While on Goodreads I haven't seen all that much reader/author back and forth first hand, but yes, I have watched some rude commentary as it happened (the author later deleted their words), and that was one of the reasons I first made a Do Not Read Buy Authors shelf. (The other reason - I don't want to accidentally read/buy David Irving.) Some authors on my shelf were plagiarists, some involved in poor scholarship, some involved in online rudeness, etc. - but I didn't ever specify any reasons (I don't see them all as equally evil or problematic or something), because that shelf was for me, to remind me. I didn't even make any posts about this or post reviews or stars, and I made sure the shelf would contain only books that were clearly unread. I've never flagged anyone on the GR site before. And I only did so this past week when people were trying to make a point about censorship (and welcomed the flagging).
Short version of all that: I'm a mostly quiet and polite book reader. I tend to play nice. I want to continue to do so by avoiding authors who would take any of my criticism personally. (I had enough stress grading essays fairly when I taught. I don't need more in here.)
What changed was that the GR staff started making deletions without any notice, and in fact still hasn't alerted the membership as a whole about this policy. In the thread we've been waiting 6 business days for a clearer policy and answers, and still no word from GR.
What I hadn't mentioned until now, day 6, was that I have a shelf that mentions author behavior and that it's existed since Feb. 2013. It's not been deleted, and I've not received emails from GR staff about it. I asked what to do about it in that Neverending Thread here. That my shelf hasn't come up in the 6 days since this whole mess started - well, that seems a bit arbitrary, doesn't it? You'd think that, if they're using software to find such shelves, that mine would have been noticed already.
When I thought that shelf might be deleted I did make a backup of it, and posted a copy in my GR writing area: In Case GR Deletes My Do Not Buy Shelf. (Which I haven't updated since the 21st.)
After the break are the words from Debbie Notes, and I agree with them.
I'm sure all these goodreads posts are of no use to existing booklikes members. And I've seen a few postings from them wondering about all these new followers (please don't blames us -- signing up for a booklikes account makes us initially follow 25 members that booklikes assigns us. We'll eventualy sort it out to only follow others with similar reading tastes or whose posts we enjoy).
Please don't think we all came over here to post offensive, threatening material. Allegations of bullying, rape threats, etc. sure do make good headlines. And good headlines go viral.
Some of us never wrote reviews on goodreads. Or had any shelf names worse than "Western" "Memoir" etc.
We already love booklikes for daily update posts and quick response to comments and email. It's incredibly soothing compared to our experiences with goodreads.
We are booklovers. Avid booklovers. We're the ones who worked tirelessly making goodreads immense database and membership a takeover target for amazon. Now that amazon has our data, they don't want us. Just to market our data to customers buying new kindles and amazon fire. They killed Shelfari who used to be the kindle integrated book site and now are replacing Shelfari with goodreads.
Some of us are here just to protect our book catalogs, as in we seriously have no idea what will or won't be deleted at goodreads. Likely very quiet members at that.
The headline making policy announcement about deleting content that might be construed as being about author behavior including shelf/tag names has still not been announced site-wide, just in a discussion group to which less than 0.05% of goodreads members belonged.
We are concerned about what other policies will fail to be announced to the goodreads members that will lead to content deleting.
The tar and feather headlines and posts by both sides keep ignoring that it was always goodreads policy and in the TOS everyone agreed to that threatening, hate speech, bullying, etc. content would be deleted. That's not what the new policy announcement was about.
We are concerned that amazon is counting on new kindle integration to pull enough new members in to replace those they are losing. And that they plan to either turn goodreads into another Shefari or convert it to be like their own gamed reviews and community forums.
That all the corporate motivational and marketing speeches talking up hiring new data specialists to use the member data to gather more useful to book sales data is behind the shelf deletions -- how soon before no customizing shelves anything other than an amazon approved set of tags? Goodreads already pushes every possible activity to mark a book "to read" to sell that data as meaning "intend to buy" (even if readers meant was in their already bought to be read pile). So, yes, they do need to do something about their data. I'm thinking pushing "wishlist" on kindle puts book on goodreads "to read"…
Some of the very members, reviews, and bookclubs that we so enjoyed on goodreads are jumping ship.
It was a site we loved, contributed to, and participated in to varying degrees. We love books and it's not always easy for bookworms to be social creatures. But goodreads made us feel safe to be social, participate, and enjoy the company of other readers. Forgive us of we are a little passionate about losing that. Most of us started there just to catalog some books and the thorough series information then gradually really settled in and were very happy. We're mourning the passing of lots of virtual friends and communities.
And our buttons have been pushed with the very thought of censorship and how incredibly belittling it is to real victims of abuse, rape, bullying, cyberstalking and all the other call to arms poorly researched headlines. That started with an extremelyfew irate indue/self publishing authors whose books were hard to even discover ( except by goodreads reviewers who deliberately tried to help discover the indie works, or did before all the backlash) that screamed "victim" every time they got a negative review or 1-star rating, ganged up into bigger groups, kept rehashing everything so it went viral, harvested IP addresses and real life in person stalked reviewers when they were able to get real world addresses from the IP. And recently, again, got to scream victim with the same old stuff but timed to get plenty of publicity to create bad pr right before kindle integration.
Censorship? Judge for yourselves the fact that that group of a dozen authors that, depending who you believe, were either victims that were threatened with rape and of bullying by reviewers writing a negative about author review and shelving them as "due to author" "taa" or "hormel" or were the bullies and the people that in real life approached reviewers with in person threats and posted address, children and pet pictures and locations ( including shots of children in school with school id'd). Two sides to the story. Both blown out of proportion in a lot of the articles.
Censorship -- well, the new policy said "no content about authors" and same day ( before announcing policy) entire shelves of books in member catalogs that had one or more books by the pr nightmare authors were deleted. No chance to rename shelves (and no rhyme or reason other than an author's book on that shelf) or to remove just the problem book form the shelf. No raving about what a wonderful author or "favorite author"named shelves were deleted. Innocuous shelves with mysterious abbreviations deleted -- gray area, bland, or negative content deleted; flattering to author content remains. A review starting by saying " I always feel strongly about books by this author, who has written both best-loved and most-hated works" will be deleted; "OMG! I can't wait to read this" reviews get to stay.
Censorship? The one and only staff followup on announcing discussion thread assures us that goodreads knows the intent of a member's shelf when created and they are "confident" that they are acting as "appropriate" to the tone of the community. Who still has not been informed they can no longer create shelf names about or reviews mentioning authors.
(*poster hangs heed in shame* at the more than 3,000 paid books she has on her paperwhite—while charging up her new nook glow.)