Do you think Amazon.com should ban anonymous commenting/reviewing?
Friday, March 7, 2014 |
Author Anne Rice is one of nearly 3,000 people who have signed an online petition calling on Amazon to do more to prevent bullying in comments.
The Change.org petition urges Amazon.com to protect users and authors from "bullying and harassment." It asks the company to remove anonymity and require identity verification before commenters can participate in forums.
Todd Barselow, who started the petition, wrote that Amazon's lack of oversight for product reviewing, especially book reviewing, and forum participation allows for "an incredible amount of bullying and harassment."
Nearly 3,000 people have signed the petition so far and Anne Rice, perhaps best known for her novel Interview with the Vampire, is one of several authors who have added their name to the cause.
"My experience with the gangster bullies in the forum has been very bleak and ugly," shared Rice on the petition site, saying she posts in the forums under her own name. "They blatantly violate your guidelines with personal insults and harassing posts."
Rice calls on Amazon to enforce its guidelines, which she says would help greatly. "I feel a lot of these people are obsessive abusers who have found some sort of dark home on Amazon tormenting writers."
Rice, who admits having personal online encounters with so-called trolls, has spoken out about the problem prior to signing the petition.
She has been standing up to the online bullies in the forums by calling them out. Her posts have been chronicled on the blog Stop the Goodreads bullies (STGRB).
For example, on an Amazon forum entitled "Giving away your book for free reviews and not receiving the reviews?" Rice calls out a commenter.
"Yes, you are being rude again. And you're speaking with authority to another adult (presumably) in a manner that suggests you're quite sure of your superiority to that other adult," she writes.
In the same forum, she writes that in some Amazon forums it is "open season" on authors with people being "unbelievably rude and condescending."
Since Rice has signed her name to the petition, Barselow has stepped up the campaign. He has created an email address authors can use to send him screenshots of abusive reviews and/or abusive, threatening comments. He asks people include permanent links to the questionable material. He says he will present the evidence to Amazon.