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December 16, 2009

Another ABM on Amazon
Posted by Teresa at 12:03 PM *

Dear students:

Remember back at Viable Paradise, when we taught you not to make the Author’s Big Mistake (ABM), which is to respond to a bad review? And how we said to never, ever respond defensively to a bad review in a public forum?

Move over, Anne Rice.

Candace Sams, author of Electra Galaxy’s Mr. Interstellar Feller (mass-market paperback, Dorchester/Love Spell), has exploded all over a comment thread on Amazon. She’s posting as Niteflyr One, but the comment thread has her ID’d as the author as of comment #8.

At this exact moment, there are 229 comments in the thread, and the author has Flounced. If you don’t have the time or patience to read the whole thing (instructive though it is), and just want to get to the serious bloodletting, I recommend reading the first page of comments, then skipping forward to page 15, which is where Niteflyr starts getting seriously weird.

Page 16 starts with reader J. Myrna (who has evidently been enjoying the whole mad trainwreck) cheerfully throwing gasoline on the flames. Other readers help too. By page 17, Niteflyr is invoking the FBI in her threats.

It doesn’t stop there, of course. Remember to click on all the links that say “Customers don’t think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway.” For maximum effect, make a nice Schadenfreude Pie to go with it.

(Thanks be to Abi for the link.)

Comments on Another ABM on Amazon:
#1 ::: Jeremy Preacher ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 12:56 PM:

She's holding up Harriet Klausner as a model reviewer? Wow.

#2 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 12:59 PM:

Harriet Klausner liked her book.

#3 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 01:13 PM:

Apparently if you don't like a book it's the editor's fault, for having changed the first draft you would have liked into the final draft you don't like.

(So...if the book is bad, fire the editor; if the book is good, fire the author, because that means the editor is a better writer than the author?)

I am also amused to find that disagreeing with someone on the internet is a federal crime.

#4 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 01:18 PM:

Lila@3: "I am also amused to find that disagreeing with someone on the internet is a federal crime."

Violation of US Title xkcd386.

#5 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 01:19 PM:

Candace Sams is a real prize.

#6 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 01:27 PM:

Paraphrasing something Paul Fussell once said, the deer has wandered over to the edge of the forest, danced around, waggled his antlers at the hunter, and is now bitching about being shot.

#7 ::: Zeynep ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 01:27 PM:

Andrew #4: Ha. I am so stealing that way of referring to xkcd from now on.

As for the rest: Well, I needed something to go with my popcorn tonight...

#8 ::: PurpleGirl ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 01:29 PM:

What does Flounced mean here?

I've read a bit of the comment thread and wish I had time to read more -- it's very entertaining. The author really is over the top in her comments and attitude. (I wonder if two of the favorable reviews were written by her.)

#9 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 01:37 PM:

I just found an odd trifle. Candace Sams' first line of defense in that thread was "The editor made me do it."

Here she is in January of last year, publicly complaining about lack of contact from Dorchester on various issues, including editorial revisions.

Her statements aren't necessarily in conflict, but I'm amused just the same.

#10 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 01:38 PM:

Thanks for the definition of ABM. I immediately thought Anti-Ballistic Missile, which shows I'm a product of my times, I guess.

#11 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 01:39 PM:

PurpleGirl, a Flounce is when someone who's been involved in an online thrash announces that they're taking their ball and going home.

#12 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 01:43 PM:

Re Flounce, I assumed it was used as in, "She tossed her head and flounced out of the room."

#13 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 01:48 PM:

Andrew @4
I am now going to have to save/bookmark appropriate xkcd for use in that format. 386 is delightful.

#14 ::: PurpleGirl ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 01:52 PM:

Thank you for explaining flounce. It does make sense now.

#15 ::: JD Rhoades ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 01:55 PM:

Let me just add a corollary: don't respond directly to bad reviews of your friends' books, either, however much you love them or no matter how unfair they they are. Eventually, the reviewer will Google your name or handle, find some connection, and start shrieking that the author is recruiting his or her friends to pile on. At which point, insane reviewer will call all their friends into the fray, and then the "I'll never read this author agains" start to fly.

#16 ::: Edgar lo Siento ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 01:56 PM:

Oooh! I just love a little fandom wankery in the morning!

Seriously, has anyone submitted this to Fandom_Wank? (You could submit here )

For the uninitiated, an explanation courtesy Cleolinda:
Community on JournalFen devoted to mocking "over-seriousness, ridiculousness, and general stupidity within the various media fandoms," as well as "Self-aggrandizing posturing. Fannish absurdities. Circular ego-stroking. Endless flamewars. Pseudointellectual definitions." ...that is, making fun of ridiculous behavior, with the understanding that everyone acts that way sometime.

Timesink Warning: timesink greater than the xkcd archive, less than TVTropes.

#17 ::: Emily H. ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 02:01 PM:

I'm a bit confused here. Is she expecting the reader to psychically intuit how great the book was before the revisions her editor foisted on her? If I'm making a cake, and my friend insists it would be better with a cup of salt, and the cake turns out awful... am I going to blame the people who eat the cake for not liking it?

You don't get an A for Effort in publishing. Even if we take at face value the stories about the editor being a neglectful control freak.

#18 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 02:02 PM:

Lin Daniel @ #13: On the Internet, everybody knows you're a dog.

#19 ::: JD Rhoades ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 02:03 PM:

Dear god, at one point "Niteflyr" actually trots out "the lurkers support me in e-mail." This is just sad.

#20 ::: FungiFromYuggoth ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 02:07 PM:

The Dear Author thread referenced in the Amazon reviews is here.

I know at least one person who finds one-star reviews more helpful than five-stars. There's more to work with, and it's more apparent whether you've got the same point of view as the reviewer. In a similar vein, if a professor has a lot of borderline illiterate negative reviews bemoaning how the prof expects you to show up to class and read the material? Good sign.

I'm still working my way through the Amazon comments, but I suspect you could construct multiple author-book-meltdown bingo cards from that thread alone.

#21 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 02:16 PM:

FungiFromYuggoth (20): Similarly, I often find two- and three-star reviews the most helpful for electronics. They identify the issues* that people have had with the item, including patterns. Sometimes those are deal-breakers for me, sometimes not, it all depends on what I need.

*technical problems, lack of features, someone's inability to deal with Linux on a netbook...

#22 ::: Melissa ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 02:29 PM:

Oooo! I love author meltdowns! I had one show up at a poor review once, and even the (vanity, we discovered later) publisher waded into the debate regarding whether the book in question was illiterate dreck or merely regular dreck.

*dives in to read*

#23 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 02:30 PM:

Edgar lo Siento, it's already up on the otf_wank sister community, here. (I've never quite understood the distinction, but it seems to roughly follow the lines that non-traditionally-geeky fandom stuff gets moved to otf_wank.)

#24 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 02:40 PM:

How does Harriet Klausner read the books she, ahem, reviews? I really would like to know. Ever since she described Edinburgh (in a book by Charles Stross of this parish) as in England, I've wondered if she can read.

#25 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 02:48 PM:

Lord. It's a slow-motion train wreck. And since I tend not to read reviews in Amazon unless pointed to them by something like this, I'd never encountered Harriet Klausner before. Oh dear.

ALthough to be honest, just reading the actual book blurb would have put me off....

#26 ::: Harry Connolly ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 02:50 PM:

Darn those editors! Always insisting on kissing scenes!

Does Harriet Klausner really review 60 books a day? It would explain so much...

#27 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 02:53 PM:

Teresa @ 9... "The editor made me do it."

Time to call Max von Sydow.

#28 ::: Julia Rios ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 03:07 PM:

Oh god, not another one. Usually when I see these things, I am torn between wanting to give the broken author a soothing cup of tea, and wanting to flee in embarrassment from the whole frenzied business. Writing? What is that? I have never heard if it! This week, however, I've spent a lot of miserable time in hospital thinking, "Well, at least I'm not that person." Thanks for giving me another example to add to the list. Also, thanks for alerting me to J. Myrna's existence. Somehow I'd never stumbled upon Rotten Romance before.

#29 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 03:08 PM:

Has anyone called Harriet Klausner a "rave-mill" before? Or others of her ilk?

Do you suppose publishers actually pay HK for five-star reviews, or do they just feed her with ARCs to sell on eBay knowing she'll probably get the title right?

#30 ::: Janni ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 03:14 PM:

Are there any documented cases of an author responding to a negative review and having it turn out well for them?

#31 ::: beth meacham ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 03:35 PM:

Awesome.

#32 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 03:42 PM:

I'm struck by Sams' insistence that the criticisms are about her, personally, rather than about the book. Her initial response claims that the reviewer "has something personal against the author", though there's no hint of that in the review, and goes on to gripe about how any infelicities are the editor's fault, not hers. Even if true (and I don't believe it), how should a reader know that, and why should the reader care?

It's a remarkable contrast with any number of book dedications I've read, along the lines of "I'd like to thank X, Y, and Z for helpful criticism and advice; any remaining problems are my fault."

#33 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 03:43 PM:

Is Love Spell a vanity publisher? Sams is acting like a vanity author.

#34 ::: Jerome ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 03:47 PM:

I went and saw the wreck. I had this feeling of "there but for the grace of God go I"--- I mean, who of us hasn't jumped into an online discussion to argue our point? I got afraid for my own passion sometimes... Except, well, her responses are just---way out there--and it's her book, which should be open to reviews.

Pardon me for being Captain Obvious for a moment: It's just---wow, she jumped on the first reviewer with claws out. Like Wolverine. It made everyone defend the 1 star review. And then she wouldn't stop. As if she camped on there after every remark. And she wasn't really answering the reviewer--or talking about the book--but just trying to knife the reviewer for being a reviewer....

Makes me stumble back to English 100: How to Recognize Logical Fallacies--- "Attacking the Person" followed by "Cause and Effect fallacy" followed by "Appeal to the Masses" followed by.... I think she's gonna hit all of the top ten before response 300. Did she really fall 600K points in a few days? Wonder what her publisher/editor will think of this?

It makes you think twice about participating in an online discussion of any type when you have strong feelings... I hope that she can pull out of this dive. I'd want someone to wish that for me if I become this careless when the whole world is watching.

#35 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 03:48 PM:

Love Spell is a Dorchester imprint.

#36 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 03:55 PM:

Wow. This, ladies and gentlemen, is possibly the most perfectly executed trainwreck in the history of the art form. The only part that disappointed was the culminating flounce, because the performer didn't sing a flounce aria. A flounce aria is a crucial element if you want full marks on your trainwreck, and it can itself be a work of great artistic merit. It offers a sense of closure -- and (as is often the case) heightens the overarching sense of nauseous awe when that sense of closure is shattered and reconsecrated by giving the aria a reprise or two. (Or six.)

My favorite aria in the canon is probably "You're all ignorant baboons and I have much better things to do with my fabulous life, so I'm leaving now," which was most recently performed to stunning effect by R. Cheney of Undisclosed, WY.

#37 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 04:00 PM:

I gave up on Harriet Klausner when she gave four or five stars to an awful book. On the other hand, when I posted a one-star review of an awful book, the author and one of her friends attacked immediately. I ignored them both, so there's no flamewar to link. Sams did a much better job of attacking, and those posts are a riot.

#38 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 04:20 PM:

Excuse me, but is the full title of the book really Electra Galaxy's Mr. Interstellar Feller? Because that sounds like the name on the papers of a highly bred miniature horse. Or possibly a Cavalier King Charles spaniel. Who fights crime.

Electra Galaxy's Mr. Interstellar Feller and the Case of the Purloined Chihuahua. Electra Galaxy's Mr. Interstellar Feller and the Case of the Noises in the Barn.

It just--it makes my brain hiccup. I cannot imagine reading a book that was labeled "Romance" on the spine if it had a title like Electra Galaxy's Mr. Interstellar Feller. It's a warning all by itself.

#39 ::: Michelle Sagara ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 04:21 PM:

What I'm curious about is the person who absolutely insists that Harriet Klausner is a pseudonym for a conglomerate, or at least that "publishers" put up amazon reviews under her name.

#40 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 04:24 PM:

Michelle, elsewhere in the thread you see people pointing out that Klausner puts up reviews on as many as 90 books per day, and that the writing style is not consistent across them.

#41 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 04:37 PM:

Jenny Islander @ 38 "It just--it makes my brain hiccup. I cannot imagine reading a book that was labeled "Romance" on the spine if it had a title like Electra Galaxy's Mr. Interstellar Feller. It's a warning all by itself."

I know, you'd think she'd at least go for Electra Galaxy's Mr. Interstella Fella.

#42 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 04:42 PM:

Such lack of consistency can easily be accomplished by plagiarizing cover copy & press releases.

(In the olden days, I went through a large stack of my newspaper reviews and noted that about 2/3rds of them plagiarized either from the copy or the press release.)

#43 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 04:46 PM:

I understand it's a contest, like a Mr. Universe contest, held in the Electra Galaxy.

#44 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 04:49 PM:

This book has Amazon's Look Inside! feature. Frrom page 2, a line worthy of Thog's Master Class: In every area of the city, females of all ages, shapes, and color, waving human or alien appendages, were holding signs welcoming incoming contestants. Wow.

#45 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 04:52 PM:

Janni @ 30: I don't actually know of any, but suspect that they might tend to go along lines something like this:

"Ms Malavista is quite correct that my tale displays a poor sense of place, negligible factual research, and a thoroughgoing English parochialism in its evocation of Birmingham, Alabama. In partial excuse, I can only plead that it is, in fact, set in Birmingham, England. As to her objections to the way firearms function in this story, I have no such excuse to offer, and take this opportunity to thank her and all the other readers who have helped correct my various misapprehensions in this area. This fault is wholly mine, should never have occurred, and shall not occur again.

"When Jack Aragon discovers the secret confederacy of Cthulhoid sects that meet beneath the Bull Ring on p.93, his expostulation in my MS is the more characteristic, 'What a lot of stupid cults!'. I have now drawn the copy-editor's attention to the offending misprint, which he promises to correct in any future printings.

"Grand Ipsissimus Schicklgruber's musings on the Great Root of Races do not echo my own beliefs in any way. Nor does the thug in the back alley - nor even Jack Aragon himself. However, Swinhilda the Swingin' Swine-Thing speaks entirely for me on the proper appreciation of Stilton cheese.

"General Ned Ludd is not a real person.

"The Ritual of Abomination is in fact a portion of Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush written backwards. Its recitation does not present a health-and-safety hazard. I have double-checked this, and I know.

"My thanks to Ms Malavista for her labours and concerns. I shall try to do better next time. -- Best, Harry Hackworth."

I live in continual, but so far unfulfilled, hope of seeing one.


