After seeing some of the… responses to this opinion piece on ARC Piracy and Blogger Behavior, I would like to clear up a few things. It seems a lot of what we were trying to say has been misunderstood/misinterpreted by a large number of people. It led to comments and actions that weren’t ideal from both parties. Here we are trying to clarify our parts and make up for some of our actions that really could have been delivered better.
Firstly, there’s a few things I wish to apologize for.
-I apologize if I have offended anyone. That was not my intention with my post and I’m very sorry that it elicited such a response in some.
-I apologize for making it appear that this post was about just one case. It was not. It was intended as a general observation on the more negative aspects of blogger behavior. A few of the comments I read in that case inspired the post, mostly because I had seen similar responses in other situations too often before (in things like plagiarism, authors behaving badly, etc). And these are the public responses on social media and the like that I’m referring to, not the private ones (I can’t see the private conversations so how could I possible comment on them?)
-I apologize for not having more examples, which only made it seem more like I was talking about a specific event (which I was not). Specifically naming events was something I wanted to avoid but, as some commenters said, my vagueness ended up being more of a hindrance than anything else.
-I apologize for not being as informed as the situation as I could have been. I assumed I would be clear enough in my explanation that people would realize it was targeted more at a general level. It was why I specifically said I had only seen a few pieces, and those parts were the public ones. My admittance was supposed to imply that I was not an expert, I might have been wrong about some aspects, my word was not to be taken as gospel on that particular incidence. Obviously I was not as clear as I thought I was. I’m sorry for not being more clear.
-I apologize for posting on a weekend when I had no internet and then had an exam to study for. I left Alise to deal with the fall out and wasn’t around to explain my thoughts. And it was my fault it posted when it did, instead of scheduling it for a better time.
There are also some things I will not apologize for, because I do not believe they are wrong.
-I do not apologize for making the post. It contains things I think needed to be said. I may not have presented the points in the best way, but still. I had to say them.
-I do not apologize for voicing my opinion. Even after all that’s come from the original post, I still stand by it. Blogger behavior in response to unfavourable situations needs to change. It’s an opinion I might stand by even more now that I’ve been on the receiving end. And this is the behavior on social media I’m talking about. The tweets, the book likes comments. Some comments that were made in a public forum, about the post and us, were extremely derogatory. This was the point we were trying to make. Someone said this is all like gossiping in public while the person is walking right past you and I can not agree more.
-I do not apologize for refusing to bow down and retract my statement. I still stand by my overall opinion. The things I’ve seen these past few weeks have only solidified it. Other opinions about specific situations might have been ill informed and my thoughts on those have changed slightly in the light of new information. But overall my stance is still the same. Blogging behaviour in some situations really could be improved.
I try to live my life to best I can, be the best person I am able to be, even with all my faults. This includes standing up for what I believe in, and as a general rule: treating other people with respect, no matter what they have done in the past. That is what I was taught, and that is a lesson I will go to my grave following. I had to learn it the hard way because of this awful thing we all have to go through called High School, and even parts of college right now. It is because of this belief that my loyalty to the original post remains, but there are things that need to be addressed.
It was not my intention at all to call specific people out-the exact thing I was trying to stop (public bashing) but to honestly link to their comments. Fingers were not pointed at them, I did not say they were the offenders at all. Most of them I have known for awhile through blogging, talked to them about books, etc and know they are truly nice people. I value them not only as bloggers, but as people. So to those who felt targeted because you were mentioned,my absolute sincerest apologies. This update is for you. None of this was directed towards you. It resulted in a misunderstanding because of poor word choice on my part and people were left to interpret the rest on their own.
This post was not directed to anyone that kept the issue private-we didn’t even know about you guys. The only reason we even used this example was because it was current and that’s what was all over twitter when I was just trying to look at my friend’s updates on what they were reading, thus prompting the post. Even if people think their negative comments are justified, there really is only so far you can go before it becomes too much.
For the sake of this, no one will be mentioned but if you want the piracy story via screenshots, asking around is probably the best option. There are also people in the comments that can give them to you. No more will be said about this particular issue.
