I know I provided my unique and no doubt – this is me we’re talking about, after all – offensive take on this topic the other day, but I felt the need to offer a few thoughts on the ratings, reviews and online behaviour minefield.
I think in many ways the goodreads controversy was inevitable.
When there is a pervasive, reactive culture in any community such as that in the book blogging world, it is bound to bleed from individual sites to social media networks like Twitter and goodreads. It is also true these places, especially when a so-called considered reply adds more fuel to the fire, tend to exacerbate a situation even further by allowing people to respond instantly.
I’m not saying everyone does do this, but in highly emotional charged settings? Well, we all have a ‘fight or flight’ instinct. It’s natural, it’s understandable, and it’s the kind of position any one of us can find ourselves in and can therefore relate to.
Should we react? To launch a counter-attack and starve the bastards out with a siege or not to launch a counter-attack and starve the bastards out with a siege? That may be the question; however, it really comes down to the personality of an individual.
An individual who might feel empowered and protected by the anonymity of the internet. An individual who might feel they have built relationships with authors and other readers and who, as part of their ‘role’, believe they should stand by them and/or defend them.
An individual who might also feel a sense of investment in what might be the subject of the contention. Maybe someone like an author?
Or perhaps even a reviewer??
Now there’s a thought.
The bottom line for me is this: We all have a responsibility for what we do, but what we aren’t responsible for is how people react to it. Similarly, we can’t control what happens, but we can control the way we behave to it.
Yes, we may have contributed in some way to an event that has occurred for which there may be consequences. Yes, we should take ownership of these. We are not, though, some form of deity who knows and sees all and who can predict what happens at any given moment.
Crazy, I know.
I do wonder if it might be time to take stock.
To think about why we became involved in this online community in the first place.
To remember that we all just fucking love to read.