#47 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 04:56 PM:

I understand it's a contest, like a Mr. Universe contest, held in the Electra Galaxy.

No, no. You misunderstand. He's an Interstellar Feller: That is to say, one who travels from star to star in order to cut down trees.

That means, he's a lumberjack and he's okay....

#48 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 05:01 PM:

Gray: Ooo, new game! My own shorter effort ("Since there is in fact no section narrated by Brrbddd, I'm at a loss to understand what you mean by saying 'those sections' don't have an 'authentic toad's voice', whatever that means") pales before yours.

I bow to you, sir.

#49 ::: Janni ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 05:02 PM:

Gray @ 45: And of course, we'd probably never know, as there wouldn't be a proper Internet Furor to point us that way. :-)

#50 ::: becca ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 05:10 PM:

Are there any documented cases of an author responding to a negative review and having it turn out well for them?

At Dear Author, and sometimes at Smart Bitches Trashy Books, an author will respond with a bad review by saying "I'm sorry the book didn't work for you." In one situation at SBTB, the author wrote a charming poem poking fun at her own book and her responses to the review, so it can be done.

sorry I can't give links to the situations mentioned above - they were all awhile back, and I forget both the authors and the books.

#51 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 05:16 PM:

Jenny Islander @ #38 -

I am giggling over the Cav King Charles - because it's very close to what I was thinking about the title too (I had envisioned a Boston Terrier or French Bulldog).

"Who's the cutest widdle crime fighter? You are! You are!!" (ear skritches)

Also - "...waving human or alien appendages"? I'm no editor, but that sounds to me like the appendages may have been removed from their original bodies.

#52 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 05:16 PM:

Michelle Sagara @ 39... Hey, hello, Michelle!

#53 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 05:22 PM:

...that sounds to me like the appendages may have been removed from their original bodies.

This calls for a Marat/Sade parody.

#54 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 05:25 PM:

I didn't follow the "Oh John Ringo No" thing, but wasn't that an example of an author responding to a negative review to good effect?

#55 ::: Stephanie Leary ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 05:28 PM:

Becca @50 (and Janni @30), the first Smart Bitches review/response that comes to mind is Carla Cassidy's Pregnesia.

#56 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 05:30 PM:

Sometimes it can be very hard to avoid responding to correct factual errors in reviews -- or at least whining about them on my journal -- but this does demonstrate the virtues of biting one's tongue.

The one time I did respond to a review, it was when School Library Journal said that FARTHING, had an "accurately portayed civilian setting, suitable for world history classes". I felt that in the circumstances of children being misled it was worth emailing them to point out the counterfactual nature of the story -- that in reality Britain did not make peace with Hitler in May of 1941, and the US entered WWII in December of 1941, so my novel wasn't going to be any use for that. Their response was less than useful, and the School Library Journal review is still up on Amazon. So it was a waste of time, but didn't devolve into weirdness.

#57 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 05:37 PM:

Janni @ 30, Gray Woodland @45: W.S. Gilbert seems to have had the hang of it. When someone referred to Ruddigore as "Bloodygore," saying "it's the same thing," Gilbert is said to have replied "Then it is the same to say I admire your ruddy countenance, which I do, as to say I like your bloody cheek, which I don't."

I suppose it helps to be brilliant and funny...

#58 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 05:38 PM:

Kathryn Cramer #44: I'm curious as to what (presumably detached) appendages these assorted females were waving.

#59 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 05:42 PM:

Stephanie @ 55: Re-arrange the following into a well-known phrase or saying: New. You. Me. Keyboard. A. Owe.

Twice.

#60 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 05:43 PM:

"Are there any documented cases of an author responding to a negative review and having it turn out well for them?"

I was thinking that it could possibly if it was along the lines of "I'm sorry you didn't like the characterisation of either Tom or Belinda, didn't think teenagers responded like that, and thought that Chicago, Illinois, was described badly. However, my book was about the forty-somethings Matt and Susan, and was set in London, UK. Perhaps through a computer error your review has been attached to the wrong book?"

However, Gray Woodland's version @ 45 is better.

#61 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 05:43 PM:

I hate to admit it, but I allowed an author to convice me to publish his response to a bad review in our letters column, in spite of my repeated warnings that this never results in your book being taken more seriously. To his credit, he did allow me to edit it extensively so it came out less like personal revenge on the reviewer and more along the lines of "the reviewer didn't quite understand what I was aiming for, which was..." But no, I don't think it turned out well and made more of my journal's audience want to buy his book.

#62 ::: becca ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 05:59 PM:

@55 Stephanie Leary - yes, that's the one I was thinking of.. don't know why I remembered it being in rhyme. I spend too much time here, I guess, where comments frequently are written poetically.

#63 ::: Alex ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 06:00 PM:

I am pleased that there is a blog dedicated to Fandom Wank, in the same way I am pleased Thames Water plc's sewerage division and 33(EOD) Engineer Regiment RE exist. It means that people who specialise in processing London's shit and defusing bombs are getting on with these tasks and I don't have to.

Note to anti-urban/deep green commenters: this is why cities are good. You may think you'd enjoy tending the forge and the vegetable garden. But you'd have to deal with fandom wank as well! Specialisation rocks!

#64 ::: Janni ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 06:12 PM:

Stephanie @ 55 -- That's ... fascinating. Because it's clear in that case the author did generate lots of goodwill with her response.

As with so many things, having a sense of humor helps for sure.

#65 ::: Ambar ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 06:26 PM:

Jenny Islander @ 38: you're scaring me. I'm afraid Ms. Sams is going to write sequels based on your suggested titles. Not only that, your image of the Cavalier King Charles spaniel who fights crime almost made me choke on my coffee. I think I will have to print out this thread and submit it to the FBI's online crimes unit, because it must be your fault that I seared my throat. Can't be mine ...

#66 ::: Barbara ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 06:34 PM:

Not Fandom Wank (authorwank isn't always considered fannish) but Other Than Fandom Wank, yes.

#67 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 06:40 PM:

Janni @ 49: Furore will be provided!

#68 ::: Mezzanine ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 06:52 PM:

That's ... fascinating. Because it's clear in that case the author did generate lots of goodwill with her response.

Definitely. I now want to track down all of her books - just because she reacted with so much class.

#69 ::: Tae Kim ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 07:02 PM:

Graduated Texas A&M University with a B.S. in Agriculture

Worked as a police officer with the State of Texas,

was with the San Diego Police Department,

taught for the San Diego County Sheriff's Department and with a law enforcement agency in Alabama.

Accomplishments: Senior woman on the U.S. Kung Fu Team

Awarded the Medal of Putien from China and the Statue of Tao for martial arts

---

How much of her bio is actually true? There is no U.S. Kung Fu team. There is no Medal of Putien. There is no Statue of Tao. At least not according to the almighty Google.

#70 ::: Jon Hendry ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 07:03 PM:

I notice her author bio says "Candace is the senior woman on the US Kung Fu Team (three black belts), and has been awarded the Medal of Putien and the Statue of Tao by the Chinese Martial Arts Confederation in Quanzhou, China"

I dare you to find any of those things on The Google, in pages that aren't about Candace Sams' bio.

Might just be a transliteration problem, but could also be...

#71 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 07:05 PM:

The Tao that can be sculpted is not the real Tao?

#72 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 07:14 PM:

Maybe an ABM is an Anti-Belittlement Missal.

#73 ::: CosmicDog ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 07:15 PM:

Maybe she was given a medal by the Pu Tien chain of restaurants.

#74 ::: Tae Kim ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 07:16 PM:

Jon @ 70: "Might just be a transliteration problem, but could also be..."

a Tao tale?

Sorry.

#75 ::: Carrie V. ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 07:27 PM:

Oh, the ML crew cracks its collective knuckles and starts with the search engines. Now things get really interesting. How long until the author herself shows up to defend herself?

#76 ::: Wesley Osam ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 07:32 PM:

Joel Polowin, #32: I'm struck by Sams' insistence that the criticisms are about her, personally, rather than about the book.

This connects to some advice I recall about rejections, probably from the Slushkiller thread: They're rejecting your book, not you. Reviewers don't know the author and don't write for the author; they're writing for fellow readers. (Or maybe, in some cases, for themselves.)

The worst author meltdown of all time was the one perpetrated by Michael Crichton when he named a particularly despicable character after someone who'd criticized his global-warming-skeptic thriller. You'd think, at that point in his career, he'd have known better.

#77 ::: Tae Kim ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 07:34 PM:

Well it says right here:

http://www.rwanational.org/cs/speakers_bureau/speaker_detail?id=264

"Candace is the senior woman on the US Kung Fu Team (three black belts), and has been awarded the Medal of Putien and the Statue of Tao by the Chinese Martial Arts Confederation in Quanzhou, China ... Accolades Senior woman on the US Kung Fu Team Awarded the Medal of Putien and the Statue of Tao for martial arts (from the most honorable Chinese Grand Master, Chee Kim Thong)"

So which is it? Chinese Martial Arts Federation (no such in Quanzhou - actually HQ'd in Taipei), or Grand Master Kim Chee Thong - He Who Makes My Mouth Water and Breath Smell, and Vaguely Uncomfortable with the Underwear Thing.

#78 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 07:37 PM:

"Love Spell is a Dorchester imprint."

g'damn Lord Dorchester and his infelicitous imprinting!

#79 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 07:37 PM:

My God. You just can't tear your eyes away, can you. I spent half an hour of my decreasing number of years reading all 24 pages with a growing sense of awe. Like: "Aw, no, she really felt she had to respond to that?" and "Aw, please honey, do yourself a favor and step away from the keyboard." Even "Aw, come on, guys. Stop poking at the Bad Bear with the stick, willya?"

It's mesmerizing.

#80 ::: Jon Hendry ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 07:39 PM:

Wikipedia has a Chee Kim Thong, "renowned traditional Shaolin martial arts grandmaster. Born 1920: died 2001", so there's one factoid that checks out, apart from the order of names.

The rest, not so much.

#81 ::: Tae Kim ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 07:56 PM:

I have a feeling the Medal and Statue were actually awarded by Grand Master Flash Foo Ling Yu, and his slow, but adorable brother, Half Master Dim Sum.

#82 ::: Jennifer Myrna ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 08:05 PM:

Considering just how late I entered the fray, I'm duly honored to be mentioned. I'm also exceedingly thrilled that the little blogs that my husband and I started have gotten so much attention since your posting. Thanks! (To Julia Rios for mentioning us, as well.)

#83 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 08:19 PM:

"I am sitting in the smallest room of my house. I have your review before me. In a moment, it will be behind me." Attributed to max Reger and others.

#84 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 08:24 PM:

Jon Hendry #70: You're certain that she didn't receive any awards from a Prince Char Ming?

#85 ::: Jon Hendry ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 08:36 PM:

I love how she's all "This page for my book, which Amazon set up specifically with my publisher...".

Which puts her book in the same category of importance as, say, "Stainless Steel Metric Lock Washer DIN-127 M4 4.1mm ID x 7.6mm OD x .9mm Thick (Pack of 100)"

#86 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 08:37 PM:

I responded once to someone who claimed that The Useless Invasion Sketch presented a demeaning stereotype of black American speech by pointing out that the character in question was speaking in lower-class British dialect, as per the Monty Python skit it was based on. Nobody seemed to notice.

Allan B @83, it's a Max Reger quote, translated from the German. What others?

#87 ::: Jon Hendry ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 08:40 PM:

Fragano @84: " You're certain that she didn't receive any awards from a Prince Char Ming?"

I dunno, but I suspect her publisher is Char Min.

#88 ::: PixelFish ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 08:40 PM:

I just don't get Sams' logic behind her assertion that it's easy to write a bad review, but hard to take criticism about the bad review. I don't see why the review in general needs to be subject to another round of criticism so I can decide whether or not to read the book. The review is not the product I'm interested in--so I don't care about reviewing the review, except maybe in an unconnected circumstance where we may be discussing socio-political stuff. And then I'm probably not going to harsh on Ye Olde Average Amazon Reviewer--there are some reviewers (like Ebert) whose reviews ARE product, but BettyJo from Oklahoma ain't one of those.

The book is the product I care about, when reading Amazon reviews. Not the reviews themselves.

#89 ::: Jon Hendry ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 08:41 PM:

Fragano @84: " You're certain that she didn't receive any awards from a Prince Char Ming?"

I dunno, but I suspect her publisher is Char Min.

#90 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 08:46 PM:

Jennifer @82, from reading your comments over there, sounds like you might well fit in over here!

#91 ::: Draxar ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 08:49 PM:

"Are there any documented cases of an author responding to a negative review and having it turn out well for them?"

I've seen some authors-that-blog responding to criticisms either generally that they have received, or specific ones emailed to them, and come out looking okay. I have a vague memory of Neil Gaiman doing it a time or two. But that's generally done in the style of explanation, not rebuttal.

#92 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 08:59 PM:

Erik, #72: After reading the thread, something in the back of my mind insists on parsing it as "Author Brain Meltdown".

#93 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 09:07 PM:

A little digging does turn up a reference to "Putien" and Kung Fu together. Apparently a famous Shaolin temple/school is located on Putien mountain. Another Shaolin temple is located in Quanzhou.

Interesting article talking about these temples' history is here. There's no mention of a medal, however, and Putien is a location, not the name of the temple.

#94 ::: Jon Hendry ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 09:07 PM:

I wonder if the book is a Mary Sue, so the author took it extra-personally?

Sagan Carter vs. Candace Samms

#95 ::: Jennifer Myrna ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 09:11 PM:

@#90, Janet, Is being a jerk a requirement? ;) I should ask the question here: Is my mention a sign of indifference, insult or compliment? I can't tell! I choose to accept it as recognizing my pure genius. :D You all seem like a cheerful and intellectual bunch. I'm not sure I'd fit in: I'm more the harmless but noisy bystander type. I enjoy being the bystander, though. It makes the ride a bit easier.

#96 ::: Jennifer Myrna ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 09:17 PM:

@94, Jon, what (for a complete newbie such as myself) is a Mary Sue?

#97 ::: Wesley Osam ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 09:25 PM:

Jennifer Myrna, #96: It's a term that got its start in fan fiction. Here's a post that delves into the topic.

#98 ::: Mezzanine ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 09:28 PM:

Or there's this explanation of Mary-Sues, too.

#99 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 09:31 PM:

That mess is SO bizarre I can't help but wonder if the author is doing it as a misguided attempt to stir up publicity.

#100 ::: Jennifer Myrna ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 09:38 PM:

@97 & 98, Mezzanine, Aaaah! Sort of like Jack Ryan aka Tom Clancy and Robert Langdon aka Dan Brown?

