"After Nine Years and 30,000+ Posts at AW, I Got Banned"

"The place has become a hostile nightmare to open discussion."

The comment below was originally made on another page post, but we are reproducing it here because we believe it demonstrates quite clearly that the ownership culture at Absolute Write (namely Lisa Spangenberg and Mac "Stone" Sherman plus various crackpot moderators) has not changed or learned a thing from the dozens of websites and forums critical of their actions and vitriol. It's as if they believe their own absurd lie that it's all just the work of one troll. 

And here we go (the poster chose to remain anonymous):
"After nine years and 30,000+ posts at AW, I got banned a month ago for using the word "nutcase" in reference to the father of Orlando mass murderer Omar Mateen. His father had produced on a local TV commentary show in which he claimed, among other things, to be the President of Afghanistan, and ranted in a semi-coherent way on a variety of things. This had been reported by reputable news sources, and I simply made the comment and linked one article, either from ABC or NBC news.
"AW Admin" called me on the carpet for using the word "nutcase" because if violated the AW rule about "respecting your fellow writer" When I questioned this interpretation, I was informed by "Admin", with a dictionary definition, that the word meant "crazy or eccentric person" and that it could apply to 80% of the AW commenters. I then pointed out, publicly, in another thread, that the word "n*tc*se" had apparently been banned at AW. That comment was instantly taken down, and I was banned for 30 days, with no reason given.
The 30 days expired today, and just for fun (I have no intention of returning to the hellhole that site has become) I tried to log in. At which point I was informed, again with no reason given, that the ban is permanent.
I have friends there, other long-term posters, who have wondered privately to me what the hell is going on with the site. It simply appears that Stalinism is what is going on. I'll pass along this quote, from "AW Admin", in a threatening response to one of those friends:
“if I had any desire to shut down discussion, I could do it in ways which would not be perceptible to the users. There are in fact multiple methods of accomplishing this.”
Both a non-idle threat and a boast. It is happening all the time there these days. The place has become a hostile nightmare to open discussion. The absurdity of the "reasoning" behind "Admin"'s comment to me is obvious and requires no further comment.
I was close to leaving the place, anyway, so I'm dismayed only for the people still trying to populate it. I cannot recommend strongly enough that people stay away from it."

Where Are The So-Called Publication Professionals? Sad Commentary, Character Assassinations, Does Absolute Write Owner and Chief Admin Lisa Spangenberg Seriously and Truly Believe She's a Druid Witch?


[TO THOSE PEOPLE WHO SUPPORT ABSOLUTE WRITE: in this post and others, we are not talking about the non-predatory aspects of a group board like AW, we are discussing an end to the predatory aspects. It is like we're talking about Philly or Oakland in the context of ending rampant corruption and crime. We know there are good places to eat and Streisand will concert tour, but we want the mayor and city council arrested. And because there are those who have expressed puzzlement, here is a page that lists all the reasons why we maintain this blog. Thank you.]

The omnipresent Absolute Write advertising claim designed to lure naive writers: "At Absolute Write you will find a wide variety of publishing industry experts and professionals: literary agents, publishers, editors..." So where are they? Why not name them? We've explored this exaggerated claim by Absolute Write already and nothing we've seen since on AW has arisen to contradict us. To this day we still can't locate all these "experts" who are supposed to be just hanging around on AW waiting to help new writers. And btw, don't they have jobs or real lives? Even the "experts" we did manage to identify are of dubious worth and teetering on irrelevance. A few are even known to be cyberbullies.  Despite the presence of these "experts" the Absolute Write forums are dripping with bad advice. It's omnipresent. We've explored this issue in detail already and other websites have touched on it.

It appears the "experts" just look the other way while the amateurs run amok.

And btw, don't accept any advice on the matter of "Absolute Write query letter hell" or anything else concerned with the writing of query letters. Accept advice only from known professionals such as literary agents who are identifiable as such and not allegedly hanging around on bizarre chat forums disguised as beasties and elves.

(to the right, bottom to top: defender Janet Reid, Uncle Jim, Teresa "Hapi" Nielsen Hayden, Doyle Hack, Stacia Kane, apologist Victoria Strauss, owners Lisa Spangenberg and Melodi "Mac" Sherman) 

ACCORDING TO RANKRETS.COM, ABSOLUTEWRITE.COM
VALUE HAS PLUMMETED TO $33,056.00.
______________________________________________________________

 Excerpts from text and comments re AW
From the "Haters Gonna Hate" post by Strauss wherein she states that critics of AW are all just one troll

(a very recent note written 6/20 to Victoria Strauss and not answered): 

I've appealed to you in the past with regards specifically to the very large lie told about my faculty member Robert Bausch on Absolute Write's forum. Perhaps the lie remains because your motto is to respect the writer. That means the powers at Absolute Write respect the writer making the accusation, not the accused, so this negates the apparent hypocrisy? When will this lie be removed? Robert proved himself that TNH was making false and libelous comments, and later on the same thread, yet no one removes the false and libelous comments and to this day they still exist. 

      -  Michael Neff - Haters Gonna Hate Comment Thread


He made the bad mistake of going on AW and announcing himself. And let’s just say he was pounced upon, challenged by every howling watch dog on their Beware et al pages specially dedicated to us. When they challenged him, he tried to stand up to them—tried to explain that he just a trainee, which again was none of their business. The poor guy actually thought he was dealing with reasonable people instead of packs of slobbering, howling idiots.

      - Gatekeeper's Diary


@Fiendish writer, no one is lying about Absolute Write. That place is a almost a sewer of negativity. The mods are bullies. They bash self-publishing. They are so pathetic. I don’t know why writers even bother going over there- to have themselves kept in check by a bunch of bums. That’s just my personal opinion, of course. I’ve never been in trouble there or been banned, but I saw how volatile that place was and got away quick. Nobody is lying. Everything they say about that place is true.

