Thanks to Nate at The Digital Reader for his comprehensive write-up of the new Goodreads content policy designed to ‘protect’ authors from cyber-bullying by overly exuberant readers. Goodreads couched the announcement as a friendly ‘note regarding reviews’ and it begins with ‘reviews should be about the book’ and then goes from there.

The new measures include revised author guidelines, which Goodreads says it developed because “it’s clear that some problems have come up because some authors who are new to Goodreads don’t know what’s appropriate on Goodreads and/or take matters into their own hands rather than flagging content that they feel is inappropriate” and also adds they they are working on ‘improving’ how authors are ‘introduced’ to Goodreads.

I appreciate that there has been a need for some content management here, and it’s gratifying that Goodreads is putting mechanisms in place to have inappropriate content removed more easily. But do people really not know how to behave online? Does an author—an alleged professional—really need to be told to be nice to other people? It seems they do, and that’s sad. But that’s a manners issue, not an internet one, isn’t it?


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