Removing anonymity isn’t the answer for negative reviews
March 8, 2014 | 4:07 pm
Chris Meadows wrote about Anne Rice and other authors signing a petition asking Amazon to do take care of forum trolls. There are people who want Amazon reviewers to write under their real full name when giving reviews. News sites have transitioned to do this in comments sections, making people sign up with Facebook to leave comments. But that hasn’t stopped people from being rude or nasty.
As I was lurking through the Amazon forums, I came upon a thread where reviewers discussed why they didn’t like the idea of taking away their anonymity. The reasons ranged from keeping their interests private from would-be Google searchers such as employers to not allowing the few to ruin everything for the rest. Another interesting point was brought up when some asked why authors were allowed to use pseudonyms but the reviewers would have to leave their full information.
There were also those that were concerned that a negative review with a real name could create a bigger problem from authors “fans” who bash negative reviewers. For now, those negative reactions to one- and two-star reviews stay online. But could they be taken offline if real names are used?
A negative review isn’t enough to out people’s names, but Amazon, which already has all the information on a person at its disposal, should handle abuse.
One of the forum members pointed out recent attacks on people who left negative reviews. A book “Crashed” came out a few days ago and already has 1,200 reviews with 1,151 (at the time I checked) of them five-star reviews. There were just seven one- and two-star reviews and those negative reviews were bashed by other Amazon accounts.
Here are examples of comments left to one-star reviewers:
You’re definitely reading the wrong genre. Do you see how many 5 star reviews that this books has? That should be a clue to you. Maybe you should stick with children’s books, I only know of children who use the word “yuck”.
The rest of your review has about has much substance as your first sentence… so I am sure anything else you’d have to say is equally as useless.
Judging by your other reviews I’m not totally sure why you read at all? Wouldn’t you be better off watching Nickelodean? You could sing along and dance and smile to your hearts content!
You obviously do not know a good story when it slaps you in the face..
Those weren’t all the comments; Amazon or the author deleted many of them. It’s nice to have people who are passionate about your work, but if I were an author whose fans acted that way, I would be embarrassed. People have a right to their opinion, and negative reviews are just part of what happens when you put something subjective – like a book – out for public consumption.
Rather than putting public names on these reviews, Amazon should take a harder stance on those whose comments are not constructive but belittling or rude. If 98 percent of the people like a book (that was the percentage given on Goodreads for Crashed) that should be more than enough for the fans. Instead of calling out those who didn’t care for the book, spend your time talking to people who did. You will greater enjoyment out of it that way.