Review for Hydra provided by BirdBrian
Censorship sucks, AND it often doesn’t even work Let’s get this part out of the way first: I thought the book was poorly written. I thought the grammar was at times awkward, and some of the things said were illogical. I found spelling errors on pages 4, 92, and 9024.“If I Did It”. Kinda clever what he did there, isn’t it? The whole premise of the book is a hypothetical, so it isn’t really an admission of wrongdoing- even though it describes step by step exactly how O.J. would have committed the crime he was accused of… you know, “if” he did it.
Like most people in America, I followed this trial with interest, and I feel confident based on what I learned that O.J. Simpson is guilty of Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman’s murders.
My understanding is that O.J. wrote this book to get money to help pay his legal bills from the trial, although most of the money now goes to the Goldman family, because they won a civil case against him. So as I see it, this book was written to help a murderer- who eluded justice- to further profit from his crime (“further” beyond whatever murderous bloodlust of the moment it satisfied.)
That makes me really dispise this author’s behavior.
But of course we all know that I can’t just come out and trash the book based on how I feel about the author’s behavior. That would violate GoodReads’ Terms of Service.
Of course If I didn’t read the book, and I posted a 1 star review of it anyhow, I’m not entirely sure how GoodReads would know this. And If I wanted to write an excoriating review that appeared to be “about the book”, I could skim the brief description on the book’s page for a few central points and themes, couldn’t I? I could find a few names to drop, and probably cobble together a review that sounded like I had read the book. (If I didn’t read the book, but of course I totally did.)
Naturally, I’d have to keep the review “about the book”. I’d have to say the writing was bad, things didn’t make sense, it was boring, etc, etc. But it would be easy enough to do, If I felt strongly enough about it.
So what’s my point?
My point is that back in the GoodReads “Before Censorship Era” (BCE), I could have written a nasty review about the author, and put it on a shelf called “authors who profit from murder”. I could have openly admitted that I never read the book, and readers could take that into consideration when they read my review. GoodReaders would see my honest opinions for what they are, and they could make their own mind up about whether my thoughts on the author are justified, and whether they agree, and whether they should avoid the book. Reviews from the BCE were more likely to be open and honest, even if they were exceedingly negative.
Now we are in the Censorship Era (CE). If I feel strongly about a book based on its author, there’s no way of stopping me from writing a terrible review about it; I just have to keep some rules in mind, to escape detection. With 20 million users on the site, it seems unlikely that GR could realistically track down and identify all the reviews which appear to be about the book, but which are really driven by other motives. Not going to happen. It is an ironclad certainty that reviews like that WILL be posted in the future, and they WILL escape official detection.
The thing is, with all of the honesty of the BCE lost, how is anybody to know which reviews are reliable, and which ones are effectively wolves in sheeps’ clothing? GoodReads’ new policies (or old policies with new implementation practices) doesn’t eradicate “because-of-the-author” reviews; it merely drives them underground. And in doing so, it makes ALL reviews suspect.
The GoodReads of BCE had some nasty author-reader blowups, but for the most part the reviews everybody had such bad feelings about were easy to identify, and they didn’t call the integrity of other reviews into question. In the GoodReads of the CE, EVERY review is suspect. You can’t tell which is honest and which is an imposter.
It cheapens the value of reviews and thus of the site. While GoodReads/Amazon doesn’t care about the free expression of ideas, or building a community of readers, you can bet they care about the value of the site, because that affects revenue.
So what has GoodReads achieved by censoring reviewers? It appears they have reduced the value of their own product (i.e. their precious “author packages”), and they have not prevented even a single reviewer from posting negative, because-of-the-author reviews, including of books the reviewer hasn’t read.
As I stated in the caption to the image at the top of this review: not only does censorship suck, but it often doesn’t even work.