In that post, I mentioned that I had considered the possibility that STGRB, and Goodreads, may have negotiated some kind of truce, or arrangement.
Most of the inquiries were in regards to what exactly are the things that have raised my suspicion. Instead of attempting to answer all the emails, I thought it best to just list those reasons right here.
Now, I want to go ahead and say that I have no absolute proof that any such deal or arrangement has been made. I'm not accusing STGRB of anything of the sort, but I am looking at the facts, and only the facts, and nothing else.
This is not my opinion, or speculation. What you will be seeing are facts as we all know about STGRB and their position in regards of Goodreads in the past.
While I will present these facts to you, I truly believe that by the end of this post, you too will come away with the same questions that I have been trying to answer myself ever since STGRB started supporting Goodreads and their new ToS policy.
Are you ready? Then let's begin.
Let's start by looking back at the inception of STGRB. What has it been now? A year and a half? And ever since they came onto the scene, what have they been drilling into our heads? The answer? That Goodreads is corrupted. That Goodreads condones, endorses and even encourages attacks on authors. That they (GR) allow this abuse to take place, and that they ban authors for standing up for themselves. Now I ask you, is this or is this not a known fact?
Also during this time, who have they been placing blame on for allowing this to happen? The answer? Otis Chandler and Patrick Brown. Is this or is it not a known fact?
Also during this time, how much faith or confidence has STGRB ever shown towards GR, Otis Chandler, and Patrick Brown? When it came to trusting them at their word, and on a scale of zero percent to one hundred percent, where would you say that confidence stood? The answer? Zero percent. STGRB has always shown absolutely no confidence in any of those guys to address the bullying issue. Is this or is this not a known fact?
Remember, put your feelings aside and look at this for nothing but the facts.
Now, let me ask you all this. Back in August of 2012, when GR announced changes in their ToS, what was the response of STGRB? The answer? They were skeptical, correct? They were saying the same thing as you and I in that, "Seeing is believing". And - "I wouldn't trust them to live up to enforcing their new ToS for as far as we could throw them". And other words to that effect. The truth is, they had zero confidence or faith in GR, Otis Chandler, or Patrick Brown ever doing anything to enforce their ToS. Is this or is it not a known fact?
Since we know that this is a known fact, then will somebody, anybody, please tell me why that when Goodreads recently announced their "new policy" in dealing with the bully problem, did all of a sudden STGRB's immediate response was that of confidence? They were behind it one hundred percent right from the get go. There was no questioning whatsoever. They appeared to have absolutely no doubt that Goodreads was going to finally address the problem. But why? What's so different this time around as opposed to their ToS change in August of 2012 when they were so skeptical? I don't get it.
It wasn't like Goodreads had done anything prior to this announcement that would indicate that they were serious about it this time. Yet, STGRB didn't question a single thing. They were supportive right from the start, no questions asked.
Am I the only one wondering about this?
And what changed for STGRB (in their mind) that had allowed them to go from condemning GR at every turn to now, suddenly praising them and their efforts? When for the past year and half, STGRB did nothing but tell us that GR could not be trusted.
It wasn't like there was any lead up to this new change on behalf of STGRB. It appeared to happen overnight. One minute, they said that authors should stay away from Goodreads, and the next, they are talking about how great everything is starting to be?
I mean, seriously, what exactly has Goodreads really done? They announced their "new policy" and STGRB was all for it. Like I said, no being skeptical this time around. They just suddenly took them for their word when the last time they made such an announcement, they told us not to buy into it?
Then GR started deleting some, not all, of the nasty shelves. Now, if you wanted to start believing them at their word, this would have been the time to maybe, just maybe start to think that GR was serious this time. But even then, I don't think it would have been a good reason to go from zero percent faith to one hundred percent faith in GR, much less, to go from zero to a hundred simply over their announcement of the "new policy". (Which STGRB did)
Is this making sense so far?
Then what happened? GR banned a bully here, a bully there? Okay, fine, but ... if the whole idea was to ban the bullies, why didn't GR just go ahead and start banning them from the start? It's not like they don't know who the bullies are. And if by chance they really didn't know, all they had to do was go to STGRB's bully list and go from there. Why not just ban the bullies in one big swoop? It's not like GR owes them any explanation. Hell, in their ToS they say that they can ban anyone they want for any or no reason. They certainly never had a problem in the past banning authors who were attacked without any notice, so why give the bullies any notice?
Catching my drift here?
