Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Goodreads policy changes: for the good of books?

Some of you may have heard that Goodreads changed their policy around author behavior-related reviews and content.  You can read about the changes here.

Goodreads policy changesTo sum, Goodreads is taking a firmer stance on reviews and content that focus on an author's behavior.  Any reviews that are not about the book (ie: "The Author is an @$$hole so don't read this" followed by a one star review) will be deleted.  Similarly, bookshelves about authors' personas vs. actual books will also be removed (ie: bookshelves entitled authors-who-behave-badly.)

They've also made a few additional tweaks, like revising their author guidelines to make them clearer, and improving members' ability to flag content they don't feel is appropriate.  

Personally, I'm a fan of the new changes. I rely heavily on Goodreads reviews to guide my reading choices and update me on new books I might enjoy. Whether or not the author was a d*ck to someone doesn't impact my enjoyment of a book, and I don't want to miss out on a great story because the reviews are weighed down by personal vendettas.  In my opinion, a book review should focus on the content of the book, and that alone.

To clarify, I don't condone authors behaving badly. It's unprofessional, and in a world of social media can have a negative backlash on your brand. (See my previous post, Why Being a Jerk is Bad for Business.)  But when it comes to what I read, I prefer information about the quality of the story and the writing vs. an author's bad attitude.

But apparently not everyone sees the situation as black and white as I do.  If you scroll down to the comments section below the Goodreads announcement, you'll see some pretty p*ssed off members.  Some even threaten to delete their membership altogether.

I was surprised by this.  I get that having your review deleted without notice is frustrating, and for the 21 people this happened to I completely get why they are upset. (Prior to the official announcement, some behavior-related reviews were removed without warning.) But for the rest of the Goodreads population, I'm surprised by the level of backlash.

So I'm curious - what's your take on the new policy?  Do you think author-behavior  content should be allowed, or are you in the camp of book-review only content?

1 comment:

  1. I agree with you. I'm looking for a good story. So I guess I can now say don't judge a book by the cover or by the author.