Why Can’t We Play Nice?

August 12, 2013 Random Thoughts on Books and Blogging 26


Random Thoughts on Books and Blogging is my opportunity to discuss my bookish and blogging thoughts, whenever I feel like!

I’ve been thinking a lot about things that have happened around the blogosphere over the last couple of months and while I don’t want to comment on any specific incident, I do have some things I want to comment on.

I wish I could say that some of this drama reminds me solely of high school, but over the years I’ve learned that drama really doesn’t end after high school as I’ve found plenty of it at work, and I see it in the blogosphere as well. It’s frustrating to keep seeing some of the same things over and over.

Obviously everything I say here is my opinion and you are free to agree or disagree in the comments, but keep it friendly!

There is no “right” way to blog

If something bothers you about a blog then you have two choices: deal with it or don’t visit that blog. Telling them what to do with their blog isn’t really a choice. They have every right to do whatever they want on their blog, whether you like it or not.

There is no big rule book that says you have to blog every day or you can only have xxx on your sidebar or you have to do xxx amount of reviews a week. That’s not a thing. Nor should it be.

We all have different styles and different tastes. If all of us were the same life would be so boring! One of the best things about the book blogging world (and life in general) is that we are all different.

If you can’t say something nice . . .

I have no problem with getting a discussion going over a book I loved and you hated or vice versa. I think those types of discussions are awesome. But there is a difference between saying “I’m sorry you didn’t like the ending, I loved it because….” and saying “You’re stupid for not liking this book…”

There is one particular book that I hated with a burning passion for so many reasons, but a lot of people loved it. I’ve had some discussions with people about it and while I don’t understand why they love it, I can accept that they do, but I saw several comments (on both sides of the rating spectrum) calling people names for liking or not liking the book. There is no need for name calling!

If I don’t agree with what a blogger has said about a book I either state my counterpoints (politely) or I move on. There is no need to make it personal and say mean things.

. . . but you don’t have to only say positive things in reviews

Reviews should be honest, which means that most reviews aren’t going to be glowing 5 star reviews. Even 5 star books aren’t perfect.  I’ve seen it around a couple of times that bloggers shouldn’t criticize certain aspects of a book (e.g. editing), bloggers shouldn’t write snarky reviews or bloggers should be easier on self published books than traditional published books. All this is ridiculous. Unless you are attacking the author on a personal level then you can say whatever you want about a book.

The only rating a book should have is the one YOU decide

I once got an anonymous comment on my blog back when I had first started telling me that my review was wrong. I compared a book I read to a movie I had seen before and I felt it was VERY similar and thus I didn’t really care for the book. The commenter said “Did you watch the movie? It’s not at all the same. Please becareful when you review.” (sic)

I’m a person, not a robot. I have feelings and life experiences. I have pet peeves and things that make me swoon. All of that comes to play when I’m reading a book. I can’t read “objectively” and I don’t know anyone else who can either.

The population as a whole is not going to give a book a 5 star or even a 4 star rating. In fact, if I could get a little bit mathy here, the majority of books for the population as a whole should have an average around 3.5. It’s called a bell curve and it is normal.

I can rate a book what I want and based on whatever I want. It can be based on feelings or the characters doing something I didn’t like or a plot twist that I loved. It’s my opinion and you can’t be wrong about an opinion.

Reviewers write reviews for readers not for authors

Shocking, I know. I love authors (obviously) but I don’t write my reviews for them. Reviews are for other people to decide if they want to read the book or not. Reviews are not written to “pump up” or “bring down” the author. I get that that is the effect that they can have, but that isn’t their purpose. Authors should read their reviews at their own risk.

If I am reading a book review I want that review to be honest, and if you are writing it for the author how could it be honest? It wouldn’t be, which is why they are written for readers not authors.

The internet is forever

Once you put something on the internet it is there forever. Even if you take it down it can still be there (hello, screen shots!). Remember in school they would remind you to think before you speak? Now it’s think before you post or tweet. I get angry sometimes, everyone gets angry sometimes. But sharing your feelings on the internet may not be your best choice of action.

Take a minute and think about what you are saying and why you are saying it. Also tone is hard to convey over the written word. If your words sound even remotely aggressive that’s how people will interpret it.

With all that said . . .

I love the book blogging community and right now I can’t imagine my life without all these awesome people. But I wish we could all play nice and just have fun!


26 Responses to “Why Can’t We Play Nice?”

  1. Jasmine @ Flip That Page

    OMG. This post was so accurate, I was nodding all the way through. Damn, if I comment further, I’ll probably just end up repeating every thing you just said XD I’ll just keep it at the fact that I loved this post. Thanks for sharing! :)

  2. Charleen

    I should probably just say “yes to all of this” and leave it at that…

    But I won’t, of course.

    I especially love the first point. There have been plenty of blogs I stumbled across, but didn’t like or just didn’t connect with for one reason or another. You know what I did? I wrote the blogger a scathing email demanding that she completely change who she is and how she chooses to write, because obviously it’s all about me, right?

    Oh wait, I didn’t do that. I just stopped following. Like a normal person.

    Also the rating thing. Honestly, I’m rating my reading experience more than I am the book. There have been books that I’ve given 1-star to that I will fully admit aren’t terrible books, they just aren’t ones that I personally liked. That’s all that means. Likewise, my 5-star books aren’t necessarily amazing books, they’re just ones that I connected with and loved.

