Censored by Goodreads

Responses to the recent policy change on Goodreads regarding reviews that focus exclusively on author behavior.

Negative online reviews are now protected by law in California

“No consumer should ever face penalties for voicing their opinions on the services or products they have purchased, and California law is now clear that no company has the ability to silence consumers,” Assemblyman John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles), a sponsor of the bill, said in a statement.

The bill comes at a time when businesses often struggle with how to respond to negative reviews and comments on such sites as Yelp and Tripadvisor. Punishment for businesses that do not comply with the new law is a fine up to $10,000.

Will Amazon Turn Twitch into Another Goodreads Failure

So Amazon is buying Twitch, the video-game livestreaming site, for $970 million in cash, apparently beating out Google’s YouTube unit in the process. That unites the e-commerce giant with the world’s largest site for the gaming community, on which users can upload or stream video of games or commentary.

Which raises an interesting question. Just what does Amazon know about managing a social-network community, anyway? The Seattle merchant isn’t merely a novice when it comes to the social space; it’s a novice whose preliminary forays in this area have received mixed reviews at best.

Paid Reviews (or "Advertisements") Not Removed by Goodreads

Since the success of sites like Fiverr, a site that offers “professional services” which includes paid book reviews, Amazon and Goodreads have been glutted with paid reviews, and enforcement of their own guidelines has been spotty. I find this frustrating, because pages of stealth advertisements are a lot more damaging to the integrity of the review platform than the review space being used to point this out. 

Hotel charges $500 for every bad review posted online

Here’s one way to deal with bad reviews, and judging by the Yelp reviews posted since this article went viral, not a good one. Elsewhere I saw a quote from the owners characterizing this policy as “a joke”, but early Yelp reviews - before all the joke and snark ones went up - seem to indicate otherwise.

Google Plus Finally Gives Up on Its Ineffective, Dangerous Real-Name Policy   

Interesting to see Google Plus (which, is that still a thing?) finally allow pseudonymity. Anne Rice & Co have sought to strip pseudonymity from reviewers at Amazon, and it is bad idea for all the reasons laid out: small towns, closeted lives, unpopular political opinions, etc. But more important, as we are beginning to learn, is that forcing people to use their real names doesn’t result in better online behavior, it results in less online behavior. 

There are plenty of examples of Facebook users engaging in hateful behavior under their real names, however. Research about online identity shows that “real ID” policies are not as effective as their proponents claim. Disqus, an online commenting platform, conducted an informal analysis of about 500 million comments by 60 million users and found that pseudonymous users wrote better comments (and more of them) than those who were using their real names, with anonymous users being responsible for the bottom-feeder-quality comments." [emphasis mine]

You can find the original study here. (And just because the pseudo-scientist in me can’t stand not say this: it’s likely that some of the people counted as using pseudonyms were posting under their real names, but because their account wasn’t linked to facebook, they are not counted as such. And likely some facebookers are using pseudonyms, like a whole mess of people I know, including myself.) 

And so, in sum, stripping users of pseudonymity isn’t just a bad idea because of all the social and legal implications, but because it also just doesn’t work. Unless what you’re interested in doing is stifling your detractors, then it might work like a charm. 

#HarryStyles #1D #Divergent #GameofThrones have nothing to do with this post - Dear Author

In the courts of equity, there’s this rule called in pari delicto. I won’t go into a long dissertation about how this is a rule of equity, and all of the above would be heard in a court of law, but it’s a rule that I learned in law school that has always appealed to me. It’s called the Clean Hands Doctrine and essentially says that if your hands are dirty, then you can’t complain about the unclean things anyone else is doing.

Maybe we need to institute that in publishing. I won’t complain about these irritating and illegal activities, and authors can be quiet about reader behavior, starting with reader reviews, which are not now and are never going to be bullying, no matter how many times authors call it that.”