So what gives? Where is the transition period for STGRB that would explain their sudden change of heart where GR is concerned? I mean, let's face it, if you were reading a book where in the first ten chapters the main character was a pessimist, then suddenly in chapter eleven he became an optimist, and the author failed to explain this transition, wouldn't you feel a little cheated? Wouldn't you start asking, "What the hell, man? Why did the main character change?" So maybe you read the rest of the book in hopes the author left the reason somewhere in the back end of the story. If not, when you went to give your review, what are you going to say? You would say, "The character changed and no reason was ever given. I don't buy it. This story sucks." - That's what you would say. So why aren't you asking this question about STGRB? They did the same exact thing only, not in a book, but in real life.
You're going to buy into it now?
And yet, every so often, GR does a little something to inspire hope by banning another bully. And STGRB is right there, praising their efforts. Still not the least bit skeptical.
Then there is the matter of GR's recent change. This hiding book shelves thing. A year ago, or maybe even six months ago, STGRB would have been all over it saying, "They didn't delete anything, they just covered it up." - But now, they make a post about it and praise this cover up by Goodreads. And let's be honest here, STGRB has in the past criticized GR for sometimes covering things up. I know, I read some posts where they did come out and tell us that whatever it was that GR did wasn't solving the problem, but only covering it up. STGRB from a year ago would have been all over this and calling it for what it really is, a cover up and nothing more. But now, they praise GR for covering up a problem instead of just deleting the problem?
I'm sorry, I'm not buying it. This isn't the STGRB I have followed for the past year and a half.
It's like all of a sudden, and from out of the blue, STGRB is now calling GR a hero or something. praising them for the little things they are doing. And just enough, I might add, to keep us all entertained and preoccupied.
"But Carroll, the bullies are pissed off at GR. Obviously, that would indicate that GR is finally taking a real stand."
Okay, let's look at that rationally for a moment. What do we know about the bullies? A lot of things, of course, however, we also know that where the bullies are concerned, they get pissed over the littlest of things. Hell, they get pissed over nothing. They are always taking the smallest thing and making it a big theatrical production. Am I right? Of course I am. So obviously, when GR made their big announcement about the "new policy", they said they were going to place an emphasis on the way book shelves were worded, did they not? So why are you the least bit surprised that the bullies would go ape shit over such an announcement? And to delete just one, much less a few, of their shelves, you know that's going to send them all into a frenzy. The same way they do it when they attack an author. Am I right? Of course I am.
And honestly, when you saw them react that way, didn't it give you a major thrill? Of course it did. It was "payback" time. It was great to see them squirm for once. And it was just what would have been expected too by GR to take our attention away long enough that we wouldn't question their motives, or why STGRB suddenly came out of nowhere to support Goodreads.
If there was any kind of deal made, I'm pretty sure this would have been taken into account.
Combine that, and our reaction to seeing some of the worst bullies being banned, one by one, and somewhat at a slow, but consistent pace, and again, why would we question GR? Why would we question STGRB? We're so busy being all excited to see the bullies get handed to them what us authors had been getting handed to us for so long that we never even thought to suspect that maybe we were being duped.
But think about it. STGRB came onto the scene and made a huge splash. They were featured on several major websites, and got a lot of attention early. Goodreads was corrupted beyond belief and STGRB was determined to get the word out. Because of all this attention, they started to gain some major credibility. I'm pretty sure that GR didn't see them as any vital threat. But yet, GR still paid a little attention to them. You know, keeping an eye on them. I mean, you get onto USA today and obviously, you're making a little bit of noise.
But GR really doesn't want any attention where this author bullying is concerned. That is bad attention for them. It paints them in a negative light. But as time goes along, STGRB gains more and more momentum. Their posts are very damaging to GR. Pretty soon, GR has to start taking them seriously. Now, just with anything else in life, be it politics, business, religion, when a power house like GR starts to see their image being tarnished by this unsuspecting, up and coming entity, sooner or later, you're going to have to try and discredit them. The bullies suck at doing that. Eventually, that little up and comer becomes somewhat of a force to be reckoned with, and all efforts to get rid of them has failed. Now what do you do?
Well, you do what powerful people do when they realize later that they under-estimated someone or some thing, you take a new approach. Instead of trying to continually fight them, you go to them in hopes of striking a deal. A deal that allows an escape clause for everyone to come out of it looking, and feeling pretty good. You make a deal. GR tells them that they are going to institute a "new policy", and that they will start to address the issue enough to satisfy the masses. In exchange, STGRB supports this "new policy" right from the start, and gets everyone excited about it. They promise STGRB that some bullies will be banned. Some book shelves will be deleted. But with every little crumb they spit out, STGRB must be there to rally the troops.
