Break glass in case of trolling

This is page is a tool for those who have experienced some kind of trolling in regards to their book reviews.  It contains information on what to do and not do, what you can expect and how to get help.  Stephanie and I have a long history of dealing with both trolls and harassment on both our own reviews and on our friend’s behalf.  We have seen almost every type of review trolling and know firsthand what it’s like to experience this kind of bullying.

What is trolling?

Trolling in the book review community is not always synonymous with the term in a general context.  In general, what members of the book community often refer to as trolling is often just flaming.

Trolling refers to deliberately targeting someone for fun by starting an argument with them, pranking them, tricking them into clicking inappropriate links etc.  However the term is used widely on Goodreads, Amazon and other reviewing locations for people who post inflammatory remarks on reviews with the intention of censuring them and bullying them into removing or altering the content of the review.

Why do people troll?

People troll for a number of reasons.  For starters, books are an emotive topic.  For some people it is difficult to have their favorite book reviewed negatively.  The criticism makes them angry and they don’t feel people should be allowed to criticize something they love so dearly.  Maybe they don’t believe in posting negative reviews at all, or are attacking on the author’s behalf.   Perhaps it even is the author, because they often find strong negative criticism difficult to take when it comes to something they’ve worked very hard on.  Other times people are simply bored and beginning an argument or being deliberately cruel to a random stranger is something they enjoy doing.

In what way can someone be trolled or flamed?

There are several different methods and all of them are wrong.  The most obvious is comments being posted on your review verbally attacking both yourself or your review.  Emails or private messages from authors or people attacking your review is also inappropriate.  If you are on Amazon, your review may be the target of an organized effort to downvote that review.  People do this because, with enough downvotes, a review is automatically deleted by Amazon – thus this is an excellent way for author to raise their stats. People can also be trolled by having their reviews tweeted about or blogged by an author in order to encourage their fans to go and attack on their behalf.  If you are experiencing a high quantity of trolls on a particular review, this may be the cause of it.

Should I just not post negative reviews?

How you post your reviews is, and always should be, entirely up to you.  Some people chose not to post any negative reviews.  That is their right and they’re perfectly welcome to do so.  However, only posting three star or more reviews will not guarantee that your review won’t be attacked.  Many three star reviews have been attacked.  Authors have emailed people picking over their four star reviews and Kat Kennedy has had a five star review attacked as well.  No review, whether positive or negative should be attacked, flamed or trolled.

What can I do if I’m being attacked?

There are several resources on this blog for those under attack.  Check out our survival guide and read our articles on negative reviews.  The important thing is to stay calm and remember that, no matter what is said, it’s not about you.  Read our resources here, stay calm and try to remember that you are not defenseless and you are not alone.