Goodreads, I’m Not Cool With Your Censorship, But I’m Not Leaving

Posted September 28, 2013 by Debby in Uncategorized

Since last Friday, I think almost everyone has been clued in to the fact that Goodreads has started censoring users who reference bad author behavior in their reviews or shelves. Everybody and their mother has been tweeting about it, and there are a ton of posts to be found on the subject. So why am a beating the dead horse? I will not be leaving Goodreads, and that is one angle that I don’t believe has been covered yet.

I disagree with their new policy, and yes, they went about it extremely untactfully, and have been continuing to act in a general huge douchebaggy way. Let’s just pretend all of those are actually legit words.

The thing is, I blog for readers too. 

Let me clarify: yeah, I started blogging for myself – quite honestly, reviewing was just more or less a way to remind myself of the books I read and what I thought of them. Then it grew from that and it put me in contact with this huge blogging community. So then, I started blogging to discuss these books I was reading with others: bloggers that were quickly becoming friends.

But I do pride myself on my identity as a book reviewer – and I also serve the regular readers. The ones who aren’t a part of this active blogging community but who do love books, search for new reads, and perhaps lurk among the discussions. And for those people, I won’t be leaving. The thing is, this policy change is of course big news in the blogging community, but as Goodreads didn’t announce this officially, to all of its users (and the fact that they haven’t is arguably extremely wrong), many of its millions of users don’t know about it. They will not be leaving. There are also plenty of people who read the announcement and shrug because they honestly don’t care too much about bad author behavior. I mean, I know it’s a big controversy among us bloggers and we are super on edge about it, but there’s many readers who are either oblivious to or passive about that.

I don’t want to deprive those readers of quality reviews.

Yes, Goodreads fucked up, and in quite a big way. But the Goodreads users, the community – that still means something to me. I never really talk about bad author behavior anyway, and I didn’t have any shelves to talk about it (well, I use my ‘nope’ shelf for it, but that is ambiguous enough to not be deleted… ETA: for now, until they decide to read my mind to know what that means). Therefore, my behavior and usage of the site is not going to affected by this policy change. That really doesn’t mean that I’m shrugging my shoulders at the change, no, I’m furious about it like the rest of you. But does that mean that I’m going to storm out of there in an idealistic charge of “THIS INFRINGES ON MY PRINCIPLES, I WILL NOT STAND FOR IT, AND THERE WILL BE BETTER SITES FOR THIS”? No. Though I’m not judging you if you do, I mean, for all intents and purposes, I’m jealous and wish I could be that resolved. I respect that decision, seriously (and I hope you’ll respect mine).

By Goodreads’ dickhead move, this community of readers and bloggers is being cleaved in two, and that really upsets me. So I am on BookLikes now (and you can follow me here), and I’ll (probably) be doing everything on both sites. I will not be substituting BookLikes for Goodreads though, because BookLikes does not have certain features, but more importantly, it doesn’t have the sizethe majority of the community that I love. It’ll take years for those more casual readers to learn about the site and then decide to move over. I don’t want to leave them! …At least not yet.

You might think that this means I’m an attention whore and I just want the biggest audience as possible for my reviews, and certainly there would be strong arguments in your favor for that, but I want the access to and the ability to connect with as many readers as possible, for one reason only: I really love talking about books and getting to know readers in the process.

I’m not excluding the possibility that my stance on this will someday change. Yes, if BookLikes gets its shit together, adds those functions I love from Goodreads, and becomes less glitchy (yes, I know they are adding new features every week), if all of the bloggers I love start actively making use of that site, if millions start abandoning Goodreads, and if BookLikes, or a different site, has the users and activity to take over as the primary social network for readers, then I’ll happily leave.

But I’m not going to leave behind the discussions and the community on Goodreads yet.

But what about you?

Have you left Goodreads? Are you planning to? What would put you over the edge?
Let me know in the comments!



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