reviews stated, it just doesn’t matter. The reason it doesn’t matter is because that site has no meaning to my life. The reason it has no meaning to my life is because it is run by a group of miserable and sad people that can think of no other entertainment except to troll the Amazon fora, attempting to push me into a reaction by insulting me and my friends. If that’s not the definition of ‘bully’ then I don’t know what is.
Regarding GR, a lot of my shelves on GR are VERY snarky and my reviews are occasionally laden with sarcasm and profanity especially reviews for books I hated (though my positive reviews way outnumber the negative ones). It doesn’t mean I’m a bad or mean person, it just means that that is how I review books. A book has to be truly godawful to get 1 star from me and if it’s that awful, it’s for sure getting a special, snarky review. I do not deliberately go out looking for horrible books but if one lands on my TBR mountain, I’m happy to share my opinion. Anybody who disagrees, is welcome to leave.
If a rabid fan or the author comes to my review space to take issue with my negative review of the book, I am more than happy to engage with them and tell them exactly what they can do with their opinion on MY opinion of that book. I don’t push my opinion on people who review my favorite books negatively because it’s their opinion. Conversely, I don’t want or need them to come to my space to give their unasked for view.
I do not review the author – ever. My reviews can be snarky and sarcastic but they, in my opinion, are fair. I review only the book and I don’t give stars to books I have not read. I love that GR allows me to comment without leaving stars because if it’s a DNR or DNF, I can still express my opinion but not affect the ratings because believe it or not, my goal is not to keep the author from selling books. I couldn’t care less that the author sells books. What I care about is that they don’t go ballistic when they get a negative review.
This is not to say that there have not occasionally been some truly mean people who apparently don’t have a filter. I say report them. That’s what the ‘flag’ button is for. GR is good at listening and acting. I had a review flagged recently and GR hid it, and rightly so. It doesn’t hurt my feelings and I’m not mad.
Finally, the most important thing to remember about GR is that it IS for readers, not authors. Period.
Thank you for adding your thoughts. If you read through other comments, you’ll see my responses about the site, and within the blog post you can see that I question the fairness of the linked list as well as saying it’s its own form of attack. I’m in the process of doing more research as I can on the sites background and use as I have my own questions about it. And through the discussion here, I’ve learned more.
It’s true that the term “mean” is subjective as are reviews. And what has made GR very successful is the freedom and many different ways in which readers are able to express their opinions on books. If someone disagrees with what you’ve written, than they can choose to ignore it. And if they engage you over it, then they open themselves to your response as it’s on your turf. Sarcasm and snarkiness are hard to convey successfully all the time online, but as I’ve said I’ve found several reviews that entertained me because of how those two elements were used. One did it so well, I wanted to read the book because of the review. I’ve also read some that were less than tasteful, but as you said – I just kept moving on.
I tend to agree that GR is mainly for readers, although they do solicit authors to be there. I don’t have any books out, so I only have a reader account of which I admit that I don’t really use to its full extent other than for adding stars to my top favs (I think Neil Gaiman has the most ratings for me). I would state that a part of GR is for authors as they solicit for them to create author accounts to post their works. How an author uses it is an entirely different issue, and it is true that some authors don’t use it well at all, which goes back to your statement that maybe they shouldn’t use it at all. As I don’t have experience in that area, I can’t say for sure.
You seem to be (deliberately) missing the points being made. STGRB was created by a person who consistently violated GR policy and got banned for it, only to gather similar persons around them and wage a holy war (in their minds) against the site. Your posts also show a tendency to not follow things through: as you’re wondering why they don’t show proof of bad behavior to warrant being listed, what does that suggest to you and why don’t you ask them that?
As to Lauren Howard, there is no ambiguity there. She admitted to lying/misrepresenting the whole matter only to quickly delete her posts so she could continue to ride the wave and cash in: she’s already launched a reviewing site and has announced plans to publish the book anyway. Like anyone else trying to avoid scrutiny and get on with their lives.
Thanks for your response. I already did read through your blog posts actually. Blog posts like yours have deconstructed things enough, and that wasn’t the point of my latest post. In fact, I call myself out on my original post that didn’t follow through and see the whole picture.
My points on STGRB site are to say that it’s being pointed out by lots of people, what it does okay-wise, and where it goes wrong. It’s subjective, which makes its goals ineffective as well as bordering on its own form of attack.
The purpose of this post wasn’t to point fingers to anyone specifically but to clarify that what people are calling bullying isn’t actually bullying all the time. It’s also pointing out that there are legit low-rated reviews, and authors have to suck that up.
