Thursday, April 06, 2006

You Kudo Mine, I Kudo Yours

I feel like I have to vent a little more about what happened recently on the Avon Board, primarily because it all started with a simple posting by yours truly.

Sybil has very eloquently depicted the snarkfest that hit the Avon message boards yesterday. I myself am still in a state of utter disbelief (yeah, right) as to why anyone would attack another poster for expressing their own opinions. Message boards are communities in which posters are supposed to feel comfortable asking questions, giving opinions, being themselves. No one ever said the opinions have to be well-liked or conform with the norm. Or did they and I wasn’t informed? I am still new at the message board thing, so anything is possible. I’m learning though…quickly!

Avon Authors is a forum paid for by authors associated with Harper Collins Publishing Company (a.k.a. Avon), in which authors get in touch with fans, inform them of upcoming releases and gain insight into what a reader likes and dislikes.

I started posting on the board a little bit more than a year ago. I enjoyed getting advice from fellow fans on what books to read and what to avoid. It saved me time and money and I appreciated it greatly. Sometimes discussions would ensue on controversial topics, such as what turns you off a romance novel, an author and the like. Each time, at least one poster would come out, appalled that anyone would dare not like a book by one of the avon authors. I’m not surprised when people get defensive about their favorite writers; I am surprised though when these same people lash out and viciously attack other posters.

The post started like any other. A reader wanted to know if anyone could name any books or authors they didn’t like. Ok…ok…maybe the post wasn’t phrased in the most positive of ways. I admit…perhaps it did welcome exclusively negative views, but the posts following this didn’t quite fall under the definition of bashing, in my opinion. Posters gave a few names of books they didn’t care for. I threw in my two cents, mentioned Stephanie Laurens’ PROMISE IN A KISS because of the adultery issue I couldn’t get over and that was that. Or was it? A poster claiming to be the voice of reason came on and condescendingly told everyone to cool it (big big paraphrasing here). I didn’t think anyone was doing anything wrong. No one ON THE BOARD was saying anything derogatory or vulgar. Books were mentioned. Ok…I can see how an author could get offended, but I thought (maybe erroneously) that such discussion was also welcome, if done tactfully. I posted again; stated no one was trying to offend any of the authors; merely wanted to discuss books they didn’t care for and the like. Mayhem soon followed. The poster, apparently a reader of my blog since last July, proceeded to rip me a new one, stating that “that's NOT the sentiment you've been sprouting quite vulgarly, callously, ruthlessly and vociferously about Avon, it's authors and their books for the last 9 months. Your motto is "How Avon Publishing is slowly destroying the romance me in my quest to expose them!" but, I'm not going to tell people the name of your blog, they'll have to figure it out for themselves.” Which begs the question, if said reader was so offended by my alleged vulgarity, why was she reading my blog for 9 months straight?

Her post misrepresented my blog in so many ways; she seemed to almost thrive on “outing” my identity, like some sort of Enron whistleblower, as if I were trying to hide it. The blog is public. I’m not ashamed of my opinions. I write what I feel about books I’ve read. Some are good; others aren’t (and honestly recently I’ve been reading some pretty good ones). Anyone who’s ever read my blog should know by now that, as much as I say I HATE AVON, I spend more money on books by Avon authors than most people I know. Obviously, people with a sense of humor would see the humor in that and just chuckle. I know I do.

Poster continued with “Grumpy (that’s me on Avon Board) also says "These are only books, after all...not life or death situations that we can't get out of…" Just who are you trying to convince with this statement ~ YOURSELF? Anyone who reads your blog for 5 min. can figure out you have a Lisa Kleypas fixation and are sadly in need of a reality check!!!"

I found it very interesting that someone who called my blogging callous and ruthless would then proceed to fling poison at me (pot calling kettle black?). The comments above hurt my feelings (that time of the moment, you know…very sensitive lately) and shocked me because I didn’t do anything to deserve them, expect state my opinion. What amused me though was that the poster, with a couple of words, (LISA KLEYPAS FIXATION) managed to insult pretty much everyone on the board (don’t we all have a favorite writer? Aren’t we all fixated on romance novels?).

Am I in need of a reality check? I don’t think so…I think I’ve received enough in the last few years to keep me sitting still for a while.

My blog is my own, a venting tool and a way to connect with fellow romance lovers in the world. I’m not going to apologize for anything I’m said in it. I won’t like every single romance novel and, if I don’t, I’ll tell you so.

I want to say more…vent a little more, but it’s a done issue. Why am I telling you all this? Again I NEED TO VENT SOME MORE (been doing it a lot), want to understand what the hell happened the other day, and, since the poster made it SO DIFFICULT (sarcasm) to find my blog, I want Avon message board posters to hear my side and get the truth (not the distorted BS the poster was spewing) about my blog. Also, I want to express other frustrations…

What happened after the fiasco? The event forced the site administrators to set guidelines for posting. Initially, it sounded like negative comments were not acceptable because the site was created to promote, not diss, authors. Now they’re saying, negative reviews can be posted but only if they don’t encourage negativity and author bashing. What defines bashing? That’s another issue altogether…Ok…

Honestly, no matter what they say, the Avon Board will no longer be a place where readers, fans, posters go to express their true and honest feelings about a book they’ve read. No post will reflect an honest review of a novel. Be prepared for the big kudo party. If you’re not willing to bring in kudos only, then be prepared to have 1) your posts maliciously attacked eventually by a holier than thou poster or 2) the post immediately deleted by the site administrator, if it ignites another poster’s ire.

