This started when I noticed someone gave most of my books one star ratings. She does that a lot. Thousands of reviews, 1.6 average rating.
I figure either she's a truly unhappy reader with lots of money to burn or she reads a lot of first chapters and then rates them accordingly. That's cool. That's what goodreads is for--to keep track of the books you've read, you want to read, and you wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole.
Though, really? You have to do that? Rate every single book by an author with one star? the author whines. Eh, okay. Your account, your life. Other theories I've seen for the chronic one star reviewer is that they're jealous wannabe writers, but that seems more like wishful thinking on the parts of authors.
okay we're coming to the point of this post soon, any paragraph now...
I looked around at other low rating goodreader types to see if that's common and that's when I noticed that there a whole lot of people who do that--who have hundreds, if not thousands, of one star rating.
I started to read their reviews. Ratings are one thing. But those reviews? Some of them. Wow. Intense -- and they seem to be a set up. Almost like a trap....waiting for someone to come and disagree. Because why else would the same situation happen over and over?
nearly there. . . .
Yeah, wham! Whoa! Fight is on, babe! I found thread like that. And then another. And another.
THERE ARE SO MANY OF THEM.
Here's the basic structure:
Review--Long, (sometimes) funny, (sometimes) clever, (always) mean diatribe about book. Really long. Usually about the book.
Lots of other people who chime in with "better you than me" or "you poor thing thank you for jumping on the grenade for the rest of us" or "Better get drunk!"
Okay, a sense of community because it's fun. I get that.
BUT THEN THIS HAPPENS.
Author (or author's fan) chimes in with "You guys should get a life instead of ripping down someone else's work."
AND THAT'S THE MOMENT ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE.
The author (or her fan) have come to the right place to release their own and others' flying monkeys. The reviewer and her friends let loose. It's as if everyone involved is just waiting for the party to start. The toxic level jumps from mild to poison in a blink of an eye.
This reminds me of the drunk college guys who used to hang around the bar, aching to pick a fight. They want it so bad. With Anyone. Please, just say the word. Yeahhhhh okay!
|I got some poo with your name on it|
You can feel the self-righteous glee running in those threads. You're a bully. No, you're the bully. You don't even know what bullying is. You are a small minded useless turd-blossom.
The responses are usually cloaked with concern trolldom or humor, but man, their core is composed of venom, or maybe some kind of virus because, damn, it's contagious. I could feel it going into my system. I could feel my fingers itching to answer.
It escalates. It's ugly--to an outsider, anyway.
This stuff happens again and again--come on, you know goodreads is just one of many hives of scum and villainy. . . .
Politics, oh boy! And remember Trainwrecks? It was a website that got pulled down a few years ago because of the poison that ran through its threads. And sometimes Regretsy would get that way too. Yup.
and...here we go.....THE POINT!
Here's the thing: The topic does not matter. A lot of people don't wade in because they care deeply about the particular subject. They go out looking for the high of vitriol. A good shot of epinephrine to jump-start the emotions. Hello, Clockwork Orange on a tiny, teeny scale.
So many people jumping into the pig pile, wading deep into the shit to pull hair and scream their fury. Or more likely they laugh like those really dumb villains in movies--now I know what those villains are feeling, a form of THIS, whatever it is. Violence in real world; threats and mockery and anger on the internet.
There must be a tiny bit of every human brain that jolts and sparks with those exchanges. It must prod awake some animal pleasure that's as addictive as any strong chemical response.
But seriously, it's nasty. I'm out of there. Adios, Goodreads threads like that.
I can't imagine doing that over and over and over and . . . . God. Awful. People do this on purpose? Do all those zaps of anger make you feel alive?
In a novel I'd be portrayed as the coward who slips out of the angry crowd and runs away from the fight. That's fine because, dayum, just thinking about it makes my stomach hurt.
And before anyone thinks I'm saying that I'm superior because I stay above the fray. No. This isn't a self-righteous I am so much better than you rough, common fighters moment. . This is more of wait, this is starting to feel awful...omigodIamgoingtoBARF blrrrrrrrrrrrragh watch your shoes response.
Yeah, okay I do have a big dose of Fuck this. because wow. Ick.
I don't do roller coasters either.