Rape—experts say—is a crime of power and control more than sex. Underlying it all is a sense of arrogance, and on sites such as Amazon, we often have no idea who we are talking to or where they live because they are mostly hiding behind an anonymous, false identity.
The following list summarizes how I was treated starting several weeks after I posted a comment for a brief and poorly written review left by an anonymous Amazon book reviewer for another author’s book. What I wrote was not a review. What I wrote was a comment expressing my opinion of a review. I have since deleted that comment on Amazon and left another comment in its place in addition to explaining why I did it (six customers–guess who they might be—don’t think this post adds to the discussion and it was hidden—-click on “show post anyway” to read it).
1. You should consider therapy. (Anna Karenina is the second anonymous speaker. The first anonymous speaker, KarLynP, has since deleted his or her comment).
2. You cannot debate on a rational topic. (Anna Karenina)
3. You are told that before one can debate, there must be a person worthy of debating and that you do not quality. (Anna Karenina)
4. Your comments are labeled as “ludicrous nonsense”. (Anna Karenina)
5. Some of what you wrote is called “nincompoopery”. (Anna Karenina)
6. You are accused of calling yourself a troll. (Rmahala Burlingame—this may be a real name)
7. You are accused of not using your brain. (Anna Karenina)
5. You are accused of being a somewhat privileged white male that fits the description of the average troll. (Rmahala Burlingame)
6. It is inferred that you are an “egotistical narcissist”, because during an Internet search of your name, one of the anonymous speakers discovers your Blogs, Websites, book reviews and comments that is your author’s platform, which is a modern-day necessity for any writer that wants to find an audience for his or her work. Building a complex Internet platform is part of the writing business today. (Old Rockem)
7. You are described as a “bloviating person”. (Rmahala Burlingame)
8. You are called a snob. (Rmahala Burlingame)
9. One of the anonymous speakers says that he or she is much more famous than you could ever dream of being and that you would never be as smart as him or her. (Anna Karenina)
10. You are told that your reading skills are so poor that you could not get into 1st grade. (Anna Karenina)
11. You are accused of being a stalker, because after one of the anonymous speakers, Anna Karenina (AK), left a comment on your Blog along with two IP addresses, you wanted to know who he or she was and searched for the location of both IP addresses, and one of them may have been AK’s place of employment, so you call but still don’t know who AK is because he or she was using an anonymous name and the place of employment says they have no way to trace who sent what. (genmar rienee)
12. After all that, you start getting e-mails advising you to apologize to everyone involved inferring if you don’t, the situation will get worse.
13. After you refuse to apologize to this alleged mob of anonymous Internet stalkers and bullies, it gets worse.
14. On Goodreads, four people give your new book a one-star rating and on Amazon a one-star review appears written by an anonymous person—allegedly a SockPuppet—that could not have bought or read your book. In fact, when the four Goodreads one-star ratings appear, that book has only sold three copies worldwide and all from Amazon Kindle. In addition, there are two, five-star Goodreads ratings. So three books have sold by the time there are six ratings and one Amazon review.
15. Then all the one-and-two star reviews for your books sold through Amazon receive a large block of YES votes, and the four-and-five star reviews get many NO votes.
16. Then the sale of your work—novels that have been selling steadily for years—slips almost 40%.
Note: This is not the complete list. There is more, and this isn’t over.
If the definition of rape is correct, then my work and my reputation as an author has been raped by a mob of allegedly arrogant and mostly anonymous Internet bullies who may troll the Internet looking for ways to recklessly spread false and libelous statements.
What we might have here is an alleged culture of arrogance that has created a group mindset that anonymously trolls the Internet to damage the reputations of others—especially authors.
This alleged anonymous mob found me guilty without a trial, without a lawyer, and without a judge or jury. And because I dared to express my opinion about this issue on my Blogs, there was retaliation.
And it all started when I left a comment for one 2-star review of “Tough Cookie” by mystery author M. Ruth Myers. On March 19, “Tough Cooke” had eighty-six 5-star reviews, fifty-nine 4-star reviews, twelve 3-star reviews, one 2-star review (in the next paragraph, and one 1-star review. I also left a comment for the 1-star review posted by an Eileen DeMarco—her only Amazon review, and there is no way to tell who he or she is.
This is the one 2-star review of Myers’s ‘Tough Cookie’: “Too soft and expected situations with the most probable endings, could be written by the reader himself if they had read three novels.” – nancy d. mendez
My comment—my first opinion of the mendez review—was posted on January 20, 2013 the same day the mendez review appeared, and it said, “This isn’t a review. Learn how to write a proper review and then maybe someone that is literate will pay attention to you. I give this sorry excuse for a review one-star or an F-.”
In conclusion, if you are reading this and think of yourself as an open minded, fair person, you may want to read all the posts on this topic and click on the links to the originals before you pass judgment. The first comment from KarLynP, an anonymous speaker, appeared on February 16, 2013, and KarLynP never leaves another comment (and has deleted that comment), and I never did hear from nancy d. mendez, the person that wrote the review.
Anna Karenina (AK), the second anonymous speaker, left his or her first comment on February 22, 2013. AK seems to have left the most comments.
Old Rockem’s 1st comment, from the third anonymous speaker, appeared on February 24. Then number four, Rmahala Burlingame—I understand that this is a real name—left her first comment about ten minutes later.
The following links will take you to the posts I have written about this issue:
2-26-2013: Dealing with Internet Bullies
3-8-2012: The Internet is not a safe haven for being anonymous and behaving badly
3-13-2013: Taking it Global: Online Freedom of Speech versus the 6th Amendment
3-15-2013: Is this an example of defamation? — not protected by the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
3-31-2013: Ginmar: Alleged Cyber Bully, Troll and Stalker?
Note: When I contacted Amazon on this issue, I was basically told they would do nothing because what was happening was acceptable according to their guidelines, and that I should use similar methods to support my work. For example, get more people to vote “YES” for the good reviews and “NO” for the bad reviews—just like the alleged vigilantes were doing—and then have more people write good reviews.
But I don’t have an organized posse to help defend against this alleged mob of vigilantes that are mostly anonymous. Most authors are loners, introverts, and spend their time in front of a computer screen writing, editing, promoting, publishing, etc. And if I did what the alleged vigilantes are doing, they would criticize me for doing the same thing that they do and say it is another example of an author behaving badly.
Besides rape, libel, and defamation, isn’t this also discrimination?
Discover more here: Found Guilty because of Reckless and False Speech – based on true events
Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.
His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.
And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.
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