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Howdy YAL!

I used to be the blogger called YAL Book Briefs, but I grew bored of the handle and changed my name to Howdy YAL. I also respond to MJ. I like to read, write, eat truffles, and watch bad Lifetime movies. 

Repost:Stop the GR Bully Site: Wake Up Call, Books Aren't People

Repost: I originally published this on my blog when Idiots Incorporated formed last year.  I think it's especially relevant in light of the crap that's going on currently at GR.  Hence, why the post says I love GoodReads because I sure don't now, lol.


For those who don't know I use GoodReads.  I love the site.  It's probably my favorite out of all the social media tools.  It's actually one I can relate to, unlike Twitter which gives me a headache, Facebook which gives me way too much information about my friends, and Pinterest which can sometimes be a little odd and borderline creepy at times (seriously, people.  I do not want to see what a dream wedding with Tom Cruise would look like).  Good Reads though is great.  I've met lots of new friends and have been able to interact with them about books.  And I love books.  I love talking about them.   And for that matter reading people's opinions both good and bad.

Since the days of book blogging there has been issues surrounding negative reviews.  Personally, I like them.   Obviously, authors are people too, but the book itself is a product.  I have talked about why I support negative reviews in a previous post and I'm not going to dig deeper into that issue today.  Instead, I'm going to talk about bullying.

Fact: I spent most of my junior high and high school years being bullied because I wasn't athletic, didn't wear the right clothes, didn't like being sexually harassed, and just came off as a little quiet and timid.

It wasn't right and because of that I have developed a real distaste for bullying.  Bullying can come in many forms .  It's not just directly physically harming or  insulting an individual.   Indirect threats, subtle harassment,  and cyber bullying are all forms of bullying.  It's a real issue.  There are people who are killing themselves because they are getting picked on.  It's not something to take lightly and should be dealt with appropriately.

That being said I think people often misinterpret what is and what is not bullying.  Case in point, Stop the GoodReads Bullies (Note: I originally had the link here to that God awful site, but have since pulled it since I do NOT want to give that abomination of a site traffic).

Yep, that site does exist.  And  honestly it's doing more harm than good.  Let's dissect  some of the values this "stellar" website offers

Point One: Negative Reviewers are Bullies

The people that are targeted on this site aren't bullies.  All of the people that have been targeted on this site have been targeted for negative book reviews or out of context remarks they had made about a review(usually defending someones review from a troll).  They are talking about how they feel about a book not an author, despite what this out of context site would have you think.  As far as I'm concerned books aren't people.  However, the people who wrote the reviews and comments are.  Posting their photos, personal information,  threatening to stalk them, and defaming them is not appropriate behavior.  Even if they were bullying the author this is still not the sort of appropriate steps to take.

Point Two:  The Only Way to Fight Bullying is through Bullying

Fighting bullying with more bullying is not a way to combat bullying.  The site runners say that they are following the advice of a school principal.  I don't think any school administrator would advise a student who is being bullied to fight right back.  First of all, the advice is just wrong on a moral level.  No one deserves to be abused, even an abuser.  Furthermore,  that advice would make them liable should the bully victim act out violently.  It's just wrong on so many levels. 

Being a victim of bullying myself, I found that the only way to stop the bullying was to find myself an advocate.  My teachers weren't helping me and the principal blew me off because my bullies happened to be some of the best athletes in my school.  Needless to say, I was miserable and so I ended up confiding in my father who fixed the situation for me within days.    Let's just put it this way, my dad did not harass or bully back my tormentors at school.  That's not what advocates do.  Rather, he went to the administrators and talked to them calmly and logically about the potential ramifications that would happen to them if they allowed this behavior to continue.  And yes, there are ramifications to bullying.  People can be held liable, if the bullying escalates it can lead into even criminal charges .   It doesn't matter what the bullying is over, if you're defending someone, when it boils down to it bullying is bullying and it's going to hurt people.

Point Three: Posting Private Information about Individuals is okay---because it's on the internet

Sure, the information might be on the internet.  But do you have permission to use it?  Furthermore, do you really think these individuals want all the private information revealed especially in the light you're showing it in.  Essentially any sort of  information can be found on the internet these days if you know where to look.  That doesn't mean it's fair game for your use to defame these individuals.  These people have lives outside GoodReads,.  Posting information like this is not only tacky, but it can be potentially dangerous as well.  What if these individuals have a stalker or something?  You don't know them personally.  You could potentially be causing them harm and that's not a good thing. 

Point Four: This Site is meant to be an Anti-Bullying Site

Bull shit.  Anti-bullying sites reach out to victims.  They help them realize that things do get better and they sure as don't advocate bullying.  In fact, there were some anti-bullying sites  that were upset about this site's behavior that they asked the site to remove the anti-bullying banners that they had up. See here for more details.

Thoughts and Conclusions:

I don't like drama.  But I also don't like seeing people be attacked.  Being a victim of bullies myself, I find this sort of thing absolutely disgusting.  Posting information like this on a website is wrong in so many ways.  It endangers people's privacy and safety and for that I cannot condone it or anyone who condones this website. 

Links For Actual Anti-Bullying Sites:

Stop Bullying

It Gets Better

Anti Bullying Network
Source: http://howdyyal.blogspot.com/2012/07/stop-gr-bully-site-wake-up-call-books.html