      - "The Last of Us" (comment thread)


I'm one to lurk before joining in, and after watching the mods tear apart people for NO reason, then egging on others to bash those people, then carrying on long after they chased the person from the site...yeah I think I will pass on joining in. I've never seen anything so vile. There is a definite "clique" there. The site is great for them, but it looks like it's near impossible to become part of their "in club". Whether I could get in with them or not, I don't think I'd want to because I won't stand behind such poor behavior. This has to be the worst writing community I've ever encountered.

     - The Complaints Board


I was lured in by their marketing people who are also members of the Absolute Write forums. One of them was Victoria Strauss who is a formerly published author, now a self-published author. At first, I received what I believed was fairly good advice from a couple of anonymous people in the short fiction forum, but in the novel forum I was uncertain of the quality of advice there. I'd been warned by other people about Absolute Write and I'd read the many critiques online. The novel writing advice turned out to be lousy. I copied five things people were saying there and was able to show all of them to be erroneous. There were no mods around or professionals hanging out to help, like Strauss has claimed. It was just a free for all.

     - The Complaints Board


I went to Absolute Write seeking community and received in return a determined assault of absurd accusation and juvenile contradiction for truthfully speaking my mind about a conference I attended in New York which was wonderful and life changing for me. An Absolute Write member named Francis Bruno kept returning in an effort to make me look as if I were a cross between a fool and a hireling of some sort for daring to contradict the infallible opinions of the Absolute Write social club led by Macallister Stone who in fact is the worst hypocrite imaginable. The woman appears to delight in being a bully shepherd. She knew full well that the Bruno person was a huge liar, but when I pointed out his lies, one by one, I was chastised by her. Ridiculous. How long can you roll in the pig slop before it gets on you? At the end I was dubbed a "sockpuppet with a vendetta" for refusing to bow to the tireless Bruno man.

      -  Babs Stevens - Write Absolute Reviews "iPredator" Comment Thread


It's pretty much just what you'd expect. A lot of bad-to-mediocre writers giving bad-to-mediocre advice to bad-to-mediocre wannabe writers... The mods are powertripping jerks, just as many of the other posters have said. I met a handful of nice people, but no reason to stick around. I never posted any work to be critiqued because honestly, so much of what was posted in the critique section was so bad and the advice that was given equally amateur... I just didn't feel like I'd gain anything from it that I didn't already know. And most of the advice from different critters was conflicting, anyway. 

     - Rachel W. - The Missing Sitejabber Reviews


Ironically these “websites / authors” are doing what they claim others are doing, taking advantage of people who are looking in good faith for facts and information, truthful information about the publishing industry. Their responses are reduced to internet babble. A mix of half truths, alleged facts and very personal un-professional remarks and behavior. They tend to be abusive, Holier then thou, and totally off the mark. ALL they have to do is PROVE what they post. Just saying they have “hundreds” of complaint isn’t going to cut it. People are fed up with that attitude. Courts are leaning heavily toward companies and individuals who are entitled to face their accusers and their alleged facts.

One poster stated that they’re “reaping what they sow” how true. All of sudden people are asking them questions about who they really are, besides mutual friends.

So why don’t they just tell the truth?

     - Publishing Facts


I’ve only been a member briefly, and found this blog by searching how to leave the AWWC. It’s horrible. I thought it was an open, honest forum to exchange ideas and learn. I found myself in the middle of backbiting, condescending, bitter people (including two Mods) who were not helpful at all and hide behind screen names.

How am I supposed to take career advice seriously from someone called SuperModerator, when I can’t tell if they’ve ever published anything? I asked a specific question, and when I questioned politely but firmly the uninformed and negative advice an anonymous writer gave, she harangued and condescended like a fishwife.

On another thread, she jumped into a productive discussion and tongue lashed not only me, but every contributor! Lord, it must’ve taken her half an hour just to quote every single one of us LOL It was a ludicrous critique: she said we “had to” provide evidence for everything we said. This, immediately after telling me one of her pets doesn’t have to provide any, and I am rude for asking. 

     - The Cult - Absolute Write Water Cooler (comments)


Now that I reflect upon it, the websites critical of you two
[Lisa Spangenberg and Macallister Stone], and the AW in general, are in some sense, hate sites. I've never in my life seen or heard so much utter loathing for any other two people, or any other website. In retrospect, no one hated Jenna. She worked hard to out the bad fellows, but no one hated her. She was respected. She was reasonable and a nice person who didn't like to bully. Whereas you are hated. Hated. Is it because you are hostile bullies with a sense of ridiculous entitlement? Or because you are just doing your jobs and the haters are really just one ex-member who you justifiably gave the boot to?

     - Lesley Cameron"Haters Gonna Hate" (comments)


I will give give "Absolute Write" credit for one thing though, they're very intelligent people. You see, they solved the mystery of my age. Using their version of commonsense and deductive reasoning, they were able to figure out that I am a withering and wilted old man. In a thread on their forum, they were talking about me. As everyone who has been following me knows, my age has not only been a bully obsession, but has baffled them for centuries. It's really all they can talk about... I will go on record and say that I am not one hundred percent positive that "Absolute Write" is a scam, I have no concrete proof of it, but when the owner of the site lies about her real name, and address, and has been sued on multiple occasions, then all of the signs point to ---> Buyer Beware!

     - Carroll Bryant


The main focus of Absolute Write is the "Water Cooler", a huge forum which addresses authorship of any kind. It has begun to suffer from a typical ailment that creeps in most long-standing Internet forums: the dreaded Clique Mentality. This occurs when a relatively small set of users contributes the vast majority of posts, combined with a set of unwritten rules--which are often rather unclear to anybody else than the clique itself. Hapless outsiders who violate these clique conventions will often find a mob of old-standing users pounce upon them like a group of ravenous wolves. I'm not joking--it's not a pretty sight when it happens. I have seen posters on Absolute Write being bullied merely for disagreeing with a clique member on a fairly minor matter. 

 The mob will pull any trick to discredit an outsider: ridiculing, twisting words of out context, and fairly often rather nasty personal attacks. People with few to no publishing credentials will get told that their opinions are unimportant and that their writing "likely sucks."  The irony is that most clique members are themselves writers of mediocre fare dwindling in the lower parts of the midlist, if that ...

