Monday, July 02, 2012

Book Blogger Confessions #11

Book Blogger Confessions is a new meme hosted by All-Consuming Books and For What It's Worth. You can find out all about it here

Every second week there is one topic that has something to do with book-blogging that you can discuss on your blog.

This week's topic is: Blogging controversies. How do you address them? Do you join the Twitter frenzy? Write a post? Stay on the sidelines and hope they go away? 
How do you think we should address plagiarism scandals? Bad author behavior? Negative comments on our blogs?

I know a lot of people pride themselves on staying out of all blogging drama, but I personally don't think it's wrong to join in. I don't post about it on the blog, and I don't tweet about it loads. But I do tweet about it a few times, and I'm not afraid to say where I stand on those issues.

Especially the first two examples are ones I feel strongly about; a blogger plagiarizing is wrong, and an author attacking a blogger for writing a negative review is wrong. And that's why I think it's important to talk about things like that. Excuse my language, but it pisses me off when someone does something like that and suffers no consequences.

No, I'm not saying I'm condoning bullying someone who made a mistake. But I personally do not want to support a plagiarist, or an author who attacked a blogger. And in order to be able to stop supporting that person, I need to find out what that person did. That means I want people to tweet the links and talk about it. And since I know others want to know about it, too, I'll tweet about it as well.

I get that not everyone wants to get involved in stuff like this. But I don't think staying quiet and hoping the drama will go away soon is the way to go. We need to spread what we know about, we need to share links, and we need to openly discuss these issues, because plagiarism and bad author behavior are not okay.

Negative comments on blogs is another example listed in the question, but I kind of don't think it belongs there - it's nowhere near as bad as plagiarism or attacking a blogger for a negative review, in my opinion. To me, negative comments are a more personal issue that I'd deal with privately, unless it's a recurring issue.

How do you deal with blogging drama?


  1. I agree- getting involved in these things is perfectly okay, as long as you are tactful about it.
    The only problem, in my opinion, is knowing the difference between plagiarism and being inspired by someone else's idea. It's such a fine line, and the boundaries can be different for different people; anything other than an obvious cut-and-paste is sort of open to interpretation. Many bloggers have their own features based on memes like IMM and Waiting on Wednesday,
    but that's not considered plagiarism. You can't really give it an exact definition- it just depends on the person and the situation.

    1. Thank you - I'm glad I'm not the only one :) That's a good point, though, and I think that means you have to do your research before tweeting/posting/whatever-ing about a controversial topic. If you read a post that says "so-and-so is a plagiarist!" without much evidence to back it up, I don't think it'd be right to share that. But if there's valid reasoning behind it and you can see that the person really did do something wrong, I don't think it's wrong to let others know what they did.

  2. This is an interesting quandary - because although I agree with you that everyone should voice their opinion, I think there's always that danger, especially with the internet, that as soon as someone specific is named there's such a backlash that takes on a personal perspective that makes it seem like bullying.

    Plagiarism is always wrong. Authors shouldn't attack bloggers. BUT people make mistakes, online and in real life, and if someone has acknowledged what they've done and apologized in a sincere way, I think that should put a stop to absolutely everyone bashing on them. I mean, even in school people plagiarize (and on life-changing important papers and tests that determine what university they'll be accepted at or what grade they'll get) but after detention or suspension and an acknowledgement of what they've done, I think they should be given a chance to atone and learn and become better people. If everyone, teachers/administration/other students, keep bashing them after they've faced the consequences, then they'll never become better people or act in a more honorable way. I think the same applies for book bloggers and authors. Sometimes the backlash (which is magnified online) can lead to opposite results.

    There's a fine line between pointing something out and demanding an apology, and then jumping on the blame bandwagon to the point that no matter what the other person does, they're never given a chance to make amends.

    Another issue that's awful is when readers cheat in giveaways. That's appalling, and I know there was a blogging scandal with that a while ago. It's inexcusable, and it's terrible and should never happen. But how far do you go there? Do bloggers have the right to name the cheater by name? What about privacy laws?

    But I'd like to know what all you wonderful bloggers think about those few unreliable bloggers who never send out prizes - that mostly affects readers, and it's hard for readers to point out this blogger if they're not bloggers themselves. But these bloggers do expect readers to follow the blog, tweet, share etc but then the winners and all giveaway participants are cheated when prizes aren't sent. I think that's dishonorable as well, but very rarely addressed by bloggers themselves and I think it should be addressed.

    Great topic!

    1. I definitely see the danger of something quickly turning into bullying online, and I'm not condoning bullying anyone. But I don't think pointing out what someone did counts as bullying - even though you're right, it could lead to bullying. You just have to watch out to not cross that line yourself, I think, and that's all you can do.

      I sort of agree, but not really. Yes, when people apologize sincerely, they should be forgiven. But everyone needs to decide for themself whether they think the person's apology is sincere, and whether or not they want to forgive and continue to support that person. And in order to judge the situation and make a decision for yourself, you need to know what happened, which leads back to my main point of spreading the news of what happened.

