Friday, August 23, 2013

Celebrate Small Things and Goodreads Complaints


I try to keep it light and fun on my blog, but today I can't.

In the past few years I've noticed people hiding behind the mask of avatars and spewing bigotry, insults, and hatred at others.  Sometimes, I see these things on Yahoo comments.  This week, I've seen a cruel anonymous letter sent to the grandmother of an autistic child, and I've heard about mean comments, mean replies, and trolling on Goodreads.  It makes me so angry I wish I could "do" something to the transgressors -- but, of course, I can't.  And if I did, I'd be no better than they are.

But ... am I really helpless?

No.

While I can't help find the anonymous letter writer who hates autistic children, there are places I can do something.  I can complain to the managers of the sites where I see abuse -- and you can, too.

On Goodreads, for instance, there's a way to flag abusive reviews, comments, or expletive-laden shelf names.  If you click "See Review" it will open into a new page.  At the bottom of the review and each comment is a "Like" button. To the right of that is a small, gray word -- "flag." Yup, it's tiny and pale ==> flag <== and can go unnoticed.  But if you hit this button, you can flag the offending content as abusive and explain why you think so.  

If enough people refuse to allow the haters to get away with abuse, and notify GR via these abuse flags, we can greatly diminish the nastiness and make GR a place where everyone feels welcome.


This week I'm celebrating being tolerant enough not to join in the vitriol or name calling and being conscientious enough to write a post, write an email, or hit that "flag" button so the haters don't get away with it anymore.



Have you noticed the "flag" button on Goodreads?  Will you use it if you see something abusive?





This post is part of VikLit's blog hop, Celebrate the Small Things. To be part of this blog hop, all you have to do is follow the link and put your name on the Mr.Linky list, and then be sure to post every Friday about something you're grateful  for that week.  It can be about writing or family or school or general life.  This is the funnest and easiest blog hop ever!

51 comments:

Kate Larkindale said...

I'll use it if I see something abusive. I'm so sick of anonymous a-holes feeling like they can get away with treating people like crap because no one knows who they are...

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

Thanks for the info, Lexa. I didn't know there's a way to flag abuse on Goodreads. Now that I know, I will use it when appropriate. I always flag things I find offensive, provided I know how.

Have a relaxing Friday and weekend.
Be safe and well.
xoRobyn

Rhonda said...

Good for you for standing up for what you believe, and thanks for sharing about it.

Rhonda @Laugh-Quotes

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Thanks for pointing out the flag button. Never knew it was there. Thanks and good for you for standing up to the bullies.

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

The Internet is a wonderful thing but it has brought out the underworld of hate and cruelty that most of us cannot imagine exists in our "civilized" world.

After reading so many rude comments in our local newspaper, I wrote a letter to the newspaper asking for tolerance and respect for the beliefs and opinions of others. I suggested that if people let go of their hate and prejudice and maybe listened to each other without all the vitriol, they might find some common ground. I got some nice comments back but the majority were mean and hateful. The title of my letter was "The Kinder World of Tolerance", but apparently that does not exist.

L.G. Smith said...

Haven't noticed the flag button on Goodreads, but I've hit it on some other sites. And I've never really noticed a negative tone on Goodreads, but I don't have a book out so it hasn't affected me directly. I'm sure some day I'll be pulling my hair out at the nasty comments.

I also read that letter about the autistic boy. I think there were some mental health issues going on with the writer. Unbelievably vicious letter. Hopefully the public shaming did its work on them.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Thanks for pointing out the flag button. I didn't know that it was there.

mshatch said...

I would definitely use the flag button if I read something nasty like that. I wish all the haters could have their own country (the North Pole maybe?) and enjoy hating each other while the rest of us could live happily without them.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Unless the writer of that letter is hiding under a rock (which makes sense, actually, because that's where slimy things live), she must have seen the public outrage to her letter. But I would bet cold, hard cash she thinks the outrage is unfair and misplaced. She probably is now reviling "the liberal media" for siding with the autistic child.

Sadly, there's not a lot that can be done about teaching tolerance to anonymous people. They will always have their rock to hide under. I would hit the abuse button if I saw an example of this on any social media site, if it has one. Twitter does not, but I understand one is being lobbied for after some female politicians received death threats via Twitter.

Julie Flanders said...

This week was honestly the first I'd heard of the bullying and trolling that goes on on Goodreads. I shouldn't have been surprised I guess but I was. So childish and hateful.
I didn't know that users had the ability to flag these kinds of posts though so that's good to know.

Have a great weekend, Lexa. :)

Annie said...

I've actually never come across an abusive comment on GR, although I hear people talk about this all the time. I absolutely would flag one if I saw it, though, so thanks for the heads up!

