Embracing Trolls And Bullies

As we all know, cyberbullying is an ongoing problem.  It’s also one that’s not going to go away anytime in the near future.  But one of the things bullies and cyberbullies count on is their victim’s fear of just how far a bully or cyberbully will go before he or she moves on to a new target.

For quite some time, indie authors with publications on Amazon have been concerned about the reviewer policy that’s currently in place.  While it’s true that Amazon has taken on the problem of dishonest paid reviews, there’s more to the dishonest reviews than perhaps meets the eye.

Recently, a negative review was posted to an author’s book where I was the editor.  The problem with the review was two-fold:  First of all, the reviewer had never read the book, and secondly, the reviewer had an axe to grind with me.  I rarely make an issue of someone’s background, but in this case, the reviewer has made one’s background a main issue.  Yes, the reviewer was raised in an upper class white privilege home, and the reviewer included a racist remark that insulted Native American Indians.

Now few people are aware that once someone posts a review to Amazon, this doesn’t carve the review in stone.  In fact, at any point, the reviewer can revise his or her review which opens the door to abuse.

For example, not only did Tom Davis of Lakeland, FL — and formerly Bloomington, IN — go after the aforementioned author’s book, he also went after a book I had written, that he purchased in January 2015.  This was his initial review.

5 Star Review_19 Jan 2015_Thomas O DavisEleven months later (scant days ago), he changed his Amazon handle and revised his review which was radically different from his previous review.

Revised Review_Thomas O Davis aka Ozial HoskinsNeither review is an honest review, although the second review is the least honest of the two.  The first version was posted to curry favor, while the revised version was posted by the reviewer out of anger and spite.  How do I know this?  Because the reviewer followed me on social media and took issue with me when I refused to agree with him that vaccines cause autism, Bill Gates is poisoning all the children of India, all Muslims are terrorists, and a number of other disproven conspiracy theories.

So why is it that I’m not outraged by what “thomas o. davis” aka “Ozial Hoskins” has done?  Because with a little research, I was able to find out what kind of person Tom Davis really is which explains a lot of his behavior.

Read more about Tom Davis, lead guitar for the Fugitives and the Phantom Five by clicking HERE.

When I read that someone “decided to go to college in order to dodge the draft and the Vietnam war,” that tells me a lot about the person.

When I read that “[t]he drummer passed out pressings to radio stations and the record started to get air play around the state and was getting attention. The group freaked out because they were afraid that they would lose their draft status as deferred students with the draft board and decided to pull the record,” that tells me a lot about the person.

When I read that “[t]hey were also afraid to release it for sale since they hadn’t gone through all the legal hoops with the publishing companies and the musician’s union in order to properly release, distribute and sell the 45 in record stores,” that tells me a lot about the person.  (As I understand it, the father of one of the band members was a respected lawyer at the time.)

And when I read that “[i]n 1968 the draft and graduation took the band down. Two Members, Tom Davis and Dick Orvis put the group back together and changed the name to The Mother Bear,” that tells me a lot about the person.

I don’t sweat reviews by insincere people who post dishonest reviews regardless of whether those reviews are positive or negative.  Would you like to know why that might be?

It’s because I know that on Amazon, a reader who considers buying a book — any book, whether it’s mine or another author’s — will click on “LOOK INSIDE” to read the first few pages of the book in question.  Based on what they read, they will decide if this book is something they would like to add to their virtual shopping cart.  It’s no different than what readers do (and have done for generations) in brick-and-mortar stores that sell books.

And I also know that readers are smart enough to know which reviews are honest reviews and which reviews are toxic vendetta reviews.

So for those of you who are against Amazon’s new guidelines that are being put in place (and which still have glitches that need to be ironed out), know that the trust we place in readers is well placed.  After all, readers are our friends and acquaintances, while trolls are just sad people with nothing better to do with their lives than to broadcast how miserable they are.

Wish those people well, send them on their way, and keep them in your thoughts (if you aren’t a religious person) or your prayers (if you are a religious person).  Based on how badly they behave, they could surely use a little kindness from a stranger or two.

And yes, I’m aware that in sharing this, I am leaving myself open to more toxic attacks from this person and possibly his friends.  However, he’s already proven what kind of person he is.  Once that’s known, the strawman arguments, ad hominem attacks, and circular reasoning falls on deaf ears

Elyse Bruce

P.S.  Here’s a link to the book Tom Davis aka thomas o. davis aka Ozial Hoskins reviewed and subsequently revised 11 months later:  LINK.

SUGGESTED READING

AMAZON: A VIRTUAL MARKETPLACE, OR BIG BROTHER?
http://imysantiago.com/2015/07/02/amazon-a-virtual-marketplace-or-big-brother/

AMAZON HAS AN ABSURDLY INCONSISTENT REVIEW POLICY
http://the-digital-reader.com/2015/11/01/amazon-has-an-absurdly-inconsistent-review-policy

AMAZON’S NEW REVIEW POLICY
http://www.readersentertainment.com/blog/2015/amazons-new-review-policy/

AMAZON POLICY UPDATE: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
http://www.sellerlabs.com/blog/amazon-policy-update

AMAZON REJECTS PAID REVIEWS, BUT IGNORES OTHER POTENTIAL ABUSES
http://www.teleread.com/books/amazon-rejects-paid-reviews-but-ignores-other-potential-abuses/

AMAZON REP:  WE WON’T REJECT YOUR REVIEW JUST BECAUSE YOU FOLLOW AN AUTHOR
http://www.teleread.com/books/amazon-rep-we-wont-reject-your-review-just-because-you-follow-an-author/

AMAZON REVIEW POLICY UNDRE FIRE
http://www.ibtimes.com/amazon-review-policy-under-fire-indie-authors-call-change-big-brother-policing-1995058

AMAZON REVIEW SECTION:  BREEDING GROUND FOR TROLLS AND BULLIES?
http://semrys.blogspot.com/2012/12/amazon-review-section-breeding-ground.html

DO WE NEED TO BE ENEMIES?
https://elysebruce.wordpress.com/2015/09/01/do-we-need-to-be-enemies/

FUGITIVES: BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA
http://www.indiana45s.com/2015/09/fugitives-bloomington-indiana/

HERE ARE ALL THE NEW AMAZON BOOK REVIEW POLICIES
http://goodereader.com/blog/e-book-news/here-are-all-the-new-amazon-book-review-policies

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: