I am amazed, and know not what to say...

So, as you might recall, I got a notification that GoodBadReads was going to delete a few "reviews" I'd posted - basically, in which I expressed my opinion of the "author"'s behavior. After my notification I added a bit about how bad the author's writing was (boy howdy). It didn't help; they deleted 'em.


Just for fun, I wrote a response, for one thing asking for the specific part of the guidlelines my review(s) failed to comply with. I got a sort of form-letter email answer. Then I wanted to see what would happen if I wrote again.


Thank you, but I did ask for a very specific reason, a quote perhaps, as to why these actions have been taken even after I made an effort to address the problem; "guidelines" is not a link, so that, I'm afraid, doesn't address the matter.

The review did originally concentrate on the author's behavior. As I said in the revision, I then investigated the author's writing, and found it to be execrable. I edited the review to address this, and since it applied to all of her writing, I copied and pasted it to several of her works.

I guess what I would like to have addressed - in something other than a form email, please - is that I, as a reader, have a finite amount of time and money to spend on hundreds of thousands, millions, of books. If I discover that an author's behavior, particularly toward her readers, is unconscionable, this strongly impacts my decision whether to read her work.

For example: Charles Dickens took a 16-year-old lover and treated his wife with great cruelty. This puts me off him as a man, but does not impact my enjoyment of his work. (Well, it does a bit, but that's beside the point.) But this author in question - whose name I don't recall - stated openly and without shame that she thought nothing of taking her readers' words, editing them to suit her better, and using them without permission or attribution. This is very serious. It falls somewhere between plagiarism and making stuff up to promote herself. The thought of reading more than I already have of anything this author has written nauseates me. And in disseminating the information about what this author has done, I feel I am serving to serve other potential readers the same way; everyone I know on Goodreads - i.e., those who will be most likely to see my "review" - feels as I do about such matters, and is grateful for a pointer about an author who sees fit to abuse her relationship with her readers.

Again, in case I wasn't clear: the "reviews" I posted were not for the author, or meant in any way to injure the author or hurt her feelings. (In fact, I regret to say that in disseminating my review to my friends and followers I might actually have garnered her some further sales; no publicity, as they say, is bad publicity.) I used her own words - without alteration - and expressed my opinion of them, and of her (really terribly, terribly bad) writing. They were solely intended to help any other potential readers make their decisions about whether or not this work was something they wanted to invest in. Which is all precisely what a review is, isn't it?

I've been a member of Goodreads for six years - six years this month, in fact. It has meant a great deal to me. I have invested a great deal of time and effort into the site; I have posted 385 reviews, have cracked the "top reviewers" list several times, and have made over 1500 librarian edits, because I cared enough to make the effort to make the site better. I have never faced any form of "discipline" from Goodreads, or any other social media site I belong to; I have no desire to cause trouble, but only to be able to express a valid opinion. Disappointed as I have been over some of the changes over the past year and more, I have no desire to harm the site. I hope that, in light of this, a dialogue can continue about this issue.

I have put a fair amount of time and thought into this email; a reciprocation would be very much appreciated.


No response. I re-sent, adding "Hi - I never received a reply to the below. I'm giving a doubt some benefit and assuming it was because it was Sunday.

This is, as I'm sure Goodreads folk are aware, a very serious issue, and I think I deserve a better answer than the rote response I have received."


Maybe they got the hint that I wasn't going to go away very soon (I was going to keep sending that email, a couple more times at least), and - lo and behold!

Hi Tracey,


Thank you for taking the time to write in to us with your thoughts - we appreciate the time that you took to do so.
We have moderated reviews according to these guidelines for over a year now. To be very clear, we would have moderated the same reviews in question before our most recent policy change.  Reviews that are predominantly about how an author is marketing his or her book break our rules. While you or your friends may find this information helpful, we have found through experience that this kind of content in the book review space leads to more contentious behavior and flame wars.
At the same time, we understand that some members may want a way to remind themselves about authors whose books they no longer want to read. You mentioned that you don't like this author's writing style, so it’s understandable that you don’t want to spend time reading more of that her books. One way to indicate that is to create a shelf, such as “not-interested.” 
We understand that not everyone agrees with our approach, which is why hearing from some of our older members is so valuable for us. We're glad that your experience overall has been a good one (especially since you've been a top reviewer - not an easy category to crack!), and we hope that you'll continue to enjoy Goodreads. We are learning and adapting as we grow, and we believe that this is the right thing to do for the sake of our community. 
Please let us know if you have any additional feedback.
Best regards,
The Goodreads Team
Well, my goodness. An actual human with the power of independent thought responded! Still no specific response to my "what exactly did I do" question, though; would it have killed them to copy & paste?
Since they asked, I'm considering responding with something along the lines of "yes, but haven't shelves specifically set up for books by authors who have acted offensively been deleted?" along with "Yes, my experience was good up until about a year ago, but I've been horrified by some of the things that have happened lately - for example, someone I know being banned with, apparently, no warning and for no reason she was aware of; also, the nearly complete lack of response to users' concerns in the Feedback group; also, the lack of a sitewide announcement to draw attention to the changes made to the terms of service and, more important, how they were being followed up. I still have people sending me messages expressing surprise at the deletions that occurred late last year."
So - any suggestions for while I apparently have their ear?