     - Anon : The Missing Alexa Reviews


As far as I'm concerned, if a site is run this way it has no value so I will ignore it and encourage everyone to ignore it. It is run by a bunch of lower mid-list (and that may be being generous) old biddies who have nothing better to do than to dictate their rules to others. Free speech does not exist on Absolute Write and where free speech does not exist, I will not go. They talk a good game about "respect your fellow writer" but take umbrage at things in an oversensitive way and pull that respect from you without a second thought.

    - Mark Breuer : No Irish, No DGs




BEWARE THE REAL HARM LURKING ON ABSOLUTE WRITE - Part II : CHARACTER ASSASSINATION (yes, it's real)


"Is your name or business or anything about your background now suddenly out in public, index-able by the biggest search engine in the world, thus easily allowing future landlords, mortgage bankers, employers, social directors, neighbors, enemies and friends alike to find you after typing your name in Google?... With just one click anyone can see you out there being trashed and humiliated, perhaps even lied about. And make no mistake, there is no appeal. You can't win against that mob."

If you've taken the time to click around, google the search strings about Absolute Write, you will have found dozens of personal blogs, forums, and websites critical of the cyberbully practices and bad writing advice found there. Like our blog, most of these websites include links that document the truth we have all been saying repeatedly; and now we can easily put a face to those who unflinchingly host the hostiles and sociopaths of the Absolute Writer Water Cooler (Sherman "Mac Stone" and Lisa Spangenberg).

So what are the risks to you?

And are they really worth whatever reward you believe can be gained by hanging out on their forums and chumming with potential future victims? Of course, there are a lot of former members who passed through to glorious self-publication and who never encountered the wrath of AW mods, members, or owners. That's great news. Thank the heavens they made it through unscathed. But what about those who didn't? Their stories are here. Their stories are everywhere, and more to come as the victim toll mounts.

Let's list the many risks below following a typical Water Cooler scenario that will catch you unawares and scare the shit out of you. Let's say you've taken part in a discussion about writing or another subject that causes an oversensitive or arrogant geeky moderator to go after you. What did you say? You may have simply disagreed politely, added something to the conversation, counterpointed logically because you believed it would be okay? Now, your unexpected doom arrives like a hurtling freight in the night.

Let the cyberbullying begin:
  • The moderator slaps you down with punitive measures that include humiliating you, badgering you, insulting you, and stripping your identity for public view.
  • Same as above, but a long-time or inner-circle member goes after you and does the same thing.
  • Same as above, but an owner or one of their cronies goes after you and does the same thing.
  • Same as above, but a whole mob of AW members, looking to impress the mods and owners, decides to make an example of you for days.
Is your name or business or anything about your background now suddenly out in public, index-able by the biggest search engine in the world, thus easily allowing future landlords, mortgage bankers, employers, social directors, neighbors, enemies and friends alike to find you after typing you name in Google? 

There you are. No hiding. Top of the page! 

With just one click anyone can see you out there being trashed and humiliated, perhaps even lied about. And make no mistake, there is no appeal. You can't win against that mob.




Does The Administrator of Absolute Write, Lisa Spangenberg, Actually Believe She is a Druid Witch With Powers?


An odd set of circumstances, this one. We came upon a quote by Lisa Spangenberg recently wherein she reveals herself on someone's blog as the mod who banned a particular user of Absolute Write. Then it gets rich, as follows:
"I'm the mod who banned you. I'm the person who suggested, strongly, that you research your own religion. I did that, by the way, as someone who has read somewhere around a thousand spells, and incantations, and invocations and curses in roughly eight languages, and has been invited as a witness by followers of a variety of traditions, including Gardnerian, Alexandrian, Wiccan, and two family trads, as well as more Neo Pagan druid events than I can count."
She's read around a thousand spells, incantations, curses, and so forth, plus she has attended a considerable amount of druid events. So btw, who spends gobs of time in arcane books pouring over curses and invocations to raise demons unless... 

Next we have this comment in a book review about Druid magic which states:
"Worse, there is a harsh critique of the book by Lisa Spangenberg, a noted Druid..."
A "noted druid." Okay, and now we have pages of research and writings on Druids by Lisa Spangenberg, becoming obvious as soon as one searches Google with the right search string. Look it over, will you? It really is fascinating stuff! You'll see that at times it becomes very difficult to separate a Druid from a magician or witch. It appear that Druids are inherently steeped in the imaginations of magic to one degree or another. 

Well then, what of it? If you're the least bit superstitious you might not want good old Lisa casting a spell on you. There are many sources online, but here is a primer for learning what types of magic the Druids practice (including shape shifting). 

Does this mean Lisa turns into a wolf at night and goes in search of her enemies? Or perhaps she just possesses a parakeet and flitters amongst the leaves.

MALWARE NOW A DANGER ON AW FORUM ADS!! Beware The Real Harm Part I


BEWARE THE REAL HARM LURKING ON ABSOLUTE WRITE :

ADVERTISING BANNERS LEADING TO MALWARE INFECTIONS!

12/1/15

We wondered how long it would take before Absolute Write's owners began running lucrative advertising banners on its forums, banners that can infect writers with a variety of harmful malware. The practice is vogue on many business-related websites, and no surprise there, but now, AW is allowing it. Do Lisa and Macalister even realize it? Can they truly be ignorant enough not to realize? Given the many outrages committed against writers on AW, it is hard to give them the benefit of the doubt.

If you are going to click around Absolute Write Water Cooler you MUST GO ARMED with one of the top three malware removal programs. We recommend the latest edition of SpyHunter by Enigma Software. Here is what we found after we cleaned our PCs with SpyHunter, flushed our caches then clicked three times on the top rotating banner on the Water Cooler to check for new adware, viruses, and malware:


Beware X 10. 

This is a portion of it. To make sure, we flushed, deleted all the malware, then repeated the process and ran SpyHunter again. The exact same results were achieved. We recommend all Absolute Write users get SpyHunter (or an equivalent--btw, competitors have been trying to derail SH's success on the market, but so far have failed. It is perfectly safe and extremely efficient.)


Don't click on any AW advertisements unless and until you can check 
for harmful malware and erase it effectively.