Bullying was actually never mentioned by us until it was said in the comments and we went with it for lack of a better term. I don’t like to throw around the word either, but at that point I will admit I was more than mad and hot headed because it seemed like the focus wasn’t on the main part of the post and not thinking about my word choice clearly. Yeah, my comment replies should have been more civil, I apologize for that. I wasn’t thinking clearly, and it was my mistake to reply emotionally charged.
By all means, stand up for what you believe in. By all means, comment if you see someone doing something wrong. That’s precisely what we were trying to do here as well. However, there is a delicate line between trying to educate the person and telling them you are fed up with their behavior rather than berating them for doing “stupid” things. We’ve made mistakes and admitted it and apologized for it, but like Bec mentioned above, the public bashing-the original point of the post-ran rampant, and has affected us in more ways than one.
We do not blog to please people. No one should have to feel like they have to in fear of people lashing out at them. We will, however, clarify and apologize if people have been offended by certain things that were misunderstood because of imprecise facts and poor word choice. If you are offended by opinions, that is nature, and we can’t do anything about that.
I do not even like to look at the original post. It makes me embarrassed at the way I handled the situation and embarrassed for letting my emotions get way out of control, but not for posting about the overall message which is:
You never know what someone else is going through.
*This post was added as an edit to the original post so as to not draw more attention to any involved paries. It is here if you are interested in the issue and so regular readers do not have to be dragged into the issue if they are indifferent towards it. For those of you who still wish to communicate about the issue, please feel to comment below or private message/DM us. Lastly, thank you to the people who have looked over this post and will remain anonymous no matter the circumstances.
The original post is in this spoiler tag: View Spoiler »
A note from Alise:
Everyone hold your horses here. When Bec came to me last night on Skype and asked permission to write this post, I gave it to her. I am more of the silent type, an observer, in situations like these, and even though I was mad, I never vocalized it but thought someone should. Bec is doing what she has every right to-and that is standing up for what she believes in and that is treating people with respect. I woke up to Debby’s, Rashika’s, Faye’s, and Ellis’s comments, and was kind of shocked at the response mainly because… aren’t we all on the same side here? This post isn’t really even about the Offended Review or her story, guys! This is about Blogger Behavior and I’m afraid I have to wholeheartendly agree with everything Bec said about the way this was handled.
As for some of saying we are twisting the story or not talking about all the facts? I am this girl’s Goodreads Friend. I have seen every status update she made about this issue, every comment she wrote defending herself, and every single thing everyone has said to her unless it has been deleted before I saw it but since I too have been following this from day one and saw the original comments, yeah, I think I have a right to say all of this. And for those of you saying you have a right to call her out or bash her because you were personally involved?? This girl was my friend. We talked about books countless times and you don’t think I felt betrayed when I saw what she was doing? My first instinct was to defend her because she claimed ignorance. People educated her, not bashed her, and THAT was the right way to go about this situation. When I saw her say “I knew it was illegal,” I raged! But you know what? I didn’t once lash out at her, I talked about it in real life to my friends or in private messages because going public with all this bashing is wrong in the first place. And we never once said this girl was a blogger, but a Goodreads user so I’m not sure where you are getting that from. And no, there was no open threthening, throat slitting, or other type of violence, but passive aggressive comments that still have the ability to hurt people, even people who are not directly. involved.
And the confusion about the Amazon lending library? That is completely legal, I don’t know where you guys thought we said it was not. It is sharing e copies through means like email or message that we are saying is wrong.
Bottom line, WE AREN’T TELLING THE STORY OF THIS GIRL. We are saying how how bloggers We are telling the story of how some bloggers lashed out and dealt with this situation wrongly. We are telling the story of how you should always be aware that there are other people out there in the universe with feelings. Do you really want a new blogger or casual reader to see this behavior when they are coming into the blogging community? Countless tweets and comments saying how stupid this girl was or just bashing her in general? I’ve seen it, I’ve seen in with my own eyes. Some of these comments towards her are inappropriate, even considering her actions. Telling her how stupid she is or how ignorant or going off on her because she knew it was illegal isn’t the right thing to do! You aren’t going to change her, she’s obviously dead set in illegally obtaining books. Nothing you say will make her stop and it’s just going to escalate the sitation even more.
