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Jaq D Hawkins

Some Musings

Bad Business

November 8, 2013

Well, it seems that Goodreads has chosen to continue to be an unreliable source for ratings and reviews. Cleaning up the lists and shelves was a good start, but apart from deleting accounts for a couple of the trolls, that's it. Vandals are left to freely carpetbomb the site with fake one-star reviews, though they keep a sharp eye out for fake 5-star reviews and will still delete authors who are seen to have fans or colleagues attempting to balance the negative fake ratings.

How to please none of the people none of the time. The trolls have even released a rather ridiculous booklet to rant about the curtailment of their ability to troll. Ironically, that makes all the contributors into authors and therefore by their own rules, they shouldn't comment on book pages anymore. Excuse me while I laugh at the irony.

The site will continue to thrive because the vast majority of users see the errant children for what they are and ignore them, participating in groups and such as the site was meant to be for, but the vandalism also continues and the attacks on new authors have become openly nasty. Anyone who relies on reviews and ratings on Internet sites or vendors are subject to being misled by skewed feeds and direct attempts to mislead readers one way or the other.

All I can suggest to readers is that they completely ignore customer reviews, on any site. Read a sample of the book and decide for yourself. Even legitimate reviews are the opinion of someone you don't know. I don't want recommendations from the thousands of people who loved Twilight myself.

People need to think for themselves and not rely on the input of total strangers online. You don't know who they are and you may not like the same things. From what I can see, most of the vandalism is coming from people with the reading level of a 12-year-old anyway. They don't tend to like books that are 'too complicated' or that include higher concepts. The worst of them are pretty much limited to Young Adult and Erotic Romance reading and think of Buffy when you mention Fantasy genre.

I wash my hands of it all. Avid readers have always sought out the good books. The efforts of vandals do little more than draw attention to books we might not have heard of otherwise. I've found a few good ones from the derogatory lists that continue on Goodreads. I'm beginning to look at those lists as good recommendation lists, a source for material above the reading level of the average troll.

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