For those of you that don’t know, Goodreads announced a change to their terms of service the other weekend. Essentially, they will no longer permit readers to create shelves or reviews about author behaviour. For more information, you can see the entire thread here.
Now, in theory this is a great change because I am fully aware there are reviewers out there that make mountains out of molehills and accuse authors of bad behaviour when they’re actually the innocent party. I get where Goodreads is seemingly coming from. Yet I feel this policy actually hurts reviewers and allows bad authors to thrive.
You see, if a review just completely trashes the author, go ahead and delete it! I’d be first in line to say that Goodreads needs far better moderation. Yet if the reviewer points out in their review in a non-threatening manner something the author has done (i.e. told a reviewer to kill themselves) I don’t see anything wrong with that. It allows the potential reader to see if they really want to give this money to this author and it can warn any potential reviewers that maybe this author isn’t the best to work with.
The thing is: how do you decide what constitutes a trashy review vs. a snarky one? Who decides this? And if Goodreads is doing this to protect authors from us nasty reviewers, how about banning authors like the one that told me to kill myself? If authors are supposed to be protected, shouldn’t Goodreads work just as hard to protect reviewers? The thing is, the abuse goes both ways.
I could do a whole article about this and likely will in the future but now I want to hear you guys weigh in: What do you think of the changes to Goodreads? Do you think they’re for the better or worse? Could Goodreads have done something differently in order to protect both authors and reviewers? Please, I would love to hear your thoughts!