I might be packing up my toys on LibraryThing next...

I wanted to know how LibraryThing would respond to the recent screencap going around of the Idiots Who Shall Not Be Named talking about compiling a database of users' real names and addresses, so I wrote.


Response? No response. Gave it a week, and wrote again. Got this (after the break)...

From: tim@librarything.com
Date: Mon, 21 Oct 2013 18:14:00 -0400
Subject: Re: FW: name and address harvesting
CC: loranne@librarything.com

Dear Tracey,


Thank you for your note. The LTER/MG rules prohibit use of the address for any purpose other than sending out that book.

If you can give me an example of a non-anonymous person who has broken the rules or been victim of such a violation, and it can be traced to a member giveaway, we will take action. A purported screenshot of a vague and explicitly anonymous statement posted somewhere on the web is not going to prompt action.
The whole Goodreads bully/anti-bully allegations-and-counter-allegations… well, it's a shit-storm we have no interest in participating in. If you see a violation of LibraryThing's Terms and Conditions--or associated LTER/LTMG rules--let me know.



So, since I'm supposed to be doing a whole bunch of other things, I responded thusly:


Thank you for a response, however belated and ambiguous. I'm not sure why it falls to me to investigate this situation, if it is a situation; I would have thought that administrators of a site that gave a damn about its users (if you can, fascinatingly enough, swear so can I) would at the very least raise an eyebrow about the possibility that ill-intentioned people are compiling a database of information on its users in a manner which a) completely and utterly violates LT's terms of service, and b) is not intended for use as a Christmas card list.

Do I have direct proof other than a "purported" screenshot that this is happening? No, because I'm not enough of a masochist to frequent the STGRB site. I have to rely on the word of those who monitor it and take the screenshots that keep the rest of us from having to wade in the shit. Do I have names of people who may be compiling the database? No, other than eager-to-make-use-of-such-a-thing Rick Carufel, because they are cowards even on their own site and refrain from using their real names. Is there a possibility that this is all a hoax to inspire fear in readers/reviewers? Yes, but it's something I - were I a site administrator - would not take lightly, because these people have proven themselves to be more than willing to publish Goodreads users' real names, addresses, hang-out spots, husbands' names, children's names - even to make threatening phone calls.

My purpose in bringing this to the attention of whoever the buck is stopping with at LT is that LT's giveaways were specifically named as a source of the information for the purported (since you like that word) database. Do I expect you to go to the STGRB site and see if anything else can be found out? Well, yeah, kind of - I would think it was the responsible thing to do - but, realistically (and given your nonchalant response), no. What I do expect, or perhaps did expect before I realized you really don't give a shit, was that you might consider implementing some kind of system to, I don't know, protect your users: some way that users can participate in giveaways without having to be concerned about their information going public. It's not my job to come up with such a thing (me=user; you=admin; I should be able to rely on you to make the site safe); it's not my job to do your job, in short. I came to you with a concern, and you blew me off. You may not be interested in participating in the shitstorm - but the point is that your site is being drawn into it, whether you're interested or not. I would think you'd want to take a stand.l

You've been pretty smug about how much better LibraryThing is than Goodreads over the past few months, during the GR shitstorm (really, I can't quite get over the fact that you used an expletive). I was hoping you'd suit actions to words. I can't tell you how sorry I am that you choose not to.




Darn, I think I meant "apathetic" rather than "ambiguous"; he was pretty unambiguous that they will do nothing unless given the whole shooting match on a silver platter.


I should just go back to when I kept a notebook to track my reading and forget about this crap. I'm so damn tired.