#101 ::: Mezzanine ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 09:48 PM:

Sort of like Jack Ryan aka Tom Clancy and Robert Langdon aka Dan Brown?

Haven't read them, but probably. :)

If the character is good at everything, or loved by everyone, or happens to bear a startling resemblance to the author except even better... you're dealing with a Sue.

#102 ::: Jennifer Myrna ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 10:00 PM:

@101, Mezzanine, Definitely those two authors, then. I am not a fan of either author (I've read one Clancy and 2 Dan Brown, just to see what the fuss was all about). If you look at a photo of Dan Brown -- hope I did that right -- and Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon you can see what I mean. It was clear that the character was supposed to be him, not just a character. Same with Jack Ryan.

Heck, I didn't do it right, but you'll see what I mean. My husband is the html guy.

BTW, my niece just gave me a copy of Neverwhere to read. Despite not being a trashy romance novel, I promise to read it. :)

#103 ::: Jennifer Myrna ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 10:11 PM:

@101, Mezzanine, I tried to reply, but my post is being held for review. But if you look for a photo of Dan Brown, and then at a photo of Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon, you'll see what I mean. Even PHYSICALLY they're alike.

My niece gave me a copy of Neverwhere. Despite it not being a trashy romance novel, I promise to read it. :D

#104 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 10:28 PM:

Jennifer, your post was held because it had a broken link.

During the Preview stage, broken links will be greyed out, and you get a chance to fix 'em. The usual cause is missing or misplaced quote marks. But after the post is sent, MT strips out the URL so we can't reconstruct what you were trying and so can't fix it from this end.

#105 ::: Jennifer Myrna ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 10:31 PM:

@104, Jim, Thanks for explaining. I wasn't too worried. I figured I'd done something seriously wrong because it looked all messed up. As I said, I'm not an html kind of person. I'm lucky I know what html IS. Sort of. :)

#106 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 10:40 PM:

A Harry Potter Mary Sue Fanfic, the infamous Sparklypoo House

Yet another Harry Potter Mary Sue

#107 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 11:31 PM:

Mezzanine #98: LOL! (especially "Hooray!" *facepalm*).

#108 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 11:45 PM:

Skipping forward to say to Gray Woodland @ 45:

That was AWESOME. I laughed so hard I scared the cats.

Back to reading...

#109 ::: Suzanne ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 11:55 PM:

Oh man, I was supposed to be getting stuff *done* tonight.

This evening my eldest child discovered, quite by accident, that if she picked up her baby brother and squeezed his tummy just a little bit, he'd fart. It made him really angry every time she did this, and she clearly felt bad about it, but it was also so funny she kept doing it again anyway. I probably should've stopped her, but I was too busy laughing to intervene with any convincing sincerity.

That's remarkably close, in several key ways, to that comment thread.

#110 ::: Bill ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 12:09 AM:

I'm intrigued by the huge number of Niteflyr posts that have been "deleted by Amazon." What sort of vile moose poop could they have contained that was actually worse than the stuff that's still up there?

#111 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 12:22 AM:

Janni at #20 writes:

> Are there any documented cases of an author responding to a negative review and having it turn out well for them?

Somewhere in Edith Sitwell's collected letters we get to see how she treats people who dare to write bad reviews of her brother's poetry, and it's very very scary.

But she was Edith Sitwell - she had superpowers.

#112 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 12:23 AM:

For Jennifer:

Dan Brown.

Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon.

I don't know if these were the exact shots you linked to or not, but DAMN. Mary Sue is right!

#113 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 12:29 AM:

I really 'like' the way Candace Sams puts words in 'quotes'.

Best comment on the Amazon thread so far:

"You're insane. Heads up."

It's actually a rough thread to read, because she seems to be in the middle of a an argument with people who aren't actually there - there's no actual engagement with the other people on the thread.

I think I feel less creeped out when Anne Rice loses it.

#114 ::: cherish ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 12:45 AM:

OK, I have no idea how to embed anything anymore. What I want to say is:
http://www.vanityfair.com/online/wolcott/2009/12/now-n-1-has-gone.html

might be an example of a bad-review-response done right.

Great thread, BTW.

#115 ::: Gary Townsend ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 12:58 AM:

Wow. This has been entertaining. Can't say I've ever seen such a meltdown. I tried reading the first couple of pages of Sams's book online, and . . . well . . . she probably would've flamed me, too, if I'd posted a review of my own.

I was reading a fantasy novel a couple of days back in which the author, in one scene, had some men devouring a lot of food with a nearby observer's eyeballs. It was an error worthy of the likes of John Grisham.

Earlier today, in the novel I'm now reading, I encountered an angry character who then "stalked" away from the person he had been talking to, even though he wasn't on a hunt. (Rather hard to do when aboard ship, actually -- unless you're hunting mice!) I paused, then reached for my dictionary, to see if there was a definition for "stalk" of which I wasn't aware. I'm now going to read more of that novel, and I hope that in the future that this character's gait more appropriately matches his mood and his circumstance. Wish me well.

#116 ::: Jennifer Myrna ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 12:58 AM:

@112, Lee, Thanks for the effort. The second link didn't work, but you found a great pic of Dan Brown to use. It's freaky.

#117 ::: Naomi Libicki ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 01:38 AM:

Gary @ 115:

That's a pretty standard usage of the word "stalked." If your dictionary doesn't have it, it's a bad dictionary.

Unless you're being obliquely sarcastic?

#118 ::: mea ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 01:45 AM:

Lurking here is so educational. The PBS radio show Says You always starts with a reminder to new listeners to grab a pen an paper. I do the internet equivalent and google my way through the Making Light threads. Took me a minute to figure out #4 Andrew Plotkin's xkcd reference system. Now that it is on the internet, any bets to how long till it is in a published legal opinion?

Also, I learned a succinct way to describe why I don't attempt fiction. The world has enough Mary Sue's.

#119 ::: Maribeth ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 02:13 AM:

Naomi @ 117:

Whenever I see "stalked" used that way, I get an involuntary image of a pair of offended celery stalks being used in place of legs. Large ones.

#120 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 04:31 AM:

> That's a pretty standard usage of the word "stalked." If your dictionary doesn't have it, it's a bad dictionary.

Yeah, seconded.

#121 ::: Juliet E McKenna ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 04:41 AM:

No, sorry, being strong here... I have too much to do today to go and look at the entertainment in question...

I'll just repeat the invaluable advice I was given ten or more years ago by A Very Famous Author -

"Responding to a critic is like starting an arse-kicking contest with a porcupine. Even if you win, the cost to yourself will not be worth it."

Pretty sure I've mentioned it here before but I reckon it bears repeating.

#122 ::: Lynn ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 07:42 AM:

Suzanne @109
sheesh, I almost never guffaw outloud but that post - I don't know, something about the baby being annoyed and the daughter being sorry but unable to help herself and you laughing too hard to be convincing - that's hysterical.

Loses a point for lack of flounce but, wow, impressive reversal of causality on the part of Sams.

#123 ::: Bernita ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 07:49 AM:

Um... is calling the FBI the equivalent of that "nine-fold wiccan curse"?

#124 ::: rgh ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 07:57 AM:

A sneer is the weapon of the weak
Shurely "spear" or "death ray". Or did I miss the misspelling of "week"?

#125 ::: Tim Hall ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 07:57 AM:

Musical equivalent of an ABM here:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/musicblog/2009/jan/01/1?showallcomments=true

Brief summary; Newspaper blog by has-been music mogul Alan McGee heaps undeserved praise on obscure and rather ordinary unsigned band; commenters go and listen to said band on MySpace and conclude that such praise is rather misplaced. Lead singer of band begins ranting in comments, because he's a ROCK AND ROLL STAR and how dare a bunch of semi-anonymous commenters suggest otherwise.

#126 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 08:25 AM:

Juliet @121, I'll try to remember that next time I hear from an author upset with a review -- or the next time I get a bad one myself!

#127 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 08:28 AM:

And Jennifer @95 -- I wouldn't say jerk -- I'd say most of us tend to have a certain gleeful appreciation for a well-turned snark, especially when it's aimed at deflating the pompous and self-centered.

#128 ::: inge ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 08:59 AM:

I get the impression that responding to critics e.g. on amazon is an error of context. With one's friends or on one's LJ, critcism is often an invitation to debate. In a review blog or on amazon, not.

However, even in a private circle going into *that* kind of meltdown on the first critical comment is not going to make a person popular...

#129 ::: Miriam Rouziek ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 09:36 AM:

I've been attempting to keep up with the mess on Amazon, and I can't tear myself away from it. It is both horrifying and amusing. But then it saddens me because these are the same antics I saw as a lit mag editor in high school. "You ignorant uneducated cretins just don't understand me! I'm brilliant--BRILLIANT--I tell you!"

"and I might be writing under six different aliases....you might not know who I really am at all......or how many titles there are out there that you've read and actually liked that belonged to me"

Ooh, watch out, Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb! Make way for Candace Sams--Literary Master of Disguise!

#130 ::: thanate ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 09:48 AM:

I'm a bit surprised that someone so thin skinned got as far as being published in the first place.

I'm wavering between deciding that Ms Sams interprets anything not obviously critical as praise (which might explain her opinion on Harriet Klausner's reviews) or that she's got a file of People Who Hate Her somewhere, with all the names of rejecting editors ready to be turned in to the FBI for libel at a moment's notice.

#131 ::: D Petrocelli ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 10:00 AM:

Just looking about on the 'nets. Can't find a single picture of her in regard to the martial arts. No picture of competition, no profile on any site not quoting her bio. Perhaps my google-fu is not strong, but if she has competed at the level she claims you'd expect *something*...

#132 ::: Jennifer Myrna ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 10:13 AM:

@127, Janet, I'm sure you're all nice, snarky, sarcastic people. But being a jerk myself, I'm not up to snuff. ;)

#133 ::: Ingvar ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 10:14 AM:

Well, there IS a USA Wushu Kung Fu Federation and they have a US Junior Team.

However, I am at present unable to find a non-junior team and cannot seem to connect Candance Sams with any martial art (I could find a Candice Wong, but that is far away to be explained as a different person rather than a spelling error).

#134 ::: Jim Winter ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 10:30 AM:

Dear authors:

When you get a negative review, it's not personal, so it's bad for you if you respond. If it is personal, that person is a terrible reviewer to begin with and not worth the damage you'll do TO YOURSELF responding to them

Your welcome.

#135 ::: Thad ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 10:40 AM:

Her second post is, "And there you go readers...it's easy to play the critic...not so easy to take the criticism."

Apparently some people have a harder time taking criticism than others.

#136 ::: Suzanne ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 10:53 AM:

Lynn @122:

Well, he did eventually thrash and squirm his way free and ran away howling. However, as far as I know, he did not then attempt to contact the FBI on his fisher price telephone.

#137 ::: mythago ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 11:07 AM:
a Flounce is when someone who's been involved in an online thrash announces that they're taking their ball and going home

Which, on the Internet, generally means that they will disappear for 2d20 comments, then reappear in full force.

#138 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 11:38 AM:

Many years ago I helped devise and publish an SF fanzine titled Venom in which authors negatively reviewed their own books. AS I recall, Vonda McIntyre gleefully aided, abetted, and contributed to the final product, as did Ursula LeGuin and I think -- it's been decades -- Joanna Russ.It was kind of like getting a flu shot. After one has thoroughly slammed one's own book, further negative reviews can be met with a shrug. I recommend it.

The Amazon thread was indeed astonishing. Made me feel sorry for Sams. I feel sorry for anyone making a public, voluntary fool of herself.

#139 ::: Jeff M ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 11:53 AM:

I've found that the writers I know are their own worst critics. They will tell you their work sucks. I know mine does. :)

#140 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 12:11 PM:

I was in the middle of reading the comment thread yesterday when my daughter accidentally vacuumed up a clothespin and I spent the next two hours getting it out of the hose (who decided vacuum cleaner hoses should have a sharp narrow bend at both ends? Do they really assume that their product will always be used in clean rooms, and never pushed under places out of view?). It occurs to me that Candance Sams would have been served by such a minor crisis to distract her from her careening trip from snit to rant to gibberish to flounce.

#141 ::: Peter Tzinski ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 12:16 PM:

This is neither here nor there, but...every time I read the name "Cadence Sams", my brain instantly says "Yosemite Sam" and I giggle.

I'd like a romance novel written by Yosemite Sam, please.

#142 ::: PeterL ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 12:17 PM:

Someone mentioned upthread about the "Oh John Ringo No" post and Ringo's response.

Oh John Ringo No

Ringo's response is halfway down on the third page of comments (which is the page linked) under Anonymous (he signs with his name).

#143 ::: John Hartness ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 12:42 PM:

Wow. Makes me wish there was one of those little smiley face eating popcorn icons like on some internet forums. I'm less than halfway through and it might be the most amazing internet trainwreck I've seen in months. Thanks for pointing out this object lesson.

#144 ::: Jon Hendry ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 12:42 PM:

"However, I am at present unable to find a non-junior team and cannot seem to connect Candance Sams with any martial art (I could find a Candice Wong, but that is far away to be explained as a different person rather than a spelling error)."

I assumed Candace Sams could be a pseudonym, so I didn't really expect to find her name on any team lists. But the lack of evidence for the awards (and, indeed, the hokey names for the awards) and the lack of a US Kung Fu team seemed more significant.

#145 ::: Johne Cook ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 01:02 PM:

I briefly considered defending the author*, but quickly thought better of it.

(*Not an actual claim. I learned my lesson earlier this week at SFSignal's thread calling out Pro writers. And then I antagonized Nick Mamatas. And then, going for the hat-trick, I demonstrated that I am, in fact, semi-literate in my reading of the Scalzi BMP thread. I'm not going anywhere /near/ the Amazon thread - that chick's on her own. )

#146 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 01:07 PM:

nd thn ntgnd Nck Mmts.

h, cm, tht's nt ch n ccmplshmnt. ll y hv t d t ntgnz tht gy s kp dsgrng whn h prnncs y Wrng. Flr T Crng ntgnzs Nck Mmts.

#147 ::: PixelFish ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 01:11 PM:

Also, what's up with the assertation that inside the publishing industry hobby reviewers are called "hit-and-run" reviewers? I've never seen anything like that from my friends who do work in the industry, or here on Making Light.

(Honestly, if you have faith in your product, aren't hobby reviewers a good thing--as they tend to talk to other people about the books they're reading and pass them on. Or in the case of sites like Smart Bitches Trashy Books and Dear Author, link similar books if you liked Book X.)

And the biggest irony: assuming Harriet Klausner is a pro reviewer in terms of quality. ( can't help thinking that a person who reviewed books for a living would want their trust as diluted as Harriet seems to want, since she's overwhelmingly positive and about as accurate in her reviews as spam comments on an art blog. ("I love this article--it really goes in depth beyond what I have seen others write about." on a post featuring a sketchbook page. Nope, I don't think you "read" the blog. Nor do I think Harriet reads half the books she writes about, since whenever I come across her reviews on books I have read, there's almost always an egregrious error in plot or character that she gets wrong. It always looks like jacket flap copy to me.)

#148 ::: Julia S. ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 01:20 PM:

Well, the thing about Harriet Klausner is that she was at one point a "professional reviewer" in some sense as she wrote some kind of review column for some kind of librarians' publication and presumably got some minuscule remuneration.

But nobody pays her to review now, which makes her an amateur reviewer, if an insanely prolific one. I have no idea why she does what she does--shirley she's not making enough money from selling her ARCs to justify the investment of time it must take to produce results even as slapdash as hers.

(Also sprach someone who, though hyperlexic, is finding it a bit of a challenge to Twitter-review one book per day.)

#149 ::: Lorna Appleby ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 01:29 PM:

I, apparently, lost a never-was-a-fan-anyway, when they sent me a scathing review of an online published story and I replied "Well.. sorry you didn't enjoy it, thanks for the $1!"

What do they expect from an online website with cheap stuff? Especially from someone as grammatically challenged as myself!

#150 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 01:35 PM:

Here's someone who puts a lot of thought into his amazon reviews.

#151 ::: Johne Cook ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 01:36 PM:

I'm not smart enough to cringe. Perhaps I should have played the 'I'm an unrepentant jerk, but with values' card. (Wow. The Amazon thread is a real education.)

I like reading Nick. He's audacious.

#152 ::: Mac ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 02:09 PM:

@ Peter #142 --- Oh my. I think I really, really like John Ringo now. I'm not sure what to do with this development.

#153 ::: Kelly McCullough ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 03:09 PM:

mythago @ 137, brilliant. Sustained applause.

#154 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 03:19 PM:

Peter Tzinski @141: I'd like a romance novel written by Yosemite Sam, please.

In which the way into a woman's heart is by giving her a dead rabbit, I guess? I dunno, I tried to come up with something, but then I realized I was writing a romance novel about Yosemite Sam, which was not what was on the purchase order.

Wow, do I miss having Mike Ford around right now.

#155 ::: Charlie Dodgson ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 03:53 PM:

Felix Salmon reports on a similar mistake from elsewhere in Our Corporate World. It seems the spokesman of the NYSE-listed InterOil corporation has a wee bit of an issue with someone trying to talk down its stock price:

you are a gutless coward of the highest order, a jealous and envious SOB… You are a loser, a non-achiever and a sour-grape. Piss off you good for nothing… Do not be afraid on account of me being a descendant of cannibals … no, no, believe me, I will not cannibalise you or feed you to the swamp crocodiles…

Who gave you the authority to investigate InterOil, you piece of shitty non-entity? You are nothing more than an internet pirate, a low-life manipulator who is out to profit by your dishonest, fraudulent, slanderous and cowardly methods. Up yours.

And so forth...

#156 ::: Craig Ranapia ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 04:03 PM:

Hum... repeat after Liberace, when he was asked how he responded to bad reviews: "I cry all the way to the bank." And if you're crying on the way home from having the ATM eat your card, then perhaps the reviews are right. :)

#157 ::: Maddy ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 05:21 PM:

Reminds me of my mum's advice = 'if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.'

Or my dad's =

'be careful who you squish as you climb the ladder of success as you're sure to meet them once again as you slither down the other side.'

#158 ::: Thomas M. Wagner ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 06:15 PM:

Well, as long as folks are piling on Klausner: I'd have to say that she is not, by my estimation, a reviewer at all, in that what she writes are not book reviews by any stretch of the definition. They are book reports. You remember, those little class assignments you used to get in 8th grade English? Three paragraphs, two containing a plot synopsis that in large part could have been cribbed from the jacket copy or the Publisher's Weekly review that usually hits the Amazon listing before anything else, and then a paragraph of generic praise that often contains odd errors of fact, such as references to characters or scenes that do not actually appear in the book in question.

Ms. Klausner may, of course, continue to do as she pleases. But her dilettantism tends to be very off-putting to folks like (he said humbly) myself and other SF/F reviewers who at least try to take the art of criticism seriously.

Now as for Ms. Sams, good grief. She hasn't merely jumped the shark here, she's jumped a school of beluga whales. I've only ever had one writer respond angrily to a negative review. I have had worthwhile and constructive email exchanges with some quite prominent writers to whom I gave a less than stellar review, and those have all been satisfying and, for me, educational. So I guess the rule of thumb is that if a writer just has to respond to a pan, just remember to do so with the same sense of professional decorum you (hopefully) use in all your other interactions.

#159 ::: Jennifer Myrna ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 06:47 PM:

@150, Kelly, I love this guy (can't do html, sorry) http://www.amazon.com/gp/pdp/profile/A2ZL5W6AP7DO7N

Sadly he hasn't posted in a while.

#160 ::: Craig Ranapia ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 06:50 PM:

And here's something else to think about. Paul Fussell, who coined the term ABM, later told a rather interesting anecdote about a negative review of one of his books in The New York Times Book Reivew. He was fuming, but rather surprised to find that people were congratulating him on getting a relatively lengthy and prominent notice for a work of literary/cultural criticism in The Times. His conclusion: Being ignored is much worse that a bad review.

#161 ::: Jennifer Myrna ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 06:53 PM:

@151 *I'm not smart enough to cringe. Perhaps I should have played the 'I'm an unrepentant jerk, but with values' card. (Wow. The Amazon thread is a real education.)

I like reading Nick. He's audacious.*

John, I AM an unrepentant jerk. And I DO have values. And while I do think I'm more than relatively intelligent... I bow to superior intellect. Clearly I am outmatched. :D

#162 ::: Wesley Osam ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 07:55 PM:

Thomas M. Wagner, #158: Sometimes real professional reviews are almost as bad. I submit for your approval (Warning! Spoilers!) this Los Angeles Times review of Jeff VanderMeer's Finch.

It's seven paragraphs of overly detailed plot summary followed by a halfhearted single-sentence summing up, with virtually no analysis or opinion involved. The reviewer's bio line says he's written a novel, which just goes to show that just because you can create something it doesn't mean you'll be any good at criticizing it. (We already know the reverse is true.)

#163 ::: PurpleGirl ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 08:43 PM:

Posted December 17 at Romantic Reads, an editorial blog of Dorchester Publishing by Leah Hultenschmidt:

As we’ve had a number of emails recently regarding the issue…

We at Dorchester respect authors’ right to post comments and responses to criticism. That said, it should be made clear that in no way do they reflect the thoughts or opinions of our company.

For those who have asked about Candance Sams in particular, we were glad to publish her book and wish her well in her future career.

#164 ::: Bill ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 08:55 PM:

For those who have asked about Candance Sams in particular, we were glad to publish her book and wish her well in her future career.

That usually implies the future career is elsewhere, no?

#165 ::: Wesley Osam ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 09:23 PM:

Another classic creator meltdown: After the movie Deuce Bigalow, European Gigolo received a bad review from the Los Angeles Times, Rob Schneider (actor and co-writer) took out full-page ads in Daily Variety and the Hollywood Reporter attacking the reviewer:

Maybe you didn't win a Pulitzer Prize because they haven't invented a category for Best Third-Rate, Unfunny Pompous Reporter Who's Never Been Acknowledged by His Peers.

Roger Ebert responded on his colleague's behalf:

Speaking in my official capacity as a Pulitzer Prize winner, Mr. Schneider, your movie sucks.
#166 ::: Thomas M. Wagner ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 09:27 PM:

#162 Wesley: Oh yes, I agree professional reviews can be bad, especially those by twits who think an epic plot synopsis somehow constitutes a "review." But in the LAT writer's defense, I'd submit he at least read the book, rather than Ms. Klausner's policy of roughly skimming them if she even opens them at all.

#167 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 09:31 PM:

Thomas M. Wagner: #158: Now as for Ms. Sams, good grief. She hasn't merely jumped the shark here, she's jumped a school of beluga whales.

I'd say, rather, that she muffed the shark jump... CHOMP!

#168 ::: Jim Henry ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 10:27 PM:

Slightly off-topic, but: I started reading David Hines' LiveJournal last year when someone linked to the OH JOHN RINGO NO post, and have been reading it intermittently since; IMO that brilliant review is not his best work, only his most famous. For some time now he's been posting a poem every day, the majority of them pretty good and some of them wonderful. (Be warned that a few are bawdy.)

Debbie @150: Thanks for the link to Dr. M von Vogelhausen's sublime, insightful reviews. The review of the 12 Kelso Table Forks Cutlery Dining Set Canteen was full of eefoc.

#169 ::: Lou Shumaker ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2009, 12:05 AM:

Those of you wondering about Harriet the K might appreciate that during the '90s she posted reviews regularly -- roughly two or three a day -- on the DorothyL mystery list. She has since gone on to bigger things, although it seems her quality has gone down a tad since then.

For those of you who have been the subject of a bad review, let me pass along this anecdote.During my stint as a newspaper reviewer years ago, I came across an egregious example of bad writing (sort of like what you're seeing here) and duly gave it the shiv in the Sunday paper.

At church that day, I had a fellow parishioner tell me that he couldn't wait to read the book to see if it was as bad as I had said. So Paul was right: being ignored is worse than being reviewed.

#170 ::: JKRichard ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2009, 01:01 AM:

It's crazy
But that's how it goes
When authors treat readers
As if they are foe-oh-oh-oes

Conspiracies and scheming
My editor needs reaming
And I'm going off the rails like a crazy train...

#171 ::: Lance Weber ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2009, 01:54 AM:

What If...you were a really famous author, who knew better than to respond to bad reviews, but no matter how hard your tried, you just couldn't let them go.

Finally one day, after the fourth or fifth pre-brunch martini, inspiration strikes. All you have to do is get some truly awful work published under a nom de plume and then just go ape shit responding on Amazon reviews. You get it all out of your system via your alter ego, without harming your real reputation one bit. And if you can actually get paid to let all the really horrible book ideas out of your system ala John Ringo, so much the better.

#172 ::: PixelFish ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2009, 03:20 AM:

http://www.amazon.com/review/R1BA0D6J2GS59/ref=cm_cd_pg_pg32?ie=UTF8&cdPage=32

Apparently Sams is trying to recruit friends to pump up Harriet and the two or three other positive reviews. She alleges a vast internet conspiracy, claims we're all LB Taylor's minions, says LB Taylor and the other neg reviewer are known for doing this, that they did it to Linda Lael Miller among others, and says she's the victim of people trying to shut her up. (This is on her Facebook wall.)

Incidentally she seems to be under the opinion that Amazon should be like her personal site, as in the main thread, she asked why people were coming here to be mean....ignoring the fact that Amazon is a review site, among other things, and that by trying to pressure people to not mention negative experiences she is attempting to undermine the review system's utility for buyers.

I'd feel sorry for her--did earlier--except she has persisted in digging that hole deeper and deeper even after people point out that there is no conspiracy, people just take it amiss when you try to dismiss their experience of your product by calling them illiterates and parasites.

#173 ::: A.J. Luxton ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2009, 03:21 AM:

I am put in mind of this beautiful Kurt Vonnegut quote, which makes me feel warm and happy whenever I read it:

"Any reviewer who expresses rage and loathing for a novel is preposterous. He or she is like a person who has put on full armor and attacked a hot fudge sundae."

It reminds me of something essential about the nature of writing, especially when I feel unsure of my footing with politically sensitive issues or potentially embarrassing id material: a piece of writing is a gift. The writer doesn't have to give these gifts; the reader doesn't have to accept them. No matter what I write, some people will like it and some people won't, and if I take that too personally, I am like the tyrannical relative who loses their head when people don't deliver paeans of joy over their fruitcake.

#174 ::: Alex ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2009, 05:51 AM:

@155: does anyone else remember Jeff Skilling calling an investor an asshole for wanting a full cashflow statement?

That e-mail has got to be the biggest sell signal for years.

#175 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2009, 06:21 AM:

I am also put in mind of Alain de Botton's response to Caleb Crain's NYT review of his latest book (it's the fourth comment), which has as its penultimate sentence " I will hate you till the day I die and wish you nothing but ill will in every career move you make."

He clarified his position here, a few days after his outburst.

#176 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2009, 06:34 AM:

171: sounds like the Weblog of Dorian Gray. (In which Dorian Gray makes a deal with the devil to be dazzlingly witty in person but horrible and unpleasant online. Or possibly the reverse- haven't decided.)

#177 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2009, 08:35 AM:

Just this morning at the library: I was reading a book jacket, and what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a review blurb from Kirkus Reviews --

"Adventure SF that couldn't be better! [The Author*] is a worthy heir of John Ringo and David Weber."**

Did I check out the book? Heck, yeah!


*name and title left to your imagination
**my translation of the German

#178 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2009, 12:42 PM:

Pixelfish, #172: Am I the only one who sees a distinct similarity between what you describe here and what was going on yesterday over in the Watts thread? I think somebody there had been doing a little recruiting too.

#179 ::: Jon Hendry ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2009, 01:03 PM:

"Speaking in my official capacity as a Pulitzer Prize winner, Mr. Schneider, your movie sucks."

Yet afterward, when Ebert was diagnosed with cancer, Schneider sent flowers from "your least-favorite actor", which was pretty nice.

#180 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2009, 01:05 PM:

Jon Hendry (179): Classy, even.

#181 ::: lampwick ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2009, 01:07 PM:

I once saw a book by a Reputable Publisher with a quote by Harriet Klausner on it. I put the book back on the shelf and quietly walked away.

#182 ::: Gary Townsend ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2009, 01:29 PM:

Naomi @117: That's a pretty standard usage of the word "stalked." If your dictionary doesn't have it, it's a bad dictionary.

Unless you're being obliquely sarcastic?

No, I wasn't. Just double-checked my dictionary. Looks like I inadvertently passed over a definition. ~blush~ I read quite a lot and I can't say I've seen it used in quite that fashion before. Ah well. Live and learn. I've made note of it, and perhaps I'll even make use of it soon, too. :)

#183 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2009, 03:52 PM:

@173: While I admire the person who gave that quote, I'm not sure I can agree with its premise. Surely there are enough examples of books that did profoundly affect a lot of people, for good or ill. (Uncle Tom's Cabin and The Protocols of the Elders of Zion spring readily to mind, even if one confines the books so judged to texts that aren't foundational texts for religions.) And much like movies or poetry or music or any number of other forms of entertainment, they can reinforce or challenge all sorts of cultural assumptions, for good or for ill.