S.K. Anthony said...

It's so sad :(
Glad to know they have that flag button. I've seen some nasty comments and it breaks my heart for the authors being bullied. Way to celebrate, we can take a stand!

Robin said...

People who post anonymously shouldn't be given a single thought, but that isn't how it works, is it?

One of the things that really disturbs me is that people think that because no one can see them they can "say" all manner of hateful things. I think that is why this world is becoming so much more hateful in general. It starts on the computer and then these people begin to feel comfortable spewing this stuff vocally as well. We have a lot of people who practiced for a long time manifesting hatred on the computer. Eventually they will take it to the next level. Computers are wonderful and terrible things. However, as you say, people don't have to sit idle and just allow those comments to hang there... good to know that GR (and other sites, too, most likely) have this feature. Report 'em.

Stephen Hayes said...

Like you I was disgusted to read that autonomous letter to the mother of an autistic child. It helps to realize that items like that make the news because they ARE so rare. I don't know anyone who would be so cruel. I believe in Karma and that person has a lot of explaining to do.

Cherie Reich said...

It has been one of those weeks, hasn't it? Everyone needs to grow up and be more tolerant of each other. I figured Goodreads had a flag button, but I haven't used it before. Of course, if I find a reason to use it, then I will.

Deanie Humphrys-Dunne said...

It's horrible when people make unkind comments. My mom used to say people who do that have not been taught how to behave. They are totally ignorant. It's very sad indeed.

Breanna Teintze said...

YES. I report abusive posts. And I moderate comments everywhere I have the power to moderate comments under the understanding that disagreement is allowed (even encouraged), but being rude, cruel, whiny, or otherwise acting six years old is not tolerated. Up with civility!

Annalisa Crawford said...

I hadn't noticed the flag button, and like several others had never really thought one would be needed until recently. The letter to the family of the autistic child was particularly repugnant - I hope the subsequent coverage and comments has made that person realise what they did.

Heather M. Gardner said...

Thank you! Thank you!
I've been looking for the flag button and I couldn't find it.
I read about the author who is now NOT going to publish her book because of the trolls and I wanted to do something about it.
Thank you!

There is also a petition!

http://www.change.org/petitions/goodreads-com-amazon-com-stop-letting-abuse-continue-under-the-disguise-of-freedom-of-speech?share_id=bOOhLofDbW&utm_campaign=share_button_action_box&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=share_petition

Heather

Cathrina Constantine said...

Good for you, Lexia, and will we join in with presses that flag button. My Husband's brother has 2 identical twins, but autistic. No one has the right to say derogatory remarks about the helpless.

Elise Fallson said...

I too have been hearing more and more crap about abusive comments through goodreads as well as the one Heather mentioned. It's sad people feel the need to be jerks and it makes me nervous if I ever publish. I'm all for flagging abusive content and think more people should stand against the bullies. But ultimately, I think Goodreads needs to do more to dissuade the haters.

Anne R. Allen said...

This is so helpful, Lexa. I'll spread the word. Out of 20 million members of Goodreads, only a handful are sociopaths (as with any large group) but unless good people report them, they'll keep terrorizing the site. I've seen more horrors than usual around the Web this week--maybe it was the full moon. That abuse of the autistic child and his mother was one. Makes you despair for the human race. But the baddies are really such a small percentage. What we need is to report them to authorities--not try to confront them ourselves. That's what they want--one more victim. But this is a way to fight back without falling prey to their cruelty yourself.

Maynard Morrissey said...

Gawd, I read that letter too. It was unsettling and made me very, very angry. Shit like that sucks sooo hard.

Kelly Hashway said...

I didn't know Goodreads had that, but I'm glad you brought it up. I see such awful things on there. It's terrible.

Candilynn Fite said...

I'll have to look for the little flag. I don't get on Goodreads much, except when searching for reviews of books I'd like to read. But I'll keep my eyes open. As for the letter about the autistic child, I probably should NOT read it or see it. My 16 year old niece is autistic, and I may have to choke someone.

Everyone needs someone to stand in their corner.

Kim Lajevardi said...

It's good to know there's a way to flag those nasty comments the virtual cowards post. People need to learn to express their opinions in a respectful way. Thanks for sharing, Lex!

Jessie Harrell said...

Love knowing there's a way to flag the haters on Goodreads. You can do this on Amazon too.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

I've seen the "flag" but have not used it. You're right though. Some people need to remember the old saying: If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." From now on I plan to hit the flag button. There's no excuse for people to be hateful Great post.

Lara Lacombe said...

It can be so hard to be the better person, but in the end, it's worth it. Hang in there!

Winter Moon said...

