44 comments on “Goodbye to Goodreads?

  1. I would be really cautious about posting reviews of memoirs. I know they address this particular concern in their soothing note, but if they’re taking down shelves without much thought, i’m not interested in taking the chance. I don’t use Goodreads as much as some, so I won’t be as heavily impacted, but it’s still a disappointment.

    • Well, everything I put on Goodreads, I also keep in my own spreadsheet. So losing my work isn’t a concern. But exactly, they’re the ones calling all the shots… and I’m about 99% sure that none of my reviews fall into their new “not allowed” guidelines, but who really knows? It’s unsettling.

    • That is actually an awesome idea! A collection of all the reviews deemed “unfit” for Goodreads. I would be VERY interested in reading such a collection, to see for myself.

      • Yes! That’d be an awesome twist, wouldn’t it? Em — I hate to bring up bad memories, but when GR deleted your “Twisted Female Authors” shelf, did you lose the reviews as well? Because I’ve deleted my own shelves in the past, but still had the books in the “All books” list, along with my reviews…I hope that was the case for you?

  2. I don’t like Library Thing because there’s no interaction ON reviews, and the owner has stated FLAT OUT that that won’t change.

    I don’t like BookLikes (even though I imported all of my stuff several months ago) because it’s no different than having a tumblr or blog.

    I have memberships at a bunch of other sites, but so far, they all fail for me.

    I still don’t know what I’m going to do. I’m sad.

    • That’s the thing… I love the way the Goodreads site works (the technical aspects of it, at least), and nothing else seems to come close. But I feel like I can’t support and contribute to this community anymore.

      • Right. It’s pretty much everything I want, which is what makes all of this so exceedingly frustrating (and hurtful, honestly).

        • Like sj, I’ve tried BookLikes too and am less than impressed. I don’t use the blog aspect and just used the shelf there. I don’t need another blog to add to the blog I already have. I’m still using it. The only place I really like keeping track of what I read is Listography. Short and simple. No bells and whistles, though, and unfortunately, for now, no Android app.

    • Charleen! – SJ!! I feel like a black sheep in the fact that I’m not freaking out about this. I’ve always thought it was highly inappropriate some of the review content that was left up on Goodreads. Personally, if I saw it I would mostly ignore it. I’m a big believer in that a book is a book, you are reading the book. Judging the book based on an authors actions would be like saying you aren’t going to listen to a piece of music, or watch a movie because that artist or actor was/is a douche alcoholic who beat his wife or throws nutso tantrums at innocent stage hands.

      I love goodreads and the community interaction I get there. So I’ll be staying. I’ve never agreed with the ‘because of author’, ‘author showing their ass’ and other such drama mongering shelves. But that’s just me – I know that other people really want to know those things. I can see why people are upset because they want to express themselves freely. Perhaps its a lose lose in this situation.

      Oh yeah and I hope you stay ladies! =P

      • My problem is that they’re wiping out stuff that isn’t actually abusive, that isn’t actually harassment. Institute better moderation and keep that stuff off the site, by all means, but a huge blanket policy isn’t the right call. Deciding for us what is and isn’t relevant isn’t the right call. And I could stay and go about my business as usual because nothing of mine was taken down – like you, I’ve never gotten into that drama and ignored it if I ever saw it – but more than the policy, it’s the WAY they’ve gone about instituting it that I really have a problem with.

        • No I agree after reading more that they are too vague about the way they are doing this. We haven’t really seen enough yet to know if they are going to willy nilly just delete things. So I’m interested to see how things will actually be handled.

      • I’m a big believer in that a book is a book, you are reading the book.

        But a book isn’t just the text. When you’re reading, it’s not just the words that affect your interpretation of the story/essay/memoir/etc. You’re also affected by the way the author uses those words to try to make you feel a certain way (that’s called pathos–the former English teacher in me is jumping in here ^_^;; ) — how he/she describes the antagonist, for example. Are we meant to hate him/her/it completely, or sympathize at least a bit? Is the language in general dry, or humorous, or sentimental, or melodramatic? That can affect how you react to the characters and situations–are you meant to be amused by the protagonist’s disappointments? Is the author trying to yank at your heartstrings?

        And yes, you may be influenced by what you know about the writer — i.e. his/her ethos. Let’s say the author is a douche alcoholic who beats his wife. Well, his domineering personality might show in his writing — the way he portrays characters, for instance. Does he portray women as well-rounded, strong people, or are his female characters weak stereotypes who deserve to be treated a certain way by other characters?

        Or, for a less extreme example, the little I know about Douglas Adams’ emotional state around the time he was writing Mostly Harmless helps me understand maybe why the book has the tone it does, and why it ends the way it does.

