Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Personal attacks are uncool

I’ve generally tried to stay out of the whole thing between STGRB and the Goodreads Reviewers groups. Although I identify with the GR side more, I’ve always thought that both sides had very, very good points. Some authors need to learn how to react better to negative reviews and some reviewers need to understand that their reviews are seen as hurtful, which makes them less helpful to people discovering the book or author. I think both sides will occasionally overreact to various situations, dragging them out far longer than necessary. Especially since after a while the conversations eventually go from the actual subject at hand, the review and the author’s reaction, to conversations and speculation about people’s personal lives.

Even if the personal lives of whomever is involved does have some bearing on the situation at hand, which it usually doesn’t, this always turns very ugly very fast. What should be a conversation about the review or the author turns into a “he did, she did- wait, what about the book” type of conversation where both sides end up feeling like nothing was really accomplished because nothing was.

Why I'm bringing this up is because recently one of the members of STGRB did something that was so uncalled for, so appalling, that I couldn't stay silent about how I felt about it. The other day Carroll Bryant posted three blogs about various people, John Green, Amanda Welling (whom Bryant alleges is GenX), and Jude (the girl Bryant was in an online relationship with). I want to note that GenX denies being Welling and says that one of the STGRB admins also told Bryant that they weren’t the same person.

Rather than talk about everyone's parts in the whole STGRB/GR scenario, the blogs only existed to post personal accusations and remarks. Some of them included open speculation that was pretty far fetched and even if by some chance they were true, had absolutely nothing to do with reviewing books. Which is what STGRB is actually supposed to be about. In all fairness, I think this was all Bryant and not anything condoned by STGRB themselves as far as I know.

What were the remarks? GenX has screenposts, but they're pretty awful. Bryant accused GenX of having an affair, alleges that John visits prostitutes because he tweeted a porn star on Twitter, and posted a lot of personal information about Jude, the girl that he was supposed to have been in a relationship with. None of it had anything really to do with books. At all. The only thing that had anything to do with any of the past events was that Jude was supposed to have written a review for him and their relationship ended badly on both sides. I'm particularly horrified that Bryant is putting out more information about Jude than about him accusing GenX of infidelity and of John of being, well, a john. She was a minor at the time and regardless of how rocky the relationship was on either side, it's very poor form to go out and start releasing such private information. I can't vouch whether or not she's supplying information to anyone, but from what I've heard, Jude has wanted to remain out of the spotlight and keep her private life private. Continuing to release information about her serves no purpose and only makes Bryant look bad because of it.

I just have to ask... what did any of this really accomplish? What purpose did any of this really serve? I know that in the past people have speculated about Bryant's personal life, but I don't see where that merited a series of attack blogs. Part of what I hate about some of the stuff on Goodreads from both sides is that people bring dirty laundry into the argument. Forgive me if this sounds callous, but I don't care what people do in their personal lives. Let me rephrase that. I care if someone is going out and beating on nuns with a baseball bat. I don't want people to hurt other people. It's wrong and it shouldn't happen. But when we're discussing the merits of a review and whether or not authors should or shouldn't respond to a review they find over the top, I don't think that speculating on whether or not John has paid for sex has any place in that argument. If I were to go about doing something like that then all it'd do is discredit myself and any argument I was trying to make. It also draws away from what we should really be talking about.

Again, what did any of the blogs really do? For the most part I don’t see where a lot of people were really talking about Bryant anymore until his recent spate of activity where he began rehashing his Goodreads run in and his relationship with Jude. But really, what will this accomplish? It only makes Bryant look bad and by extension, further tarnishes the reputation of STGRB, who didn’t start out with a stellar reputation in the author/blogging world to begin with.

My point of posting this is to give my own viewpoint about this. These guys are my friends and I'm posting this not because I want to make a statement about the whole STGRB/GR scenario, but because I find actions like this disgusting. I'm not comfortable with everything that GenX or the GR group does, but hey- I'm a wimp. I'm the Fluttershy of our group of friends. I'm not an activist. I just couldn't see those blogs and not remark on them. I know I'm opening myself up as a target and for those who might want to take a swipe at me, know that this will probably be one of the few blogs I'll post about the STGRB/GR stuff. If you want to villainize me, then fine. I just felt like those blogs were uncalled for and I'd really like it if such personal speculation and remarks could be left out of it.

Update:

I'd been mentioned in a blog by Bryant and I'm going to post another blog about stuff.

2 comments:

  1. I'm having a hard time, over all, just keeping my head around the whole GR/STGRB dramas in general.

    I understand that for some they feel like they can't pursue their professions because there are bullies out there who are willing to do/say anything just for the fun of beating them down and stopping them from becoming notable authors.

    And I understand that for some they feel like they have to hit back as hard and as personal as they can because these are very real and very personal matters.

    Wouldn't it be nice if everyone just played by the rules, reviewed content, accepted reviews graciously, sites policed for personal attacks (or uninformed reviews), and all the middle school drama just stayed, ya know, in middle school?

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  2. I agree whole heartedly!

    I just really think that if STGRB wasn't around, there would be less of a focus on the whole "us versus them" feeling that a lot of reviewers are feeling right now. Part of this is because unless the author does something so awful that even STGRB can't condone it, they'll support the author regardless. This, along with other obvious reasons, is why so many people see the group as little more than a bully bandwagon at worse and at best, they see the group as an irrelevant group of authors that suck all the fun out of reviewing. They refuse to see that maybe, just maybe, the author is just as bad as the people they're trying to finger as the bad guys. These actions cause the exact opposite of what they want, meaning that any time something happens between authors and reviewers, the review camp will almost always side with the reviewer. Nothing is getting accomplished with the way STGRB is running things and I really can't wait for them to eventually lose interest and move on to the next big thing in their lives.

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