    And now I’m just rehashing your entire post, so I’ll leave it at that.
    Charleen recently posted…Review: Blood of the LambMy Profile

    • Kimberly

      Yeah there have been quite a few books on both end of the spectrum that either just haven’t been for me or I liked despite it’s many flaws. Happens all the time. Hell sometimes just the time at which I’m reading the book can make a difference!

  3. Roberta R.

    3 favourites of mine…

    “I wish I could say that some of this drama reminds me solely of high school, but over the years I’ve learned that drama really doesn’t end after high school […] It’s frustrating to keep seeing some of the same things over and over.”

    “It’s my opinion and you can’t be wrong about an opinion.”

    “Reviews are for other people to decide if they want to read the book or not. Reviews are not written to “pump up” or “bring down” the author. I get that that is the effect that they can have, but that isn’t their purpose.”

    But then again, I want to hug all of this post too!
    Roberta R. recently posted…Jutta Goetze: “Luna-C”My Profile

  4. Alexia @ Adventures in Reading

    Yes, all of this.

    I recently had a run-in with a blogger who reamed the way I wanted to do something. I knew I wasn’t wrong but the blogger kept harping on it. To use your words,she was very aggressive about it.

    I just posted a review of a book that I hated but the majority of my blogger friends loved. Will I get flamed for hating the book? I hope not. If everyone in the world liked the same books we would have a very boring world.

    Great post!
    Alexia @ Adventures in Reading recently posted…Review: Frigid (Frigid #1) by J. LynnMy Profile

    • Kimberly

      I’m sorry you had a bad experience. :(

      I posted a not so great review for a book everyone loved a couple weeks ago and all was well. Most people won’t flame you for it, and those that do you don’t want hanging around anyway!

    • Kimberly

      I think blogging how to posts have their place and I like reading them, but the blogger needs to word it in a way that’s more “this is what the general public likes” rather than “do it this way.” When I first started blogging I used those posts to guide me so I found them helpful.

  5. Natalie @Natflix&Books

    I don’t have a lot to add to the comments, but I hate reading a whole post and then not saying anything. I thought everything you said was well-stated and I agree on all accounts. I haven’t really encountered in drama-rama in the few months I’ve had my blog and I hope it stays that way! Great post!
    Natalie @Natflix&Books recently posted…Fire With Fire (Early Book Review)My Profile

  6. Jen @ YA Romantics

    I try to stay out of the drama but I agree with you.
    I love hearing a well-reasoned opinion that is completely different from my own — those kind of reviews help me see a book in a whole different way. Or sometimes I can completely understand what the reviewer is saying, but I still came out with a different take. That’s part of what makes reading and reviewing so interesting — that we all see things in a slightly different way.
    Great post :)
    Jen @ YA Romantics recently posted…Just Finished Reading … The Bitter Kingdom by Rae CarsonMy Profile

  7. Christina (A Reader of Fictions)

    Very well said!

    I agree wholeheartedly with all of this. Though I’m happy to help promote authors when I loved their books, it doesn’t mean I wrote the review for that purpose, just as I definitely don’t want to ruin their lives by writing negative reviews.

    Also, no book is perfect is so true. The ones I rate 5 stars are ones where I couldn’t come up with any criticism, but later I’ll see reviews that make legit points about what it did wrong. It’s not that either that review or mine is incorrect, but that we read differently. It’s all good.

    Coming to a blog post and saying “you’re wrong” is just generally a bad plan. I like to be able to debate, but I generally don’t comment about my variant opinions unless I’m familiar with the blogger, because I’m afraid that they’ll think I’m being mean when I’m perfectly happy for them to love or hate the book in question. Well, actually, perfectly happy would be if we all loved everything, but that’s impossible, so, you know.
    Christina (A Reader of Fictions) recently posted…Review: If You Could Be MineMy Profile

    • Kimberly

      Quite often I’ve rated a book 5 stars and seen other reviews where they point out things that didn’t work in the book and I can see where they are coming from, but a lot of times it either didn’t bother me or I just loved the feeling from the book so much more.

      I agree that I’m not likely to state my dissenting opinion if I don’t know the blogger well enough for those same reasons. I don’t want to be seen as mean or anything!

  8. Christine @ Oh, Chrys!

    I cannot stand seeing didactic, condescending posts telling people how to blog. I do not think anything is wrong with saying why you do not do something (ie. I do not tweet negative reviews at authors because so and so), but commanding others not to do it is a different story. Your preferences are your opinion, but they are not to be used in such bossy ways. I can think of a particular blog that is always issuing these “rules” to blogging. Posts like these make this hobby daunting – people end up suppressing their individuality for the sake of pleasing others.

    AMEN to this post.
    Christine @ Oh, Chrys! recently posted…A to Z Bookish SurveyMy Profile

  9. La Coccinelle

    What irks me is when people suggest I re-read a book that I didn’t like, as if I’ve somehow read it “wrong” the first time.

    I don’t think some people have learned that we’re all entitled to our own opinions… not just those of us who give five-star reviews.
    La Coccinelle recently posted…Review – The Sweet Dead LifeMy Profile

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