Does parts of Bec’s post probably need to be updated? Probably. But I’m sure as hell not going to change it. She has a right to say all that with the information she has. She seems people lashing out, and she calls them on it. And I respect every second of it.
We are not your enemies here!
I’m probably beating a dead horse here, but there’s been a recent incident in the blogosphere I feel I have to address. And it’s not going to be in a positive light.
Most of the bloggers reading this have probably heard of some recent controversy concerning a Goodreads user and the manner in which they tried to obtain ARCs. Now I’m not going to mention any names in this post, you probably already know who’s involved or at least have a suspicion. And I think this person in the wrong has had enough negative attention to last a lifetime (it has led to the potential deletion of their Good reads about)
What I want to talk about here is how I am disappointed in blogger behaviour... And not just the behaviour the offending reviewer who asked someone to share eARCS. The book blogging community’s response to the situation, what I’ve seen of it, has been rather despicable too and I think it needs adressing.
So this post has two main parts: a rant about the purpose of ARCs and why what the offending reviewer was WRONG , and a rant on the despicable behaviour of some of those who responded, because I really think the situation could have been handled better.
Piracy & ARCs– It’s more than “free” books
If you didn’t know already, what Offending Reviewer had done was ask another reviewer if they’d send her a copy of a very sought after ARC. If it was a physical copy, this wouldn’t be so much of a problem. Those can’t be duplicated thousands of times and uploaded onto sites for cheap bastards to download because they’re too lazy to go the library or wait for the official release…
But it wasn’t a physical ARC. This ARC was from Netgalley or Edelweiss. What Offending Reviewer had asked someone to do was commit piracy. An act that is very very much illegal.
You might be sitting there going, “but sharing books isn’t bad? It’s what libraries do…”
There is a big difference between piracy and libraries, and I’m not going to go into it because other people already have. For one thing, the ebook from the library is borrowed and expires after a set amount of time. Pirated books also have a detrimental effect on authors, publishers, a lot of the book community… If you want to read more I recommend Rachel Vincent’s post (from 2012) on how to identify if you’re downloading pirated ebooks (though seriously, it’s not that hard to figure out) and Ally Carter’s post (from 2009) which addresses what piracy is and how it hurts the bookish community.
NOW, to the issue at hand. At first, I didn’t really care about this whole debacle. The Offending Reviewer was claiming to be ignorant of what piracy was, and I thought well, as long as she (and others) have learnt and it doesn’t happen again then that’s a decent outcome. I am not condoning what she did, just saying that ignorance had some part to play in reasons… Well, I was until I read this:
She knew it was illegal. SHE KNEW IT WAS ILLEGAL BUT WENT AHEAD AND DID IT ANYWAY. And, if what she said in another comment was true, she’s asked for pirated ARCs multiple times. And people have given them to her
I’ve already tell you how wrong this is in terms of piracy, but now I have a little something to say about ARCs…
RUNNING A BOOK BLOG/REVIEWING BOOKS DOESN’T ENTITLE YOU TO ARCS
RUNNING A BOOK BLOG/REVIEWING BOOKS DOESN’T ENTITLE YOU TO ARCS
RUNNING A BOOK BLOG/REVIEWING BOOKS DOESN’T ENTITLE YOU TO ARCS
ARCs. Advanced Reader Copies. There’s a reason these things aren’t given out willy nilly to every man and his dog. Publishers select bloggers and reviewers carefully (some are more strict than others) to read these ARCs and spread buzz about the book. Bloggers work hard for the privilege of ARCs. By going and asking someone for it, you’re basically cheating. There are so many other people, all more patient and more deserving of it than Offending Reviewer, who would love the opportunity to read the same ARC. But they wait, and get the physical/bought ebook copy when it’s out, and support the author. You know, the legal way.
There’s also a preconception that ARCs are required to be successful. I call bull. You don’t need them at all. In fact, to get to the stage where you are “successful” enough to be approved for ARCs you need to review already published books. Until then you will be rejected heaps, doubt yourself a lot, dream of getting your hands on books that are high on everyone’s wishlists, but you don’t try an obtain it in underhand ways. There’s no reason you can’t keep doing that, most people do. I myself still predominately review books I own. (Mostly cause I am still scared to even request them but still).