Gradually, these changes, and these bans will stop. Maybe after like six months, and Goodreads comes away looking like a big hero. They get their reputation back. Meanwhile, STGRB comes away looking like a hero, having finally gotten GR to clean up their act. GR is happy, STGRB is happy, and all of us are happy because we got to see a few changes, a few book shelves disappear, and some bullies getting the boot. Just enough little things that will finally put an end to this cause.
Can you honestly say that this couldn't be a possibility?
Everybody wins, and everybody is happy. Well, except for maybe a handful of bullies who might have gotten the boot, but hey, after a while, those bullies return perhaps under another name and now, even they are happy too.
Life is sweet again.
Well, I'm not buying it!
Obviously, if such a deal had occurred, there would still be another small matter of concern for GR. What about Carroll Bryant?
Let's face it, Patrick Brown hates my guts. He would like nothing more than to see me fade away into the night. The problem would be, what if I didn't buy into this change? Even so, let's just be down right honest here, STGRB made me. They have given me such credibility by supporting me for all this time. If I didn't buy into it, this change, there still runs a risk that those who followed STGRB, would probably now start turning their sights onto me when STGRB gradually stops posting. There has to be something in place to deal with me. And again, let's fall back onto the facts here, who has been the most covered person on STGRB? The answer? Carroll Bryant.
STGRB and myself have been associated for so long, even the bullies think I have something to do with it in some official capacity. Maybe not now, but that has been the consensus for the past year and a half. Right?
But again, what about Carroll Bryant? STGRB made me, and gave me my cred, so who should it be to unmake me and destroy that cred? The answer? STGRB.
But it's not like they could just suddenly denounce me for no apparent reason, that would be too suspicious. Oh no, they (STGRB) would have to sit and wait, buy their time until I made a mistake of some kind that would justify STGRB to delete me and The Looking Glass from their blog, and in the process, take away support for me and take away my cred.
That has now happened.
I made one mistake after all of this time after being the STGRB sidekick, and now, they saw their opportunity to make that move.
So let's recap, shall we?
For a year and a half Goodreads was the enemy. During this time, STGRB and I have been somewhat partnered, or connected and they had been supporting me at every turn. Now, this "new policy" by GR comes along and suddenly, from out of the blue, STGRB is singing the praises of Goodreads, and now, from out of that same blue, STGRB is denouncing me.
Coincidence? I don't think so.
STGRB will no doubt probably be trashing me soon, if they haven't started by the time this is posted, or then again, maybe they just won't say a thing, and allow me to simply fade into the night. They now have their reasons for cutting ties with me over one single incident after a year and a half of placing me on a pedestal. After a year and a half of supporting me, just like that, the support has been pulled. And all because of one single mistake?
How can you go from endorsing someone for so long and go through all the battles with someone that STGRB and myself have went through together and then in one big bang, over one tiny mistake or incident, just stop the endorsement? Especially when I haven't stopped endorsing them?
There's just too many questions. Too many suspicious going on. Too many coincidences for this to just be random events. People don't change like that on a dime like STGRB has, and there not to be some kind of rational explanation. Too many questions, and not a single answer or explanation to rationalize it.
Now I ask you, is there any reason for anyone not to become just a little suspicious?
You couldn't make this stuff up.
Something odd is going on here. Enough to start asking ourselves if indeed, did STGRB and Goodreads get together at some point and time, and negotiate some kind of truce? Did STGRB sell us out for a resolution? Was there some kind of compromise behind the scenes?
The people of STGRB have already gone on record to say they didn't want to fight this fight forever. Neither did I. But is what GR is doing really major changes, or is it just cosmetic as myself and Rick Carufel believe? I guess all one has to do is stand back and look at these so called changes that GR is doing and see if it really is impacting anything? There's still some attacks taking place, albeit, small time attacks. Things did get better a little, but is it really enough?
If there is real changes taking place though on Goodreads, and if STGRB really did make a deal, why wouldn't they just come out and say so? Well, maybe because it would be perceived as them selling out. I don't know. But when you see how this clean up is going, and how all of a sudden STGRB started supporting it, and singing the GR praises, then removing me from their website, it all starts to look suspicious.
It wasn't too long ago when STGRB recommended to authors NOT to join GR due to the toxic environment - I wonder now what they would say if you were to ask them. Maybe you should. I think their answer would be interesting to say the least. And while you're asking them that, maybe you could ask them this, what changed from August 2012 to now? Why be so skeptical then with GR's "new policy" to being so assured this time around in regards to their "new policy"? What changed? As we can see for ourselves, they sure jumped on the Goodreads bandwagon real quick there, didn't they?
I'm Carroll Bryant .... and this is The Looking Glass.