Some people are just plain awful!
I didn't notice the flag button, but will definitely
use it if I notice something that needs reporting in future.

cleemckenziebooks said...

I've used that flag twice, but it was interesting that the fb "monitors" are on duty and have removed some particularly offensive comments before I get to see them. Glad you flag!

Shah Wharton said...

You are so right, and no I did not see that button but I'm so glad you pointed it out. I will use it. I cannot understand the small minds of people who find the need to be nasty on social networks, and as for the petty mind of the autistic child hater, there are no words [I'd like to say in public].

Your celebrations are warranted Lexi. Cheers.

Shah X

http://bit.ly/188YnAV

michelle said...

Yesterday I read a disturbing article. In a nutshell, it claims that Goodreads ALLOWS cyber bullies. Very frightening.

You can read it here: www.stopthegrbullies.com/2013/08/20/the-attack-on-lauren-howard-part-1/

Medeia Sharif said...

An author once mentioned to me that she was in a bookstore and in front of her was one of the Goodreads trolls who had bashed her book. Of course the troll said nothing to her face, but according to Twitter's time stamps the person was tweeting from her phone and complaining about the venue. They look big online. They like to be snarky and "clever" with their meanness. This is how they validate themselves? They must have little in real life.

klahanie said...

Hi Lexa,

This awful phenomenon is, as I'm sure you are aware, has hit many a social network. The internet trolls can be traced and the clampdown and prosecution process has begun in Britain.

These bullies aren't necessarily haters, as such. They are sad people hiding behind computer screens. I don't give them the oxygen they want.

Thanks for a thoughtful and informative posting.

Gary

T.F. Walsh said...

Good blog considering recent events... I didn't know about that complaint button... but now I do:) Thanks.

Mark Koopmans said...

Believe it or not, I have to (choose to) use the flag button on an MLB site...

Trolls are everywhere!

Thanks for sharing re GR. That I did *not* know, but now I do.


writerlysam said...

Those who spend their time instigating conflict are attempting to gain short-lived power over their unsuspecting targets. Its a sad and twisted game. There are, unfortunately, an endless supply of these people. When you put your writing out there, you open yourself up to their obnoxious tendencies. But, for every troll, there are dozens of reputable readers who will appreciate your work and they will far outweigh any damage caused by ignorance. Take them for what they are, an insignificant "flag" on the road to success.

Pk Hrezo said...

Hmmm... I don't spend enough time on GoodReads so I haven't noticed. But I have heard of the trolling. Really?? People have time for that? Unbelievable.
Thanks for mentioning this. I totally agree!

Nancy LaRonda Johnson said...

I've noticed those "flag" and "report" links in many sites. I've heard (and know) that there are many ignorant people spewing hatred anonymously on lots of sites. It is a sad thing, but this world in many hidden away corners is a sad place. I'm glad that you've decided to take action. I believe I would also if I'd come across something like that, but your post helps us to keep that in mind and to not overlook it if we do see comments like that. Thanks.

(requesting FB likes) Nancy’s Facebook page

VikLit said...

I'm not on Good Reads itself but I have noticed sites putting those buttons into place. It seems more and more lately I read examples of this kind of online abuse . You are right we none of us should overlook it.

M Pax said...

I've heard about abuse on GR's. I suppose it's one of the reasons I'm just 'there' and not active. There are trolls everywhere. It's good that they've come up with a way to flag that garbage.

Lynda R Young said...

Ha, I didn't know about the flag button. I'm glad I know now :)

Kelley Lynn said...

I didn't know about that! I'm so going to use that :)

Catherine Stine said...

Good to know about that flag button-yes, I'd use it if necessary.

Christine Rains said...

I didn't know the flag button was there. Thank you! Have a great weekend.

Crystal Collier said...

I LOVE Goodreads for that very reason. Not such a fan of the forum set up (it's a bit antiquated--let's face it), but seriously, a place where book lovers can hang? Does it get more perfect?

Ruth Schiffmann said...

Good to know about the flag system. Thanks for spreading the word, Lexa.

Ms Misantropia said...

It's so strange, I was sure I had commented on this post..? Either way, I wanted to say cudos to you fro doing something about these trolls!

Donna Hole said...

Its good to know there is a way to flag such vitriol. I don't know why people feel it is their right to totally trash someone, then not put their true face to the hatred. I say "own it" if you spout it.

Thanks for sharing this sentiment and the info. I will use the button whenever I find abuse.

....dhole

DMS said...

I had no idea about the flag on Goodreads. I did know you could do something similar on fb. It is a shame that there are so many people out there that do things I just can't understand. I like your idea of trying to peacefully stop the things we see that should not be online. :)

Jess

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