The same advice goes for all business websites.  btw, the balance of harmful malware objects after clicking on three Absolute Write banner ads:





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A Study In Public Shaming - Remind Anyone of The Absolute Write Bully Mob?

Where Faceless Commenters Wield The
Power to Destroy Lives and Careers
Faceless commenters with the power to ruin people? Sound familiar? This is a great book with lots of anecdotes and case histories of the mob mentality run amok on social media. Course, unlike the vast majority of mob victims on Absolute Write who did nothing other than disagree with a cyberbully bashing or dare to start an independent press the owners didn't like, Jon Ronson talks about people who might have "had it coming."
Nevertheless, we recommend this book for all those who have been smeared unfairly by Absolute Write, for all those who google their name or book or business and see Absolute Write at the top of the page. 
____________
An Amazon Best Book of April 2015: Author Jon Ronson knows a thing or two about public shaming. When a trio of "academics" hijacked his persona for an infomorph—basically an automated Twitter feed that spewed inane comments about food in his name—he took the fight to the internet, where the virtual, virulent hordes soon compelled the spambot authors to cease and desist. The experience hatched a thought: Once upon a time, if you wanted to participate in a good, old-fashioned public humiliation, you actually had to show up. But as with most everything else, the internet has made condemnation an exercise in crowdsourcing, with today’s angry mobs trading stockades and scarlet for social media and its inherent anonymity.
So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed is Ronson's tour through a not-necessarily-brave new world where faceless commenters wield the power to destroy lives and careers, where the punishments often outweigh the crimes, and where there is no self-control and (ironically) no consequences. On one hand, part of what makes this book (again, ironically) so fun to read is a certain schadenfreude; it’s fun to read about others' misfortunes, especially if we think they "had it coming." 

Long Overdue Thanks to Victoria Strauss for Her Now Infamous "Haters Gonna Hate" Post

Below and Above We See Victoria Battle Her "Troll"




(sent 9/26/15 to Victoria Strauss)

Dear Victoria,

We can't thank you enough for your Hater's Gonna Hate post that depicted Absolute Write as the faultless victim of immoral haters. It genuinely served to inflame the so-called haters into more hate because you dared not admit even a single instance of wrong on the part of your friends at Absolute Write. Neither would you fault the owners, Melodi Sherman and Lisa Spangenberg, for obvious acts of encouraging and participating in the unfair defamation of writers, presses, and other organizations. Could it all have something to do with the fact that AW is the number one source for promoting your fantasy novels? You must have at least several hundred posts on there with your signature block hawking your books, no? Perhaps even thousands of posts (6,667 as of this date), each one a free banner advert for your latest book with a link to more. It's no wonder you routinely jump into the most popular threads where a bloody good drubbing is taking place.

But these facts only serve to underscore our gratitude for the post. We've received more support and readership as a result of your post ranking high on google when "Absolute Write" is searched . Writers who didn't know there was even an issue now routinely add "reviews" and "bewares" and "complaints" to their search string for purposes of learning more. Apparently, many are not willing to suspend disbelief that literally dozens of boards, blogs and websites complaining bitterly about the mods and owner trolls of AW are all the work of a single lying person. They will not take you at your word that you possess the absolute right information on the matter of AW's record of nonstop cyberbullying and acts of libel, a record you claim does not even exist.

According to many, this absolute right defense argument of yours only serves to make you appear like a hypocrite. Are you even aware? You've convinced other writer organizations and websites that you are legitimately telling the truth about Absolute Write when you deny the ongoing abuses. But that is going to change, and is changing even now. Our hope is that you will continue to defend the horrible people on this board who have germinated into their own peculiar club of villains. You are like the bribed mayor of a city who looks good to the public but who deals behind the scenes with criminals and charlatans. 

By the way, when are you going to call Absolute Write on Writer Beware for advertising banners leading to scam contests? Have you not been reading the news?  http://writeabsolutereviews.blogspot.com/2015/08/absolute-write-beware-advertising.html ____ And this isn't the only one. AW has run scam rotating ads off and on for eight years at least. We never saw you note that on Writer Beware. Why not? Your support of their bullying and scam advertising just becomes more telling by the year.



Thank you again, Victoria. Please feel free to spread this email and post it on your board.

Best Wishes,

Absolute Write Down and Out?

Not yet. But by any measure, the worth of Absolute Write is lessening. Matter of fact, it has plummeted. Traffic is at an all time low and the long drop shows no sign of slowing down. We've noted the reasons for this. We've examined the iPredator phenomenon and read testimony of the victims. We've reviewed the banners of questionable advertisers and other forms of trash advertising. We've called out major bullies and proved beyond any doubt that bad writer advice is rampant on the AW forums. We've demonstrated that the horse farm owners of Absolute Write have no qualifications for running a hands-on website for writers.

Though we think the value grossly overestimated, a website estimates Absolute Write to be worth a purchase value of just over $95,000 (make sure and click the update link). According to a poster on Michael M's blog, the site was previously worth over a million buckaroos (!!!!) at some point in 2013 or 2014. We think this number was also grossly overestimated, however, the clear fact remains: Absolute Write is going down, steadily dropping in value and in traffic, and therefore, in the ability to bully and misinform writers, particularly naive writers.

And the owners have no one to thank but themselves for this circumstance.

As soon as the AW forum website was sold to Melodi "Macallister" Sherman and Lisa Spangenberg, the future was set in Stone. Cyberbully bloodbaths and acts of ongoing misinformation reached epidemic levels. Never before had the writer community online seen such a virulent form of moderator and mob abuse. The victim count mounted. All manner of writers, presses, and agents and organizations fell under the AW ax policy of shoot first and ask no questions. The banning of long time members skyrocketed for the minor offense of daring to disagree with the new owners or their favorites. Websites, forums and blogs critical of Absolute Write began to appear on the web. The owners, and apologists like Victoria Strauss of Writer Beware fame, not only denied any form of abuse whatsoever, but actually invented the absurd story that all of the "haters" were just one person.

There is so much evidence of all the above on this blog, and so much more around the web, that only a demented fool or AW advertiser can deny the reality. All of us pray for the day when Absolute Write is once again sold, hopefully to someone good and fair, like the original owner Jenna Glatzner.

One more time... We miss you Jenna.

Down, over and out.

Beware Absolute Write Trashing of Agent Eric Ruben

Eric Ruben is a fantastic agent! He is deeply knowledgeable, personable, and extremely business-oriented. It’s a pleasure to have him as an agent and I recommend him fully.
          - Anne Elizabeth, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Sourcebook’s Navy SEAL romance series and the Pulse of Power graphic novel series.

______________________

The Pop-up Sock Puppets of One Brilliance

Another gem from the axe-grinding paradise of Absolute Write.

Literary Agent Eric Ruben
We are asked to believe that four anonymous entities (who suspiciously sound like the same person) who joined Absolute Write one day after another and only for the ostensible purpose of trashing Eric Ruben are telling the unquestioned truth when "they" allege that an agent as professional as Ruben broke every rule of professionalism and behaved out of character like a foolish child, even to the point of becoming violent. We are asked to believe absurdities such as, "He spends a lot of time tweeting from Whole Foods." We are further asked to believe that "these" anonymous axe-grinders were able to initiate not one but uncounted intimate private conversations with Eric's clients who, of course, also trashed Eric to them. We are asked to believe these posters in question are all different people when they talk the same, make identical unsubstantiated allegations, weasel word the same, and even disgorge the transparently disingenuous claim that they don't wish to "badmouth" Eric before proceeding to do just that with great vigor and while pretending to be objective.

The curious thing about all this is that it eerily resembles the pop-up trashing of Curiosity Quills noted in our SAD TRUTH OF HATE post. In other words, an anonymous entity pops up from nowhere on the Absolute Write forum under the noses of the owners and mods and begins severely trashing their victim without being questioned or doubted in the least. A real pattern here. We see it everywhere on AW, and in each case, the mods, owners and members retreat from any reasonable standard of fairness while the victim is decimated. And how many times have we seen them all join in to support the bashing!

Moving on.

absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?216948-Ruben-Literary-Agency-(Eric-Ruben)&p=8655969&viewfull=1#post8655969

Look at Them
The first anonymous trasher of Eric calls herself SavvySharky, who kicks off with: "I don't want to bad mouth him..." Then proceeds to do precisely that, and remorselessly. So this Savvy Sharky (whoever she is) is disingenuous at minimum. Our trust level of this anonymous hater is sliding.

And a few unsupported claims and weasel wording:

"I finally had a few uncomfortable conversations with his clients to get a sense of what I was experiencing was the norm and it seemed it was. Other clients weren't happy with where he was subbing, or how little they knew about where he was subbing, and even raised some questions about his professionalism--which I can't speak to personally."

You can't, Sharky honey? Oh, and why not? You're speaking to everything else! And btw, what clients? It "seemed"? What does that really mean? Amazing that people she has never met will immediately open up and share their personal business with this Sharky. We find this really hard to believe. Hmmm, could it be she is quite simply lying? Can we suspect an anonymous entity who just joined the forum that very month only for the purpose of trashing Eric Ruben just might be making false and  misleading allegations? Is it possible? I suppose it's good for her to hide under the blanket of Absolute Write rather than risk a lawsuit for libel.

But wait.

Only a day later another anonymous entity suddenly joins AW and with yet another pseudo-clever name: DewTheWriteThing. Among other unsubstantiated allegations, she says, "Most of us (some who have left, others who are still hanging on) have been too afraid to say anything..." So who left? Who is still hanging on? Why not tell us? And why are they living in fear? Where is Eric's rep for destroying former or current clients? His other clients said he's a really nice guy.

absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?216948-Ruben-Literary-Agency-(Eric-Ruben)&p=8680664&viewfull=1#post8680664

And finally, here comes "Brilliance" who says, "Look, guys. I'm not trying to badmouth anyone." But just before that, she said of Eric Ruben: "Things got worse when I started to actually voice my doubts. He got very defensive and volatile. Eventually, I couldn't even disagree with him without him melting down. I reached out to some fellow writers who were dealing with him, and sure enough, everyone was having problems; bad communication, unsatisfactory submissions, and more than one told me they'd found out he lied about where he'd sent their work."

Wait a minute. She sounds suspiciously like that SavvySharky person, doesn't she? And she rarely posted on AW, but appears after several years to trash Eric. Could it be... Could it be that she is also SavvySharky and DewTheWriteThing? They do sound much like, do they not? They even "reached out" to others who were "dealing with him" and "everyone was having problems." Gosh, doesn't that sound just like old Sharky? Here we go again. Who are all these writers they both keep finding? How did she contact them? Where did she find them? No details. And again, why would these people spill their guts to someone they don't know? It's just amazing how Sharky and Brilliance synch so perfectly with tactics and wording. Not out to badmouth, eh?

Overall, this trashing of Eric Ruben's rep is quite clearly the work of one vengeful, unprincipled person. It was set up and orchestrated. We couldn't be more certain, and for the record, we have no horse in this race. We've never met Eric Ruben, but when we found this unfair and vicious trashing of a reputable agent, we couldn't help but call attention to the sleazy behavior.

No fair minded writer forum would ever allow this, much less never question the parade of negative allegations. Where were the mods? The owners? Why allow this agent specifically to get trashed? And why does this pop-up trashing closely resemble other pop-up trashings of various other victims as we've seen above?

Could it be these trashers are owners or mods on Absolute Write who have an axe to grind?

