I have just been reading a post that’s been “enviralised” around the intertube today, regarding a particular self-published author’s response to a review. Let’s not make any bones about it; the author’s response is appalling, paranoid and ranting. The reviewer’s response is reasoned and generous.
I don’t have anything positive to say about the author’s response to what was actually a pretty reasonable review. And yes, I laughed.
And yet. And yet…
By the time I made it all the way to the end of the comments, there was a bad taste in my mouth, and it wasn’t from the author’s comments.
The pervasive sense of enjoyment that permeates the comments, the sense of self-righteous judgement and animosity, just doesn’t sit well with me. I’m sure not all the commenters had that intent, and as I said above, I laughed too at first. But piled together, on top of one another, it’s hard not to feel that the response verges on being a kind of bullying. That feeling isn’t helped by the number of negative reviews suddenly springing up on the author’s amazon site.
You know, the author’s comments are foolish and ill-advised. But I don’t wish her ill; I hope she learns from the experience. I certainly don’t think she deserves to be blacklisted, tarred for life with this mistake. Life is about learning, and although I’ve never done what this author did, I am certainly glad that my opinions as an eighteen or twenty-one year old are not preserved in carbonite for future generations.
If the internet is incapable of forgetting, we need at least to teach it to be forgiving. And pile-ups are never a good look, even, if not especially, when we are in the right.