The moral? Don’t let bullies stop you. Keep making great art!
We just recently heard of a story that we’ve never encountered before. That is, Goodreads deleting one-star ratings of a mysterious GR Giveaway carpet bomber. If you read the emails we received below, you will see for yourself (we blacked out any identifying information):
This is another sign that Goodreads is headed in a much better, more author-friendly direction. Hopefully, this sort of thing will continue.
In a previous post, we mentioned Wattpad and described it to our readers as:
A “type and publish as you go” website for authors
Well, now we would like to add a bit more to our documentation of Wattpad in order to warn our readers and also warn potential or existing Wattpad members. For the most part, it’s a site that is fairly bully-free, at least among its members. The same cannot be said of its management, however. Just recently, we were tipped off to a story of injustice on the site, an injustice that happened to a very popular author (we will call him G) who was trying to help another author after she was harshly bullied. We will give you screenshots and proof as to what happened, and describe how it relates to our post on notorious bully, Linda Hilton, and the recent carpet bombs on her books.
First, we will start with Rants ‘n Stuff published by a friend of G who wanted to vent his frustrations about the incident (we’ve blacked any identifying information):
We also found another person who chimed in in a comment thread discussing the topic:
(Note: “hates” refers to a book of essays G was writing.)
Although the author of the article, Rants ‘n Stuff, will not name this member of hq who lied, we have no reservations in doing so. His name is Nick Uskoski and he is a member of the Wattpad Support Team:
He sounds very professional, doesn’t he?
Think again. We have screenshots that reveal his true colors. Here, he is mocking G, the author he banned:
In these screenshots, he calls G a troll and a tool:
In this next one, he continues to make derogatory comments about him:
We also have evidence that Nick doesn’t even follow Wattpad protocol:
So, how did this all get started? What was Nick’s excuse for banning G?
Well, the answer goes back to the post we did on Linda Hilton. G read Linda’s comment saying she supported down-rating authors’ books as a form of “punishment”:
Then, he shared this with his friends and followers on Wattpad, telling them that he did not agree, but specifically stating that he did not wish any harm to be brought down on her for saying it. He also shared with his WP friends the story of another author who was just recently bullied by Linda and her ilk from BookLikes. As a result, Linda’s books were suddenly carpet-bombed to oblivion and the bullied author received over 100 5-star ratings on her books. The devastation done to Linda’s books was out of G’s control, but he was nonetheless blamed for it.
Now, how does this get back to Nick? In order to retaliate against G, Linda contacted Wattpad, i.e. Nick, and made up a story that G had sent her death threats, which was a complete lie. She even admits to making up a story in this screenshot below:
Then, Nick, already having a grudge against G, decided to ban him permanently from Wattpad with NO warning or explanation. And that’s how it all happened. An abusive WP admin gets a hold of a lie coming from one of Goodreads’ and BookLikes’ notorious bullies and decides to ban an innocent person with no warning.
Pretty shitty, isn’t it?
That’s not all. To add insult to injury, G’s friends started a discussion thread on the topic, asking what happened to him. They were told to remain silent by WP management and their thread was closed:
So, this is why we are warning our readers about Wattpad. We realize that many authors love the site and rightfully so, just be careful of corrupt WP mods and managers. Apparently, there are some bad apples among them.
For those of you who know Anne Rice, she’s been a beacon of hope and a heroine in the fight against online bullying, in particular, the online bullying of authors. Just recently she posted a Facebook announcement of her intention to publish a pamphlet describing her experience with the online bullies she encountered while posting in the Amazon fora. Of course, we all know who these bullies are. We’ve been warning people about them for three years now. What’s great about this pamphlet is that it will continue to spread the word about the dangers of certain online hangouts for authors. After all, to protect them, education (and thus prevention) is the key. Below is a screenshot of her post.
We encourage all authors, Amazon customers, or anyone else who has been bullied online to share your stories with her. You can contact her through her Facebook page or email email@example.com.
Thank you, Anne, for giving authors this opportunity!
Poor, poor Linda. She’s really been going through a rough time lately, hasn’t she? Not only was she kicked out of Goodreads for her bullying behavior, she just recently had ALL her books on GR carpet-bombed to oblivion:
If you want to see firsthand the damage, just take a look at Starlight Seduction:
Now, we don’t know who did this, but we do know exactly why they did it:
The carpet-bombers apparently took offense at this and showed her exactly what it’s like to be “punished”.
Ironic, isn’t it?
As for Linda, all we have to say is:
Careful what you wish for!
This just in from Anon:
Another bully got the boot. Linda Hilton was deleted from Goodreads. Congrats, STGRB, you do a good job to make the world a better place. One bully down, more to go.
