Everyone is very aware of Goodreadsaggedon from Friday, September 20th, 2013. If I were to be honest, I could say that I was disappointed that I didn’t follow my gut instinct when I read the message that Amazon had bought Goodreads. I tried to brush it off and remain on the fence, when in my heart, I felt the very “footsteps of doom.”
We’re now living out our own Lord of the Rings here, folks.
Most of this content comes from a comment I left on a BookLikes post for one of my friends.
My biggest issue from this entire event was the decision over shelving. We knew that comments about author behavior were struck out of reviews, hence they had to go in comments. That seemed fair. The comment section was for discussion, and I could list out my reasons for the decision I made. But the shelves? That was downright tactical to make Goodreads more “author friendly.” Right up until September 20th, 2013, the shelves were never touched, never discussed, and always defended. The complete change in attitude really says that Goodreads is not focused on readers, but the machine that they have to feed – greed and selling power. I am highly disappointed. Goodreads’ main customer service rep did nothing but fuel the flames when she stated that Goodreads had now deemed that they are calling the shots. She’s treating these readers like spoiled little children who just won’t sit down and eat their meat.
We want our pudding reviews.
It also bears mentioning that the deletion of material by others WITHOUT any warning was the final straw for many of those who wanted to rally behind Goodreads. I don’t know who decided that clicking the delete button during opening on Friday morning was a step in the right direction, but I pity that fool. I hope alcohol and lack of caffeine were the main culprits. I joke, but underneath it all, it was a very poor choice that sent a clear message: “We’re cleaning house, and you are not welcome anymore. We went ahead and burned all of your stuff to let you know how we feel.” But at least we got a thread where we could bitch into the void! Because that is how they care! Forget that they are not reading it! It is all about appearing that our voice matters.
And what about the update mentioning that this was not censorship? As I told one person, you can’t piss on my boots and tell me it’s raining. You can’t say it is not something if you simply don’t like the word. I suppose we could use the PC term “surprise silencing.” The whole censorship debate reminds me of the children I see running around a classroom. When they are reminded that they can’t run, the retort is “I’m hopping/skipping/shuffling/crawling! I’m not running!” I’m not squabbling over the term, Goodreads. What you are doing is censoring.
But let’s look on the bright side! Now that we’re catering to authors, there is a large party happening right now, correct?
Even authors are offended. How can they ignore that? Authors are leaving the site as well – the very people that they are trying to coddle. The little message about bad reviews was even insulting to me, and I am just a reader. I would be pissed off if a message popped up automatically to tell me to “calm down and breathe.” I’d blow a godsdamn fuse over that message alone. And the very thing they are claiming will help sales, bad reviews, is unwelcome and forbidden on the site. Double standard right there. How can authors use a site if all of the readers are leaving? They might import Amazon reviews, but the smart authors understand what is happening. Authors are people too, and no one likes to be force-fed a lie.
All jokes aside, I don’t appreciate the patronizing attitude I see towards readers and the authors. I am highly disappointed that the very thing we worried over when the big announcement came is now a reality. Both sides are losing. My biggest hope is that the Kickstarter program comes into play and a new site is created. One that does not set out to be bought.