      The giveaway stuff you mentioned is very important, too - I can't believe I forgot to address that in my post! I don't know much about privacy laws, so I'm too afraid to call out a cheater publicly. I just delete their entries. And also, I'm never sure whether a person intentionally cheated - I often first enter saying I followed someone's blog and then go back to follow, and I'm sure there were times where I've forgotten to really follow, even though of course I didn't mean to cheat. Since I'm never sure whether something like that is the case or someone really, intentionally cheated, I think it's right to delete their entries, but I wouldn't want to call anyone out publicly.

      Hosting giveaways and then not sending out the prize is a big problem, too. And I don't think it only affects readers - I'm a blogger, but I enter lots of giveaways, too! Luckily, I've never won a giveaway and then not received the prize, so I haven't had to deal with that. I'm not sure how exactly I would handle it, since you can't know whether the person will still send out the prize, and lots of bloggers take a long time to send stuff out. But I think if you've tried dealing with it privately, contacting the blogger and asking what's up but have gotten no response, it would be okay to call the person out publicly. Making people follow and spread the word about your blog and then not doing what you promised to do in return is wrong, and like with the rest of the wrong stuff, I think people should know about it. You're right, it should definitely be addressed more! To be honest, I'm not sure how someone who doesn't have a blog, and the role that comes with it, would go about doing that. But I still think a reader who is cheated like that should try to spread the word, tell a few bloggers, etc., and it'll come out somehow - stuff like that spreads fast in the bloggy world.

    2. I agree with you it's fine to point something out - it's just that I personally believe that after that's happened (and in the blogging world it tends to snowball, with everyone talking about it and how wrong it was) it's good to give someone the space to make amends. I mean, it's just being understanding. The shame and backlash of being called out is probably punishment enough, but if they try to make things right, then not giving them a second chance I think is very harsh.

      Oh with giveaways I've sent email upon email with no response at all. Which I think makes it obvious the blogger didn't want to cooperate. But then what? They still do giveaways, still get followers and I find it unfair. I know you say to tweet, but if you're not a blogger yourself it's hard to be heard, and lots of blogger-friends of theirs would probably gang up on you.

      This is a really good topic!! Lots of debate:)

    3. You know what it is with giveaway prizes that aren't sent out that really annoys me? It's not the actual prize, it's the principle of the matter. I mean, in the giveaway rules they stress that all entries are verified, but then they don't act honestly themselves. It's just insane!!

      A quick question for you as a blogger, as I wonder what happens with images in blog posts - how is everyone sure those aren't plagiarized? I know it isn't something many people think about, but visual artists and photographers put their heart and soul in their work, and I think that should be recognized and not just used without permission. I don't know how blogging works, or if all images are free, but I think if they're not, the name of the artist should be mentioned.

    4. Yeah, we have to make sure not to take it too far, and to give someone another chance is important, too, if they've apologized in a sincere way. Even though I still think that whether or not you want to forgive is a decision everyone needs to make for themselves.

      Oh, yeah, then I think it's obvious the blogger wasn't planning on sending out a prize, which is just so wrong. It IS unfair, but I'm not sure what you could do about it, either. Maybe post a comment on their new giveaway(s), telling the people who are entering now that this blogger has cheated before? They'd probably delete the comment, though. I don't know what else you could do, to be honest...

      I'm not a 100% percent about how the image stuff works, either. I don't use many images other than book covers, which we're allowed to use without crediting anyone - publishers want us to use those images since they promote their books. Same goes with author pictures and stuff like that, anything an author or publisher provides to promote their books. Anything else, though, I'm not sure about. It's considered common courtesy to give credit to the artist if you use their work, but I don't know whether it's illegal not to. And sometimes, it's hard to even find out who the artist is, if it's just a random picture you found on Google. I'm not sure how that works, so I generally don't use many images like that, only book covers, etc., which I know I'm allowed to use.

      And yes, I love this topic, too! It's great when people agree and disagree in the comments so you can discuss :)

    5. I completely understand how hard it must be for images! It's just something that I've always wondered about (other than book covers, which is obvious good publicity and especially helpful for readers!

      I just saw there's another scandal in the blogging world - apparently librarians are angry at book bloggers for taking too many books at ALA which is really a fair for librarians. I don't really know how books are distributed. What do you think?