A single hot fudge sundae seems unlikely to have nearly so widespread (or serious) an effect as even an average book, much less a really important one, barring some sort of incident involving choking on a cherry or a strong allergic reaction when a world leader is eating one.

It's a witty, catchy saying. But I think its premise is wrong.

#184 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2009, 04:04 PM:

I think read the book effecting the discussion, having picked it up with a discount coupon at Borders, New England Mobile Book Fair doesn't that I am aware carry the LoveSpell imprint...

'twas IMO drek. I wouldn't argue with giving it a one star rating.

Still, there are people who like stuff I consider drek. Just because it had the level of worldbuilding/universe building credibility that made the 1980s into early 1990s "futuristic romances" appalling as regards anyone expecting SF/F imprint publishing internal consistency and willing suspension of disbelief structural integrity, idiot plothood, trite characters out of steoretype city, idiot progression of locale of story, stupid dialogue, etc., at least it didn't read like a paper in a science or engineering journal edited by people with a phobia for the idea that there is any form of writing acceptable which is not passive voice.... I don't remember if there were an excess of adjectives and adverbs or not--one of the (to my mind unfortunate) characteristics of a lot of the books slotted in romance which have SF/F in them, is a tendency to be "lush" -- a polite way of saying that losing most of the adverbs and adjectives would drastically improve the writing style....

But to get back to the point, the book was I presume supposed to be a lighthearted romp parody/satire, the sort of reading in which one shuts -off- one's brain and gives in to the guilty pleasure urge of reading trash that pokes fun at stuff; it wasn't acceptable even as a romp. It failed completely as SF, and as futuristic romance appears to mostly be a failure, also. It wasn't worth of being guilty trash pleasure... but apparently there is some minority which the book does appeal to.

Science fiction and fantasy romance especially when pitched to romance readers who balk at the though of technophilic settings and descriptions, has to deal with addressing multiple interests while trying to minimize the unappealing parts--complicated by the fact that what appeals to one group, is often what is least appealing to another...

Some writers have succeeded-- Linnea Sinclair, Catherine Asaro, Lois McMaster Bujold in varying degree--, Jayne Ann Krentz to a degree--though she is really writing romantic suspense (her own assessment) in her "lost colony" books, others, the market has not been kind to.

Others... meeting multiple audience expectations who have sometimes very different measures of merit and valuation, which often are mutually destructive, usually make for havign to make compromises, ones which come out like e.g. some of the more egregiously unpleasant legislation attempts.... things to displease everyone instead of a result that is best of breed.

(Futuristic series to avoid --the Cat Star Chronicles by Cheryl Brooks. First one has one of the most obnoxious red herrings in it that I have ever wasted my discretionary reading coming across. I suppose there are people who like the series, who are romance readers who want the paintlook of interstellar travel and interspecies love/lust in a romance with action adventure... but, ugh. Ugh. Ugh.

#185 ::: becca ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2009, 04:20 PM:
Some writers have succeeded-- Linnea Sinclair, Catherine Asaro, Lois McMaster Bujold in varying degree--, Jayne Ann Krentz to a degree--though she is really writing romantic suspense (her own assessment) in her "lost colony" books, others, the market has not been kind to.

one of my guilty pleasures/addictions is the futuristic romance written by Nora Roberts as J. D. Robb. The futuristic aspect is minimal, but (especially in the first 3 books) the world building is intricate and has Roberts' usual depth of character. I actually like these better than the Jayne Ann Krentz/Jayne Castle books (although I appreciate those too)

#186 ::: markdf ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2009, 05:17 PM:

The truly sad part here is that the original review wasn't even that harsh. Sure it was one-star, but it wasn't pretty tame for a "don't recommend."

Does anyone have extra butter? I'm out of butter.

#187 ::: Julia S. ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2009, 05:19 PM:

I once saw a book by a Reputable Publisher with a quote by Harriet Klausner on it. I put the book back on the shelf and quietly walked away.

That's not exactly fair to the book--even the stopped clock is right twice a day, after all. I just filter out HK as noise.

#188 ::: Bill ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2009, 05:21 PM:

Can I tangent over to this call-and-response from page 31?


>"Gaiman is a hack" - what?!
Fanboy going apoplectic? ;-) Just what you heard: I think he's a hack.

>You're basing your opinion of the man's writing off of movies?
Yes. Why not? He wrote them.

> Please *read* some of his work before forming an opinion.
Why?

#189 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2009, 05:37 PM:

I accidentally read markdf at 186 as "does anyone have an extra butler?"

#190 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2009, 05:53 PM:

Bill @188: Augh. Instant flashbacks to the ML Harry Potter discussion meltdown.

#191 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2009, 06:04 PM:

Have I kvetched about Lisanne Norman's Sholan Alliance series yet? Can't remember. That's another series that looks like it should be good--cross-species romantic suspense, space opera, and alien world-building galore.

Unfortunately, it creaks and uses quite a few badly out of place stock characters. Not in a cheerfully dopey, highly colored space-opera way either--a terribly earnest and serious way. So disappointing.

#192 ::: lampwick ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2009, 06:36 PM:

Julia S. @ 187 -- You know, I think you're right. It wasn't the poor author's fault that the publisher was so clueless.

#193 ::: CosmicDog ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2009, 06:47 PM:

Bill @ 188 -
That was me, the one that has actually read Gaiman's work and enjoys it, not the "Gaiman is a hack" guy (I assume it's a guy).

I was actually stunned into responding - I have never heard/read anyone describe Neil Gaiman as a 'hack'. It was a weird claim, being that he has not read anything by Gaiman, only watched two movies based on his books - Mirrormask (screenplay by Neil) and Coraline (screenplay *not* by Neil). Even stranger, he claimed to like both films but called Neil a hack because both are 'Alice In Wonderland' ripoffs.

When he posted that response, I knew that he was only interested in stirring up more trouble. He was getting off on the conflict in the thread as was disappointed that Sams had left the party.

But, really. I don't love everything that Neil Gaiman has written, but I think it's patently foolish to call him a 'hack'.

#194 ::: Nate ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2009, 08:14 PM:

To me the most distressing thing about that whole thread was actually checking out the first few pages of the book and finding out that prose that clumsy and riddled with grammar and usage errors could still be professionally published. Does Dorchester not employ any copy editors?

Whether or not they're embarrassed by their author's antics, they should certainty* be embarrassed to be associated with the book itself.

*see Electra Galaxy's Interstellar Fella, Page 1. Also, I got the impression Electra Galaxy was the name of the host/creator of the pageant, not a location.

#195 ::: Steve Simmons ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2009, 08:42 PM:

Sad, just sad.

#196 ::: Jennifer Myrna ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2009, 08:50 PM:

@ 188 & 193, That's Ghost. Ghost is a fun guy but definitely a pot-stirrer. He keeps getting banned from Amazon because of his work in the Klausner trenches -- and then reincarnating himself (hence the "3"). He just loves a good debate and since most of his opponents have fled (he can be wonderfully relentless), he gets bored. I like him, he's funny and fun. Doesn't mean you have to agree with him, but you can have a great debate with him. Just don't take anything he says personally. He's nothing if not thoroughly amusing. But then again, we've all seen how easily I'm amused.

#197 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2009, 09:21 PM:

Jennifer, #196: That's a really canonical description of a major asshole who gets his jollies out of bullying people who can't fight back.

#198 ::: Jennifer Myrna ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2009, 10:05 PM:

@197, Lee, Why would someone not be able to fight back? You REALLY don't want to meet the people who flee. They're the HK defense league.

#199 ::: Julia S. ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2009, 10:29 PM:

lampwick@192 wrote: You know, I think you're right. It wasn't the poor author's fault that the publisher was so clueless {as to put a Harriet Klausner blurb on a book.}

It's not "clueless" exactly; I think they (people at Reputable Publishers) believe that there is a certain subset of very occasional readers who expect to see a rave from Harriet, and if they don't they think the book must be even worse crap than the stuff she praises umpteen times a day. It's a bit of a race to the bottom.

#200 ::: Johne Cook ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2009, 12:11 AM:

#196, In the gamer community, that call that kind of person a 'griefer.' They're generally far too clever for their own good and engage in meta-activities, enjoying twisting or ignoring the same rules that the rest of a community or society are bound by. They cause distress for others and revel in the process. That's not fun, that's cyberbullying.

#201 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2009, 12:45 AM:

Jennifer @198: Why would someone not be able to fight back?

Because they're being attacked about subjects they're too emotionally caught up in to be able to write coherently about when feeling threatened.

Because they have difficulty expressing their arguments clearly in text, without the ability to project appropriate body language and intonation.

Because they have difficulty reading intention in text, without body language and intonation, such that they have difficulty deciphering the arguments being made against them.

Because they don't have the time and stamina to look up counter-arguments with citation against nitpicky details.

Because they don't like arguing with strangers in text (or at all), such that actually engaging bullies such as the one you've mentioned would cause more stress than it was worth, and such that they've never developed the skills to do so effectively.

I could probably come up with various other reasons, but those are the ones that spring immediately to mind as the broad categories.

#202 ::: CosmicDog ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2009, 01:34 AM:

Jennifer @196 -

Thanks, that makes a lot sense. I'm glad I didn't continue to engage him. I mean, I like me some debate, but I am really out of practice and tend to reserve my best stuff for really incendiary topics like politics and religion...and grammar.

He would have made *me* look foolish (and I've actually formed my opinion of the author's writing by *reading* his work). Still, master debaters, especially the Internet variety, can really turn things around on you, no matter the reasonableness of your position.

And, hey, welcome to Making Light! I hope you have fun here.

#203 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2009, 03:21 AM:

Jennifer @198:

Because not everyone relishes conflict for its own sake. Some of us use it as a tool, to come to a different view of the truth.

Stir my pot, and I'm outta there. That doesn't make me an apologist for anything; it means I don't enjoy conflict for its own sake, and people who come up and inflict it on me have all the appeal and interest of poo-flinging monkeys. They're wasting my time and covering me with crap. Why should I want anything to do with them?

#204 ::: Jennifer Myrna ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2009, 08:28 AM:

@ the last 4 messages or so, I genuinely don't understand the anger. It's only "bullying" if the person is defenseless. G doesn't go after defenseless people. Although don't get me wrong, he does go after the HK Defense Squad, so he IS willing to "engage" stupid people. Seems to me hat's not the same as what Fade is stating, which I consider more an unwillingness to argue, rather than an inability to. But perhaps I just don't get it.

I guess what I wonder is, if you think his "side" is stupid versus different, why bother arguing? I'll throw a debate out with him occasionally, but otherwise I just let him talk. When I don't WANT to talk to someone, I don't have to, and don't feel an urge to. But I don't feel bullied because they question me. Ghost is always coherent and mostly polite (although he IS blunt). He doesn't truly attack anyone (and even if you're questioned on something you're emotional about, that doesn't make it an attack), and definitely not in the name calling, insulting kind of way. (Even if he DOES insult something you like.)

Let me put it this way: If he hasn't read the author but is making judgement calls about that person's work, what the heck's the point in arguing with him? Anyone who reads it is going to form their OWN opinions about his stance. Seems to me that the only reason to address what he says, when you disagree with it like that, is to get your point across. If, after you make your point, he comes back with arguments that don't make sense to you, you can either continue to beat your head against a brick wall, or you let it go. THAT isn't the fleeing I mean -- I'm talking about the same type that Candace Sams did. The "flouncing" and the breakdown. When I say "wonderfully relentless", I mean that it's a beatiful thing to watch him not give up until the HKDS sound like complete morons before they huff off. That said, it's still cool to watch when I disagree with him. He can usually make his side sound at least plausible (ie you understand what his position is, even if you disagree with it), and entertaining if nothing else.

Seriously, though, I'm honest to god not defending him. I'm explaining my interpretation of him. If you spend enough time in the HK trenches, you really come to appreciate his style. :D

#205 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2009, 09:41 AM:

Hi, Jennifer!

I'm pretty sure there's no actual anger being expressed or directed at you. However, this is a topic that folks around here feel pretty strongly about. Online (and indeed offline) behavior has been debated often here, most recently and extensively here:

http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/011635.html

#206 ::: Wesley Osam ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2009, 09:55 AM:

Jennifer Myrna, #204: If he hasn't read the author but is making judgement calls about that person's work,

Then by definition he's not capable of making a useful, or even an entertainingly useless, contribution to the discussion. What you're describing is not a "fun guy," but a nuisance.

#207 ::: Joshua Gruber ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2009, 10:14 AM:

Alas, she has removed ALL of her posts on this topic as of around midnight last night. This is what I get for being so slow reading my RSS feeds.

#208 ::: Jennifer Myrna ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2009, 10:21 AM:

@206, Wesley, I don't think I'm really going to agree with you on that one. People trying to defend an untenable position can be quite entertaining to watch -- at least to me. The arguments are creative and unique. It's like reading a book as far as I'm concerned. But then again, I have no emotional investment in his argument, where it seems that his comment rouses a lot of intense emotions in people here (for obvious reasons). But I still can't see this as "bullying" -- it's not even picking a fight, as far as I can tell. It's just opening the floor up for people to a debate (even a stupid one), which is quite different than an attack, so far as I can see.

@205, Debbie, Thanks for the link. I've been in the "cyber" world since before it was "cyber". lol I had a 300 baud accoustic modem to connect to BBSs. Seems like many here would be the same. I mention this because I've learned, I suppose, that people are harmless in their impact over me. I don't generally get angry (although I do sometimes -- I AM human), I rarely take people too seriously, and I find myself enjoying human nature that much more. That's one of the reasons I so enjoy complete meltdowns.

I've never seem Ghost do anything I would consider bullying. I call him fun, because he's the type of guy I think it would be a blast to have lunch with. I'd love to see how his mind works up close and personal.

#209 ::: Wesley Osam ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2009, 10:51 AM:

Jennifer Myrna, #208: People trying to defend an untenable position can be quite entertaining to watch -- at least to me.

It may depend on whether you're imagining yourself as a disinterested onlooker. I'm imagining a situation where I'm trying to have a sensible conversation, and a guy trying to defend an untenable position keeps butting in. When you're part of the discussion, being interrupted and sidetracked by nonsense isn't entertaining, it's exasperating.

#210 ::: lampwick ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2009, 01:04 PM:

Julia S. @ 199 -- I do think that any publisher that puts a quote by Harriet Klausner on a book is fairly clueless. A lot of readers have figured out that she'll give a good review to just about anyone, so a quote by her means (to me, anyway) that the publisher couldn't find anything else good to say about the book. It's a pretty big signal that the book probably isn't very good.

#211 ::: FungiFromYuggoth ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2009, 01:51 PM:

Jennifer Myrna @204 - "It's only "bullying" if the person is defenseless."

