The "Troll in The Mirror" and The Bullying Nature of Catfights on Goodreads

This just discovered by one of our editors. In "Battle of The Trolls" on Salon.Com, writer Laura Miller talks about the horror show of Goodreads and the endless catfighting taking place on the website, each side trying to outdo the other in terms of pure nastiness. The article opens with commentary about a particular author who stalked her troll critic, then half way down, the article diverges onto the subject of Goodreads which we all know possesses a mob psychology eerily similar to that of the bully swarm on Absolute Write. It's interesting to observe the similarities:

The authors picked quarrels with their critics and bombarded them with emails demanding that reviews be deleted or changed. The reviewers banded together to retaliate, descending on the book pages for “badly behaving authors” and posting scathing one-star reviews, whether or not they’d read the book in question. A website called Stop the Goodreads Bullies — uncritically cited by Hale in her essay — was formed by anonymous parties to “expose” and revile the most active reviewers in this group. Eventually, Goodreads introduced a policy dictating that reviews referring to an author’s behavior would be deleted, but things have barely cooled down since.

By now, both sides have accused each other of trolling, bullying, harassment and doxxing (the publication of personal information online). Employers have been contacted and urged to fire the combatants. People’s families have been written about in disturbing ways. Each side is convinced that it is far more sinned against than sinning... Reader attacks can take the form of scores of one-star Goodreads reviews, often tweeted at the author to make sure they’re noticed, and menacing emails that may or may not originate in the Goodreads community. (Several traditionally published YA authors contacted me to say that they and their fellow novelists often felt targeted by such harassment but would not comment on the record for fear of further reprisals.)
Employers have been contacted and urged to fire people. Ahem. Has this happened also on Absolute Write? Aside from death threats, can we as human beings be more vindictive? Again, illustrative of the same bully psychology.
Compounding the paranoia and outrage on both sides is the tendency for social media to act like an alchemist’s alembic, distilling the complicated thoughts and feelings of individuals into generic expressions of self-righteous indignation. It’s not the concision of, say, Twitter that causes this — it’s perfectly possible to express ambivalence in 140 characters — but a hectoring pressure toward pro forma piety and groupthink from small circles of like-minded people who want to present a united ideological front to the world.
Groupthink from small circles. Sound familiar, dear readers? And it's no wonder that AW members also search for power on Goodreads, joining these bands of bullies and becoming a part of the bash fest whenever it suits them. Part of the point we've been trying to make on W.A.R. all along is that all of us who have been, and continue to be targets of bullies on AW, are beset by a common pest known as the iPredator.

And finally, Laura Miller sadly concludes:
Perhaps most insidious of all is the spectacle of genres that profess to champion the strength and value of girls and women descending into the most stereotypical forms of toxic “feminine” behavior: cliques, backbiting, venomous gossip, name-calling, sneakiness and whispery passive-aggressive scheming. Sometimes the worst troll of all is the one in the mirror.


  1. No question there is overlap between the two bully pools. Women in both places are terrified of those in charge and in favor.

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  3. When the cyber bullies unleashed there wrath upon my cyber identity and the initial phase was over two hate blogs were on line:, (After two abuse take down requests still nothing)
    I suppose it takes just lots of time and effort to get this removed and if any one want's to help me out and report abuse I would much appreciate it. I have reported abuse and harrasment dozens of times but the blogs are still up.
    I have taken many precautions to ensure that my identity stays hidden. Had it not been so I probablly would not be telling you this story as these
    cyber bullies want me dead and had they been given additional routes to harras me like my cell phone, facebook,...I do not think I would have stood
    a chance.