Goodreads: You might not like it, but it's not censorship.

Friday, September 20, 2013
Okay, I'm not even going to get into the backstory of what Goodreads did. Regardless of your position on the issue, I agree Goodreads just created themselves a PR nightmare, when they could have done something that made sense like, oh, say, create the ability to have private shelves/reviews so people could stick stuff where only they could see it instead of deleting it without notice.

Don't know what I'm talking about? Then get yourself up to speed. I'll wait.


http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/1499741-important-note-regarding-reviews

We good? Great, let's continue.

Again, I'm not saying what's right or wrong here. But, here's the thing.

Goodreads is NOT CAPABLE of CENSORSHIP.

Censorship is via a government, etc.

Wikipedia definition
PBS.org definition

Goodreads is a BUSINESS. Businesses like Goodreads have the right to define their terms of use. Nowhere that I'm aware of is there a law that requires Goodreads to let everyone say whatever the hell they want regardless of Goodreads' views on it.

As a BUSINESS, unless you actually write the checks that pay the bills there, you really don't get a say. As a customer of said business, you have the right to express your displeasure, or to vote with your feet by leaving.

But please, for the sake of my OCD brain, quit calling it censorship. Call it bullshit or shitty customer service, or whatever you want to call it based on whichever side of the aisle you're standing on.

But...

It is NOT censorship.

Because Goodreads is a BUSINESS, not a GOVERNMENT.

And if you think Goodreads is a government, you have FAR bigger problems, bunky.

4 reader comments:

  1. Okay, I read the alert post from Goodreads. (Okay fine I read MOST of it)
    And from what I understand they are no longer going to allow harassment, backbiting, or name calling to take place on their site. They do not want reader/authors in Kahoots with each other. Um... what's wrong with that? Seems like good professional logic to me.



  1. Annamieuk said...:

    I quite agree LA Cloutier. I read down to the end of the first page, before coming back to Tymber's comment. My take on it is that the GR readers seem to be unable to let go and move on from an or any incident involving a reviewer and an author. They all jump on the bandwagon and everybody seems to want to put in their two cents worth. Once an author has been treated this way after one book review, do these readers leave them alone when another book by the same author comes out? Or do they do the dirty, and start slagging off that author, without reading the book, getting their little friends to add to it. All because that author may have unwittingly, once responded as they have a right to, an earlier review of one of their books? And what constitutes harrassment or 'abuse'?!!!! by an author? I will bet this is a disgruntled reader upset that the author (or a friend of the author) dared to reply to their review. For such readers to then boycott the rest of the author's books is okay, as long as they keep it to themselves, (unless another reader posts a question about the author's books, and that reader chooses to enlighten them in a negative way), that I believe is totally wrong. I have read stand - alone books by an author one of which I might not have enjoyed entirely or at all, or just found a chore to finish, yet have enjoyed all their other books. Had I bothered to write a neg. review about that one? No. I just decided it or the subject matter maybe, wasn't my cup of tea, and I moved on. It didn't stop me from reading the rest of the books by the same author, and I'm glad I did. These GR readers who are protesting now, are doing themselves and their friends, or "followers?" - Blimey, they're not Jesus for goodness sake!, Not to mention new readers who want to read areview of a particular book before deciding if they want to get the book, no favours at all. On Amazon, for instance, I will read the authors description of the book first and then if I like it I click to buy. Very rarely do I read any reviews for the book, before purchase,(It may be so new there aren't any yet), especially if it's an author I already love. Reading some threads on GR, is like being in a grade school or high school classroom. People clearly don't realise how childish they look on paper, or screen, slinging their poisonous comments back and forth. More and more joining in. It's sad really they are supposed to be grown ups. Certainly not the kind of people I'd want to be reading anything I wrote! Puts me off to begin with. Anyway, enough said. I can fully understand why GR has taken this stance, and the only agreement I might have with the protesters is, yes they should have written to them individually first if their review or group or shelf, was being removed and giving them time to rectify it. But that's all.Good on GR for finally trying to forge a truce. Much good may it do them now. Too little too late as they say. Sorry this looks a bit long now, but as a reader I wanted to have a say, lol.

  1. Like I said, I don't have a problem with a business making business decisions. I do think Goodreads created this problem themselves by not enforcing their own TOS/TOU. And I strongly suspect their recent acquisition by Amazon is behind this sudden push. I agree there's been bad behavior by authors and reviewers, and GR didn't help the situation any over the years. They should have alerted the masses and given them say a two-week grace period to alter "flagged" shelves, or the ability to make them private so it didn't matter what someone called them. Yes, GR has the right to make business decisions. But I think in this case they've implemented it in a pretty stupid way.

  1. Anonymous said...:

    I do agree completely that it sounds like they are just starting to enforce their terms of service. It doesn't sounds like censorship in that the terms to leave a review have been stated that the review should be about the BOOK or the author's influences for the book not personal negative comments on the author themselves. So those reviewers are going outside the stated guidelines for reviewing. This is much like a class discussion being about the 3rd act of a Shakespeare play but someone keeps trying to move the discussion back to the first act, it is outside the guidelines for the discussion. That is not censorship, it is forcing the parties to keep to the guidelines.
    I do have to say that based on your own sources that, though they are not by what has been said, Good Reads is actually capable of censorship as they are the "controling body" for the site.