Why I’m Deleting My Goodreads Account


(Links are provided for Goodreads members, screencaps for those who no longer are or never were)

As you may or may not know, Goodreads recently instituted a change in policy concerning readers’ shelves and reviews (screencap). If they have anything at all to do with author behavior, they’re being deleted without warning. If you want a chance to change it before it gets taken from you? Tough shit, says Goodreads.

REASONS ON GOODREADS’ END:

They never intended to listen to their users in the first place about this policy change. If they were really open to what users had to say, it would not have been announced on a Friday afternoon and left to stew until everyone came back into the office Monday, during which time the issue turned into a maelstrom of angry readers. They would have announced it earlier in the week or waited until next week (which is now this week) if they really wanted to know what we thought of it and planned to take us into account.

They still have no plans to notify users before deleting their shelves and reviews. Kara Erickson, Goodreads Customer Care Director, says it was a mistake to delete them without warning (screencap) and everyone who had a shelf/review that violated the rules before Sept. 21st will be notified so they have a chance to change it before it is deleted. Reading between the lines makes it clear that all who do the same after that date will receive no notification prior to their content’s removal.

They have also yet to send out a message to the larger Goodreads community regarding this change in policy. The only place the policy has been announced by the site itself remains the original thread in the Feedback group.

They continue to ignore most concerns from both readers and authors. As of the time this post went live, the infamous announcement thread has 81 pages, which equates to over 4,000 posts from users on this issue. 4,000! Most of these responses are readers, but authors like Carolyn Crane (screencap), Jill Sorensen (screencap), and others have also expressed their opinions. There’s no counting how many authors spoke out against it on Twitter. I saw at least three, but I can’t remember who all of them are right now.

The only issues they address are minor ones. Issues I have seen addressed instead of the lack of warning, contradictory nature of Goodreads’ statement the site welcomes all manner of discussion while censoring its users with this new policy, and authors outright stating they don’t think this is a good idea either when the policy is clearly meant to court them include the fact someone’s five-star Harry Potter reviews disappeared (screencap 1) (screencap 2). Erickson has even responded to a comment that brings up the deeper consequences of the new policies and she misses the point completely (screencap).

They’re not even deleting shelves on the basis of their names anymore; they’re going off their own judgments based on who is on the shelf. This comment (screencap) includes an email (screencap of email) in which shelves named “icy-hex” and “taa” are deleted due to who is shelved on them. Erickson’s response is thus (screencap). This kind of policy where they’re reading our minds to figure out what the intent of our shelves is protects the BBAs. They know who these people are and how they treat readers, but Goodreads is now protecting them by making it near-impossible for readers on the site to communicate about how an author behaves. There are a lot of people who like to know that sort of stuff.

Their choice of “quote of the day” for September 23, 2013 (aka the Monday after the announcement) made it clear how they feel about users’ concerns and anger. (screencap) If this was scheduled for a long time and had nothing to do with the policy changes, someone lacked the brain cells to consider whether or not it would further inflame already-angry users who were left to stew on it all weekend and change it before it went live.

The policy will make it easier for authors to harass and target readers regardless of what they say about banning authors who do such things. If they really meant it, then why are readers being kept from warning each other of an author who will target them if they dare dislike their book? That was one very important use of the shelves Goodreads is now deleting en masse.

They want to hand reader-users bullshit and call it candy while handing author-users condescension-sweet candy. Take the post announcing the initial changes linked/screencapped above and compare it to what authors see (screencap) (close-up of author’s message) when they go to a negative review of their book now. Two very different tones for two very different groups and it’s clear who they care more about now even though both groups are getting bad deals.

REASONS ON MY END:

I don’t need it. I follow all the bloggers I love on Twitter and their own blogs. Lately, I’ve found more new blogger friends via Twitter than anywhere else, including Goodreads. I can get news of what new books are coming it by following Cover Snark (lots of cover reveals and I can look at more if I get curious), publisher catalogs (which I found 90% of my Winter 2014 want titles through when they came out last month), and simple talk on Twitter. With that kind of extensive network, I don’t need to rely on a site that is going to treat me like shit, especially when there’s a promising new site in the works! (More news on that in the future, hopefully.)

Besides, I have a new set-up of my own design for keeping up with releases between a print list of wanted books I keep updated and take to bookstores, a similar list I keep in a note-taking app for my browser (both are organized by month and then release date in a manner similar to my ARC list), and BookLikes. Goodreads is nice and all, but I know how to adapt.

Goodreads is bad for my mental health. I’ve been on Goodreads since October 2010. Nearly three years. For almost that entire time, I’ve had more followers on Goodreads than I have on my own blog (technically blogs because I’ve undergone a move and two name changes since I joined Goodreads) and this has caused me a lot of frustration and mental anguish. What, I’m good enough for them to follow my reviews but not good enough for them to follow my actual fucking blog for discussion posts and fun and shit? I wished so many times publishers considered my Goodreads numbers when I requested an ARC, but they never did and never do. They look at my blog, which had about 330 followers when I moved. The number of followers on Goodreads then? Over 700

And this is a problem few to none of my blogger friends deal with because their blog followings are so much larger.

