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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Vampire Author Tries to Fight Trolls

Posted by on Wed, Mar 5, 2014 at 8:11 AM

Dianna Dilworth at Galleycat says:

Anne Rice has joined a number of authors who have signed a petition to stop “author harassment” in user reviews on Amazon.

The petition, which is addressed to Jeff Bezos and Jon Fine, calls for more oversight and control on Amazon’s product reviews system. The authors of the petition are trying to put an end to what they have described as bullying and harassment in book reviews.

The obvious answer would be to not read the reviews, but I guess that's too much to ask. I can't imagine that Amazon will work with the signers of this petition. Where do you draw the line? Some authors, I can personally attest, are incredibly sensitive. Authors whose books I've panned have accused me of everything from sadism to hate speech. Amazon doesn't have the time or the resources to police user reviews at the level of granularity that these authors are requesting.


Comments (16) RSS

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You know, if a customer sees a review riddled with nonsensical ad hom attacks or vague generalizations not grounded in truth, we usually ignore them as some crazy person with some axe to grind. Fighting the trolls at face level is quixotic. They are not dark knights of the internet, they are windmills.
Posted by Thunderbird on March 5, 2014 at 8:30 AM · Report this
To quote Tyler the Creator: "Hahaha? how the fuck is cyberbullying real? Ha ha, nigga just walk away from the screen, like, nigga, close your eyes, haha."
Posted by GermanSausage on March 5, 2014 at 8:31 AM · Report this
south downtown 3
Yelp is next...
Posted by south downtown on March 5, 2014 at 8:41 AM · Report this
It's easy to pick out a review written by someone with an axe to grind. However, I would love it if Amazon could find some way to control the misguided ones that give a book 1 star or 2 stars on the basis of criteria that have nothing to do with the merit of the book itself. Like missed deliveries, or technical issues with a Kindle, or books arriving damaged, or stuff like that. Those belong in a customer service venue, not the book review section.
Posted by mikeinSF on March 5, 2014 at 8:47 AM · Report this
@3: Yelp mostly just needs a filter that automatically removes any restaurant or bar review with the word "birthday" in it.
Posted by doceb on March 5, 2014 at 8:48 AM · Report this
It's not simply a matter of not reading the reviews. Bad reviews on Amazon can seriously hurt an author's sales. It doesn't affect people like Anne Rice, who are famous independent of the Internet economy, but mean-spirited reviews can hurt less successful authors a lot. It's good to see a successful author like Rice standing up for the little guy.
Posted by Adam Hunault on March 5, 2014 at 8:59 AM · Report this
zachd 7
Yelp is awesome. My friend's business got one angry review six years ago, and that's the only review Yelp allows. All other reviews ever are "screened" away. Stay classy, Yelp.
Posted by zachd on March 5, 2014 at 9:00 AM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 8
@7 they screen off reviews by people who aren't regular reviewers or only have one or two reviews. If you link your friend's business that's probably what we would see. Look at any business with a bunch of visible reviews--they will all probably be by people with 5+ reviews.
Posted by Joe Szilagyi on March 5, 2014 at 9:13 AM · Report this
ScandalMgr 9
In "Is Amazon Bad For Books?" George Packer explains why Anne Rice could do better.

Packer's analysis in his latest piece in the New Yorker sums up for me the reason I avoid doing business with Amazon, "the book business in the age of Amazon mirrors the widening inequality of the broader economy". This also translates to how they view their own warehouse employees, as expendable.…
Posted by ScandalMgr on March 5, 2014 at 9:52 AM · Report this
mikethehammer 10
I don't buy books (or anything, really) at Amazon, so don't have any real relevant personal experience in this matter. But I gotta take issue with Paul's claim that Amazon lacks the resources to do anything at all.
Posted by mikethehammer on March 5, 2014 at 10:52 AM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 11
Bullying is not when people you will never meet and have no power over you write mean things on a website you choose to go read.

Poor Anne Rice, she is probably crying herself to sleep on her giant money stack. Poor victim.

Pretty tired of talentless hacks like Anne Rice trying to ban non-positive speech about their garbage instead of trying to elevate their work above garbage.
Posted by Theodore Gorath on March 5, 2014 at 11:09 AM · Report this
They could turn the reviews off by default. They won't, but they could.
Posted by usagi on March 5, 2014 at 11:14 AM · Report this
keshmeshi 13
Amazon could do a better job of filtering out negative campaigns against specific books. Breitbart trolls flooded the reviews of Yglesias' ebook on rent and zoning, and, to this day, Amazon still hasn't filtered them out.
Posted by keshmeshi on March 5, 2014 at 11:22 AM · Report this
ScrawnyKayaker 14
Is Rick Riordan joining Anne Rice in this campaign? That guy's even more subliterate than her, but they could both presumably afford a complete set of solid gold desk accessories, so I don't see why they'd be butt-hurt about haters.
Posted by ScrawnyKayaker on March 5, 2014 at 11:28 AM · Report this
ScrawnyKayaker 15
Oops, I guess that should be "more subliterate than she..."

Hoist with my own petard.
Posted by ScrawnyKayaker on March 5, 2014 at 11:32 AM · Report this
Chris B. 16
I don't see why Amazon can't just throw them a bone and deactivate Chris Roberts' account:…
Posted by Chris B. on March 5, 2014 at 1:54 PM · Report this

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