Then why do continue to cite Howard as a case of bullying when it never happened?- your post clearly refers to it as an example. Why do this when you already knew it wasn’t so?
For clarification, I refer to the what has been done with Lauren’s story as still having publicity and traction making it relevant to the focus of the blog post. Paragraph 2 refers to it because regardless of the reasons behind it, the story got traction. Paragraph 3 clarifies my opinion of what was actually the bullying taking place with the Salon article, which isn’t what went on in Goodreads but those commenting under the Salon article.
Those two paragraphs set up the premise of the post, which is to clarify the difference between what is and what isn’t bullying in terms of book reviews specifically. While I reference the situation that has gained so much attention to start with, that’s not the focus of the rest of the post. And while I do post links within the post and as related articles, the rest of the post has a different focus, including looking more closely at STRGB and pointing out flaws. And while I am more aware of the genesis of the site as I do more reading of comments elsewhere, I refer to the site because it was used in so many blog posts and articles.
Reblogged this on Lloyd Lofthouse.
Thank you for writing this. However, I think most of the drive-by reviewers are part of a coordinated effort. I’ve been targeted. Many others have. These people are, in fact, committing a crime. As a fan fiction writer (I wrote professionally before I wrote fan fic), I was targeted by ex-fanfic trolls who wanted to “prove” they were “better than me” — it carried over to my professional work. This is stalking, quite literally.
This targeting also endorses opinions that are not based on a reader’s honest appraisal, but are part of a campaign to put forth a group’s hidden agenda to lessen a writer’s apparent profile in reference to their own. It’s childish and simple-minded — and effective, which is why there must be a web-wide attempt to pursue those who do this. Further, they attempt to provoke writers into being angry in public. They use this more ammunition to attack the writer. Frankly, it’s a dumb reader who only pays attention to Goodreads. Most of what passes for opinion over there is nothing more than jealous writer temper tantrums. lol
The problem with pursuing those who are doing anything online is who is doing the pursuing? Everything online is subjective. It is very hard to remain objective about anything. It is harsh that people or products get targeted, and we could hope that people in general know how to conduct themselves. And it’s hard that people chose to criticize you and rudely let it carry over to your professional work. That is crossing a line and does deserve your attention (as well as maybe a few drinks). But I’m not sure who could honestly pursue online attacks.
My guess is that flaming reviews on any review form (yelp, goodreads, amazon) get lots of attention & lots of clicks. They’re harsh to those that are affected by them, and we all wish they didn’t exist. But I don’t know of a good way to moderate them as of yet. And sites that do their own form of attack in order to subjectively point out missteps aren’t really helpful either.
It’s a conundrum since the internet makes true interaction with others virtually impossible. The anonymity of it all opens doors for behavior we wouldn’t necessarily choose in person.
I appreciate the complications involved, but we’re now branching away from petty squabbles to death threats. I’ve had my life threatened. These people are nuts — and they’re emboldened by anonymity and encouraged by the mob mentality. It’s going to require technology developed to combat it.
I’m sorry for your difficulties. I saw your statement on your blog. Wishing you better days.
I’m not usually somebody who gets into troll-baits, but when I first became a member on Goodreads, I made the mistake of attempting to speak on behalf of those poor writers who’d been so bashed on the “Authors Behaving Badly” group. After a balanced appeal as to why they might not want people casting character aspersions based upon their written words, etc., I found that my latest book had been added to a “When Hell Freezes Over” list of books to read, as well as the Hell, No and No Fu#king Way booklists. Then I noticed one-star reviews and ratings anonymously posted so fast they couldn’t have been from anyone who actually read. That day I learned the internet is not a democracy or a place interested in fairness. There are all kinds of malicious trolls, sock-puppets and other subhumans hiding in the shadows and bogs of anonymity. You need to keep a grip on your smarts before venturing into these waters, and your mouth shut or you’ll swallow some of the stagnant issue.
There are many who have experienced what you did as an author and who have been added to that group. I don’t know if I was added or just the blog post was linked, but it was added somehow into a private group on GR. And while responses in the comments have shown some of the ire, I’m on the fringe as I haven’t published anything yet. There’s been some interesting back and forth as comments on my post.
Even the experience of writing the post and the responses has helped me learn some things that I am putting in my pocket in terms of professionalism as an author. You hit the nail on the head – the anonymity of the internet allows for actions and such that individuals wouldn’t necessarily partake in on a one-on-one, in-person basis. I can only be responsible for my own writing on the internet and know how I want it to be recorded since we know that the internet keeps things floating out there attached to our identities pretty much indefinitely.