Even though I agree that what Ghost does is seems to be threadcrapping instead of bullying, I think your definition defines bullying almost out of existence. There's a power imbalance in bullying, but very few people are truly defenseless. Down this path lies victim-blaming and minimization.

There are a variety of definitions of bullying and cyberbullying out there - some lump any online harassment, others limit the targets to teens and youngers - but I don't see anyone else requiring the targets to be "defenseless". Particularly if one defense is "Hey, just close the window and stop reading".

#212 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2009, 02:29 PM:

Jennifer, #204: No one is angry with you. I, at least, am more than a little perplexed about how you, who seem to be a decent person, can be defending someone who fits so squarely into one of the best-known "online asshole" patterns.

I read down the thread a bit from the post that was linked, and what I saw from Ghost set off a whole bunch of red flags. This is NOT someone I would ever want to consider socializing with; his online persona, at the very least, is abusive as hell. He may be one of those Jekyll-and-Hyde types who actually understands how to behave in person, but I wouldn't want to gamble on it.

If he wanted to hang around places like fark.com, I wouldn't be saying a word; those sites clearly announce that they are anything-goes and if you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen. But I don't think that's the sort of place that Amazon reader reviews are designed to be... which may be why he keeps getting banned over there.

(Side note: that particular behavior -- getting banned and then coming back again with a different ID -- is a HUGE warning flag. People who do that are Not Good People. And a bully who's on your side is no less a bully.)

#213 ::: Jennifer Myrna ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2009, 03:15 PM:

@209, Wesley, I rarely (if ever) feel the need to defend myself to anyone, let alone online. Even now I consider it carrying on a discourse regarding my opinion. If I felt that I was defending myself I would probably just walk away. It's pointless, so far as I'm concerned, because (as Sams found out) you can't change someone's mind for them. Keeping that in mind, I guess you could say that I'm always a fairly disinterested onlooker. Perhaps that's why I've never been offended or felt "bullied" by Ghost, even when I've strenuously disagreed with him.

@211, Fungi, the only way I can ever see someone bullied online is if they were utterly unable to defend their opinion (ie defenseless) -- and if they truly cared. This is a random person on the internet, who has no power. I could take it in a different way if we were talking about in-person, but the reference here has always been in a cyber setting. I suppose you could argue that I'm blaming the victim... and in a way, I also suppose that I am. If you're confronted by someone on a website, you can just ignore them (and can actually LITERALLY ignore them on Amazon -- just click the "ignore this customer" button). If you choose to continue a discourse with them, if you choose to attempt to change them or their opinion, and they continue what you feel is an attack, then shame on you, if you know what I mean. That is the only way that an online entity (who is not a moderator or a webmaster) can have any "power" over you and yours (and if they are a mod or WM, then I suggest you avoid that site :-P). Ergo, no balance of power to be shifted, ergo no bullying. But perhaps I'm simplifying it too much (not for you, just in general).

@212, Lee, the reason Ghost is repeatedly banned is because he is the most vocal, and vociferous critic of Harriet Klausner and her ilk. In the time that I've "known" him, he has never cursed at someone, attacked them personally (well, okay, there are some HK defenders that he calls quite creative names -- but in his defense on THAT, who can blame him?). I have never seen him violate any of Amazons terms, I've never seen him use harsh language, I've never seen him be anything but obnoxious -- which to me, does not translate as being a "bully;" but perhaps that really is JUST me. I dunno. I'm not actually defending him, just so you know. I make no excuses for his behavior. I don't understand why he does it. I merely wanted to explain the... flavor... of his posts to people who otherwise wouldn't know what to make of him. Or, in this case, to people who may take his desire to debate as being an attack. I am curious, though, as to what he said (other than his "hack" comment) that was particularly bad. Please explain more, because I may very well be missing something -- or just plain confused, which is highly likely.

As for being a decent person... I do try. :)

#214 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2009, 03:55 PM:

Jennifer @213:

I think the piece you're missing in your analysis of online bullying is community.

Your model is predicated on the idea that you can always just walk away from a bully. But what if that bully is squatting in your community, the place where you feel at home, the place where all your friends are? What if, in short, you care? So you can't easily walk away, the way you can't walk away from an obnoxious neighbor or a depressed spouse?

Or is the internet only for the kind of person who can ignore that kind of behavior in their virtual home? Speaking as a moderator of this community, I'd disagree with that option; I think that excludes some intelligent and interesting people whose views enrich our conversation. Furthermore, I'm not convinced that the voices we gain—people who converse to win rather than to learn, teach, entertain and understand—are worth the price.

#215 ::: markdf ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2009, 04:13 PM:

@189: I accidentally read markdf at 186 as "does anyone have an extra butler?"

Eric, my good man, how else would I get the butter on the popcorn? My butler insists on every other weekend off. ;)

#216 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2009, 04:18 PM:

Various:

I don't spend much time on amazon.com and don't spend much time on the amazon.com discussions and review chains. Therefore Ghost is the handle of someone whose oeurves I lack direct familiarity with.

Having said that, I was sort-of cyberstalked by someone, for many years. The person apparently was fascinated by things I posted and under the delusion that I was someone who was male who was trying to incompetently impersonate being a female personality on-line.... The person kept trying to get me to respond to their posts, unsuccessful at it for more than a decade--I broke my self-imposed ban on responding directly to any post from the person on one subject with I think two posts--over the course of more than I think 20 years now... talk about obnoxious trolls, I used to be easy to incite into a flamewar, but that particular troll, was so utterly outrageous, despite all trolls from the troll, I relatively easily resisted all attempts (and the troll state that that was the troll's intent) to elicit a direct response out of me, for again, more than a decade!

Was that cyberbullying that the troll was going,? Perhaps yes, perhaps no, but it was something perhaps of the intent--the troll wasn't trying to shut me up or restrict my freedom to post, but rather was trying to as hard as it could, get me to directly acknowledge and acceded to its existence in those forums directly--and I refused to play along. Some of the tactics included the attempt to bully, which didn;t succeed in part because the intent, again, wasn't to muzzle me, it was to make me acknowledge the troll's existence and communicate directly with the troll...

In the case of self-appointed outers stalking the Internet bullying people, that's I think a rather different issue. The troll as far as I know/can recall, has never come -here-, for example, the troll restricted itself to two or so specific forums. The troll was never trying to disenfranchise me or silence me or force me to agree with anything except the troll's intent of me engaging with the troll directly, which again are different from most cyberbullying--I was being baited, rather than classically bullied--and my refusal to take the bait, got the troll getting more and more pathetically offensive--and booted on a not infrequent basis, for other egregious excessively annoying behavior.

As for HK--someone I've been in correspond in an on-line forum, says that HK called her up and talked to her about a book she'd written, with HK having obviously read and appreciated the book--that's one data point that there are books which HK actually does read and retain accurate memory records of.

I agree with the comment someone made that HK seems to write (not necessarily -good-...) book reports. In a way she reminds me a bit of town Characters -- back when I was a volutting video camera operator in the town cablecast studio, the town had a character who believed that having driver's license was an illegal demand on the part of government... the local cops would collect and arrest him and free him on a regular basis. HK sort of reminds me of that, someone consuming books and to the march of her own drum writing book reports of them, of varying degrees of fidelity to what everyone else might see/believe/perceive....

There certainly ought to be enough HK capsule book posts that anyone with any discrimination or clue and more than the most rudimentary, most naive experience on-line looking at reviews and websites, ought to be able to figure out that an HK review is like determining tap water quality based on someone collecting water out of water sources before the water goes into water department intake valves for purification and distribution... the results may or may not coincide with what gets distributed to be tap water....

Wasting time and effort hunting own HK reviews for declaiming, seems to be to be a waste of time and effort and misdirected. Just the sheer volume of HK reviews, and the general tenor of them, should tell the other than completely naive reader, that HK reviews are something like going shopping in Walmart, that the sheer volume and rate of production and distribution with the effort subordinated to getting the volume maximized at minimum effort and cost, overwhelm all over considerations on the "supply side."

#217 ::: Jennifer Myrna ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2009, 04:27 PM:

@214, Abi, I'm honestly not sure how I would feel -- I've never felt that "at home" or attached to a web community. I don't know how to ban someone from my website, as I've never bothered to try (although I did --and do-- have a stalker on Amazon who followed me to my own blog). I suppose I just honestly don't understand it being so personal to someone. I'm truly trying, so forgive my slowness. I would imagine that if someone were so disruptive to the community there would be a way to ban that IP or the email address, or something similar. I am not familiar enough with it to know how myself, but I know there are methods that exist.

If Ghost were being banned for violating terms of use, or being even particularly aggressive, I could understand it (at least more than I do now). But his history is all in the world of HK and other shills, where his only "attacks" are against their supporters. Amazon will ban ANYONE if they are reported enough (just as they will remove a comment or review if it is reported enough) even if the person, review or comment is not in violation of the ToU. It's something that Sams clearly isn't aware of or she would have done THAT instead of having a meltdown. To see this abuse in action, look up Deborah MacGillvray.

That said, I still don't see anything that he did that was particularly bad. I have never seen him DO anything that was particularly bad, quite frankly. I went back and reread his posts, just in case I was missing something. Other than being provocative, which is not a sin, and referring to this author as a "hack" (which makes little sense to anyone since he hasn't read anything by him), he wasn't attacking or even particularly rude. He asked for an explanation, however it ended there because the person who confronted him ignored the provocation. Which is an appropriate response. Ghost then dropped it. Where was the relentless bullying? Where was the attacking? In short, how was he being an asshole? He didn't follow the poster into the poster's "home turf," didn't disrupt the community (even at Amazon)... so far as I've seen or know.

Now, if you want examples of him being aggressive and relentless in the HK world, I can find those. :)

In some conclusion, I again state clearly that I'm not "defending" him. I am merely trying to understand the perspective of those who feel that he was bullying. And to understand what constitutes bullying in an environment where ignoring someone is fairly easy, at least in my experience.

#218 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2009, 04:41 PM:

Jennifer @217:

I think we're talking apples and oranges here, a little. I haven't gone and followed Ghost's history, and I'm not necessarily talking about it in particular.

I'm more trying to address the way you've generalized from Ghost's behavior on Amazon and how you in particular have reacted to it, to how you would judge other people in other situations.

You said:

I suppose you could argue that I'm blaming the victim... and in a way, I also suppose that I am. If you're confronted by someone on a website, you can just ignore them (and can actually LITERALLY ignore them on Amazon -- just click the "ignore this customer" button). If you choose to continue a discourse with them, if you choose to attempt to change them or their opinion, and they continue what you feel is an attack, then shame on you, if you know what I mean.

I say that that may be the case for you in particular, in the online contexts you're thinking of, but that it's not a good generalization to make. It excludes and blames the wrong people, and penalizes those who make communities into homes.

This is important stuff. Many of the people on the internet take it more seriously than you do. Some members of this community, for instance, are unwell and unable to get out and socialize much in meatspace. Others, like me, have made many true friends here, and valued its social continuity during disruptions such as international moves.

Saying that we should be prepared to just shrug and walk away if someone comes and damages this important part of our lives, or that it's our fault if we don't...well, it's needlessly judgmental. Obviously, you're entitled to your opinions, but you might well end up missing out on some valuable interactions and hurting other people if you act on these ones.

#219 ::: Jennifer Myrna ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2009, 04:43 PM:

@216, Paula, that is very similar to my stalker (I *know* who the person doing it is, actually. I've got their IP address because they follow me to my website, for example). She is a person who has created a fictitious persona on Amazon, and when I caught her in many erroneous claims and inconsistencies, she became aggressive. She votes my posts and reviews as unhelpful, reports my posts repeatedly as abuse so that eventually they are deleted (Amazon does NOT verify an abuse claim). I was rather prolific on the Romance forum (and later the Historical Romance forum) at Amazon, until it became obvious that she was NOT going to stop. She squats on the Romance forum specifically, and she's VERY afraid that I will "out" her. So... when I decided that I'd had enough... I started a private group on Goodreads, invited the friends I wanted to talk with, and have been happy there. When someone from another board/forum appears to be someone who will fit in, we invite them (Nick is one of the people from my forum). I've been quite happy with the arrangement. Perhaps that's why I lack appropriate empathy in this situation.

I AM trying, btw, guys. :D

#220 ::: Jennifer Myrna ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2009, 05:02 PM:

@218, Abi, Oddly enough, I understand what you're saying more than most. While I DO have to leave my house (I have two young children), I have 2 different chronic illnesses and am considered "handicapped" by both my doctor and government organizations. Many of my close friends I have made outside of the "meatspace" (I love that term, btw :D). That, however, is neither here nor there -- I'm merely explaining that I DO have both empathy and compassion for the situation that you're describing.

While I consider myself very experienced in the 'net environment, perhaps I am just naive in this regard. Other than the one person who harasses me on Amazon, I have managed to be able to ignore every other type of... aggravation... that I have encountered online. I don't feel as if I was driven to hide on the Goodreads forum, for example. Rather I feel as if I am in a more comfortable environment, and am with people that I tend to like more. For what it's worth, Ghost is not a part of that forum. Aside from the fact that I don't think he'd want to join, I also don't think he'd fit in. That doesn't mean that I dislike him based on my interactions with him, though, or that I don't find him to be an intelligent, if rather blunt (to put it mildly), individual.

But as you said, you're not talking specifically about him. In general, I can only say that I've not encountered a situation where I felt that someone had irrevocably disrupted my comfort level within a community.

#221 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2009, 05:13 PM:

Jennifer @220:
I can only say that I've not encountered a situation where I felt that someone had irrevocably disrupted my comfort level within a community.

And that's great. Glad to hear it. But not everyone has been so fortunate, and indeed you may not always be yourself.

I'm not looking to change your world here; I'm just asking for you to leave a little mental room for people in different circumstances.

#222 ::: Jennifer Myrna ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2009, 05:24 PM:

@221, Abi, That's what I'm trying to do. :)

#223 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2009, 08:49 PM:

I don't read the book reviews in Amazon because I have enough people recommending books directly. I do read the reviews for non-book things I might buy and those are very useful.

Paula, when I first came here, I knew almost all the folks who were here already, so I went with my first name. Everywhere else online I'm mjlayman, and people usually initially insist that I'm male.

#224 ::: Kit ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2009, 11:24 AM:

A lot of readers have figured out that she'll give a good review to just about anyone.

I wish I was Klausner. No, really, I do. She still seems to love all books she reads, while I'm becoming a bitter cynic who finds faults in most of them. I need the Scrooge treatment for books. =)

#225 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2009, 11:44 AM:

bullying, bullies -- bullies have goals and/or intents, conscious or unconscious, of forcing other people to comply with their whims and values, regardless of whether those other people want to or now. The bully won't leave others alone, no Prime Directive involved.

