The moral? Don’t let bullies stop you. Keep making great art!
Below is a guest post that we promised one of our blog readers we would publish. It is a warning about one of the nastier bullies we’ve seen online, Mahala R. Burlingame.
Edit: For our story on Mahala getting banned from Goodreads, click here.
We’ve often wondered why bullies do what they do. And as many have commented over the years, most believe it is done as a form of sadistic pleasure. Yet it isn’t often that those who engage in this behavior will actually to it.
What separates Mahala from the other bullies we’ve covered is how open she is about the sincere joy she gets from bullying authors. Miss Burlingame is a woman who, much like a yellow jacket, attacks without provocation, sometimes seemingly at random. She is a woman who will attack authors simply for posting an opinion she disagrees with or writing a Tweet she did not like.
And why? Well, much like the name of her blog, Spare Ammo, which claims in its title that it “targets the self-published author,” Mahala enjoys what she does. Whereas other bullies create nonsense lies to cover their actions, Mahala relishes in it, creating articles about authors telling them to “kiss their wish goodbye” (of becoming a successful author).
The message Mahala sends out is very simple: if you disagree with me, your dreams, your hopes, and your careers are done for.
Recently, an author had her life shattered after sharing a half-page essay regarding her own personal views on reviewing and books. This article was posted to her blog. It was impersonal, named no one, and spoke merely on the general subject of reviewing.
Post after post, the author was bullied until she was forced to take down her entire blog and write an apology to Mahala on behalf of sharing an opposing viewpoint that Mahala did not like. Mahala then refused to accept the apology (which she was not even entitled to in the first place).
Yes, you are reading this correctly. After bullying an author into deleting her entire blog and apologizing for her having an opinion, Mahala still had not had enough, finding that the apology she did not deserve was not good enough for her.
Eventually the bullying became so cruel that even her cohorts became weary of it.
But still she did not stop. After a month-long campaign to carpet bomb this young author’s books, insult her, and defame her for pure amusement, the author had to be hospitalized from the mental anguish that had been inflicted on her. Did Mahala stop then? No. She enjoyed this young woman’s suffering, bragging about it and even going so far as to ridicule the fact that she had fallen ill.
When an author tried to intervene and help his fellow indie writer, Mahala launched an attack on him, as well, threatening to give out the phone number to the author’s family.
Sadly, this is a recurring pattern for Miss Burlingame, who will attack…pretty much any author for any reason, such as another author who wrote a humorous Twitter post:
Or an entirely different author for writing a book she doesn’t like:
Or yet another author for wanting the bullying to stop:
We ask that you avoid Mahala at all costs, as her bullying is not limited just to destroying your careers, but your character as well. Please be careful and vigilant.
We’re doing a little experiment here. We received this from a blog reader who asked us to post it. It’s an experiment that demonstrates how the AFT, the Machin Shin of Amazon, swarm in on reviews and execute down voting campaigns.
I was targeted by the bullies last July and they creepily stalk everything I do on line. For instance, I read Anne Rice’s new book, Beauty’s Kingdom, loved it and posted a review. That should be the end of the story but the bullies can’t let me AND Anne Rice get away with completely normal transactions on Amazon so they swarmed and voted my review “not helpful” 58 times. You wouldn’t think that was mathematically possible given the averages but somehow, within a couple weeks, 58 people felt compelled to neg my review on a book they hadn’t even read. Which begs the questions: why are you rating the reviews of a book you’ve never read and how do you know that the review isn’t helpful? Details. Anyhoo, through some glitch in the system, the text of the review went missing. I’m sure it was nothing conspiratorial but after reporting it, I was told to enter the review again BY Amazon! They basically told me to wash the review. So I did. Now I sit back and watch as the bullies get into a dither about the situation and spread the word that the review has been washed and they must all go back and neg the review. How else will I learn my lesson? So I thought you might enjoy watching the numbers climb back up while the bullies say they don’t carpet bomb or instigate. I got nine negs within 2 hours. This should be entertaining and educational!
Well, we can’t say we’re surprised, but the notorious bully who’s been trolling the internet for over a decade, Ginmar, was finally banned from Goodreads. If you click on her profile link, she is no longer there:
Why? Well, you all remember Ginmar’s Bully Review of a book by an author she has been attacking lately, right? Just recently, she did the same thing with another book (same series) by this author:
When this was reported to GR for violating TOS, management contacted her about the review and what did she do? She wrote another review:
This review of course was reported again, so she decided it wasn’t worth it, but hoping no one would notice, left her author-bashing shelves as they were:
When this was reported again, GR said, “Bye, bye, Ginmar!”
So, let this be a lesson to all the trolls. You cannot do whatever you want, because if you do, you will end up getting banned.
We here at STGRB are just glad to see Goodreads and Amazon enforcing their TOS and finally taking action against the bullies.
We are happy to announce that Goodreads has recently gotten a little bit safer for it’s authors and readers. Notorious bully, Jennifer:
Is no longer there. Why? Because GR removed the “not interested” button on sponsored books (Dammit!) *sarcasm*
Hmm… *scratches chin*
Well, perhaps for Jennifer that was just the last straw in a whole list of policy changes that GR has made this past year, many of which appear to be taking more and more power away from the bullies.
This just in. Another GR carpet-bomber named Lucybee has been found and by the looks of it, is a sock account created by a bully to one-star books:
We encourage all our readers to report this account to GR.
Well, this is definitely a big win for STGRB and everyone who supports our blog! This was published last week, and it looks as though Amazon is going after sites that sell phony Amazon reviews:
Bravo, Amazon! You are finally doing the right thing.
Not only that, you all remember that bully review TheBunny posted saying an author should be shot? Ya know, just after she said that STGRB was about “stopping bad reviews?”
Isn’t it interesting how she shows no remorse for saying that someone should be killed? That’s very telling.
Anyhow, kudos to Amazon for doing the right thing. We sincerely hope this trend continues.
We find it so ironic when the bullies make claims that STGRB is about “stopping bad reviews.”
And then we see them write bully reviews like this:
Yes, this is a new bully who has appeared on our radar. He or she calls his or herself “TheBunny.” He/she joined the TRF under the guise of trying to “investigate the bullying,” and of course he/she determined that there was none.
Looks like “TheBunny” will fit right in with the rest of the bullies.
We just received this screenshot from a blog reader. It’s a Goodreads review of an author Ginmar has been tormenting recently. This is the kind of review that is absolutely unacceptable and should be flagged and reported to Goodreads management.
Ginmar is a notorious bully who frequents Goodreads, Amazon, and many other cyber hangouts. She has been trolling and tormenting others on the internet for over 12 years. Should any of our readers have any cause to bring legal action against her for her abuse, please contact us via our email or Contact Us page. We can help you identify and locate her for purposes of serving papers.
Here is a screenshot of the people who liked Ginmar’s review, many of whom we recognize. You may want to keep a sharp eye out for these GR members, too.
This saddens us more than any other news we get on our site. When we see bullying online to this degree, it reminds us that bullying cannot be ignored. This mentality of “ignore the bully and he will go away.” Sorry, it just doesn’t work.