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Tuesday, 29 March 2011

It aint heavy, it's my pitchfork

Between catastrophic computer failure and an almighty dose of the flu (I currently look, sound and feel like I've been ambushed by a snot troll) I never got to my weekly round-up. Hopefully get that sorted at some point this week, when my brain no longer feels like it was bent, folded, spindled and mutilated.
In between whimpering gently into a tissue and sleeping, all I had the energy for this week was a scroll through twitter. If you follow any of the writers forums out there, you know that an author had a meltdown of note on Big Al's Books and Pals.

The scariest thing was not watching someone destroy a career (over a fairly ok review). It wasn't even the backlash of comments on that blog and others, which was only to be expected.
It was the number of people who decided to go onto sites like Amazon and trash her on a personal level because of her comments. Without reading the book.

The viciousness is terrifying. One of the comments went something along the lines of "Howett has to be publically punished and ridiculed for her actions." Seriously? You've never done anything stupid and/or vicious in public or on a forum? Oh, no, wait - that post you just wrote....

Leaving aside the fact that the author has no doubt booked a 6 month ticket to Antarctica (or somewhere else with no internet connection), what gives any one of us the right to decide this? It's not like the woman recommending raping a puppy, people.

She channelled her inner Sith Lord for a few ill-chosen words. I'm not defending what she did; bloggers work damn hard for no compensation, and frankly, you send your book out and hope to hell they like it. And if they find a problem, you try to fix it.
 (If Scott from Indie Book Blogger hadn't kindly let me know about some of my formatting issues, WolfSong would still be trundling along on the first edition. And I'm still cringing over that.)

We just don't know why she re-acted this way. I doubt it was purely the review. But if this author was already stressed out enough to imitate Darth Vader with spelling issues, how is bullying her on Amazon or facebook or wherever you like going to help? And what makes you any different to the neighbourhood bully who beats the crap out of the kid with the stutter?

I'm not sure what is a sadder indication of the human condition - the fact that people find it acceptable to hunt others down on the net to abuse them (the little girl who recorded Friday will probably need therapy at some point) or fact that people want to hunt others down on the net to abuse them.

So far that hasn't happened to me (I'm thinking about naming the first troll I get and keeping it as a pet), probably because I'm not exactly high profile or well known. But I can't say I'm looking forward to the day it does happen.

And now, since I've sneezed something like 37 times while writing this post, I'm going to go bath and mainline flu meds.