Whether the target accedes to the pressure or not, is not germane as to whether bullying exists or not--it's germane as to how "effective" the bullying is. If the person leaves, that's a win for the bully, because it's the disappearance of an alternative value/holder of alternative value....

"Heckler's Vetoes" are bullying. Sen Lieberman is a bully owned by the robber baron insurance and other industries. That other senator, is also a bully, demanding that his values be imposed on the rest of the country... how would Christians feel about non-Christians forcing the termination of Mass and baptism, based on the former being cannibalism, and that latter posing the danger of drowning? That's about how I feel regarding males making laws regarding women not having control over their own bodies and what's in them....

#226 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2009, 12:02 PM:

Also -- bullies suck up energy and feed on it from other people, and the time and effort and attention spent trying to neutral bullying attacks, is time and effort and energy and attention not available for other, -productive-, endeavors....

"Patent trolls" are examples of extremely vile, noxious bullies--they're vicious malevolent creativity-devastating parasites. They prevent the development of new products, prevent development of product lines, block the availability of inventions and products from gettign to the public, and destroy the livelihood and even lives of creative people and their investors--there are example of companies and people who have won lawsuits defending against patent trolls, and which/who have gone out of business and bankrupt, their resources both financial and emotional all spent on lawyers and in courtrooms and otherwise fighting off the patent troll's malicious anti-competition lawsuit.

With those precedents, and with the prospect of having to spend resources fighting the -bullies- instead of investing the time and effort and money into -creative- and -productive- development, research, marketing, production, and distribution, most companies and individuals tend to either pay what basically is "protection" money to the Mafia-istic patent trolls (except what those pieces of slime are doing is legal--completely and utterly vile, but legal) or shut down their operations the patent troll has targets...

In publishing, I've been seeing reports that Harper Collins is playing a relative of the patent troll game, for books it has had print publication rights for, but NOT epublication rights. Again and again and again it sued an epublisher, and lost each time, but the target has now rolled over and is paying Harper Collins what Harper Collins chooses to claim is a licensing fee--over, again, rights which Harper Collins does not and never has had (they're not in the contracts, which were written before epublication commerce existed). The company apparently had decided it was no longer going to contest the situation in the court system... the losers are consumers who are getting extorted to pay robber barons immoral unethical fees, the US Constitution and the entire mentality behind it of fairness and trust, and the entire society....

Cyberbullies spread lies and innuendo, destroy reputations, and suck energy and effort and attention from being -productive- and from progress... they spin gold thread into slime molds and poison the forums they attack in.... Teresa invented disemvowelling as a way to blunt and diminish their attacks, their effectiveness, and their poisonous contamination.

#227 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2009, 12:44 PM:

Paula Lieberman #225: "Heckler's Vetoes" are bullying. Sen Lieberman is a bully owned by the robber baron insurance and other industries.

I've been kind of wondering about that, whether or not the Pro-Israel lobby hates the idea of American universal health care because ill Palestinian exiles living in the US might just live instead of die because of it. I haven't really examined the extent of his puppet strings as much as I should have. "In my senator's house, there are many lobbyists: if it were not so, I wouldn't have redacted it in the FOIA request. I go to prepare a place for you." John 14:2, the Federal Election Campaign Act edition.

#228 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2009, 01:08 PM:

Jennifer: First off, I think we may be talking a bit at cross-purposes. I said that Ghost's online persona is abusive as hell, and you responded by saying that you'd never seen him use vile language or directly attack anyone. This suggests that we're using very different definitions of the term "abusive". Mine starts where yours does, but goes on from there to encompass subtler forms such as emotional abuse, passive-aggressive behavior, steamrollering, and plain old lack of empathy; the effects of these things on people who are exposed to them are only recently beginning to be studied and recognized as being very similar to the reactions shown by people who are more aggressively abused. Ghost strikes me as a person who would not be healthy for other people to hang out with, unless they were of the same psychological type that he appears to be.

Secondly, I think abi has nailed down the point very concisely at #214: anyone who sees the primary purpose of conversation as being to win, and who counts driving someone else out of the conversation as a win, is abusive and a bully, period.

One point of clarification: it is a very common form of trollish behavior to accuse a community which is not letting them get away with said trolling of "driving out anyone who doesn't agree with them 100%"; this is similar in form to arguments that "tolerance" must include allowing intolerance and hatred to have free reign. They are flawed because tolerance is a 2-way street; if someone wants me to respect their opinions, they had better be prepared to grant me the same courtesy. You are not behaving like a troll. IMO, Ghost does.

#229 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2009, 02:47 PM:

#227 Earl

You conflate things there that are not congruent--Sen Lieberman is NOT, not, NOT, the mainstream of US Jewish citizen political views and values, in a whole lot of ways. Most US citizens who are Jewish tend to liberal/progressive politics, are in favor of national health care, opposed to the insurance lobby, opposed to governmental interference in reproductive healthcare, etc. The neocon's Jewish contingent, is slightly less extreme than e.g. the Westboro Baptist Church are extreme as Christians.... Sen. Lieberman and that Nebraska hardass social hardline Democrat, belong in the same corner of the political spectrum I suspect--their specific views may be different, but they have a lot of similarities in behavior and outlook....

As for wanting people dead.... Israel is a -small- country. When the USA sends warplanes out, they do NOT fly over Washington DC.... when I was in Israel with my aunt and there were hostilities going on, the planes flying to attack the sites of rockets launching into Kiryat Shimona, flew directly over the hotel we were in in Jerusalem. My aunt flashed back to WWII.... the planes went over Jerusalem because it was directly between the base the planes were at and where they were heading....

Syria effected massacres of political opponents--Hafez Assad, "the Butcher of Hamad" I think the line was. The USA is alleged to have committed a massacre of prisoners in Afghanistan, trucking them to a site and machinegunning then the way that certain countries committed massacres 60+ years ago, and that massacres occurred in ex-Yugoslavia and in e.g. Rwanda within more recent times. Then there are the mass murders which have been occurring in Iraq and Afghanistan (and for that matter, the Oklahoma City bombing that occurred, the 9/11 massacres, the massacres in Spain by terrorists, the one in the Pacific Rim, in India and Pakistan...)--I haven't heard of any US or Israeli suicide bombers playing Samson in Gaza or the West Bank murdering dozens of people trying to go about their daily lives.

I think there is a lot of hypocrisy going around. The Israelis aren't saints, but they certainly are NOT a unified bloc... there are more political parties there, than the USA has, despite there being orders of magnitude fewer people there.

Israel is a country with a siege mentality, and continuing reminders that a large percentange of the hundreds of millions of mostly Islamic citizens of the surrounding countries, wouldn't shed a single tear if every Jew (and a lot of the Christians, too...) in the region disappeared/were slaughtered--that instead a lot of the would be dancing in the streets and cheering.... yes, there are Israelis who would be personally celebrating if the residents of Gaza and the west bank disappeared tomorrow, but they belong to the same type of mindset as the Westboro Baptist Church faithful--ruthless extremist hardline narcissistic etc. intolerant bigots. There are also Israelis who are Christians, Israelis who are Muslims, Israelis who are Druse, and Israelis who are Jews who would be utterly and completely appalled and horrified....

Growing up thinking the rest of the world hates you and if not actually actively wanting you dead, is condemning you and castigating you as villanous, and getting regularly reminded of this with mass atrocities committed, does not inculcate one with an attitude of tolerance and trust towards the cultures and groups from which the committers and funders and supporters of those committing the atrocities come from--and particularly not when those groups make it quite clear they are unwilling to stop attacking while you are still alive, AND that the rest of the world isn;t going to give you any succor to go relocate to -their- smug abodes.... the Jews in Israel come majorly from the ranks of descendants of Jews taking in refuge in Israel from persecution and repression and murderious riots in what today are Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Iran, Eithiopia, and other Middle Eastern and North African countries, along with survivors of the persecution and repression and mass murder of Jews in Europe, plus the people whose families were in the Levant in what today is Israel and what are "occupied west bank territory" before the the 1880s...

The ONLY country in the 1930s which was unconditionally willing to allow Jewish immigration was China... the rest of the world, did such things as turn back shiploads of would-be Jewish refugees from Europe (see the plight of the passengers on I think the name of the ship was the St Louis... the fate of most of them was death in the deathcamps, refused entry to immigrate as refugees anywhere in the Americas, and sent back to the area of Europe later overrun by Nazi Germany. So much for international succor and aid, even to those who had paid for passage and were not initially penniless indigent refugees.... that;s the backdrop of culture of Jews in Israel, that the rest of the world not only won't provide refuge, but will send them back to where they were trying to escape from....)

Growing up with a legacy of being surrounded by hostile countries saying "we will drive you into the sea" does not tend to inculcate one with -trust- that the people raised to be shock troops/the source of the shook troops in the drive-the-Jews-into-the-sea wars, are going to accede to being peaceful co-prosperity-sphere neighbors, particularly not when they keep shooting rockets into your housing developments, blowing themselves up at major transportation nodes and in public markets, and calling for jihad against you.... and they and their allies surround you and outnumber you by a ratio of something like 100:1.

#230 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2009, 03:06 PM:

Paula, you are considerably better informed on this topic than I am. I do agree that the Senator is an anomaly; it's just that he's a hideously powerful anomaly capable of distorting national policy in ways which have the potential of hurting people I care about.

#231 ::: Jennifer Myrna ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2009, 08:53 AM:

@228, Lee, Thanks for not thinking me a troll. :) Seriously, I'm just a relatively bored housewife who gets my jollies where I can. My jollies are not generally at any person's expense, however someone who acts like a moron and brings the attention on themselves (a la Sams) is fair game to get entertainment from. I would hate to think that my discussions here are seen as being offensive or disruptive to the community.

Soooo... here's my question: What did Ghost do/say that was so bad? Or is all of this based on my posts here? Because I really did go back through his comments and can't find anything I would consider "bully"-ish, even with an expanded definition. I mean, I can't speak on the quality of the works, because I have no experience with them, thus I can't disagree or agree with Ghost on his comments regarding Coraline and Mirrormask. If, however, an uneducated but voiced opinion is made, that doesn't make the person right, obviously, however it doesn't make them abusive, a bully, or even particularly mean. Maybe a jerk, but being one myself, I'm relatively careful about calling anyone such. :D

I used to spend a decent amount of time in the HK comments section (which we tend to call the "trenches") where there were dedicated "defenders" -- people who insisted that the numbers lied and that everything about Klausner was not just plausible, but true. These people, much like Sams, are rather easy to get jollies off of. That's where I've come to appreciate Ghost's sense of humor and acerbic wit. Which, honestly, he DOES have. :D Doesn't mean I agree with him on all he says and does, but I've not seen anything that makes him appear to be a bad person to me. "Driving someone off" from there is as easy as demanding them to explain why they're defending HK, especially when confronted with facts about her. Which is probably why Ghost questions just about everyone (he spends his time in the shills world). It's where he gets his debate side out, I suspect. Even then, however, his "relentlessness" (my word, I admit) is used to defeat absurd "arguments" in defense of blatant shills.

There's another man, L.E. Cantrell, who also posts there, with views (mostly) opposed to Ghost. He is what I'd call a true Devil's Advocate in the sense that he'll take a defensive position even if he doesn't agree with it. He is also clearly intelligent, with a biting wit, an interesting sense of humor, and a relentless personality. I've enjoyed watching the two of them lock horns. I've never thought of it, as swarovski intimated, as watching a fight on a playground. More like watching the forensics team in college. From what I can tell, LE would be considered a bully, too. But I just don't see it.

Again, not defending. I don't know the guys beyond what I see on my computer screen, and I haven't even been to the HK comments in a fairly long time. But I AM curious as to where the vitriol is coming from; and the judgments. Because if it's from me, then shame on me.

#232 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2009, 10:00 AM:

Soooo... here's my question: What did Ghost do/say that was so bad? Or is all of this based on my posts here?

Jennifer, it's not solely based on what you said. Many of us read the Amazon thread. The little exchange that Bill posted @188 also caught my attention and gave me my initial impression of Ghost. Your description @196 clinched it.

Others have gone in greater detail about why the behavior you describe in your post is, in general, trollish and bullying.

I lost interest in reading anything Ghost had to say when he replied "Why?" after CosmicDog told him, politely, to read Gaiman's work before forming an opinion. That single word told me that yup, he's a pot-stirrer, just wants to get his jollies where he can, is not actually interested in having a real conversation, couldn't care less about the other participants in the exchange, and, therefore, is wasting my time. Short version: he's a troll.

#233 ::: Jennifer Myrna ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2009, 11:31 AM:

@232, Pendrift, So "pot stirring" (and having a... baseless opinion), being his biggest sin(s), makes him a troll more than anything else? 'Cause I sure went over there with the intent purpose of pot-stirring with Sams, and my opinion of her is based on loose information (I've never read her work). But I don't consider myself a troll. I mean, I'm not HERE to stir the pot, despite my ignorance of the books and works involved. I'm here to have a conversation (which I'd like to think I'm doing with tact, politeness, and no derision). I'm not known for my tact, and frequently appear waaaay too blunt, but my intentions here are honorable.

That said, I suppose that, since I'm an argumentative soul, who enjoys a good debate, but also can be blunt to a fault, I may very well appear as a troll. And that troubles me. A lot.

As I've said, I don't believe you can change another person's mind... but I do suggest that (aside from any reference to this author), you check out more of Ghosts "work", specifically with regards to HK. You might find that he's an entertaining read.

I don't want to "argue" the point anymore, because I don't want to engender ill feelings with anyone. I don't really know why I *am* arguing it, because, as I've said, I'm not "defending" him. Just trying to understand why people feel the way they do (I'm a fairly curious soul). Everyone here has been polite and considerate, which is different than many places where I could have attempted this discourse -- thanks for that -- and I don't want to screw that up.

#234 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2009, 12:20 PM:

I'm not HERE to stir the pot, despite my ignorance of the books and works involved. I'm here to have a conversation (which I'd like to think I'm doing with tact, politeness, and no derision).

...and that's why you've been met with politeness and consideration, methinks. I'm an infrequent commenter on meaty topics around here, but I really appreciate the emphasis placed on what is said and how it's said, as opposed to who said it or why. The conversation takes center stage.

'Cause I sure went over there with the intent purpose of pot-stirring with Sams, and my opinion of her is based on loose information (I've never read her work).

Wasn't your opinion also (if not entirely) based on the stuff she wrote on that thread? Mine was. Also, see previous remark.

