Goodreads, Youtube and Anonymity

I know many authors stay away from goodreads and after the last few weeks that probably hasn’t changed. Of course there are arguments for staying off goodreads as an author: you don’t have to obsess over the number of adds your book has, your rating or not so favorable reviews. Authors are a neurotic bunch, and sites like Publishers Marketplace, goodreads or amazon can make us even more anxious.

When ARCs of The Other Life were sent out into the world, I considered staying off Goodreads (not to cancel my account though) but I was too curious and kept checking how many people had added my book as to-read and every review I got. You could say I was addicted to my author’s dashboard on goodreads but eventually the curiosity lessened and I stopped checking reviews. And yet I’m still on goodreads on a daily basis but not as an author. I’m there as a reader because even though I’m an author, I’m also a reader. I love reading books, I love browsing the goodreads lists for new books, I love reading reviews of books – the good and the bad. Maybe that’s why I’ve made peace with reviews. Does a bad review stop me from buying a book I’m excited about? No. Sometimes the arguments why a reviewer hated a book convince me to buy the book. Because one person’s hate-list is another person’s love-list.
Of course some GIFS or pics in reviews are kind of mean but they are also entertaining and that's one of the goals of a review, isn't it? If reviews are boring, nobody wants to read them. I have to admit that I sometimes read the one or two star reviews for entertainment. Nothing is better than a rant accompanied by a few funny pics. I don't have to agree with a reviewer to enjoy their review. Sometimes I read negative reviews of books I've loved and though I might disagree with everything the reviewer says, I'm often entertained by their review.
I know some people think reviews and especially comments on goodreads are too harsh and should be censored. I’m not one of those people.

That brings me to a related topic: Youtube’s plan to force people to use their real names, if they want to comment on videos. Have you ever read the comments on youtube? One word: holy shit. They make even the harshest comment on goodreads look like a lovenote. I’m sure that people won’t be as racist or hurtful or sadistic on youtube if this real name rule is enforced. And maybe at some point (and some of the comments on Youtube have passed that point) it is necessary to exercise control over the way people comment. Not the content, but that isn’t Youtube’s agenda. So if you don’t mind saying hateful, racist stuff under your real name on Youtube, you can still do it. But maybe people will stop to think about it for a moment, if it can have consequences for their offline life. I like the anonymity the internet provides, though I’m using my real name everywhere so it doesn’t really apply to me. Anyway. I don’t really think we need to lose the anonymity. I think each of us should just try to be considerate(I know it can be hard). I’m sure some people want a real name rule for Goodreads too. But as I said, I really like the anonymity of the internet.

Do you think Youtube is making a step in the right direction with their real name rule? Do you think other websites like amazon or goodreads should do the same?
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6 comments:

Ava Jae said...

Like you, I like internet anonymity, but unfortunately a lot of people take advantage of it and abuse the privilege of remaining anonymous. I don't think that all websites need the real name rule (i.e.: Goodreads and Amazon) but as you mentioned, YouTube has some really awful and abusive comments made by Anons, so I think the real name rule is a step in the right direction for that community. In a perfect world, the real name rule wouldn't be necessary on any forum because everyone would be considerate and kind. Unfortunately, that's not our reality.

Susanne Winnacker said...

I think the real name rule will definitely be good for the atmosphere on Youtube. People can be so rude on there. Sometimes I'm embarrassed just from reading their comments.

Jessi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jessi said...

I wish youtube would find a way to keep comments polite. I really hate the comments on there. Forcing people to use their real names, or trying to force them, might help, but I could see people putting in fake names that look real. I think it would be better if parents, or maybe schools, would teach people how to conduct themselves online.
I myself would probably not comment on much political orientated stuff if I were forced to use my real name. I might even review less books. It's not because I'm impolite, I always try to be extremely polite, even when I use my online name. (One that's obviously not a real name.) The reason I wouldn't use my real name is partially because of publishing. What if I'm trying to get published and an agent does a background search and finds my political views don't match up with what they represent? Or if I try to get a job and the employer finds that I have radically different political views from what they like? Most of my political stuff, done with or without a real name, is reasonably private but I still like being anonymous, just because I don't want to get hurt because of my beliefs.
Another problem with forcing people to use their real names is that it could give predators a good way to track someone down. This is another reason I don't use my real name. It doesn't feel safe to be that open around people you don't know.

LM Preston said...

I think they should do a better job at automatically erasing nasty hateful post. But hey, that's a lot of work and $ so maybe posting actual names make a difference but most people will create fake names.

Cathy Keaton said...

In places for authors to hang out, using their real name is anti-climactic because they may be known by a pen name. That would only confuse people and possibly harm their careers.