They can say whatever they want on that board, that no one is saying that negative reviews aren’t welcome, that they merely have to be phrased in a way that doesn’t invite negativity or bashing…whatever. Say what you will…no one is going to feel comfortable saying anything that remotely sounds like a set down. I myself will only go to check on excerpts, new releases and to occasionally ask an author questions. I don’t mind giving an author a kudo. I do plenty of it on my blog and when I post. I will continue to do it, but I’m not fooling myself. If I want to comment on something that bothered me about an author’s book, I’ll think not twice but five times the next time.

The Avon board is not what it used to be. A board in which adults cannot have free discussion about books read is just plain sad. Welcome to the RA RA RA board!


Isabel said...

I used to post on one of the simon says boards (no not the judith mcnaught one) and people just took things way too seriously. It wasn't fun anymore. I found my self double checking my post to make sure it wouldn't offend anyone. sigh.

Dylan said...


This is why I steer clear of those stupid boards, I mean they take something so small and blow it the hell up and get all high and mighty about the stupidest thing! I think home girl is a straight up dumb ass!

I think your blog is pretty awesome and to hell what anyone else says!

Holly said...

Here's the thing:

Every single person on the face of the Earth is different, so of course not everyone is going to agree on everything all the time. It's only natural that you're going read a book and not love every aspect of it. Have you seen our blog? We do our fair share of bashing over there, and we do it without offending each other. Imagine that. If the four of us (Me, Isabel, Dylan and Grace), who are very different, can disagree about a book and not end up defaming each other for it, any one can, right?

I used to post on several boards, but I got so fed up with walking on egg shells all the time I gave it up. I think there are just too many drama whores out there. It's too bad, but that's just the way it is.

It does depress me a little that one negative person carries more weight than ten positive people. Because just ONE person had a problem with something you said and decided to make it personal, now everyone is suffering for it.

Feel free to vent whenever you want, sweetie! We feel your pain!

sybil said...

well you know how I feel about the whole thing...

And I do think they have the right to set rules on their board. If you decide tomorrow to only blog about books with heroes with hooks for hands you can cuz tis yours.

BUT I still have a beef for wanting to say this something is for promotion but calling it a discussion board, and repeatedly saying well as long as you discuss things in the mannor we want you can.

And neg is only allowed if not asked for? whatever is clever... not my board so they can knock each other out.

Mailyn said...

Let's see, over the last 10 years I've been in forums and boards about anything from tv shows to politics. So far I've yet to come across the one place where everything stays civilized and open minded.

It usually starts with one moron and then the board goes down the drain, quickly. So I move on to another board or forum that's less filled with childish behavior. Until that places becomes the same.

I've honestly losct count on just how many places I've posted throughout the years. Sometimes I'll go back to one after a long time and I'm not surpised to see that things aren't the way they used to be.

Although I am annoyed by that Avon fiasco I'm not the least bit surprised. I've seen it happen so many times I think I'll die of shock if I ever come across a place that doesn't go through this sort of thing.

Sad but true, the world seems to be filled less and less with intelligent adults.


Avid Reader said...

I don't care to post to message boards or share my opinion or leave them on message boards anymore. TOO much B.S. I will always love talking to readers who like to read books and can avoid those who are rabid fans of authors out to strike anybody down who doesn't agree with them.

You can trash all of my favorites and I could care less. I respect reader's opinions and love to get other perspectives. It's called a discussion.

After reading your blog, it made me further realize that posting on message boards and forums and sharing any opinion outside that of books I read and enjoy (or not) is not worth the time. I'll stick all of that stuff on my own blog.

romancelover said...

Thanks for the support. I'm pretty turned off Avon right now.

sybil said...


But babe... it isn't avon. It is that site. And really I doubt it came from the authors. But if you want to blame someone, it would be those authors for 'allowing' the site admin to do it.

But really at the end of the day, does it reflect on the books at all?

Tara Marie said...

What a sad state of affairs. It's the main reason I lurk on boards rather than post.

That board in particular is real fangirl based, worth reading for entertainment value, but not much else these days.

McVane said...

You can trash all of my favorites and I could care less. I respect reader's opinions and love to get other perspectives. It's called a discussion.

That's my view, too.

Which begs the question, if said reader was so offended by my alleged vulgarity, why was she reading my blog for 9 months straight?

Ooh, isn't that how it usually goes in real life and online? There is one person who cannot stand me yet she lurks at my blog almost every day.

Still, I'm sorry that you had to deal with all that crap. I think many of us have been there. I have been involved with a few flame wars until I realised that sometimes it's best to say 'Sod it' and walk away. Anyhow, please do consider it a baptism of fire and wear your well-chargilled flamesuit with pride. :)

Suisan said...

May I just chime in here to add that the craziest fight I ever saw on a message board was on one dedicated to guinea pigs?

People were threatening to call in the humane society and report other posters. It puts a certain perspective on the fangirl tirades. I'm sorry you got involved in one. And I agree with Maili--wear your flamesuit with pride, girl.

sybil said...

hmmm what were they doing with the guinea pigs suisan?


Mailyn said...

Aww man, let's leave the poor guinea pigs outta this. :(

I did get into a fight with an ass once because he thought it was fun to torture dogs. Asswipe.

But yeah, there are bound to be stupid people everywhere. LOL. :)

romancelover said...

Guinea pigs? Gosh, that's just crazy!!!

Dylan said...

Goodness, guinea pigs?

Mailyn said...

hey girl where are you hiding?!?!? come back! lol