    6. Yeah, that's latest blogosphere drama. I've never been to a conference like that, so I'm not completely sure, either. But from what I've heard, every publisher has a booth where they have ARCs of their upcoming titles, and the attendees can just take them. It's considered polite to talk to the publicists about their upcoming titles, but some people just take the books, I guess. The drama was caused mainly by one blogger, who had only been blogging for, like, two months and went to ALA (it's considered common courtesy that only fairly established bloggers go to conferences, only those that have some kind of audience to offer the publishers). She took her sister, who is not involved in the book business, with her, and they got two copies of basically every book in sight. Taking multiple copies of any book is considered rude, if you do so without asking, and them taking two copies of everything even though they live together and could easily share, pissed off a lot of people. (Not to mention that the sister is not a book professional and therefore shouldn't get books from a conference like that at all.) That example caused some librarians to complain that so many bloggers are coming to ALA and taking a lot of ARCs, even though the conference and the books offerend there are technically for librarians. People discussed whether it's right for bloggers to be there at all, etc., etc., and all of it just caused lots of drama between librarians and bloggers. All of this is just from what I've heard, by the way, and I don't know for sure whether all of it is true; this is just what everyone's saying.

      I think the librarians do have a reason to be upset, because going to ALA and getting loads of "free books" just because is wrong. ALA, and the books offered there, should be primarily for librarians - librarians need those books to figure out what books to give to their library members; it's their job. Bloggers, though, want those books for themselves. Not that there's anything wrong with that - it's just wrong if bloggers take so many books that there's not enough left for librarians, who need them much more than us bloggers do. But I don't think it's right to attack bloggers as a whole, since the majority did not act that unprofessionally. (Well, that's what I'm assuming - like I said, I've never been.) I think the people who organize ALA need to find a way to sort of regulate who goes to ALA; I don't think it's right that anyone who started a blog two months ago should be allowed to just go and get hundreds of free books. And they should make admission cost more for bloggers than for librarians, in my opinion.

  3. I agree with you on so many things. I think that it should be discussed among the community when it comes to having a plagirst steal content and nothing happens to them.
    I do think it wrong that cheaters can win prizes too.

  4. I agree that it's ok to jump into drama and say your thoughts- but there's a limit. There's some people that go totally crazy, and make things like hashtags, blog about it, and tweet nonstop about it. A few tweets is perfectly fine, but there's a line that you can't cross. I do agree that the person shouldn't be able to get away with it, but all this drama and whatnot really is unnecessary.

    -Aneeqah @ My Not So Real Life

  5. I don't think the problem is the discussion of blogging problems but the fact that it becomes a big drama and everyone starts piling in with their less than rational thoughts. As someone that has had plenty of things lost in the post, I'd hate for someone to go round saying I was dishonest and not sending out prizes. That should always be dealt with privately and in a mature manner unless you go month's without resolve. If I can't replace the prize and it's gone missing, I'll do my best to send something else out but I'd stop doing giveaways if a name and shame culture started up. I think people generally need to stop and think before they go on a rant that will have consequences!

    1. That's a good point, too - you have to be really careful with sutff like that. And if someone contacted you and you cooperated, saying you sent it but could send something else if the original prize was lost in the mail and stuff like that, then I don't think it'd be right to tell anyone you didn't send out giveaway prizes. But I think if someone really did cheat and wasn't planning on sending out prizes, they wouldn't cooperate like that, and I do think then it'd be okay to go public, after trying multiple times to deal with it privately.

  6. Really great response. I think if we are quiet and never state our opinion then nothing will change. We can't pretend no one is doing these things.
    My only problem is when the frenzy gets so out of control that it basically ends up name calling. I don't think that adds to the conversation at all.
    I do think that if someone is plagiarizing that should definitely be made public if they refused to remedy the situation through private contact.

  7. This was a great discussion. Sometimes I feel bad for stating something and I think I should just keep m mouth shut, which I usually, thank you for saying that it's not wrong to basically have an opinion and to voice it.

  8. I like to be kept informed. I think it's important to know what's happening in the blog-o-sphere, especially as it's somewhere I visit every day. If I feel compelled to comment I will.

  9. This in an interesting question! I usually prefer to stay out of all the drama when I think I don't know all the facts: it's too easy to say something without knowing all that happened and why. In addition to that, I hate when all become a very big drama, with people talking just because they have a mouth.

  10. As for the plagiarizing drama, I voiced my opinion twice in a form of a comment. I didn't tweet nor do a blog post however. I didn't think it was any of my business to bash the person.

    As for authors getting mad for negative reviews, fortunately, I haven't had that happen to me because even though I really dislike a book, if I finish it, I must have liked it enough for me to have some good things to say about it. So I coat the bad stuff with the good stuff and everyone is happy.

  11. Am I the only one who never SAW a book blog drama? Really.

  12. I try to say away from all the drama as much as I can, but I do try to stay updated! And I'm certainly not afraid to say what I think when it comes to plagiarizing: I gave my opinion a couple of times in the comments below. I also referred to it when I changed my showcase.
    I also commented on another blog who tackles the bad behaviour of authors.
    I just don't want all the fuss involve my blog, so I won't post anything about it.

    The only thing that is bugging me, is the fact that there are so called "stop the bullying" people, who are attacking bloggers for their opinions. Throwing their ID's and personal information on the web.. I don't want to see that happen.


Please leave a comment - I love to hear what you think!

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