Thursday, August 30, 2012

Opinions are a dime a dozen

Are you familiar with Goodreads? If you're on Facebook, and you read (maybe a lot), it's possible you know of Goodreads, or even use it yourself.

For those not in the know, Goodreads is a site where you can list books you've read, and you are given the option of assigning a star rating to them (1 star = didn't like it, 2 stars = it was ok, 3 stars = liked it, 4 stars = really liked it, and 5 stars = it was amazing). It is very clear, when you hover your cursor over the stars, exactly what the numerological ratings stand for. You can also write a review of the books you've read. I choose not to do this, as I don't consider myself a reviewer, but also because I feel that the star rating system works well enough on it's own. 

Most of the books I've read have received either a 3 or 4 star rating. Some very few have received 5 stars, and a few have received 2 stars. Even fewer have received 1 star. Meaning I (just to clarify) "didn't like it." 

I like Goodreads. I read a lot. A LOT. And it pleases me to have a way to convey how I feel about the books I've read. I understand that it's just my opinion, but I think it's pretty cool to have something available whereby others (who may or may not value my opinion) can see how I, personally, feel about a book I have read. That is the sum of my feelings with regard to Goodreads. I certainly don't profess to know how others view it. I am, after all, only responsible for myself and my own actions and opinions.

So, imagine my surprise, when today I received a message from an author whose book I had assigned a 1 star rating. Keeping in mind that that 1 star rating means I "didn't like it," I was quite taken aback by the fury with which this author addressed me. My rating was viewed as a "personal attack," was considered "unprofessional" and "viscious" [sic], and my morals and ethics were called into question if I did not remove said Goodread's rating, and/or this individual from my Facebook friends list. I was also threatened with "repurcussions" [sic], and made aware that it works both ways, that my book was subject to the same rating by this individual, with a harsh critique to match (this, of course, makes no sense, unless you're 10, but there you go).

Apparently, I'm supposed to be nice to everyone. I'm supposed to play nice, and get along, and support all authors. By posting this rating, by showing my opinion, I was not doing anything of the sort, and was actually involving myself in "personal attacks" on fellow authors.Well, the last time I checked, voicing my opinion about a book I've read is not only allowed, but encouraged, and is not considered a personal attack. Or am I mistaken in that? It would appear, according to this person, that I am very severely mistaken. And that by posting a 1 star rating (which, remember, means I "didn't like it") I obviously "hated" the book, and if I hated it so much, I should have kept my opinion to myself, as it was very unprofessional to state this opinion. (I'm very clear on the difference between "not liking" and "hating" something. Yep, very clear on that difference. And I'm pretty sure Goodreads is too...which is why the 1 star rating specifically says "didn't like it.)

So what did I do? I removed the book and my rating of it, and then I removed the individual from my Facebook "friends" list (for clarification's sake, they had requested my "friendship," not vice versa). I did this not because I lack conviction or integrity, but because people like this, with their bullshit drama, and no life, and lack of their own conviction and integrity, piss me off supremely. I did, however, send a message back, and I did apologize. Because it is not my intent to upset anyone. It actually never occurred to me that someone would get upset over something like a stupid rating on a stupid app where it's understood this is JUST PEOPLE'S OPINIONS. It's not like I went on a diatribe and spouted hate speech all over the internet. And I've received my own 1 star ratings, and negative reviews, and I would never have thought to jump all over anyone who thus posted. Why the hell would I? Everyone is entitled to their opinion. 

However, from this point forward, I will no longer post those books I didn't like. Anything I consider to be a "1 starrer" is no longer getting posted. Because I don't need the aggravation of receiving any more stupid messages from people who have no clear perception of reality. 

And that is all I am going to say on that matter. Other than the fact that threatening me is just not a good idea. Oh yeah, that.


  1. Everyone is entitled to an opinion and if you did not attack the individual, but the works of said author than they need to get thicker skin. No one likes to hear bad things but we can all learn from them.

  2. When I see authors behaving badly over another person's opinion, I just have to shake my head. Installing a code of conduct whereby only happy reviews are allowed sort of reminds me of the practice with kids in activities that dictates "everybody gets a medal or award". You're right, Rebecca. Everyone isn't going to like every story, and that's perfectly fine. Would the author have attacked a reader (non-author) in that way? Probably not.

  3. Lordy, Lordy...I agree with you and you comments, as well as those above. Once again, I'm gobsmacked by the knee-jerk response some individuals exhibit. We all have "opinions" and often we disagree, I don't understand the need for threats and retribution. I'm sorry this happened.


  4. I thank all three of you for your comments and support. I wasn't unduly troubled by this person's...attitude. Having read her work, and it's particularly low calibre, I wasn't really surprised. Her attack on me, however, for merely posting an innocuous rating, and her fury, disgust, and disbelief, was a little mind-bending.

    Lynette, my sweetie and I have also discussed the "everybody gets a medal or award" practice that now takes place in some primary schools. It's a troubling practice, and will not, I fear, lead to any good.

    Barrett, I'm not so sure the response was "knee-jerk." Supposedly, this individual makes a habit of such. Which disqualifies it from being knee-jerk.

  5. Rebecca,

    Sorry to see this happen to you. It seems not only can't we play nicely in the sand box, but some people don't want to hear anything negative about their "baby", ugly or not. I'm also sorry that you were threatened, it seems that women have a tough time with competition, and they demonstrate it when they do such nasty things.

    I don't blame you for removing the review, it isn't worth wasting your time on the dang drama, or her. Karma is a strong force. Best of luck on your next book!


    1. Isabella,

      Thank you for this eloquent comment. And for your support, and good wishes. Very much appreciated.


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