Goodreads Troll Update

Jason Sanford has a long piece on his Patreon page (freely available) on the issue, which includes an interview with Patrick Tomlinson.

Sanford also reports on Twitter:

The number of reviews on the as-yet-unreleased book In The Black has dropped sharply from the 124 I last reported on to 19 today. Many of the 19 are supportive genuine reviews posted as a counter to the trolls.

However, there are still plenty of fake and abusive comments on the book (I won’t quote them as many are highly defamatory) left. It does look like Goodreads are starting to respond more assertively but it is still a far from adequate response to deal with organised trolling at this scale.

Earlier posts:


12 responses to “Goodreads Troll Update”

  1. The issue seems to be not GR’s ability to take action, just their ability to take action at any sort of speed.
    They really need some basic protections that they can set on books being targeted, ala Wikipedia’s page protection options.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yes, I’ve seen Facebook act quicker (and that’s a very low bar). Goodreads is acting like they are at best just a social platform (and even then this is a shitty level of response) but their ostensible purpose is as source of information about books. Letting your big-book-database fill up with crap data is just bad at a basic level of the core purpose of Goodreads.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It really questions what GR actually want to do. I’d always assumed their acquisition by Amazon was mainly for access to data for building better recommendations – people who read book X read book Y as well. I have an ugly suspicion that single-use trolling accounts don’t actually damage that much because they don’t make many connections anyway, as they’re targeting one book or one author, and so they’re not high priority.
        GR meets my needs for laziness (rate books right from my kindle), some decent features (shelves, lists, etc) and a critical mass of people I want to follow, but if they crap that up by letting it turn trolltastic then I’ll be out.
        There’s already a certain level of astroturfing to be spotted in reviews and list votes that they haven’t really bothered about, albeit it’s fairly low level, which makes me think they want to do as little as possible to maintain their product.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Yeah, it makes wonder if Amazon uses Goodreads as a sort of safety valve to make it easier to keep their own book reviews less troll infested.


    • “The issue seems to be not GR’s ability to take action, just their ability to take action at any sort of speed.”

      Yep, that’s what I and others were saying on the other thread.

      In this case, there seems to have been enough uproar that, after the holidays were over, they took some action.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I doubt the action has anything to do with Sanford. It’s more likely due to the fact that today is Monday. GR is known to take very little action on anything over weekends.

    Also, the troll reviews are still out in force on another Tomlinson book, Starship Repo, and I’ve had two trolling comments (which I quickly deleted) on my review of In the Black.

    Liked by 1 person

    • it does seem a very post hoc ergo propter hoc argument. They ignored the authors whose names and pictures were taken in the trolling effort so I find it unlikely that Sanford’s post had any impact whatsoever and it was more just to do with the timing.


  3. Right now the book 115 reviews, most of them spam and most of them from today. So whatever GR have done it’s apparently not enough to actually stop the bullies.

    Some of the last 1-star reviews lists lots of personal info for a woman. What’s up with that? (I’m not repeating any of it here in case it really shouldn’t be online – just say that the last name is a Simon&Garfunkel song.) Are they doxing Tomlinson’s wife or something?


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