IN CONCLUSION:

It will be a joy to be leaving Goodreads and it’s going to save me so much time I would have spent on the site in the future. None of my content was deleted by them, but this was entirely by chance; on a whim, I removed my “will-not-read-due-to-author” shelf on Goodreads mere weeks ago and instead keep a list of Badly Behaving Authors in a note-taking app installed in my browser. I may not have been affected, but I am angry nonetheless because it affects my friends and has robbed me of a site that became an important part of my life over the course of three years.

Fuck you too, Goodreads. Good riddance.

18 thoughts on “Why I’m Deleting My Goodreads Account

  1. I totally understand your reasons for leaving…I probably stick around for a while longer (I still haven’t had the time/energy to set up my blog properly and a lot of great people I met on GR don’t have accounts elsewhere) but I guess I move my reviews to booklikes and just link to them.
    (By the way: what note-taking app? That sounds like what I need…I really don’t want BBA’s books on my shelves but I didn’t find an easier way to keep track)

    • Thanks, Aoife.❤ I use two apps for Firefox that function as notepads: QuickNote and QuickFox. I downloaded QuickFox in order to create a list of what I want by month/release date, but because I didn't understand how it worked, I accidentally deleted it all. Whoops. Oh well! You can have a fuckton of tabs on it for different things. QuickNote is a lot less customizable (it can have a maximum of six tabs), but I've been using it for months to keep track of ARCs I own and need to read, BBAs, when I need to post reviews on Amazon, etc. and I love it. When I deleted my "will-not-read-due-to-author" shelf, QuickNote is where I put all their names so I wouldn't forget them.

  2. I hate to say it, but this is not that surprising, especially after Amazon bought out GR. Consider the tones set on the Amazon forums. There’s so much abuse that goes on over there, it’s disgusting. Still, it’s very sad that a community readers trust has been brought to such a place. Excellent post, sucky reason for it.😦

    • I use Amazon solely to post reviews and buy stuff, so I’m only just now hearing what it’s like on Amazon’s forums. I ain’t got time for that. I tried to hold out hope Goodreads would see how badly they fucked up, but when I thought about it, it was clear they were never going to change their minds.😦 That’s why the reason about when they posted it went first: because it was the #1 indicator I’d have to do this.

  3. Wow, this is one of the best posts about what goodreads has done I have read so far. I wasn’t affected by their policy change either but was so mad about what they have done. They really have ditched the readers when they were supposedly a site for us… I’m still a bit shocked (just a bit) about all of this.

    • Thank you! I’d been working on it om bits and pieces since Monday. Between writing the rough draft, revising it so my usual stumbles over words didn’t happen as often, getting all the links, making screencaps (a few of which I completely forgot to crop to show only the relevant stuff, but fuck it), I had a lot to do, but I’m happy with how it turned out. It’s ridiculous they’re still holding out on a formal announcement to the rest of the site after a full week. What, scared to get trampled by the rightfully-angry masses?

  4. I have these two hats (writer and reader) and both of them feel betrayed by goodreads. I’ve been a “reader” member since 2008 and didn’t add myself as an author until 2011. I’ve always loved goodreads, but their new policy really is bad for readers AND writers.
    For instance, I’m now afraid to review authors in my own YA genre, because I worry that if I put down anything less than a 3 stars the author will flag it and tell goodreads that it’s because I’m a competitor. And since it seems like they favor the author’s side now, whose to say if they will tell me it’s “author related” even if the review is only about the book. I mean, once they start policing like this, there’s really no line. I feel like none of my YA reviews from the past are safe, either.
    It makes me so sad, because I’m not a blogger. I just go on there to talk about what I read and to hang out with other readers. And now my sole place of reader socializing is gone.😦 I don’t really have any friends who are bibliophiles like me around where I live. It was so nice to go on goodreads and feel like I was understood by the other people who went there.

    • *gives the most massive hug ever* I don’t even know what to say, Kate. I want to say something comforting, but I can’t find the words I need. Twitter is always there for us, but it’s not Goodreads and not a good place for in-depth discussions about books.😦 I just don’t know why they can’t see they’re screwing over everyone but the asshole BBAs they formerly stood by our side against but now protect.

      • Yeah, I’ll follow you on Twitter. I never meant to join up, but I kinda got sucked into it by the Buzz Worthy News job. Now, I guess I’ll actually need it to stay in touch with all my friends.😦 *HUGS BACK*

  5. While it is a pity to see you leave GR, I get it, and fully endorse it. I’m in the middle of a move to booklist myself, though I reckon I’ll keep a foot at GR for some of the group games.
    Since the Amazon buy, I’ve been waiting for something like this. It is not good business for them, after all, if a possible sell is discouraged by a negative review.
    As for blog followers, don’t sweat it. Personally, I tended to follow more people on GR than outside because it was easier to manage. A bit like casually meeting everyone at the theater of an age gone by. I do tend to drop by and read a bit on some blogs, though. Just lack accounts to add a number😉

    • But there have been multiple studies that suggest negative buzz still sells books. Even Goodreads admits that in the message it shows authors! They’re bowing to pressure put on them by people who should be ignored. Just… Ugh. Mad all over again. Gotta go eat some ice cream to cool down (kind of literally).

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