Absolute Write - Beware The Advertising (Freeditorial)


Some beware analysis of the banner ads running on the top of Absolute Write, background check, and recommendations. First one "Freeditorial"? Yes, that's it, right above 48HrBooks.Com. Who would name a real publishing house, even a self-publisher, something like this? It whiffs of scam, it does, and the whole thing is almost comical. But there is nothing comical about the promises it makes to new writers:

http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?299129-Freeditorial-Publishing-is-now-open-for-submissions (links open in new browser window)

As anyone can see, even a few denizens of the Absolute Write Beware lynch mob question the validity of Freeditorial, but the thread suddenly stops for no reason. Could it be because the AW owner, Macallister "Melodi" Stone, decided to accept their offer of paid advertisement back in 2014? How else to explain the usual pages of trashing and mockery aimed at the staff of new small presses, for example, but an abandonment of slaughter house approach regarding an organization of nobody that actually claims to be a valid publishing house while:
  • failing to show the face or bio of one single staff member or editor of the "publishing house"
  • failing to answer any and all legitmate questions about its operations (see links above and below)
  • indicating on the About Page that it is owned by a corporation called Inv and B Corp that does not even have its own website but lists itself in Business Finder as a travel and tourism business
  • offering as enticement the assertion that they paid an untraceable (and perhaps nonexistent) Spanish author who wrote an untraceable book $85,0000 (btw, it's not even found on the Freeditorial website much less anywhere else)
  • demonstrating no editorial screen whatsoever in making choices for who is "published" by Freeditorial.
Moving on to another writer forum where the Freeditorials are marketing their biz:

http://www.youngwritersonline.net/showthread.php?p=189964

And here we have several reasonable questions on Young Writers Online ignored by the anonymous spokesperson from Freeditorial:

"Is there some way I can see the bios of some of the people responsible for my book, should I submit? Who's behind acquisitions? Copyediting? Technical editing? What experience do they have? I understand that maybe there are too many people to list them all, but why not highlight a few of the heads, so that I can be sure the person responsible for editing my book isn't also splitting their time between translating public domain novels for your library?

Not answered! More as follows:

http://www.youngwritersonline.net/showpost.php?s=260f2f47cb17d3f88210a9e351b1c74b&p=189964&postcount=6

http://www.youngwritersonline.net/showpost.php?s=260f2f47cb17d3f88210a9e351b1c74b&p=189781&postcount=4

And one of their stock claims posted on several online writer forums as enticement to sign with them:

"For example on our most recent additions under Recommended Books on our homepage, there is the book titled “The record”, for which Freeditorial paid a European writer “Victor Saltero” $85,000. Another recent deal, is a short novel for which the was paid over 5,000$. You will see this novel soon under Recommended Books."

From the Wikipedia article, the only real source of anything about this so-called author (https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/V%C3%ADctor_Saltero):

"Victor Saltero Cárdenes is the pseudonym under which a series of novels in the Spanish publishing house published Imser century between 2006 and 2008. The publisher no longer exists. His true identity is unknown... From 2011 his writings are published by the American publisher Freeditorial."

As for the second "novel" we don't even get a name.

Is Freeditorial simply using these tactics to entice as many writers as possible to their website in order to increase readership for the purpose of selling advertising? And why is Absolute Write yet again revealing an enormous hunger for absolute hypocrisy?



_________________




Absolute Write Web Traffic Plummets and Thanks For The Continued Support in Fighting the Good Fight



Hi everyone! Hugs and kisses to you guys! We want to take the opportunity to thank all who have contributed to this blog. We are sorry we could not print all your stories about cyberbullying on Absolute Write. We do our best with the time we have. We feel we have contributed to the overall presence of valid criticism of AW, and to a limited extent, justice has been served on the owners and moderators of one of the worst adult cyberbully forums and bad advice sites on the Internet. To this day these same owners and moderators remain totally unrepentant while spreading the lie to advertisers and whoever will listen that the many dozens of critical websites pointing directly to specific incidents of abuse, bullying, and debilitating advice is all the work of one troll (see the "Haters Gonna Hate" post on Google wherein Victoria faces off with the troll in question like a true Fox News pro).

One of our successes has been to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that Absolute Write is invested monetarily in maintaining the presence of "Beware" links on Google that more often than not lead directly to instances of the cyberbullying we reveal and discuss at length on this blog. The business model of AW depends on this. They won't go back and fix the many wrongs visited on people because that will pull the plug on the cash flow. If that sounds unbelievable, examine the irrefutable evidence on this blog of their intent and their victims. Conflict = Cash. The website nurtures a predatory culture and uses it to pay the owner's mortgage in Washington State where she runs an unlicensed horse boarding facility.

Strange? Yes. In spades. Like my daddy told  me, never trust a hypocrite much less someone who spends most of their life being critical of everyone but themselves.


Below is a graph of another writer website for comparison purposes over the same period.


Insightful Reviews of iPredators on Absolute Write

What is An iPredator?

Definition as follows: "A person, group, or nation who, directly or indirectly, engages in exploitation, victimization, coercion, stalking, theft, or disparagement of others using Information and Communications Technology (ICT).
  • iPredators are driven by deviant fantasies, desires for power and control, retribution, religious fanaticism, political reprisal, psychiatric illness, perceptual distortions, peer acceptance or personal and financial gain.
  • iPredators can be any age or gender and are not bound by economic status, race, religion, or national heritage.
  • Whether the offender is a cyberbully, cyberstalker, cyber harasser, cybercriminal, online sexual predator, cyber terrorist, and internet troll or engaged in cyber deception, they fall within the scope of iPredator.

iPredator Behavior on Absolute Write

Below are a select number of intelligent and insightful reviews by writers who have run afoul of Absolute Write iPredators, or who have observed the cyberbullying of others on Absolute Write forums. Some wish to remain anonymous due to fear of their reputations and livelihoods being smeared in retaliation by Absolute Write owners, moderators, and their various followers (or whatever you wish to term them).

We encourage everyone from attorneys to social psyche researchers to take time and read these reviews carefully. The iPredator behavior patterns are apparent and predictable. The reviews represent a random sample taken from over a hundred critical reviews of Absolute Write and its culture.
All it takes is for one question to be asked, or one axe grinder to make an appearance, and the predators smell blood. A swarm of anonymous fairies and fops with ridiculous icons appear and begin fomenting themselves into leaps of logic, unfounded assumptions, and distortions of reality... 
I came to see it that on the whole the Absolute Write forums are an arena of juveniles acting out their fantasies and retaliatory urges on a continuing basis while honestly trying to give each other writer advice, and all the while watched over by people who are just mean spirited and unethical...
  ______________________________________________

@Fiendish writer, no one is lying about Absolute Write. That place is a almost a sewer of negativity. The mods are bullies. They bash self-publishing. They are so pathetic. I don’t know why writers even bother going over there- to have themselves kept in check by a bunch of bums. That’s just my personal opinion, of course. I’ve never been in trouble there or been banned, but I saw how volatile that place was and got away quick. Nobody is lying. Everything they say about that place is true.

