Victoria Strauss Censoring Critics on Her Blog, of Course

Type "absolute write complaints" in Google and see the article, "Haters Gonna Hate" by Victoria Strauss to get the other side of this ongoing debate regarding the validity and cyberbully nature of Absolute Write. The writers associated with this blog would like to thank Victoria Strauss for battling the troll so bravely and also for advertising our blog and the many other websites calling out the owners and mods at AW for their behavior.

Strauss at BEA Talking About Self-Publishing Her Books
Update. We've heard from three W.A.R. supporters that Victoria Strauss, the most vocal marketing supporter of Absolute Write, is now censoring new posts critical of Absolute Write. The thread backfired on her and now she's holding the line just like Janet Reid in her own blog post. A few still got through before Tariq Aziz closed the gate. 

In our opinion, one of the best comments towards the end of the thread:

Overall, I found their [Absolute Write] moderators to be on a wildly excessive power trip. In my case (without getting into the details), all I actually did was ask them to be a little understanding about a different member's errors in doing a post, and was basically told that I had to "beg their forgiveness" (that's more or less their exact language) or be publicly sanctioned by them in front of all my fellow indie writers on the board. 

The entire experience reminded me of one of those caricatures of English boarding schools that one sees in the media from time to time.Obviously, it is a privately-owned board and they have the right to run it as they please, but the way in which they handled (polite and objective) complaints about anything and everything -- even when these complaints were delivered in confidence to them (e.g. were not posted publicly), was needlessly harsh and belittling. I would NEVER treat anyone, either in-person or indirectly as occurs on a board, in the manner that they treated me. They either don't understand, or don't care, about the difference between maintaining an orderly and polite discussion forum, and in publicly humiliating people "just because they can".

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).No adult, or writer, deserves to be talked down to, in this way. AW needs to be taken down a notch, and it needs new management for its discussion forums.


  1. Like others have said, it's funny how AW elite can freely discuss self-publishing while the average member is slapped down.

  2. I will also add that unfortunately I don't think this poor guy is alone either. As someone about to self-publish her first children's short story, I'm honestly concerned about how my own work will be treated (whether or not I actually sell.) Also for every Jamie McGuire there is a self-pub that's not selling that's mistreated there whose voice isn't heard.

    I even pointed out the odd discrepancy between the official board stance on her blog, with how the water cooler actually operates: use the most current hate of the week to distract people from the real horror of this website trying to hold off innovation in publishing in general.

    Imagine if you will if there was this culture in web comic communities--who as of late has been far been the most chill: there would be no crowd-publishing platforms that seek to democratize publishing.

    Even if management changed, will their culture remain the same?

  3. "The most current hate of the week." Well put. Thank you for this observation.

    We believe that management determines the culture. The culture was different when Jenna was in charge. We've pointed that out in many ways. The rise to power of Mac Melodi and Spangenberg altered the culture. It is now definitely darker, no question. This board and other websites prove that.

  4. You realize that this her blog? It's not censoring since you have no right to free speech there. I have no right to free speech here. Her blog is not a public space (like a park).

    She perfectly entitled not to allow posts. Is it shitty, sure? Is she covering up for pals at AW, yes. Is it censorship? No. Stop using that word. It dos not mean what you think it means.

    1. Despite your bossy talk and agitation the word "censor-ing" is ideal since it means, and I quote: "examine (a book, movie, etc.) officially and suppress unacceptable parts of it." That's from a dictionary, bossy pants.

      And is it her blog? We've been talking about her blog so I guess I/we know it is her blog. Free speech entitlement is not being debated, but censor-like behavior is. She facades she is allowing opposing views but then she censors what she doesn't like. The word is perfectly fine. Please go boss someone else and learn to read a dictionary.

      And thank you for acknowledging she is censoring the opposition critical of Absolute Write bullying and bad advice to writers.

  5. The way I look at it, say if the arguments people make are so bad, wouldn't they show they are bad by showing up on the blog? If they are so bad, why is she not allowing them on the blog?

    I mean obvious that's not always true, you don't want spam bots.

    The whole blog post she wrote, vaguely reminds me of the kid itching a scratch, instead of applying an anti-itch. Despite the parent saying don't itch, they keep itching the scratch. But why scratch, if there is no itch?

    The whole scenario is strange as an outsider looking in.

  6. Re: censoring. I believe you are both wrong. Censoring is used most generally in dealing with public entities (like government ones). While technically correct, it's better to say she is "abusing her moderation powers". It's like when people use "pirating" in terms of illegally copying software. Yes you can use it but it's not the best term for it.

    1. It doesn't matter who censors. Censorship doesn't have to be a government body, anything can engage in censorship. This is pure narrative spinning right here.

      There is no argument that she's abusing her mod privileged though.