Monday, October 27, 2014

BloggerBlackout: Because Stalking is Not Cool.

Image from Bookthingo
Ok, I know that I'm really really late to the bloggerblackout, but in my defence, I just heard about it today from The Passive Voice. And once I heard about it, I knew I had to join.

Wait, what's this bloggerblackout whatchamacallit? 

Recap of the incident (and why I don't believe what Kathleen Hale says). Feel free to skip if you've already read it. 

Simply put, it's a response by bloggers to the atrocious behaviour of Kathleen Hale. Kathleen Hale received a one-star review from a reviewer who initially liked the book, but was then turned off by PTSD jokes and statutory rape that seemed to be condoned (in her piece, Hale says that there is no rape [she fails to specifiy statutory rape]in the book, but it's mentioned in that reviewer's thread several times by more than one person that there is statutory rape. Hale also completely fails to address the PTSD joke, instead going on and on about the rape, so I assume that it's in the book and she doesn't want to admit it). Hale is so upset that she pays for a background check, visits her house and even calls her at her place of work. This is clearly harassment. But according to Hale, she was being catfished by the blogger.

To quote Inigo Montoya, "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

The definition of cat-fishing is (according to "to deceive, swindle, etc, by assuming a false personality online." (when used as a slang verb). Please take note of the word "swindle". It's most commonly used for cases where the victim was cheated out of money. From what I can find on the net, the blogger simply used a pseudonym, and didn't actually try to get the author to give her money or free books or something like that.

Personally, my suspicions of the piece were first raised by the fact the author used Stop the Goodreads Bullies (STGRB) as source of information. If you didn't know, STGRB is a bully side dedicated to doxxing "bullies". In other words, bloggers who post critical reviews. I guess to them, the function of book bloggers is to love every single book and promote it for free.

And the second thing that convinced me that there were serious holes with the stories were the lack of screenshots. Or even a link to the offending review. Evidence is everything, especially on the internet, where you can capture webpages straightaway.

So what we have is an extremely one-sided piece, with indications that there are serious doubts as to how truthful the author is being. From searching on the net, it seems that there's no evidence to support her case.

So, what's with all the bloggers up in arms? 

This concerns our safety. Of course we're going to be worried. I'm lucky enough that I live far far away from most writers I review (and anyway, I don't really do snark because I'm atrocious at it - and I tend to pick books that I like so....). But other bloggers aren't so lucky.

If you don't believe what I'm saying, take some time to read this blogger's account of how she was hit over the head with a wine bottle by an angry author.

We book bloggers spend our time reading and reviewing books not because we're trying to be rich or famous, but because we love reading. We love reading, and we want to spread the word. We're not in this for the money or fame, and we shouldn't have to be afraid for our safety because we dare to speak our minds about books.

Hence, the #haleNo and #bloggerblackout trends on twitter.

So what's your blogger blackout going to entail? Are you posting non-reviews? Only reviews of authors long gone? 

My blackout will last till Nov 1 and I will not be posting anything new. I know some bloggers are posting non-review posts, and I might do that (if I find something to say), but for now, I want this post to stay at the top of my blog.

So give me something to read when you're gone! 

Gladly. Here are the most useful links:
Brianna from Pages Unbound did a wonderful post discussing "Who has the "Authority" to review books?"
Bibliodaze has two great posts, an Open Letter to Kathleen Hale and more about #HaleNo, blogger blackout and the non-existent war between bloggers and authors.
Smart Bitches, Trashy Books talks about The Choices of Kathleen Hale
Dear Author explains why pseudonyms are used by some bloggers (and why the pseudonym should be respected) in On The Importance of Pseudonymous Activity


  1. Thanks for linking to my post!

    Pages Unbound isn't officially participating in a blackout, but I definitely appreciate the sentiment behind the movement. It's always a little discouraging when people get up in arms about something for a day or so and then forget it. I'm glad that bloggers are taking the opportunity to keep saying, "Stalking reviewers and trying to publicly shame them is not okay."

    1. Thank you for articulating what I wanted to say far more eloquently than I ever could.


  2. Ah, I wish I had known about the organized blackout! Such a bizarre incident...

    I used to think that Since I generally don't review books by small presses and never review self-published ones, I could avoid the people who really obsess over their reviews. But I guess even people who are supposed to be restrained by major.publisher PR offices can go off the deep end. Yikes. :/

    1. I've read quite a few indie authors and they were all lovely people (I haven't been so unlucky as to have met with author drama). I guess it just goes to show that you can't tell who's the one that reacts badly to a review :/


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