Bad Reviews: I Can Handle Them, and So Should You
On Twitter, a hopeful request:
Paige Vest (@paigevest) July 18, 2012
Oh, well, okay. Since you asked.
For those who don’t know, “Stop the GR Bullies” relates to a Web site created by some folks to go after people on Goodreads who write reviews that the people who founded the GR Bullies site find to be “bullying” in some way or another. It appears that the plan the GR Bullies folks have to deal with this issue is to be bullies themselves to the people they’ve decided they don’t like. This is the sort of recursive stupidity that makes you wonder how self-aware people actually are on a day-to-day basis.
I could go further into detail about it, but instead, let me commend to you Foz Meadow’s observations on the matter, author Stacia Kane’s rather appalled post from a writer’s point of view, and SB Sarah’s general comments about criticism and reviews online. These are all rather sensible points of view, and in a general sense I find myself in agreement with them.
However, because it wouldn’t be any fun if I just pointed you at other people’s thoughts and said “yeah, that,” some brief thoughts on the matter, in handy numbered form. First, for those folks who are fans of a particular writer and his or her work:
1. Everyone is entitled to their opinion about the things they read (or watch, or listen to, or taste, or whatever). They’re also entitled to express them online.
2. Sometimes those opinions will be ones you don’t like.
3. Sometimes those opinions won’t be very nice.
4. The people expressing those may be (but are not always) assholes.
5. However, if your solution to this “problem” is to vex, annoy, threaten or harrass them, you are almost certainly a bigger asshole.
6. You may also be twelve.
7. You are not responsible for anyone else’s actions or karma, but you are responsible for your own.
8. So leave them alone and go about your own life.
Speaking for myself as an author, I am a big boy and can handle criticism just fine. I can’t imagine most people I know going frothy on someone who doesn’t like my writing, because I’m not the sort of people who inspires Justin Bieber-like foamyness in my fans, and anyway I assume most people who read my work are emotionally developed to the point of recognizing inappropriate behavior. But just in case some of you aren’t one of those people, a handy guide:
When I need your help with a negative review, I will ask for it.
If I don’t ask for it, I don’t need your help.
If I do ask for it, you should consider me temporarily out of my head and ignore me.
If you decide to attack someone in my name without consulting me, you make me look bad. That will annoy me, and I may take it out on you, possibly publicly. It will also make me wonder what the deal is that kept you from learning impulse control.
Consider the above in effect for all eternity.
Finally, if you’re an author who thinks it’s peachy for folks who post negative reviews of your work to be harassed by vengeful mental infants for the dubious crime of expressing an opinion, please grow the fuck up and stop embarrassing the rest of us. Thank you.
I trust this makes my position on this matter sufficiently clear.