        • Just to clarify, I meant that the douche author, not myself, might believe his “weak stereotypes [of women]…deserve to be treated a certain way…”

      • I’m a big believer in that a book is a book, you are reading the book. Judging the book based on an authors actions would be like saying you aren’t going to listen to a piece of music, or watch a movie because that artist or actor was/is a douche alcoholic who beat his wife or throws nutso tantrums at innocent stage hands.

        Here’s my issue with this, Tabitha. There have been authors I loved and reviewed well (some of them YOU’VE loved and reviewed well, as well), but because of the disrespect I’ve seen them show for readers and reviewers on twitter, I will no longer read them.

        It doesn’t matter that I’m two books into a series that I enjoyed, it doesn’t matter that I thought their voice was refreshing. I witnessed them being assholes to my peers and I’m out.

        Do I shelve them as such? No.

        I just choose not to read them anymore (I have one shelf that says ‘done with this author forever’ and I think it only has Chuck Palahniuk and maybe Cassie Clare, but I’m not sure if I ever added her). But if I WANTED to go shouting that SO AND SO SENT HIS MINIONS TO GANG UP ON SOMEONE WHO GAVE HIS BOOK ONE STAR or “This author just said that anyone who reads more than 24 books a year can’t be trusted tp have a valid opinion!” I should be able to.

        Have I removed my reviews or ratings? No. Because that was the way I felt at the time, and I can’t do that in good conscience. But I’m voting with my pocketbook and my time.

        • I agree what you’re saying also makes complete sense. I’m not saying I wouldn’t also possibly end up deciding not to read an author if I happened upon some foul behavior that I felt was unwarranted. But in my opinion the extent it gets blown up to is so outrageous that it becomes drama mongering. That is really what I don’t agree with. But then I also tend to avoid all of the reviewer/author drama. I’m glad I don’t recognize the instances you are referring to. Luckily I can’t say that I’ve encountered any instance where author behavior has caused me not to read a book I already planned on reading. But hey I can’t say that I might come across something awful that happened that causes me to rethink that. *shrug*

  3. Great commentary on the situation. I’m on Goodreads and haven’t posted anything in danger of deletion. However, if things get too mucky for me, how would I transfer my info from Goodreads to another similar site? What’s the process there, do we lose everything we’ve done on Goodreads for good? Any insight into this would be much appreciated. Thanks for posting, people need to know how the company has mishandled the whole thing.

    • On the Goodreads site, on the “My Books” page, there’s a link in the left-hand column (under all your shelves) labeled “import/export.” On that page, in the right-hand column, click “export to a csv file” and it will automatically download to your computer. This is the file you’ll use to import on another site. Or you can open it in Excel and get to your reviews and ratings that way… it doesn’t look pretty, but your information is all there.

      Hope this helps!

  4. I’ll probably keep Goodreads, but I’m giving BookLikes a try. Not the blog portion, but just cross-posting my reviews over there. I like that it allows for 1/2 star ratings, and that it adds your affiliate ID. Also, it has some international options, which is great for me since I read and review foreign language titles every once in a while.

    • That was my plan with BookLikes as well, only I realized that the blog IS where your reviews go. I mean, I can choose to ONLY use the blog for reviews… but the different parts of the site are just more integrated than I’d thought. I don’t know if I’ll stick with it or not. It’s not really what I’m looking for… but then, nothing is. Glad some of the extra features are useful to you, though.

  5. I use fictfact to track my series already so I think I will be seeing what else is available on that site. There is a link for discussion groups but I’ve never used it there.

    • I’ve heard of that, but never saw the use in a separate site just for series. If you’re already on it, though, it’s worth checking out what kind of community they have.

  6. Hey Charleen,

    Thanks for this post. If I wasn’t subscribed to your posts then I probably would never have learn about the changes. Does GR really think this is small enough change not to warrant a Sitewide announcement. All I can think of is ‘they’re making changes without notification, what’s next?’.

    I have a LibraryThing although I don’t really know how to use it. I also have a something else that I can’t even remember what it’s called! I use GR every day. Definitely going to export my files today, just incase! I can’t remember if I haven’t mentioned author behaviour in my reviews & I haven’t written that many.

    If you find somewhere new, let us know :)

    • I’m so glad you saw it here! There are many things about this that are mind-boggling, but the lack of a real announcement is certainly one of them.

  7. I’m frustrated. And angry. And working on a post of my own to address all of this. But I’m with sj – I haven’t found anywhere else with the same sense of community and functionality. But this is unacceptable to me…so I’m torn.

    • Yeah, it’s really frustrating. I keep going back and forth on if I’m willing to stick around in a limited capacity, or if I want to leave altogether. Before yesterday I would have stayed, probably… but that “apology,” along with some other responses farther down the thread… I just really don’t know.