Linda has been one of the more aggressive bullies, attacking other authors online, condemning them for five-starring their own books, while at the same time doing the same to hers. She’s part of the Dear Author crowd and has been involved in multiple online attacks of authors, if not leading them herself. Her absence from GR is a huge relief.
We just received this link from a reader. It’s from Linda’s BookLikes page. Here’s a screenshot:
Be careful reading the comments below her post. They may cause you to hurl violently. Typical bully whining and rationalizing as to why they keep getting banned.
On July 24, 2014, Kathleen Hale approached STGRB with interview questions pertaining to online bullying and our site. Below is the Q&A that resulted from that interview.
What reasons did you have for building this site?
We started our site two years ago when we noticed a certain gang of Goodreads friends (later termed the GR bullies) who formed organized attacks on authors on Goodreads. These were usually authors who had unknowingly broken some kind of “rule” (rules made up purely by the Goodreads bullies) and were labeled BBA. It would usually begin with the author getting verbally attacked by the gang who would swarm in and back the author into a corner. Then, this gang would attack the author’s books on both Goodreads and Amazon, leaving either nasty one-star reviews or derogatory shelving or both. They would also hunt the author down on other platforms like the author’s personal website or Facebook page. Afterwards, the attackers would blog about the author and begin what we call the “career destroying” phase, making it known that this was an author whom they did not support and would encourage anyone they knew to boycott their books. What we also found was that most of the bullies were fairly ordinary people who were following the lead of a few unbalanced individuals, not realizing that they don’t really know these online ‘friends’ well, but the activity has attracted a small number of obsessive stalkers who seek out new victims regularly in a demonstratively pathological need to harm others. These few individuals will actually bait authors online to get them to say something, anything, that can be taken out of context so that they can instigate the larger group to swoop in for mass attacks. Because this online gang warfare largely went unnoticed and unchecked, especially by the Goodreads management, we began our blog to monitor and document what was happening in order to educate the public and warn others.
Do you still get complaints from people about Goodreads? If so, how many per month, and what is the nature of the complaints?
Yes, we do. We used to get dozens per month when we started our blog. Now we get maybe one or two per month.
Do you recognize the name Blythe Harris?
Yes, we sure do. Blythe Harris was involved in an attack on a fourteen year old girl back in May of 2012. Blythe, who is an eighth grade teacher, and another GR bully named Archer Adam Pring, ganged up on this girl when the girl commented on Blythe’s review of a book. Both GR bullies proceeded to curse the girl out, telling her to f*** off multiple times. You can read about it here:
In what ways has Goodreads become a platform for bullying?
In conjunction with the Amazon fora, Goodreads IS the platform that started the online phenomenon known as review bullying. Goodreads management practiced an extreme laissez-faire policy when it came to their members. They allowed them to harass and bully authors with very little or no penalty. As a result, vicious gangs formed and authors could get bullied right off of GR for doing very little to nothing, even for just being friends with the wrong person. In 2012, the situation was so bad, we decided to start our blog to help stop the abuse. In two years, it has gotten better, but we are still fighting this problem of online abuse towards authors. These gangs still exist and they have spread to other platforms like BookLikes and KBoards. The best thing we can do now is just educate and warn others about the dangers that exist for all authors out there in the cyber world.
When you say “dangers that exist for all authors out there in the cyber world,” what do you mean exactly? What have you seen happen to bullied authors? And In what ways is this particular kind of bullying particularly nasty? Do you think it would be enough to drive a person crazy?
We’ve seen authors get death and rape threats. That was on Goodreads. Many are hounded relentlessly online, stalked both online and physically, and have had their private information published that led to them being called in their home and threatened. We have many of these incidents documented on our blog. It’s not uncommon for some authors to become severely depressed from being harassed or even have thoughts of suicide. So, yes, it can really drive a person crazy, especially sensitive people like authors.
Very artistic. Very well done.
You’ve heard us say that many of the GR/Booklikes bullies are themselves authors. Well, today’s post is a perfect example of that. You will all remember Litchick as one of the GR bully ringleaders, who was also one of the more outspoken protestors of GR’s anti-bullying policy put into place last year. We’ve just recently discovered that she is an author who writes books under the name of Navessa Allen:
She is also a Goodreads author:
When we discovered this fact, it didn’t surprise us in the slightest. It is a strange phenomenon, we’re finding, but many authors will either become bullies or engage in bullying behavior for their own self-interest, either to curry favor, damage the reputation and sales of their competition, and/or promote their own work.
We find this behavior deplorable and urge everyone, especially authors, to steer clear of it and anyone who engages in it.