Re: Author Bullying

#1
I'm fairly sure this is not a new issue, based on past forum threads, but I wanted to bring up that we [still] have a problem with readers bullying and badgering authors through reviews and comments, to the point that authors are considering or planing on leaving to other sites.

I'm speaking up about it because it was brought to my attention by one author for whom this is their second attempt at posting, having deleted their story for the same reasons back in March of this year.

Aside from deleting comments and flagging comments/users for mod attention, what action can we take to improve the community and QOL? I know most of the readers doing this are likely not forum users and I don't know how many read the announcements put out by the mods on the main page, but the fact that we're losing authors is a poblem

Re: Author Bullying

#2
I would think flagging inappropriate posts and deleting odd comments would be the appropriate response, and the usual response. As this is in consideration of a response to one user's particular experience only,  that's not something I would usually address as an "issue" especially not knowing who the person actually is, or what sort of material they post, and certainly is the kind of problem that would be normally ticketed to the site owner's attention ( obviously)  rather than something to open for forum discussion unless so opened by the site administration as an issue.

With out that,  or without comment from the site op, there is little to be said.  I suppose if the person has, due to the sort of material this considers, alternatives, he/she would certainly be free to pursue them.  I will note I don't see , unlike some other sites, very much of such behavior here. I would suppose any public site to have some problematic issues crop up from time to time, and would expect management to be both active and to some extent, pro-active in dealing with it. That would certainly be the first step to resolve it.

 

Re: Author Bullying

#3
I wouldn't say this is a Royal Roads matter as much as an internet thing. This is a consequence of this site becoming more and more popular, to be honest. It's rather common on any popular platform that allows direct contact between creator and consumer. The same things that occur here also occur in the streaming community and other such platforms. Still, there are steps that can be taken to alleviate this.

For example, if someone is making some toxic, rude comments, delete it. Toxicity spreads. Obviously, this doesn't apply to genuine criticisms. I've actually noticed that some authors who have become really popular don't seem to read most of their comments any longer. Think of that how you will, but I don't know if I blame them.

Re: Author Bullying

#5

CoCop Wrote: I know you can lock comments, but even then you seem to be asking for an anonymous low review.  Honestly? when things get toxic I just stop reading my comments.  My readers can find me in my discord if they want to talk.

Very true. There is very little purpose to anonymity when the intent is to be useful.  However ,making it more than plain that contacting the author by PM  or such is preferred might have to be stressed, or you wouldn't get any at all.

Re: Author Bullying

#6
I am really surprised to hear about this issue, especially when I have seen how efficient the mods are in troll-hunting. 

As most have said, a ticket to the mods is the best course of action one can take. In cases where comments are obviously coming from a troll, as @CoCop said is best to ignore them. But at the end of the day, one needs to do what feels right and is best for their own work and mental health. If it means to look for other safer platforms than this one, so be it. But be prepared. As long as there is a free exchange of thought and enough electricity to power your router, the will always be internet-trolls surfing the web. 

I don't want to diminish anyone's bad experience in any way, and I know that there are some malicious people who love to throw others in the dirt so that they themselves feel better. And yet I wonder how many of the comments/reviews perceived as malicious are really that and not genuine, albite painful, criticism. From a personal perspective, it always hurts like hell to hear that someone finds flaws in my work, does not like the characters, or finds the narrative rushed. In my case, I just bite my teeth, brush off the tears, and look at how the work can be improved. Still, if I was not at a point in my life where I have experienced worse things than someone not liking my fiction, I too would have felt tempted to drown myself in misery and question why I even write. What I want to say is, don't give up, people! As long as you have a dream, go for it. The hurdles will only make the journey to the end goal that much worthier. 

Re: Author Bullying

#7
Mhmm, it’s hard to say what to do without knowing what we’re dealing with in terms of toxicity. As others have said, report to the mods etc.

Ultimately it seems like the problem stems from rudeness, but a lot of that just comes with the territory of posting your work for public consumption. 

Since we’re looking for solutions, one idea may be to promote writers or readers groups. I’m assuming  most of these authors are new ones who get savaged by readers because of the type of content or quality. If they’re interested in posting work, but want a softer or eased in approach, a group for writers or confirmed mannered readers could prove a nice way to share their work with a community without opening themselves to the larger internet critics. 

I figure that group may end up with more writers than willing readers though, so idk if that’d work. 

Re: Author Bullying

#8

KaapstadMK Wrote: Aside from deleting comments and flagging comments/users for mod attention, what action can we take to improve the community and QOL? I know most of the readers doing this are likely not forum users and I don't know how many read the announcements put out by the mods on the main page, but the fact that we're losing authors is a poblem



My bias is very pro-author and anti-reader on this, but realistically there are very few authors who leave solely because of this. I've helped around 2 dozen authors over several years here and only 1 is still posting. Authors, especially those that don't make a profession of it, leave/stop posting/chance accounts at an extreme rate.

Here's the real cost to tolerating crappy readership;

1) You discourage authors. This results in less authors joining, more authors leaving... all of which result in less stories. It also discourages building writing skills. Maybe this isn't the place for that, but I believe that a supportive readership is important to helping develop future writers.

2) It discourages 'better' readers. I jump through the forum once in a while and post in flurries, but I don't bother reading or posting reviews anymore. You could say that I'm disfranchised with the system and users. What you want is a vocal positive readership and silent toxic readership... and I believe that RR has seen some slippage this year. It might just be popularity, or it could be that 2020 is just a sucky year and people feel better by dumping their negative emotions on others.