      - "The Last of Us" (comment thread)


I'm one to lurk before joining in, and after watching the mods tear apart people for NO reason, then egging on others to bash those people, then carrying on long after they chased the person from the site...yeah I think I will pass on joining in. I've never seen anything so vile. There is a definite "clique" there. The site is great for them, but it looks like it's near impossible to become part of their "in club". Whether I could get in with them or not, I don't think I'd want to because I won't stand behind such poor behavior. This has to be the worst writing community I've ever encountered.

     - The Complaints Board


It's pretty much just what you'd expect. A lot of bad-to-mediocre writers giving bad-to-mediocre advice to bad-to-mediocre wannabe writers... The mods are powertripping jerks, just as many of the other posters have said. I met a handful of nice people, but no reason to stick around. I never posted any work to be critiqued because honestly, so much of what was posted in the critique section was so bad and the advice that was given equally amateur... I just didn't feel like I'd gain anything from it that I didn't already know. And most of the advice from different critters was conflicting, anyway. 

     - Rachel W. - The Missing Sitejabber Reviews


Ironically these “websites / authors” are doing what they claim others are doing, taking advantage of people who are looking in good faith for facts and information, truthful information about the publishing industry. Their responses are reduced to internet babble. A mix of half truths, alleged facts and very personal un-professional remarks and behavior. They tend to be abusive, Holier then thou, and totally off the mark. ALL they have to do is PROVE what they post. Just saying they have “hundreds” of complaint isn’t going to cut it. People are fed up with that attitude. Courts are leaning heavily toward companies and individuals who are entitled to face their accusers and their alleged facts.

One poster stated that they’re “reaping what they sow” how true. All of sudden people are asking them questions about who they really are, besides mutual friends.

So why don’t they just tell the truth?

     - Publishing Facts


I’ve only been a member briefly, and found this blog by searching how to leave the AWWC. It’s horrible. I thought it was an open, honest forum to exchange ideas and learn. I found myself in the middle of backbiting, condescending, bitter people (including two Mods) who were not helpful at all and hide behind screen names.

How am I supposed to take career advice seriously from someone called SuperModerator, when I can’t tell if they’ve ever published anything? I asked a specific question, and when I questioned politely but firmly the uninformed and negative advice an anonymous writer gave, she harangued and condescended like a fishwife.

On another thread, she jumped into a productive discussion and tongue lashed not only me, but every contributor! Lord, it must’ve taken her half an hour just to quote every single one of us LOL It was a ludicrous critique: she said we “had to” provide evidence for everything we said. This, immediately after telling me one of her pets doesn’t have to provide any, and I am rude for asking. 

     - The Cult - Absolute Write Water Cooler (comments)


I will give give "Absolute Write" credit for one thing though, they're very intelligent people. You see, they solved the mystery of my age. Using their version of commonsense and deductive reasoning, they were able to figure out that I am a withering and wilted old man. In a thread on their forum, they were talking about me. As everyone who has been following me knows, my age has not only been a bully obsession, but has baffled them for centuries. It's really all they can talk about... I will go on record and say that I am not one hundred percent positive that "Absolute Write" is a scam, I have no concrete proof of it, but when the owner of the site lies about her real name, and address, and has been sued on multiple occasions, then all of the signs point to ---> Buyer Beware!


     - Carroll Bryant


The main focus of Absolute Write is the "Water Cooler", a huge forum which addresses authorship of any kind. It has begun to suffer from a typical ailment that creeps in most long-standing Internet forums: the dreaded Clique Mentality. This occurs when a relatively small set of users contributes the vast majority of posts, combined with a set of unwritten rules--which are often rather unclear to anybody else than the clique itself. Hapless outsiders who violate these clique conventions will often find a mob of old-standing users pounce upon them like a group of ravenous wolves. I'm not joking--it's not a pretty sight when it happens. I have seen posters on Absolute Write being bullied merely for disagreeing with a clique member on a fairly minor matter. 

 The mob will pull any trick to discredit an outsider: ridiculing, twisting words of out context, and fairly often rather nasty personal attacks. People with few to no publishing credentials will get told that their opinions are unimportant and that their writing "likely sucks."  The irony is that most clique members are themselves writers of mediocre fare dwindling in the lower parts of the midlist, if that ...

     - Anon : The Missing Alexa Reviews


As far as I'm concerned, if a site is run this way it has no value so I will ignore it and encourage everyone to ignore it. It is run by a bunch of lower mid-list (and that may be being generous) old biddies who have nothing better to do than to dictate their rules to others. Free speech does not exist on Absolute Write and where free speech does not exist, I will not go. They talk a good game about "respect your fellow writer" but take umbrage at things in an oversensitive way and pull that respect from you without a second thought.

    - Mark Breuer : No Irish, No DGs


If you're a member of Absolute Write, I guarantee you've seen the moderators sweep into a discussion where the topic is one of their pet peeves, use the unfortunate poster as a punching bag, invite long-time members to join them, and then lock the thread and sometimes boot the member. It's never a straightforward warning about the rules, or a request for clarification. The moderators are not there to facilitate discussion, they're there to drive the discussion. If it ventures out of the bounds they like, even if the discussion is polite, it gets locked if for no other reason than "attitude."

It took me about five minutes to gather some examples. I went to a single topic and looked through the first few pages for locked threads. To be fair, two of the threads I saw were locked for legitimate (at least, what most forum admins would consider legitimate) reasons: resurrecting ancient threads. The rest were examples of moderators treating members like garbage.


     - Absolute Wrong : Silencing the Lambs


So whatever the merits of the campaign against Absolute Write, or the motivations of those behind this campaign, I have to (reluctantly) say that those in charge of Absolute Write Water Cooler richly deserve it. In the short time that I had an identity on that board, I would cringe every time that I logged on, in anticipation of the latest gratuitous, public insult that the board moderators had lodged against me, along with the warning "don't you dare talk back, or it will turn out badly for you" (their exact words).