Not having an ARC isn’t the end of the world. Be patient and wait like everyone else (you know there are people who don’t even know ARCs exist?! It doesn’t bother them that they don’t have a copy. Why should it bother you?
Book Blogging–Not all sunshine & rainbows
UPDATE: As comments come in, it becomes apparent that I haven’t explained some things as well as I could have. First and foremost, this part isn’t about Offending Reviewer’s situation explicitly. Rather, a few of the comments I read (and I didn’t read all of it OR see what got to go on behind the scenes, so it is good to see the situation didn’t start as terribly as I initially thought) reminded me of so many other situations that had happened before, and too often in my books. I’m not even the only one who’s noticed it. As Kezia says below (I have her permission to quote her here)
I am not that surprised about bloggers’ reaction to this ARC incident as I have seen what happened to those who commit plagiarism… And not only to big issues like this, drama has also happened simply because of different opinions
This section is an observation about blogger behaviour overall, how it is not amazing and really could be better. It is not written with intention of attacking any individual or group of people. It’s meant to generate thought about how they way we treat people isn’t ideal.
The book blogging community prides itself on being welcoming, supportive, and nice. Then something like this happens and
Rainbows and sunshine is thrown out the window as soon as a blogger steps over the line. It doesn’t even have to be a big wrong doing, it seems bloggers are waiting for the tiniest misstep to launch themselves at another’s throat. Then the claws come out, the warships are readied, and battles are picked. It’s really quite bitchy at times.
Don’t get me wrong, for the most part it is a lovely community and I do enjoy being part of it. But it can turn so very quickly into something that is frankly despicable. The way people share controversies on social media, not even blanking out names, calling others to the battle front to come and heckle a stranger they don’t know… It just seems wrong.
Especially when the issue gains popularity (because we all love to sit down with some popcorn and watch it play out) and I go to investigate only to find big, popular bloggers leading the charge. These are bloggers that so many people look up to, aspire to be in a while. Even me. I can’t tell you how disappointed I was to see that some of them were just being plain rude and horrible people, their comments completely uncalled for. Bashing and ripping the person in the wrong to shreds… I don’t want to be that person, one who belittles myself to horrible tactics just to push a lesson into someone.
Now, I have to clear up I haven’t read all the replies & comments involved in this Offending Reviewer situation, but the few I have… I agree with what they say, but the manner in which they are delivered makes me feel ashamed.
The rudest and most terrible responses came once it was revealed that Offending Reviewer wasn’t as innocent as they first appeared. That is no excuse for terrible behaviour however. Just as ignorance is not an excuse for piracy.
Yes, we are entitled to call people out when they do something wrong. Yes sometimes what others do is terrible and offensive and wrong. But that doesn’t mean we go blow up the situation into something it doesn’t have to be, sharing it on social media to call in the cavalry, lowering yourselves to low levels with no care for the offender’s privacy and feelings. You don’t lower yourselves to despicable levels, just to prove a point.
We live in a world where mental illness is a pandemic. You don’t know if the person sitting behind the screen has depression, is suicidal, is in an unhealthy environment they can’t escape from. You don’t know their age, their history, anything about them beyond the pixels that spell their name. YOU NEED TO CONSIDER ALL THE POSSIBLE EFFECTS OF YOUR WORDS.
There are so many other ways to resolve issues. Nicer ways that don’t involve hundreds of people and bashing and hurt feelings. You can quietly contact the person, keep the issue low, try and resolve it one on one first. Educate them. Tell them why it’s wrong, explain the proper way something is done. If they refuse to listen and are unnecessarily rude and difficult, if they know they are doing something illegal or morally wrong, that’s when you change tactics and go for something more severe. But you don’t start there.
What Offending Reviewer has done is very wrong and illegal. But the book blogging community’s response was just as despicable.. And it’s not the first time such a response has been seen. We are community that wraps ourselves in so many words. Why can’t we find the nicer, more pleasant ones to resolve our problems? Seriously, we need to grow up sometimes.
You know what’s also sad? The fact that I feel I need to add this disclaimer: This is my opinion on the whole situation (or what I know of it). I am entitled to my opinion, you are entitled to yours. If you disagree, fine, but don’t attack me for it.
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