The commenting on this particular post has been heated at times, but I am giving room for people to have an opinion on what I wrote in my post. If you respond, please direct your opinions towards the post itself. Personal responses that are directly attacking a commenter will not be allowed. Thank you for joining the discussion.
Let’s try this, Mr Sutton’s unhappiness with GRs manifested itself in what other posters decided was unprofessional behavior. They decided to shelve his books accordingly. At no time was Mr Sutton subjected to bullying or name-calling.
After ignoring their good advice and leaving, Mr Sutton has availed himself of the very many social media outlets to call attention what he believes is his mistreatment by GRs members.
However, this “horrible experience” has not stopped him from setting up a group on GRs. I don’t return to where I’m treated badly, do you, Jenn?
I am saying that for all the protestations of Mr Sutton and others, they all, or most of them, come back to GRs. So maybe, just maybe, after careful consideration, they find they weren’t treated quite as badly as they thought?
But if they were, why are they going back to GRs? It is not the only game in town.
It’s interesting to ask what can push a negative review over the line. The first book review I ever put on my site was intensely negative and I eventually took it down (no one asked me to, I just did). It was the author’s first book, there weren’t many reviews for it yet, and I felt a first-time author deserved more slack than I gave her. I didn’t make any personal attacks (I dislike reviewers who call authors stupid, etc.), but I still feel a twinge of guilt that I ever posted it and the 1% chance the author saw it. I felt guilty all over again just from reading the title of this blog post! Ha.
A couple months ago, I started posting reviews titled “So Bad, I Read It For You”. So far, I’ve only put up Brown’s Inferno and Meyer’s Twilight. They’re strongly negative reviews (and meant to be a little funny) that spoil the book entirely so the reader doesn’t have to spend the time/money to read it themselves. I don’t feel bad about these two reviews because these authors are raking in millions and surely have a thick skin by now. Writing this sort of review for a first time, self-published author would keep me up at night. In fact, I’m having a hard time finding the next book for this category because I think reviews cross a line when you can tell the author only read them to make fun. I read Twilight because I was genuinely curious: it was insanely popular and I /had/ to know what the fuss was about.
I think intention counts for a lot. When you see one-star reviews that crow about not having read the book, or only reading the first chapter… I’m not sure “bullying” is the right word, but there is a certain amount of maliciousness there that I find distasteful. What can they say that could be construed as constructive if they didn’t even read the book?
Your last statements really get to the heart of what I originally tried to convey in the post. Intention of the review is the point, and the term bullying isn’t appropriate for low-rated reviews. Reviews are supposed to run the gamut.
What I’ve come to learn is that many don’t like the judgment of anyone pointing out if their reviews do carry a malicious tone or not.
I’m with you on Dan Brown’s latest book. It got a low-rated review from me on this blog. And like you, I don’t review anything I haven’t read and finished myself. Funny enough, I’m finding that I have a pretty high tolerance and ability to find acceptable aspects to almost everything I’ve read. Even Twilight entertained me for what it was.
You ask about what pushes a review over the line. That’s a hard thing to define because what might not be acceptable to me may be okay in the reviewer’s eyes. I think it’s best for you to pay attention to the reviews you think give good advice about the book and ignore the ones that you find inappropriate. Since reviewing is subjective, that’s about the only productive thing any of us can do.
I made the STGRB list, and I neither rate, review nor complain about negative reviews. My crime? Let’s see, I tried to stop a newbie author from tanking her reputation by spamming the living daylights out of her first book. She posted over 51 fake identical reviews on multiple books, including three of mine, reposting them even after Amazon removed them. More than one author asked her to stop.
When a Goodreads thread about her bad behavior surfaced I called her “stoopid” for refusing to take my advice and stop her ridiculous “marketing”. For that egregious crime STGRB has embraced the spammer and put me on their ridiculous blacklist.
STGRB is a ship of fools, and anyone who lends them any credibility at all risks losing their own.
After I originally left a comment I appear to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I receive 4 emails with the exact same comment. Perhaps there is an easy method you can remove me from that service? Appreciate it!
I will see what I can do on my side, but I think that because you have a box checked that you may have to uncheck on your side. Normally, this post doesn’t get many comments, so I hope you don’t continue to have any inconveniences. Again, I’ll try to stop it from my side.