Monday, July 2, 2012
Book Blogger Confessions: Blogging controversies
Book Blogger Confessions is a meme that posts the 1st and 3rd Monday of every month, where book bloggers "confess" and vent about topics that are unique to us. Feel free to share, vent and offer solutions.
Just keep it respectful - no bashing authors or other bloggers! If you want to participate just grab our button and include it in your post with a link to either Tiger's All Consuming Media or For What It's Worth. We will be providing a linky at the end of our posts so people can "hop" to see all the participants answers.
Question: Blogging controversies? How do you address them? Do you join the Twitter frenzy? Write a ranty post? Stay on the sidelines and hope they go away?
How do you think we should address plagiarism scandals? Bad author behavior? Negative comments on our blogs?
My answer today is quite different than what it would have been when I first started blogging two years ago.
I used to love ranting! I felt blogs were the perfect place to vent and get my opinion out there. A great venue to have a fun debate.
Then "blogger controversies" started popping up almost weekly. Mostly involving blogger vs author. I commented on all the posts at first stating my opinion - usually defending the blogger.
But I realized after a while that no one is really listening to each other. These are just shouting matches to see who yells louder. He who gathers the most defenders (commenters) wins.
Another problem is when you get involved in these battles - Twitter wars especially - you are usually commenting about something taken out of context. When you actually go back and read the original comment/post/twitter feed you realize the person didn't even say what you originally thought and you look like a raging lunatic.
As for bad author/blogger behavior I think we need to talk about it & I admire bloggers who are able to post about it in a way that furthers discussion about the topic at hand rather than making it personal.
I do find that no matter how well meaning our intentions are we are still taken out of context and we end up having to write another post explaining the previous post or add numerous updates to the bottom. I know I have to go back and explain the context of my tweets a lot.
When we write posts about plagiarism, bloggers behaving badly at ALA/BEA, author's responding badly to reviews it's hard not to get emotional. We put so much work into our blogs and it's horrible when an author goes off the deep end on us or another blogger behaves in a way that reflects poorly on ALL of us. How is that not personal??
I guess I wish we could find a way to discuss and not YELL about these topics. It would be great if we could educate and learn from these experiences instead. These controversies aren't going anywhere anytime soon and have to be addressed. I guess how to deal with them is the big question. We are a diverse and passionate group. Feathers will be ruffled. And I think that's ok. That's how things improve. I'm not against talking openly about anything. I just think it should be constructive. It seems we all have different ideas as to the definition of constructive though. I know I find that I may be sensitive to a post that people find very informative and vise versa.
Half the people who get involved in these frenzies don't even read the blog in question or have ever attended the events their commenting on. It's just that - a feeding frenzy. Maybe one day we'll be able to find that balance.
For specifics, I don't think I would care if an author left a nasty comment on my blog about one of my reviews. Sure it's not a pleasant experience but I didn't write the review for them. They are absolutely entitled to their opinion as well. It's poor form and doesn't make them look great but whatever. If they wrote something that attacked me personally I would delete the comment.
As tempting as it is to respond, other than a quick polite response, I would leave it alone. Any author engaging in that behavior is risking their own reputation and burning bridges if they ever want their book reviewed in the future. Bloggers see the crazy and then avoid the crazy. Like the plague. I see no need to feed into the drama. I said what I had to say….on to the next book. They don't need and shouldn't receive anymore publicity.
I would treat negative comments (by followers - not authors) on my blog the same way. I've had a few that try to negate my negative review. They irritate me, because seriously….it's just ONE opinion in the entire blogosphere…chill out. But again, they are entitled to their opinion so comment away. I wish they would be willing to actually discuss our differing opinions because that would be a great discussion but that's not really why they are commenting. They are mad that I don't agree. Oh well.
As for plagiarizing, I think the person in question should be called out publicly. You're stealing content from other bloggers and you shouldn't be allowed to sweep that under the rug. I believe the blogger in question should be able to respond and let their followers decide what they want to do about it but it should be made public. I don't like the frenzy that ensues, with #hashtags, name calling etc. That seems petty and overkill to me. We know what the person did and just stop following them. Glare a light on it so people know what happened and move on. I believe it actually drives even MORE traffic to the offending blogger. It once again divides everyone into camps. Attackers and defenders which detracts from the original violation - plagiarism. Instead it becomes about defending and responding to each sides supporters and name calling.
So I guess I've changed over the years from diving head first into all controversies to trying to choose my battles wisely. I'm still opinionated and will probably write a few ranty posts in the future that will leave me with my foot firmly planted in my mouth. I'm hoping with blogging age comes wisdom but we'll see.
What's your opinion on all the blogger drama llama?? Do you dive in or observe quietly from the sidelines?
July16th: What do we owe publishers and authors? If we accept ARC’s do we “owe” anything to them or just an honest review to our followers? As book bloggers are we obligated to do more than just review books? Post covers – participate in book tours – host guest posts - promote authors?