  8. Since I don’t use Goodreads (I always intend to but never find the time to make a proper account and do all the necessary things), I don’t feel super qualified to have an opinion about this. But it seems like Goodreads handled rolling out the policy change incredibly badly; and the policy change itself seems so poorly-defined! I couldn’t at all figure out what counts as bannable/deletable behavior.

    • It looks like it’s entirely at their discretion. It’s really ridiculous. There was a problem, but this was not the solution. Right now is probably a great time to be thankful that you never got on Goodreads.

  9. As for Goodreads itself, I ditched it long ago. I hated getting spam from authors there. Stupid authors anyway ;) <– always getting in the way of my reading.

    • Yes, the author spam was annoying. I still wish there had been better controls in place to avoid that sort of thing, but it was easy enough to ignore. This, on the other hand…

  10. I pretty much only use Goodreads to track what I’ve read. I tried to cross post blog reviews a few times but I’m the laziest and didn’t keep up. I think it’s pretty shady to give no notice the way they did, that’s for sure.

    • If it were just a matter of tracking what I read, I have an Excel spreadsheet for that. It’s the community that I’ll miss if I leave… MY community, the GOOD community, which was always completely drama-free… until the powers that be decided to bring the drama to all of us.

  11. There really is no other site out there that has the same community feel as Goodreads. Maybe, MAYBE LibraryThing could be close if more people I know joined, but I don’t think so. That’s the unfortunate side to all of this. (BookLikes is just like Tumblr, which also doesn’t facilitate the same kind of community feel that GR does.)

    This whole thing is unfortunate. I’m not outraged by what GR has done, but they crossed a line and I’m pretty disappointed. (I reserve downright outrage for other kinds of badness.) They could have done the same thing by just reiterating their no-harassment policy and then doing a better job of enforcing it. To tell people what a review is or isn’t, well, that’s crossing a line that shouldn’t have been crossed.

    • It’s true, in the grand scheme of things, it’s not the end of the world… it IS enough to make me seriously reconsider whether I want to be a part of their community. I completely agree that, if the harassment were truly the issue, that is what they could have and should have done. It’s just one more thing for the cynics and conspiracy nuts to wonder about… what’s the REAL agenda here? Or are they really just that stupid?

      (I’m also aware that most websites include in their TOS something that allows them to delete anything at any time for any reason… but to have it in there as a “CYA” thing and to use it to this extent are two different things, at least in my view.)

      • I agree with all of this, although I’m not sure there’s an agenda (I’m not sure there’s not, either).

        And although it’s a free site and we’re basically just paying with our data (reviews, shelves, etc.), and because of this they do reserve the right to delete things, there should have been (and there should continue to be) prior warning and a chance to discuss what they feel should be deleted.

        No matter how we look at this, they most definitely are not handling it in a decent or moral way. Sigh.

  12. This is all news to me! I’m off to go check things out right now. My concern … This is the only place where I track ALL the books I read. I don’t necessarily review all the books I read on my site, but I still like to keep track of all my books somewhere. This is the site I like the best. Keeping my fingers crossed that nothing was affected on my bookshelves. :(

    • That’s where I’m at too, Tif. I don’t post everything I read on the blog, and I wouldn’t want to start now. I keep my own spreadsheet, but it’s not just about tracking, it’s about sharing and connecting.

  13. Thanks for commenting on my blog! (I started it yesterday, so you were the first commenter ever; you must be so proud;) Reading this post I realised I hadn’t gone into how the implementation of the policy was actually being handled, and since I’ve seen even those who wanted this change say it’s been done badly, I think it’s safe to say it’s been done badly. Then again, that didn’t surprise me in the least. I feel like it’s happened before, like these big sites always seem to screw up when they make big changes. It kind of makes me sad that the first impulse is for everyone to leave though, so I’ll be staying for now and hoping that the staff manages to sort themselves out.

    • Ooh, first comment ever!

      It will be interesting to see how this develops, but they seem pretty adamant that they’re doing the right thing. Even their “apology” (which still doesn’t seem sincere to me) only addresses one concern among many. I just feel like if I stick around, I’ll constantly be wondering… what’s next?

  14. Well this was all news to me…so thanks for talking about it. I really use it more for tracking than anything else but it’s certainly worth reconsidering with all this nonsense.

    • If you don’t use the site that heavily, you probably won’t be affected anyway… but I still think it’s incredibly bad form that they aren’t actually announcing this change (among the other issues I clearly have with it).

  15. The only reason I’ve really stayed with Goodreads is habit and the yearly reading challenge. I haven’t been affected by the new policy changes, but I still dont like the fact the website has turned into an over protective fan girl. Fair enough, abusive content should be, and is, removed. Less than savoury reviews, however, no. I haven’t really explored other websites, but I might do soon.

    • I haven’t looked a ton into it yet, but I’m pretty sure I saw that BookLikes also has a yearly reading challenge. For what it’s worth.

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