     - B.Q. : Haters Gonna Hate (Comments on Victoria Strauss Troll Battle)


This morning, we found out through a few book club members that a forum known as the Absolute Write Cooler had identified us as a fake. Apparently, this is because we don't have an "existence that isn't associated with this book blog. No one reports going to lunch with her, she didn't show her pet at a local cat show, she hasn't participated in a Walk For Life, she isn't listed in a graduating class."

Correct me if I am wrong, but my book blog should be about books and what I want to include. If you do not see what you want to see, that doesn't make me fake.

Then came the next disturbing element of this unfolding drama. So we've been certified as fake. The forum moderator HapiSofi bashed the book club in more than one thread. She was applauded for her 'detective' work. Absolute joy, that people find so many useful ways to spend their time. But one thing, was missing. Where is HapiSofi's contact information? From as far back as 2012, three characters appear in every thread together. HapiSofi, James McDonald and AliceShortCake. Then there are names like Old Hack, VeinGlory and Torgo. Again, no contact information, no social media links for most of these profiles.


     - Quality Reads UK


FROM THE MISSING SITEJABBER REVIEWS:

Absolute Write... So they made a set of forums for self pub. I rolled across them a couple of months ago, and was pretty horrified by what I saw: a large number of folks claiming to be industry experts deliberately spreading misinformation about what self publishing was, how best to go about it, and whether one could actually do it successfully (outside a few “outliers”). So I stepped in and started pointing out the flaws in the logic.

     - Kevin O. Mclaughlin


What frightens me as a rational person is that there are those who cannot understand why WAR and other sites are taking the time and effort to resist the kingdom of Absolute Write. What are they refusing to see? It is obvious that this is a combination protest and consciousness raising effort on the part of groups and people critical of the ongoing abuse, smears and cyberbullying. It is also a movement to curtail their behavior by any legal means necessary, as WAR says, and I agree with this. 

     - Lesley Cameron - The Consequence and Sad Truth of Hate (comments)


Beware. Absolute Write, in the hands of Lisa Spangenberg and her associates, is in effect a judge-jury-prosecutor platform, and one utilized on an almost daily basis to publicly humiliate, bash, defame and even scold people they have never met and do not know, as well as businesses they have never interacted with in any form whatsoever. All it takes is for one question to be asked, or one axe grinder to make an appearance, and the predators smell blood. A swarm of anonymous fairies and fops with ridiculous icons appear and begin fomenting themselves into leaps of logic, unfounded assumptions, and distortions of reality. All this would be amusing if it were not for the fact that their extensive dialogues and diatribes become public record and are ranked high in Google.

And will the average reader always understand what kind of sociopaths he or she is witnessing. Not necessarily. They appear to speak from authority quite often, give the appearance of sincerity, and there is a background history of real scams revealed by Absolute Write. Users there like Victoria Strauss, who give the appearance of legitimacy, will rush in to show support. But as we all know, the best way to maintain the momentum at Absolute Write is to mix a few grains of truth into one continuous and hydra-headed avalanche of lie. In reality, the core site is a lie on more than one level. The owner and her sock puppets and assorted gang not only shred people all day for amusement and publicity (as someone pointed out, the mediocre writers get publicity for their poorly written books each time they post) and monetary gain (huge revenue from advertisements), the site itself purports to offer good advice to writers when in fact it does no such thing. Advice is amateurish and quite often just plain wrong.

Regardless, the bullies at Absolute Write, herded there by Lisa Spangenberg (as we all now know) and goaded on by her at all times with great vigor, basically function as a Salem witch trial. Accusations are often baseless, but delivered and discussed with excessive zeal. Victims are displayed for purposes of torture, and anyone who disagrees is accused of being a witch also.

One has to ask: what gives such cowardly arm-chair nerds the right to act as prosecutors, judge and jury? Nothing gives them the right. These are a bunch of losers looking for payback. I've seen it before. I've fired abnormals like this at my job because they were caught retaliating against other workers using phony online identities.

I know the type, and I sincerely hope someone is able to bring legal action against Lisa Spangenberg and her hateful crew.

     - PublisherW - The Missing Sitejabber Reviews


FROM DARK MARKETS "THE CULT OF ABSOLUTE WRITE":


"ABSOLUTE power corrupts absolutely." is the phrase that really sums it up which is funny and ironic. The head admin Spangenberg that has the sock puppet Stone is on a huge power trip over having that big board that looks great, that people want to join, but it's so insidious because it looks harmless and super fun but any of the mods that are nuts like that OldHack and Spangenberg will just randomly attack people and people can't even defend themselves their either banned or have some humiliating subnic, 

And I'm not talking about the small publishers and scam publishers that they bash, I'm talking about just writers trying to talk about any issue if a mod agrees with ANYTHING on ANY topic then they can insult, belittle and degrade that member to their hearts content and the member will be banned if they say one word in their defense or even if they say anything perceived as "snarky" back and they just play these nasty little mind games that they think are so clever, but anyone can see through them, it's just that people can't do anything much about them because it is a private business, but yes, the crazy power trip is ruining a magnificent concept and something that could be so good.

She really doesn't have to act so crazy and nasty to keep control of her board and it's really hypocritical to let certain mods spew misinformation and throw around insults like that Old Hack.


     - Shay Richards : The Looking Glass of Caroll Bryant (comments)


Now, if there is any environment more toxic than GR, it’s the Absolute Write Water Cooler. It’s a snake pit. And not just any snake pit. We’re talking Indiana Jones, Raiders of the Lost Ark kind of snake pit. Why is it so bad? Its not just because of its members. Its moderators play a big part in it, too. Keep reading and we’ll show you what we mean.

Now before we continue, we want to show you some Alexa reviews we found  here. All of the five star reviews are legacy reviews, because once upon a time, when AW was fresh and new, it was a good place to be, but slowly over time, it became corrupt.

     - STGRB : The Banning of Robin Sullivan