[I realized after I reblogged an interesting post purposing silence in the face of Badly Behaving Authors, that it could be assumed that I agree with it, which isn't exactly true. I reblog, retweet and share things on social media that make me think or I think others will find interesting. I don't necessarily agree or endorse the ideas contained with in, and in this instance I do not agree.]
Here’s my two cents.
The silent treatment, is not unlike the idea of “don’t feed the troll,” in that it assumes that if you ignore something it will disappear or fade away. In the case of harassment, and abuse this is quite the opposite.
Silence is the absence of sound, and in this case its the absence of taking responsibility for your actions. If a troll is met with no resistance, or repercussions for their behavior do they learn anything? Yes, that no one will stand against them. If they shout loud enough, badger enough or use enough degrading language they win.
This is no different with an author who feels justified in harassing, or recruiting readers/fans/followers to harass other people on their behalf. That’s what this is about, harassment trolling of reviewers and readers for not only daring to not like an author’s work, but to post their opinions in a public venue.
See this isn’t just about you avoiding an undesirable book, or obnoxious author. It’s not just about GoodReads policing your shelves, or deleting reviews. It’s about the complete lack of protection for readers posting book reviews online.
Where authors will huge fan followings can direct an barrage of hate at one lone reviewer for daring to having an opinion. Where that reader is harassed on multiple social networking platforms, called names and vilified. Where even the social networks like GoodReads, Facebook, and Twitter give readers/reviewers no protection from this kind of harassment, but deletes reviews to protect authors.
Where does a reader go? How does silence help them?
I understand the idea of not giving authors like this attention, or sales, but understand people who buy books based on these kind on controversy, are buying it because of the author’s detestable behavior. A voice of decent is no different to them than silence, but think of the readers that could be reached if you speak up. Think of the readers you could save from wasting money on a bad book, or the authors who will think twice before lashing out against a reviewer.
Let’s be clear, this isn’t about punishing Badly Behaving Authors, it’s about protecting readers and reviewers. It’s about doing what GoodReads, and other social network sites, refuse to do. Ensuring that we’re all able to post our book reviews without fear of harassment and abuse.
Here’s a great TedTalk that Steph Guthrie did on Misogynist Trolling, that really changed my mind on being silent when others are being harassed. The Problem with “Don’t Feed the Trolls.”