I've probably complained about Goodreads before. I've had issue with Goodreads before all the shenanigans of this past week. There is no perfect product out there and if it's for free then the users have very little say in how it works. Obviously, we could all stop using Goodreads. That would seem to be an easy solution, but when you've been using a product like Goodreads for a long time and all your book friends use it too, it's hard to give it up.
Goodreads' new policy of deleting reviews "about the author and not the book" (or more accurately negative reviews) doesn't affect me. I don't post my reviews there. Well, actually I have 45 'reviews' there, several of them links to posts on Chrisbookarama, and some of them extremely useful one word reviews like "Creepy!" I was never a heavy user. There are some users who review exclusively on Goodreads, a dangerous practice in my opinion, and have learned the hard way that they have no control over their content. Twenty-one users (according to Goodreads) had reviews deleted. This is been distressing for them, no doubt. The only concern I have about all of this is the shelving issue, as in Goodreads plans to delete inappropriate user shelves. It went through my mind that they could misconstrue my RIP shelf. "Is she threatening these authors?" "I don't know, Bob. Let's delete it anyway."
See more on Know Your Meme
Back to my own Goodreads issues, the site has gotten increasingly annoying about self-promotion over the last year or so. This includes both authors and reviewers. I have a very small group of 'friends' over there. These are people whose opinions I want to read. I want to see what they are reading or planning to read.
I have written right in my policy that I do not follow authors unless I have read and liked their books. This does not stop authors from trying to get me to 'friend' them and usually it's the same authors over and over again. My policy is if you've tried 3 times to friend me and I've ignored you every time, I block you. Either these authors haven't read my policy or they choose to ignore it. It's gotten to the point that I don't even have to click on their profile to know if they are an author:
- They have 'author' in their email address. Duh.
- They have Smug Author* photo. I don't begrudge anyone a Smug Author photo, they look great and professional, but they have several things in common: looking off into the distance possibly with a hand to the chin, slightly blurry, often black and white. I know these are authors right away.
- They never, ever answer my ridiculous friend request question. It should be a requirement that you answer this.
- They have 0 books in their catalogue. Or possibly one, which you just know is their own.
Now, reviewers can be just as bad at over-self-promotion. The Notifications! I keep thinking I've disabled them, but they keep appearing in my inbox. No, I do not want to visit your blog for your awesome giveaway of Book I Really Don't Care About. I don't like giveaways. "Gasp! What you don't like free books?!" Nope, I don't want to go through the whole business of entering a book draw for Book I Really Don't Care About. If it is Book I Care About, I will find a way to get it come hell or high water anyway. I also don't want to attend some event you're hosting in Some Place Far Away either. Why are you sending me this?!
As I said, I could just stop using it, but the benefits outweigh the disadvantages at this point. I have dusted off my Library Thing again. I haven't used it since 2010. It's not the same though (it's not pretty). I will make an effort to keep it up to date this time.
How about you? Do you care about the new policy? Is there something else on your mind about Goodreads? Are you using some other book cataloguing/social media site?
*This is a Bridget Jones reference. I'm not saying all authors are smug. Just those photos scream, "Look! I wrote a book!"