A friend recently sent me a link to the petition on change.org for Amazon to start requiring full disclosure of identity from reviewers. I read through the site, then did some searching of my own. I’m a little shocked that this is happening.
Have I gotten bad reviews? Sure. Have I been trashed on a few forums? Yep. I have not, however, been so abused that I feel the need to expose the identity of everyone submitting a review to Amazon. Truth is, reviews are for readers. While I might read mine, I’d never argue with one. There’s no point. Authors who attack their reviewers look immature and unprofessional. Some might say I am immature and unprofessional, but I don’t want to look that way!
Little story for you: I once got a review that cited my “inability to write a single coherent sentence,” my “disturbing fondness for prepositions,” and the “excruciating pain of finishing” my book. What was my reaction? Well, between you and me, it looked a little like this:
Publicly, however, I kept my mouth shut. I am, for the most part, a grown up. I try not to whine…overly…in front of an audience. Responding in any way would have been a mistake.
Authors have to be careful interacting with readers. We’re selling something. It’s never a good idea to alienate a current, former, or future customer. I don’t know what happened that brought this petition about–I’m probably one of the most unobservant people in the world–but I do know that it won’t stop harassment, which occurs against BOTH readers and writers.
Plenty of people are perfectly okay trashing someone else without anonymity. This petition isn’t going to prevent the ugliest of behaviors. It will only discourage those who never had a stake in the game to begin with.