The beat goes on…as does the Goodreads censorship debacle

The Great Goodreads Censorship Debacle ★★★★★

GR debacle cover**Release Date: TBD**

This is not censorship – this is setting an appropriate tone for a community site. ~Kara, Director, Customer Care Goodreads

I hope you’ll appreciate that if we just start deleting ratings whenever we feel like it, that we’ve gone down a censorship road that doesn’t take us to a good place. ~Otis Chandler, CEO Goodreads

Cherry-picking what is not “appropriate” (a loaded and subjective term at the best of times) for mass consumption and subsequently making it disappear is the very definition of censorship. If Goodreads is hell bent and determined to do it, then they should at least have the balls to stand by that decision and call it what it is.

I don’t need any doublespeak with my evening cocktail thanks very much. It gives me indigestion.

No matter how you slice this pie, and which side of the argument you fall on — reviewers are being censored. Content is being censored. Goodreads has deemed reviews targeting author behavior as “inappropriate” and having no value. Way to make the decision for everybody. Those reviews have value to somebody and they should get to choose for themselves whether or not they want to read them. Ditto shelving.

You claim these reviews are not about the book, that you want all reviews to remain on topic and I quote: “in a way that’s relevant to the book.” So not only is Goodreads prescribing what is “appropriate in tone” but also what is “relevant”.

And what is relevant and “on topic”? a hundred flashing .gifs to make a person go blind or insane? a random personal anecdote? a dirty joke? an expletive-ridden diatribe? I have many favorite reviews that don’t even address the book at all. What I love about this site is that there is a corner on here for just about every taste and kink and every style of review. For Goodreads to take it upon itself to deem what “belongs” here is a slap in the face to the very definition and spirit of community run. It is overruling and denying the very thing that gives this site its relevance and integrity.

And as for AMAZON — I see you hiding back there in the weeds, perched on that grassy knoll. Consider for just a moment why your Goliath site became a toxic wasteland that no self-respecting reader or reviewer would use. Why you had to buy Goodreads in order to get back into the book reviewing community. You thought no one would leave you because you are so big and important and there is nobody else like you. But guess what? They did leave you, in droves and droves, and found a precious home in Goodreads.

Now you believe in the indestructibility of the GR myth in the same way you believed in your own. GR can be killed too, all in the same ways you ruined your own site. CEASE and DESIST with this complete and utter nonsense. You will sell waaaaay more books (a gazillion more) if you just leave the readers the fuck alone and let the GR community manage the site the way they’ve always done.

To the Goodreads family, in particular to Mr. Otis Chandler himself, you can offer up as much reassurance and platitudes as you want, but not one thing about this feels right. And it shouldn’t to you either.

It’s about time somebody wrote a book about this. Hurry up and release it already (though I hear the author is quite a dick)! In the meantime, to find out more about what shit shenanigans have been going on around here while you were reading, check out the following links:

Summary of GR’s New Censorship Policy

Civil Disobedience – 12 easy suggestions (and one bonus)

Giving Offense: Full on Revolt on Goodreads

By the Numbers: An analysis of the reviews deleted in the Goodreads policy change

Banned Books Week and the Goodreads Debacle

Goodreads: Who is the bully?

Censored by Goodreads

Also, don’t forget to check out the original announcement about the changes that have still only to appear in the Feedback group. Voice your opinion by leaving a comment!

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