For What It's Worth

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?

Upcoming question:

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?




22 comments:

  1. i have changed over my time but I never get involved in the drama llama and leave a post or rant. I figure out my opinion on the matter and go from there.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I don't know that I've ever gotten caught up in the controversies that come with blogging. Like you said, there are so many times we misconstrue the meaning behind a tweet, comment, etc. It's much less stressful to just go with the flow and stay out of the argument if you are directly involved. Authors make bad decisions, bloggers make bad decisions. It happens, let's not run them through the mud time and time again over it. If it's a comment made on your blog, delete it.

    My biggest pet peeve is the whole plagiarism thing. While I'm okay with it being made public...I think that should happen only AFTER both parties have spoken and attempted to rectify the problem. Then it should only be made public as a "hey don't do this" type of post. Don't badger the person that plagiarized. Especially if it was truly a mistake. There are so many blogs, memes, content, out there it's pretty much impossible to know everything that's been done. I know from a personal perspective, I don't have time to check out a lot of blogs. My day is filled with so many other to-dos. I blog what I want to blog when I get the chance. If I were to plagiarize something I can pretty much guarantee it'd be an accident. I'd appreciate the person letting me know what I did so I could remove the offending post and then let things lie. Now if I refused to make the changes, then I'd understand taking it public. But if it was honestly a mistake, should we really rake someone through the coals because of it?

    Anyway...just my thoughts. Great post!! I'm curious to see what others have to say. Sorry for posting such a long comment. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I absolutely agree that it should be handled privately first. I'm sure a lot of people need to be educated about giving credit in posts etc.

      After that I think they should be made public but not dragged through the mud for a public flogging with hashtags and profile pictures, private emails.

      I think once we are informed of the offense there is a simple enough solution. Unfollow.

      The bad author/review thing - I just don't understand. Unless they make it personal who really cares? Just ignore them. You're giving your opinion, why can't they give theirs? Again - unless they make it personal but in that case delete it.

      Love the long comment :-)

      Delete
  3. "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 had forgotten about this one. So true! I can't remember the last time I saw a good, in-depth post about a controversial topic where the author didn't have to keep going back and amending, 'What I MEANT to say was...' It can be tiring.

    Good point about driving more traffic to the offending author or blogger's site by drawing attention to them. Sometimes silence can be the most emphatic and affective form of disapproval.

    ReplyDelete
  4. The context thing is so true. It is so easy to get it wrong and misunderstand.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I am more of a watcher at the sidelines, I never really take part but I fear that I do love a good train crash. Cos some just go insane

    ReplyDelete
  6. This is a very well thought out answer Karen. I love how you said it's like the person yelling the loudest wins. Recently, someone wanted me and others to write a rebuttal to a person who has very different and negative beliefs about people. I did not, because I knew that my response and even 100 others would not change this person's mind. I love discussion of books and I love when people disagree with my opinion and tell me *why*...it's so good to open your mind.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's why it's not always a good idea to engage the crazy. lol

      You are not going to change some people's opinions no matter what you say.

      I love a good debate and I don't mind differing points of view but I find that (sadly) most people don't really want to talk about books or these topics. They just want you to agree or change/cancel out your review.

      Delete
  7. I wish people could keep things civilized and their opinions constructive and not make everything personal but alas I think that has a lot to do with maturity and reasonable thinking and not everyone is capable of this it seems.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know. There are a lot of times that I'm against the action of the blogger/author but the response gets so heated and so personal that the argument spins into something else entirely.

      Delete
  8. When I feel like having a rant, I write up a post and save it as a draft. Then I revist it a week or so later to see if I'm really rambling like a lunatic, or if I'm making a good, well-balanced point. Mostly, it's a rant and gets deleted!

    Watching that train wreck is a human reaction - after all, when there's an accident on a highway, how many cars make the traffic block worse by slowing down just to 'take a look'? Almost everyone.

    Unfortunately in some cases it is about how many people can be recruited to a 'team' to outshout the other person, which is can sometimes completely skew the actual issue - but I know a lot of people also do their research before reaching a conclusion, which I think is pretty important - it's very easy to take a tweet or comment completely out of context.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Watching that train wreck is a human reaction " It really is and I have to make a conscious effort to try and read the facts, form an opinion and then step the hell away. After a certain point you're not adding anything new to the debate. People have picked their sides and we're just spinning each other up.

      I draft a lot of posts too. That's such a good idea to wait. I sound like I have made the PERFECT argument and everyone will read it and we will all be united. lol Not so much upon a re-read a few days later.

      Delete
  9. Kat & Karen - No matter how mad I am...I will never send that e-mail/write that post/make that phonecall in haste. I always wait a day or two. You can get more clarity with time and some thought. I'm not saying emotion is not a good thing, but sometimes the emotional part of your brain can run askew.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My brain gets very askew when I'm upset lol

      Luckily Kevin stops me or reads what I write and helps me phrase something differently.

      Delete
  10. I find chatting by emails with others helps me vent out the situation

    ReplyDelete
  11. You make an excellent point about everyone often yelling over each other instead of really discussing it.

    I tend to stay on the outskirts and gather information.

    But I always value the ones who speak up and keep the rest of us informed.

    Great post.

    ReplyDelete
  12. You're absolutely right, Karen! When I first started blogging, I was a huge ranter and voicing my opinion. But now, I've learned so much about how different things mean different things to different people, and it's so easy to hurt someone else's feelings without meaning to -- which I always feel horrible about. And I don't think I'd react horribly to someone not liking me or what I post either. I know that it's kinda impossible for everyone to love you, so you just have to take it in stride instead of lashing out, right? That's what I would do :)

    Thanks for the wonderful discussion post, Karen! :) <3

    ReplyDelete
  13. I really try to stay out of controversies. I understand what you mean bout everyone saying their piece and then not listening to what anyone else is saying.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Great post! As a newbie, I try to stay out of things and avoid any controversies, many times because I have no idea where it started and what is true or exaggerated and I don't want to make any assumptions. I do admire people who can express there opinions more up front. :)

    ReplyDelete
  15. You always come up with such great topics Karen. Many thanks for providing such a meaningful meme <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! Tiger and I try to pick topics that are on all of our minds. We hope it helps a little bit.

      Delete
  16. hey nice post thnax for sharing this information...

    ReplyDelete