New Goodreads Policy Ruffles Feathers — But is it Censorship?
It's Banned Books Week and Goodreads has made the news, but for the wrong reasons. They have caused some consternation with a new policy aimed at reviews and ‘shelves’ which focus on an author’s behavior, rather than their work. This has resulted in cries of ‘censorship!’ by the users — perhaps fairly — as the policy prohibits them from expressing an opinion about an author, with offending reviews being removed from the site completely.
We have had a policy of removing reviews that were created primarily to talk about author behavior from the community book page. Once removed, these reviews would remain on the member’s profile. Starting today, we will now delete these entirely from the site. We will also delete shelves and lists of books on Goodreads that are focused on author behavior.
Right. Now, I could argue some authors and their books are inextricably entwined, making this policy a little hard to enforce. (I mean, Bret Easton Ellis?) While I understand where Goodreads is coming from, trying to limit some kinds of reviews/comments/behavior on the site, it’s difficult to square with the idea of social networking.
Someone used the word censorship to describe this. This is not censorship – this is setting an appropriate tone for a community site. We encourage members to review and shelve books in a way that makes sense for them, but reviews and shelves that focus primarily on author behavior do not belong on Goodreads.
I think it might be. Where Goodreads’ minions screwed up was deleting content without letting people know beforehand; that’s guaranteed to upset someone. GR bullies aside, is this a good idea? I don’t think so. And is it just evidence that the site is now being influenced by its new owner, Amazon?
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