As for checking out Ghost's "work", it may well prove entertaining, but I didn't like the little I saw, and there's just so much stuff out there that I actually want to catch up on. In the realm of things I'm willing to give a second chance, Charles Dickens, Michael Moorcock and papayas rank higher, f'rinstance.

---

Meanwhile, Candace Sams makes the Guardian Books Blog.

#235 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2009, 12:51 PM:

Jennifer @#233--IMO, it's possible to act like a troll in one place, and not act like one in another. It's possible to be trollish in one particular comment or set of comments on a site like this one, and avoid that the rest of the time--whether you're having a cranky day, and just feel like bickering in a contrary fashion, or because another commenter, or commenters just got up your nose, or because the topic is a hot-button issue for you, one way or another. So it follows that just about anyone can be a bit of PITA at times--just like in real life! (how amazing!)

I suspect the reason you didn't read as trollish to those of us here who read that Amazon thread, and Ghost did, is that in the absence of the intended prey, Ghost was apparently willing to mix it up with anyone else available, over any topic.

I propose that if someone can't or won't turn it off, they're a Permatroll--all they want is to bicker and stir things up, wherever they go, and whoever they happen to be dealing with. They want the fuss and furor more than they want simple interaction and mental stimulation.

There are plenty of people who love a rousing debate, and will walk away afterwards much entertained. There are also people who just want to fight and fuss, not to examine and discuss an issue, or defend a position or opinion, but just to fight and fuss. For them success is not a measure of Was that interesting? Did I learn something? Was I able to share useful information? Did I see or read a cool thing? Are these good people to spend some time with? but rather "Did people get upset with me? Did I make someone angry? Did I get the last word? and so on--as PJ Evans observed in another thread here, having the vowels ripped out of an especially offensive remark is a badge of honor. Another commenter in the same thread described the Troll Dance--if those are the only steps you know, or are willing to do, then you're probably not trying to be anything but a troll.


(There's a post called "Flamer Bingo" where people share, in an nearly benevolent frame of mind, key words and phrases for people who were either sliding into temporary trollishness, or who had chosen the path that lies entirely under bridges as their only road.)

#236 ::: Jennifer Myrna ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2009, 01:12 PM:

@234, Pendrift, Yeah, my opinion was based on her posts. While there sure were an awful lot of them to base an opinion on, vs. what Ghost wrote, they were clearly only in one context. I do recognize (and admit) that I jumped in purely for fun, with little to back me up other than her behavior as a nut-job. She might actually be a decent enough person in general. ;)

You're right -- life's too short to read things that don't catch your interest. Although sometimes doing so can be enlightening in ways we wouldn't expect. If not for being mentioned here, I would never have found my way over, and it's definitely been an interesting experience. But we've already established that, as a bored housewife, with chronic insomnia to boot, I have more than my fair share of time on my hands. lol Seriously, though, I now have a "new" author and a couple of new books to read that I probably wouldn't have glanced at, let alone picked up. Whether I ultimately like them or not, it's going to enlighten me in some way.

Thanks to everyone for the warm and comfortable welcome I've received. Because of publicity such as this, that has led people to my blogs, we're now set to be written up in a popular romance magazine! :D

#237 ::: Jennifer Myrna ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2009, 01:54 PM:

@235, fidelio, Thanks, I think I understand a bit more. I may be coming off sounding stupid (although I'm not), but, nicely, no one has treated me as such. :) I think on a whole I tend to be an optimist, though not a blind one, and generally give people the benefit of the doubt. That has led me to be able to enjoy even some of the most obnoxious people, at least some of the time. And I HAVE enjoyed conversing with Ghost, among many others in the HK comments, who are pretty darn obnoxious to the defenders (and sometimes other people, too).

I suspect, had I seen any of them in other situations, I might feel somewhat differently (at least about a few of them), but I've been given a unique chance to see people like Ghost in an environment where they shine -- and shine he does with a quick mind and a sharp tongue.

I guess I go back to what I was trying to say originally, which is don't take what Ghost says too seriously or literally. It's much easier to see his intelligence (which he *does* have), and wit (which he also has), when there's no personal attachment involved. But when he, or anyone else for that matter, offends, it is probably more than a waste of time for me or anyone else to shine a different light on it, as that light has already been colored.

On a rather seperate note, I was once called a troll because I insinuated myself (nicely, if you can believe that!) into a public conversation about a book I had read, but had a differing opinion on. Because I hadn't been in the thread since the beginning, I was treated as an interloper and someone who didn't "belong." Again, quite a different greeting from what I've received here, especially since I don't even have the background of having read the books. :-P I'd like to think that some people here might even find me to be an entertaining diversion, which makes me happier than I probably should be.

#238 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2009, 02:51 PM:

Jennifer, I'd agree with Pendrift's comments @232 and @234 and fidelio's @235.

Certainly, I thought you were getting malicious pleasure out of poking Sams with a stick, but only because of what she had already said, at length, in that thread. You were actively engaged in the conversation there without trying to control it.

Ghost's comments, by sharp contrast, struck me as looking for a fight with anyone, that his pleasure was in hurting others without provocation and driving them out of the conversation as a means of boosting his ego, and as such it was very much a pattern of bullying behaviour.

And in my view, your interaction on *this* thread has been a polite attempt to understand the local point of view on such behaviours.

#239 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2009, 04:22 PM:

The Candace Sams Affair has hit the press - The Guardian's Books Blog by Alison Flood http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/booksblog/2009/dec/22/when-authors-attack?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter - discussing the problem in general as well as Sams in particular, and references a recent blog entry by Neil Gaiman http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2009/12/late-night-mystery-post.html which references Making Light. (And the pointer to the Guardian article was in FARK, so who knows who might show up eventually...)

#240 ::: Johnny Pez ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2009, 05:18 PM:

Are there any documented cases of an author responding to a negative review and having it turn out well for them?

Isaac Asimov claims to have done so.

A persistently negative reviewer wrote a really negative review of The Caves of Steel. When Asimov expressed displeasure in a fanzine, the reviewer's editor wrote an editorial denouncing Asimov, and inviting Asimov to respond. He realized he had committed the Author's Big Mistake, and was going to refuse, when he noticed that the reviewer had run a positive review of one of his pseudonymous Lucky Starr books. So Asimov responded briefly by pointing out that the reviewer seemed to like his books just fine when he didn't know Asimov had written them. That ended the affair, and Asimov got away with, as he put it, a whole skin and a lesson learned.

#241 ::: Johne Cook ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2009, 05:56 PM:

Speaking of Fark, I love the writeup:

Asinine - Author's book receives unfavorable Amazon reviews. Does she: a) laugh graciously, b) shrug it off, c) call the FBI.

#242 ::: Johne Cook ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2009, 06:01 PM:

Somewhere in here, somebody linked to an article about one author who managed to turn a personal response to a negative review into a net positive. The author is Carla Cassidy, and this may well be a primer on how best to do something we shouldn't really ever attempt. ;)

http://saturdaywriters.com/best-author-response-ever/

#243 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2009, 08:33 PM:

Gary@115 - re: "stalking" on a ship as hunting (as opposed to stomping or sneaking away) - obviously what one stalks on a ship would be The White Whale...


Craig@156, on crying all the way to the bank from bad reviews, and then crying all the way home because the bank's ATM ate your card - When we went to the DiscworldCon in Tempe over (US) Labor Day, the ATM ate my card :-) My wife didn't have one, because hers had been eaten a week before we left and the replacement hadn't arrived, and of course this was a holiday weekend when no humans actually answer the phones at banks. Fortunately she still had enough cash for us to get through the con, at the cost of paying a few merchants by credit card.

#244 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2009, 05:30 AM:

Bill Stewart @ 243

Pretty close to my own experience at Worldcon in Glasgow back in 1995. I mentally transposed numbers on my card while trying to get cash out, didn't realise, put the same (wrong) number in again when it beeped at me, then didn't dare try a third time in case it ate the card. I didn't have a credit card, and had less cash in my coin purse than the price of a cup of coffee. With three days of Worldcon still to go.

Luckily, I ran into an old acquintance from university, a filker who had been selling tapes/CDs and was flush with cash. So I wrote her a cheque* and she gave me some lovely cash! It was several hours before I worked out what I'd done wrong with the PIN.

*Yes, I do always carry one blank cheque around for emergencies.

#245 ::: Jennifer Myrna ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2009, 10:15 AM:

@238, Julia, I'm only sad that I couldn't get a bit *more* pleasure out of poking her with a stick. *sigh* Such is the drawback to being so easily (and cruelly) amused.

I also have to give a big shout of thanks for being mentioned here! This, among other responses to the Sams debacle, has led to my romance blogs being recognized by a large romance magazine that now wants to do a column on them! The readership boost will be welcome. So I suppose, in a roundabout way, I should thank Sams profusely for the opportunity! :)

#246 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2009, 11:57 AM:

dcb@244 - I would have done that, but it turned out I'd used up all the _real_ checks in my checkbook and only had deposit slips left :-)

#247 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2009, 11:45 AM:

There's a degree of meritocracy in here, where the measures of merit include wordplay ability for amusing other people.... tolerance of certain behaviors depends in part on the persons providing some amount of compensatory offsetting perceived entertainment/informational/utilitarian value to the readership and moderators.

Also, there is "does the person accede to and respond acceptably to warnings regarding excessively annoying behavior?" The disemvowelled tend to get more than one chance before the administrative code of correction gets applied for egregious misbehavior.

(Little troller fuckup
(Posting in the forum
(Typing trollish words
(And getting looks askance

(DOWN came a moderator,
(And Hesh typed,
(Little troller fuckup
(I don't like your attitude
(Posting in the forum
(Typing trollish word.
(If you don't stop,
(I'm going to disemvowel you!"

.... [second warning]

..... [Troll trolls again, uncontrite]

Poof! All the trolls vowels disappeared!
No more credit had the troll.

.... [Troll trolls again...
Poof! Moderator posts, troll is GONE, bounced and blocks. A few regulars see the post before the excision, and make derogatory comments, or post villifying verse, based on the soon-to-be-departed, or departed, post...

The moral of the story is, troll once, warning, Troll twice, warning. Troll thrice, no more credit. Troll again, goon tomorrow....

#248 ::: Jennifer Myrna ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2009, 12:24 PM:

@247, Paula, For what it's worth, Amazon doesn't issue warnings, or even TELL you what you've done wrong. Many people have arbitrarily been banned. Basically, if enough people report your posts as "abuse" they will ban you without ever investigating what the claims of abuse are. It's how people have reviews removed, even though there's nothing wrong with them. It's really a sad state of affairs at Amazon in general. I've known other people who have been banned (who are not like Ghost at all), and none of them EVER find out what they've supposedly done, nor are they ever given a chance to question it. If I recall correctly, a "ban" at Amazon lasts 3 months. I swear that site doesn't even uphold its own rules of conduct -- They just listen to numbers, which can be fabricated by getting friends and family to help. Check out what happened with Debra MacGillvray to get a flavor for the way things work there. It's one of the reasons why I rarely post at Amazon anymore.

#249 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2009, 02:57 PM:

#248 Jennifer

Making Light has a lot of personalism in it--I've known PNH and TNH in person since the 1970s, and Yog from sometime in I think the 1980s. There are quite a number of other people in here I've known in person for as long or even longer (SethB, CHip, etc.)

Amazon is Anonymous Corporate Suit Land on-line.... with all that that entail. Some of the people who post here, I get mental images and mental sounds of their voices from their postings, and connotations of actions, etc.

#250 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2009, 05:32 PM:

Not exactly a response to a review, but arguably with some of the same fault, in that the author is trying to use out-of-channel communication to explain their story.

Currently, Doctor Who episodes are followed by promotional documentaries under the title Doctor Who Confidential: usually they're quite interesting, but the most recent was different.

The episode was The Waters of Mars and was something for a set-up for the two-parter over the Christmas season which ends with the Doctor regenerating. That is, a new actor takes over the role.

Trouble is, Russell T. Davies just had to explain the story. So we're being told that the Christmas Doctor Who will be all doom and gloom, as David Tennant's Doctor goes to his grim fate. We've been told what he's thinking. If RTD has to explai it, is his script good enough.

I think I would rather watch Hamlet Eceryone dies. Stars David Tennant. Doesn't sound much different, but I expect the writing is better.

Fortinbras as a Dalek? Now that might work.

#251 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2009, 06:35 PM:

Hmm. And Claudius as a Cyberman, having put some kind of cyber-thingy into Hamlet's father's ear?

#252 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2009, 07:33 PM:

#248 Jennifer

Making Light has a lot of personalism in it--I've known PNH and TNH in person since the 1970s, and Yog from sometime in I think the 1980s. There are quite a number of other people in here I've known in person for as long or even longer (SethB, CHip, etc.)

Amazon is Anonymous Corporate Suit Land on-line.... with all that that entail. Some of the people who post here, I get mental images and mental sounds of their voices from their postings, and connotations of actions, etc.

Making Light, for that matter, is tribal.... Corporate Suit Land, is a hostile tribe setting!

#253 ::: Jennifer Myrna ::: (view all by) ::: December 25, 2009, 03:29 AM:

@249 and 252, Paula, You're definitely right about it all being corporate. They're always, no matter what, out to sell you something. I've gotten what I want from them, which is a small group of people that I can talk to about books and life in a fairly private setting. I didn't mind the public setting, but I did mind the stalker a bit. ;)

I know what you mean about getting a "feel" for the people. And those I converse with regularly I consider my "friends" despite never having met them. Facebook has worked well to develop an even deeper, more meaningful friendship with those I have met online.

I'm very glad that you've been able to find a community you enjoy. It makes life that much better.

To all who celebrate, Merry Christmas. If you don't celebrate, Happy Friday!

#254 ::: Linda B ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2010, 03:33 PM:

Oh gods, I am guilty of Flouncing in amazon.com's Buddhist forum (which has long been taken over by an anti-Buddhist troll, which concerns amazon.com not a whit)

Anyway, Happy New Year, folks.

#255 ::: fidelio sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2010, 08:30 AM:

Call me evil and suspicious...

#256 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2010, 10:44 AM:

fidelio 9256): You're evil and suspicious.

(You're welcome.)

#257 ::: Serge sees love spell SPAM ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2010, 09:04 AM:

Yes, you CAN find love here. And friendship.

#258 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2010, 09:45 AM:

Someone testing to see how spammable websites are, apparently. It's being splashed all over the web, but it doesn't have a link.

#259 ::: Mary Aileen is amused by spam-spotting triggering the filters ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2010, 07:26 PM:

My spam-spotting post on this thread was held for moderation, probably because I quoted the posting name in #262.

#260 ::: Lee sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2010, 07:26 PM:

@ 262

Choose:
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