3) Toxic breeds toxic. I have seen signs of that this year. Terrible, toxic, and inflammatory reviews getting likes, stuff like that. Kind of a social norm that can develop.

4) It discourages author-reader interaction, including top tier authors that could be seen as mentors for the younger generation. This probably isn't causation, but those authors will just stop looking at comments, reviews, and the forums. It's pretty obvious that has happened here, IMO.

5) The worst thing about toxic readers is that they are empowering themselves with their negativity. Lock or erase comments? They will create puppet accounts just because it makes them feel better about themselves. The motivation isn't to belong to the community, or have interaction, it's a straight forward case of empowerment. The issue here is that they are getting "positive feedback" the longer they are allowed to empower themselves, which means escalation or a meltdown when told to stop. That applies as a group as well since getting called out on behavior has a pretty strong defensive reaction.

But let's not pretend all authors are healthy. There have been a few author dramas this year, and many authors won't handle even constructive criticism well.

Re: Author Bullying

#9
Depends on what's being considered bullying. If it's a comment like 'This part here really isn't good, you need to work on this', then there's no problem. Something like 'you suck lol, just give up already' is a problem when it happens, and that's the kind of stuff people shouldn't be shy about calling out.

Re: Author Bullying

#10
Whenever I get a clearly toxic comment or something, I just tell the writer of it to go fuck themself or some far more malicious clapback. (after I screenshot and report it to cover my own toxicity) 

Most don’t expect me to be with the bullshit cause they assume I care for my story tanking from their rate, but nah. Not anymore. Luckily, I haven’t had to deal with that lately. 

Re: Author Bullying

#11
Hello and good day to you guys!  I'm Hans Trondheim and I'm one of the authors in the site.

See, I'm the one being referred here by Sir KaapstadMK And yes, I won't deny that I really had a bad experience with the readers in the site.  See, I'm fine with the negative reviews (I can't please everyone), but then, honestly, as an starting author, it's really discouraging to be called names, or getting reviews that...well, I guess, see for yourselves.

https%3A%2F%2Fi.imgur.com%2FAa4NHeO.jpg

Honestly, I don't want to write stories with sex because I find those scenes awkward (at least for me, who was raised in a pretty conservative culture).  Aside from that, my students also read my stories.  Such reviews and readers in this site gave us (yes, we're many) the impression that RR readers are toxic, intolerant, and sex-crazed.  I apologize beforehand if you guys would be offended by this, but I'd like to be honest with you.

Sir Kaapstad gave me the impression that folks here in RR forum are different than the audience in the reader site.  Please, it's not my intention to badmouth RR; I just wanted to share my experience, and also my fellow authors' impressions.  I do understand that we may be an isolated case.

Re: Author Bullying

#12

That review clearly violates site guidelines. The right answer is the click the "report" button and forget about it.

Trolls gonna troll. And in this age of digital mob mentality, the only thing you can do to not be exposed to trolls (or people behaving like them) is to simply not put yourself out there. Once you become a public figure, you have a target on your back. The more attention/fame you get, the bigger the target. This is really nothing new. Think of all the psycho "fans" famous people of the past have to deal with. There have been notable instances of such "fans" killing (John Lennon comes to mind), so fame is not all it's cracked up to be. There is a dark side to it as well.

Re: Author Bullying

#13
Dear HansTrondheim, the review in question is in no doubt a rule violation. Report and ignore it. Any sane reader of your fiction would be able to see it for what it is - a malicious rant. There is nothing wrong with having a nice no-sex, no excessive gore story. I grew up reading shonen stories and I really loved exactly the friendship and brotherhood described in them. Sex and violence indeed "sell" books nowadays but at some point they get boring too. I think it is much more important that your students read and appreciate your stories than receiving a review from some unknown troll with anger-management issues and unfulfilled desires. Heads up and keep writing, if not for RR then for your students, yourself, and everybody that enjoys your story. 

Re: Author Bullying

#14
I personally think that no matter were you go on the internet you will have this kind of people. Just accept that they are the vocal minority, and that they do what the vocal minority does. Report them and move on.

Not to mention that by opening your chapters, writing comments, and leaving reviews they are helping you more than almost any other person on this site.

Re: Author Bullying

#15
Thanks for the encouragement!  It's really cool to receive assurances from fellow writers. 

And while it's true that the internet is full of this kind of people, I'd like to just reduce the amount of stress for my story, especially since I'm just a hobbyist writer. 

So yeah, I'd just let my work complete uploading the remaining chapters here and move from the platform.

Thank you for the time and concern guys!  Have a great day!   More power to y'all 😁😉

Re: Author Bullying

#16
I'm a new author on Royal Road, and so far I've been helped a lot by the peeps on the site. Community is hugely important--especially during the time of social isolation. But even so, my skin is way too thin to handle trolls. I can't even handle three-star reviews on Amazon. 

Is there some way we could highlight comments that haven't been reviewed yet? That way we could look out for each other by reading each other's unreviewed comments and flagging the ones that are toxic. 

Also... If someone reports one of my comments, is there some sort of indicator that the comment has been reported but not removed yet? If reported comments were highlighted in light red, then I avoid reading them.

-- Boson the Not So Brave

Re: Author Bullying

#20

Yoyu88 Wrote:
Ariana Wrote:
I am really surprised to hear about this issue, especially when I have seen how efficient the mods are in troll-hunting. 



I think they only pay attention to the "Big Game"

One of these days, I'll be big enough game to get special mod dispensation.  Just you wait.

(the mods are trying, they're just understaffed and there's a bazillion support tickets).